Denis Kertz, ©2014
My friend Dave drove me to
Since I had shipped my bicycle to
Unfortunately, I couldnít pick up my bicycle from Amtrak
because the station was closed until 10 pm.†
So I headed out to view the sights after a quick bite at a Wendyís.† I walked a few blocks east and then headed
north where I was pleasantly surprised to find a grocery store, an unexpected
find in the downtown area.† I also found
out that the famous
There was a bar just behind the Courtyard and I walked there for a small pizza.
After that I did some more packing and then killed time until near 10 pm when I walked a little over a half mile to the Amtrak station.† While I was waiting for it to open a guy came by with a backpack and he was muttering as he passed by.† I figured he was just in a foul and complaining mood but it sounded like he got his money and ID stolen and needed $11 for bus fare to get back home.† After I realized this sounded serious I gave him $11 which he was almost certainly in position to put to better use than I was.† He was really surprised.† He apparently had been trying to get folks to help him out all day with no success.† Most likely folks thought he was just another beggar and didnít take him seriously.
When the station opened I told the woman behind the counter
that I wanted to pick up my bike.† When I
dropped it off last Sunday at Chicago Union Station, I had to go down to the
basement to the baggage area.† The
attendant was obviously annoyed that she had to get out of her chair to handle
my shipping request.† She filled out 2
slips of paper, one for $10 and one for $15.†
At first I thought the $10 was for the bike box but that was the
$15.† Then I realized the woman thought I
was going to be a passenger on the train to
So when I was finally picking it up, the woman behind the counter said she would either have to charge me $100 for the shipping or I would have to pay $4 a day for storage fees.† That was a no brainer although I was tempted to hassle her about the bogus $100 claim.† Anyway I paid a $20 storage fee which amounted to $30 total for shipping versus the $52 I should have been charged so I obviously came out ahead.
It only took me a few minutes to unbox my bike, straighten the handlebar, and attach the pedals.† Then I clipped on my front and rear lights and rode back to the motel.
Despite the fact that I didnít get to sleep until 11:30 pm, which was 12:30 am by my central time, and after a travel day, I didnít sleep very well and got up at 6 am.† Just after 6:30 I went down for breakfast.† One of the things I always liked about Courtyard was their breakfast buffets.† That allowed you to get in and out as fast as you wanted and, when I was touring, load up on an all-you-can-eat buffet.† So I was surprised to see this place didnít have a buffet.† Then when I complained the waiter said Courtyard had discontinued their buffets about 4 years ago.
I was really disappointed to hear that.† Had I known I would have researched breakfast places.† Instead I ordered a scramble and the waiter offered me a complimentary muffin.† It was an okay breakfast but nothing great and on the expensive side.† This will likely cause me to re-consider Courtyard stays in the future.† I still have Marriott reward points but I can probably spend them more efficiently at their Fairfield Inns.† Last time I was at one of them they had a free breakfast buffet although it had a limited menu but that would have been better than my expensive breakfast.
I was packed and ready to go quicker than I expected and I
checked out at 8:30.† Most of the dayís
route followed the Jordan River Trail but I had to get to the start.† This involved a couple of miles of zig
zagging to get to
That is, motorized traffic.† There was a fair amount of trail traffic - walkers, joggers, joggers pushing strollers, roller bladers, skateboarders, scooters, and, of course, cyclists.† This was to be expected on a Labor Day Monday and the traffic probably got worse in the afternoon.
It was a nice morning, starting around 60F and warming up into the 70s.† By the afternoon it was pretty warm and likely lower 80s.
It was sometimes a challenge following the trail.† The trail had few straight sections and with all of the spurs it wasnít always obvious which was the trail and there werenít any signs until the latter half of the trail.† One time I branched off then backtracked and then found myself following a ditch with water.† I was pretty sure this wasnít the trail and that was later confirmed when I ended up at a recreation park.† After backtracking I found another turnoff and that got me back on the trail.
The one bad thing about the trail was it never passed by any services.† At one point I was really looking for a cold drink and a second breakfast and exited on a major crossing road.† I quickly gave up on finding any services and resigned myself to finishing the trail before I would find services.
