Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vernal to Dutch John, Utah (Flaming Gorge National Park) July 15

45.13 in 5 hrs. Monday, July 15. Buddy and I rolled out of Vernal about 9 AM w with beautiful conditions and the knowledge that we were going to have a climb, we just didn't know anything about how much of a climb. What we had was about two miles in downtown Vernal to get our legs warmed up for over a twenty mile uphill. It started gradually, but soon turned to a row of signs warning about 8% grades, switchbacks, brake checks, snow tires, chains, warnings for slow vehicles to use flashers, and warnings of mining operations and blasting. We had a nine and a half mile climb of at least 6% and very often more of a grade. We started at 5450 ft and ended twenty some miles later at over 8400 ft. There was just a crazy set of ten switchbacks that never seemed to end. A couple of days ago we climbed over 4000 ft, and my right knee began to give me some pain. Today, I climbed 4287 ft for a new record, and even though my knee caused a little pain, it held up very well. Ice therapy was the order of the day after the ride was over. My knee doctor, Dr. Poon, told me years ago that it was just a matter of time before I needed work, but I certainly hope the time is not now!   After the ascent, we had some rolling ups and downs that tenderized the quads some more, and finally, we hit Flaming Gorge National Forest, and Pam was at the entrance for support, so that's where Buddy ended his day, after about 34 miles. I carried on, but fortunately I had about seven miles of screaming downhill, to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and dam, before a few more miles of uphill to our campground in Dutch John. This little town was basically started for the workers who built the dam in the 1950's and 60's, and is inhabited mostly by Park and Dam maintenance workers today.
       After the ride we had time to visit the Visitors Center and tour the inner workings of the dam, including going down to the bottom in an  elevator, seeing the turbines, and feeding the rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout that hang out on the river end of the dam, down at the bottom, where they have fish food for sale to throw into the water. The dam was much bigger than I expected, and was one of about six dams on the Green River, before it empties into the Colorado. We then headed out Utah 44 to the Red Canyon Lodge to have dinner and stroll the grounds for a while before calling it a night.

Mike and Buddy claim there were way more than 10 switchbacks!!!

Buddy posing at the summit
Entering Flaming Gorge

Coming down the hill and ready to cross the Green River.

The Green River

Flaming Gorge Dam

Standing on top of the dam looking down at the river

Look out point - good time to take a break before finishing the ride.

Pam and Buddy coming up the road while Mike was at the look out point.

And then after the dam tour, we went down to the water and Buddy went swimming......
Grandpa, try not to have a heart attack when you see this!!!

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