16 May 2012
On the road. Finally.
And it was only 6pm.
Our first stretch to Steamboat Springs was easy riding. It took about 3 hours and we stopped for lunch. Tracy and J. Large, the BBQ place is called The Double Z. Yummy! That was when we realized that we forgot to put a bottle of wine in the bags for dinner the first night. So we found a great little wine shop and picked up a bottle. That was also when we realized we forgot--and for those of you who know us well, this will make you laugh--we forgot a corkscrew! We each carry one in our cars and in our regular luggage (you NEVER know when you might need one!) and we have about a hundred of them at home. In fact, it's been a joke every time we move that somehow they seem to multiply. But here we are, at a campground in Flaming Gorge, Utah with no corkscrew. Luckily, the one other person camping tonight had one. His name is Don and he rode his motorcycle up from Colorado Springs. He shared our campfire with us and we had a nice evening.
Back to leaving Steamboat Springs. We rode through Craig, where the guys who play hockey with Josh go to a hockey tournament. Boy, that town was not what I thought it was going to be. I pictured a city, with a nice hotel--some of the stories make more sense now, guys.
We turned onto a small highway. Barely a highway really. Two lanes, speed limit varying between 35 and 60, depending on where you were. We had to slow down for a twister whipping across the road and funneling tumbleweeds 90 feet into the air. About that time, I asked Josh one more time (after having asked several times in the last couple of months) if it was going to turn into a dirt road. He emphatically said no, that Google maps gave this as the fastest route to get to Flaming Gorge. Ten miles later, we hit Utah and the pavement ended. Now, I am expecting dirt/gravel roads, but the truth is, up to this point, I have only ridden two. Just two.
And this is a crappy kind of dirt road. Hard packed, but with lose gravel on top. We rode a five mile stretch, standIng up, me being tense and nervous, trying to stay lose and have light hands on the bars and not succeeding particularly well, and wondering how in the hell I am going to make it to Alaska. We got to a sign, which I am hoping will say, "no worries, pavement again in 200 yards," but what it really says in junction with 191 in 20 miles. OH MY GOD! As we sit staring at the sign, me wanting to cry in my helmet, I look up and realize that the road turns back to pavement in about 200 yards. Oh, we'll then. I guess we'll be alright.
We hit that pavement and I was one happy girl. We did a few little twisties amongst some beautiful red rock hills, and the pavement ended again. Shit. We rode about 25 more miles of dirt road. But, I have to say, having the break on the good road and realizing that I made it through and could do it, made the second section much easier. My bike is made to do this kind of riding, and the added weight on the back, instead of making it harder to handle, settles it down really nicely on the road. We also got to see a herd of pronghorns leaping across the road and a lot of cows just hanging next to the road as if they were trying to hitch a ride. Sorry buddy, you are way over my load limit! It wasn't all bad.
And one little side note, Wyoming has WAY BETTER dirt roads than Utah. Hard pack, no gravel.
By the time we reached camp, we were both tired. And, there was no water. The camp hosts refunded half of our fee. We made dinner, enjoyed the fire, and enjoyed chatting with a fellow motor biker. Don even gave us his canister of bear spray. He says we are going to need it where we're going and he won't.
One day done and gone. We are so on our way!
And by the way, Ian McLeod, you are missed.