The end of the trail wasnít obvious.† In fact, I discovered the end because I discovered I had looped back the way I came from, obvious when I saw the same kidís bike parked on the edge of the trail.† I returned to the parking lot that was the end of the trail.† Then I used my GPS to locate where I thought I was and how to get to Hwy 68, which was the next major section of my route to Nephi.
As I got within about a half mile of the Hwy 68 section a black terrier bolted across the road, charging at me.† I wasnít too worried about the dog but was concerned that I might run over it and fall.† Thatís when I felt the dog nip my ankle.† That, of course, got my attention quickly.† Had I been able to quickly dismount I would have chased that dog back to its home and kicked the shit out of it.† At that point the owner came out to the road and I yelled at him that his *#!& dog had bit me.† If the owner hadnít been apologetic I might have unloaded some violence on him.
Fortunately, the dog bite on my ankle was really a nip and just broke the skin a little.† Had I not been passing through I would have called the police and filed a complaint but that would have taken time that I was reluctant to spend.† I spent the rest of the day wishing I had cornered that dog and kicked the shit out of it.† Maybe that would have taught it that bike chasing doesnít pay.
When I continued and reached the intersection with Hwy 68 there was a food mart where I stopped.† It was too late for my second breakfast so I nuked a burrito and downed a large drink, continuing to think about all the things I could have done to that dog.
When I continued riding I did some moderate climbing for a
couple of miles.† Then I descended to the
intersection with Hwy 73 at
After setting up camp I walked to the same
At that point I was ready to eat and decided to walk back to the Hwy 68/73 intersection where there were a number of fast food places including a Subway.† The Jordan River Trail apparently had picked up somewhere after it ended previously and passed through this park.† However, it passed under Hwy 73 and there were fences around both sides of Hwy 73 to keep people out but that didnít keep me out.† I walked to the underpass, climbed a fence and walked about a half mile back to the fast food places where I ate at the Subway.† Then it was a matter of retracing my route and climbing the fence again to get back to the trail and back to my tent site where it was pleasantly cool in the shade.
An easy first day and uneventful except for the disturbing dog attack.
I packed up and headed back to the Hwy 68/73 intersection and immediately noticed my cyclocomputer was working intermittently.† It was almost 2 miles back to the intersection because I couldnít take the Jordan River Trail and throw my bike over the fence.† I stopped at a McDonaldís and had their Big Breakfast with Hotcakes and it was a pretty decent breakfast for $5.
After breakfast I stopped at the nearby Walmart to see if
they had any sandals.† Yesterday I
noticed my old Shimano sandals, which I really like, had started breaking apart
on the left sandal.† A chunk of the rear
of the sandal had broken off and it was obvious I needed to replace these
sandals at some point on this trip.† Last
year, my other pair of Shimano sandals had worn to the point that one of the
sandals sole started flapping.† I
considered re-soling the sandal but the straps were pretty worn too so that
didnít look like a good investment.†
Since the Shimano sandals have been redesigned and folks generally
seemed to prefer the old design, I bought a pair of Nashbar cycling sandals and
they were pretty good.† However, the
footbed had a pebbled surface that was okay for riding but I wasnít confident
that they would be okay for all day wearing.†
So I elected to bring my second pair of Shimano sandals, not realizing
they would disintegrate too.†
Unfortunately, Walmart didnít have anything other than flimsy flip flop
types.† Hopefully, my sandals will last
When I continued south on Hwy 68 the highway was still a
four lane highway with a wide shoulder.†
A few miles later a guy in a dump truck pulled off the road ahead.† At first I thought he was going to check out the
truck but when he started walking towards me I was afraid I might have dropped
something.† Instead, I met Cameron, a
fellow touring cyclist.† He wondered if I
was riding across the country.† He had
started last year on riding across the country on the Southern Tier route but
was doing it in sections since he couldnít get enough time to finish the route
in one vacation period.† He had ridden
A few miles later the 4-lane highway reduced to a 2-lane highway and the wide shoulder disappeared.† There was a one foot shoulder for a while but that eventually disappeared as well.† However, the traffic gradually died down and eventually there was only an occasional vehicle so the shoulder didnít matter.
68 took me from the north end of
During this time my cyclocomputer continued its erratic working and I guessed the transmitter battery of this wireless unit was just weak enough to be marginal.† I planned to replace the battery at the end of the day.
