At first the canyon was more rugged, with rocky walls.
Eventually, when we got closer to Otter Creek Reservoir, it leveled out
a fair amount. There were a number of places we had to gear down
all the way, but those places weren't that common, and didn't last that
long. In the flatter places nearer to the reservoir, there were
hills to gear-down for, followed by fairly flat areas. We cycled
over one of these, and the RV-park at Otter Creek Reservoir came into
I knew from research on the internet that there was a cafe there, so we
cycled into the RV park. This, of course, was one of those short
hills that we had to gear all the way down for, but the steak dinner I
had there was well worth the effort. Besides, we needed to refill
our water containers.
The cafe at Otter Creek Reservoir (the white building to the left of
Refreshed, we continued our journey, now turning north toward
Koosharem, 26 miles away.
We were immediately surprised by a really steep, long hill, heading
north, on the west side of the reservoir. We geared down and got
over it, enjoying a nice downhill glide on the other side, only to
re-climb that same elevation and more in the next hill.
This cycle repeated itself over and over again, while still generally
climbing. To make it more difficult, we had a significant
headwind. Malcolm commented that this was the sort of terrain we
ought to be putting a lot of miles behind us, but the headwind
prevented us from making good time.
Up-and-down, generally climbing, west of Otter Creek Reservoir
Soon we had passed the small town of Angle, at the north end of the
reservoir. This is empty, desolate high-desert scenery, with
mountains on either side, but sagebrush in the valley. The valley
seemed to go on forever, an emptiness devoid of any towns.
A narrow section of the valley (small stream below), heading uphill
& north to Koosharem
This road (highway 62) is little-used, so the traffic was no
problem. As you can see, the shoulders are narrow, but with the
light traffic it didn't matter.
With all the ups-and-downs of the road, the total climb was 3,148 feet
(where I was expecting only 950 feet). I had been ignoring the
drop and climb numbers on the profile I printed from the topo-map
software tool because I though it was unaware of road-cuts.
Ignoring that key data was the main cause of my planning a trip beyond
The headwind was a pain, making it worse, but the wind direction is
'the luck of the draw', and you just have to put up with what you
There were more and more hills, and even the last stretch toward
Koosharem kept us climbing, and the climb continued even inside the
town. By the time we reached Koosharem, we were totally
exhausted, and I didn't know at the time we had just completed a 3,148
Entering Koosharem - it's still uphill!
I have never before been to the town of Koosharem, though I grew up in
central Utah. The name of the town is the Native American word
for 'red clover'. I have seen the town many times from high
above, the view being like that out of the window of an airplane, from
the Fish Lake road.
Though I had never been there, I knew from the internet that there was
a motel there, and (given how tired and sore we were) I wanted to stay
there. By the time we had our room though, the restaurant across
the street had closed, and the store a block down the street had also
To help us (and another person staying there) out, the motel owner
called the owner of the store, and he went down and re-opened the store
just for us!
The store (Grass Valley Mercantile), the picture actually taken in the
Inside the store
We ate the food purchased in the store in our room, but we were worried
about the days to come. We were totally exhausted, and this was
only a 950 foot climb. Tomorrow we had a 1,500 foot climb, and
the day after that, we had a 3,000 foot climb. Chances were also
that on the morrow, the wind would be from the more typical southwest
direction, so we would again have a headwind. Why were we so
tired from a 950 foot climb?
The motel was nice, and a chance for a comfortable sleep, and a bath to
relax aching muscles and take off the road-dust. I would not
allow myself to decide to give up on the trip until I had gotten a good
night's sleep, even though we were both discouraged.
In the night, I pondered over why we were so tired, and my mind (in
going over many details), remembered the climb and drop figures in the
profiles we had with us, having printed them out. I thought of
the possibility of doing the climb the next day, but not going down the
other side (but returning) if it was too close to our physical
limits. I went back to sleep, and slept well.
On this day, we had cycled 43.6 miles (including some back-and forth in
Koosharem). The bicycles had been moving for 5 hours and 58
minutes. It had taken us 9 hours and 35 minutes to do it.
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