Day 74: Boulder to Escalante

Yesterday, I ended up camping behind Hills and Hollows Market for $7. I didn’t feel like riding anymore, especially when there’s a huge hill in front of me and a strong headwind. I bought a can of salmon from the store and made a pack of ramen to go with it. That was my dinner.

After setting up camp, I enjoyed my solitude since I’m the only one at the campsite. I felt at peace with the moon hanging up high in the sky. I thought I might see the Milky Way again, but I couldn’t because the moonlight was too bright. I fell asleep around 10 PM.

Just the moon and I

This morning I woke up at 7. The market opens at 8:30 AM, so I wasn’t in a hurry. After packing, I wheeled my bike to the front of the store. A man was getting some gasoline at the pump for his car. When he saw me he asked about my trip and offered me some of his food so I don’t have to wait for the store to open. I couldn’t believe my luck. I had a feeling that staying behind the market was a good idea.

The man’s name is Rick. He told me when he got out of high school he had a full time job designing toys. From there on, he always worked. Rick gave me a homemade meatloaf, some muffins, bread, some pineapples, and a bottle of water. The meatloaf was really good and would help me with my ride today.

Rick, a food angel

We talked for about an hour before Rick had to continue his trip. He gave me a can of tuna before we said goodbye. What a nice guy!

I headed for the large hill in front of me around 9 AM. After several miles, as I got near the top, I was riding on a two lane road on a ridge. On both sides of me were cliffs with no guard rails. I was too scared to stop my bike for a photograph, so I kept riding.

The view again was spectacular. Even when I walked my bike up a hill I enjoyed it. At one of the overlooks, I chatted with three motorcyclists. They seemed shocked to learn that I came all the way from Philadelphia on my bicycle. I guess that’s what I should expect now that I’m closer to California.

So inspiring

There was a nice downhill of 14% grade, the largest grade I’ve seen so far on a sign. I had to be very careful not to fall near the turns. Then there was another uphill. Luckily, there was a cafe right on the hill called Kiva Koffeehouse. It must be new because it’s not on my map. I had originally wanted a frozen mocha, then I got hungry and bought a house salad, then I was thirsty and ordered a smoothie. I ended up staying there for over an hour! A family consisted of a dad, a mom, and a son asked me about my trip. I showed them my bicycle and the dad seemed very interested about my journey. I hope they get a chance to do something like this.

14% grade, and it's downhill!

A delicious drink with a view to match

A hummingbird is getting lunch, too.

I continued up the hill and was rewarded by more overlooks. After the last climb, I rode down the hill all the way to Escalante. At the first convenience store, I bought an ice cream bar to celebrate. The ice cream wasn’t that good, though.

Another awesome overlook

I had heard about Escalante Outfitters, a store that has a campground in the back, so I rode over there and parked my bike on the bike rack. After paying about $15 for a shower opportunity and a campsite, I came out of the store and saw my bike had fallen down. I was worried the front wheel had bent since it wasn’t spinning properly. After I adjusted the breaks a little the wheel spun fine. What a relief.

After picking out a campsite and took a shower, I had an early dinner at the outfitter since it also has a restaurant. Then I went back to my campsite to set up my tent. It’s only about 6:30 PM. The night is still young. Not sure what to do after writing this post. I might just relax a bit before I go to bed.