June 20, 1999 - Day 15 - Utah state line to Delta, Utah

91.6 miles, 14.6 mph average, 967 total miles, 43.7 max speed
11 roadkill

Today is the 19th birthday of my daughter, Ruth. 1:17 a.m. June 20, 1980, a day I will never forget. Happy Birthday, Ruth. I love you and miss you very much. I remember bringing Ruth home from the hospital and watching her sleep contentedly through the afternoon and into the evening. It was so sweet... until late night when she woke up. We learned something that day.
This is a doubly bittersweet day because it's also Father's Day, and I'm not with my daughters. I called them in the morning before they left for church. I am blessed to be the father of such wonderful daughters. Any of you that are parents of more than one child know just how completely different they are. Ruth and Alyce are so special each in their own ways.

Utah State Line
Utah State Line, Mile Zero
Set that watch back: Look out sun, I'm catching up with you now! The sign in the background says "No Services 83 Miles"

When I turned on the motel tv in the morning, the first thing I heard was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing great hymns of the faith. It couldn't have been a better welcome to the state of Utah. I like the singular things about the states, and Mormonism may be THE singular thing about Utah. Have you ever read the Book of Mormon? I have.

Well, four flats yesterday and an air pump that doesn't work and 80 plus miles of Utah desert to cross. Nothing to do but go for it.

Two Gallons and Two Bottle of H2O
Will this be enough water?

Dodd and Lora Mohr
Dodd and Lora Mohr, Samaritans
After breakfast I stood in front of the Welcome to Utah sign holding up the two gallon jugs of water as cars passed. The Mohrs slowed down, then kept going. About two minutes later, they came back... after they figured out I wasn't trying to sell the water.
Dodd is a math teacher at Barrington Middle School, Barrington, Il. That's right, fellow Illinoisans. They agreed to drop a gallon at the 35 and the 55 mile marks. Thanks a lot, you two.

After riding in a straight line due east from the state line for approximately 20 miles, there was the first major Utah climb.

8% downward grade
A good sign
This is the kind of sign you never tire of seeing after an hour or two of climbing. Good times ahead.

After dropping down the eastern slope of Utah's first range, things got r-e-a-l-l-y remote. Hard to describe. Almost no traffic, no nothing. It was getting hot; the first truly hot day of the trip. Would the water hold? When would the flat tire come that would just end the day?

Dry Lake with Island
Hard to believe it's real, isn't it?
Isn't this just fantastic? A dry lake with an island. It looks like French cuisine, doesn't it? The entree surrounded by the sauce? Beautiful presentation. This is symptomatic of the kind of strange, science fictional scenery I passed through. I felt a little bad that John had missed seeing some of these things due to his nighttime passage. It was a surreal world. Strangely silent.

It was very hot, but my water held. I got the 35 mile gallon fine and looked for the 55 gallon jug, but it was not to be found. I looked at 60 and 65; no show. Either I miscommunicated with the Mohrs or some lowlife picked it up. For some reason, I didn't need it anyway. One reason may be the very strong tailwind I had for the last 30 miles into Delta.

Graham with Quart of Quik Choc Milk
Tastes great, less filling
I was disappointed in the IGA in Delta. There it was in the dairy case... and only semi-cold. But I still downed the whole quart in about 60 seconds.
My face is caked with salt. I don't know if it shows in the picture or not, but when I washed my face at the motel, my eyes stung for a minute or two as the salt washed into them.
One way I knew it was a really hot day was when I took a drink from the water bottle; I would swish the water around in my mouth before swallowing, to bring the temperature down to mouth temp.

And did you notice? NO FLAT TIRES!!!!! I really cannot believe it. I believe I was given this day as a Father's Day present.

Topaz Internment Camp Sign
Topaz Internment Camp
This sign is erected in the park in Delta, Utah. It describes the Topaz Japanese Internment Camp that was set up northwest of the city in the desert. Having just come through that desert, I have a whole new understanding for the indecency of what we did to our own citizens during that period.

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