Leaving Dinosaur for Utah means going down
several hundred feet in the two miles or so to the border
It also means a dramatic change in the terrain!
What a difference a day makes ;-}. Tonight the storms are happening again - 20 - 30 mph winds with blowing dust and rain visible to the west and south - but I'm in a fancy motel in Roosevelt, UT. I only know about the weather because I just walked back from the restaurant where I had supper. Roosevelt is only 63 miles, with 1700 feet of climbing, from Craig. I stopped here because the next town, Duchesne, has only one motel and, according to some ride reports, is not a friendly place. If I has ridden on to Duchesne, my day would have been close to 100 miles. The next town with motels is Helper which is another 40 miles on - simply too far for me ride today. There is a state campground, with showers, not far north of Duchesne, but tonight. like last night, would not be not a good night for camping.
Now we have dramatic ridges separating big
valleys and lots of wide open space
Once again, my early morning shadow is taking the picture ;-}
There is a two foot wide rumble strip starting roughly where my camera's shadow is
I could only see it when I looked at the shoulder in my rear view mirror
I got up about 6:30 this morning, shortly before the fellow who provided me shelter came by for a final visit. The 'hut' I was in is the main office and support building for a large trailer park he is re-building. I slept on the floor of the service area - like a big garage - near the garage door which I left partially open to get some breeze in. I got up at about 6 AM and closed the door because, sleeping in my silk travel sheet, I was getting cold. It was a good nights sleep despite the several insects who 'investigated' me during the night. My thermarest was really comfortable. It was also a pain to get out of its sack since I had inadvertently loosened its valve and it had inflated to fill all available space ;-}.
I finished yesterdays ride report, then cleaned up and packed up and, at 7:30 went down to the restaurant for breakfast. It wasn't open yet, so I settled for a breakfast sandwich and coffee from the nearby convenience store, and left Dinosaur at about 7:45. I zoomed down to the Utah border - a 2 mile, 30 mph, descent - and, helped along by a good tail wind and a gentle down hill in a big desert valley - cranked on down the road towards Jensen in the Green River Valley. I wanted to stop in Jensen, some 17+ miles from the border, at the US 40 Utah Welcome Center to get a map and ask about places to stay.
Coming down into the Green River
This is 20 miles from Dinosaur and that pretty valley is where riding in Utah stopped being fun today
It was a very nice ride to Jensen. There were a couple of minor (and one not so minor) ridges to climb, but traffic was light, the scenery was spectacular, and the road was good. The road would have been better without its, almost invisible, rumble strip. When I first entered Utah, I thought something was wrong with my bike because it started vibrating. I stopped and check and everything seemed OK. Then I looked in my rear view mirror and I could see the rumble strip. Looking forward I could not see it on the rough shoulder!
I got the information I needed in Jensen and headed on towards Vernal. Even though the traffic was still pretty light, riding was not fun, in part because of a small, rough, shoulder which had been rumble striped inconsistently so that some sometimes there was enough room to ride, with bumps, outside the strip and some times there was enough room to ride inside the strip on the shoulder and sometimes it was unrideable. The other reason it was less fun was that I was no longer riding in big open valleys, but was crossing a long series of ridges between much smaller valleys.
Vernal is closer to Jenson than Craig is, but the ride from Jenson to Vernal took longer and wasn't fun.
Vernal is a long town with miles of farm and oil related businesses on the east end. The riding in that part of town was easy because of a big shoulder, a slight downhill, and light traffic. I stopped, roughly in the middle of town, at a local restaurant for a second breakfast. By this time I had decide that I was going to stop in Roosevelt, so I didn't mind the very slow service at the restaurant. I did mind the senseless and, seemingly interminable, police pursuit that was being shown on CNN. What a waste of television bandwidth!
Riding on, I discovered that the shoulder went away, traffic increased dramatically, and the road was uphill for the rest of the way through Vernal. It was hot - 90 F - and the wind had died down, and I was riding up a long hill in heavy traffic at 9 to 10 mph. When I left Vernal, it got worse.
Leaving Vernal, there was nothing pretty
around this sign,
so I just photographed the sign
After Vernal, US 40 climbed a bit more and then started a long, relatively fast descent. That would have been OK, except that now the entire shoulder, and even a bit of the lane, was rumble stripped. It wasn't the nasty kind that tries to shake your fillings loose, but it was unpleasant to have to ride on it. Fortunately that only lasted for a mile or so and then the wide gentle rumble strip was replaces with a narrow nasty one, but that one was well placed and there was a rough, but very rideable, shoulder outside of the rumble strip. This was good since the traffic was very heavy and remained heavy for the rest of my ride today. I'm afraid it will be heavy all the way to Price tomorrow.
Traffic after Vernal and scenery after
Neither is pretty, but the scenery does improve in the irrigated valleys
Riding after Vernal was mostly head-down, up-hill into the wind and/or the wind blasts from big trucks because the wind was coming across the road. At one point, I looked up to discover I was in the middle of an irrigated valley. I had ben so focused on just getting down the road that I hadn't even noticed coming into a green space.
One highlight of this section was lunch at the Chuck Wagon Cafe in a small town not far east of here. Another highlight was that, just after lunch, I saw and waved to, across the busy road, two tourists headed east. He was pulling a Bob and she had two panniers. Those are the only cyclists I've seen since Steamboat Springs.
The place, in Fort Duchesne, where I had an excellent lunch
The valley where I'm staying
Note the rumble strip style that I've had most of the time since the Green River Valley