May 9: From CR-11 to CR-7/Rt-379/Duckwater Rd. Total mileage was 41 miles in app. 5 hrs of riding with 2200 feet of elevation gain. 

Woke up to some blue sky and puffy while cumulus clouds this morning for a really nice change of pace. Temp was about 44 degrees. The ladies got us all packed up and we were off before 8 AM. Did the drive west on Rt-50 to about 35 miles east of Eureka to where I’d begun my Saturday ride. Now I had to make changes to the route due to the mud-fest I encountered last Saturday. This meant that I would not get to do the Cathedral Canyon descent, which is supported to be stellar. But to have to endure all the mud and mess…and quite possibly even more what with another full day of rain and snow up there, I still felt I’d made the best choice to just skip that portion and get it rolling on a different, less high and more dry route.

But still, we had no idea if even the low altitude roads would be passable what with the mess we encountered on CR-10 yesterday, so today was either testing the waters and finding wet, impassable roads, or finding roads both me on the bike and the ladies in the van could ride on. Once we crested Antelope Pass on Rt 50 I was beginning to thing things were good. And that was indeed the case once we got to our start point. I had the ladies follow me as I rode in front, and as the miles went on we were finding the dirt/gravel roads to be in pretty good shape. So I just continued to have them follow. We got on Carter Wells Rd - CR9 - and then onto Green Springs Rd - CR5 - with near zero wet road issues. 

The riding was in a basin along the east flank of the White Pine Mt Range, so there was a gradual up all along the way. Now I’d programmed this new route into my Garmin such that it would give me a turn by turn for the entire day’s ride, and it was working just fine in nailing each and every road turn, especially a road that is totally unnamed on every form of navigation that I have. So the ladies just followed me, with my van Garmin GPS saying that they were driving on unpaved road? Our next turn was on Poison Patch Rd - CR1, what was listed as Rt 373 on my GPS and as unnamed road on my van GPS. Now I say all this to really tell you that despite the best navigation equipment on the market (consumer market) it can still be a real chore figuring out where you are at times. Vic is getting a great tutorial on what a mess this navigating can be. 

So we finally got to a point to where I was going to turn off and get on some tracks that are a total no go for the van. And once again, my GPS pointed out the proper turn. So I briefed the ladies as to what they were going to have to do to get to where I’d end the day, and off they went and off I went. So I’m doing well on the track, with my GPS telling me I’m “On Course” with respect to the navigating, and then, about 2 miles into the nameless track my gps tells me to take a right…….right into the brushy desert? Turned around and re-rode the track, and again, the turn to the right prompt came up. But there’s bloody nothing there. I mean not even a faint ghost track to follow. The track I was on was THE only track I’d seen for those 2 miles. 

Well, I’d figured that I was ok so I just continued, and continued and continued and saw absolutely zero other tracks out there. “Had to be the one….right?” Finally, I went to the map and discovered that I was traveling south. Now that could be good, because parts of this track were south trending for small portions, or it could be bad and I was completely off track and just trending south all the time. Decided to continue and see, in a few miles what was the verdict. And by God, when I checked again I was still trending south by southwest. Said a few choice swear words, stopped, pulled out my map and tried to figure out my situation. From the best that I could recollect, I was indeed trending due south by southwest. 

So I could go all the way back and re-ride the nameless track to the junction with Poison Patch Rd (where the ladies had dropped me off), and then south to the Duckwater Indian Reservation, which was a butt load of mileage, OR continue south where I was bound to intersect with either Poison Patch Rd, or my intended road, Rt-379 - Duckwater Valley Rd. I decided for the latter, figuring I’d navigate by my gps compass and continue to trend to the south, southwest, or west, to where in time I’d have to intersect Duckwater Rd. With that decision I peddled on using my gps compass to navigate what was soon turning out to be just a spiderweb of all these tracks jutting off in a gazillion directions. 

