Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Payson to Monroe, Utah

October 20 - 23, 2015

Garmin info with maps

Payson and Utah Trikes has been an important stop for me on this tour. I originally bought my trike at Utah Trikes and on many of my previous tours these guys have been very helpful. They always respond quickly to my emails and have been instrumental in getting parts shipped to me, even in foreign countries. I was really looking forward to meeting the guys that have supported me over the years. Another reason for stopping was to get Larry and Myrtle some upgrades. Myrtle got a new derailleur with a 10-speed cassette, shifter and chain. I also added a new Ventisit pad. Maryann replaced Larry's Marathon Racers with Plus for more robust puncture protection. 

Utah Trikes was an interesting stop. They have a lot of trikes in the showroom and are probably the biggest trike dealer in the country.  The guys are very knowledgeable about all kinds of trikes and component combinations but we didn't think anyone working there actually rides a trike. The conversation about our trikes was limited strictly to what we needed done. The guys are all very nice but no-one asked about our trip and they didn't have any information about routes to take south to Bryce National Park, which is only 200 miles away. No gear, trike or touring geek out session with these guys. I don't think this has ever happened at a recumbent shop before. (I have had this reaction from traditional bike shops when the mechanics think recumbents are strange.)  A few people in town commented how cool the trikes are as if they had never seen a trike before and, surprisingly, we didn't see anyone in Payson riding a trike. When I told people I bought my trike in Payson the response always sounded like the locals had no idea that Utah Trikes exists. Most importantly though, Myrtle and Larry were well taken care of and the guys did a great job fixing our trikes. We were very happy with the service we received and really enjoyed seeing the shop. 

After 2 restful nights and the trikes got their upgrades, we pushed off from Payson. First, we had to stop, once again, at Utah Trikes to tighten up Maryann's side seat mount so her bag didn't sag. Dylan was happy to help. The day was overcast and windy but we had a tailwind so woohoo! As the day progressed the wind got windier and windier.  We had some rollers riding on the Mona Hwy but the ride wasn't too taxing.  The road was in good condition with views of cattle ranches and we had plenty of room.  Our destination was Jones High Country RV park in Nephi which looked really nice online with all the amenities any camper could ask for. But, when we arrived, we were surprised to see the whole park was covered in gravel. The tent sites are $20. No one was in the office so we picked a site next to a grassy island moving a picnic table from another site. The wind was so strong it took both of us to set up each tent. Once we got the tents set up we used our bags to block the wind so we could cook up some lunch. It was like a colorful camp stove fort. The wind was so strong we took refuse in the tents for the afternoon. By dinner time the wind was still really strong so we went out for dinner to Lisa's Diner less than a block away. We stayed there until it was time to go to sleep instead of fighting the wind.

Set up at Jones High Country RV park
In the morning, it was still windy and also raining. I checked the radar, while laying in my sleeping bag, and it looked like a large dark cell was directly over us but sunny everywhere else. I was hoping if I stayed in the tent for another 1/2 hour the cell would pass but it didn't. Maryann had moved all her stuff to the main building where the showers and laundry room are. Even though it was still dark out, I packed up everything I could inside the tent and then moved my empty tent to the building as well. Packing in the rain is miserable.  We finally got all our gear loaded up and then went back to Lisa's for breakfast. On the way there my gears were really acting up jumping around. Turns out a plastic bag was caught in and through the derailleur. Wearing torch lamps, that sure was a mess to fix in the dark and rain. Luckily, Maryann had a pair of pliers and was able to remove the plastic, bit by bit.

