Length of the State of Utah Bicycle Trip

Friday, September 22nd 2006


We got up and ate at Subway, a few blocks north of the motel.


Gunnison motel


However, it was a cold, dreary day, threatening to rain.  The weather on the TV said that this day (Friday) would be rainy all over the state, but it was supposed to clear up late in the afternoon.  Personally, I was in favor of staying in Gunnison another day, waiting out the rain.  But it wasn’t actually raining – it was just cloudy and threatening to rain. 


We stayed around Gunnison about an hour, trying to make up our minds.  Finally, we decided that since it wasn’t actually raining, we would throw caution to the wind and head for Nephi.  We knew we had to make it that far, because there would be no motels until then.  This is one of the empty stretches there where are no towns.   We had to go 30 miles beyond Gunnison before we would hit any town (Levan) that even had a convenience store. 


Quoting Star Trek, I said: “May fortune favor the foolish,” and we started pedaling into the cold, moderate head-wind at 11:00 AM. 


For a long ways, it seemed that our bet was working out.  There were occasional squall lines, and their rain was so light that we didn’t have to stop.  When we started the significant climb at the mid-point of Yuba reservior, I looked ahead, and it seemed there were no more squall-lines. 


It was a cold, and dreary day, across from Yuba Reservoir


A little later I felt a drizzle of rain, and ahead was just a continuous squall-line of rain.  Apparently it formed in-place.  We were in the middle of nowhere, and there was nothing to do but get out the plastic sheeting to make a shelter.  We had lost our bet with the weather. 


We got off the road in the weeds and moist, sandy, soil, sitting on our ground-cloth plastic sheets, with the big plastic sheet over us and the bicycles. 


Waiting out a storm under plastic sheeting, looking south


I noticed the moist, sandy soil around us was quickly turning to mud, and we would have to wade through it – even if we stayed dry ourselves.  We were sitting on the edge of the large sheet of plastic over us, letting the wind hold it stretched over us and the bicycles. 


After nearly an hour, the wind suddenly shifted to more from the west, which upset the way we were braced against the plastic with respect to the wind, and parts of the bicycles might now get wet.  But Malcolm thought the wind-shift could be a good thing with respect to how much longer the rain would last. 


The rain did slow down a lot (though it didn’t stop), and we decided to forge on north in the drizzle, thinking it might be forming in-place over the hill we were on.  We pedaled slowly so that we wouldn’t spray water all over the bicycles and equipment, where we have no fenders. 


As we went farther north, and off the hill, our hopes seemed well founded, as the sky became more and more clear.  But the drizzle refused to stop.  I was amazed that all around us for two miles in every direction, there was blue sky, with thin, wispy clouds, yet it kept on drizzling rain.  “Where is it coming from?” I said loudly, in frustration, shaking my fist at the clear sky above. 


As the weather report had predicted, by 4:30 PM the rain had pretty well ended, though we still experienced a very light drizzle – perhaps picked up by passing vehicles and suspended in the wind. 


We went up and down (with more up than down), crossing one alluvial fan after another.  Finally, at the summit of one of those long climbs, we pedaled into Levan at 4:45 PM, greeting civilization at long last!  We ate in a convenience store there.  It was a welcome, warm respite from the cold.  To me, this was the most difficult day. 


We finally made it to Levan


When we resumed our way toward Nephi, it was even colder, and there were a few scattered snow showers drifting though the valley. 


There were more alluvial fans to climb on the way to Nephi – the last one being at the south end of Nephi.  From Nephi, water flows northward into Utah Lake, and from there into the Great Salt Lake, so we would finally be going downhill on the morrow. 


We made it to Nephi


We got to the Safari Motel in Nephi at 6:45 PM.  As a kid growing up in central Utah, I remembered seeing this particular motel when we drove through Nephi on the way to Salt Lake City.  I finally had the opportunity to stay there. 


We ate at a good Mexican restaurant across the street from it. 


On this day, we travelled 41.8 miles, with an average speed of 8.5 MPH.  The bicycles were moving for four hours and 54 minutes.  It took us seven hours and 45 minutes to do it. 


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