Monday, September 2, 2013

August 31, 2013. Blanding to Hall's Crossing, Utah. 88 miles

Those of us at the hotel rode our bikes down to the park for breakfast. The coffee is served in beer kegs, which apparently act like thermos bottles and keep the hot drinks hot! Below is Tom, from California, getting his morning Joe. He is riding with his sister Linda, who lives in Mexico.

Dianne spent a moment with the mechanic to make sure her bike was OK and we left the park about 7:15.

The first few miles were downhill, a good way to start the day.

About 5 miles into the ride we started to climb.We passed by the Butler Wash Indian Ruins, and then 9 miles later stopped to see the Mule Creek Indian Ruins. We are in the desert here, but are being passed by a lot of vehicles towing boats behind them. Lake Powell, a reservoir formed by damming the Colorado River, is our destination today. We are supposed to go on a boat ride later to see some of the Anasazi cliffside dwellings.

Les, the organizer of this tour, was at one of our morning rest stops bringing us more ice--as I stated, we are in the desert! After the Indian ruins we began a long climb. Our detail sheet told us we climbed 1000 feet between mile 17 and mile 21 and another 1000 feet between mile 22 and mile 27, cresting at 7110 feet. Midway through the second section of the climb I started feeling poorly--Dianne and I decided I was having altitude sickness. I had to stop and rest several times.but made it to the top.

We had lunch, then got into the vans to shuttle into the Natural Bridges National Monument, where we saw several natural stone bridges. It was all very interesting, and Mark, our driver was eternally patient with us.

Sarah and Doris, above. We all took our time taking photos along the route. There were hiking trails, but no one is allowed to walk on the bridges.

It was nearly 2 PM when we got back to the bikes, and it was very hot... but we knew we were facing miles of downhill riding. There was a headwind now, so we had to pedal downhill, but the cooling effect was welcome.  There was a rest stop under a real tree! First tree we saw all day! The rest stops are all staffed by volunteers, some of whom are enjoying the shade below.

After 30 miles of downhills and flats, we came to the last hill of the day. And it was a doozy! I knew after about a mile of climbing that I was in trouble. I even got off and walked the bike, and I have not done that in about 15 years!  I walked a little, rode a little, and felt worse and worse. I was so hot that Dianne was worried about heatstroke and offered to pour her water on my head. I agreed, but the warm gatorade she dumped on me did not help. I gave up at mile 63; it was 100 degrees at that point. Dianne and I agreed that I am having issues from the altitude; not enough to seek treatment, but enough that I knew I needed to stop. Dianne got off the road too--by that time everyone behind us had already sagged in. Ruth picked us up and drove us to the end of the ride.

We found our rooms (in a house trailer!) but did not get our luggage. The boats had been standing by since about noon, so we started getting ready to go for our promised boat ride to see the Anasazi dwellings. 

They put 10 passengers on our boat (above), and as we were ready to leave the dock we found out that we were not going to see the Anasazi homes, but instead going to a different canyon. Pam drove us through Moqui Canyon, banking the turns and speeding ahead on the straight sections. We saw many formations of rock in this canyon, and there were people camped on the rocks.

We jumped into Lake Powell to cool off, and soon enough the other boat full of bike riders came along and followed suit. Most of us were in bike clothes, but one man left all his clothes on the boat.... 

We had another speedy ride through the canyon and then Pam delivered us to the dock. The scenery here is really incredible, like nothing I've ever seen.

Above is Pam, our boat driver.What a trip that was! And what a day, this first day of LAGBRAU 2013.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Linda! I agree, it's like being on a different planet. They lost the apps!!! Wow! I have a favor to ask. You'll be stopping at trading posts, gas stations, etc. and they will have refrigerator magnets. Please pick one out for me that has a beehive on it. A tasteful beehive. Looking forward to seeing more of your route. We'll have to compare pics when you get back. Take it easy on the downhill at Escalante. A fellow rider in 2005 lost it there, broken ribs, collarbone and concussion. Hope you get acclimatized real fast! Diana