No Name Tour: Day 31 – A New State

The cook at the market/gas station/florist/laundromat/cafe across the street from my motel in Dove Creek makes a damned fine omelet.

After breakfast I went back to the hotel to get ready to ride. Nearly everything was packed but when I went to leave the room I couldn’t find the room key. After a long search I found it in one of my panniers. It must have tumbled in there from my bed.

My front panniers were each loaded with a 2-liter bladder full of water. I need to test them out before I need them. (One made the trip without incident; the other leaked but I think that’s because I didn’t seal it properly. Only damage done was the loss of a half roll of TP given to me by brother-in-law Greg in a box of useful things for bike tours. I’d been carrying this TP around for over 10,000 miles without ever using it, I was going for a Guinness record of unused TP transport. I’m probably out of the running now.)

Gently rolling terrain has a different meaning when your riding a bike loaded with TP and 40-odd pounds of other necessities. Even the slightest rise in the road calls for downshifting.

I endured the ups and downs and was rewarded after 8 miles with a new state! Goodbye, Colorado. You kicked my ass nine ways to Sunday but I escaped.

Barely.

The next 23 miles saw Utah turn from farmland to rocky, sagebrushy, near desert. I rode into Montecello much more tired than usual after such a short morning.

I stopped for lunch at a Montecello institution they had been doing business for 30 years. I am happy to report they make a good sub sammich and were kind enough to fill my water bottle with ice and water.

As I left the shop a bike tourist went by headed east. I yelled and he turned around. Bob is from Sacramento and has endured all kinds of bike touring hell on this trip. He’s been rescued twice: once after he got caught in a hailstorm and once when he ran out of water. Bob seemed to be in a good mood. I gave him the scoop on the miles ahead. He returned the favor. He’s dreading the Colorado mountains but he only has 2 more to go before he surrenders to sanity and grabs a train home from Grand Junction.

Bob from Sacramento

He said it was mostly downhill to a Blanding, my destination. Poor Bob’s brain is going because a few miles later I was bringing up a big hill in my granny gear.

After that, it wasn’t bad. I saw some deer (unlike Colorado they were not dead), got waved at by three women flying down a hill I was climbing, got rained on (it felt wonderful), and went down a whopper of a hill over 40 mph. There was a slight uphill before Blanding, my destination, but I was feeling my oats by then and just powered up.

Just as I pulled into Blanding, I spotted a general store where I bought a massive bottle of cold Powerade. Gone in 60 seconds.

I had reserved a room in a motel but when I went to check in I saw that they do not have WiFi in the rooms. Off I rode to a Super 8 on the edge of town. For the second night in a row, I was not allowed to bring The Mule into my room. This is the first time in four tours that The Mule has been treated so poorly.

As I was rolling it around I found that the back wheel was out of true. I flipped The Mule over to perform inept surgery with my multi tool, I spun the wheel and the wheel was true. A bicycling medical miracle. Had I been forced to operate, The Mule may not have survived.

Tomorrow is complicated. My planned destination is Natural Bridges National Monument. It has 13 tent sites given out on a first come, first served basis. And no water except at the visitors center. I probably won’t hike to see the bridges as they are quite a hike. The park has appeal for another reason: it’s so isolated it gets awesome stars.

If I get turned away it will be another 40 miles to a campground near Lake Powell. The first 40 miles features a 1,000 foot climb to a summit. The second 40 features a looong downhill with 3,500 feet of elevation loss.

Miles today: 47

Tour miles: 1,811

Top speed: 41.1 mph