Summit after leaving Nephi

Dusting of snow on the mountains
There was light rain falling when we finished breakfast starting a climb right out of town. The overnight storm brought a dusting of snow to the mountain tops which was very pretty. The wind had died down making our ride much more enjoyable. We had a good surface until we got to the next county and then the dreaded rumble strips appeared. They weren't wide but we had to straddle them with our front wheels. This meant staying focused on the road.  A guy flagged us down for pictures and he was interested in our trip. As we entered Moroni, some people directed us to a beautiful park and we saw the photographer again. Phirun was coming out of an opera house that was having a fund raiser for a local grade school. He gave us some white chocolate covered popcorn and pretzels that he had just bought. That was really nice and they were also really delicious. We pulled into the park and made up a wonderful stir fry. I went into the community center building across from the park to wash the dishes and some more people wanted to know what we were doing. It was fun talking to everyone and watching their amazed expressions when they heard about the trip.

Photo from Phirun

Thanks Phirun for the photos

This ride was a longer one for us and after 43 miles we arrived in Manti.  It started to rain lightly just as we arrived at the Temple Hill RV Park in the shadow of a very large and impressive looking Mormon temple. Since our tents were already so wet from this morning's rain we asked if the RV park had any cabins and they did. They had one. The cabin hadn't been cleaned yet and they gave it to us for half price, nice! We weren't sure what we were getting ourselves into but the cabin seemed clean enough to us. It was very big too. There were 2 queen size bunk beds and another single queen with a microwave and refrigerator. We stretched our tent flies over the bunk beds to dry them out.  I'm sure there will come a day when we will have to get into wet tents at the end of the day but we didn't have to do it today.

Dreaded rumble strips
The next morning was beautiful but cold and we made oatmeal outside at a picnic table all bundled up before getting the trikes packed.  After a  few pictures of the large temple and a bit of climbing we had some nice smooth downhills.  Rumble strips continued to be an obstacle all day. Sometimes we straddled between the left and rear wheels, sometimes between the right and rear wheels and sometimes we had to be to the left of the white line. Traffic was surprisingly courteous. 

Every day we have stopped at city parks to make lunch. We are carrying 3 stoves and have cooked up some delicious meals. At Gunnison, we stopped at a beautiful and lush green veteran's park for lunch. A young gal of maybe 5 years old, Sadie, was at the park with her grandmother. She ran over enthusiastically introducing herself and was very excited about the trikes.  She was so cute and I happen to get the exchange with my helmet camera too.

Meet cute Sadie at the Gunnison city park

Mormon Pioneer Trail Sign
We had planned to stay at the Butch Cassidy campground in Salina. It was spitting rain when we arrived. Since it had already rained quite a bit in the morning we weren't too excited to put up our tents in the muddy grass. Every day we have been steadily climbing and are now well over 6,000 feet in elevation. The temps in the morning and night have been getting colder and are down into the 30's. We don't have to camp and asked about a cabin. Since it is hunting season, the campground didn't have any cabins available. So, we went across the street to an Econolodge getting checked in for $75.  We have a few more days of climbing until we get to Bryce National Park and expect the overnight temperatures will get even colder. I have a feeling we may not be doing much camping until we descend into warmer terrain.

Lambies on the hwy
Interestingly, all the towns we have been staying at are pronounced differently than expected - with a long I. DelphI, MantI and SalIna. Even Moroni has a long I. We learned that these names are all taken from the Book of Mormon. This area is close to 100% Mormon and every town has a centrally located temple.  We've even seen some FLDS too - fundamental Mormons. The LDS Mormons don't consider them to be part of the church. These fundamentals are quite obvious. They make their own clothes from heavy, darkly colored fabric and dress in an old fashioned style that doesn't show much skin. It is quite formal looking and, too me, reminiscent of the Amish or pioneers.

We left the Econolodge in very chilly conditions. It was probably in the 30's but warmed up quickly as the sun rose higher.  We were able to get off the busier Hwy 89 and took the smaller Hwy 118 to Richfield. Once the temperature warmed up the day was fantastic. We pulled into Richfield stopping at another beautiful park to make lunch. I really like to cook and, luckily, Maryann enjoys my cooking style. Every day, we pick up some veggies to saute with rice or pasta. Today's lunch was especially inspired mixing banana squash, mushrooms, onions, garlic and spinach with angel hair pasta. It takes some time to stop and cook lunch but the meals have been yummy! So far, we have been eating really well and healthy on the road.

