The trip has been going just as well as before, and I have now made it to Salt Lake City, UT. This has been an exciting stop because it is one of the first larger cities I have hit on the trip, and I get to rest for a bit as well. So far I have biked for 12 days, and covered somewhere over 950 miles. A lot of the kinks and aches that were going on during the first week have subsided, so that makes riding much easier.
My last post was in Eureka, NV, and from there I headed to Ely, NV. Nevada has been very rural, and for this day of riding there was a gap of 80 miles between towns with nothing in between. There have been a lot of summits in Nevada; usually there were 3 – 4 passes a day. Luckily though, the heat in Nevada was not nearly as bad as when I first started in the state. Most temperatures were somewhere in 90s.
Ely was one of the larger towns in Nevada, and so I managed to grab a few bike items at the local sports shop. I was told that this was the only bike shop for 200 miles each way! Earlier on in the trip, while stopping for lunch, I began to notice that I was having difficulties grabbing utensils and cups of water. I was fumbling everything. At first I thought it was just fatigue, but as the trip has progressed I noticed the issue more and more, and my fingers began to go numb after gripping the bike handlebars for such long hours. So, in Ely I ended up double-wrapping the handlebars with tape. I think that did the trick, as the finger numbness has subsided considerably. My dad and I stayed in the historic Hotel Nevada for that night, though we did visit the local firehouse and talk with Chief and another firefighter for a bit.
Once we departed Ely we were off the NV/UT border! This was my favorite day of Nevada riding. it is incredible how you can notice the terrain transitioning as your ride through it. I noticed larger mountain ridges that were more rocky rather than the brown desert images in western Nevada. Highway 50 also sort of winds with the mountains in Eastern Nevada, rather than straight through them as I had experienced before. For about 30 miles I got to ride alongside this giant mountain ridge – it was incredible. When I made it to the summit I could see for miles, and a giant thundercloud loomed in the distance. I could actually see the sheets of rain falling down miles away, and I spotted three different lightning strikes over the mountain top.
We stayed at at the Border Inn motel on the state line, and I talked to a couple of motorcyclists from Reno about the trip. They were pretty interested and very supportive. Following that stay was a 90 mile ride into Nevada, with two summits at the beginning. Right around here I got to ride through my favorite pass thus far, a place called King’s Canyon. During the descent I was literally surrounded by these giant skyscraper mountains that shoot up right at the side of the road. I loved it. After that things got really flat, which was a huge relief.
The Delta City Fire Department escorted me into their town with an engine and chief’s car. These firefighters were great, and truly just want to genuinely help other people out. My mom had called ahead of time to let them know about my dad’s birthday the day prior, so when we arrived at the station they had ice cream and cake all ready to go! After that we toured their station, and everyone was very proud to show off the rigs. I was impressed with their 4000 gallon truck that was designed and fabricated by the firefighters themselves, as well as their specially constructed military off-road vehicle that was converted into a brush truck. There were three different axles on that thing.
The Delta City firefighters were super kind too, and they even secured us a stay at the local motel free of charge. Thank you. Following that I biked to Santaquin, UT, and with the help of a terrific tail wind I was there in no time.
Santaquin has been another great stay. The fire chief is a career firefighter in metropolitan Salt Lake City, and works in Santaquin during his off-days as chief. He was there to greet me upon arrival, and had originally planned for a meal at the firehouse. A few minutes after I arrived though, he said “there’s been a change of plans”. Instead of eating at the station, he invited me to come over and eat with his family! It was great. There were nine of us, including the chief, his wife, his parents (his dad is an assistant chief on the department) and his four children. All of the kids were very fun and energetic, and the meal was great too – pasta! After talking a bit about the fire service and the different aspects of life in Utah and by the mountains, I headed back to the station. But first the family invited me over for breakfast again in the morning, and I gladly accepted.
I thought the rest of the evening would be pretty quiet in Santaquin, but it certainly wasn’t. One of the on-duty police officers is an avid cyclist, and I talked to him for a while about my trip plans and preparations. He says he has plans to do a cross-country tour upon his retirement from the police department. I was glad to talk to him about my trip, and it made me realize again how many people have helped me out in planning this thing, especially regarding the logistics behind the actual bike and gear. I am so grateful for these friends and family members who have assisted me in preparing for this trip. Even something as simple as advice about a bike part or map route has proven to be so helpful.
Following that the engine (or truck – I don’t know what to call it and you will have to ask me to tell you the story about it in person for me to explain) caught a call for a car fire. The chief invited me to join, so I hopped on! The rest of the night was spent talking with more firefighters, and I went to bed around 10 pm or so. I was the only in the fire station, and they set me up with an air mattress and cot in the department training room. However, a city janitor came by at 4:30 am to clean the place, and it must’ve shocked him a bit to find me sleeping in the room! When he woke me up and asked me what I was doing, I told him I had permission to stay from the fire chief, and he said I could stay the morning meeting at 7 am. Haha that was pretty funny.
Chief Olson in Santaquin set me up with a great route into Salt Lake City, and for that day of riding I also had a good tail wind. For the last 30 miles I caught a city bike trail along the Jordan River, which connects the Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake. It was a fun route, but rather slow because it was always weaving along the river path. This was great though, and I took a rather leisurely pace. I ended the night staying at Salt Lake City fire station 1, and the crew there was helpful in setting me up with a place to rest.
I’ll try to send out more posts soon, and I appreciate all the supportive messages, emails, texts and snapchats that anyone has sent me over that past few weeks. They are great! I do apologize I don’t have as many photos on this site. I’ll probably stick to posting the photos via facebook, as that is a lot easier to do from my phone.