Saturday, March 28, 2015
Permanent #2675 -- Dobby (A Free Elf) Populaire
A couple of weeks ago, I rode out from my house in Yakima to meet the great folks from Desert River Randonneurs in the middle of their customary "Flat Yak" 200K -- a great recurring ride that starts and ends in Richland. I plotted my route to join up with theirs, successfully met a trio of riders near Toppenish, then headed home and went to work on a Yakima-based permanent based on what I rode that day.
This is the end result, of course; Tri-Cities-based riders will perhaps be happy to know that it only overlaps with "Flat Yak" for about five miles of the course, so you can come to Yakima and experience a nice amount of new, pleasant riding.
You start, fittingly, at the Safeway near my house in West Yakima. Nob Hill Boulevard becomes WA-21, then you go onto back roads south of Moxee to Konnowac Pass Rd. Don't let the name frighten you, though, the climbing only amounts to about 350 feet.
At the end of that, you begin 15 miles on the fairly quiet Yakima Valley Highway to the mid-ride control at Granger. From there, WA-223 connects to Track Rd, and guess what -- you parallel some railroad tracks, making a nearly as-the-crow-flies beeline towards the next stop in Wapato.
Cross a bridge over the Yakima River and take an underpass under I-82 and you'll reconnect to the north end of the Yakima Valley Highway. That follows both the river and the highway for a few miles before becoming Thorp Road heading back slightly east, rejoining the same roads you use for the first seven miles of the day.
It's a flat and fast route. No truly breathtaking views but a lot of pleasant country roads, with generally low traffic aside from the first and last five miles of the day in Yakima.