Thursday, July 17, 2008
More than 1000 Miles!
Day 28: We arrived in Escalante that afternoon. We spent the afternoon catching up on our blog at the Trading Post. There we met a really sweet couple, Susan and David Brown from Taos, New Mexico. They were on a road trip traveling on a motorcycle. Such nice people, they even bought us our dinner that night. We wish them lots of exciting adventures on their journey.
Day 29: We left Escalante in the morning hoping to travel 63 miles uphill to arrive in Torrey before sundown. It was going to be a very challenging day climbing up to 9500 feet over Boulder mountain. We sweated it out for the first 20 miles and arrived at a campsite to fill up on water. The next 20 miles was going to be grueling. But we lucked out and met a nice Swiss family vacationing in a RV. They offered us a ride in their camper van, so we took it!
Their RV was so cool, we had never seen the inside of these before. But I think it might be nicer than most Manhattan apartments.
It happened to be their youngest daughter, Aline's birthday that day. They invited us to a birthday lunch of homecooked spaghetti.
Mr. & Mrs. Gerber in their younger days were adventure travelers too, and shared stories of their journeys across the Americas.
They were a very lovely family. We thank them for their company, the ride to the top of the mountain, and for inviting us to Aline's birthday lunch. Happy Birthday! Happy Travels!
The rest of the ride that day went by quickly. It was downhill all the way to Torrey!
In Torrey we met up with Ben. Ben is a landscaper helping to develop sustainable homesteads. He has been working with Ty for the last four years building on her beautiful desert land and cultivating an orchard, and he let us camp there. (Thanks, Ben!!)
We got to camp right under some beautiful rock formations and bathe in a creek.
Ty also runs a bed and breakfast which was converted from an old schoolhouse. They serve only organic foods. They screen documentaries on Sundays (which is the day we were there) and we got to meet some friendly people from Torrey.
Day 30: Watching the Sunrise over the canyons
Cowboy scratchiti from 1885
That morning Ben gave us a tour of the land and all the projects he's been working on. We also got to meet his camel.
His name is Fletcher
Katie is a college student from Boston who spent the last month working on the land with Ben and learning about natural building. We're so glad she was there to camp in the wilderness with us and show us the ropes. She's studying to become a natural therapist and hopes to join the peace corps someday. She's a girl with a wonderful spirit. We had a great time hanging out with you!
Ben is building a beautiful lofted studio with scenic views of the desert mountains.
We left Torrey late in the afternoon because we had a short ride to Hanksville that day. It's always on the "easy days" we end up having bicycle mishaps. About 15 miles out of Torrey I got a flat tire. No big deal. I stop and fix it. I get back on my bike and ride 20 feet, and the same tire explodes and my chain pops off. Suffice to say that it was a total pain in the butt, I wasted so much riding time trying to fix my bike in the afternoon heat. Debs was nowhere in sight because we were on a downhill run. Our cellphones didn't have service. Thankfully a couple motorists driving on the same road helped us communicate to each other from bottom of the hill to the top of the hill. Too bad the message sent downhill to Debbie didn't get to her, because she climbed back up the hill looking for me. What was supposed to be an "easy ride" turned out to be a pretty tiresome ride that day.
I fixed my bike, we regrouped and we got on our way again. The red rocks from the hot canyon disappeared and the mountains turned into silvery grey as we entered Caineville.
We had a challenging day and both of us were worn out, so we made a pit stop at the Luna Mesa for a couple coffees. It was the most charming diner we've come across in the desert. The place was full of old western memorabilia, thrift store jewelry, signed dollar bills all over the ceiling, and family photos. We met Ann & her daughter, Cheralyn, who told us of the Hollywood history of the Luna Mesa. Lots of films have been shot here. And back in the day John Wayne even stayed there.
Do you recognize this place from any movies???
We felt recharged and forgot about the troubles from that afternoon and sang showtunes riding side by side all the way into Hanksville.
