Six days ago we started pedaling south out of Malta and today I am sipping coffee in a cafe in Salt Lake City (SLC). It’s truly amazing how efficiently and magically an old bicycle (circa 1980?) and old man (circa 1958) can travel across America.
Of course things aren’t always perfect. On the second day out of Malta while going up a hill on I-84, just north of the Rattle Snake Pass exit, Sue hit a large screw and her front tire immediately went flat. The magical part was as we walked our bikes toward the exit in search of a safer place to change the tube, Joyce from Malta pulled over to offer us assistance. She was on her way to Salt Lake City to see her surgeon about her knee. I have no doubt she would have driven us to SLC and the nearest bike shop. No need though, in a few minutes we were back on our way. But it was uplifting to see her.
Riding into a large, unfamiliar city on a bicycle tour can be a little daunting. The SLC metro area contains over a million people and due to its geography, wedged between the Wasatch Mountains and The Great Salt Lake, it has limited roads. But to our delight it has a wonderful bikeway system. The last thirty seven miles of riding into the city were a dream. Mile after mile of paved bicycle trails through wetlands, along rivers, and over old railroad beds. Sue described it as “the best day of our trip yet”.
Our first night in SLC we stayed at a hotel near Temple Square and enjoyed a flavorful feast at the Himalayan Kitchen. We found the city so delightful with its bikeways, history, parks and architecture that we booked two more nights at a downtown hostel to have more time to explore the town before heading further south. Our layover also coincided with the weather report of possible thunder storms over the next couple of days. If the weatherman is right, sleeping inside warm and dry would be a bonus.