Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: western Washington
Starting in Everett or Snohomish?
I'd vote for counter-clockwise. The section from Monroe to Skykomish is probably the least interesting, going in either direction; might as well get it over with at the start.
There are some non-Hiway 2 options for pieces of the journey from Snohomish to the top of Stevens Pass, too -- search here, or at the Cascade Bicycle Club message boards, or on some of their links to maps/routes for Washington. [for instance, it's reported that one can ride the "old" Hwy 2 route for most of the final climb over Stevens]
If you haven't been out here before, you will find the scenery quite different from Illinois!