Cooking lunch at a city park
The rest of the ride into Monroe was lovely riding passed horse farms and cattle ranches. We went by a farm where a farmer's wife likes all her animals to be lightly colored. She had a white alpaca from St. Croix, hairless sheep from Africa and 2 beige colored horses.  I stopped to chat and take pictures.

Charlie, the alpaca from St. Croix, having a lay down.
One of the tubs
We had made reservations at Mystic Hot Springs of Monroe. I don't usually make reservations but I called to make sure they were open and decided to book a trailer. From the description, I wasn't sure what to expect. The woman said the trailer had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a full kitchen. $90/night also included use of the hot springs 24 hours of day. We were really looking forward to a good soak and decided to take a rest day booking in for 2 nights. Wow is this place a throwback to the 60's. There are a row of old buses for rent and some of them are quite psychedelic. There is another row of trailers in all sizes. The one we are stayed in is called the Mars Hotel and I think people usually just rent a room. Since it's the off-season, the owner gave us the whole trailer. The Mystic Hot Springs of Monroe really have a bohemian feel and all the furniture in the trailer is from the 60's with velvet gold colored couches. Everything about the trailer was funky. The front steps were uneven and all the windows had hippy style flowered curtains. The walls are decorated with posters from a music festival that happens every year in the spring. Even though it had a very lived in feel, the trailer was also very comfortable and the furniture was in good condition. Our first afternoon, we went to the hot springs which are up a fairly treacherous set of stone steps without a handrail for support. There are about 8 large bathtubs dug into the hillside being fed hot water directly from natural springs and 2 large pools. All the tubs are different temperatures and I went directly to the hottest one. It was fantastic. The tubs have a nice tranquil view of the surrounding mountains which only recently received a dusting of snow.  We watched a beautiful sunset while soaking. It was great!

After a nice relaxing rest day we will continue heading south to Bryce and Zion, hopefully, before the weather turns too cold. Yipes!! We are definitely pushing our luck but, so far, we feel very lucky to be riding in mostly beautiful and warm conditions.

Tour of Mystic Hot Springs and Mars Hotel

Buses for rent at the Mystic Hot Springs
Having a sunset soak
Little bit of snow on the surrounding mountains.
Trikes parked outside the Mars Hotel

Monday, October 19, 2015

Salt Lake City to Payson, Utah

October 12 - 18, 2015

Garmin Info with Maps

I was too nervous to try camping with my broken tent poles and I rode into Salt Lake City a day earlier than planned. After consulting my hotel, I had Big Agnes ship a replacement set. Big Agnes was great about it too. Luckily, they didn't ask how the poles broke and sent out new ones for the cost of shipping. They are located in Colorado so the shipment shouldn't take too long. 

SLC street art.

Bike share SLC.
Before arriving in Salt Lake City, I had made arrangements to stay with Warm Shower hosts in downtown. I spent one night in the hotel and asked if I could store Myrtle and most of my gear I wouldn't need for the next night. This way I wouldn't have to cart so much stuff to my Warm Shower's home. David and Maun live close enough that I walked to their place. They welcomed me warmly with big hugs. David and Maun have done lots of touring and we had a lot to talk about. They live in a high rise building right in downtown SLC. It's a beautiful, modern building and their apartment has a stunning view of the city with surrounding majestic mountains. I put my small overnight bag in the very comfortable guest room. They had tickets to a chamber music concert on the Utah State campus. When they heard I also enjoy classical music, they invited me to come as well. Fun! The Czech based Pavel Haas quartet played works by Prokofiev, Beethoven and Bartok. Wow were they good. This was a fabulous evening and a real treat for me.  I very much enjoyed my stay with this fascinating couple.

