Category Archives: biking hwy 40 Utah

SLC to Denver. Epilogue. Day 11: Boulder to Denver

I reserved a spot on the most environmentally correct shuttle (this is Boulder ) to the airport.  I got there early; even walking on the pavement in my bike shoes carrying all my stuff. Since I had some time, I went to the Super Cuts and got my hair cut to reenter civilization.  Then with a bit of time left, I went to the Goodwill a couple of doors down. I ended up buying a Colorado University T-shirt that said ARTS in big letters over the right upper chest. Underneath, in smaller letters, it said Addiction Recovery Treatment Services. Thanks CU.

When I was leaving there, I saw the sun catch a tiny glitter stuck in the crack of the sidewalk. I bent down to examine it and found a small golden Guadalupe charm. I happily rescued it.

When the shuttle guy finally got there he was upset that the lady on the phone had made me walk. They all made a fuss about it because the girls work from home and this girl had it wrong. They were so upset with her, I made sure I couldn’t remember her name. They gave me the trip for free.

In the shuttle shack, they had a small stack of give away books. I took John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”. Reading that on the plane trip home from start to finish, was the perfect ending to the perfect trip.

SLC to Denver.Day 3: Roosevelt UT to Dinosaur CO

I was on the road by eight and feeling good about it.

Right out of town was this cemetery. All the cemeteries around here-abouts (meaning, the wild west) have colored flowers on the graves. Of course, they are not real. You could not get a real flower like these within miles and miles and miles of here.

And lots of  cut steel metal art, For signage. It survives the elements. The sun and wind are tough enough, The winter seems like it would be tougher .

 And nothing but land for miles


Miles and miles and miles of beauty.

After 28 miles of all this earhly harmony and peace I got to the real town of Vernal


As you can see, i am nearing Dinosaur National Park. Utah is fantastic in many ways but not when it comes to highway shoulders.

Those bumps are so the 18 wheelers dont fall asleep. God bless those guys. All of them gave me tons of room. There is not a lot of oncoming or any huge amount of traffic on 40.

There is however a ton of roadkill in Utah: deer rabbitts skunks racoon big snakes and things I can’t identify. I don’t really get why they are on the side of the road. They get killed in the middle of the road, dont they? What do they do? With their last breath do they scrurry to the side of the road, or what?

In Vernal I bought lots of food to carry because I knew there would be no real food for the next 90 miles. I met the man who makes the sushi in the grocery store there. He was proud of it and happy I liked it. Asian fellow. Not a lot of Asians around here. Nice guy. Great sushi.

There were no towns between Vernal UT  and Dinosaur CO but there was evidence of more happening times in these remote areas

As I rode the sky got darker and darker and I could see storms happening on either side of me.

 I was afraid of the lightening. It seemed like I was the tallest thing on the horizon for as far as the eye could see.

I got rained on a bit but not much. I found out later that storms were so bad near Vernal that there was 3″ of hail on the road! Hail is hard to imagine because its way hot here and I havent had any, I mean NONE, shade thus entire trip.

I finally made it to Colorado

For some reason I thought Colorado was going to be enlightened in some way. Not so.

I was shocked when I got to Dinosaur.

It was a third world dump.

What hotels had been there were not anymore open. They were abandoned.  So I had to set up in the town park because there were no campgrounds. I booked a hotel that I was told was in Dinosaur but it was actually in Rangely which is 18 miles away. In a car 18 miles doesn’t seem like much. When I booked the room I asked them if they were on Highway 40 and they said they were but in fact they are on the intersecting Highway 134 so I was very bummed when I got done with my 64 miles and there was no hotel and a dump of a town (which was really just an intersection)  but it turned out that the city park was quite nice.

There were very clean free showers which people come from close to 100 miles around to use! Especially in hunting season and horse competition season. Quite a few people were using them now because the hang glider contest was in the area. Still, it wasn’t quite the rest I wanted after 64 miles of biking.

 This guy was my neighbor

That store is on the corner of highway 40 and Colorado 134 so it’s open 24 hours and most of the 18 wheelers turn off here. I didn’t get  much sleep but the coffee Here will be trucker real like really strong coffee.

Before the gas station is a place called “the depot” and the lady in there makes homemade ice cream so I had a chocolate milkshake that was one of the best in the entire world.

