June 23, 1999 - Day 18 - Fruita
102.6 miles, 15.9 mph average, 1110 total miles, 43.6 mph max
I got up early. If I was going to hitch 85 miles backward and then ride 85 miles forward, that would take all day. I maintained my room at the motel and left some non-essentials in the room to lighten the bike.
I was out on the interstate with my bike by 9:00, hitching westward, back toward Salina. 9:30. 10:00. 10:30. 11:00. I had determined to wait until 11:00 at the latest. If I got no ride, I would then go back into town, check out of the motel and head on east toward Grand Junction, Colorado, a 90 mile ride with no services.
And that's what happened. I felt lousy about not riding that 85 miles, partly because of the "integrity" thing, partly because the scenery was just so fantastically different that I wanted to be sure to experience it.
But it wasn't to be, and I couldn't spend more time trying.
So I headed back to town, reloaded the bike, checked out, ate lunch and hit the highway, eastbound this time, by 12:30. This was a late start for a 90 mile day.
The Green River
My history students will recognize the Green as the river of the fur trapper. The Green runs basically north to south through western Wyoming, then down through eastern Utah where it joins up with the Colorado before the run through the Grand Canyon. Most of the great fur trading rendezvous were held on the banks of the Green up in Wyoming. The Spanish called it Rio Verde, of course, and the Indians called it Popo Agie.
J.W. Powell River History Museum
John Wesley Powell was the one-armed explorer who was the first to run boats through the Grand Canyon and document the place. It broke my heart not be be able to stop in here, but I was already late, so it will wait for another time. It's exactly on the banks of the Green River.
These are the 'book cliffs', positioned grandly just north of Green River. They got their name because they reminded people of a bookshelf lined with books. What do you think?
It's John Stambaugh again!
About ten miles out, a big-time discouragement: a flat tire. Maybe the new tire was no different than the old one. I was busy changing it and didn't hear the car pull over ahead of me and back up toward me.
Who should step out? John Stambaugh, who had given me a lift yesterday. He said he had fixed the radio transmitter and had time to kill while they tested it, so he bought a bottle of water and headed east, figuring he might see me. He did say he figured I'd be farther down the road by then. John is a genuinely nice guy who enjoys biking. He had a nasty head-on collision with another bicyclist on a L.A. bike path once, but he still enjoys biking and says L.A. is more bike-friendly than people think.
I didn't see any commercial jets crash into each other over where I was riding for the rest of the day, so I assume John got that radio fixed just fine.
You don't see this sign too often
This was about 30 miles east of Green River. I didn't see any.
About 20 miles from the Colorado border, a pickup truck pulled over ahead of me and stopped. As I approached Greg got out and waved me over. Greg is a BMX rider, and last year he did a transcontinental ride, get this now, on a 1 speed BMX bike to raise money for Disabled Veterans. You can read about him at www.ridezine.com/bmx.htm. I had him pose with his new bike, which is multi-speed. It looks cool. He is on his way down to Durango to do some offroad biking there and just wanted to stop to say hello.
Welcome to Colorful Colorado
It's just a sign, but it signifies for me the end of the desert. And how about this? It started raining, first rain drops of the trip, about 200 yards from the sign. I actually put on my rain jacket and ran for about 10 miles through light rain with lightning all around, but not close. It was fun. Different.
Well, I try not to look back too often, but that rain storm made for a wonderful sunset. You're only looking at a tiny part of it here, and you're much bigger than the picture. It's much different out here. "And the glory of the Lord shone all around..."
Didn't quite make it to Grand Junction. It was getting dark, I was on an interstate highway, and Fruita had a motel. The first flat tire of the day was the ONLY flat tire of the day. I just can't figure it out.
Fruita is the beginning of 'civilization' and motel prices reflected it. Ouch. (But I got a jacuzzi.)
For those concerned about my diet, here's what I ate today:
8:30 - hash browns, scrambled eggs, 4 bacon strips, large OJ
11:30 - 1 qt. Gatorade, 1 ham and swiss sub sandwich at Blimpies, 1 med. diet Coke
1:00 - 1 qt. Gatorade, 1 Haagen-Daz bar
2:00 - 1 qt. Gatorade
5:00 - 2 chocolate pudding cups
7:30 - 1 chicken fillet, biggie fries and large diet Coke (Wendys)
8:30 - 2 candy bars
11:00 - 1 20 oz. diet Coke
Plus one and half gallons of water between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Is this a balanced diet?
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