Fillmore, UT to Lund, NV – 275.9 miles
The day started with an additional detour off the path after our normal morning routine. Naomi’s family has very deep roots in Utah and the TAT took us just south of the city where several of her ancestors are buried. We decided to grab a hotel in Fillmore and rode by the cemetery first thing. We easily found the Nichols among the green grass and grazing turkey. I know it was important to her to make those connections and reflect back on where she comes from. Her family is a hardy bunch who were among the first to make the trek across this vast land pulling handcarts searching for a better life. The adventurous spirit and hard working attitude remain hard fast in the family today.
We got back on the trail and left the Utah mountains in our dust as we sped through the desert on dirt. The roads were wide and well traveled allowing us to move at a steady 35 mph. There wasn’t much for scenery except sand, the occasional bush, and distant mountains, so keeping our concentration on the long straight road was difficult. We found ourselves zoning out and unknowingly drifting into the thick gravel shoulders. The bikes would suddenly wobble trying to buck us off and we’d get a shot of adrenaline through our veins waking us up faster than any espresso available.
The riding was deceptively technical along the last bit of the beehive state. Cars and trucks that had previously driven the long roads left narrow paths the width of their tires where the gravel was thin and smooth. Keeping our tires on these tightropes while battling a strong crosswind and mind numbing scenery became a challenge of its own.
We filled up in Baker just across the Nevada border around 2:30 pm and tossed around the idea of calling it a day. Then we looked around and realized the place was basically a ghost town and decided to push on making it a spectre in our mirrors. The path immediately dumped us into the desert. Not through it on roads used daily, but rather in it on sand paths seemingly used only by fellow TAT riders. We spun our tires in the quicksand trying to gain traction and snaked along the trails.
Our pace had slowed to about 10 mph and we started to question the decision to travel the 118 miles to Lund. The roads were a struggle for most of the afternoon and the sun crept lower in the sky. We finally found gravel just as we were running out of cuss words and foul descriptions for the sand and crossed two low mountain passes on the run into our destination city. We arrived just before 9 pm in the pacific time zone. I sprinted across the parking lot of the hotel in my riding/hiking/track boots to get to the convenience store before it closed and snatched up Pringles and microwave chunky beef soup for dinner.
Today’s lesson: You cannot overdose on adrenaline.