She had tons of Christian stuff in her place and a bunch of dinosaur stuff and books on the subject of evolution and she wasn’t nice. The word BELIEVE was prominently posted everywhere.

The word “believe” is a bit more understandable what they mean (in Jesus) than when you see hear the word “freedom” tossed around everywhere but still…what are these people talking about really? I see signs like “Freedom, thank a veteran”  I’m like uhhh, I just don’t It.

After the ice cream store I went to the liquor store because I wanted to buy a glass of wine and the lady in there was super nice and she had this beautiful moon necklace on and we chatted it up. For some reason, I told her about the unfriendly Christian lady.

She was all anout the unfriendly Christians in town and told the story about her adopted father who had been the town pastor for decades and how they meanly kicked him out overnight when he started to have dementia.

I ask her about her moon necklace and she tells me that she’s pagan; wiccan specifically. I tell her about my friends and I doing equinox and solstice rituals and how I was at a stonehenge in Avebury England on this summer solstice.

I tell her about my friend’s Facebook group called “One o’clock on the dot coven of  irreverent witchy business”. She then tells me that she is a for real witch from generations of witches and was in fact born with a veil. I don’t even know what that means.

She asks me where I’m staying and I tell her I’m staying in the town park and she expresses concern because she’s afraid there’s going to be a huge storm coming through and tells me I have no idea what kind of storms come through there.

She suggests I stay in her backyard or in her grandmother’s backyard and I thank her but I tell her I’m already all set up and I think I’m OK.

She writes down me her name and her phone number and gives it to me and makes me promise to call her if  “The Storm” comes in and she says she will drive by and pick me up right away!  Wow.

I try to drink the wine but I’m afraid it will keep me up so I don’t. I end up staying awake most of the night anyhow listening to the trucks.

SLC to Denver.Day2/Afternoon: Duchesne to Roosevelt

There is not so much to say about this part of the ride except that it was beautiful.

  Real estate is cheap here.

Here is what a difference water can make: irrigated land.

Un irrigated land

Because I knew I would reach my destination early I started to take lots of breaks and pictures of the road.

I especially like pictures of the roads intersecting  highway 40 going off into who knows what.

Nearing the end of the 50 some miles I stopped for a salt break because I could tell I needed  salt from so much sweating. As I was eating a pack of salted peanuts an old man in a sporty red car stopped on the other side of the road.

I had just taken a picture of this road.

He asked, “are you giving up for the day? ”  I said, “no just refueling, I’m needing to eat something”. So he says, “why don’t you come home to dinner?”

I thank him for the offer and tell him I have friends to meet in Roosevelt so he says, “OK “. And then his red car shoots down the road I have just photographed and my greasy salty hands can’t get the phone out quick enough to catch that.

But I caught another car I liked.

About ten miles out of Roosevelt, it starts to get very very windy. The big sky is getting darker and darker. I take off my sunglasses but I have to put them back on again because the wind is blowing all this stuff in my face and eyes.

Tumbleweeds are tumbling across the road and the whole 9 yards. The wind gathers a lot of momentum when it’s running across those vast expanses of beauty and hitting me hard from the side so I had to bicycle a certain speed or else it would knock me over. It was that strong.

I haven’t written much about the wind because the wind is either behind me or it’s in my face and it seems to be equally both so I’m not writing about it but this was different.

When an 18 wheeler passes me and scores of them have passed me on hwy 40, you feel a little gust of wind. It’s almost like a push from behind because you’re going in the same direction and that’s fun but this wind was hitting me broadside.

It was about to pour rain and at first that seem like a good thing because it would be like an early shower until I remembered all of the trees by the road I’ve hit seen that have been hit by lightning.

I haven’t taken pictures of them because they’re not pretty but I’ll try to get a picture of one so you can see what it looks like.

Heres the dark sky. 

Most of the fires in Utah are started by lightning. I pedalled hard to reach Roosevelt.

And I made it in time.

I booked into a luxury hotel for under hundred dollars and it is marvelous! I have a room across from the swimming pool and the hot tub. I even have a bathtub in my room and a large flat screen TV which I haven’t turned on.
After I took my shower and washed my clothes in the sink I went to the grocery store and got my food for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow.

The next town is 28 miles out tomorrow morning so I’m going to try to get a really good night sleep in this really big bed. My destination tomorrow, Dinosaur Colorado, is 64 miles away which is a bit intimidating.

