No Name Tour: Day 35 – Over the Boulder

Last night the skies disappointed again. The light of the near full moon and the buildings down the hill from my motel made it feel almost like I was at a much higher latitude.

I grabbed a cup of motel coffee (mistake), a mini danish (not bad) and some snacks got the road then I headed down hill to Torrey, UT.

I spotted a coffee shop that served breakfast. Not exactly second breakfast. Certainly not elevenses. But it hit the spot.

On the road the word for today was up. I had 3,000 feet of climbing to do, topping out at 9,600 feet. My bike was laden with about six liters of water so I had no delusions of pulling this off without walking.

The scenery continued to be laughably awesome. I rode into the Dixie National Forest. Pines and aspens and assorted other trees began filling the landscape. As I climbed the creeks which had been muddy were running clear, no longer picking up red sandstone dust.

I struggled to find energy. About 30 minutes into the ride breakfast kicked in. (It’s actually noticeable when my body starts processing food.) I had a pleasant tailwind but I was working much too hard. After a few miles I got off the bike and walked in the hope of recharging my legs.

As I plodded along I spotted a coyote crossing the road ahead. I could hear them barking in the distance, too.

A half hour later I was back to pedaling. I had a nice tempo going and could enjoy the scenery. I passed some Forest Service campgrounds that we’re half decent. If you can’t find an official campground, you can camp anywhere you want on federal land as long as it’s not a National Park. So there are no worries about a place to lay my head down.

I pedaled most of the last eight miles but the last bit was too much and walked to the summit sign.

Then came the fast ride down. Nope. I descended a few hundred feet only to be confronted with a hill.


This is like a trick calculus problem with a local optimum. Second order conditions don’t help. Nerd.

Once over the bump I had a scary, bumpy 30+ mph riot of a ride all the way back down to Boulder town. Along the way I spotted three deer crossing the road. (Please let there not be more. I’m going over 30!) Near the end of the plunge I ride past yet another farm with llamas. A couple of them bolted across the field parallel to me. Llama stampede!!

Actually they appeared to be oblivious to The Mule and me. It was some sort of domestic dispute.

I stopped at the Anasazi Museum and checked out the ruins of a community that was abandoned in the 12th century. Then I bought a burrito from Marigold’s, a food bus parked outside. I asked then to cut the burrito in two because I couldn’t possibly finish it all in one go.

Ten minutes later both halves were vanquished. Mountains make me hungry.

For most of the ride the weather was perfect: cool, dry, breezy. Near Boulder town the wind changed direction and increased in strength. When I climbed Monarch Pass a week ago I foolishly continued on, 32 miles into a headwind. The next day I quit early. So I didn’t want to repeat that mistake.

I checked out a motel across the street. It was okay but the clerk could tell I wasn’t enthusiastic. She advised me to ride into town to see what else was available. I couldn’t help myself. I checked into a resort motel with a gourmet restaurant, hot tub, robes in the room, etc.

More pix and a babbling brook on Instagram.

Why not, right?

Miles today: 39.5

Tour miles: 2,025

Top speed: 39.5

Tomorrow looks like a ride through Escalante. And a descent across the hogback: 3 miles with narrow lanes, no shoulders, no guardrails, and big drops to either side of the road. Weee!

No Name Tour: Day 34 – Capitol Reef National Park

I lucked out by picking an expensive cabin last night. It was next door to a restaurant. I had pasta with grilled chicken, corn, cornbread, a salad, and two Polygamy Porters. The food was excellent. My body was so happy with me.

This morning I returned to the place for breakfast. A huge omelet, mass quantities of hash browns, toast, and coffee. Yummie.

Locked and loaded I lit out at 8:30 headed west. More rocks. A few abandoned ancient buildings made of the red sandstone that seems to be everywhere.

After 20 miles the road entered Capitol Reef National Park. It was boffo but not entirely distinguishable from what I had been riding through since Blanding.

Perhaps because it’s a National Park, traffic picked up from next to nothing in Hanksville to rental RVs in pace lines.

(I have a heightened level of awareness because the RV renters don’t have any experience driving a tank and they, and other drivers, are distracted by the scenery. Thank god for rumble strips in the middle of the road and bicycle mirrors.)

I cane across this sign and had to stop. Did the sign person think the amazing views of the previous 50 miles were not up to par? Exactly how big a dolt do you need to be to figure this out for yourself?

Midway through the park, I came to the visitors center which was a beehive of activity. Signs said “Campground Full”. Uh oh.

I topped off a water bottle, and continued westward. Uphill. Despite a tailwind, the climb was a bit of a shock to the legs and lungs.

More rocks. Some petroglyphs. More RVs.

Do you see the petroglyphs of people?

Not a bad day for a ride

Without the sign, you’d never guess you were in a National Park. The whole area is National Park-ish or, Park-y. Of course, the sign affords the opportunity for a park sign selfie.

I spent the next ten minutes taking pictures of people in front of the sign (and feeding mosquitoes).

Five miles beyond the visitors’ center I was out of the park and in the park-ish part. Up and down and around buttes. I finally saw two resort motels. One had horses and llamas. The other had a pizza joint. Since I can’t eat a llama or a horse, I voted for the pizza joint.

Thankfully they had a vacancy.

Talking with some other motel guests, I learned the porch might provide some good sky watching tonight here outside Torrey, Utah.

Tomorrow is the 8,900 foot mountain pass. (I’m at 6,600 feet.) Then a descent to toward Escalante.

More pictures can be found on Instagram under @rootchopper.

Miles today: 45

Tour miles: 1,986.5

Top speed: 34.2