The Riders

The Riders
The end at Yorktown

Monday, June 20, 2011

Innocent survives

I am ensconced in a comfortable room at a Motel 6 in Green River, UT, with my ride complete. But the others are now at the quarter pole, or a little further, in their ride across America.
No need to talk about yesterday as Phil has done a blog that well describes a very tough day of riding.  Yesterday’s miserable weather having cleared out, and with a very pleasant tailwind pushing us along, we rode this morning in three hours from Torrey to Hanksville, a distance of 75 kilometers. We rode so fast today that we arrived at Hanksville before Phil in the support vehicle. It was again spectacular riding, with canyon vistas when we looked down and mountain ranges when we glanced up.  And the terrain and light traffic today allowed those looks longer than normal.
Usually riding near the brown Fremont River, we cruised past 200 to 500 foot “chimneys” and “castles”, and 1,000 foot “cathedrals” of rock, in Capitol Reef National Park. They elicited worshipful emotions and thoughts.  The valleys looked particularly verdant, surrounded by the red, rose, and yellow rock, with purple mountains in the distance. In talking with my wife Pat this afternoon, to arrange a pick up in Green River tomorrow, I assured her that sometime soon we will take a motor trip on the Adventure Cycling route we have biked the last two weeks.
In some areas orchards lined the road and river, with high fences keeping the deer out of the recently established ones. We saw deer in the abandoned orchards, busily eating their breakfast.
Another interesting stop was at an old school house, built by Mormon families at Fruita. The school building was in use from 1912 to 1943. It has been well preserved along the roadside. We stopped, looked at the inside that seemed to be in shape for a school day, noticing even an apple on the teacher’s desk.
While Pete and Dave biked south toward the north end of Lake Powell, Phil drove me an hour north to Green River. Riding alongside the San Rafael cliffs that once gave shelter to Butch Cassidy and his gang, we chatted about the ride and its demands and satisfactions. There were patches when one simply wished to be off the bike, but more often a sense of satisfaction and sometimes of wonder.
It is difficult to leave the other adventurers. Feelings of completing what I planned console me. I learned more about what it takes for a successful adventure of this type. Only because of Phil’s planning and constant attention is this trip possible. Thank you Phil. And thanks, too, to Dave and Pete for the companionship established during the past three weeks. – gary

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