Here are some of the video and pictures from the time. I heard yesterday that the Cascade Mountain volcanoes erupt, on average, twice a century, so maybe another one is coming up soon. (I think I've heard that the most likely to erupt next is Mt Hood, just east of Portland.)
As seen from Portland, Oregon, about 50 miles to the southeast:
I remember seeing some ash on cars in western Pennsylvania -- the semester had ended at Stony Brook and I took a quick train trip back to see my grandparents and extended family. But it was a very thin coating, like a heavy sprinkle; we get pollen coatings here in Oregon that are worse. But being in graduate school then I wasn't paying much attention to the news, except what I read in the NY Times or Time magazine, so I didn't have any of the excitement that television conveyed.