Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 43: Reoccurring nightmare

Day #43) July 25, 2011. Dinosaur, CO to Roosevelt, UT: 65 miles in 5:05 hrs.

Well, forget about the easy day to Vernal. I just couldn’t do 33 miles for the day. I’m still trying to figure this route out and then line it up with places along the way, so the “noodle” to Vernal just didn’t make sense – seemed like a wasted half day. But more than anything, this whole oil-gas thing out here helped to cement my decision on this. I’m telling you, it’s a carbon copy of ND situation I experienced last year, with a boom out here that’s got the truck traffic intense and the lodging situation locked up for months on end. I just want to get the hell out of here and get up into the mts where this crazyness doesn’t exist. I’m hoping to hit Salt Lake City in like 2-3 days, and than just wouldn’t have cut it by riding 33 miles today. So anyway, I decided last night to shoot for Roosevelt, UT and break my days up into slightly bigger chunks.

So got going at 6 am this morning out of Dinosaur. Now forget the gloves and earwarmer – too warm, at about 60 degrees. I did do the poly pro top for about 5 miles and then that came off. The road out of Dinosaur, Rt 40 W, was a false flat descent from the get-go, and after 2 miles I was in UT. Now by this time the landscape really screamed UT, what with the multi-colored cliffs and the small canyons. I had a very slight tailwind out of the SE, and what with the false flat descent was able to hit the big ring and just cruise. By 7 am the freaking oil/gas truck traffic really began to pick up. Honestly, I felt as though I was back in ND what with all the traffic. It was amazingly and hauntingly similar. I had anywhere from a 3 foot to 4 foot berm to ride so I felt ok in that dept. But God, it was just a pain in the ass with all that traffic.

That false flat descent pretty much went for 18 miles all the way to Jensen, UT. Then it got just the opposite – a false flat climb – for the next 15 miles to Vernal. It was unrelenting and tough, especially when the big trucks were coming from the opposite direction and their “tornado” winds would just slam into me causing my speed to drop by 1-2 mph. I pretty much had to do that 15 miles all in the middle ring. Got into Vernal at like 9 am, and it was game on to just blow through there and keep moving west. The whole city for gosh’s sake is just booming from anything that has to do with drilling out here. Trucks, trucks, and more trucks. Welding, piping, brine hauling, electrical, you name it and it’s in Vernal. To me this was the reoccurrence of a nightmare!

The next 30 miles into Roosevelt were pretty much a mix of false flat and false descending. Pretty much the same topography of the red, orange, pink and white colored cliffs and small canyons. Really pretty scenery. So I actually really blasted into Roosevelt in some great time, like at 13.9 mph, and I was thinking ever so slightly about taking it another 28 miles to the town of Dushesne, but by this time it was 11 am and the heat was really beginning to crank. Had to be about 88 degrees by the time I got there, so I decided to go with the plan and bag it in Roosevelt. So I kind of rode through town scoping out the lodging situations, and honestly there just wasn’t’ a lot. Went to one place and the lady wanted 94 bucks – yes 94 bucks. And do you know why? Because all the gas industry out here has inflated everything.

Too much, so I went to another little place. Now this one was definitely off the charts with respect to creepy. I pulled in and the husband and wife were cleaning the rooms from the previous night. So I inquired about rooms and the guys says that they only have one room on the first floor (I need 1st floor due to all my gear), but I might want to see it first. And like he really encouraged me to look at it first. So I went with him into the room. My God! It looked like a crack den – not that I’ve seen those before. The carpet was sickeningly dirty. No wifi, no cable, no AC, and the bathroom – it looked like a bathroom of a grimy service station! There was actually mold on the bathroom ceiling. The guy tells me he they wanted 50 bucks for the room. Told him I’d do 40 bucks out the door but I really didn’t even like that. Dude said no and actually I was relieved that he did. This place was the dump of dumps. And it was totally booked save for the room he was trying to pawn off on me – courtesy of the oil boom! Went back down the road to an Americans Best Value Inn and got a very nice little room for a bit more than I wanted to pay. But shit, I have to work 4 hrs/day and I need internet and phone. This pace had frig, mirowave, wifi and AC to boot. So done deal.

Now I talked to the guy here who runs the place and he told me that the various companies involved in the oil boom out here book rooms for months in advance. He tries to keep 6 – get that 6 – rooms each day for walk-in tourists. So come like 3-4 O’clock in the afternoon – No Vacancy! That little conversation pretty much convinced me to try to put in a big day tomorrow so as to get the hell out of this place – the traffic the dust, the inflated prices, the TRUCKS! Got to shoot for the mts tomorrow to leave this mess. So I got situated and then took all the gear off the bike and rode straight away up to a Subway I’d seen earlier when I was scoping out the city. Went in and did a meatball sub and got two more footlongs to go, one for tonight’s dinner and one for tomorrow’s breakfast. Then rode back here to work for the rest of the afternoon.

So I’m going to hit the hay early and then shoot for a 5:30 am start such that I can put in a big day and get close to, or into the mts of the Uinta Range, up near Herber, UT. If I don’t make Herber, I could be staying in a little cabin type place up close to the mts, and I may not have wifi or cell service, so you may not hear from me for a day.

Wish me luck………Pete

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