May 8th, 2019 / (133km/83miles, 1300hm, 8hrs)
The day starts with a sunny sky, very few clouds, the rainy weather from yesterday afternoon is gone. I start at 6am as today I’ve one of the longest stretches to tackle: 133km or 83 miles with an elevation gain of roughly 1300 meters.
12 kilometers after Baker, I leave Nevada and enter Utah. US-50 gets replaced by UT-21. If US-50 is supposed to be the loneliest road in America, they must have had a great marketing team. Try UT-21. This highway is the most loneliest road I’ve ever been on: in 7 hours it’s only 27 cars that pass me (I kept counting). Other than that there’s nothing and nobody. While in the morning the scenery initially promised to be a bit more diverse than what the past 5 days had offered, the recurring pattern reappears: “hill up, hill down, endless straight stretch thru a flat valley with mountain ranges so far away that one loses every relation to size”. Sigh.
The good thing: no cars, so the road is mine and driving is more or less carefree. The few cars that pass one can already see from 20 kilometers distance and I hope they do the same with me. If they approach me from behind, they all pass in a wide distance by going to the opposite side of the road. I always love hearing their wheels making that humming noise when they pass lanes and cross the ripples in the tarmac: A reconfirming sound that makes me feel safe.
Talking about safe: today I crashed with my bike for the first time. We were rolling down a hill — controlled, as I am very careful with the heavy trailer pushing from behind – when a sudden gust of wind pushes me and my bike to the right and I can’t prevent to go off the shoulder into dirt and soft gravel. My bike slides, the trailer wobbles and I fly off my bike into the gravel. Luckily, nothing damaged: neither me, nor the bike or trailer. I get a few abrasions, but thanks to all the long bike clothing that I’m wearing due to the chilly wind, things don’t end up too bloody. I check myself, I check the bike and when I have everything put upright again, I recognize that my front tire has gone flat. Sigh. So I start changing the tube while this one dark cloud that probably blew me off into the gravel decides to start raining on me. F*ck. But so what — I’m glad my bike is still in one piece, nothing got really damaged, I’m in reasonable shape and all of this was just another reminder that I need to be more careful with the wind.
All in all, it was a breathtaking scenery today. The ride could have been a bit shorter if you’d ask my butt, but you can’t always get what you want. From here on the legs per day will get shorter and I’ll spend a bit more time sightseeing, There’s UT-12 coming up which is supposedly one of the most scenic drives here in Utah. I’m curious what awaits.
Milford is a not particularly interesting little town. It has a supermarket and one or two motels, a train station, three or four “restaurants”. Penny’s Diner right next to the Travelodge Motel (recommend it!) is where I get the “way too often these days” burger and a vanilla milkshake as a treat for the tough day.