I’m very much looking forward to having my ‘life elevated’ i thought, as we marched on across the state border into Utah. The Mormon state.
We spent our final night in Colorado in the small town of Dolores before pushing on early the next morning to reach the state line shortly after lunch. As often seems the case, towns nearing the border offer little in both character and food supplies which only serves to encourage fleet of peddle and excitement for what’s in store over in the next state.
Once into Utah our target this evening was the town of Blanding (pop 6,000) which we achieved after a swift introduction into the steep ups and downs of this canyon state. We were instructed that camping in the town park was not allowed and nor was a celebratory beer to mark the arrival of a new state. This was a strictly dry mormon town. Bland not just by name.
With little else to do we wondered the streets and stumbled across an evening junior high football game, a perfect opportunity to chat up the locals, looking to find ourselves 6ft x 6ft of grass or maybe even a shower. With english accents so loud and regal they’d make Boris Johnson sound like a cockney we took to the stands, but achieved very little.
Having failed to engage any mormon empathy we headed back to the park under darkness and camped stealth next to an electricity plant, just as our headlights and phones started to fail. Irony.
The temperature dropped below freezing and the park sprinklers erupted into action ensuring any hopes for sleep were quickly abandoned.
Waking early we collected enough water and supplies to see us through the next few days. We were headed out into the Canyonland desert and would be far from civilisation for the next 170 miles. Because the route profile was endless canyons and the weather hot, it’s hard to estimate how long it would take, so we prepared for the worst. In recent days there had been a steady trickle of kind motorists making sure we have enough water as they pass, and we carry iodine tablets anyway, but as long as it doesn’t get any hotter we would be ok. Having said this i started to bonk mid-morning so poured chocolate down my throat and sat feeling pretty terrible as i waited for my body to catch up, entirely my own fault.
The final water source was a small gas station whose attendant told us that cyclists recently told her highway 95 was the toughest road they have ever ridden. We are getting used to this now. They never seem to say ‘the safest’ ‘the easiest’ ‘the road with the least bears’, it’s always the worst possible news, but it’s never true. We hoped.
By the afternoon we had made our way deep into canyon lands and the scenery became ridiculous. An odd choice of word but i do mean ridiculous. Whilst Colorado was endlessly scenic, lush and colourful, this is like nothing I’ve seen before.…