Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Torrey to Hanksville, Utah June 28

48.9 miles in 3:53----what a crazy day! I got rolling early because of a forecasted high of about 103 in my destination town, Hanksville. I got a phone call at 7 AM from hopefully the LAST Grant Street lawn & garden customer to find out I retired. That got me up and moving, which I needed to do because of some crazy heat that I wanted to beat. First thing out the door at 7:30, I heard cheering and saw runners going past our campground. There were only 8-9 guys, spread out by about a mile, but they had just started running their legs of the Top Of Zion Relay, which covers 200 miles between Capital Reef National Park and Zion.  There were 12 man teams, that alternated distances through some of the  most beautiful scenery and some of the steep grades that I have ridden over a 24-36 hr period in 100+ degrees. Sounds like my kind of race, back in the day.
     The nice thing about today's ride is that it was mostly downhill. I followed the Freemont River downstream, which caused me to have a total descent of 3400 ft. I had a few rollers so I did 900 ft of climbing. The first 20 miles was through Capital Reef National Park, and it was quite nice. The weather hadn't heated up real badly, and I ROLLED downhill to the Freemont River Valley. I had one stretch of new asphalt with the wind at my back and I set a new all time speed record. I hit 46.2 mph and never pedaled because of my gear problems. I know I could have broken 50 mph easily with some speed gears. Just as I got out of the park, I talked to a guy, about my age, who was from France, and was doing a three month tour of national parks in the USA and Canada. I turned and rode with him and chatted for about a mile. He understood me pretty well, but not everything.  Once I got near the other end of the park, all the red hills turned to white rock hills. It was pretty cool. The Fremont River is just a little thing, 20-30 ft wide, but it had continuous water flowing through a major desert landscape. Once I got out of the park, the landscape turned to gray, volcanic ash sediment I would guess. It was really extraterrestrial, as I was comparing it to riding on the moon, when I passed a restaurant called the Luna Mesa. That confirmed it, I was on the moon. Very drab, gray nothingness followed me along the oasis that was the Freemont River. It would take a different path than Utah 24 every once in a while, but it always came back. The heat built quickly as the day went on, making it feel like I was riding on Mars instead of the moon. Fortunately I hit Hanksville just before noon. I got to the campground before Pam did, so I went to a little store for some Gatorade, that was actually hewn out of a rock. I sat there in the shade until Pam pulled into the campground. It was still pretty early when we got set up, so we decided to take a Jeep trip to Lake Powell, which is only 60 miles away. The plan was to swim in the cool water on a hot day. Well, it didn't work that way. The scenery in Glen Canyon was gorgeous, but I guess you can only take so many rock pictures, so I didn't go crazy. The trip started with me puking out the Jeep door, hopefully passing a kidney stone somewhere long the line. I started having pain last night, and it went away for the bike ride, but hit hard on the way to lake Powell. After losing my lunch, I felt better for the rest of the day. We got to a finger of Lake Powell, but we had to ride on some crazy dirt trails to get there. It was as crazy as I've ever seen Pam get behind the wheel of the Jeep. When we got to our destination, there was a Boy Scout troop or two set up with tents, boats, and all the fixins. The mud was real deep, and the water was not as appealing as we thought it would be. What a disappointment after what we had on Lake Mead, on the other end of the Grand Canyon. We didn't even get out of the Jeep. We just turned around and headed back to Hanksville for a nice supper and an early night. There is nothing to do here, hotter weather forecast for tomorrow, and I was beat. After riding in 100+ weather, then passing a kidney stone ( I hope), my butt was kicked.

Passing thru Capitol Reef/Fruita - these are fruit trees

Orchards were marked by the names of the people who created them in the 1800's

Feel like you're travelling on the moon?



A refreshing break from all the gray ash looking rocks!

Dead badger on the road


Rolling down the road




Who would want to trespass here?



Scenic byway, Utah 24

Small dam, where did the water go?

There were some cool looking rocks

Down at Lake Powell, parked in the mud!


This is what we drove all that way for!?  

Heading back out, the road is gonna get crazy now!

I had that BIG white rock on my right, and a drop off on the left, with little room on the road!










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