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I am Mother Nature, hear me roar.

The Start

Fiona ready to depart for Park City.  Double-R, Ridge Rd, Steamboat Springs, CO.
This was the official start of “the big loop” of the trip – all at once, exciting, humbling and daunting. I woke early and stopped at Backcountry Provisions – the greatest sandwich shop in the history of sandwich shops – to gather a Windermere sandwich, pickle and chips for a packed lunch. I also stopped by Amante Coffee for a cup of coffee and to check weather reports, then hurried back to check the bike and kit one more time. I’m pretty sure that I was smiling the entire time – I couldn’t believe that I was finally about to embark. I looked forward to an easy ride to Park City, Utah.
Mother Nature planned otherwise.

Dinosaur National Monument

Colorado/Utah border near Dinosaur National Monument.  Note the dust in the air from winds gusting at 65+mph.  U.S. Route 40, Dinosaur, CO.The first leg of the day’s ride was to the Colorado-Utah border via US-40. This area is arid and relatively flat, until one approaches the Dinosaur National Monument area, when huge river canyons appear. My friend, Larry Pierce and I went for a dayhike and photoshoot through this area in August 2007. It’s a strikingly unique landscape. The Quarry Visitor Center suffered from a (literal) sinking foundation, was reconstructed and reopened in late 2011.

While riding, I noticed steadily increasing crosswinds on US-40. By the time I reached Dinosaur, a High Wind Advisory had been issued in the area for wind gusts exceeding 60 MPH. The air quality was dramatically decreased by all the particulate matter flying about. I hoped for a break when I stopped at the Visitor Center.

Park City or Bust

Silver Moose Ranch.  Park City, UT.The second leg of the ride from Dinosaur to Park City was terrible, incredibly challenging, and humbling. In retrospect, it was exactly what I needed – an in-your-face reminder from Mother Nature of her capabilities, and of the need to show proper respect on the journey.

From Roosevelt through to Park City, I encountered the same ferocious crosswinds, rain, three bouts of hail, a snow/sleet mixture, then outright snow. I closely monitored the bike’s ambient temperature sensor, making a deal with myself that if the temperature dropped to 34°F, I would pull over in the nearest town and call it a day. Otherwise, I was determined to barrel through to get to Park City. It got down to 36°F and full-on snow for approximately 10 miles, then the weather broke near Park City and it warmed into the mid-50s.

I parked on Main Street, seeking out Flanagan’s. I sat down, stripped my gear off, and enjoyed a pint of Guinness and dinner in honor of my friend, Don Flanagan. I then made my way to the Silver Moose Ranch for the night’s stay. It was a wonderful stay, set in the foothills and with great service. It was snowing heavily while I emptied the gear from the bike. When I woke the next morning, Fiona was covered in a healthy coating of slushy snow.

The Day : Weather

SunnyMostly CloudySleetSnow Location State High (F) Low (F) Precipitation (in) Max Wind (mph)
Steamboat Springs CO 80° 42° 0.00 34
Vernal UT 74° 49° 0.00 59
Park City UT 64° 39° 0.00 41

The Day : Images

The Day : GPS

Total Time 12:05:46
Moving Time 6:47:52
Distance 338.3 mi
Avg Speed 28.0 mph
Moving Speed 49.8 mph
Elevation Max 8,006 ft
Elevation Min 4,724 ft
Elevation Gain 21,172 ft
Elevation Loss 21,540 ft


The Day : Tweets

Poudre Canyon, Front Range and Berthoud Pass #ANW2012 via @tmac2272
May 27 via American Northwest 2012 Favorite Retweet Reply

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My prediction is 2″ of snow on the bike tomorrow morning. #ANW2012
May 27 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Very impressive display today, Mother Nature. Must have woken up on the wrong side of the hemisphere. Go easy on me, please. #ANW2012
May 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Dinosaur National Monument done, lots more National Parks to go. #ANW2012
May 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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State no. 5 of 11 is…Utah. #ANW2012
May 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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What’s worse, (1) hearing “Moves Like Jagger”, or (2) 35-50 MPH crosswinds on the open range while on a bike? #ANW2012 #tooclosetocall
May 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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Leaving now for the big loop to the Pacific Coast and Canadian Border. So far, have logged 1,857 mi, both truck and bike. #ANW2012
May 26 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

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According to a local, the biggest travel issue for tomorrow is small-town cops who like to ticket for any speed > 1 MPH over. #ANW2012
May 26 via Twitter for iPad Favorite Retweet Reply

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© 2013, Terry D. MacVey. All rights reserved.