Day 2: Monday, June 23rd, 2008

We got up, ate breakfast (purchased & microwaved in the store) and headed down the road.  Our goal for the day was Koosharem.  Given that it was only a 950 foot elevation change, we didn't expect any particular difficulties.  After all, I had easily cycled City Creek Canyon the weekend before, and that has a 1,400 foot climb. 

It was easy cycling to the town of Kingston.  We stopped at what seemed to be the only store, and met an interesting person whom we talked with for awhile. 

At a gas station in Kingston - the owner on the right

On continuing our trip, we soon started climbing up the canyon east of Kingston, heading toward Otter Creek Reservoir.  It was uphill, but no problem - just gear down (and slow down) until the energy output is the same as normal cycling. 

There is a stream coming down the canyon, from Otter Creek Reservoir.  There was a fair amount of water in the stream. 

Heading east in the canyon east of Kingston

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 view. 

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 the car)

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 our capabilities. 

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 get. 

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 foot climb. 

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 closed. 

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 morning

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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