I think the big ride yesterday kind of took it out of me because I felt like I’ve been in slow motion most of the day. I’ve learned to listen to my body so I just took it kind of slow today and took in the sights. Consequently I feel like I have little to share today so I’ll mostly just show you what I saw.
Today was a short ride to Capitol Reef National Park but even getting there took awhile due to road construction stops. I got to chat with Fred, a highway worker who was an interesting guy – self described “mountain man” who’s hobby is “black powder” backcountry camping where you don’t use anything that didn’t exist in 1840 (or was it 1880?). Anyway, wool blankets, canvas tents, and muzzle loaders. Another little hobby niche in the world I never knew existed.
Capitol Reef is one of those places in the West where American tourists make up 20% of the visitors – tops. You hear Mandarin, German, a lot of French and miscellaneous other languages. After awhile you look up when you hear American English. Europeans seem particularly taken with the desert landscape which makes sense – there is nothing like the American West in Europe and maybe we take that for granted a bit.
The name of this place never made any sense to me but I saw it explained today. Apparently the rock formations here are all part of a big uplift of tectonic plates causing a massive barrier, which has been deemed a “reef.” One of the famous foundations looks like the Capitol Dome – thus Capitol Reef.
The ride was short enough today that I pulled into Torrey by 4:00 or so. Harry runs Sand Creek RV park where I’ve got a little cabin for $35 – no frills, no AC but not pitching a tent tonight will allow me to get out early tomorrow. I’m curious to see this countryside in the early morning light so I’m thinking of another pre-dawn launch for tomorrow. I have a big pass to get over tomorrow – about 9500′ and I’m at 6500 now – so I want a fresh start in the morning for that. That should get me into Escalante tomorrow evening, then Panguitch, and Cedar City after that. Then Nevada – eek. There may be 4:00AM rides in my future yet.
Torrey is an interesting spot – I’ll have to get some photos this evening (after the current monsoon abates). It has its own water supply from the mountains so its a green oasis in this otherwise dusty dry land. You pull into town under cottonwoods and there are open irrigation ditches running a couple of feet deep literally down Main Street.