Wednesday, July 22: As far behind as I am right now, I just had to make today kind of a half day, this way we could spend a second day in Moab…Judy’s favorite spot in American! And that’s no lie. As hot as it is down here in the summer, for me anyway, Judy loves the place. Couldn’t just pass through after all the sweat and blood Judy’s given me on this crazy journey. So we re-upped at the motel and I decided last night to do kind of a half day and then come back here early in the afternoon. That way Judy could get more of her Moab fix, and I could get a small respite from full day riding. 

With that decided last evening, we got up super late this morning…at an embarrassing 7 AM. Yea, what a luxury to sleep that late. I worked for a while as Judy did a run up the Bike & Hike trail up the canyon, followed by a wt workout, and then we did breakfast, and finally loaded the van in anticipation for a ride for me, and a ride for Jude afterwards. We got rolling up the canyon on Rt 191 to where I finished yesterday at the FR 313 junction. From there I rode L, north on some very primitive dbl track alongside the road to the junction with  FR 215. Now again, the road signage is an issue here in UT, as I’ve found out over the past 2 days. This gravel OMV road was not even given a sign, and our gps’s both gave it different names, my gamin called it Mine Rd, and the van gps was Willow Springs. 

Figured that this had to be the road, so I told Jude to go down the road to the very next L up 191 north. Couldn’t even begin to guess what the name would be down there, so hoped we work it out with our gps’s. I got going on this thing and it was just 4WD from the start. Thank God I didn’t have Judy follow me. This thing went into a really nasty little ring climb within a mile, and it was one long, rocky, ledgy, mess of a road. And about half way up 4 ATC’s came rolling down at me, with one guy kind of not really wanting to move over. I just held my line and rode right at him. He moved…and I was lucky he didn’t call my bluff!

It then flattened out up on top of this ridge and kind of undulated over the next several miles. This was some truly grunt riding, and it made me wonder what that second and final segment for the day would be. Heck, I was banking on a light day, but of that second 25-mile segment was as gnarly as this first 7-mile segment…I was in for a long, tough day. Well, I made it back eventually to meet with Judy, who was able to match the name of the road with the gazetteer - FR 342, Mill Canyon Rd. My garmin also called it Mill Canyon. Ain’t that coincidence? From there I took a L, north, on another primitive dbl track alongside 191. My guess is that the ATC folks were doing the same thing as me to bridge from one track to the next alongside 191. For once I appreciate their presence, cuz riding that dbl track is a lot easier than fighting the berm alongside 191 like I did yesterday. 

Next segment for me was a tenuous one, in that there were just a plethora of roads out there and as I’d found, hardly anything is marked with a sign, let alone the gps information is sketchy at best. So I’m thinking I have to get this thing dialed in great or else I could end up pedaling all over this giant plateau in the middle of BFE! I studied this route last night on google maps in conjunction with me Benchmark gazetteer. So I kind of memorized the junction points. I’d told Judy to meet me at Blue Hills Rd, FR 138, and be damned of once again, that’s what the van gps confirmed. 

Took a big hit of water, knowing that with temps in the high 80’s, mid 90’s I could be out there for several hours. Told Judy to meet me in Floy, off of I-70 west, and off I went. My gps told me I was on 10-mile Rd, despite the fact that this was a 25-mile ride. But the google maps also side it was 10-mile Rd for a portion, then it changed to Powerline Rd, and then to Ruby Ranch Rd. So I was prepared for name changes along the way. This thing started out super fast, like I could go at about 14-16 mph. I was just waiting for the bottom to fall out each and every mile. But this continued for 5, 6, 7, 8 miles where I could crush it. 

Now there were washout sections where the silt was still really tacky, and I’d come through one of those and the crap was just flying everywhere. It was this super fine silty, half dried mud that just stuck to the tires like flypaper. But I’d blast through it and within several minutes all the stuff was gone from the tires. Now my bike, and me, that was another story. That stuff clung to me and the bike frame and was dried mud within seconds. At about the 9-mile mark I did this little cookie climb, but it was over quickly and then I was back to hammering. At about 12 miles in, the washes really increased and I was plowing through these little mud fields a couple times per mile. One wash actually still had a good bit of water in it, in addition with about 30 feet of tacky mud. This I hike-a-biked through by tip toeing on rocks across the mess. 

Go up along these power lines for a bit on a ridge, hence - power line Rd - and then back out onto the plateau. Now during this whole ride, I only saw one vehicle, and it wasn’t even occupied. It was parked alongside the road. Otherwise this was just the barrens. Good news was that this was not an OMV route, so it was just silence all the way. Got to the junction of Ruby Ranch Rd, and this was on a sign, but my gps still called it 10-mile Rd. So this is to all you folks who think that gps is the answer to any directional issues…IT”S NOT! You’d better research the routes or be damned good at navigating via a compass!

Do the last 7 miles north and met Judy at the junction of Ruby Ranch Rd, FR 147, and I-70 at exit 175. On a route that I’d feared would take me 3 hrs, it only took me 1:45 hrs. I mean I was just flying. That was a good chunk of high plateau, desert riding for sure. My real amazement was in all the water that was out there in the washes and alongside the road. This has really been a wet summer out here. Normally this area is just as dry as dry can be. So that was it, I’d gotten in 32 miles with about 1K of elevation gain - a meager day, but what the heck. Now it was Judy’s turn to ride. 

So I changed and drove us back to the end of the bike & hike trail up on Rt 191, where Judy got on her bike and did the bike trail south back into Moab. I drove back down the canyon and waited for her at the motel. The day worked out great. We went for an early dinner at the Moab Brewery, where I imbibed in a couple Nut Brown Ales, while Judy had some a Pino. We did this Thai calamari for an ap. and I had the Green Chile Burrito while Judy had the Turkey burger - really quality dinner all the way around! All in all we had a really nice day together where we could actually enjoy a venue, such as we did back in Dolores, CO. Tomorrow we’ll begin riding parallel to I-70 all the way to Salina and more mts. 

Oh yea, as a side note, I was weighed when I went in to get the stitches taken out yesterday. I weighed a paltry 158 lbs with all my gear on. Damn, I have not been that light since I was in high school. Don’t like it either. I feel like a damn rail. Judy tells me I’m looking more and more like a scarecrow. Ahhh….the downside of X-country riding. I’ve got some serious work to do on the bod once we get home!