I planned my route from
The bad thing about the route today was the lack of
services.† There were no services along
Hwy 68.† At the junction with US6 there
had been a convenience store, which surely would have been convenient, but it
was out of business.† When I reached
A couple miles after leaving
When I reached Nephi about 3:30 pm, I stopped at the first food mart and got my favorite drink, a large fountain drink of Lemon-Lime Gatorade.† Then I rode through town to check out the services.† Originally, I expected this to be a pretty easy day and considered riding east a couple of miles where there was a campground.† In the end I decided not to push my luck since after Labor Day you can never be sure what is open.† I found the Safari Motel and it was a reasonable deal for $45.
While I was checking into my room I found an older gentleman
gazing at my loaded bicycle.† He was kind
of an interesting character and said he had spent 3 years in
After cleaning up I walked a ways up the street to a burrito takeout place where I had a large burrito but ate in their small dine in area.† It was pretty good and filling.
When I returned to my motel I replaced my transmitter battery and then connected with the motelís WiFi.† My room was large with two beds and it had a nice table for my laptop.† However, there wasnít an appropriate chair to go along with the table.† There was a sofa seat but it was too low for the table.† Eventually, I spied the folding luggage holder with straps to hold the luggage and that turned out to be a reasonable ďchairĒ.
I spent most of the remaining time planning tomorrowís trip where I would be heading into the mountains.
Today turned out to be somewhat more difficult than I expected.† I thought it was going to be about a 45 mile day but it turned out to be a 60 mile day.† Not particularly hard riding but somewhat challenging because of the lack of services.
The WiFi for this motel was bad.† Last night it stopped working.† This morning the network didnít even show up in the list of available networks.† However, I found another network that I managed to get on and check a few things.† Then I packed up and rode down the road for breakfast.† I had a ham scramble with pancakes and it was good but a little pricey at $11.
I left town about 8 am and picked up 132 heading east into
As I left town there were some good views of Mt Nebo on my left.† When I stopped to take a photo my camera beeped at me and I was surprised to find it said I was out of space on my memory card.† When I checked my memory card I saw that I had mistakenly inserted a 256MB card when I intended to insert a 2GB card.† Worse, I was pretty sure I had copied some route information on the 256MB card which I had been looking for everywhere.† But I had reformatted the card when I inserted it into the camera so that data was gone for good.
The climb wasnít too hard as I climbed at 5-6 mph most of the time with some good views.† This was a major road since there werenít many roads that passed through the mountains.† So there was a fair amount of traffic with some large truck traffic.† Most of the time the shoulder was adequate and there was only a couple of times where I had to be careful with simultaneous large trucks approaching.† The climb maxed out at 6340 feet and 1200 feet of climbing.† There was one campground along the route that I could have reached yesterday.
After the summit it was a fairly easy descent into a
valley.† I stopped in
It was only about another 6 miles to
I stopped at a museum that also served as a visitor center.† I was told there was a campground on the upcoming climb but it was almost all the way up.† Ideally, there would have been a campground about half way up and that would have split the climb over 2 days.† I asked about whether there might be a town park that I could camp overnight and I got referred to City Hall.† When I got to City Hall I caught a guy just leaving and he didnít know of any camping in the area.† He said they hadnít allow camping in the town park yet and I seized on the yet and said ďYet?Ē but he didnít bite.
So I bit the bullet and stopped at the motel.† From the outside I expected it to be a similar price range as yesterday but it turned out to be $65 - $20 more.† However, the room was somewhat nicer with a real desk and chair but I would have still taken the $45 room.† One thing both rooms had in common was WiFi difficulties.† As I was checking in another group stopped by the office to say the WiFi wasnít working.
After I cleaned up I walked to the north end of town to a food mart which had just recently opened a little cafe and I had a burger meal which was pretty decent.† When I got back to my room the WiFi still wasnít working so I stopped by the office.† The office woman said she would reboot the modem and that did the trick.
Because batteries are so important on my tours for cyclocomputers, GPS, lights, and camera I carry a small portable voltmeter.† Using it I measured the voltage of the battery in the transmitter I found it right at 3V, the nominal voltage.† However, my experience is that new batteries usually measure around the 3.2-3.3 range so I replaced it with one of the new batteries.† Weíll have to see if that works.