David and Maun 
outside SLC city hall

In the morning, after a terrific breakfast, David and Maun showed me how to take the train to the airport. Maryann was flying in from Seattle with her trike, Larry, to start touring with me. She wants to ride all the way to Florida. David and Maun said it was easy to roll the trike right onto the commuter train into downtown SLC. They were right too.

I took the train to meet Maryann. Her flight was uneventful and she had no problem getting her trike, unboxed, loaded on board. Once Maryann collected all her gear from baggage claim,  we rolled the trike right out of the airport. The train departs from just outside Terminal 1.  It was so nice to see areas for bikes on a train. We hit the button to lower the handicap ramp and rolled the trike right on. It was only a 15 minute ride to our stop and then only 2 blocks to the hotel. The whole thing was very easy and I think Maryann was relieved to be settled in the hotel.

Maryann getting her bags and trike from baggage claim

Maryann with her trike, Larry, on the train into downtown SLC.

Larry and Myrtle lounging by the pool.

Young missionary in
Temple Square
Our hotel was also only 2 blocks from Temple Square and the next morning we walked over to check it out. As is typical, 2 young Mormon missionary gals took us on a short tour of the grounds. The tour came with some proselytizing tooThey let us know about an organ concert at noon and we decided to stay and have a listen.  The organ has over 11,000 pipes and the guy playing, Richard Elliott, is the principal organist for the Mormon Tabernacle choir which seemed like a big deal. The concert was about 40 minutes and very enjoyable.  After the concert, I got a call from David and Maun and we met them for lunch. I really wanted Maryann to meet them and we all had a nice time.  Later in the day there was a rehearsal for the Tabernacle Choir and we went to that too. The rehearsal was scheduled for 2 hours and I think we lasted for 90 minutes. 

Organ recital

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Rehearsal

My new tent poles arrived at the hotel and we started talking about pushing off from Salt Lake City on Friday, a day earlier than planned. The only problem was I had made previous arrangements to stay with Warm Shower hosts on Saturday and needed to ask Matt and Luann if they could host us on Friday instead. No problem. They just wouldn't be home until after 6 pm. This gave us all day to putz around and find our way. Checkout from the hotel is at 11 and I think we started riding at 10:45. Maun had given us directions to the Jordan River Trail and warned us that the trial isn't well marked. Boy, she wasn't kidding either. I'm not sure we could have found our way without the GPS. Even still, we had to back track a couple of times. There are other paved trails and hiking paths that come off of the Jordan River trail and sometimes it wasn't obvious which way we should be going. The path is lovely though and, mostly, follows the Jordan River. We stopped at numerous beautiful parks along the way. The weather was sensational with bright sunshine and no wind.  We took the trail all the way to Sandy and than stopped at an REI. I wanted to see about getting a different pair of off-trike shoes but all the summer shoes were gone. I also packed a jersey that really is too old and has seen better days. The thing is very faded and has a small hole. I wanted to get a replacement but they didn't have one that I liked. Maybe for the first time ever, I walked out of an REI without buying anything. We met lots of people interested in our trip and then sat outside on the grass to eat lunch.

Pushing off from our hotel in SLC.
Maryann says 'Where are we!?"

From REI, we took streets up to Matt and Luann's house. The ride until now had been mostly flat and we slogged away the last few miles. Matt had the garage door open which made it obvious which house was theirs and where to park. He welcomed us with an ice cold beer. Then made us a wonderful meal. Matt and Luann are Jewish which must be odd in Utah (and could be an idea for a reality show). Once they heard I was also Jewish they brought out the Shabbat candles which was very special. Maryann and I shared a room downstairs with it's own bath and slept very comfortably. 

With Matt and Luann in Draper
In the morning, Matt made us a delicious, hearty breakfast and then escorted us 11 miles to the start of another bike path, the Murdock Canal Trail. It was, yet another, beautiful day and this trail is terrific. Wide and smooth and long. We stopped at a huge Smith's market to make lunch and then Maryann got her first flat of the trip. She is using Marathon Racer tires which may not be the best choice for riding in goat head country. This tire was really hard to get off the rim and Maryann broke a tire lever but, eventually, got the flat repaired. The shopping center had a nice bike shop and we went in to use their pump and get new tire levers. I also found a nice jersey. It had only one zippered pocket - on the side. 

