2 days in the most beautiful red rock canyons. No people. No billboards. No graffiti. No trash. Just humbling beauty.
Yesterday was 97 miles mostly downhill. During the first 47, the wind was at my back and I was flying. Then I turned the corner and the wind decided to torment me. For 50 miles it was either attempting to blow me over or stop me altogether. At one point my GPS read “4mph.” I walk faster than that on the treadmill! Unbelievable.
My almost-century bike ride brought us to a Ranger Station overlooking Lake Powell – stunning. No cell or internet connection (hence, no blog). Not even RV parking. Just ten “30-minute parking” spots next to a bathroom (Wonder who is monitoring the 30-min limitation. Do they mark tires and ticket? Really. It was so desolate – we didn’t see one other person, let alone a car!) Justin captured the stars at Lake Powell in the picture at the bottom.
Today was mostly uphill from Lake Powell into Blanding UT, 6,178 feet of climbing to be exact. Relentless desert as I climbed over the canyons. Much more interesting than the Nevada desert, but 8 hours of riding by myself, even in gorgeous red rocks, gets a bit tedious. I entertained myself by waving to every car that passed (about 5/hour).
Then I met up with Dean and my day got a bit more interesting.
Dean is a Vietnam Vet who is cycling to DC to see the Vietnam Memorial. As we cycled together for a few miles, I asked him about his job. He is a retired aviation mechanic who loved going to work every day. What did he love about it? “I was good at it,” he said proudly. He loved honing his skills and being the best there was. Justin and I enjoyed sharing dinner with Dean in Blanding and hearing about his life.
Jay, the Attorney from Illinois
Dean’s comments reminded me of a conversation we had in Escalante over s’mores with Jay, an attorney who works in the Attorney General’s office in Chicago. He is on a motorcycle trip to see the country before leaving on a Fulbright to China. I asked him what he loves about his job and he said without hesitation, “Winning.”
I sense a new theme, which Duke from Blanding UT then confirmed for me ….
When we reached the Blue Mountain RV Park, we were greeted by a sweet couple. Duke and Rose have been married 56 years following a blind date on New Year’s Eve in SF. They moved to Blanding with their 5 kids to make a life. Through their hard work and determination, they created a wildly successful Trading Post and RV Park. I asked them what they love about their job and Duke said, “You can’t imagine my success! I am a Cinderella story!” In the beginning, he was mentored by one of the best, they buy from high caliber people, and they interact with the most interesting people every day.
- Deer bags sold at the grocery store (I guess when you want to bag the roadkill instead of just count it)
- The red rocks and canyons of Capitol Reef Canyon, Lake Powell, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
- Yard sale in the middle of the desert – no house, no yard, no people, just an RV with junk strewn around it (location, people!)
- Sign in the middle of the desert (and not even near the red rocks): “10 acres $10k Power. Water.” (again, location location location!)
- Cactus (finally! I’ve only been in the desert for 2 weeks now…)
- A dinosaur museum in Blanding, UT
- Blanding – a dry town (thought they only existed in movies like Footloose!)
Day 19 Miles: 97.22
Day 20 Miles: 74.98
Total mileage: 1,254.68
Day 19 Ascent: 4,391 ft
Day 20 Ascent: 6,178 ft
Total interviews: 35
Destination for Day 21: Colorado! (Dolores, CO to be exact)