Slowly but surely working working our way north. Started the day with an amazing ride on state road 128, just outside of Moab, that takes you through a canyon along the river. The price we paid for that was forty odd miles on IH-70 :-(. Once off the freeway we headed north on US 191 towards Duchesne, UT. Not a great distance but this was going to be Diane’s first ‘mountain crossing’ – switchbacks, 8% grades and sometimes wind gusts – in short curvy mountain roads. We were nervous but I knew she could do it if she just focused on the roads and not check out the ‘scenery’ – she’s afraid of heights so seeing steep drop-offs is not good.
Before heading up US 191 into the Ashley National Forest we stopped in Price for lunch. We bought a roll, some cheese, veggies and just sat down on a bench in the store to eat lunch, right by the check-out line in full gear. Got some weird looks but that’s OK :-). On our way into Price the road crews where putting down a new layer of blacktop. In preparation they run a giant ‘cheese grater’ over the road to remove the old top layer. This machine leaves severe grooves in the pavement that make for interesting riding on a motorcycle since the front tire has a tendency to ‘hunt’ for a line causing the bike to move beneath you. The way through is to keep a relaxed grip on the handle bars and let the bike move rather than fighting it. Easy enough but it’s still a weird feeling especially if this continues for what seemed at least five miles.
After lunch came the ascent on US 191. As expected, Diane did great – she went at her own pace, focusing on the riding. We would have stopped at the summit (9114 feet, 2777 meters) but the wind was blowing hard throwing up dirt. Nonetheless, a great accomplishment, which we promptly celebrated that evening with a six pack of Squatter’s Full Suspension Pale Ale in Starvation State Park.
At the gas stop in Duchesne, Diane sent me ahead to scope out the park since a local said they only had restrooms – we needed showers. My information from the internet said they had showers. Easy enough to resolve. I rode the six miles to the park and found the Ranger doing some work. He confirmed they had showers so I headed back to the gas station ($10 for a six pack :-o) and we both rode to the campground which we virtually had to ourselves. Only one other camper (self contained camper) showed up later that evening.
A successful day with a major accomplishment for Diane under her belt.
Here’s the route.