From there it was a very wet ride to Utah Lake State Park. There was a surprising amount of climbing too. Once we got to Provo, the Murdock Canal Trail ended and we picked up the Provo River Parkway which took us all the way to the campground. This trail is very old with lots of bumps from tree roots. It reminded me of riding at Ft. Stevens campground in Oregon where the Recumbent Retreat is held every year. Some of the path went steeply down under roads and then went back up just as steeply. This section was actually treacherous. The paths are so narrow the trikes fit with not much room to spare. I would ring my bell wildly to let anyone know I was coming through. Going back up one steep section I was in my middle chain ring and should have been in my granny. Maryann was right behind me when I had to put on my brakes to keep from going backward. Luckily, I was able to wench my way to the top. Pphheewww!

Provo River Parkway Trail had very narrow and steep sections.

The rains stopped just before we arrived at the campground which is in a beautiful setting right on Utah Lakes. We got set up and cooked up a wonderful healthy dinner. This was excellent timing because the weather quickly turned ugly. I walked to the bathroom and noticed the winds picking up. When I got out of the bathroom 5 minutes later, I walked back to the tent in a full on squall. Boy was it dramatic. The wind was really strong and very loud. I ran to my tent for cover. It was hard to believe the thin tent fly could ward off all this water but I was totally dry. The storm lasted about 90 minutes and then it was quiet and I could sleep.

Camping at Utah Lake State Park on the morning after the big storm.
Big horned cows
Of course, in the morning, the tents were soaking wet. We didn't have far to go today and waited for the sun to rise and dry some of our stuff. Everything got dry except the fly. There aren't any campgrounds in Payson and so we had a good excuse to get a hotel room.  This way, we could get everything dry too. We started out back on the Provo River trail into Provo and Maryann got another flat. 2 flats in 3 rides. This time it was a goat head. She's thinking about changing out the tires for Marathon Plus. We stopped in Provo at another Smith's to pick up food for lunch. Then Google maps plotted us a course through Spanish Forks into Payson. Being Sunday, and a mostly Mormon area, the roads were very quiet. We went passed lots of farms with lambs, cows and horses. One farm had really cool looking cows with long thick horns. We stopped and all the cows walked toward us. They were neat.

Big horned cows of Payson video

Maryann fixing a flat on the Provo River Parkway trail.
The rest of the way was uneventful and we arrived at the Quality Inn before the next storm came through. We checked in behind a very large family with 14 kids and 3 wives. The motel had a laundry room and I took everything in to be washed. I love having clean clothes!

The main reason we are in Payson is to visit Utah Trikes. They are probably the biggest trike dealer in the country and I originally bought my trike from them. All they sell are trikes. I called Dylan, the service manager, a few days ago and made an appointment to get a new chain and cassette. Maryann also wanted to get new tires.

A tour of Utah trikes showroom

Utah Trikes showroom
Dylan, the service manager, talking Maryann through options

HP has switched to SRAM from Shimano cassettes since I originally bought my trike and Utah Trikes doesn't stock the Shimano 9-speed anymore. So, I upgraded to a 10 speed which is something I've been thinking about doing anyway. The gears are now 11-36 instead of 11-34. The shifting is also much tighter than my old 9 speed. The one drawback is the gear shifter only works as indexed and can't be changed to friction. Hopefully, this won't be an issue as the new cable stretches. Maryann switched out her tires to Marathon Plus and also had some other work done. They even cleaned our trikes.

