Day #48) July 30, 2011. Snowville, UT to Burly, ID: 86 miles in 5:53 hrs.
Last night was certainly the most mundane Friday night I’ve had in ages. Now, no ill will to Snowville, UT, but honestly that was a very boring place to be overnighting in. Now to start with, I had worked for the better part of the afternoon on the computer and I was just dying for a break and a couple of beers, so I wandered back over to the Flying J. Now this Flying J is like the only real big gas stop until Burly, ID, so it was just jam packed with people – like shoulder to shoulder packed. I’m a closet agoraphobic, so this place just packed with people mulling through all the overpriced shit totally gave me the creeps. I had to get my beers and something for breakfast asap or I was going to crack. So there I was going up and down the isles, getting jostled by people doing the same thing as me. Everything was just so freaking expensive, so I really tried to be conservative at what I bought – if only for a matter of principle. So first to the beer, and to my utter amazement all they had was the big three Miller, Bud, Coors. No, check that, they did have a six of Corona for 10 bucks! Now I hate the big three, and I’m only faintly good with Corona, but at 10 bucks for a six – nope, I wasn’t about to get fleeced on that buy. Seriously, everything in the Flying J was like twice as expensive as you’d normally pay. So I did the unthinkable….I bought 2 Bud tall boys. God did that hurt! For breakfast I got a 3 dollar bag of trail mix.
So I bought the 2 tall boys (I have not drank a budwiser in decades!) walked back to the motel, with me being the only person there, and sat on a dilapidated picnic table in the sun and drank my brews while I watched life go on in little Snowville, UT. Really, if not for the freeway exit this place wouldn’t exist. So all I really saw was a parade of semis, pick-ups and tourist cars come and go to the two diners across from the motel. What a place that was, just a little dot on the map where people stop for gas, food, and maybe lodging – and that’s it. It’s just a quick-stop little place that you never even remember if you’re in a car gassing up and getting a quick bite for the road.
But to me, that was my home for the day. As I was sitting on the picnic table the temps were in the mid 90’s, and I mean it was just this real dry heat, like a baking kind of heat, what made the Snowville that much more of a Godforsaken place. Went back inside the motel room only because I was beginning to drip with sweat just sitting there on the table. So back inside I tried to just kind of surf around on my computer, but the speed was pretty slow, and it was just a pain to try to do anything. I mean hell, it took 5-10 min to download each of the pictures I’d put up on the blog. So esentually that was a wash also, and all I had left was the three TV channels. Ended up watching Judge Judy for a bit, then the news, then Seinfeld reruns, then I went to the “other” diner for dinner There I did a comparison of the chicken fried steak I’d eaten for luch at Molly’s diner. And Molly’s was the big winner. That second diner, I think it was called the Frontier, was way too expensive and the food was just mediocre compared to Molly’s. Should have gone with the sure bet. But that’s life – taking chances!
In the early evening I had such a jones for food that I cracked the trail mix and ended up eating the whole damned bag. Went to bed at 9 am, having turned on a overhead fan to kind of lull me to sleep in addition to drowning out the noise of the incoming traffic into the motel.
Got up at 4:14 am, walked over to the 24/7 Flying J for some coffee and another breakfast - due to my eating the trail mix last night. Went back to the motel and began packing and drinking coffee and eating. Now I could have left at like 5:30 am, but it was just really too bloody dark, partly because of the thick cloud cover that had moved in over night. So I waited for just a little longer till 6 for the dawn to break. Then, with reflective vest on and headlamp on, I hit the road. This morning was pretty cool, I mean goosebumps cool. But I’d rather endure 15 min of warming up than having put on the poly pro and sweating for that 15 min. So I just waited for the inevitable warm up to occur. And the road was a beautiful false flat descent, where I could just chug along at like 14-15 mph right from the gun. “Wow,” I thought, “this could be a quickie of a ride today if it’s all like this.”
And that was the case for a good 40 min of riding. Smooth sailing and all was good. Good until that false flat descent eventually turned into a false flat climb. Once I crossed over I-84 this false flat climb was just a road that was straight as an arrow, one of the straightest roads I’d encountered in the whole trip, that seemed to roll off into the horizon. To give you an example of how long and straight this road was, I’d see headlights up to the west coming at me and it would take anywhere from 8-10 min for the vehicle to pass me. I mean I could see these cars and trucks coming at me at 65+ mph and it would take that long for them to reach me. I had to back off the pedals to a 9-10 mph pace because I was just cooking the legs trying to maintain 12+. And that’s about the time I saw the sign: Burly 71 miles. Now by that time I’d already done a solid 10-12 miles, so now I was faced with 71 more miles – ooops I goofed on the calculation again! So just add another hour to the day.
Now this area I was riding through on Rt 30 W out of Snowville, it was just pure desolation. It deviated from I-84 by a long way, so I was just like out there in no-man’s land. Then I see another sign: No services for 102 miles. No that of course if if you continue into Nevada on Rt 30, but wow, I mean this is truly out there. I did get to the cut-off of Rt 30 and Rt 81, and then I saw another sign: Elko 186 miles. You’ve got some real balz to take that Rt 30 out into the badlands of UT and NV. Went right onto Rt 81 and kept doing that false flat climb, up and up and up. Must have taken me 1:20 hrs of that false flat and then I began a gradual false flat descent to the ID border. And from there my wish was granted – a fantastic false flat descent that lasted like 1:30 hrs through Southern ID. Again, it was just desolation, but this time I felt like I was making ground. Trouble was that I had still expended a ton of energy on that bloody false flat climb, so by the time the descent came I could just feel the legs running out of gas.
Could be the last several days of climbing. Could be the fact that I’m like 48 days into the ride. Could be a lot of things, but the legs were definitely feeling tired today. Tried to keep a good touch to the pedals nonetheless as the flat descent continued, and at times I was doing 20+ mph, really making up for the slow climbing portion of the ride. Passed a sign that read: Malta 25 miles, and amazingly enough I made Malta in 1:20 hrs. Malta, 50 miles and 3:25 hrs into the day was my first touch of civilization. Stopped at a little filling station for a giant fountain coke and a ham sandwitch. Talked with the cashier for a bit and found out that a big triathlon was taking place today in Burly – the Spudman triathlon.
Made the stop quick and then back on the bike ready for the final 33 miles. By this time my legs were really feeling dead, but behind me to the south the sky was really getting quite dark, and in the mts I could see stringers of rain draping down. Had to keep the pressure on the pedals and make Burly before any chance of rain, despite the forcast for a clear day. But at least the road was flat to gently rolling. Once I got to within 10 miles of Burly I saw a road closed sign that had been used for the triathlon, and then there were all the gu and gel packets smashed on the roadway. Got into town and it was just buzzing with triathletes. Most were already done with the race because I was able to ride on Rt 81 which was closed earlier in the day. I mean the whole town was just filled with car toting tri bikes.
Past a couple of “dive” dive motels on the way in on Rt 81, and I was like, hell I’ve already done that last night. Not tonight! So I kept riding into town and then took a right on the I-84 business rt to search out something a bit more palatable. Found a nice little place next to the interstate and that was that. Did Arby’s instead of Subway – Subway had like 30 hungry triathletes waiting in line right after the race and I just couldn’t wait in a line that big. Arby’s was just fine.
Back here to work and that’s another day on the road. No prognostications on tomorrow. I’m just going to take the day and do with it what I can. The weather has definitely taken a turn, and it looks like the rain could be coming into the city soon, despite the forecast.
From Spud country, I’m signing off…….Pete