Tour04 Day 19 Milford to Panguitch, UT

Oh, Oh. This does not look like where I ought to be!

I rode from Milford to Panguitch today via Beaver. I had originaly planned to ride to Cedar City and then ride to Panguitch tomorrow, but this routing saved me a day and avoided a big climb. As things turned out, it also avoided having to get a ride to Cedar City.

Leaving Milford

Going east from Milford on UT 21, it is about ten miles to Minersville. From Minersville, it is about 35 miles to Cedar City and 20 miles to Beaver.

The road from Minersville to Beaver - nice

This is the south end of Lake Park, a nice campground about six miles east of Minersville

I headed to Beaver. It was a good ride through some pretty country, but just outside of Beaver, my right pedal came apart. I rode on into town, and asked a policeman about bike shops. he recommended a lawnmower - and other ag-equipment - repair shop at the north end of town. There was also a good cafe next door. One of my reasons for routing through Beaver was that I could have lunch for the first time since Middlegate!

I rode, on the pedal spindle which didn't work very well for pedalling, to the shop. When I got there, there was no sign that they did anything with bicycles. I leaned my bike against a portable generator, and walked in. The owner was in the back, working on something with a metal grinder and his assistant was sitting on the floor working on a lawnmower. It is very downhome place.

The assistant sold me a pair of $5 pedals - all they had - and I removed my right pedal - glad I had my pedal wrench - and tried to install the new pedal. It had a smaller mounting bolt and wouldn't work. Hmm, I remember reading something about cheap bikes using a different pedal thread.

The owner came out to see what the problem was, then went back to dig through his supply of used pedals - this is the kind of place, my kind of place, that keeps everything for possible future use. He had about a dozen old pedals. One of them had the larger mount. at that point I had a 50% chance of having a usable pedal. It was a right side pedal. An old, rusty, pedal, but it worked!

The owner told me that Cedar City was the only town around that had a fancy bike shop. I asked if I could ride on I-15 to get there. He said he didn't think so, but that there were dirt frontage roads I could ride. It is 50 miles to Cedar city from Beaver, so the dirt road option didn't sound too attractive.

I went next door for lunch - it was good - then rode south through town and on to where the road ends at I-5. There were several big motels and an Interstate type service station there, so I rode to a service station, on the other side to check the signs on the entry ramps. They just said Freeway Entry.

At the service station, they called a police officer ("Hi Herb, it's Ellen. What about pedal bikes on I-5?" ) and found out any vehicle that couldn't do 45 mph was illegal on I-5. So, to get to Cedar City I'd have to backtrack through Minersville or ride 50 miles of dirt road through the mountains. Nah!

OK, back to plan A, riding to Panguitch. An older fellow at the service station told me the frontage roads were OK to UT 20 and then I could ride 20 to 89 and 9 to Panguitch. He said it was 15 miles to UT-20. I should cross I-5 after I passed a big pile of gravel. The frontage road started right there - "see the sign?" This information did not match the information given by my mapping software, but I figured he knew better than Route 66 software. He did.

I headed down the frontage road. It was initially paved, but the paving ended ended when another road crossed it. I continued on the dirt road only to discover that it ended at moto-cross rack. As I rode around the track, I saw the real frontage road, but it was on the other side of a barbed wire fence. Fortunately there was a gate from the track to the frontage rode. It was locked, but at least it wasn't barbed wire. I took the bags off the bike placed them on the other side under the gate, picked my bike up and placed it on the other side over the gate, and crawled under the gate.

After putting my bags back on, I rode south on a dirt/gravel road that was mostly OK. It was bumpy and there were some soft spots where I had to fight to keep the bike under control, but I could ride it at 8 mph or so. OK, so maybe two hours to get to UT 20.

The frontage road crossed under I-5 a few miles later - hmm, I didn't see any gravel pile - and started climbing. For the next hour or so. it was head down grinding uphill into a headwind. When I got to the top of the hill, I checked the altitude - 6500 feet. It was dripping a bit up there, so I put my camera in a pannier, but it never really rained. The road improved going down the other side and things were looking up for getting to 20 in two hours. Then I passed a big pile of gravel.

There was a bridge across I-5 there, but, because I had already crossed I-5, I didn't take it. I rode on, and the road, which had already deteriorated some, continued to deteriorate. When it got down to two tire tracks through the sagebrush, I knew I had to go back and cross I-5. That mistake cost me about half an hour.

The frontage road on the other side of I-15

When I crossed the bridge, I found a better - not great at that point - frontage road on which I was able to ride the remaining five miles to 20. It took me about two and a half hours to cover those 15 miles, and, with the other delays of the day, it was five PM. I had 30 miles to go, 20 on 20 and 10 on 89.

The first part of 20 climbs in steps, which helped me cool off

This the end of the first climb which goes to 7000 feet

Then there is a shallow valley before the climb resumes

The top, at almost 8000 feet, of UT 20

I stopped and snacked before tackling the hill on 20. Noting that it was 20 miles long, I figured, correctly, that it would be ten miles up hill followed by ten miles downhill. It was. A nice long climb, climbing to 7900 feet from 6200 feet. That took me two hours, clock time. Getting down - fresh gravel - they were repaving - took about half an hour and going down 89 was less than an hour, so I made it to Panguitch before sundown.

Panguitch was literally overrun with Harleys. They were everywhere, and all the motel rooms were taken. There is a big Harley rally here, a Charlie Daniels concert tomorrow, and a major hot air balloon launch the next day. I arrived on the busiest day of the year. Since there were no rooms available, I fell back on my camping gear. I got a reasonably nice place at a Good Sam campground in the middle of town. I'm tucked away, on grass, at the back of the campground. $15 for the night, with hot showers and a bunch of Harley riders for neighbors. I needed my ear plugs, but, other than that, it is a nice place to camp. There is a very good "Italian/Vegetarian" restaurant not far away, so I'll be eating well too.

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