Length of the State of Utah Bicycle Trip

Saturday, September 16th 2006


I got up early and drove our pickup truck to our daughter Emily’s place in Logan, left it parked there for the return trip, then drove down to Salt Lake City with Emily in her van.  The rear seat had been removed earlier to make room for the bicycles.  We paid her what it would have cost to take the bus to St. George with our bicycles.


On arriving in Salt Lake, we loaded the bicycles (they just barely fit when fully loaded), then headed for St. George.  We took I-15 all the way to exit 4, went east to River Road, and south to the Arizona border.  We unloaded the bicycles, and started our trip at 5:45 PM. 


The intrepid adventurers, ready to begin the trek


Goodbye to Emily, transport, and civilization


We cycled along River Road northward toward Washington.  On arriving there, we saw an expensive motel, and passed it by. 


The time indicated we might not have enough daylight to reach Hurricane, so we started looking for a motel, going up and down some hills in the process.  By the time we realized there weren’t going to be any more motels, we didn’t want to go back to the expensive one (and have to re-climb the hills in the morning).  We decided to press on to Hurricane, where I knew there were less expensive motels a few miles before town.  We thought (based on how long it takes me to do that distance on my exercise rides, it would be getting dark, but not yet too dark. 


Big mistake!  I didn’t realize there were at least three big, walk-up hills between where we were, and the motels we were heading for.  Walking up the hills took a lot more time. 


It was almost dark when we finally made it to highway 9, where Malcolm inquired on how far away the motels were, then we headed east. 


Before we made it to the motels, it was totally dark.  There were aggressive rumble-strips between us on the road shoulder and the traffic, but it wasn’t the degree of safety we would have chosen.  I could cycle OK from the lights of the cars coming behind us, but when there were no cars, I got disoriented in the dark and had to get off and walk to avoid tipping over, just barely being able to see the white line. 


Finally, we made it to the motels (there were two of them) at 9:00 PM.  Unfortunately, both of them were full, having no vacancy.  I had figured where it was the off-season, I wouldn’t have to worry about that, but it turned out there was a big rodeo in the area, and all of the motels (including the ones two miles farther on, in town) were full. 


That left us with our only option – to camp out (which we had promised Nanda we would avoid having to do).  At this point, Nanda, on having seen how I had to walk up the hills, decided our chances of completing the trip were less than 20%.  Also, considering the mistakes we had made so far, she wanted out of the trip. 


We called my daughter on the cell phone (she was in Fillmore, eating dinner at a restaurant), and after consulting with her husband, graciously agreed to come get Nanda & her bicycle.  We sat in the lobby of the Days Inn awaiting her. 


On arriving in the area, Emily got lost on the local roads, and was unable to find us.  But she had dogged determination, and we were finally able to talk her in (on her cell phone) to where she found us. 


It was nearly midnight, so we decided it would be better to find a motel for the night, and drive to Salt Lake in the morning.  We ended up staying at the motel in Washington we had passed (and it was expensive). 


On this day, we travelled 22.5 miles, with an average speed of 7.5 MPH.  The bicycles were moving for 3 hours.  We spent 3 hours, 15 minutes doing it, including rest stops. 


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