Sunday, June 21, 2009
Day 15 - Price, UT to Green River, UT
If Father's Day means doing what you love to do most, I think I did that. It's Father's Day today. I miss my kids. I miss my wife. But, I had an awesome day despite not getting hugs and kisses from my family. I got to ride my bike! Today's route took us from Price to Green River primarily along Hwy. 6. The scenery was spectacular, but altogether different from anything else we've seen. In a word, southeastern Utah is "expansive."
We left Price under dark skies. The road was wet from early morning rain. We rode through Price and got on Highway 6. The scenery began with green, wide pastures. In the far distance we could see the Book Cliffs, a range of steep cliffs with sediment striations that looked like layered cakes stacked high. At the top of one rise, we could see sunlight breaking through the cloud cover and streaming beams of light onto the valley below. The weather improved quickly and most of the day we were riding under blue skies and scattered puffy clouds.
Early in the ride, I saw a single llama standing on a ridge as we passed. He was silhouetted against the sky as if he was surveying the road below and watching us make our way to Green River. As we rode along, I saw on the right about a hundred yards from the road, a lone antelope. I called to Chuck who was in front of me and told him to stop and look to the right. The antelope skittered away, but we could still see him on a low ridge in the distance.
Before a long descent, we had an amazing view of the valley below. Book Cliffs on the left, and a vast desert to the right. It was really breathtaking. I pulled over halfway through the descent just to take some photos and capture how incredibly vast it all was. When you live in a city or suburbs, you really don't have a concept for how much "spare room" our nation has. Riders in our group who haven't traveled through the west, are really amazed at the wide open space we are riding through.
At the SAG stop, we pulled into a turnout area with nothing but space and desert for miles in either direction. Cliffs and table rocks dotted the horizon. We loaded up on food, cleaned mud out of our cleats, and grouped up for a paceline to take us the rest of the way. Leigh, Chris, Chuck and I took turns taking long pulls with a major headwind for the last quarter of the ride. Eventually, we joined Hwy. 70E and had just a short few miles to ride into Green River.
After our ride, we had the option to drive by van to Arches National Park about an hour away. Eighteen of us were chosen to take the trip. We loaded into the two ABB vans and headed south. The red rock and steep cliffs were stunning as we neared the entrance. Our visit to Arches was altogether too short. We stopped in at the Visitor Center briefly then drove out to Delicate Arch. We hiked to a viewpoint, but the Arch was far in the distance. If time allowed, I would have hiked the 1.5 miles to see it up close.
We next went to Windows Arches and had the opportunity to hike right up underneath it. It's breathtaking to see these arches formed from erosion and weather over years and years. We stopped at Balancing Rock and then visited Park Avenue. I easily could have stayed several days in Arches. Next time, I'll make it a roadtrip with Susie, Kyle, and Bethany and we'll camp in the park and hike to each and every arch. But, for the short time we had, it was entirely worth going.
This was a great Father's Day. I'm so thankful for my kids and the wonderful young man and woman they are becoming. I'm proud of not just what they have done, but more so who they are. I miss the opportunity to experience this incredible country through their eyes and would love to show them all the sights I'm seeing. I look forward to seeing them at the ride's end, but I so appreciate their sacrifice to let me ride this adventure of a lifetime. Thank you Kyle and Bethany for making me a dad and making it so fun to be your dad! I love you both very much!
Tomorrow, we cross our fourth state line and enter Colorado. The hotel desk clerk says to expect a ride through "a whole lot of nuthin." Somehow, I think I'll probably find something there I like.
To see more photos from today including all the shots I took at Arches National Park, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100174
For more about the Ride for Impact and to support global relief and missions, please visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 1091
Cumulative Flats: 3 and holding
Elev Gain: 1164 ft.
Max Elev: 5766 ft.
Avg Climb: 1%
Max Climb: 5%