Surprises are a part of our bicycle tours. As the day unfolds we decide on the route, the breaks, the meal stops and where we find ourselves at dusk is where we sleep. So the day is filled with surprises, some good and some not so good.
We left Richfield Utah Sunday morning and enjoyed the light morning traffic to Elsinor. Very few things are open on a Sunday in Utah. The traffic consisted mostly of church goers, ranchers, and ATV enthusiasts heading to trail heads. We were headed toward the frontage road along I-70. To our surprise parallel to the frontage road ran a paved bicycle path. It was great to pedal mile after mile and not worry about cars or trucks. After a few miles the path veered to the left and was blocked by a sign that read, “ROAD CLOSED”. It was obvious that a new stretch of trail was being built as a recently poured ribbon of smooth, unmarked asphalt lead away from the frontage road and into a much narrower canyon. The trail could end in a few yards or travel for miles and meet up with the highway again or it could lead us out into the desert and suddenly end in the middle of nowhere. Of course the reasonable thing to do was hop back on the frontage road but the silky smooth path was too alluring. We ignored the “ROAD CLOSED” sign and pedaled into the narrow canyon and continued riding for miles. It was such a beautiful route that we kept stopping to take pictures. The trail followed an abandoned railroad bed, passed a condemned train tunnel and paralleled an old winding river. We followed that path for about 10 miles then it ended as abruptly as it started in the sandy railroad bed. But luckily we could see highway 89 to our right and walked through the sand and gravel up to the road. Taking a chance paid off and it is the best stretch of riding we’ve done so far.
It was a cold, clear night and a full moon was smiling down on us. Or perhaps it was laughing. I stripped down to my shorts and headed out of the tent in hopes of adjusting the sprinkler head or wedging a stick in to prevent it from rotating towards our tent. I darted across the grass in the moonlight and grabbed the sprinkler head. But there was nothing to grab. It was just a cylinder with a small opening. I wrestled with it for some time but there was nothing I could do. Finally I just let go and ran. As I retreated I could feel the cold water rain down my bare back. Sue also failed in her mission to find the water source so we both accepted defeat and darted back into the tent between volleys. For about an hour we laid there listening to the tent and bicycles being machine gunned by the sprinklers. In the morning a thin layer of ice coated the bicycle seats.
There are many different ways to design a bicycle tour but our technique guarantees a few surprises.