May 3: West of Delta, UT to east of Baker, NV. Total ride mileage was 49.5 miles in 4.5 hrs of total ride time. 

Again….oooffa am I one out of shape cookie! The morning low for Delta was 38 degrees, so we needed to chill for a bit longer than I’d like. Got things rolling out of Delta around 8:30 AM for the drive back to where I left off yesterday out on Old Rt 50. Morning was crisp, at about 55 degrees and nothing but blue sky. Got on the bike at about 9:20 AM. 

Judy rode with me for the first 45 minutes while Vic drove. Now disregard the spelling of Vickie from yesterday. NO dammit, it’s Vicki! Got it, and I’m going with Vic from here on in just so I don’t piss off Vic’s daddy the next time he reads this blog. To be serious, it’s just awesome to have Vic helping out on this trip. Man, my stress level is way lower than last year just knowing that Judy and Vic are together. You see Vic is Judy’s babysitter, and by God I don’t mind paying for it. Call it peace of mind for both of us!

So we were rolling up this false flat that took all of yesterday’s 22 miles, and it just kept rising up and up and up, very gradually. I’d check my altimeter and see that we were gaining feet 10 feet at a time. But tell you what, you can feel it big time. Judy stopped at 45 min in, jumped in the van with Vic, and I just continued up this endless climb, until finally I could see this saddle off in the distance. This was the pass, at around 6K, that led down into Marjum Canyon. The surface of the gravel road changed from just bumped but fairly well packed to pretty unconsolidated, and washing a front or rear wheel was in the forefront of my mind. About a half mile down the descent into the canyon I pass Judy and Vic, with the van shut off and they’re doing arm curls with Judy’s hand dumbbells at the back of the van. I just chuckled and continued descending. 

The loaminess of the gravel increased even more, and I did wash the front wheel once, where I had to just let the front end go where it wanted until I could slowly pull it out, gradually easing it back into the middle of the road. Just a bit of a heart palpitation on that one! Now this Marjum Canyon is just spectacular. It looks to be a blackish granite, or maybe a basalt. Whatever, it’s really a cool ride down through this canyon. Once I got through the steep, couple hundred foot cliff area, it was a balls descent, where the gravel just dropped down this rollercoaster-like, straight as an arrow down. The gravel was way better on this section so I could lay off the brakes and let the bike go. 

Ended up down in this basin and had lost a good 1800 feet in ele. Welcome to the Basin and Range region….up and down and up and down and up and down. In the distance was this massive salt flats to the north. Then it was back to climbing again, this time I knew I needed to make it over Cowboy Pass, at 5700 ft. This pup was a toughie, as it gained way more ele. much quicker than the approach to Marjum Canyon. At about 3 hrs into the ride, with me getting in 28 miles thus far, I was really feeling cooked. About 5 miles from the pass Judy and Vic were parked, and preparing a freaking gourmet tuna salad. Lunch time! I was so ready to be off the bike. Pulled out a camp chair, popped an ice cold coke and just slumped into the camp chair like I’d just ridden 200 miles. 

The temp was around 63 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and I felt like I could just melt into that chair and never move again sitting in the nice warm sunshine - after just 28 miles of cycling. “Man”, I was thinking to myself….”I’m a real piece of work here, just freaking dead after 3 hrs of cycling, and I want to get in 50 for the day?????” So I got some tuna salad in me, had some water, then somehow slowly pealed my sorry ass off the chair to finish the climb to Cowboy Pass. Judy and Vic were at the top cheering me on like I was leading the TDF. Little did they know that I was running on fumes. Then I got another great descent on really good gravel. That finally took me down into another basin where the terrain eventually evened out and my free mph’s due to gravity ended. That’s when I really began to feel the day’s effort in totality - sore neck, shoulders, triceps and biceps, tired legs, sore ass, goofy head. Yup, I felt all those things that you normally feel on a X-country ride, but I felt them way sooner than I’d normally feel them. 

I’d told them I wanted to take Old Rt 50 to it’s junction with Gandy Rd, which I figured would give me 50 miles for the day. But be damned if this junction would ever come. I’d figured it was 5 miles at one point. Then I rode that five miles, then a sixth, then a seventh, and then an eighth. Finally, after me standing in the saddle for way more time than I’d like, just to stretch my legs out, we hit the junction. 

Just leaned on my bike for a few minutes, savoring the fact that the day’s riding was over and bracing my tired legs. Pounded some ice water and we headed to our intended motel destination, Baker NV. Now as I said yesterday, this area is just so remote it’s crazy. So my expectations of Baker were pretty tempered in reality. Judy on the other hand just can’t comprehend why there’s not Super 8’s outs here, and no grocery stores, and just mom and pop restaraunts. I mean it’s BLEAK out here. So only three motels in Baker. The first was just ok, but the dude had no TV, you could only play video games and stuff. NOPE!

The second, Whispering Elms, was our choice. And really, for 66 bucks a night, when you’re dead tired, don’t want to cook or put up a tent, it’s a bloody bargain - “The best I ever had!” And actually this is Trump towers compared to the Bates Motel from yesterday. We ate at a Casino-Motel-Cafe up the road and had some pretty good food. Back here at the motel right now watching the NBA playoffs and drinking a Newcastle Brown Ale. 

We’ll base out of here tonight and tomorrow due to the really tough riding and the lack of civilization for the next 65 miles west of Baker. Our next town, city, site of humanity will be Ely, NV, which again we;ll use as a base for a couple days. Well, time for another beer, I’m out for the day……..Pete