Monday, August 18, 2008

(Day 16) Let the West begin…

Saturday, July 19th, 2008
Day 16
Monticello, UT to Green River, UT

The two roads that “everything” was located on in Monticello were under construction. With little to no wind, this left the town in a persistent cloud of dust. Out of my entire trip, my air filter probably picked up the most dirt here.

But, besides the temporary air pollution, this is also the town where I felt the biggest “small town atmosphere”. I ate a huge burger at MD Ranch Cookhouse at the recommendation of the motel clerk…who also ended up being my waitress at the restaurant. Brochures and booklets of the upcoming San Juan County Fair were everywhere, and judging by the size of the booklet, it appeared to be a big deal. I think I may have caught the bug a little bit as I wanted to stick around be one of the strawberry jam judges. Then, back at the motel, another desk clerk told me I should ride down to Bull Hollow raceway, “they’ll let you race, they won’t mind”… I thought to myself, “Are you kidding me?”. This type of thing is unheard of on the east coast. I’m not sure how I resisted the urge not to at least ride the 5 miles to check the place out.

Anyway, nothing exciting happened last night and I woke up early enough this morning to grab breakfast two doors down at 7am…opening time:

“That’s a lot of breakfast for 6.95” (I’m just getting out of Colorado remember)
“And people tell me I’m expensive around here… they don’t know what it’s like in the real world!”

Hmmm, the real world… is that where I’m at? I’d think about this as I saddled up and moved out at 7:56am.

Apparently the mountains haven’t totally disappeared, they’re just more spread out now…much more spread out:

Getting closer:

Here’s a good place to break:

Just as I was getting sad about leaving the Rockies, and to my complete surprise (I knew Moab was the next town, and we all know what Moab looks like), I get one more major mountain:

This would lead me to another state funded OHV trail system. This also means the trails go every which way, some abandoned and some not mapped out on the GPS. I work my way through, even blazing my own shortcuts and busting out on this nice little single track:

Not too long afterwards, I get one of my favorite pictures of the trip:

Expectations are everything for me. Most of the time I’m too optimistic, which generally leaves me disappointed in the end. So, when I expected to see a lot of desert and rocks on my way to Moab today, this Mountain range was quite a delight. Only 21 miles from Moab, and I’m 10,500 feet high in the middle of a birch/aspen/pine tree forest, cool:

Eventually I’d get a good glimpse of the terrain change that I’d been expecting:

I finally reach Moab and suddenly realize how silly it was to stay in Monticello the night before. A few simple shortcuts would have only added an hour to my trip yesterday. Oh well, I thought Moab was cool and will be coming back to explore and patronize in the future. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures, sorry!

I got some water, gas and granola and moved westward, err, northward. This is looking back over Arches National Park:

Actually, this is northward looking up 191 (the trail loops around the mountain):

191 would have taken me where I was going, but you know how we do… I’ll take Gemini Bridges Rd instead:

The thing about a lot of Gemini Bridges Rd is that most of it is all rock. Therefore, there were no tracks to follow. I would be hunting this road down the entire length of it. Here is one instance where I really got disoriented:

I haven’t heard many complaints from other TATers about this particular road. It was fun when I knew where the road was. But when I didn’t, I blazed my own trail. How I didn’t puncture a tube on the itty-bitty cacti is truly amazing as this lasted for hours.

Every once in awhile on the trail, I was actually happy to see asphalt, here is one instance:

These I can follow:

And blow right through:


This abandoned road runs parallel with I-70. You can call it a paved road, but it is certainly not without challenges:

Green River, UT wasn’t far away and the Super 8 where Garmin had sent my CD was the first building I reached. I felt bad for not getting a room since they kept my package, but 80 bucks was a little too fancy for me. The best deal I found in town was the Robber’s Roost for 35 bucks. The people who run this place are very nice:

First things first though, let’s get my GPS routes fixed once and for all. I put the CD in…nothing, try to open the tray… nothing. I whip out my multi-tool and remove the whole cd-rom drive to find that it has dents all over it, thus preventing the CDs from ejecting or spinning. Imagine that, HOW COULD THAT HAVE HAPPENED? GOLLY GEE.

My plan now is to find a computer with a CD-ROM drive and copy the whole disc to my USB thumb drive. The internet café had such a computer, but my sob story wouldn’t get them to open the cabinet containing the physical computer, “Internet Only”. I finally find a guy who was just opening motel and he let me do this for free on his own laptop, another nice guy.

Back at the motel, and to make a long story short, I try again only to find out that it would not overwrite the 2009 maps on my device. I give up. I will run with what I’ve got.

By the way, Green River, UT is simply an interstate rest stop. Motels are the leading industry here. And, when the sun goes down, you need to be in your room or the bugs will rack your nerves. It’s a weird town to say the least:

Tomorrow’s destination: Richfield, UT… that is, if my routes don’t get me totally lost…

Total mileage: 3288
Daily mileage: 182
Wildlife observed: Deer, lizards, chipmunks
Favorite Sight: Geyser Pass Rd
Favorite Scent: No good smells today
Favorite Sound: Green River SP attendant: “Hey, Rowdy Roddy Piper! I just got his skirt in the mail today from eBay” LOL.
Favorite Taste: All of breakfast in Monticello
Favorite Feel: I call it “dancing with the bike”, but I was in good rhythm today, me and the Orangutan were teaming up quite well.
Ailments: None

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