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Day 14: Heatwave

Updated: Aug 29, 2022

Claudia had left the day before from Jason’s place, so I had the benefit of knowledge from her that getting to Hanksville, NV was harder than expected, and I should be careful about water.

In the morning, I was up early with Jason. He was guiding a tour group, and I wanted to be first in the door to the bakery he recommended so I could eat and then quickly leave to escape some of the heat Claudia warned me about.

After parting with Jason, I was indeed the first customer of the day for The Wild Rabbit Bakery. I had a cinnamon roll, a strawberry Danish, and berry waffles. I can’t resist trying as many different things as I can at bakeries, and there hasn’t been a single bakery that I’ve seen that I have not stopped at. Food is easily the most expensive part of my trip. Far surpassing the cost of accommodation thanks to great people such as Jason allowing me into their homes for free.

With plenty of calories in me, I hit the road to Hanksville. Yesterday, I had got a preview of the road as our hike started a few miles into today‘s route. But the walls of the canyon I rode through were just as impressive the second time through.

For miles I would twist through the canyon until it eventually spit me out into more open and barren farmlands. So far, while the weather was hot, I had not encountered any of the headwinds Claudia had warned me about.

Being cautious though, I stopped at another little bakery on the side of the road where I bought yet another cinnamon roll. They gave me a few glasses of ice tea for free and most importantly, refilled my water.

Not wanting to waste too much of my morning “cool” (it was still over 95 degrees), I got a move on. Hanksville was mostly downhill and the 54 miles went by without too much issue. I still had plenty of water when I arrived.

I usually refill water at small markets or gas stations at the soda fountain. I almost always buy a little something at the same time like a candy bar or ice cream, so I don’t feel bad about just getting water.

Claudia had gone further east from Hanksville to a town called Blanding. That’s the suggested route for those following the Adventure Cycling Association directions. A lot of research has gone into their routes and are usually the right choice.

However, when I was trying to plan my route I saw “Goblin Valley” on the map and I knew I had to go there. That would take me north to the town of Green River, which would be another 56 miles from Hanksville.

At this point it was the middle of the day and I was feeling it. But with Goblin Valley splitting the distance from Hanksville to Green River, I figured three bottles of water would be enough since I just rode 52 miles comfortably with just the three. I never learn, do I?

20 miles in I see the sign for Goblin Valley, but it’s not off the highway like I was expecting. Instead it’s down a side road and in the flat desert of Utah, I still couldn’t see anything interesting for at least a few miles. Because it was so hot, I decided to skip Goblin Valley and press on the next 30 miles to Green River.

10 miles after Goblin Valley I ran dry on water. I was originally planning to do a dirt segment to Green River, but because I knew if anything happened I was be stranded completely without water where no one would find me, I continued on the road. This meant I would be riding on the freeway, I70. There are no other roads besides the dirt one that go to Green River.

By the time I make it to I70, I am really struggling. It is 12 miles on I70 to Green River, and there was a hill right at the start. I barely made it up.

Luckily, from that point on, the next 10 miles were mostly downhill or at least flat. It’s a good thing too, because otherwise I don’t know if I would have made it.

I was kinda delirious entering the gas station. I immediately filled up my water bottles and drank. It turns out that the only water at that gas station was carbonated water, which I usually don’t like, but it was the best water I’ve ever tasted. Obviously, I looked rather out of it, as a few concerned people stopped and talked to me as I sat outside the gas station recovering. One guy gave me some chocolate milk. It was warm, but who can complain! I also bought myself some candy and two bags of potato chips to get my salts back. My GPS read a high of 118 degrees. Yikes!

After about an hour and a half of resting, I got up and looked for camping. There was none. Everything in Green River, besides the motels, was booked up. I seriously considered a motel, but I saw that down the road 20 more miles was a highly rated rest stop, and after resting for so long I felt mostly recovered.

The rest stop was on my route that I was planning for tomorrow, so it would save some time into Moab and I would save money as the spot would be free. Instead of taking I70 again, I planned to take old highway 6/50. What I didn’t realize was that by old they meant dilapidated. The road was filled with craters and bumps and was mostly dirt. Then it was entirely dirt. I had enough of that, so I crossed back over onto I70 and rode that the last 12 miles to the rest stop.

The ride was actually worth it as I found one of the nicest truck stops I’ve ever seen with a bunch of shaded benches. The only issue was that due to COVID, all the water had been shut off. I still had three bottles since I filled up my spares in Green River, but it’s never great to not have access to water where you camp because I can’t make my dehydrated meals as they require too much water.

It was still incredibly hot, and I hate unpacking my gear because it's so time consuming to repack, so I just took out my inflatable pillow and slept on the table that night. I slept fine, probably due to exhaustion.

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