Duchesne, UT ot Manila, UT

We left the state park around 9:30 heading for Vernal where we stopped at Super Wal-mart to pick up some groceries and odds & ends. Heading further north on US 191 we made our ascent into the mountains again, this time snaking our way up a long sloped mountain side.
Diane knew what was coming based on the ominous ‘summit’ and square brackets with the height in feet on the map. Nonetheless, when the sign announcing ten switchbacks with a max speed of 25mph came up along the road it became much more real. Diane did great getting up the mountain; the photos have some shots of the valley and the road we came up on.

These switchbacks were easy, teasers, compared to what awaited us further along in the Flaming Gorge National Recreational Area. The ride through the high alpine meadows was beautiful. When we approached the US191/UT44 intersection with a sign informing us that the dam was only six miles away I headed that way since we had no firm time table and wanted to explore. What I forgot was that we were up on the plateau and the dam, by definition was going to be further down in the valley, a lot further down in elevation. Yes, you guessed it more 8% grades and tight turns :-o.

After a brief rest at the visitors center it was back up the same road and on towards Manila, UT. Utah route 44 is marked ‘scenic’ on the map. Diane’s final challenge for the day – switchbacks going down the mountain, lots of slow speed turns. I had a blast but I don’t think Diane enjoyed them very much.

The tentative goal for the day was Bear Lake in Utah but when we called the KOA campground they had no more availability. We both still wanted to ride some more but looking at the map quickly showed that there wasn’t much of anything between Manila and Bear Lake. Since Manila had a KOA with availability we got a tent site there (a smart decision confirmed the next day).

We took advantage of the early arrival by cleaning our gear which was gritty with sand and dust from three days of camping in packed dirt with swirling dust. After the hard work we tackled our $11.57 (!) six pack of Squatters Captain Bastards Oatmeal Stout. Yummy.

Here’s the route.

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