Category Archives: salt lake city to denver

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

July 12

We got up at six did breakfast did the light rail and got to Portland by 9:30. From the airport we took the rail to the bus station. It is immediately apparent how hip Portland is. They even have bike racks on the light rail
on the side of which is a AAA sign that says “we help in bike emergencies too!”

Outside the bus station are pretend Andy Goldsworthy sculptures.


We got our bikes and refunded in full our bus tickets and assembled our bikes which took hours. We stopped for lunch at a hip Mediterranean cafe recommended by the very most expensive tune up bike shop I’ve ever been to. Not even sure we needed it but we did it even though we are getting pretty good at putting together the bikes.

Alex and Guthrie were the guys in the shop and they were cool. Guthrie rides a surly long haul trucker and his bike blog is www.

From there we biked fifty miles. Here’s some photos from that day.




July 11

The last thing i’ll say about Utah: it is surprisingly and enormously diverse. Throughout, we met folks from all parts of the world speaking broken English.

The most memorable was a beautiful young Asian lady in McDonald’s. we stopped for a coke as we were walking from the hotel to whole foods. We weren’t sure we were going the right way so I asked her.
“Whole Foods?? Oh yes, we have!!” She said enthusiastically. she turned around with a sweep of her waist length hair and displayed the menu in a graceful gracious way showing us with pride all the foods she had to offer on the macdonalds sign above and behind her . We smiled and decided a coke was enough thanks.

Josh explained the diversity was due to a generous refugee program here. Go Utah! Ill take my dinosaurs with my “god” but other than that difference I’m all for the state.

July 11

Ok, leaving the trip aside for a moment, I just wanna know cuz I just saw the news. If Zimmerman is innocent does that mean Trayvon isn’t dead? The whole thing is so very very sad and I’m so sorry.

In our trip we see a lot (like tons, pun intended) of obesity and too man men in wheel chairs with one leg. That and the bright red sign with the white fingers crossed: Oregon lottery. You can have faith in that rabbits foot but it didn’t work for the rabbit.

Dispute all this stuff that is disheartening we find the kindness of strangers everywhere! I am convinced thoroughly that people are good at the core and if not threatened (real or imaginary) their impulse is to help a stranger. It’s great to put yourself in this on the road position and experience this vague undefined love in almost every encounter.


This was taken from the light rail in SLC

July 11

Literally two blocks from seedy hotel was Sensationally great hotel.



Flowers and fountains everywhere.


I liked the way the floor changed going from one area to another; the dining room to the Libby for example.



It was all granite, marble mirror and brass. I felt we needed a break. I did yoga all day mostly in the pools.

We walked around SLC some. Dispute the quick change in neighborhoods, it is in ways an overly orderly city.


We went to the two week old Microsoft store and played with the surface for an hour. I loved it! I might switch. I vote with my dollar and bill and Melinda gates donate tremendously and in the direction I approve. Also they took the same Buddhist positivity neuroscience class that I did and I heard real life first hand good stuff about them from that too.


July 10 end

So we have all this stuff and we are in a slummy neighborhood and we can’t get it all into a taxi.

The train station is next door but they also have no seats and besides the train goes from SLC to Sacramento and then up to Portland. It’s not cheap and it takes 43 hours!

I am exhausted and freaked and have to get rid of the bikes but I can’t do that without buying tickets so I buy the Friday tickets to Portland and ship the bikes. The bikes go on the bus at midnight and will arrive in Portland Thursday afternoon.

We then book the cheapest hotel we can. The taxi driver is from Africa. He is bright bubbly and all white smiles. He is from Africa with a thick accent. I do not know what it has taken for him to get here and be driving a cab. This puts everything in perspective for me.

As we are getting out of the cab I ask him what there is to do in SLC. He chuckles shrugs his shoulders and says apologetically “Temple Square’s all we got here, just temple square.” He chuckles again and we get out.

The hotel is clean and the night desk clerk is “no extra” but not in a good way. He asks for my ID. There is a big sign that says “No visitors after eleven”.

We get to our room. Noah falls asleep immediately. I can not sleep. I search the web for a fantastic hotel to stay another night in SLC. Little America. It has three pools and a gym and a sauna and it is gigantic. Because it is soo big and there are lots of vacant rooms, and we want one tomorrow, we get a super price. Then I book a plane to Portland realizing I will lose Noah if we have to do 14 hours in the white trash bus atmosphere. We will lose the bike trip momentum and our desire to do it.