SLC to Denver.Day2/ morning: The ranch to Duchesne UT

Well I left paradise at the ranch and Johnny and Donna a bit reluctantly because they were so great.

Johnny took me back up the canyon from his ranch to hwy 40. (Note cool belt from clothing business days)

It’s kind of like Highway One in BigSur in that you think there’s nothing on the other side of the road from the ocean but when you go off on one of those roads, there’s all kinds of houses tucked in here and there.

This picture is Johnny dropping me off. He also showed me a great app where I can see what my altitude is.

He hates having his picture taken. As soon as the camera is present he freezes up. In person, this guy is very attractive. For all he’s done, there was nothing pompous about him at all. Both of them had amazing stories and it was a big joy pleasure inspiration and blessing to have met them.

I did about 43 miles yesterday (w a big pass) and am doing a lttle over 50 today with no huge climbs. I’m now in Duchesne (about 26 miles) and am eating breakfast and powering phone.  Johnny gave me a banana, an apple and trail mix packages to get me to Duchesne.

I am going to go to the town museum and then take off for Roosevelt UT, 28 relatively easy miles away where I have a hotel reservation.

There was nothing from the ranch to here but beauty and this is LITERALLY a one block town. I love that in this one block, they have a museum!!


SLC to Denver.Day1/part 2: From the Summit to the ranch

I made it to the sumitt at 11:15 and my destination at strawberry reservoir was only 6 miles away so I hung out at the lodge at the summit texting and then I called strawberry lodge and canceled because I didn’t want the day end at 1 o’clock

  So I decided to try for Duchesne which is 50 miles away and Fruitland which is closer. Five miles past Strawberry  I start to have a stick in my right side.  I’ve never had them before so I didn’t know what to do and it was excruciating and I got off and walked my bike for a while even though it wasn’t hilly and then I got three texts in a row and I realized “oh my goodness this is not nowhere, there’s Internet!”

 So I Google and I find out what to do; which is a lot like a Self-Breema exercise or even more like kundalini yoga. Riding with my hand over my head stretching that side and breathing specifically.

It is getting quite a bit better and I think that I will actually maybe make it when a man and his wife pull up in the car and he asks me if I am OK

I say not really and explain about my side cramp and he offers for them to take me to the ranch where I can camp which is nearby. He suggests for me to leave my bike there and come with them to the ranch where he can get his pick up and then drive back and get the bike.

I offer that I’d rather ride my bike and he can get the pick up and we can meet that way. After he leaves I continue to do my exercise and my stitch continues to improve. I pass several entrances to campground roads that I could have stopped at which is good to know because I would have made it without the kindness of strangers but thank the mother of God that I didn’t have to.

So Johnny comes with his pick up which I expected to be old and beat up (why?) and its not. It’s top of the line nice. We turn off Hwy 40 onto a small side road and go down and down and down the windy road to the end which is perfectly their house.

Well it turns out this man Johnny and his wife Donna are just incredibly amazing people. First thing about them is: one is instantly completely comfortable with them. it’s almost strange.There such a warmth and familiarity about them.

They are amazing here’s one of the things he has done. Johnny has been the captain of search and rescue for this entire county for 25 years!

The short story is, he found me and and rescued me. Donna did the same. They both noticed me when I was climbing the summit earlier in the morning. She was worried about me I think, God bless her, and so was he.

Johnny has also been a private pilot. They owned a cattle ranch which is where I’m sleeping also sheep and goats. And they grew hay professionally.

They’re real comfortable team: 54 years married with four children and lots of grandchildren and lots of great-grandchildren.

They are 74 and they’re in amazing shape. They also owned the Heber City hardware store and they owned had a Western clothing  apparel business. And I think he was mayor of Herber City too at one point.

This is their log cabin ranch home complete with a river stone chimney.

And this is them. As you can see there both very cute.
This is the view out my tent


SLC to Denver.Day 1/part 1: Heber City to Daniels Pass, Utah

imageThis is Josh dropping me off at my campground.imageThis is Josh Van Jura in his garage in front of all his bike race numbers.

My new bike is not my old bike Silver. Her brakes are in a different place and this place I am very used too so my instinctual reach is wrong each time. Im working on that. Ditto for gear changes.

