Day #45) July 27, 2011. Herber City, UT to Salt Lake City, UT: 66 miles in 5:7 hrs.
Man, my belly gremlin was just off the leash last night. I mean I was hungry from the time I got done riding to the time I went to bed. So around 7 pm I wandered over to a little chinese place and got some food – dinner and then something for the morning breakfast. Got some Shrimp Egg Foo Young for dinner, and it was just great, and got some Ham Fried Rice for breakfast. But got to tell you that it was all I could do NOT to eat that fried rice right after the egg foo young. I was even tempted to go out and get a big milk shake at Micky D’s but by God I’ve got restraint this year! Yes, I held back and went to sleep dreaming of waking up and eating that fried rice in the morning.
So I stayed up till a whopping 9 pm last nigh and slept to 5:10 this morning. Man I definitely needed that night of sleep. Slipped out to get a coffee from the gas station next door and then packed and nuked that fried rice and ate that. Got on the road at about 7am, and it felt just great to not have all that oil truck traffic to deal with. Traffic today was just the normal traffic I’d been dealing with all along. No more dbl oil tanker trucks all day long. Now the gentleman from the Strawberry Lake visitor’s center had told me that my ride from Heber City to Provo would be all downmountain. So I felt good knowing that I had no passes to climb today. He did mention that right around Jordanelle Res. that I’d have a bit of ups and downs, but generally it was all down.
Now Heber City is just completely surrounded by these beautiful mts. They’re just awesome to look at. I headed S on Rt 189 and began my descent to Provo, with this section of road called Provo Canyon Rd. As soon as I got on 189 S this monster mt range was staring me in the face, and as I got closer to the reservoir it just got bigger and bigger. Finally stopped at the reservoir and took some pics and then moved on. And true as yesterday was with respect to the gentleman’s guidance, so to was his call on the ride today – I hit some gentle climbs right around the reservoir. I have to say that doing these climbs, my legs were no where near as shredded as I thought they’d be. I mean I could feel that I’d done a lot yesterday, but they were pretty good actually. I did use the little cookie on a couple of the rollers and I did notice that when I went out f the saddle I felt it a bit in the quads. But all told, I was real happy with the way I felt today. Now my arse – that’s a different story. Damn it is sore! I mean I’m sitting on a big cushy pillow right now as I write this blog.
So I got around the rollers on the lake and then began the descent down Provo Canyon. And along the way I took some pics and kind of rode really casually. At one of the stops I pulled into a view area to take a few pics of Bridal Veil Falls, and just as I was shooting I noticed this bike & hike trail below the view area. So I was getting ready to leave and a sheriff pulled in, so I kind of flagged him down and asked about the bike trail. Amazingly enough he told me it went all the way to Provo, so I didn’t have to do the descent on 189. He directed me to go down the road a half mile and get on at a little park. Then I started picking his brain as to the best route on a bike into Salt Lake City. He pretty much agreed with what I was going to do, but did give me a little beta on a couple of different roads to go on. So he was just pulling up all these maps on his car computer and showing me each and every road to my destination. Then he wrote it all down on some note paper. I think we were there shooting the (&*%&&% for a good half hour, talking about cycling and racing and touring. Really nice guy.
Got going on the bike and hike, and man did it feel good to not to have to deal with traffic for 45 min. The trail was gorgeous, hugging this little river that was flowing off of the reservoir way up where I had started. I had several bikers giving me the thumbs up as they passed me. Made it down to Provo and let me tell you, this place is just a beautiful city, nestled right up against the mts that I’d just descended. What a sight it was riding north with those mts on my right side. I mean there are no foothills here like in Boulder CO and Fort Collins CO. In Provo the main range is really right smack dab there in your face.
Used the sheriff’s instructions and made it to Rt 89 N, and rode that pup for about 20 miles – with a wonderful southerly tailwind at my butt. So I could ride at like 14-18 mph the whole time. Damn, I just felt like riding the whole day. Now I was riding basically intercity, but the berm was just massive, or there was a designated bike lane to ride. Either way I felt perfectly comfortable in the 2 and 3 lanes of traffic. And actually, having ridden for weeks in the desolation of KS, CO, an UT, riding this urban gig really felt good and invigorating – as goofy as that might sound. So then I crossed over I-15 on this other road the sheriff had given me, and this had a huge bike lane on it. Took that to Rt 68 N and continued to Salt Lake City.
The temp out here was very reasonable, being in the 80’s and fairly dry. Now about the first 10 miles of 68 had a designated bike lane, and again, I was riding with those wonderful mts on my right the whole way. So I got up over a couple of minor climbs and then descended down into the big basin that Salt Lake City sits in. And damn, the construction and the business our here is just on fire. Most all of the developments are new, and everything really looks as if it’s been built within the last 5 or so years. Now this is the area that would be considered the southern burbs of SLC, and as I got closer to north SLC you could tell that things were older and have been around for awhile. Traffic got pretty busy the closer I got to the city, and eventually the big berm gave way to 3 lanes on each side of the road. Nonetheless, I had zero problems riding in the far right lane. Not one irate driver the whole day.
So where I was riding, that’s actually the western edge of SLC, so I never road into the downtown, but rather skirted it to the west. Started looking for a place to stay once I crossed over I-80, and right across the Interstate was a Quality Motel. Worked out just great – Subway across the street, chinese restaurant across the street, beer store across the street, price of motel very reasonable. Done. They even gave me the “guy riding across the country” discount! Real nice people in the Quality Motel, as the manager and desk clerk were really into what I was doing. So I said, after we talked for a bit, “does this mean I get the guy crossing the country on a bike discount?” And the manager replied, “heck yes you do!” And they really set me up just fine.
Did my usual post ride duties. Now I did call the UT highway patrol to ask them a question about riding on the interstate. See, there’s a route that I’m looking at but it dies out with about 25 miles of no state or county roads – BUT it can be done if you ride 25 miles on I-84. So just for shits and giggles I called and asked if it is lawfull. And be darned if one of the officers said “yes indeed you can do that. Just be careful and stay on the right hand side of the berm.” I was just blown away. But I’ve heard that this is permissible out west where sections of state and local roads die out but there’s just a piece of interstate to bridge the gap. So this will save me a boat load of mileage by not having to ride way to the NE in ID.
Well, tomorrow I’m looking at a fairly easy ride to set me up for a big ride on Friday. Friday could be like a 90-miler into Burly ID. That’s it for today. Late………Pete