There is a castle on a cloud
Return from nipple mountain
We met an Aussie and a Dutch road tripper at dinner and shared a campsite with them. This summer we've noticed most of the road trippers at the national parks are European. It's a good time for them to come vacation because their money is worth more their ours right now. We hope all these tourists are able to experience America the way we have on our road trip. The kindness and generosity of people, the beautiful vast landscape.... If more Europeans could come out and experience America this way, maybe they would have nicer things to say about our culture.
That night we also noticed a family with seven beautiful children camping at next to us. I met Gloria, the mom, in the laundromat and she told me their family was biking across America this summer. I couldn't believe my ears.
Day 31: The ride from Hanksville to the next town was 132 miles with a "primitive service" campground in between. Late in the morning, after too much diddle daddling, we left Hanksville and headed for the "primitive service" campground. The rays of the sun bouncing off the red canyons all around us was too much for me. We realized too late that we were riding through the heat of the day uphill. I ran out of water 10 miles before we got there and had a panic attack at the side of the road. I even started crying. Debbie came and snapped me out of it and her positive attitude pushed me up the last of the hills to the campgrounds in Hite.
"Primitive Service" is right! The Hite campgrounds was an abandoned campsite because the waters of Lake Powell had receded so much. There were no showers, no people, no grass, no trees.
We couldn't find one spot of shade in the entire place and it was hot!!!!!
Namaste in the lake. If only we had brought floaties, maybe we could have slept in the lake.
We were so happy to see the Fox family we met the night before. They were smart enough to get on the road early that morning, so they arrived at the Hite campgrounds before us.
Meet the Foxes
Bill, Gloria, Rebecca, Adriana, Willie, Paul, Vicky, John, and Sarah
The entire family of nine is touring across America this summer. Bill leads the four eldest children on the rides everyday. And Gloria drives the sag wagon with the three youngest children. You can imagine how happy we were when they invited us to join them for the next ride until we got into a town again. Gloria even offered to carry our panniers and supplies in her van.
It was John's birthday and we celebrated at the fish cleaning station with a cinnamon roll. (coincidentally, it was also my uncle John's bday that day: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to both Johns!)
Isn't he adorable?
We decided to leave the primitive campsite and do an evening ride to cut some mileage off for the next days ride.
It was so fun to ride with all the family. Everyone was so sweet and supportive of each other. It definitely brought smiles to our faces to be around them. Each time Gloria came passing by in the support van it felt like a security blanket knowing mom was going to be just around the corner.
Bill and Adriana riding the recumbent tandem bike. The were able to go so fast downhills.
Happy One Month Anniversary!!!! Deb and I have been on the road for exactly one month now.
As the sun started setting we found a plot of land where we decided to camp for the evening. It was our first experience renegade camping, and it was comforting to be with such a nice family.
Day 32: We woke up at the crack of dawn to avoid riding in the heat of the day.
The boys Willie and Paul were on mountain bikes, and were so fast they managed to keep up with us (and even pass me ) on our road bikes.
The beautiful Rebecca.
The Fox Family siesta hour.
Gloria stopped the van and we munched on snacks and drank cool water.
Vicki and Willie with the clayman sculpture
Little Sara. Awwwwwwww, she's so precious.
It was a long strenuous ride, I was amazed at how well everyone did. There was no complaining, no fussing, everyone got along, and made the journey such a positive experience for us.
After a long hard day we arrived in the town of Blanding. We celebrated our ride and John's birthday with a big dinner.
Gloria & Bill. Thanks for inviting us into your family. I mean, do you want to adopt a couple more children?
Debbie and I trying out the recumbent tandem. It was so fun I couldn't stop giggling the entire time. But it's not as easy as it looks.
Johnny got his proper birthday celebration this night.
Such a beautiful happy family.
We parted ways with the Fox family in Blanding. It was truly such a memorable experience. Their family was so inspirational. My dream is to have a family like theirs one day.
(you can follow their journey at www.ninefoxfamily.blogspot.com)
The Sunrise in Blanding
What? What kind of house is it?
We are headed to Colorado tonight. We hope for a large shoulder to bike on, good weather, pleasant scenery, sturdy bikes, and lots of downhill runs!
Sending out lots of love to our friends and family!!!!
Thanks for all your support and prayers.