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Friday, July 15, 2011

One Week

Uinta Mountain Range
Day 7 – Can you believe it’s been one week and 4,189.3 km since I left home. I headed west from Lyman Wyoming this morning with lots of time for the short ride planned – time enough to stop and take a few photos today. The mountain climb on highway 80 was relatively gradual and I hadn’t realized how high up Lyman was until the temperature dropped. At 6000 feet above sea level it gets cold at night, I was glad I’d packed the under armors. I rode out of Lyman (fully dressed and with the heat on) surrounded by mountains – jagged rocky peaks to the left, older rounded peaks to the right, mountains in front, mountains behind … mountains as far as my eye could see. I finally felt like I was travelling through the mountains. The Yamaha Star is climbing to the top, effortlessly, so far.

Echo Canyon Train
 I stopped at Evanston for gas, air and a drive around town then it was back to highway 80. The countryside was desolate yet peacefully serene. There was nothing but the hills, the highway and the train track that paralleled my ride. It almost seemed untouched by the hands of man except for the ugliness every now and then of mounds of wrecked cars. I stopped at Echo Canyon, the red canyon, and climbed to the top of a hill to wait for the train (have you noticed a recurring theme here?) coming down the track. I had been planning on ways to avoid travelling across the salt flats until I spoke with the tourist information people who assured me that it really wouldn’t be all that hot today. So, I decided, I’m here now, I might as well see it all and headed directly to Salt Lake City and beyond.


Great Salt Lake
 The ride into the basin and Salt Lake City seemed like a sheer drop compared to the way the road had been winding up. Garmin Dan and I took a detour to avoid most of the city making sure to fill up with gas (as wisely advised by the tourist information man) and to remove any extra layers of clothing before heading toward the desert. Great Salt Lake smelled of the sea. I stopped for a picture of a train (surprise) rolling east on the track in front of the lake and then headed onto the flats. There was a blue heat haze across the evaporated lake but the breeze felt surprisingly cool. The desert turned to white as I entered the salt flats area. The salt flats were littered with tire tracks from would be racers right off the 80 and one young man, he and his Toyota still sitting there in the salt, mired to the hubcaps. There was a viewing area where I took a picture of the Star against the Salt Flats backdrop and ventured a step onto the salt. It reminded me of a frozen white lake.

I pulled into the campsite at the edge of the Flats behind a familiar RV hauling a 69 VW bug. This was the third night I’d seen the same vehicle and couldn’t help starting up a conversation with Gabe and Sandy from California on the home stretch of their cross country adventure.

Tonight, I’m camping in the desert, on one side the Salt Flats on the other the flashing casino lights all surrounded by rocky peaks ... oh, wait a minute. I think I hear a train!
The Star and The Salt Flats

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