Start: of day: 17
End of day: 147
Total miles: 293
After packing up, we both filtered water from the little stream next to our camp. We knew we had a long, hot, remote section ahead and water is life.
Rolling at 8:37
We traveled 50 or so miles north on a wide gravel road in a flat valley. In that time, we only saw 2 other vehicles on the road. This was the main road in the region. We passed by a tiny town that had an interesting display: It was a map of the town, with name tags showing what family lived where.
We eventually turned off to smaller roads that led us to desert mountains. Sean wasn’t on his game this morning and opted to go directly to Wendover. I went on alone and found myself in a high desert valley.
1:49 pm. Wendover
163 miles, 3.45 gal
From Wendover we went East across the Great Salt Flats. There seems to be one route across. It consists of Interstate 80, an unmaintained frontage road, and a Rail Road track. We took the frontage road. There was a warning sign that the road was not maintained, “Travel at your own risk”. Parts of it were so bad it was dangerous. I saw two holes that were feet deep. Along the way I rode a bit of the space between the frontage road and the interstate which is essentially the salt Flats. I was surprised at the consistency. It is not a solid surface. It is a crust of salt on top of the thickest, slickest mud I have ever seen. People in Oklahoma think their mud is thick and slick, they just haven’t seen what’s under the surface in Utah.
I almost got stuck in it. You know the difference between almost and didn’t? Not a damned thing.
On the way across, I got a train engineer to blow his horn for me. 10 year old me laughed and was pleased. Again.
At one stop, I ate a bit of the salt. Now I have some of the Salt Flats in my body and it will always be there. I did the same when I visited a glacier in Alaska.
After making it to the East side, Sean and I parted ways about 6 p.m. I continued south for about an hour and a half and found a jeep trail that ascended 2 miles up a draw, to a remote corner of the national forest. I have a nice quiet place to camp for the night. The elevation is 6550 ft.
While looking for a camp site, I dropped my bike once. I had to unfasten my luggage so I could pick it up. I dumped my bike because I was tired and made a simple mistake, and I had to unload my luggage because I was too tired to pick up my bike.
8:00 pm. I’ve set up my tent, had dinner and am having a bit of bourbon. Here’s my camp. This is looking East, so the early morning light will wake me and the air will warm faster than on the west side of the range.
9:00 pm. It is dark and the moon isn’t high enough yet to illuminate. I am in my tent, and I hear a large animal messing around nearby. My flashlight batteries are dead. There is a burn ban, so I don’t have a fire going. I know there are deer and antelope around here, but I’m not sure about bears and mountain lions. I have my bear spray handy.
9:15. I heard it again. Turned on the light of my cell phone and was met with two wide set eyes reflecting back at me. Got closer. It’s a cow. OK, they are not meat eaters, and generally pretty chill.
Life pro tip: got a warm beer and no ice? Wrap a cloth around it and get it wet. As the water evaporates, the beer will cool. Works great at 6500 feet.
My next few days will be centered on getting home. For the most part, I will not plan my route. I will simply head east. As I get closer, things will become more familiar and I will know which way to turn. It’s a game of hotter-colder and I will find my way.
I think I’ll do a retrospective a few days after I get back home. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing my journey.
Happy trails to you.