Today’s blog post is dedicated to three very special birthday celebrants: Lucy, Josh, and Steve!

Day 56: Blanding, UT to Lake Powell Hite Recreation Area, UT
July 11, 2011

Today was our first long stretch (74 miles) with no services or water. We left Blanding early to beat the heat and had a nice, cool morning. The roads were empty most of the day–we could ride in the middle of the road with no worries but a car passed every mile or so. Some motorcyclists offered us water and some Australians in a convertible said a lot of unintelligible but friendly-seeming things. When they say no services, they mean it! We were excited to find a guardrail around lunchtime so we could lean our bikes on it. The only shade was the clouds passing overhead. Pretty soon after leaving Blanding the landscape started to look like Canyonlands. (note: Canyondlands was our favorite national park we visited in Utah. We spent about 5 days there last time and really enjoyed it.) If you haven’t been, Canyonlands looks like Mars with some plants. Narrow winding canyons with smooth, mushroom shaped rocks of red and white stripes. We also saw tons of mesas, buttes, and other quintessentially southwest looking things. There was a non-specified site on our map labelled “Cheese and Raisin” but we couldn’t find it. Next time any of you hide snacks for us, could you label it better? thanks. Also, as of today, we’ve ridden over 3,000 miles! Isn’t it 3,000 miles from New York to San Francisco, you might ask. Yes, as the crow flies, but not as the Hilldrew bicycles. We rolled up to Lake Powell in the late afternoon. It was hot, windy, and the campsite was garbage unless you have an RV (no wind protection, no flat spots, no showers). The lake is an unwelcoming shade of brown. We bathed in it anyway. Shortly afterwards we discovered the informational display about the rampant problem of people going to the bathroom in and near the lake. Gross. We ate dinner huddled in the fish cleaning station to get our of the wind and went to sleep.

  • Start: Blanding, UT
  • End: Lake Powell, UT
  • Slept: camped
  • Miles: 79.8
  • Avg: 9.6

Day 57: Lake Powell Hite Recreation Area, UT to Hanksville, UT
July 12, 2011

We left Lake Powell as fast as possible this morning. Can’t say we recommend visiting there unless you are a boater and / or enjoy defecating in lakes (a reservoir, no less). We had a killer climb out of Lake Powell but then another gently uphill day. We were lucky to have good cloud cover and didn’t get too hot at all. In the morning we rode a weaving road through a narrow canyon lined by red walls on either side. It gradually opened up and we dropped down into a big canyon with grass / scrub in the middle. We hardly saw anyone today. The same level of traffic (little) passed but nobody stopped to talk. We had a tailwind in the late morning which meant the sandflies could swarm around us as we rode. Yay, sandflies! Andrew nearly had a nervous breakdown because the flies kept biting him (not even one bite for Hillary). Andrew can still feel the bugs crawling on his skin, up his nose, and in his ears (he might have to go see Jake when we get back to NYC if it doesn’t clear up). We arrived in Hanksville at 1pm. The cyclists we met in Blanding told us that Hanksville sucks. Silly East-bounders, we thought, you haven’t seen Appalachia yet. We can now verify that Hanksville is a dump, though the East-bounders have some real gems ahead. We went grocery shopping, read the news, ate dinner (como se dice carrot-broccoli-cauliflower-refried-bean-a-dillas?), and did some raisin art.

  • Start: Lake Powell, UT
  • End: Hanksville, UT
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 52
  • Avg: 9.8

Photos: winding road, the thing on the left is called Cheese Box Butte, Lake Powell, a red canyon, Happy Birthday Lucy, Josh, Dad!