Day 6: Moab, UT to Salina, UT

Wednesday 9/14

Fresh knobbies: Is there a thing more beautiful? I think not.

After a brief pavement stretch we were back in the dirt. The climb gave us a nice view of the area below. The morning was cool and rain was in the forecast.

We rode a great stretch of road with lots of beautiful scenery. Between the dirt and mountain biking opportunities, if I had to leave the People’s Republic of Kalifornia, I’d definitely put this area on my list of places to consider.

After leaving the Moab area, we continued through the desert landscape. Everything was going fine until we rounded a corner and hit a surprise patch of deep sand. I saw the rear end of Wayne’s bike start to swap wildly. He couldn’t save it and was thrown to the ground. I had already shaved off a lot of speed when I saw his troubles begin, but it wasn’t enough to stop in time or to maneuver my bike around him. I clipped his rear tire and then pitched my bike over.

This was Simon’s first official get-off. Because I modified the backpack to have a solid plastic base, Simon couldn’t be outright crushed. The biggest danger to him would be if he had his face protruding and didn’t retract it in time. Fortunately, when the speeds were above 25, he didn’t like to stick his head out so the risk of him grinding his snout off in a high-speed crash was small. We let him out and he happily ran around. He was probably that thinking if crashing was what it took to get out of his rolling prison, then crash away!

We continued on a mix of dirt and paved roads into Green River.

Green River is a town that features abandoned/destroyed buildings (at least if you drive down the main drag). What’s not ruined exists mainly because the interstate travelers need a place to pee, gas up, and/or eat. I’m not sure why I had it in my head that Green River was more of a tourist destination like Moab. It was disappointing, but since I have a fascination with towns in decay, I’m actually lying: It wasn’t the least bit disappointing. It’s places like this that stoke my curiosity. I want to ask people: Why are you here? Would you leave if you could? Where would you go? I’m reminded that life is one big existential exercise: Use it or lose it.

Once again we brought Simon into a restaurant without asking. The waiter saw Simon and kept staring at him but said nothing. He was a young Mexican guy whose English was spotty so I don’t think he had the vocabulary to courteously throw us out. Honestly, I don’t think he cared; he probably just thought dragging a dog around in a backpack was incredibly weird. Wayne, who will talk to anyone anywhere anytime anyhow (no topic required!), was chatting with some guys in the next booth about the Silver State Classic Challenge, in which they were racing for the first time.

We had a bit of hard time getting out of Green River. Once we found the stretch we needed to be on, we travelled on a wide dirt road until a turn took us into lumpier terrain. The road eventually ended and we were stymied. Wayne did recon on foot and determined that there were shallow rock steps the DRZs were capable of dropping down.

The problem was that a storm was coming and we didn’t want to spend a couple of hours trying to get our DRZs back out of some pit while getting rained on. The rain wouldn’t have been the primary problem; having our sauna suits on while wrestling with our DRZs would’ve been the physically taxing part. We backtracked to the main dirt road and made our way to I-70.

We headed to the next stretch of dirt, the Black Dragon. We stopped at the overlook near the entry point and assessed the situation. The clouds were dark and undoubtedly making their way to us. We decided that being in a rocky wash during a storm could’ve been disastrous. It’s one thing if Wayne or I as consenting (and sentient) adults got washed away, but I think we would’ve taken a lot of heat if Simon was the one who ended up white water surfing to his death.

We continued on the I-70 and tried to hook up with a section of the dirt past the Black Dragon. We could see the dirt road running parallel to the freeway, but there was no way to get to it. We cut across the freeway to find out what the situation was on the other side. Looking down the embankment, we could see a fence cutting off our access to the dirt road. We went back across the median yet again and found the road coming out beneath the freeway, fences all around. We could see no way to get to it so we were resigned to continue on the interstate.

Having learned our lesson the hard way that you don’t wait for the rain to come before donning the rain gear, we pulled over and tediously pulled everything on. Because it was cold, Simon already had his rain cover on.

The rains eventually came and when they did there were no breaks in the action. We slogged down the interstate, the wind and rain forcing us to cruise at just below the speed limit. Semis would bear down on us before changing lanes and then blind us with their passing spray. With the altitude pushing 8,000 ft at one point, it felt like the dead of winter.

We finally hit the frontage road so we could get off the freeway.

By now I was thoroughly chilled and thinking only about a hot shower. I don’t know what it takes for a dog to get hypothermia, but a peek into Simon’s bag showed that he wasn’t shivering nor did he look to be in duress.

After a brief navigational issue that was corrected by a friendly guy in a truck loaded with his ATV, we made our way into Salina in the late afternoon. Averse to mud camping and in need of the aforementioned hot shower, we got a room at the pet friendly Super 8.

————

Day 6 overview: 188 miles

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    • mike_in_la
    • October 11th, 2011

    You missed the best part of Green River…the worlds largest watermelon parade float. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/4164

      • piratemonkeycult
      • October 12th, 2011

      Just looked at the watermelon…I would’ve had to balance Simon on top of it for a picture.

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