May 14th, 2019 / (170km/105mi, 1540hm/5050ft elev gain)
The day starts with riding along Capitol Reef thru green canyons enclosed by steep red and beige sandstone mountains towering left and right. The road winds its way thru the canyon. I hit a bunch of bike riders coming my way – they don’t carry any luggage, so either there’s some service vehicle ahead or it’s a day tour group. A lot of friendly waving of hands and then they are gone as fast as they appeared in the first place.
After the lush green and intense red of Capitol Reef the road starts getting into the open desert. The stone turns into a dark grey which nicely contrasts with the bright yellow of some desert flowers. I have to stop quite often and take pictures. The color contrast is just brilliant.
The further I get towards Hanksville – 70km past Torrey – the dryer it gets and the scenery turns into “real” desert. Also, the temperature rises over the hours and around noon we’re well beyond 30°C/90°F. Luckily there’s some light wind going which makes it more bearable.
I have a short break at the grocery store in Hanksville, a small village along the highway, to drink something cold and have some fruit before I get back onto my bike and take on the remaining 90km towards Green River. The route is as boring as can be – probably a sneak preview for what to expect in Kansas – going in a straight line from Hanksville to almost the city limit of Green Village. If it wasn’t for the interstate that I decide to enter despite Google Maps trying to route me 45km extra over some gravel road, there wouldn’t have been many bends in the road. Compared to those 90km, Nevada US-50 has been a maze to get lost in.
I reach Green Village and my motel around 4:30pm today. Time to shower, wash my bike stuff and get some food. Enough for today. It was a hot and exhausting ride. From here to Denver the daily legs will become shorter: roughly 90-100km per day only.