First in a series of entries from the 2012 bicycle tour.
“Slotoja (Salt Lake to Logan to Jackson)”
Our first entry will cover our going away party all the way up to Jackson, Wyoming. We have been on the road for a little over three weeks and it has definitely been a rocky and rather an interesting road. To extreme heat and freak thunder storms, we have both kept our sights on the horizon. Avenue has loved trailing along in her trailer and still will not take a five minute break from standing in the trailer with her head cocked out sniffing every bit of air we pass through. Perhaps a little more time balancing from left to right will eventually render her tired so she can lay down for a break.
Before I dive into this first post I want to briefly touch base on our roots in Salt Lake City and capture all the aspects we loved while living in the SLC. Melissa had been with her salon, Jagged Edge, for roughly six years and had built up a clientele that she truly loved. From what I saw of Melissa in the salon is the sense that she was not just a hair stylist but a best friend to a lot of her clients. Her level head, warm heart, and strive to create a better world rubbed off on those who went to see her. The Jagged Edge family at the salon are some of the most diverse and amazing people I have ever met. I felt like I was also leaving family. Although I cannot speak for Melissa, I am sure this feeling of a bittersweet goodbye was amplified ten fold for her. Among the friends and family we left in Salt Lake we would like to say we love you and you are the reason we are vibrant, successful, and full of love.
Before our departure I was a full time employee with the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts. They have since given me the opportunity to mix full time travel with a part time contractor position. Thank you all at the organization for providing me the opportunity to grow within the company, more so for allowing me to stay connected with you while living on two wheels. I am very fortunate to be associated with the organization and work along side such dedicated professionals. I will talk to you all on the next conference call 🙂
Okay with that said…
For many of you who attended the going away party at the Hendry residence you may have noticed the giant-never-ending hill you had to drive up to reach the house. Knowing this could potentially be the last time we reside in Salt Lake City we wanted to bring together our close friends in one last get together and all of you who navigated to the party it truly meant the world to us to share in your energy.
From MARK CHANEY and his blues rock band to the epic food and company with friends, there was plenty to be grateful about. Melissa and I both knew that we would miss those dear to us. Eventually after the many goodbyes, nights out with friends, and preparation for the bike tour we left on the 11th of July.
We could not have picked a worse date for departing Salt Lake. The departure started at Liberty Park where we had a few friends meet up with us for a final send off. Salt Cycle’s Christy Punkin Pants Jens conducted a final interview of us which can be viewed on Salt Cycle’s Website. JD Nielson caught some photos of our loaded rigs while Jager, Kami, and Journey joined us for one loop around the park with us before we departed into the retched heat of the day.
As we hit bountiful, UT we had already taken numerous breaks under freeway overpasses. The heat of the Utah desert was sucking the life out of us. As we found our selves under yet another bridge to avoid the direct heat of the sun I received a text from my Aunt Tina. She had been talking with my father when he realized that we were under the overpass not even a quarter mile away from their new home. I know what your thinking “how did he know where we were?” We are on “Find Friends” Apple App Downlaod Here and search for Pat@WorldsBetweenLines.com and you too can follow us which pin points the exact location of my iPhone. She invited us over so we peddled our way to their home where we enjoyed a lovely dinner together. As night approached and the temperature cooled we departed north once again. We decided we would take a route that would take us over Mountain Green (not knowing how gnarly this pass would be) into Pine View so that we could stop and visit Melissa’s aunt, uncle, and cousins. We continued to ride for about ten miles and then hunkered down in a deserted field about 2 miles from the base of Mountain Green .This would be our first real night out on the tour together.
Upon waking up we noticed that we were literally sitting in the center of a goat-head field, and for those of you who don’t know goat-heads they are those gnarly thorns all cyclists despise. A morning of tire maintenance was in order.
As we approached the bottom of the canyon we were both struggling to keep our balance with the gusts of wind slamming us from the right, left, right, left, and back…one could always find something to dislike but wind on a bicycle is one of those situations that you never like to find yourself in. Not only do you struggle to keep your vertical inline, you feel like you have set the treadmill to the hardest setting so that you feel like a stationary bicyclist. But through all this we managed to keep on keep’n on and made our way to the base of Mountain Green.
This pass was no less difficult than any I have ever experienced. Not only were Melissa and I both over packed, we were also against the elements once more. One second it would be blazing hot, the next we would be trampled by a random burst of thunderstorm. It seemed that the universe either wanted us the the side of the road walking, sweating our brains out, or hunkered down next to our bikes taking shelter from the wind gusts. This was the only time in my life where I actually stepped off my bike and started pushing. I once heard someone say that there is no shame in pushing and when you feel that beat down, well you could really give a shit what anyone thinks or says about pushing…we were going to make it up that hill if it meant dragging those bikes.
