On Saturday, September 5, 2009, we drove the length of Washington State Highway 28, across the lovely farmlands of the northern Columbia basin.
State route No. 28:
A state highway to be known as state route number 28 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 2 in the vicinity east of Wenatchee, thence southeasterly to a junction with state route number 281 at Quincy; also
From that junction with state route number 281 at Quincy, thence easterly by way of Ephrata and Odessa to a junction with state route number 2 at Davenport.
So here we begin, just north of East Wenatchee, at the east end of the bridge for US 2. Milepost zero for Highway 28 is actually four miles ahead, since the old Sunset Highway crossing of the Columbia River was in town, until this shortcut bridge was built. Therefore, the first four miles of SR 28 are part of the Sunset Highway. But no matter how many times I mention the sun, it still was raining when I was driving on Saturday.
Four miles later, we come to the junction with SR 285, which is the old route for US 2. To stay on SR 28 and not cross the bridge to Wenatchee, one must exit. You go under the bridge and keep driving straight. Despite the rain, lovely scenery.
After heading downstream, Highway 28 eventually climbs out of the gorge and onto the plateau. Once there amongst the farm fields, we head due east to Quincy, where we find a junction with SR 281. At least it's drying out here. Or maybe the rain just hasn't gotten here yet.
Several miles later, SR 28 meets SR 283. We get a stop sign, but neither SR 28 westbound nor SR 283 northbound do. Most curiously (for me) is that the sign points to Ellensburg, which is sixty miles or so behind us. That's the direction SR 283 goes, so I guess it makes since, but it meets I-90 in George, same as SR 281 previously, so I wonder why they're signed differently.
Another town, another junction. This time it's Ephrata and SR 282. WSDOT really would prefer us to use I-90, don't you think? It's only ten to twenty miles away from Highway 28, running mostly parallel, but straighter. . .
Just south of Soap Lake, SR 28 intersects SR 17. Like our journey back in January, we visited the park on the south end of the lake. The parking lot was much easier to drive without the layer of solid, rutted ice on it. Although I didn't test the water in January, it was quite warm (and the bottom quite pleasantly muddy) this time around.
Back on the road, we race past more farm and range lands until we reach the city of Odessa. Here, SR 28 intersects lonely SR 21. Speaking of lonely, why was almost no one at the city park on a holiday weekend afternoon? Did all the Odessans head out of town?
After leaving Odessa, Highway 28 enters the Coal Creek Coulee with the Burlington Northern railroad, winds its way along for a while, then climbs back up to the flat ridge until it arrives at Harrington, which is where we have a junction with SR 23. Since we stopped at the park in Odessa, we didn't visit Harrington's park this time (as we had done on our two previous visits to town this summer). The end of 28 was in sight!
And here we are at the end, the junction with US 2 in Davenport. Once again at the Sunset Highway, and it's almost bright enough out to pretend it's sunny!
A peaceful drive through numerous charming cities, SR 28 was fun to drive. It also marks the last of the 20s -- but milestones of that sort will come fast and furious for the next few "decades."