Sunday, April 5, 2009

200km Pre-ride

Benton City

The pre-ride for the 200km resulted in only minor changes in the route, due to construction in Prosser. The route sheet indicates the needed changes (and fixes a typo or two) as a result.

The pre-ride started (w/ Coffee) at the Albertson's Express at Leslie and Gage in Richland. Coffee in hand, I set out along Keene road, making use of the bike path along that first part of the route. A few joggers out at 7:00am. The weather report had no hint of rain, and whatever winds there were promised to be mild. Made it to Benton City in easy time - and began the process of explaining route cards to the local shopkeepers. The control in Benton City is a Conoco with a tag-name of "The Taco Maker". I opted for the starbucks double-shot instead. Heading on out through Benton City - it's worth noting a well-kept portable toilet near the skate park, on the right, just before turning left onto the Old Inland Empire Hwy (often marked "O I E" on road signs).

The O I E was fine, as always. Worth noting a gang-of-4 dogs about 12km along that road. They bark, they're untethered, they'll approach from the North. Not sure how serious they are. Anyway, the scenery is great and some outstanding views of the river are available. There's no control in Prosser; but, there are services. The restroom at Farrand Park is open and (the men's at least) was clean. Byron Road parallels the river for a few miles, and is a very nice part of this route.

Once out on Hwy-22, heading towards Mabton, I got increasingly good views of Mt Adams and Rainier. The Texaco at Mabton is very busy and well stocked. The porto-toilet is truly disgusting. Recommend holding it till Toppenish.

Various wild-life sightings along the route, notably coyote, heron, hawks. Domesticated animal sightings include cows, sheep, llama, mules and dogs. Not sure if the cats seen were feral or otherwise.

There was a Heron under this bridge, before  I took this photo Coyote

The weather was clear enough to provide views of Mt Adams and Rainier. There's still snow on some of the ridges along the Horse Heaven Hills. Then, you get to turn off of Hwy 22 and bike along the RR tracks. A note on traffic - there wasn't much at all on Hwy 22. Along Track Road, there was some. I pulled over once to let a trailer by, and got a friendly wave as result. Drivers were near-uniformly careful with me out on these roads.

Toppenish is a busy, active and working town on a Saturday morning. There was some sort of livestock auction in progress. And a large collection of yard-sales. Seemed like a nice town. I had some navigation uncertainties through Toppenish; but, managed fine. Will attach this map to the cue sheet:

View Larger Map

One leaves Toppenish heading straight north on Hwy22/Buena road. This was a well-trafficked road, but, again, no real problems. At the stop sign of this road and the Yakima Valley hwy is the Golden Nugget store - our next control. And then, it's virtually the Yakima Valley Hwy/Wine Country Rd all the Way to Prosser.

Teapot Gas Station

From the Prosser control (take your choice among the options near the Rest Stop), it's almost a straight reverse-ride home. A great ride - hope to see you there.

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