I got kind of a late start out of Hanksville, but hoped to make it to Torrey by the end of the day. Before I left town, someone asked about my trip. He said when I’m done I am going to have trouble getting back into the routine of normal life. He may be right. Being on the road, waking up in a new place and riding all day, has become normal life. He was from Delaware and had been to Lake Powell with some friends. I told him I rode through Delaware. He said it was probably an easier ride. I agreed. He rides a bike about 20 miles a day, but didn’t think he could do a trip like I am doing. That is how I prepared, however, by riding about 20 miles a day round trip to work. People underestimate what they can do.
As I expected, the ride was mostly uphill today. It started out pretty gradual and not too bad. The landscape continued to be gray. It was almost lunar in appearance until I reached Capital Reef National Park.
At Capital Reef, the highway followed a canyon of white, rounded and smooth cliffs similar to what I saw a few days ago. These cliff, however, where much larger. The white cliffs with dome-like tops give the area its name. Miners traveling west thought they looked like the domes of capital buildings.
The traffic was much heavier than I expected as well. With a narrow, winding highway, it can kind of fray your nerves after a while. In the late afternoon, I stopped at the Capital Reef Visitor Center. There was a campground there, but it was full. I wanted to push on to Torrey anyway. Judging from the large number of people there and overhearing one of the rangers recommending places in Torrey over and over, I have a sinking feeling that by the time I got there, there wouldn’t be any place to stay.
After leaving the visitor center, the climbing got steeper as I climbed out of the canyon. The traffic also got heavier. There were an awful lot of RV’s, including many I could tell were rented. I don’t think I trust the drivers of the rented RV’s too much. They aren’t used to driving such large vehicles. There were also a lot of California tags. I haven’t reached California yet, but can already tell they may be the worst drivers I have encountered. They hug the white line until they are right behind me and then buzz by way too close.
A few miles outside of Torrey, I stopped at a convenience store. The clerk gave me a brochure with the phone numbers of hotels and campgrounds in Torrey. After making a few calls, my fears were confirmed. Torrey was completely full. Come on people. Labor Day was two weeks ago. Summer is over. It’s time to go home, go back to work and go back to school. The clerk also told me where some BLM land was. It’s a good thing BLM owns so much land in Utah, otherwise I would never find anyplace to stay.