A fairly easy day but shorter than I wanted with a looming big climb tomorrow right out of the chute.
There was a cafe conveniently located across the street from my motel but when I got there I found out it was closed for the day for renovation.† So I packed up and rode down the street to the food mart where I had a hamburger yesterday.† I had their Sunrise Breakfast with 2 pancakes for $7.† This was the best breakfast value of the trip so far.† This place also turned out to be the meeting place for the old guys who showed up at 7am when this cafe opened.
I left just before 8 am and immediately started climbing on 31.† First I was doing 5mph, then 4 mph, and then 3 mph and the 3mph lasted the rest of the way to the 7 mile mark on this unrelenting climb.† Fortunately, it was cool with cloud cover.† I was glad I didnít do this yesterday afternoon under the hot sun.† I took frequent short rest stops.† Yesterday I asked at the visitor center about riding part of the way and pulling over and camping in the National Forest and the lady said she didnít think that would work.† Today I understood why.† The route was cut into the side of a hill and there was just no place to throw up a tent.
Finally after 7 miles the climbing relented a little and I
pulled off for my second breakfast.† From
this point on the route varied in steepness until the last mile or so which was
again very steep.† The last 5 miles were
The descent was not as steep as the ascent although there were a couple places where I hit 40 mph.† Most of the descent was in the 15-25 mph range where I occasionally pedaled to speed things along.† The descent was much more scenic and it followed a stream all the way down.
The good weather continued on the way down as cloud cover kept the sun at bay and the temperature was very pleasant.† Only the last few miles did the sun put in an appearance and make it known how warm it could have been.
During these last few miles that were mostly flat I passed
by a coal power station and about the same time I noticed my cyclocomputer
acting up again. †Only this time the
computer showed no data for a half mile or so.†
I thought the transmitter or something had finally died.† But then just on the out skirts of
I stopped in
There was a state park just outside town but this wasnít a
good stopping point because there was no place to stop between
I opted to ride on because I was sure I could make
Hwy 10 started out as a 4-lane road with lots of traffic and I had to ride it for 16 miles.† It had a crappy shoulder with rumble strips that couldnít make up their mind whether they wanted to be in the middle of the shoulder or tucked up against the white line.† After about 5 miles the 4-lanes reduce to 2-lanes and the shoulder turned into a very good shoulder, so wide that the rumble strip didnít matter.
I donít often need/use my GPS since routing is usually
obvious with very few if any alternative routes.† In this case I had to pick up
I had thought I might be able to camp in town at an RV Park
but when I checked the place out it looked ugly.† It didnít look like there was anything like a
tent site and I wasnít encouraged to even bother asking.† However, there was an inexpensive motel in
town for $40 that worked out just fine.† The
proprietor was from the south side of
I ate at the Outlaw Cafe and had fish and chips which were okay but very filling.† I also found out they opened at 6 am for breakfast.† I just hoped they wouldnít be renovating tomorrow...
I got up early and rode the short distance to the Outlaw Cafe for breakfast at 6:30 am.† I had a good breakfast - bacon, eggs, potatoes, and pancakes.† When I left it was not quite 7:30 am.† As it turned out, it was good that I got off to an early start.† Not too far out of town it started raining a bit.† I stopped because I had forgotten to stuff my Dri-Down sleeping bag inside my water tight dry bag.† I was going to pull the bag out of the stuff sack when I realized I could just shove the stuff sack and bag into the water tight bag.† This was actually a better way to pack the sleeping bag, rather than my previous way of stuffing the sleeping bag into the dry bag and then into the compression bag.
For much of the rest of the morning the rain clouds followed
me south and threatened to catch me but I kept just out of reach although I got
a few sprinkles at one point.† One reason
I was able to keep out of range was because the road to
US191 was a major road and there was a lot of traffic including large trucks but there was a good shoulder so the traffic wasnít a problem.† Many vehicles, large trucks in particular, pulled over partially into the oncoming lane when they could even though I had a wide shoulder.
