UTCO10 – Jesus Saves

From Blanding UT to Dove Creek CO
Miles 47.9
Total Ascent 2,090 ft (ascent from www.bikeroutetoaster.com)

My brother’s birthday today – he would have been 56.

For some reason, I decided this morning that bicycle touring has many similarities with scuba diving.

You need to be in the right place, at the right time, healthy, with the right gear, and you better have some training under your belt before getting there.  And even then, you’ve often got to put in some effort and roll with some punches in order to then also experience the joys.

Fattboyz again for breakfast, because it was convenient, then north out of town on up US191.  The road climbed, but it was quite well behaved on a low grade, and a nice tailwind pushed us along too.  We climbed 1,200 feet in 12 miles, through the tiny place called Verdure UT, which I incorrectly supposed meant “green sand,” judging by the roadside landscape (actually the name refers to some lush green growth).

US191 near Verdure UT
South of Monticello UT

My odometer failed again on the way, and this time there was no fix for it.  At a regroup, Jack supplied me a new CR2032 battery for the transmitter side, and sure enough, that brought things back to life.

In Monticello UT, we rolled by a delivery pizza place making a batch of dough, and the yeasty smell was so fine that we went in to ask about lunch.  The lady was very friendly, but took forever to boot up her cracked iPad in an effort to take our order.  She kept apologizing, saying, “Well, you guys are not in a hurry anyway, are you?”  Well, we weren’t, at all, but we WERE hungry.  She finally completed the order, then said, “you know, it’ll be about 25 minutes.”

I took off down the street and bought two new CR2032 batteries (one for Jack and one for a spare), and also three packs of BottleCaps candy, my favorite touring candy.  When I returned, our pizzas were just out and Jack had located a fine table in the city park.  My was really good – with ham, pineapple, green pepper, onion, olives, and mushrooms.  70F out in the sun – very fine indeed.

Lunch in the city park in Monticello UT

We turned eastward onto SR491.  The road had a nice wide shoulder and swept gradually downward on vast open plains.  Adam had mentioned that the ride west from Dolores CO had been surprisingly tough, but certainly not in this section.   In fact, Jack and I decided this was the first “normal” (i.e. flat and well behaved) riding we’d done on this entire trip.

Into the great wide open

Still on the open plains, we reached the Colorado state line and stopped at length for the obligatory photo shoot, in front of both Colorado AND Utah welcome signs.  While we goofed around, a solitary walker emerged from the east and strolled by, minding his business, looking very Forrest Gump-like.

State line
Forrest Gump?

We headed eastward further, seeking out a place called the Blue Mountain RV Park.  It was supposed to be at the intersection of SR491 and SR141, but when we got there, the place was pretty much deserted.  One house, however, was decked out with American flags and a big billboard of the Pledge of Allegiance, which was incorrectly worded by the way.  There was a big truck nearby with block letters, “Jesus Saves.”  But no campsites that we could see.

Our campsite was supposed to be here

Two miles further brought us into the town of Dove Creek, where we scored drinks and nibbles at the convenience store.  We examined one scruffy-looking RV park in town, nixed it, and then found the “National 9 Inn” across the street.  They had a double room for $58, which sounded just fine with us.  They wouldn’t allow our bikes in the room (how old fashioned) but the rooms were nice enough and with a full assortment of pay satellite channels.

After our usual hour of vegetation iPhoning and emailing, etc., we found the tail end of the movie “Wall Street” on the tube and watched it out.  Following that, a movie called “Too Big To Fail” came on, a dramatized chronicle of the Lehman Brothers / Bank of America / Citigroup / Merrill Lynch / Countrywide / Morgan Stanley/ Wells Fargo / Goldman Sachs/ etc./ etc. near meltdown of 2008, and the difficult job facing the fed during the crises.  Jack and I both dismissed dinner in order to watch the movie – very intriguing.

Our first “normal,” or I might even say “easy” cycling day.