I kept it south by south west the whole time, still feeling just a tad nervous about my decision to navigate by compass alone. Must have gone a good 8-10 miles of this when all of a sudden I came upon a main gravel road, which when I turned to my gps map it registered the road to be Rt-379. Yes! Made a right and began the trek north on 379. Went to the compass just to dbl check and found I was indeed moving to the northwest towards Red Rock Pass as I had originally intended. But…I was a good 8 miles south of where I’d intended on coming out onto 379. Hey, way better than to have retraced my steps and riding all the way south to the indian reservation and end up 15 miles south of my intended entry onto 379! 

Had told the ladies NOT to drive any further south on 379 than the pass, so I was pretty sure that they were up the road anywhere form 8-15 miles away. Now 379 was a gain of about 1K feet to the pass, and that was within about 8 miles of riding, so the ride north was all net uphill. Wasn’t a bad climb, but I felt it nonetheless, and was really beginning to bother me was my shoulders and chest. I’m thinking that not having ridden that mt bike in a year, my poor fitness this season, and that damned back pack I’m wearing, I’m thinking all that is really putting the kibosh on my shoulder blades and my upper pectoral muscles. They were just supper sore and tight today, so much so that it reminds me of the ultra distance guys and ladies who get Shermer’s Neck, a really sore and stiff neck for long hrs in the saddle with the head protracted. 

In my case I’m riding with my shoulders protracted for hours on end, and then add that backpack pulling against my upper pectoral muscles, my traps, and my shoulders, it makes for some real chest and back pain. Anyway, I was just miserable today with that. Hit Red Rock Pass in just about what I’d figured, 8 miles, and then began descending toward my day’s destination. About 5 miles later I saw this 2 black dots way off in the distance, up the road a bout 2-3 miles….could be cows….or could be the van. Now it was bad enough that I was pretty tired, and my chest/shoulder blades were just killing me, but the wind had shifted direction and was blowing double digits into my face, making progress that much tougher. 

Seemed like forever as I tried in vain to figure out if the black dots way up the road were cows or the van. Closer, and closer and closer until I find that the first black dot is indeed three cows, who when I get closer race off madly across the road to the west. Then I scope out the second dot, and the closer I got the more it looked like my van parked on the east side of the road. Well, turns out it was indeed Judy and Vic. Rolled up, threw down a quart of powerade, was told by Judy I just had 3 miles to go, and I got back on the bike to fight the headwind. Now the gravel turned to old asphalt, and I did my best to ride the gravel berm, but there were some long sections where the brush was thick with those thorns, so I had to ride on the asphalt instead. 

Those three miles were just plain miserable, what with my horrible pain up through the shoulder blades and into the breastbone and fighting that horrible wind. Judy said it took me 25 minutes to do those three miles! We loaded up and headed to Eureka. Pulled into town and got a motel, probably the best a town where there are only three motels. One is supposed to really suck, the second we checked out but the ladies were not too thrilled, and the third was their/our choice. They really like it and I was happy that they were happy. They go through a lot all day and the last thing I want to do is be a cheapie and put them in some crap hole for three days. 

Judy and Vic tried to help my back issues by giving my a back massage in the shoulder blade area, which was awesome, and then they suggested I soak in the tub to loosen the muscles up. That actually did the trick. Went to a great dinner at a little casino/restaurant - the only place open after 2 PM in the town for food - and back here we are chilling. The town of Eureka is really a cool little place, kind of this old western town that really has never lost it’s charm. I think we’ll enjoy using Eureka for the next several days as our basecamp. More to say about the town tomorrow and beyond. 

We did establish what I’d thought about for a few days now, me riding the course backwards in order for us to finish at a place the ladies have already been to, and for me to ride and navigate them to the start point. That way we could determine together if the road is appropriate for the van and if indeed we’re on the right road. Support out here is just amazingly hard, and the ladies had a tough time once they dropped me off today because the road they took back had some rather large pools of water on it, and then on the road they picked me up on today, that was totally unnamed road on my van gps, so they were really worried that they were on the wrong road for quite some time.

Just have to go with what works, so that’s our latest adjustment.