Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 28 Utah

Breakfast at the silver café in Pioche. The hope was for an easy day into Cedar city Utah. After an easy climb and nice descent the 15 miles to Panaca went quickly. Now we turned east to go over a mountain range we knew was there but couldn't see because of the dark clouds. It was easy to see that we were going to get wet so we put on our booties and full winter gear.
A few minutes later we started climbing and the rain began. And it continued for the next 2 hours and 12 miles. It did turn to sleet the last mile or two. Not knowing how far it was the top I kept wondering which was closer hypothermia or the pass. Fingers and toes probably as cold as they've ever been. Arnie, I kept thinking I needed to stop and unpack my bags to hunt up the one remain heat pack you gave me at Zokas before we left. Thanks again. I will leave them easier to reach after this.

The poem about recapturing spring that Tim sent as a comment a few weeks ago was in my thoughts during this climb. We've discovered it is also possible to recapture winter by climbing. Any poems about that?

A question for anyone who may remember their college physiology. The
2 hour climb to the pass was a 5 pee climb for me. I've observed this effect on other cold rides. Easy to understand why on hot days one can ride without the need. Why on cold days does the body need to get rid of water?

Just before the top of the pass the sun came out, but I still used my foam pad to cover my chest for extra wind/cold protection during the descent. I found Hugh a few minutes later warming up in the sun. He climbs faster on his upright so he had a half hour nap while I caught up. We had a salami sandwich and continued the descent. We finally crossed the Utah border and were looking for place to eat but no luck so we stopped for another salami sandwich. After a few miles there finally was a gas station so we stopped again to eat. FYI yogurt, organge juice and a microwave bean burrito is not a good combination. One more long headwind climb and many revisits from the previous meal and Cedar city was in view 10 miles across the valley. The hardest part was seeing the city look so small against the huge mountains. I was not looking forward to the 10,000 foot pass planned for tomorrow especially since snow level is expected to be 7000.

At about 6:30 we reached the home of our warm showers hosts. We had a niced dinner with a beautiful sunset view overlooking the valley. Thank you Ian and the rest of the Dalton family for your hospitality and company. We spent some time on their computer and rerouted around the planned high pass.
It will be a liitle longer but we only have to climb over an 8000 ft pass so snow won't be as big of problem, we hope.

FYI double clicking on this blogs pictures will allow you to see larger versions of the images.

Still smiling,



Timothy said...


I have been reading Mary Oliver's new book with a friend.

There isn't a snowy road and bicycle poem, but I like the way this one resonates with your journey:

In the Pasture

On the first day of snow, when the white curtain of winter
began to stream down,
the house where I lived grew distant
and at first it seemed imperative to hurry home.
But later, not much later, I began to see
that soft snowbound house as I would remember it,
and I would linger a long time in the pasture,
turning in circles, staring
at all the crisp, exciting, snow-filled roads
that led away.

by Mary Oliver

Good luck on your last Nevada mountain passes and roller after roller in cold headwind and god forsaken beautiful
snow croaking sagebrush sea--

Bladder math in cold weather: How about stopping in the next drug store and outfitting yourself with a leg bag? ;) It might help speed us up a bit, but Nevada's almost gone.

Utah will be warmer won't it?

Here is poem by a Utah poet that seems to sum up what I imagine goes on after weeks on your bike trip odyssey:


Imagine some tan grass and sage,

monoliths and blow outs,

flatness the feet cannot believe,

distance the eye laughs at

as it fumbles blindly

with the ends of all time.

Imagine everything here moves

(even the cactus will come close

to a sleeping man

and the beetle will tunnel

under the arch of his foot)

and a full half-moon

is enough light for gray things.

Here our secret voice is too loud.

When we think, the desert hushes ...

so quiet jack rabbits can hear

owls listening with one ear ...

so quiet when a vulture beckons

with the bones of our hand

our shadow makes a dragging sound

like dry skin over rock.

Inside our selves, there is nothing

anyone can say to us.

We learn to hear a voice

book cover of "Antique Land"

with no sound, with no tongue

with no mouth, as if the air

itself was a way of speaking.

We have become easily startled

because we are living

in the space closest to our bodies.

by William Studebaker

Ciao for now.


Anonymous said...

Hifrom Peter, Hugh's brother. My hat if off to you two. You guys are either nuts or couragious, somewhere between the two. I am very impressed with your speed in such fowl weather,as I remember a trip i had from Ft.Collins with a friend riding in a steel gondola rail freight and we went thru a blizzard in Wyoming and dried out in Utah. WE slept wrapped in each other and our elephant's foot bag inside our regular down bags barely kept us warm. So GOOD LUCK to you and happy riding!Peter