Day 33: Orem UT to Malad ID: 105 miles (on my bike) with 2400 feet of climbing
The actual distance is over 150 miles, but the part of it between Orem and Bountiful was done in a pickup truck with my bike in the bed. My new friend in Orem picked me up at the crack of dawn and we drove though lots of messy construction in Salt Lake City to Centerville Utah where I actually started my ride at 7 AM. He works north of Salt Lake City, but he called in late to work so that he could drive me to where bicycling became pleasant. This turned what would have been an unpleasant and possibly dangerous days ride into a pleasant, if still a bit urban, and safe one. One of the great things about solo touring is the wonderful people, bicyclist and otherwise, who help you along the way. Thanks!
I rode a frontage street east of I-15 up to Farmington and then rode UT 106 till it intersects US 89 just north of Farmington. From there north to Brigham City, I was on 89. I had removed my camera from its mount on my handlebars when we put the bike in the truck, and I didn't remount it till after I had my second breakfast in Ogden, some 30 miles after I started riding. 106 was very pleasant riding. 89, especially south of Ogden, was good except where there was construction. Ogden Canyon, where 89 intersects I-84, was especially tricky with construction and very strong crosswind coming west out of the Canyon. I don't recommend riding east on that part of I-84! Just south of Ogden was also where the majority of the day's climbing occurred. There is a 700 foot vertical hill, then you go down into the canyon, and then there is a 300 foot climb out and a plateau before you go down into Ogden itself.
I had bad time in Ogden. When I first came down into town, I need to use a bathroom and get some food so I stopped at McDs. At least the bathrooms are reliable! After using the bathroom, I stood in line to buy breakfast. A jerk at the front of the line was giving the clerk a hard time and slowing everything down, which was OK since it gave me time to look at their breakfast menu and realize that they didn't offer any of the McDs stuff that I would eat for breakfast. So, with the jerk still arguing with the clerk, I left. As I moved my bike down the curb, I caught my left big toe between the pedal and the curb. Ouch! I rode off, nursing my foot, up a long hill. About a mile and a half later, my foot had stopped hurting enough for me to realize that something was wrong with the direction I was riding! I was going east! I stopped at a service sation next to closed hamburger joint. That's funny, I passed a similar service station-hamburger joint setup on the way into Ogden. Hmm, I better stop and ask directions. I stopped got coffee, a donut, and directions and, still confused, left. As I rode up to 89, it finally dawned on me: I had turned the wrong way when I left McDs! Sheesh, I'd just climbed back up Mt Ogden. Ah well, it was a nice ride back down and the lady at the service station had told me a good place to stop for breakfast (Dee's) just a half or mile or so past McDs. It is not like I was groggy from lack of sleep, or maybe I was. Anyway the second breakfast, along with several cups of coffee, really helped and I was able to make my way north without turning south again....
Downtown Ogden was pretty and, except for one dim witted fellow who tooted at me because he couldn't figure out how to change lanes (?), uneventful. Still, it was nice to get out of town where 89 heads north west instead of north. The view of the mountains was better too!
Riding 89 from Ogden to Brigham City was quite good. The shoulder was often only a foot wide, but the road is four lanes and, except for a few rude folk, traffic was not a problem. There is a good bit of climbing in this section as well, probably about half as much as in the section before Ogden, but there are no long sustained climbs of more than 2% grade.
Unfortunately, there was a lot of construction traffic, including large double trailer dump trucks. Again, these were not a serious real problem. The Great Salt Lake lay off to the west and the mountains, which were getting less impressive, to the right.
In Brigham City, I stopped for lunch at a Subway and got some advice form a local cyclist. Lunch was good, but the advice wasn't. In Brigham City, US 89 goes off east into the hills. I didn't want to do that! UT 38 goes north out of town along the edge of the hills and UT 13 goes west for eight miles and then heads north. I was planning to follow UT 13 because I figured it would be the best riding. The local cyclist said 'it is desolate out there!' I figured he didn't really know what desolate was, so I took 13 which turned out to be very nice cycling indeed through an agricultural area. Other than having to wait for a section that was only one lane because the other was being paved, it was enjoyable, fast riding through a nice agricultural area. Wheat harvest was taking place at several locations along this road.
Brigham City was pretty, with trees almost growing over the main four lane road, a tabernacle, and a neat downtown section with a banner reading "Gateway - worlds greatest game bird refuge." UT 13 runs through this bird refuge and then north to join I-15 about 30 miles later.
I stopped at Tremonton Crossroads, where there are stores and restaurants, for a snack and again at a service station near Plymouth. Although folks in Brigham City told me "there is nothing out there," Bear River City has a store, and Riverside has a store and a motel. There is a also a truck stop were UT-13 actually joins I-15 and end. Neither the Utah state map nor my Street Atlas program have this part of the route mapped correctly. As a result, I ended up first riding several miles out of the way trying to get on a nonexistent road that parallels I-15 on the west, and then riding I-15 from Plymouth north to Malad Utah. The I-15 part was about 28 miles of mostly very easy riding, although with no services other than a welcome center and rest stop.
I stopped at the Idaho Welcome station a few miles south of Malad, which is only 12 miles inside Idaho, for a map and information about a road I need to ride tomorrow. Riding had been very easy with a good tail wind, but there were storms visible in the north and, apparently due to the storms, the wind shifted and strengthened to a very nasty cross wind for the last mile or so to Malad. I was working really hard just to keep the bike on the shoulder and going at 9 to 10 mph for at least fifteen minutes before I was able to exit and get blown into Malad by those same winds. Malad's one motel, the Village Inn, is fine and there is a good, new, restaurant next door, Me 'n Lou's. The only food listed on the I-15 exit sign was Burger King, and Me 'n Lou's is much better than that!