June 22, 1999 - Day 17 - Salina to Green River, Utah
24.9 miles, 10.8 mph average, 1008 total miles, 24.6 max mph.
The day that wasn't.
Mom's Cafe, Salina, Utah
The day started on a promising note. You're NEVER supposed to eat at a place called "Mom's", but who could resist this place? Last night I had a delicious liver and onion dinner and so I had breakfast there today. "Mom's" was featured in the National Geographic Magazine's issue a couple of years back on the state of Utah.
Getting used to this
I was looking forward to this. There was supposed to be a 25-mile climb out of Salina, and then a long and scenic descent into Green River, 109 miles to the east. I was getting an early start (for me), about 9:30.
Bill and Jean Lutz, Samaritans
Bill and Jean agreed to drop three waters for me along the route. They are from Tiffin, Ohio, kind of between Toledo and Cleveland, and are on their way home. They have two children who are teachers. Jean gave me a tour of their motor home. I liked it a lot. I like the fact that it's smaller, but you can still walk back into it from the cab.
But it wasn't to be. I was on a good pace, climbing strongly. I was within a half mile of the summit, when... flat tire.
But not just any flat tire this time. This wasn't a tube problem. The whole rear tire had just shredded. In retrospect, I guess I'm glad it happened on the way up at 7 mph, rather than on the way down at 40 mph (haven't I said this before?)
But if you recall, my one spare TIRE had already proved defective right in the SF airport.So I had nothing with which to replace this.
I knew that no town I had already come through had a bike store with my kind of tires, so nothing to do but hitch.
The ride to Green River
And this is how the bike rode the next 85 miles to Green River, Utah.
Al Tiffany, from Minot, ND
Al was kind enough to stop his rig on the upgrade and give me a lift. For the next 85 miles we rode through the most fascinating scenery of the entire trip. Absolutely breathtaking, and I don't have a single picture to show for it because Al and I were engaged in sharing each other's stories. I don't have any regrets about the pictures. We did something way more important.
We had a lot of things in common and we talked almost non-stop all the way to Green River. Al's a good man. He dropped me and the bike off right at a motel and off he went to deliver his load of drywall to Colorado Springs.
I checked in to the motel about 3:30. Found out right away, no bike shop in Green River. Try Price (60 miles north) or Moab (50 miles south). Price had a shop that had two tires the next size up that would fit my wheel. AND a pump.
I got out on the highway and stuck my thumb out. It was 4:15. I knew I had to get a ride by 5:00 or I wouldn't make it before the shop closed. At 4:50, Martin Leska, a young mountaineering guide from the Czech Republic stopped to pick me up. He was on his way toSalt Lake City for an interview for a guiding job with an expedition company headquartered there. He had driven from Washington, D.C. and had every kind of outdoor equipment either lashed onto or in his Audi (downhill skis, cross country skis, mountain bike, etc. etc.)
We talked about the Czech Republic, one of the healthiest of the former Soviet bloc countries. Not according to Martin. He says the communist mentality is still in force: if someone owes you money, you probably won't see it, and there doesn't seem to be any legal urgency to follow up. This makes for a very unstable economy at all levels. Martin wants to stay in America , so I wish him well on his job interview. Also with his girlfriend. She sounds sweet.
Martin drove me right to the Price Pedaler where the proprietor, Michael, had the stuff waiting for me. I then stuck my thumb back out and waited about 15 minutes.
John Stambaugh, of Oceanside, California picked me up. He was driving down from Salt Lake City to Green River on business; the airport radio system run by his company was not working right, and he was going to fix the problem the next day.
I got back to the motel by 7:30, got dinner, and put the new tire on the bike. It fit just fine and I was in good spirits.
The next day I would try to hitch back west the 85 miles and ride into Green River on my bike, not on a truck.
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