Ride to the Rockies, Day Six
Sunrise at Kenney Reservoir, my view across the lake from camp
I awoke to sunshine and a dry tent, there not having been any dew the night before. It would be nice to put the thing away dry for once, but as I started to take it down, a little stray cloud passed over head and sprinkled on me while I frantically tried to get the tent down and away before it was soaked.
I retraced my track from last night past the pub and gas station and toward Dinosaur and the Utah border, with the smell of sage all around me.
I enter a new Western State on US40
Soon I was in Vernal, Utah, a place a friend of mine had sung the praises of recently. Passing through town, I wondered what he was so charmed with but as I made my way north toward Wyoming a landscape emerged that was breathtaking, filled with red rock cliffs and curving road winding its way past Red Canyon and the lake formed by damming the Green River at Flaming Gorge Dam. I had turned off US 191 onto UT 44 then onto UT 43. The scenery was spectacular as I entered the southwest corner of Wyoming on WY414.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area above the Green River on UT 44;
Another view of the Green River Gorge
Crossing yet another Interstate (I-80) I caught WY 412 as a shortcut to catch up with US 189, which I would be following the rest of the way into Jackson, my stop for the night. Rolling north I was converging with the Wind River Range, which was growing by the minute on my right, with its snow-capped peaks above the wide valley I was riding in, separating them from the Tetons on the west.
The Wind River Range
Heavy clouds had appeared ahead discharging rain and lightning to the world below along with pea-sized hail. Along with the darkness and wet, the temperatures had fallen and I stopped at a gas station/diner at Daniel to fill the bike and have some coffee and an appetizer of some sort.
I ducked inside at Daniel's Junction to avoid this, which I could see approaching in the distance accompanied by lightning, .
In Daniel's Junction Food Mart, I sipped my coffee as my hands slowly warmed and nibbled on some fantastic stuffed jalapeños wrapped with bacon and grilled.
Mouth watering bacon wrapped stuffed Jalapenos
As I relaxed and ate all of a sudden the place was filled with clattering as the clouds had let loose their load of hail on the roof followed by wet snow. A minute later there was another sound from the roof as the load of hail and snow let loose and cascading down past the eaves, burying anything in their way. As quickly as it had come, it was over. I walked out to see snow piled up in banks under the eaves and my bike covered in snow, with balls of hail peppered throughout it.
Snow from the roof at Daniel's Corner
Back in the parking lot the bike was waiting with a fresh coating of sleet/snow
I brushed off my saddle and climbed back on board, backing away from the restaurant, nicking it into first, and rolling back onto the northbound road toward the dark clouds and lightning strikes. Rain was on and off all the way into Jackson, but I managed to miss the very worst of the lightning.
The plan in Jackson was to meet up with Brent “Capt. Crash” Allen, who had written the first two books under my Road Dog imprint, and his wife, Julie and from there ride north together for a couple days. I found them at the Motel 6.
We all decided we had enough saddle time that day and with the skies more or less cleared, we set off on foot for Bubba's, a barbecue joint that had been recommended to Brent by a friend. Julie did the navigating with her phone GPS while Brent and I followed her lead through town. Having had the first full dinner in many days, I left them back at the hotel with plans to meet up in the morning, and headed off to Ed's place, another ADVRider, not far away. After setting up my tent on his front lawn, Ed and I chatted bikes and travel, while I enjoyed a beer graciously offered by Ed, while he showed me where I could plug in and recharge and where I could clean up and shower if I wished to.
There was another bike parked out front and Ed told me it belonged to another couple staying there that night. They were a Dutch guy and an Italian-American girl, who had left one bike behind that day to ride two-up to Yellowstone. It was getting late, but they had planned to be back that evening. With no sign of the couple at nightfall, I hit the hay, but later woke up o the sound of people talking in quiet tones outside. I got more or less dressed and found them in the area outside the bathroom where we introduced ourselves and chatted a little about our plans. They had ridden up the PCH from California to the Pacific Northwest, then across east. They had planned to head to Alaska but realized they were too late in the season to make it there and back so had ended up in Jackson and were going to go to Utah. Having gotten to know my neighbors a little, I ambled back to my tent and slept the rest of the night undisturbed.
So far 2,951.5 miles