Now that our trikes have had a relaxing spa day, we will start riding south again tomorrow. Checking Google maps, there really aren't many route options that include places to stay within a reasonable distance. We will start south to Nephi and then take Hwy 132 to Hwy 89 riding to Bryce Canyon National Park. There's about 6600 feet of climbing but we will be taking it so slowly that this will be very manageable.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soda Springs, Idaho to Salt Lake City, Utah

October 6 - 13, 2015

Garmin ride data - with maps

Soda Springs to Montpelier
Montpelier to Garden City
Garden City to Logan
Logan to Willard Bay
Willard Bay to Salt Lake City

Callie at the spa
After a very relaxing visit to Lava Hot Springs, Annie drove me to Soda Springs. There are a few motels in Soda Springs and, first, we stopped at the one on the far south end of town once we turned around. It had a Chinese restaurant in front and this should have been a red flag.  First, I couldn't figure out where the motel office was and then I tried the restaurant for info. The door was locked and I wondered if any of these businesses were in operation. The wind was blowing strongly and my hair was flying all over the place. Just as I was ready to get back in the car, 2 large vans pull up full of Chinese people. Then a young local woman (not Chinese) gets out of a beat up car and unlocks the door to the restaurant. She looked like she had just got out of bed. At least 30 Chinese people file in and I walked in behind them. They were all from China and I don't think anyone spoke English. I asked the young woman about the motel and, her answers were very vague. She was, understandably, frazzled and said there was a vacancy but wasn't sure about the rate. It might be $60. That rate was too high for what was being offered so I thanked her and walked out. All I could think was, of all the places to take touring Chinese people..... A Chinese restaurant in Soda Springs, Idaho? The restaurant looked really horrible and no one was even working in the kitchen. I couldn't imagine how long it would take to be served. That situation looked like a total travel nightmare in the works.

Myrtle fit just fine in the room

Soda Springs
Annie and I had seen a much better motel and I got checked into a nice room for $50 at the JR Inn. The room was big enough that Myrtle could fit too. Once I got everything in the room I said goodbye to Annie. She was headed back to Pocatello and I would continue south. Turns out she will be in Logan next weekend and I think I'll be there at the same time. Our timing has been terrific and it's been really great to hang out with a good friend on tour.

Later in the day I got a call from some triking friends I first met in Istanbul, Turkey. Chuck and Susan are taking a break from touring, returning to the US for a wedding and happen to be in the area. I gave them directions and they checked into the same motel. It has been 1.5 years since we last met in Istanbul. We have been following each other's travels and continue to be in touch through Facebook. We palled around Soda Springs the next day visiting the geyser and telling travel tales. I really enjoyed seeing them again and was very happy they could take the time to find me.

Chuck and Susan checking out the geyser in Soda Springs.

With Chuck and Susan
The hotel in Soda Springs was so comfortable I thought about staying another day. But the weather report was good enough to travel with only a 30% chance of rain. I had breakfast with Chuck and Susan and then said goodbye pushing off down the road. Within an hour, the winds picked up ferociously and the skies became dark. Coming over Georgetown summit it started to rain and then there was hail. I could clearly see blue sky ahead but the rain kept coming down. I had a very wet ride for over an hour and then the storm passed and I was cycling on a beautiful day. I was on my way to Montpelier and passed through the very small town of Bennington. Many, many years ago I went to Bennington College in Vermont and could have passed through these same towns. After a few pictures, I carried on to Fish Haven where I had a few delightful conversations. While stopped at a small market, Mike, who was riding a motorcycle, took a picture and then emailed it to me. Nice!

Georgetown summit on a rainy morning in Idaho.

Wet ride from the summit.

Passing through Bennington

Motorcycle Mike emailed this picture.

Eventually, I made it to Montpelier checking into an expensive motel. Turns out this is a resort area along Bear Lake even though the town didn't really look like much. I talked the receptionist down to $82 from $99 but wasn't too happy about the rate.

