The Long Way Back

Left Truckee mid-afternoon on Sunday and headed east on I-80 for a few hours. On Monday I headed further east to Wells, NV and headed north on US-93 for what I thought would be a fun ride into Idaho. Problem was, there was constant construction on 93 with long backups and waits in the heat. Eventually made my way to Twin Falls ID and the lower Snake River Canyon - very cool! It's a deep gash in an otherwise fairly flat agricultural plain.

The geology and ground cover changes almost immediately after entering Idaho north of Nevada. From dead and brown and almost mountainous to most flat fairly fertile land where light duty farming can occur, with the aid of irrigation. Eventually made my way to I-84 and worked across ID and dropped into Utah north of Salt Lake City. It's a long ride south in an increasingly mountainous area down toward Salt Lake City; very pretty, with the Salt Lake to the west, and mountains to the east and south.
Did a walking tour of Salt Lake City this morning. It is a beautiful city, with the Mormon temple the heart of the city, located in a beautifully tended park-like setting in the center of town. As with most large structures, pictures don't do it justice. Also some very good archived newspaper information from the state library. It's been a very good trip from the information gathering perspective - which was a large reason behind the trip.

The mountains begin in earnest just a few miles east of SLC on I-80, and all the way across that corner of UT is beautiful. It gets dryer, rockier, and browner as one enters Wyoming. After awhile it starts to looks a lot like Nevada again. Southern WY is an elevated plain with occasional mountains. Much of the ground is between 6,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation. Also somewhat NV the towns are located some distance apart, though, unlike NV, there are services in between the town so that gas and food are usually no more than 30 or 40 miles apart, as opposed to 100 miles in much of Nevada.

Very cool monument to Abe Lincoln and the Lincoln Highway about 30 miles west of Cheyenne, on the Xway. Spending the night in Cheyenne, purposely in a Mom and Pop motel, so I can watch the All Star Game, do computer stuff, and stay out of the rain (which is threatening quite seriously.)

Some general observations:
Close to 4,000 trouble free miles thus far (except for that brake problem on Pike's Peak which was caused by Mother Nature, not me or the bike).

Seeing very little wildlife. Saw a few Mule Deer at a distance yesterday, saw a group of wild horses in NV 3 days ago, and saw some antelope today.

With no exaggeration I can say that over a quarter of the miles I've ridden have been on roads under repair. Road construction, with its backups and diverted traffic, has been a daily constant. Today far more of the trip was under construction restraints than on normal roadway. I-80 is basically being rebuilt across Wyoming. Every other road I've been on has had long construction stretches and delays.

I'm seeing tons of motorcycles - they're everywhere.

I've had many long and enjoyable conversations with total strangers who want to talk about my life story when they see me on the bike with MI plates. It's been fascinating. Over a half-hour yesterday with a wonderful CA couple at a restaurant who were a joy to talk with (they both decided that it was time to buy a bike and see America); twenty minutes this morning with a retired couple also from CA who were on their way to a family reunion at Jackson Hole and who parked next to me at a rest area; long discussions with a variety of folks at different places, including 15 minutes talking with a delightful woman from Indiana, while parked atop Pikes Peak. Two folks went on at length about CA politics and how everyone is leaving the state because it is now such a terrible place to live or work. (their words, not mine). As someone who clearly remembers California's boom days in the '60s and '70s, this was rather sad commentary.

It's been a grand trip. This is such a beautiful country that it's hard to take it all in; but the best way to experience it is definitely atop a motorcycle!

Tomorrow on to Nebraska.