The Drive Along The Columbia River Gorge

The Road to Home

The last thing I remember about WA-14 before taking the exit is a winery – Maryhill Winery –  with plantation – is that what it is called? – sloping gently down the mountain side on the right. Soon I came across the exit to US-97 which leads to Yakima, WA. Once we crossed Yakima, it was back on familiar roads again. From Yakima there are more routes to take home if one is feeling adventurous – we’ll talk about that once we reach Yakima.

Soon after entering US-97, one of the features I remember is giant Windmills all over the mountain on the Horizon.. Giant Windmills whose blades were gently turning as if they don’t have a care in the world. Their white Silhouette against the white snowy background looked beautifully haunting. As I saw them on the horizon, I couldn’t help but wish to take a closer look at them.

That wish was soon granted. The road took me quite close to these giants. And they were huge and looked incredible as the blades turned seemingly slowly against the winds. 

A closer look at these giants

Soon the roads straightened out and it was straight roads till the horizon. I switched the car into cruise control again and relaxed for a bit. The landscape was ever so slightly changing from white and bland to barren and desert like. I could still see on the gauge that the temperature was still below freezing. It felt like I was back to sea level, but feelings could be deceiving, the elevation was still quite high, and it is visible in this picture I took. This is the last stop I made on the way home. 

It was back on snowy landscape once on US-97
The landscape slowly changed from white to barren
And soon, the roads were straight as far as I could see
You can see the elevation from here!
The last stop. Is that the North Cascades’s ranges on the Horizon there?

After this spot, I soon reached Yakima. From Yakima, there are multiple routes you can take to go back to the Seattle area if one is feeling Adventurous. You can cut back towards Gifford Pinchot National Forest via Naches, Rimrock etc and get all the way back to I-5 or you can go towards Mt Rainier as well. On that particular day, I was quite satisfied by the trip I just had and was looking forward to reaching home. So I decided to stick to the route I’m most familiar with. 

The route that ended up being
Back on familiar I-90

Soon, it was back on the familiar roads of I-90E. Around 4:30 PM I reached home after covering around 547 miles in 10 hours (~880 Kms).

547 miles in around 10 hours of driving

Closing thoughts : Next plan for this route? Well yes I do have one, and it is going to be on nineT. The distance is a little concerning,  but I think it would almost be the same as the North Cascade trip. Now that I think about it, one thing I do regret is not taking the WA-821 route which would have taken me right alongside the Yakima river. The roads look windy and so much fun on the map. I had made plans to visit this road the next week, but that never happened as of the day I’m writing this. I’ll have to do a lot more planning to cover this route on my bike. But more on that in another post where I talk about car trips vs bike trips. For now stay safe and see you soon with another post.  

Look at those curvy roads (Not the highlighted one). How can you not fall in love with it

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