The Longest Short Day of the Trip

As mileage goes today was supposed to be a short day. As mileage goes – it was supposed to be exactly 268 miles. As with a lot of things, this day didn’t go exactly as we thought.

Breakfast was good at the Gold Country Casino / America’s Best Value Hotel in Elko, Nevada. We thought we would roll by 9:00 and have breakfast somewhere down the road. It turned out that the food at the casino was just fine. That let us wrap up the morning meal and still be ready to roll by about 9:00.

The first stop of the day was at the Harley Davidson dealer at Elko. It was a really small shop. They didn’t have the dark face shield for my helmet that I was looking for but they did have the gloves that matched the one I lost several days ago. If anyone is in need of a right hand fingerless glove, I have one that is looking for a mate.

Then the fun really started. I-80 and more I-80 was the course for today. It went smoothly through the barren landscape that is eastern Nevada and western Utah. The cross wind was present all day long but manageable. We kept rolling past the Bonneville Salt Flats and right through the craziness that is downtown Salt Lake City. We were solidly within 40 miles of our nights destination – Heber City, Nevada.

On the east side of Salt Lake City I-80 was totally shut down. What incredible timing – rush hour on a Friday night. We heard it was a tractor trailer that was loaded with plastic and it caught fire after overturning. If that info is correct, I-80 may have some pavement damage. We were rerouted toward I-15 south. The problem was – everyone in 4 states was routed toward I-15 south and they seemed to know where to go. We were trying to keep 3 motorcycles together in this awful traffic with only a slight understanding of where we needed to be. I will admit it was pretty cool being able to ride in the diamond or HOV lane for a while. Unfortunately we stayed in that lane a little too long and missed our exit.

We stopped for hydration and to regroup just down the road from Brigham Young University. The route we chose took us back onto I-15 north for 2 exits and toward Utah 189 and Heber City. There were some ominous red markings on Google Maps. Hmmmmm 29 miles distance to Heber City but an hour and 8 minutes. Not sounding like fun.

UT-189 is a nice road and I’m sure on a normal day it would be an enjoyable drive. We were only 13 miles from Heber City when we came on the cause for the red markings on Google Maps. We inched along forever. The temperature was 95 degrees, the Harleys were somewhere over the temperature of the sun, and at least one of the riders was considering parking the bike and breaking out the “for sale” sign. It was brutal.

We never saw anything to cause this miles long backup other than the road went from two lanes to one. There had to be more to it than that but we’ll probably never know.

It was late enough that we went straight to a great place for dinner thanks to Mike and his daughter (who lives in the area). Mike knew the way to The Back 40. The place was packed which is a little uncomfortable during the health scare that’s going on. We were lucky enough to get outside seating. The staff was friendly and courteous. I once again opted for comfort food – meat loaf.

Mike explained to us that the mountain that we could see directly behind our table was the outline of an Indian Princess who was laying down. I took a picture but I must not recognize a princess when I see one.

We headed the 4 miles back to the hotel and promptly snuggled the bikes in on the sidewalk (hey – we asked permission). We are all pretty tired and plan to take the day off tomorrow to rest up.

I am not very good at dealing with all the road craziness on my motorcycle. From now on, Salt Lake City joins Los Angeles, Chicago, and St. Louis as cities to avoid. There are probably others that I haven’t tried driving in yet.

You can see the detour we had to take going south on I-15

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