Woke up a bit scared for todays climb. Up at 6 and at breakfast at 7. Couldn’t eat it all so I wrapped up half of it in a napkin which I forgot after filling up water bottles in the bathroom. I left the extra food for later there. Its an hour later here and I just don’t eat breakfast that early and I guess I’m not even awake yet.

I am out of the bay area which means the coffee is weak and there are more dry cleaners than tattoo parlors. There were even dry cleaner drive throughs in salt lake city. I have never seen so many dry cleaners.

In San francisco if you are the guy wearing the suit and tie you’re not the guy making the money. Now the Guy in the jeans with the tech T-shirt that’s the guy making money.

Starting out after a few miles I realized i didnt have my bike shorts on! as I never wear them at home so I stopped at the Port-of-Entry station where big semis stop.imageGuy there was nice. Says he sees all kinds of people like me doing this. To me thats encouraging. He says he knows I will make it and promises to follow blog. That helps. Ah, the kindness of strangers.imageI talk to flowers at the side of the road and animals.image imageAnd myselfimage image

At The restaurant at the top of the summit has glass lamps with copper cut outs! incredible right?

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SLC to Denver.Day 0: Back on Track, Camping in Heber City

Yesterday, when I  landed at the Salt Lake City airport, my phone came alive and I saw a voicemail was waiting for me. I listened to it starting in the little tube you walk through from the plane to the terminal. It was from the bike shop I shipped my bicycle to telling me that it never arrived. I spent the rest of yesterday’s afternoon trying to figure out what happened and what to do. I knew where the food court was from the time Noah and I were here. I go this and that kind of food over a couple hours spent calling all kinds of numbers trying all kinds of things. But to no avail.

I started the next day with sad tears and three locks on #113 Motel 6 door in the bad-ish  neighborhood.  I had planned to spend the night swimming in little America hotels’ pool but I decided on the cheap side because I wasn’t sure what was happening.hey it was only from there I went to Starbucks carrying my pannier bags and had 2 grande cappuccinos.

At Starbucks I called a sister of a friend of mine who I’d never met, Roz Newmark who help me tremendously. She has long distance cycled with her husband extensively in this area and lives in Salt Lake City.  Between Josh and Roz I know about different bike options and different bike shops and I decide on the closest and the cheapest as I’m walking around the city (a mile or so) in my flip flops carrying my panniers

Long story short I buy a TREK 520 from Salt Lake Cyclery. Roy helped me and they were fantastic I got such a deal. So here is my advertisement for Salt Lake Cyclery:  They were the best. I got fully outfitted better than I was before for $1500.

I am now ending my day in my tent in the campsite it’s really really nice with a swimming pool and a hot tub that’s open at night.

Josh took me here. God bless him. This is a little where noah and I left off from our bike trip here two years ago..  I passed by the places Noah and I were and it was a little painful missing him but the swimming pool at night made me miss my kids the most. There is nothing better than being a mom with your kids at a pool late at night in a campground.

 I am now here, 45 miles from salt lake city and one mile outside of Heber City. Josh took me here. He picked me up from the bike shop and we drove his electric car to his home near Park city and then we got his other car because the electric car was out of electricity. It was really fun to see his house. It’s an Alpine mountain house and he has two jobs. he’s an important engineer with the Utah government and he also started a company that makes cool bike bags. It was fun to see it, especially his sewing studio and his blackboard painted refrigerator.  The garage was superb. It was like a sports equipment store. He absolutely does everything .

Noah and I met him two summers ago after we had just ridden up Emigrant Canyon and over Pawley’s pass which is a 3000 foot climb that we were totally unprepared for with the altitude adjustment.  Noah and I were walking our bikes because we couldn’t get in the bicycle position any longer without having massive spasms in our legs and Josh stopped his car and said “Are you guys OK ?” and we said “No” and he helped us and here he is helping me again! You see, he has trendous time demands and still goes out of his way to be helpful to strangers. He’s really an incredible guy. Left home at 13. Can you imagine?
So here I am now in the valley I’m surrounded by mountains on all sides of me I’m at 7000 feet and tomorrow 1 flat mile out of here and then it’s 18 miles up to a pass that is a lot higher. I forget how much but how much but folks around here talk bout the “pass” with respect. The views I’m going to see are going to be so wonderful as in full-of-wonder, as in breathtakingly amazing and huge and all around me.

The sky above me is the biggest sky.  you can see sky 360° here.  it’s so marvelous