The scenery was very nice particularly with a line of mountains to the east.† This was desert country with typical desert scrub.† The road could usually be seen straight ahead for miles to the south along with all of the scenery.† I also got a little wildlife viewing as well.† Shortly after I left town I saw 4 pronghorns who undoubtedly saw me before I saw them and I noticed them as they were scrambling away.† Later, I saw 2 little brown spots along the shoulder and as I got close I discovered they were prairie dogs.† I almost reached one before they bounded away to their homes under the ground.
About 10:30 I noticed I was over half way.† My cyclocomputer had started acting up right from the beginning, worse than ever.† It mostly didnít show any activity but occasionally would show speed for a short time but wouldnít update the distance.† I finally concluded the problem must be the main unit, not the transmitter.† If the transmitter were the problem the display wouldnít have even shown any speed.† I also noticed yesterday on the big climb of 3600' that the unit only claimed 2600Ď, a big discrepancy.† The climbing is a function of the main unit using air pressure and has nothing to do with the transmitter.† Despite the computer problems it was easy to keep track of progress based on the mileage markers along the road.
All along I had just been on the front edge of cloud cover which made riding really nice.† Then a little after half ways I pushed beyond the cloud cover and it became much warmer.† I also noticed that the rain clouds behind appeared to lose their seriousness.
When I reached I70 I had to ride a mile east before taking
the first exit to
I went into the service station for a drink and as I was leaving I saw the French tourists riding towards the east but I never saw where they were going.† When I headed east myself I couldnít see them down the road so I guessed they turned into the parking lot behind the service station to see if any of the truckers would give them a ride.
I continued east into town.† There were a lot of motels and a couple that were closed even though they looked to be in good shape.† I assume the economic downturn was not kind to some of the motel operators and a couple of fast food operators.
I took the turn to the
Then I rode back to the west end of town and stopped at a Subway.† I got a foot long and saved half for later.† On my way back I stopped at a grocery store and got some cereal so I could have a second breakfast.† About this time the cloud cover moved in and it was very pleasant but there was a question whether it was going to rain or not.
All in all, about as easy a day for a 60-mile ride as I ever
had.† For a while everything was lined up
- cloud cover, gradual downhill, some tailwind, and motivation in the form of keeping
ahead of the rain.† After the cloud cover
dissipated it was much warmer but it was hard to complain as I arrived at my
destination at 12:30 pm.† It was early
enough that I even toyed with the idea of continuing on to
I packed up and left by 7 am and rode out to the main road and stopped at a restaurant for breakfast - bacon and eggs and 2 large pancakes.† I left before 8 am.
As the main road neared the I70 intersection I took the frontage road called Old 6 & 50.† It was a decrepit road but it avoided the interstate for 12 miles.† When the road wasnít cracked the top level asphalt was worn away and it was like riding on rough chip seal and at times it was worn down to gravel.† Still it was quiet and only 2 motorcycles passed me along the way.
The route to
By this time it was getting pretty warm so I loaded up on
liquids and started south on US191.†
There was a fair amount of traffic since this was a major north-south
road but there was a fairly good shoulder with about 2 feet to the right of
rumble strips.† The road to
When I left I discovered there was a bike path the rest of
the way to
In town I stopped at the
After setting up my tent I went sandal hunting.† The next bike shop didnít have anything so I
stopped at GearHeads just next door.†
They were an outdoor supply store and carried Keen,
With that out of the way I walked to the Moab Brewery after cleaning up, based on a recommendation from my friend Dave.† I had a good micro-brew and Cajun chicken sandwich which was very filling.
Back at the ranch, I set about replacing my cyclocomputer transmitter.† My computer worked fine this morning until I entered the interstate and then I had the same problem as yesterday.† As I was about to install the new transmitter I noticed that the battery cap on the old transmitter looked skewed.† That could have been the problem but I went ahead and installed the new one anyway.† I was getting tired of this annoyance and wanted to put it behind me.
Then I settled in for the night and got ready for my ride
As I was packing up for my day trip a deer came crashing through the grass just beyond my tent.† He apparently stumbled into the campground by accident and then hightailed it out of there.† I stopped at the first breakfast place I saw, the Pancake Haus, and had their banana walnut pancakes which were very good.† As I was leaving the restaurant there were a few rain drops and I realized I hadnít packed any rain gear.† I was loath to head back to the campsite so I took a chance on the rain.† It looked like it was clearing up but the clouds came and went all morning.