Butch Cassidy history

Abandoned cabin on Bear lake

Waiting for the temps to rise
The next morning I had to wait until 9:30 for the temperature to rise about 40. Wow was it cold. I finally left with lots of extra clothes on. The day actually turned really beautiful and I rode through gorgeous scenery. Almost into Garden City, I crossed into Utah. A new state! I only had 30 miles of flat riding to get to Garden City. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride through picturesque farmland along Bear Lake. Garden City was very quiet. The marina was closed, with lots of boats in dry dock, and it is obviously a bustling area during summer. The receptionist in Montpelier said there weren't any motels open in Garden City. Google came up with one and I had called to make sure they were open and getting a reservation. (That receptionist told me lots of things that turned out not to be true.) The Lodge Motel was another expensive place and I was the only person staying. It was a very basic room for $67. Yah for cheaper but sometimes I just have to take what is offered. Most of the businesses were closed for the season. The motel office guy wasn't even sure if any restaurants were open. I did find a pizza place open taking a salad to go to my room. The restaurant was empty and the guy working looked to be bored out of his mind.

Along Bear Lake, still in Idaho

A new state.

Bear Lake scenery

Bear Lake State Park

I knew I had a big climb in the morning and made sure to get an early start. Luckily, the temperature wasn't nearly as cold as yesterday. The climb started right out of town and I slowly slogged away. A couple of drivers pulled over to ask what I was doing. I also saw a moose in the field on the way up. There was a lovely scenic overlook and rest area just an hour from the summit. I sat at a picnic table looking out over the Bear Lake Valley having lunch. After a few pictures, I carried on to the top where I was greeted with a 30 mile decent. The road wasn't always in good shape and I suddenly had a very strong headwind but I'm not sure I've ever had as long a downhill. Some stretches didn't have a shoulder but there really wasn't much traffic either. It took 3.5 hours to climb 7 miles and 2 hours to ride the next 30. I was in Logan by 2:30 which really surprised me.


Scenic viewpoint after climbing out of Garden City and the Bear Lake Valley

On the descent into Logan
30 mile descent into Logan

My friend Anne and her fiancé arrived in Logan the same afternoon to visit his daughter who is going to Utah State. Such great timing. We all got reservations at the same hotel. Really fun.

Zach of Sunrise Cyclery
I wanted to get Myrtle looked at while I was in Logan. My rear wheel has been making a pinging sound for most of the trip since Portland. I got the sound to go away just recently by tightening up 4 loose spokes and also giving a squirt of WD40 to where the spokes cross. Even so, I left my trike at Sunrise Cyclery for a general tune-up. The gears needed adjusting as well as the brakes. When I picked up Myrtle they said the rear wheel was badly out of true as was one of the brake rotors. I also wanted to get the rear cassette and chain replaced but they don't carry the 11-34 combination. I was really happy I didn't wait to get the wheel checked.

Barn advertising

Down is good
Sunday is always a good day to bike out of cities and on busier roads. The truck and commercial traffic is considerably less on Sunday and since I was going to be on a main road into Salt Lake City, this was good idea. It was another gorgeous day although it started out quite windy. I had a fantastic tailwind so I didn't mind a bit. There was a good climb where I met a lot of guys doing community service trash pick up. Highway 91 is a nice road and very clean with a wide shoulder. Going up the climb some trucks were driving very slowly in the shoulder. They always surprised me as they went passed even though they gave me lots of room. I didn't get a summit sign at the top but the tell tale caution sign showing a truck going downhill was very welcome. I flew down the other side into Brigham. After turning onto Highway 89, I stopped at the Rusted Spoon diner to get a salad to go for dinner. This place really looks like a typical greasy spoon and I was very surprised to get such a gourmet plate. The spinach salad I ordered had fresh blackberries, strawberries, roasted nuts and lots of creamy blue cheese chunks. Yum!

