My original plan for beginning this trip was to leave the Ute Mountain work site at noon on Friday, the 27th, and get a half days ride in. At the end of the week, however, I was tired and dirty, and really wanted a shower and a real bed to sleep in. So, plans changed and Josh and I simply road back to Vernal, where we would be going our separate ways the next morning instead.
We got a room at the Best Western Dinosaur (not gonna lie, all the soaps, shampoos, etc. were really nice and completely gone after I had a shower that night and one the next morning!) and had dinner at the Vernal Brewing Company. We read a lot of reviews about places to eat in Vernal, and apparently there is a lot of mediocre food there. We went to VBC on a recommendation from the man two rooms down who works in Vernal and pretty much lives at the Best Western. It was within walking distance, and it was a gorgeous night. We sat out on the patio for dinner, overlooking their garden where a lot of their veggies come from. The food was excellent and I had their house made root beer. It was yummy!
|Outside the hotel room in Vernal, loaded up and ready to go! My first big solo trip--I'm excited!|
The next morning, after breakfast, we loaded the bikes and left--I headed west and Josh headed east. This is my first solo motorbike trip to take me out of the state, and I was excited and nervous. As it turned out, it's just like riding in state, only across state borders, and on roads I had never travelled before. I headed out 40W/191S to Duchesne, where I turned south. The road became a mountain pass, and at the summit, I finally stopped and put on warmer gloves. The road had a 50 mph speed limit, was covered in gravel, and didn't warn about switchbacks. Ok Utah, I see how we're gonna play this!
I made it through, no problem, and picked up Hwy 6W at the other end. A few miles on from there, I made my first stop for gas and a stretch at Soldier Summit. I wound up staying about half an hour, maybe longer, as I ran into a number of people to talk to. The first was a guy with a KTM in the back of his truck. He had been out riding with friends in the mountains, when his bike broke down. He was, consequently, making the beer run while his buddies continued their day of riding without him. That's a sad story.
After buying some snacks, I went back to my bike to find the owners of the Harley I parked next to gearing up and getting ready to go. Debbie and Bruce, from Northern Idaho were really nice people, and I had a great time chatting with them. They were both originally from Monterrey, California, but left about 20 years ago. They were warm, kind people with beautiful smiles, and thousands of miles under them. I really enjoyed their company, and wound up catching up to them on the road again. We rode about 20 miles together before they turned north towards Salt Lake City, and I turned south towards Provo.
|Debbie and Bruce--such nice people! They're bike was shiny and well loved!|
I had to ride I-15 for a little while, but was able to hop back off and onto little Hwy 6 for the rest of the day. For most of the rest of the day, I felt I had the road to myself. I listened to music and sang along in my helmet. It. Was. Lovely. I ended my day in Delta, UT and looked for a campground. About 18 miles away was the Oak Creek Rec Area, in the northern section of Fishlake National Forest. I set up camp, then drove back into town to check in with the outside world and have some fish and chips at The Delta Freeze.
When I returned to the campground, I wandered around a bit and read all the posted notices. No big deal--bear country and poisonous snakes. Sweet! Don't worry, I made it through uneaten!
|As I was taking my picture, a couple on a Harley pulling a trailer rode by, slowed down and took a picture of the sign too. With me in it. Weird.|
The next morning, I had a quick breakfast at the gas station--coffee, milk, and granola I made to bring with me--and I headed off for Nevada. Just across the border, I turned off the highway towards Baker and the Great Basin National Park. It is a small national park that doesn't appear to actually charge to enter. Aside from being a lovely place to visit, they have caves which were discovered about 125 years ago. I was really excited to take a cave tour, but the next one I could get a ticket for was two hours away.
|This is the original entrance to the Lehman Caves. They have now put a bat friendly fence around it after they blocked off all the entrances and nearly killed all of them. Way to go guys!|