Last year at some point I mentioned to a couple of friends that I had been thinking of doing this hut to hut mountain bike ride from Telluride CO to Moab UT. Of course I’m sure I started this discussion while on a ride so immediately everyone thought it was a great idea and wanted in. As the time went on and we started finalizing plans, it came down to just myself, Jerry and Chris that were able to actually pull it off.
I had been planning this trip for almost a year and here we were in my driveway at 6:00 Friday morning actually loading up Jerry’s van and getting on the road.
The drive, as most do, started out great. Everyone was fired up and excited and we chatted all the way to Auburn where we stopped for breakfast. From Auburn to Reno the trip is still fairly pretty as you wind along Hwy 80 through the sierras with their trees, views of Donner Lake and then the Truckee River.
Eventually though, you leave California and enter Nevada and immediately the scenery changes. If you’ve never driven from California east, which I hadn’t, you really get an idea of just how vast this country is. (now I know why they invented airplanes)
For hours we drove and for hours the scenery never really changed. For the next roughly 400+ miles we experienced all Nevada has to offer. To say that it’s a flat, barren, desert state doesn’t even begin to describe the desolation of the area. I know there are some people that love the desert. And, having been to Arizona with their red bluffs and cactus, I can almost understand that. But to drive for almost 6 hours and never see a plant taller than about a foot, is just depressing...and then you get to Utah which for the first couple of hours is exactly the same!!
Soon enough we rolled into Salt Lake City. I had been to Salt Lake once long before and didn’t have fond memories. I was in sales at the time and had flown in early one morning for meetings. After spending the day lost, having several unsuccessful meetings and finally checking in to a cheap motel, I went to dinner at a restaurant only to find that they wouldn’t serve me beer unless I joined their “private club” which cost 10 dollars. Fine whatever...just give me the damn beer....
This time though, I wasn’t working. I was on vacation and I was just passing through. We decided to skip Salt Lake and find dinner a little further south in an effort to get through all the traffic. So, pulling off in Sandy UT we stopped at Iggy’s sports bar and enjoyed a nice dinner and a beer. Evidently UT is loosening up since we weren’t asked to join their “private club”.
Night had fallen by now and we had been in the van for almost 14 hours. After dinner, we loaded up and made the last push towards Moab. We drove through the dark and as we started to gain elevation I’m sure we passed through some nice scenery but by now we were all tired and quiet and just wanted to get where we were going.
About 4 hours later we rolled into downtown Moab, UT and saw the sign I had been waiting so long to see...”yep, they left a light on”