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In the stretch run to Tripletown

September 22, 2007

This was supposed to be the easy part.

I made it to Natches just as the low-fuel light came on. I brought extra gas in case the PX needed it on SR 410, but found I didn’t need it. Once the road leveled out, I was able to relax and enjoy the scenery. This would be a great drive in any vehicle. You could find a reason to go to Yakima, couldn’t you?

It was lunchtime, so I thought I’d hit the diner attached to the gas station. The Drift Inn, it was called. Hmm, why not The Drift On In?

Whatever. I order a BLT and tell Josie the waitress of my journey. She seems most impressed by the PX’s 70-mpg fuel economy, and never says, “you rode all the way from Seattle on that thing?”

Through Yakima, and onto SR 24. Looking at the map, I figured it would be a ride in the country between Yakima and Richland. I hadn’t figured on the trucks.

Duel truck

Heading east, I eventually lost count of the number of (empty) double flatbeds that blew by. I knew there was no way I’d be able to run flat-out, so I decided to pace myself at 40-45 mph and check my mirrors often. Not get fixated on them, mind, but do as I did in my racing days and be very aware that I was the slowest thing on the road.

It didn’t help that the route went more uphill than I thought. With a good run, it’s possible to maintain 40-45 mph going up a slight incline, but it kinda stops being fun when vehicles that could crush you like a grape without the driver even noticing just keep coming.

“SR 240 Jct 1 Mile” said the sign. Yesss! We’re in the stretch run!

But the truck volume didn’t let up. I wondered if there was a particular reason the road was filled with 18-wheelers. At least the road was mostly level and straight, with lots of opportunities to pass.

It sure didn’t stop me from wishing I had a GT or GTS.

The scenery was a marked contrast from the Cascades; most people are surpised to learn that the state of Washingon is mostly desert. The road was lined with sand blown into miniature dunes, sagebrush and even tumbleweeds the only vegetation.

I keep asking, “am I there yet?” The mile markers seem to take forever to appear. Then there’s a sign that urbanization is nigh: “Use of Compression Brakes Prohibitied”. At last, Richland. Favicon

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