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With 850 miles to ride across Nevada and Utah I depart South Tahoe early (8 am), wondering what those bac-roads held and just how far I might make it.  Having a couple days before Delta, Co I could enjoy the ride.  What I did need was a good nights rest before Saturday before the two-day Gunnison River paddle.

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In short time I passed through Carson City, grabbed a coffee and continued eastward.  Now that I’m headed towards the East it was quick to notice the sun in the face rather than at my back in the mornings, I sure liked the morning rides westward – just seemed the windshield was always cleaner with the sun rising behind.

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Its a barren sort of landscape, unremarkable in that nothing really jumps out if you just think of the ride.  Along the road it’s lots of brush and tumble-weeds, even an old stage-coach road bed from the 1860’s remains noticeable.  The slow-to-change landscape holds history in check – rail beds over century old paths.

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I am making the Delta trip with some folks that have an interest in petroglyphs, so it just seemed to fit when I saw The Grimes site .  It’s pretty interesting to walk around where the natives of a few thousand years ago left their marks on the rocks, religious or just a stone library ? who knows, but it was an interesting walk.

It was also just across from some jets doing the ‘top-gun’ thing, fun to watch – further down the road I came across the Naval Centroid facility and they were doing live target runs – neat!

Maybe the dried salt-beds hold some answer why the natives valued this area of the country so much, then I noticed the large sand dune and imagined it blowing and accumulating over the peaks eon’s ago – most all that you see provides a real sense to the geological changes that once occurred here.

Simple reasons to take a moment,

Even a ‘shoe-tree,’ yeah a shoe tree – not sure what the shoe thing is like the southern California shoe fence, but there had to ‘ve been two thousand shoes on this tree and on the ground below it (the ripe-ones).

I guess there’s not much to do out here…

soon passed through the little town of Austin, Nev

It was near the summit of a pass, there were several passes along the way in the neighborhood of 5000 to 7400 feet, the view in the distant changed several times – from snow…

to the long ribbon of highway stretching out through the Great Basin in front..

long stretches of only sagebrush and asphalt,

out of all the windows, the rear too

there were many changes to the terrain over the miles, elevation changes, and passes

There were even (several) dried out salt-lakes, this one Sevier Lake was drive-able (at your own risk).

but shadows were getting as long as the highway,

time to call it a night, 545 miles – 300 to go.

Awoke in the rest area atop the San Rafael Swell, beautiful place to wake.  I watched as the early morning sunlight slid through the crack in the great wall – this is how the day in Utah started – and just kept getting better

Moab, and the Archway National Park

Again, it’s hard to convey the true scale of this view with a 2$ camera – but it was at least 200′ down and huge, awesome at the same time.  Folks were taking another trail to get to the base of the arch – but the combination of the walk from Lake Tahoe plus the angle of the sun – I was fine with this view.

and so was Harlan (from ATVriders.com) we talked a little about the magnitude of force that blew through and shaped all of this – it had to of been immense.

Petrified Dunes

Balanced Rock

Few words can really capture the Arches National Park sense, it needs to be seen. I had ran 30 miles out of the way on impulse and made it by 9am, as I was leaving it all started to change –

They must have unloaded Moab because where there were no-one coming in, the gates were jammed as I departed – good timing.

I did ‘swing through’ Moab, it was as alive as the Vegas strip – lots and lots of bikers.  Every car I noticed as I headed back up Hwy 128 was just loaded with Bikes coming in – Friday.

It just another ride down a long ‘grand’ canyon with the Colorado River along side,

Over the river and through the woods –

to Colorado again – long story short, made it. I’m tired will return later and fix any mistakes….

Two day paddle tomorrow on the Gunnison, should be colorful.