Familiar with the area now I picked up the bike path out of
town and used it all the way to Hwy 279, the
This was a great ride, flat, easy riding with great red rock scenery.† Initially there were towering vertical walls of red rock and some were used for rock climbing.† There were 3 designated campgrounds along the way.† The first two were very nice, along the road but with some trees for covering.† The last campground was out in the open and not very appealing.† All had the limitation of no water.
When I reached the turnaround point the sun was shining and it was warm but a few minute later it was cloudy again.† I even got a few sprinkles.
After a round trip of 44 miles I was back in town at 11:30 am.† Just as I was entering town 4 deer just casually strolled across the road like they owned the place.† Several tent sites were now vacant as people left for the weekend.† I rode back to town and stopped at a bakery for WiFi and a root beer float and got caught up with email and news.
Then I did some browsing in the shops downtown.† I found another pair of Teva sandals that had more support than the ones I bought yesterday.† I wasnít that thrilled with my current Teva sandals because they were rubbing my feet in a way that worried me.† So I bit the bullet and bought another pair of Teva sandals for $80 that were both more comfortable and had stiffer soles.† I regretted that I hadnít shopped around more yesterday and settled too quickly on the sandals I bought yesterday.
The sales person was a young woman and I asked her to donate
the pair I had bought yesterday.† This
woman was from Wilmette (
Back at the campground the tent site next to me that was
vacant earlier was taken by a young couple.†
Later, the guy approached me and asked about my touring bike.† He has toured extensively in
Later I sat down with them with my
I had a long day ahead so I packed up early and left at 7 am and ate at the Pancake Haus again, having their pancake sandwich which was good.† Today I noticed the Moab Diner across the street was open.† Yesterday, a Sunday, they were closed so maybe it is run by a Mormon family.† The Pancake Haus this morning was fuller than yesterday morning.† They even had a waiting line for a bit, which was surprising for a Monday morning.
I was gone by 8 am.†
It was 3 miles to the
It was a very scenic ride along the
My big worry was staying hydrated since there werenít any services along the way.† I carried an extra 2 liters of water in addition to my 3 large and 1 regular water bottles.† I tried to sip fairly constantly.
After 45 miles, almost half way, it was close to 1 pm and I headed right when Hwy 128 went left.† This paralleled I70 for a few miles and then finally I had to get on the interstate for 12 miles.† Riding was actually pretty good since there wasnít all that much traffic for an interstate.
After 12 miles I exited the interstate to pick up Old Hwy 6
& 50 the rest of the way.† At first
for about 5 miles this road was somewhat decrepit although not as bad as the
frontage road leaving
For the latter part of the day I could see rain in the background and I wondered if it would catch up with me.† Then as I was getting closer to Fruita I could see rain up ahead and wondered if I would be riding right into it.† As I reached Mack there was some wet pavement and when I left Mack the pavement was mostly wet.† Then a little later it was all wet with some standing water.† So I must have just missed the rain.
The last 10 miles had a fair amount of traffic with no shoulder so it wasnít the best riding and it was during what would count as the rush hour.† A little later there was a little shoulder and riding improved.
When I reached Fruita I needed food after almost a century ride.† After my second breakfast I only had a couple of granola bars and some crackers with peanut butter.† I stopped at a Taco Bell and got 3 tacos which disappeared quickly.
There was a state park just on the edge of town, the Colorado State Park Fruita Section, so I went there and got a tent site for $16.† Then I almost regretted doing that as I was immediately attacked by mosquitoes.† The park attendant gave me a tent site with an overhang since rain was possible.† I threw my tent up as quickly as possible and tossed everything in the tent.† Then I walked to the shower facility and paid $1 for a shower.† Feeling better I hustled back to my tent and dove in as fast as possible.† I spent the next 10 minutes exterminating the few mosquitoes that managed to sneak into the tent.
By then it was 7 pm and just enough time to write my notes after a long day.† I was fortunate to get an almost perfect day for riding.† The sun peeked out a couple of times in the afternoon but not for long.† I caught a few sprinkles but nothing to require any rain gear.† Water would have been an issue without the cloud cover.
Copyright Denis Kertz, 2014. All rights reserved.