Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who you callin' a Yakima?

I roll into Yakima at rush hour, and I can't tell you how thrilled I
am. 410 has turned into 12, which is an actual, real freeway. Common
sense tells me to GET OFF THE FREEWAY, STUPID, even though I can see a
sign for my next connection, 97 S, coming up in 3/4 miles. But I do
the sensible thing and exit.

And maaan, Yakima is a HOLE. Everywhere broad decaying streets, single
story buildings, and cars, cars, cars. It's the worst case example of
car culture sprawl. This once beautiful empty valley has had inflicted
upon it a real live Grand Theft Auto set. It'll be the first place to
go when the oil starts to trickle out. (Incidentally, I've started
laughing when I ride past gas stations.)

The only good thing about my visit to Yakima is that it comes still
early enough for me to get the hell out before nightfall. Of course,
by this time, I've lost track of 97. I work my way back to a highway

While I'm contemplating returning to the freeway, a yappy 'hua gets
all up in my grill (if I may attempt the local patois). I see that the
dog belongs to a young Latino guy tinkering with a weight bench in his
front yard, which is literally at the foot of highway 82. I ask him if
82 turns to 97, as I suspect. He has no idea, then turns away and
shuts his door on me. The dog chases me to the end of the street.

I try another couple, a middle aged woman and her 20ish son. They
share a dismayingly long whispered huddle before admitting that 82
MIGHT connect to 97 past Union Gap.

At this point, I'm ready to return to the highway, because anything's
better than BEING IN YAKIMA.

My eventual connection takes me up and around a bend, where I catch a
glimpse of the sun setting over the green valley Yakima once was. God
bless its soul; that oil shortage can't come soon enough.

1 Comments: said...

having just moved from Yakima after only being able to stand it for 1.5 years, I completely back your description. Hope you found 97 just fine - the second group of people you asked were more or less right, where 82 leaves Union Gap, 97 is just off to the right. The connection is a little confusing, from what I remember driving on it once coming back from Oregon. Make sure to stop and snap a shot of Stonehenge before you cross the Columbia.

August 16, 2007 9:47 PM  

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