I did a very long ride today, from Cameron to Page, 80mi/125kms, the longest I’ve done up to now, almost 6 hours on the bike. But it was a nice ride all around.
As I couldn’t find any other stop, I had to do this stretch in one day. So for the first time, I set up an alarm (but was up beforehand anyway), and left at sunrise. It was cold for a couple hours ! But that was the only way to do all the distance before noon. I didn’t want to ride after 12 and worse after 1pm : yesterday, I managed to get a sunburn on a one month old tan ! The sun can be bitchy here.
The road was a slow uphill for 3/4 of the way, then a downhill. Until a small stop called Gap, sometime before halfway, I was still in a barren desert, coming close to a ridge and following it. I got to see the changing shadows on the small hills all around in the desert. I also encountered a couple more shops by the road, where the local Indians (this is the Navajo reservation) come to sell handmade crafts.
After a much needed stop at Gap, I turned right. The adventure cycling association map called for going straight north to Marble Canyon, but it’s still desolate for a long way, and there’s a big uphill until Kanab. They go there so that you’re able to join the north rim of the Grand Canyon. But there’s a wildfire going on right now (that you can see on my photos), and it might be closed. Plus I wanted to have a stayover in a larger town. So I got up the Hamblin Ridge that I’d been following for miles, and then north west.
The plateau was much more inviting, with all shades of green, small trees, some livestock… And for a cyclist, a dream come true : a really smooth road, a large shoulder with no safety bump and no wrinkle every 10 meters, the real plague of US roads. It was still going slightly up, but the feeling was great. Not a lot to see, but 30mis/50kms done in a blink.
I knew that the last quarter, or perhaps third, thanks to Cycle route’s website, was going to be a downhill, so I was waiting eagerly for that. It was only a quarter in the end, with a road a bit older, but still, after 60mis/90kms, that was a relief. The scenery changed again going down to Page, with the return of the desert, ridges in the distance on the left, and mesas on the right, along with Lake Powell somewhere, marking the north end (beginning, actually) of the Grand Canyon. I’ll be passing the north bit of Lake Powell within two weeks, making a large S on the map (you can access it from the “page route” in the menu).
The motels in Page are really expensive, it might be because of a holiday period. But I have to force myself to a day of rest every 3 or 4 days, at least for my butt, after such a long ride 🙂
So, it was a very good ride, although the day didn’t start very well. I slept only a little, and I woke up crying. Never a good sensation. The dream that got me there haunted me for the whole day, and still does. I was still in a couple, and we were in some kind of shopping center. Each one was tending to his interests, and while leaving, on the escalator, we were discussing – not arguing – about these differences, like for instance how I don’t care about buying clothes. Very usual stuff. But at some point, I felt the warmth of her skin. It was so good. I realized at once I was dreaming, that it was not real, and that I had lost that feeling forever. I realized all that in the dream, and pulled myself from it as fast as I could. That also meant I would have all that sequence clearly in my head, along with that dreadful feeling of loss, for the whole day. And while biking you have a whole lot of time to think.
That’s probably enough for one post…