Utah and Dinosaurs
11 July - 15 July
1280 - 1400 miles

A Nice Climb Up

Now we were finally doing some climbing! Maureen who loves to ride her bike up mountains and does not consider anything less a 6% grade noteable was much happier. This was taken as Art and I neared the top of our second 4 mile 8% (or 9% depending on which sign you believe) climb. The water in the background is Flaming Gorge Reservoir. As I was making this climb I noticed the pretty view in my rearview mirror but there was no way I was going to stop in the middle of this climb. By this point on the trip, I was comfortable enough on the bike to be able to fish my camera out of the handlebar bag and snap this picture over my shoulder! It seems to capture the steepness of the grade rather well.

Flaming Gorge Resevoir

Views don't get much better than this! And on top of that, this picture was taken from about 10 feet in front of the entrance to my tent! We spent two nights camped at Flaming Gorge. Who wouldn't want to stay here? This was without a doubt the best campsite we had on the entire trip. We all wondered what this area looked like before the Bureau of Land Reclamation dammed the Green River to make the reservoir. The Powell expedition that went on to discover the Grand Canyon gave this area the name Flaming Gorge because of its red rocks which are not very visible in this photo.

A Screaming Downhill

The old saying goes, "What goes up must come down." And this was definitely true the day we left Flaming Gorge and headed to Vernal, UT. This sign greeted us before a fantastic downhill run. You can see Bill in the photo getting ready to "let 'er rip." Well, actually, we had to come to a screeching halt right up ahead because there was a handful of cattle that had taken up residence on the road. We waited for a car to come by and chase them along. There were indeed 10 switchbacks - I counted them - and we could ride down faster than most cars could drive it. I was in the middle of the lane of traffic most of my way down. Art told us that he got an interesting look from a driver as he swung his loaded bike into a passing lane and passed the car towing a trailer. At the bottom of this, Maureen told us that she would much prefer to climb that than come down. It was too twisty-turny for her. Bill and I gently suggested to Art that therapy be considered when the trip was completed. :-)

An Amazing Exhibit

If you have never seen the Dinosaur Monument Exhibit it is well worth the couple of hours. It was truly an amazement to see this wall of dinosaur bones. Unfortunatlely, Maureen and Art were not able to see this because Art was dealing with an oncoming cold. They were back at the only campsite in Jensen, UT trying to stay cool in the shade of the single tree on the property. It was a very warm day. Bill and I rode the 7 miles into the exhibit. At the parking lot there is a shuttle bus to take visitors up to the actual visitor's center. Bill, being the one to ride everywhere, asked if we could bike it. The shuttle driver said yes and that it was about 1/2 mile at less than a 2% grade. Well, that was the steepest 2% grade I had seen and, on top of that, the road was surrounded by light colored rocks which were radiating heat at us. I sweated more on this stretch than any other time on the trip. As we neared the top I had to ask Bill, "So, Bill, tell me again why we are biking up this instead of taking the shuttle?"

Are Dinosaurs Mammals?

And, of course, everybody in this area of Utah and Colorado feels the kinship with the ancient dinosaurs. A few people who have seen this photo wondered when dinosaurs were reclassified as mammals and required the second garment for decency.

Tacky Pre-historic Americana

If you were riding along wouldn't this cute dinosaur make you want to stop and stay the night at this motel?

Outward Bound Leadership School

Hopefully, this was not one of the people who didn't make the final survival test on their Outward Bound trip.

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Last changed: 04 June 2003; jvallino@rochester.rr.com