We made it to Utah! 2 states in less than 2 weeks! Remarkably, when the time zone changed at the border so did the scenery. We’re still in the middle of the desert with 70-80 miles between civilizations, but the interesting sights just got a little more interesting.
We left Ely on Thursday morning and somehow the Dorothy-we’re-not-in-Kansas-anymore wind had completely disappeared. We had a great ride to Baker, NV on Thursday with the wind at our back, and today we had a a long ride to Milford UT with a 12-mile downhill (every mile well-deserved after 7,000 feet of climbing!). Because I rode with Alan again, the 145 miles and 6 summit climbs went by much faster, and I successfully avoided having to talk to myself for 2 more days!
On Thursday night we landed in Baker, the smallest town I’ve ever been to. If I had blinked, I would have missed it entirely. In 1 block it boasts 1 bar, 1 restaurant/motel, 1 general store, and 1 post office. No cell phone reception, no internet connection, no pay phone. Just a respite in the desert.
The Silver Jack Restaurant in Baker was adorable and Nina made it warm and welcoming. She had been working for a mortgage broker in Salt Lake City but never saw the fruits of her labor, as she put it. When she received an offer to move to Baker and run this restaurant for the owner, who lives 3 hours away, she jumped. What she loves about this job is meeting the interesting people who pass through town, seeing her hard work directly impact the success of the business, and that her boss hands her so much responsibility for that success.
We met Joshua just walking down the street in the middle of the desert. Joshua is a bear guide in Alaska on an island called Prince Edwards where 14,000 bears live. By walking from the Utah border to California, Joshua is getting in shape for the season, which starts mid-July. When I asked him what he loves about his job, he responded that he loves sharing the beauty of the bears with people and he loves following the advice of his father (a Native American Indian) to love the land.
I met Cynthia in Milford, UT. She is the Front Desk Clerk at the Oak Tree Inn and she was so full of energy and spunk (as evidenced by her purple hair streaks) that I just had to find out what she loves about her job. She shared that she loves meeting people who are not from Milford and she loves the people she works with. In addition, her boss gives her a lot of responsibility and regularly ends each sentence with, “I have faith in you.”
- 3 Cow-on-a-Skateboard road signs (not graffiti, they were clearly printed this way)
- A fence of antlers lining a bar’s entire property
- A burrowed owl who stood on the side of the road and turned its head to follow us as we rode by
- A ghost town (old mining community deserted the town when the mine collapsed)
- The “Rocks for Sale” sign (with a mountain of rocks in the background)
Thursday Miles: 60.30 miles
Friday Miles: 85.29 miles
Total mileage: 835.27
Total ascent: 7,077
Total interviews: 20
Road kill count: 81 (including 2 snakes and 2 cows!)
Destination for Day 14: Cedar City, UT (and Starbucks!)