Tent pole snapped
It was only a few miles to Willard Bay campground which is at the Bear River inlet of the Great Salt Lake. There's more than 1 campground and the first one I pulled into was beautiful although it didn't have any showers.  There also weren't any other campers which made me feel less safe. I decided to check out the next sites which were at Cottonwood campground. This campground had campers and I got checked in for $20. Somehow I never feel safe being alone even in a campground. There have been secluded hiker/biker areas in campgrounds and if they were empty I would always pay more for a regular site to be around people.  This site was $5 more than the deserted one but also had a really nice shower. After getting my tent set up in the grass, I was about the put the fly on but needed to move the tent a few inches from the RV asphalt pad in order to have room to stake it out. The tent had lots of stuff in it and I guess moving it was too much for the poles. SNAP!! I snapped a tent pole. This is the first time in 8 years that I've even had a tent problem. The tent comes with an emergency splint that I've been carrying around for 8 years too. The pole snapped and the metal flatten out. The splint wouldn't fit over the break. One of the camp hosts came over with a pair of pliers to round out the edges. He said everyone does this. The pole had snapped about an inch from the round joint the pole fits into. The first couple times I tried bending the pole to attach it to the tent, the top part came out of the sleeve. I had to get the sleeve right up to the joint to cover the jagged break. After that, it worked fine. Now I had to figure out how to get it fixed or buy new poles.

I had originally planned to camp at Antelope Island which is in the Great Salt Lake. On the map it looks really cool. The sites are fairly primitive and it is about as far from Salt Lake City as Willard Bay, where I camped last night. I really wanted to go but I wasn't sure if the sleeve repair on the tent pole would hold up. I was worried if the sleeve didn't hold more damage could be done especially to the tent fly. Since I also wasn't sure how I was going to get replacement poles, I decided to ride directly to Salt Lake City. It was, yet another, gorgeous day and I soon caught my first glimpse of the Great Salt Lake.

First glimpse of the Great Salt Lake

The first 17 miles on the day's ride I was on Highway 89 and 126. Sometimes the road had a good shoulder and sometimes it didn't but the traffic was always courteous. In Ogden, I saw a fun sign at Smith and Edwards Ammo Shop. I decided to turn in and get a picture. While I was there I also made a call to Big Agnes to see about getting replacement poles. This couldn't have been easier. They will send a set of poles to my hotel and when they get the old poles back they will refund the costs. New poles for the price of shipping. Very nice!

Fabulous rail trail.
Smith and Edwards ammo

At the border of Roy and West Haven, I found the Denver Rio Grande Western Rail Trail. This was a super smooth paved path that went for 18 miles. Bright sunshine with no wind or traffic riding along farmland. Heaven! The trail crossed many streets that had staggered gates. The gates were easy to negotiate but sometimes the cut outs to cross the road were at the next corner or half way down the block. Drivers here do not stop for cyclists like they do in Portland and, luckily, I didn't just ride out expecting they would. The trail had repair stations, lots of benches and even poopy bags for pets. What it didn't have were bathrooms. I able to take advantage of bathrooms at gas stations and the huge Smith's (Kroger) market. In Centerville, I took the Legacy Parkway trail for about 6 miles until it connected with the Jordan River Trail right into Salt Lake City. The Legacy Parkway had lovely parks with tables, bathrooms, bike repair stands and soda vending machines. There were no homeless people living on the trail like there are in Portland. There wasn't any trash or graffiti either. I turned off the Jordan River Trail, just a few miles from my hotel, and was very surprised by how wide the streets are in Salt Lake City are. I later learned the streets were designed in the horse and buggy era. They are wide enough so horse and buggies can make a u-turn. Every street I turned on had a very wide bike lane and the city is exceptionally quiet and clean. I easily found my hotel and got checked in.

Trail gates

Jordan River Parkway

Salt Lake City is a big stop for me. So far I've cycled 1100 miles solo and I'm now going to be joined by my friend Maryann from Washington. She will fly in on Wednesday with her Catrike, Larry, to ride the rest of the way to Florida. It's been a long time since I've had a riding buddy and I think we will have a blast. 

Myrtle relaxing by the pool in Salt Lake City