September 23, 2010

Day 8: Iron ass run

(Return to the first Utah Loop trip post)

Salt Lake City UT to John Day OR (1,007km)


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Weather reports called for extreme thunder showers in the area and I had been warned about the heat reflected off the salt flats so I was happy to be on the road before 8am. During the 200km ride to Wendover along I-80 I mapped out the rest of the trip in my head and figured if I pulled two big, big, days I could be in Vancouver on a Saturday, leaving a day to regroup before returning to work. I was also starting to show the signs of 4,000km without a break as blisters rose on my hands, head, and feet. My bum was staring to hurt. I'd set course later. Riding into the Salt Flats I had no idea what to expect. This is the area where almost all world land speed records are set and is a naturally flat dry ocean basic made entirely of salt. Following some signs I was on my way along service roads and out into the flats. At the road's end and the salt's start I stopped for a photo and spoke with Peter who was positioned on a lawn chair in a way suggesting he was a guy to talk to. Turned out they were prepping for a race the next day and no one was allowed out onto the salt flats. However, Peter had spent his entire life building racers and hosting events on the flats and we had a remarkable discussion about the flats and their history, geography, track maintenance, and race engineering. He obliged with a few photos of me by miles of white stuff and recommended a route North to Oregon and I was off. Making one last stop in Wendover for gas I struck up a conversation with an old guy, who I think lived in the van he was gassing up, but he knew his bikes and knew the local roads and recommend a different route for me through Nevada and into central Oregon. I took his advice and headed West to Wells NV and then it was up Hwy 93, into Oregon, and I-84 and a series of by-ways to Vale OR. In Vale I had to decide how far to push that night as I was already 800km into the day but there was still at least another 1.5hrs of sunlight. I found a little tent symbol on the map in some distant quadrant and set off ending up in John Day along Hwy 26. I longingly past a few motels and wondered if I should really try to camp on this final night. Again, in the spirit of spite for half-attempts I found a campground and resigned myself to the $25 RV-O-Matic when the camp officer came by and told me to ride out to the backpackers area for $5. I did and ended up having a whole section of the camp to myself. Well after dark another guy on a BMW rolled in and we shared stories of the road and machine and drifted off to sleep to the sounds or horses from the ranch next door.

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*Check* Ready to start the day and put on some miles. I would see four states in the next 12 hours.

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First view of the salts.

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Turning on the TV in the morning the weather report was for massive lightening storms, but coming in the afternoon. I was headed east, where the weather was, so concerned I'd meet it. Dark to the south, bright to the north. The road twisted north and everything was fine.

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Looks like I'm bundled up for the cold. But it was 33°c.

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The official Salt Flats viewing station off the interstate. There's a little tap to wash your shoes after walking out there.

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At the entrance to the Bonneville Salt Flats racing grounds. It's a dead end leading into the salts.

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You can't help but have fun at the Bonneville Salt Flats

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Welcome to Nevada

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I was mesmerized by this trailer when Interesting Dude came over and handed me a sticker saying 'Play Hard, Play Safe, Stupid Hurts - Burning Man 2010'. And off he drove into the desert.

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Nevada

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Blah. Interstate.

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Oregon

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Just another abandoned town

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Brilliant sunset in Oregon

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Ending the day at a great campsite in John Day, OR

6 comments:

Stacy said...

Awesome pics, as always.

Clyde Holliday State Campground has to be the plushest campground I've ever stayed at. Where did you park when you stayed in the tent sites?

SonjaM said...

I can't believe your road report is almost over. What a lovely spot you found for the night. I am really tempted now to go back to camping myself, instead of staying in average hotels.

Zedman said...

Fantastic photos of the Salt Flats. I really want to go down there one of these years.
So, no rain on the trip so far. Nice. But I see the old R1200R got a bit muddy. Could have used a good wash!

BeemerGirl said...

Wonderful photos. Great that you were able to have a little fun, but sorry you weren't able to get out on the flats. Laughed at the Burning Man sticker..."stupid hurts"? Most visitors aren't that forward thinking... :) Just kidding! Your campsite seemed like a nice juxtaposition to the desert riding over the last couple of days. -Lori

LumpyCam said...

@Stacy - Yes, i was at Clyde Holliday. I was able to ride the bike right into the hike/bike section and park beside the tent. It was at the camp warden's insistence that I do so "save some $ and have the space to yourself!"

@SonjaM - the camping was awesome. Best part is if it is raining or you really smell you can still grab a hotel whenever you want. You have the *option* which is priceless.

@Zedman - Hit rain twice, once in Yellowstone (and rained for the night) and once on the last day crossing the Cascade Mountains. I got very muddy on the 4th day riding 20km of gravel construction roads.

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