03-03-2010, 07:36 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Bisbee, AZ & Banamichi, Sonora
I awoke Thursday morning bright and early and decided to have a little breakfast; not much, just a cup of cocoa and an oatmeal bar. I slept really poorly last night and was cold for most of it. When I decided to get up it was 6:45 with temps in the mid 40's, but it was a beautiful morning. There's something about starting the day with a warm meal that gets you off on the right foot. I'd planned on getting everything packed up and on the road by 8:00, it didn't work out all that well for me but I managed to be gone by 9; I'll do better tomorrow.
Today I'm heading up to Willard Bay State Park, fairly close to the Great Salt Lake in Utah. This is a state I've never ridden in before so that's always exciting. In addition at the end of the night I'll get to put another state sticker on the bike as I'm entering my first real geographical change! This is more the mileage I was thinking about yesterday, 400 miles isn't too bad but I'll lose an hour.
The road wound through some higher wooded areas for the first bit of the morning. It was nice and twisty and the air had a bit of a bite to it.
Soon enough I got back down into the lower elevations and crossed a fairly wide plain. It was getting warmer rapidly and I made an excuse to stop in town and call Karen as soon as I got a cell signal.
It's funny, you really don't expect the landscape to change just because you enter a different state but that's the way it seemed when I entered Utah. The redness of the rock dissipated and more of the white/tan colors came out; a very pretty state, just different than what I was used to.
Just before I shot this picture, I stopped for gas. As luck would have it I almost repeated my tumble from the day before as I turned into the gas station and the tank bag locked me up; I managed to save it and I don't think I lost too many cool points along the way. Other motorcyclists have begun to notice that I'm loaded down and appear to be on some sort of camping trip. While at the gas station a group of guys on Victory's came riding in with a bit of luggage. One of the guys came up an asked where I was headed; when I told him Alaska he almost fell down. He said they were on their way to Jackson Hole for a Victory rally and were feeling pretty tough because their trip was going to last 5 days. Amateurs.
I wasn't quite so uppity 30 minutes later when I realized I had totally missed my turn-off and had to backtrack 20 miles, during which time I passed the Victory guys coming the other way. As I got on the right road the clouds began to look threatening. I decided that today I would pull over sooner to get my raingear on if it in fact began raining. Sure enough the rain started to come down. I began to realize that this rain was different than what I'd experienced yesterday; then it hit me, it's hail! It kept on raining sporadically for the next couple of hundred miles so I kept my rain gear on.
I stopped at a gas station up a ways to have my usual lunch of beef jerky and nalgene water when I noticed the view. Why can't we all have this outside our living room windows?
Utah was pretty good to me but it really did start to get a little warm in the afternoon. Of course it never helps when you hit Salt Lake City in the middle of rush hour. I really wish they'd standardize the car pool lanes so all states are the same. I used it but I'm pretty sure I used it in a manner that's not approved by the State of Utah.
I began to get close to Willard Bay and the excitement of stopping began to creep in. My directions told me that I should get off on exit 360 and I started counting down, exit 357...exit 362? What's going on? I pulled into a gas station and called the park for directions; sure enough exit 360 is correct, I must have just missed it. I get back on the highway the other direction and sure enough, there's no exit 360. Luckily just as my last straw was breaking I see a sign for Willard Bay at exit 357.
I pull into the campground, find my site and set up camp under a huge cottonwood tree. The sky has cleared up and it's a beautiful night! I cook myself a little Chili Mac then go have a look around. I'm right on the bay and the scenery is not to be believed. I check out the bathrooms and find they leave a bit to be desired but I guess I've used worse, or at least I'm sure I will at some point on this trip. At least there're showers.
Right next to my campsite I came upon this little rabbit. He was black! He really didn't look like a wild rabbit, more like someones pet. I wonder if he's heading back to his people on the other side of the bushes.
As the sun sets on the mountains it really lights them up...
Some guys are still out on the Bay trying their luck.
I walked around a bit more, got lost in the campground (how on earth do you do that?) and made it back to the campsite before it was full dark. Haven't given the flashlight another chance, just decided to go to bed while I could still see.