Day 7: Salina, UT to Garrison, UT

Thursday 9/15

On the way out of Salina I took a picture of the Super 8 sign because I liked seeing “Pet Friendly” in such big letters. Looking back, though, I’m kinda bummed because I missed the part about the continental breakfast (not sure how — it’s only on top). I heart free food.

The next town we were headed for was Richfield. The day was sunny and a heartening change from the dumpy day before.

On our way into Richfield we passed several dairies. Those big cows were the ones living it up. These little guys would be confined to their hutches until it was time for them to become veal cutlets. Good thing they don’t internet access to research their fate.

We topped off our gas tanks in Richfield and then headed up into the mountains. This is where our two-map system came into use. I bought Sam’s TAT maps back in 2008, which Wayne did his best to translate into GPS tracks. I also had the route that Ken and Matt created for their trip a little over a year ago.

We were following Sam’s route when at one point we were lead up a goat trail that didn’t seem right so we backtracked and took Ken’s route which was part of the Paiute ATV trail system. (Matt: We called it “Ken’s route” since he’s our friend so don’t be insulted… we know you were the brains and he was the brawn of the operation!) This section of the Paiute Trail must’ve been made in the past few years because it didn’t show up on the Garmin topo map.

At one point we pulled up behind a couple of guys on ATVs. They were crossbow hunters who had their eyes trained on the stream that flowed besides us so they didn’t realize we were there. I didn’t want to beep my horn and be rude so I just waited for them to glance back for some random reason. I didn’t have to wait long. Simon let out a string of loud barks like he was lodging a complaint — perhaps he didn’t like the slow pace and lack of air flow? The ATVers turned around, saw us, and moved over. Angry small dog: nature’s horn.

We popped out into the Fishlake recreation area where we came across some genuine cowboys moving their herd. Or perhaps they were horse thieves moving someone else’s herd. The herd was blocking the entire road so we asked the guys if we should wait — the last thing we city-tards wanted to do was scatter someone’s cattle to the four corners of the world. They told us to keep going and the herd peacefully parted. Simon didn’t even need to verbally instruct them to get out of the way.

At a gas stop in Kanosh we met Bob. He was about 75 and looked like a character actor perfect for the role of small town gas station owner.

He asked us where we stayed last night and we told him were at the Super 8. He said that the next time we were in Kanosh we should stay at the Kanosh Motel, which was right next to his gas station. He even insisted that we go over to look at it so we could appreciate it and tell our friends about it. Well I’m here to tell you that I looked at it and the place looked extremely well cared for, so the next time you’re in the area, stay at the Kanosh Motel. The $55 they’re charging is a bargain (only $10 more than an unreasonably priced KOA camp site).

When some guys on ATVs pulled up to get gas, Bob asked them where they stayed last night…you get where this is going. If I were a business owner, I’d hire Bob to handle sales.

Simon logged some good morning miles so he earned a treat.

After leaving Kanosh we began the leg of the journey that would take us into Nevada. The roads were lined with Black-Eyed Susans for miles.

The landscape of western Utah remained mostly unchanged for a couple of hours: wide roads, distant mountains.

The geological feature of the day was Crystal Peak, a chunk of pockmarked volcanic rock that’s striking in its contrast to the forest surroundings. Crystal Peak Pass took us up to 7800 feet.

When we reached Highway 21, we headed north to Baker, got gas, and then went back down the highway towards Garrison (home to the Utah Department of Transportation but otherwise devoid of services). Now in the late afternoon, we turned our efforts to finding a place to camp for the night. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, the sun’s dropping low, and you don’t know where you’re going to stay, you get a little wistful about the houses you see along the way. You think about how lucky these people are in their warm fortresses and you feel rejected by all their NO TRESPASSING signs.

We eventually moved past the ranches and started to climb out of the valley. We were transitioning into the BLM’s Highland Ridge Wilderness Area which meant we were at last free to choose a place to pitch our tent. We found an awesome spot that overlooked the valley.

It’s hard to appreciate the value of water until you dry camp in an environment where future water procurement is unknown (and every liter adds weight to an already-heavy bike). I’d only put a small amount in Simon’s water bowl and he’d have to drink it all before I gave him more. We had thought about bringing our MSR water filter, but it was bulky enough that we left it behind. In hindsight, I would’ve brought it since even in late summer we came across plenty of water sources. Yes, we could’ve boiled water in an emergency, but the filter does a great job of removing the funk that offends the palate.

One week down!

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Day 7 overview: 203 miles

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    • Roy Keizer
    • October 10th, 2011

    This is great reading. Just got back from Ocotillo for the weekend and getting caught up…Roy

      • piratemonkeycult
      • October 12th, 2011

      Hey Roy, I’ll be rehabbing over winter so you and the boys should get Wayne out for some rides.

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