Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled programing.
I rolled out of bed, had a shower and started taking stuff down to the bike. I really didn’t want to ride. I’d let myself get lazy; I really wanted to stay in bed. I knew I’d get over that though because by noon the previous day I was questioning why I was just sitting around.
The morning was a tad chilly; lower 50’s when I set out. The track headed east out of town on the road for about 10 miles. I’d decided after the numerous junk tracks I’d encountered that I’d take the scenic options when they were available.
The mornings are alway a bit surreal. It seems too early to be riding, the miles seem to tick away more quickly and the views always look more scenic too for some reason.
Soon after turning off the main road I hit the first proper water crossing of the trip.
Easy, nothing to it.
The trail followed I-70 for awhile. I’m not sure why I am so fascinated with snapping pictures of it; but I was finally able to get some better pictures.
It didn’t take long before I was abandoning my plan to take the scenic routes and I was heading up the normal section again. The trail wound up into the mountains where fall had already started to arrive.
The scenic route and the main route met up again for the final 41 miles into Emery, Utah.
It ran around the side of the mountain and noticed that I was starting to head uphill. I decided I’d check the altitude on my GPS when it felt like I’d hit the high point and sure enough I was over 10,000 feet. This was great news. I wasn’t sure how the bike would run at altitude and I had three high passes coming up in a few days; all over 10,000 feet.
After that section the trail got, let’s call it…complicated. The area the trail was going through was a trail system put together by the State of Utah; so the trails are marked according to difficulty. Typically, the trails are marked by color and number. Green is the easiest, blue is more difficult and black is most difficult. The higher the number the trail the more difficult it is. For example, main access trails entering and exiting a system are marked Green 15 or something along those lines.
Anyway, I was at the top of the mountain and the tracks lead me on the this:
So I had to get back down off this mountain on trails that looked like this:
About 8 miles and an hour later I was back on what appeared to be the same trail I was on after the summit. It was a miserable ride back down, far steeper than the pictures appear. These trails would be amazing to ride on my KTM but on a fully load adventure bike this was ridiculous. Especially since there was no particular reason for it. I was able to ride them fine; but I cannot imagine what people riding bigger bikes expecting open road would do.
I was finally off the mountain and heading down into Emery, UT when it started to downpour. Rain and hail. I couldn’t stop where I was when it started and had to continue down a rocky section before I could grab my rain gear.
I was already soaked when I hoped off the bike and I wasn’t even sure why I was still getting my rain pants at that point. They were packed in the bottom of the pannier in a compression sack. I’d dug out most of the stuff that was on top of my rain pants and the rain stopped.
Great… I repacked the pannier and leaving the rain pants in there. I didn’t need them now; the sun was out and I was already soaked.
I rode into Emery, grabbed gas and changed my gloves. I was wet and the temperature had dropped from 79 to 52 degrees.
I rode up to the next section of trail and decided I was going back to my original plan. Scenic trails…
On my way there I could see another storm in front of me so I pulled over and got the rain pants out of the pannier and threw on my ridiculous looking orange dish washing rubber gloves over my last dry pair of riding gloves.
This section was only 92 miles. The scenic route was 73 of them. I pulled off at the turn shown on the GPS and into some sort of recreational area. The area ran through a basin and had a sign at the beginning that said the road may be impassable during storms. Well, it was storming. About a mile later I passed the “Danger, Flash Flood Area” sign. Great… I was now about to embark on the dumbest thing I’d ever done; riding through no man’s land. It was dead flat area with almost no trees and was prone to flash floods. All while thunderstorm systems passed through…
I ran up on a water crossing. A flooded road more specifically. I got off the bike and walked out into it a little just to see how strong it was. It wasn’t strong, so I rode through it with no problem.
About 5 miles into the track the rain had stopped and the track was dry; but the storms we surrounding me. It sounds dumb but it was like something out of a movie. Beautiful clear skies in front of me, dark to my left, dark to my right and an absolute apocalypse behind me (red arrow in photo above). I started to push hard. I was trying to keep myself going about 50 mph. The roads were pretty straight but I needed to keep an eye on the GPS to know where the switchbacks were so I could slow down in enough time.
The wind was intense. It was blowing hard from right to left; so hard I found myself having to lean into the wind just to keep myself heading straight. Breaks in the wind would cause me to veer off to the right unexpectedly.
I finally reached the next turn on the GPS track and it wanted me to go down one of the flood ruts. Nope, not happening today. I zoomed my GPS out and found that in about 10 or so miles the track I was on would pop out on U.S. Route 191 which basically went down to Green River.
I followed the road out; went under some train tracks and intersected 191. I was about 15 miles north of where I would have come out if I’d have taken the TAT track into the flood rut. That was ok though, it’s better than risking being in a flood rut when the flood comes.
I rolled into Green River expecting to camp but the forecast was now calling for thunderstorms all night. I didn’t mind sleeping in the rain, but thunderstorms were another story. I decided to just shack up in a Motel 6 for the night.
I got the cheapest room they had; it was smoking room. Which doesn’t usually bother me but this one smelled like a bowling alley.
The storms were rolling in just as I got my bags inside. The storms were off to the east and it was dark; but it was raining where the sun was in the west. Quite odd…
I’d planned on going out and grabbing dinner but the storms had come while I was having a shower in so instead of walking through them to find a place to eat I decided to just find another innovative way to warm up soup:
The water at the Motel 6 was hotter than what you would expect; good for can warming.