Day 58: Hanksville, UT to Torrey, UT
July 13, 2011

We left Hanksville before 7am and had a nice, cool morning again. After about 15 miles we came across an organic farm / bakery in the middle of nowhere. We went in and bought some delicious freshly baked whole wheat, rye, and sunflower seed bread and half a round of Tomme from the goat farmer / cheese maker / monger. This was mostly in honor of Steve’s birthday but we also planned to save some for Bastille Day tomorrow. Oooops. We ate it all. Guess we will have to find a jail to storm. At about 25 miles we crossed into Capitol Reef National Park and rode through the weird, red, otherworldly formations for half an hour until we saw and heard a storm coming. There was basically nowhere to stop for cover and we could see blue sky on either side of the storm clouds so we rode through it. It really poured but it wasn’t too cold and only rained for ~20 minutes. Apparently they can get bad flash floods up here (though not too often on the highway we were riding on). Shortly after the rain stopped there was water gushing off the cliffs everywhere and a big overflow on the road that we had to ride through. We stopped outside the visitor center to eat our lunch and let our feet dry off. Also a great spot for people to stare at us and our bikes and talk loudly about us as though the Spandex impairs our hearing. After lunch it was less than 11 miles (though all uphill) to Torrey. As we rode through town to our campsite / cabin we had an odd sense of deja vu. After showers we went to find a restaurant from the Road Food book David and Joanna gave us. Turns out that deja vu feeling was well placed since we ate at the same restaurant 4 years ago. It was ok. The pie was disappointing.

  • Start: Hanksville, UT
  • End: Torrey, UT
  • Slept: cabin
  • Miles: 49.2
  • Avg: 8.4

Day 59: Torrey, UT to Escalante, UT
July 14, 2011

Today was a brutal but beautiful day. We awoke to a windy morning and slugged around hoping it would die down, which it didn’t. As a result, we started late and spent a lot of time in the hot sun. As soon as left Torrey we began a grueling 24-mile climb up to 9,600 feet. We went from a grassy valley surrounded by red cliffs to the mountains with Aspens everywhere. Parts of the climb were really steep and we spent a lot of time at about 4.8 mph. Wheeee! We crossed a lot of cattle guards (not fun when riding uphill) which prompted the question: what would a cow be doing at 9,000 feet? Well, a cow might be hanging out with his buddies and then freaking out when 2 sweaty bicyclists ride by. A would-be stampede of giant cows through an Aspen forest looks and sounds hilarious. It sounded like cow yodeling across the mountain. From the top we had an amazing descent into Boulder, where we devoured most of the food we were carrying with us before pushing on. We had a short climb out of Boulder and then we rode down the Hogback. The Hogback is a winding road with deep canyons on either side – like Angels Landing at Zion but for cars. It was almost like getting a aerial view of all the weird canyons and colorful rocks. On our final climb we stopped at Kiva Coffeehouse for some baked goods before finishing the sweaty climb and rolling into Escalante for the night. Escalante is small but it has a grocery store with a decent selection.

  • Start: Torrey, UT
  • End: Escalante, UT
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 67.8
  • Avg: 8.6

Day 60: Escalante, UT to Tropic, UT
July 15, 2011

Today was supposed to be a quick and easy one…not so much. The gentle, 18-mile climb out of Escalante was sloooow going due to a headwind most of the day. The descent was nice and steep and dropped us in a small town where we ate out lunch in the tiny sliver of shade next to the Post Office. One block past the Post Office was a nice park with a large shady pavilion, damn you! We arrived in Tropic at 2:30 and checked into our campsite. After showers and sitting in the shade, we walked through town and went to the grocery store (small and expensive but also with a decent selection). We also learned that the Bryce Half Marathon is tomorrow morning and the road will be shut until 9am. We decided to take tomorrow off after 4 days of climbing and 2 more ahead of us. On an unrelated note, could our route through Utah be any more circuitous?

  • Start: Escalante, UT
  • End: Tropic, UT
  • Slept: camped
  • Miles: 38.4
  • Avg: 7.8
  • Notes: groan

Photos: in Capitol Reef, sign outside of Torrey, having fun on the 24-mile climb, from The Hogback, Table Cliff.