Monday, July 14, 2008
Day 34, 35, 36 (We Reach Utah), 37, & 38
Sorry to leave you all hanging like that after day 34, but my access to a computer has been very limited as we've been in remote areas. So, thank you for bearing with me and I'll try to catch you all up as best I can. We got Sam's bike fixed in a matter of minutes after the bike shop opened up in Montrose, Colorado. We camped at two very nice campgrounds on Day 34 and 35. We rode from Montrose to Telluride and camped 12 miles outside of Telluride at a campsite that was surrounded by big, beautiful mountains (and some still had snow). On day 35, we rode our bikes out of Telluride to Delores about 73 miles west of Telluride. It was a steady climb out of the Valley which peaked at Lizard's Pass a little over 11,000 feet above sea level. The views were well worth the effort to climb to the peak. We met several other riders along the way (we only got passed by on other cyclist...I'm guessing he was around 60 years old and he was SPRINTING up that mountain! I hope I'm that good in 40 more years - wow). We arrived in Delores, exhausted, but happy with our day's ride. We set up camp and headed into town for a dinner at the Naked Moose - great place!
On day 36 we rode from Delores, Colorado to Blanding Utah which was about 85 miles. We were all sad to leave Colorado, but at the same time, we were all excited to reach our sixth state. None of the riders on the trip have been to Utah and we are all excited to see what Utah has to offer. Something I find very interesting as I ride from state to state is the fact that I can notice a change in the landscape as we ride. It's easy to notice when you are riding a bike - we rode from vast mountain ranges in Colorado where the air was cool and crisp and into the hot, arid Utah desert. I was able to see a marked difference in the landscape as we descended from the mountains in Colorado and crossed the state line. I think Utah is one of the prettiest states I've seen. The vast, rocky landscape is almost alien to me. There is a startling contrast between the beauty of the rocks themselves and the haunting sense of isolation they seem to exude. It is the first state I've been to where I'd be afraid to wander off too far in any one direction for fear of getting lost in a maze of rocky mountains, gorges, and canyons. This place seems timeless and pristine, very beautiful.
Day 37 we rode from Blanding Utah into the Glen Canyon State Park (84 miles) and spent the night at the remote Hite Recreation Area. To the east of Hite there are no rest services for 74 miles and to the west of Hite there are not rest services for 54 miles. Hite consists of a trailer that is convenience/grocery store and a gas station. Gas has been the most expensive we have seen, pushing $4.95 a gallon. The campsite couldn't have been more beautiful. After spending the day riding through gorgeous towers of rocks and canyons, we rode a mile off route down to a pristine lake where we set up camp. The lake had been completely dry only 3 years ago. You could see a white line imprinted on the rock walls across from our campsite where the water level used to be. It was only recently that the water returned to the lake. Besides ourselves, there was only one other group of campers there - a group of 3 riders also on their way to San Fransisco.
Today, day 38, we woke up early, eat breakfast and started our trek to Torrey, Utah. It was 54 miles from our campsite to the nearest town, Hanksville. We got to Hanksville a little after 1pm and stopped at the only place to eat in town, Stan's Burgers and Shakes. Stan's made the thickest milkshake I've ever had, I'm not even convinced there was milk in that shake, it had to have been 100% pure ice cream. Either way, it hit the spot. Unfortunately, I think we were all a bit weighed down after eating such a big lunch on such a hot day. We usually have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We were a bit sluggish out of the gate after lunch and around 5:15pm we decided to call it a day. Mr. Mangum picked us up in the truck and drove us 12 miles to our hotel. After camping last night and not being able to take a shower, we were all pretty happy to have a hotel for the night. We should be able to make up those miles pretty easily tomorrow as we only have a 64 mile day scheduled.
It's late and I need my sleep. I'm sorry I had to summarize so many days in such a short time and leave out some humorous details, but hopefully I will be able to share more of our daily shenanigans as we continue our journey to San Fran! Good night!
Posted by Setch at 12:53 AM