We finally made it to Melissa’s aunts home…only about 4 hours after we had planned. Melissa’s cousin Kyle made us a wonderful dinner and we got to enjoy her family’s company around the campfire in their backyard. They also let us utilize a nice comfy bed in their motor home for a good night sleep. Upon waking in the morning we were quick to drop a ton of gear from our bikes. My bike more specifically because off all the crap I thought I would use on tour. So goodbye to the front panniers, Avenue’s sleeping bag, excess tools, extra camera lenses, etc. All in all I think my bike alone dropped over 30lbs of gear. I consolidated most everything to fit in the front half of my trailer and my two rear panniers. Life after this was SO MUCH BETTER. I think a BMW motorcycle would have to be in order for me to carry all this I ventured off with.
I forgot to mention that all the while on tour my mother was always looking for a reason to come “rescue” us. So my parents drove up to Marcy’s house and we packed up the extra weight into their car and they drove us 40 miles to Logan. Now I know what all of you are thinking…”What kind of a bike tour is carried out in a car!” well the answer is simple. We had made plans before departing that we would meet up with some friends in Logan Canyon just before Bear Lake and since we were about a day behind from our slow start there was no way we were going to get there on time so we decided to give my mother a little treat and allow her to give us a small piggyback up to Logan.
Going up the pass to the top of logan canyon was a long stretch, looking back it may not have been too bad but seeming that we were not in shape, novice muscles, and our minds were not yet adapted to log miles on a bicycle it was a leg jello maker. Now we definitely have more defined legs and more mental patience. Our good friends Lexi, Cam, Guy, Frank (the dog), Michelle, Amanda, and Justin met us at a small camp site summiting the pass. We had been there once before and consider this spot our own. The weather was iffy and at some points brutal with lightening strikes hitting too close to the camp. Most of the photos of the first leg of the trip are now lost. External hard drives are very freakish and I have not ever had the best of luck retaining data…mentally and computer wise. With that said, Avenue and Frank were sort of friends while we camped. Melissa and I were slowly learning that Avenue is VERY protective of our gear and would not let Frank close to any of it. She would make sure to place her self between him and our camp spot. But they did have their moments of playtime.
Bear Lake was lovely. We paddle boarded (with Avenue standing at the bow of the board), swam, and basked in the sun. It was epic to be in the same place as close friends. Bear Lake took us straight into Idaho, but before we could depart together into Idaho, Melissa had to take a car back to Salt Lake City to address some home ownership issues…mainly her house flooding. Long story short Melissa went home for a week was off dealing with the “not-so-fun” details of a water pouring out of the main living room ceiling. Luckily the cats called 911 so the house didn’t sink 🙂
While she was off I spent my time at a home property in Bear Lake…THANK YOU JEN!!! A co-worker of mine offered me a place to crash. My nice big plot of land was a great home. I also got to test out my bicycle gear, more specifically the internet and solar gear I invested in for the tour. I did a small product review which can be seen HERE. I am very impressed with the choice of gear and plan to do more videos on my Youtube channel HERE.
After Melissa’s return to Bear Lake we headed north. This stretch of highway was familiar to us because we had rode it only a year earlier to test out bike gear weight knowing we would soon depart on this very tour. Northern Utah/southern Idaho is a truly an amazing place to see at 10mph. Soon after we crossed into Idaho we found ourselves in Wyoming although we didn’t see the sign…not sure if there was one. Jackson Hole was a few more days of riding. On the out skirts of Jackson, Wyoming we were basically staring straight into a huge storm that had been catching up to us from the south. Not joking, seconds after arriving to the Albertson’s it broke into a down poor. So we called the grocery store home for a few hours while avenue rested on top of coals and we ate tuna fish sandwiches with Doritos on top.
From here we yanked out my iPhone and launched the Couchsurfing app I had recently downloaded. Between the lightening and sheets of rain I saw there was a phone message saying we had a place to stay. So with that said we were off to hang with what turned out to be some pretty epic hosts. Amory, Madeleine, and Iris were absolutely amazing people to spend time around. Iris with her youthful spirit, and amazing hair which Melissa got the opportunity to get her hands in during a little bathroom haircutting sesh. Iris, all that hair on your head is amazing and came out looking like it had received Melissa’s love. Madeleine with her amazing voice and unique writing (check out here website here: www.mylifeasaskibum.com). Last but not least Amory with his stories that I thought were only possible on another planet and another time. I too will look forward to experiencing such epic adventures in my time. Jackson welcomed us with open arms and left us with large hearts, new clip-in pedals, and a revived sense of energy and wholeness.
AS ALWAYS—YOU CAN FOLLOW All THE ADVENTURES ON INSTAGRAM