The placid flow of the stream behind me was like a lullaby — it put me to sleep in no time last night. I awakened refreshed and ready for the day. Matt took Hurley for a quick walk up the trailhead from camp, where a little drama occurred with some of the wildlife. Hurley came upon a massive turkey and it took off like a boeing 747 up onto a tree branch, much higher than Hurley. Matt said the wingspan was about 7ft (I wish I had been there!).
Matt and I took our time getting ready then drove down the mountain, back into Baker and stopped for water refills and some food. I then got on my bike for the 87-mile ride to Milford, UT, which would include climbing three mountain passes, the last two being quite challenging (very steep). Combined with the climbing challenge was the wind. It was incessant and unrelenting the *entire* ride, pushing hard from our right. Sometimes I had to lean to my right, into the wind just to stay upright and balanced… crazy stuff. The MIT students had begun ahead of me, and I thought I might catch up, but not today, not with this wind.
About 15 miles into my ride, I saw in the distance — a another mirage? No, it was a guy walking down the road, pushing a cart (containing water, food, and a guitar). I stopped and we spoke for a few minutes. His name was Jonah Boyer (www.dudetrek.com) and he was walking from Delaware to San Francisco. He began a year ago, taking a non-linear route, thus by the end of his trek, he will have walked just over 5,000 miles (and I thought bicycling across the country was off the grid). He graduated from high school last year, and didn’t know what he wanted to do, but knew he wasn’t ready for college. He loves the outdoors, so he decided to do something outside, which would allow him to think about life, and maybe get some insights as what to do in the future. Walking across the US seemed to fit for him. He’s such a nice guy and even played a song for me on his guitar. Cool dude.
I turned towards the wind and kept pedaling. At one time the wind was so strong and tenacious that I had to pedal hard…while going downhill! It was so frustrating that I actually yelled out a few expletives to the wind (as if it was a personal affront). Just after I yelled my choice words at the wind, I received an extra gust. Lovely, the wind has ears! I kept push though, and somehow made it up the second to last mountain pass before coming to Milford. It was quite a feat, actually, when considering the steep grade combined with the $&%*#!@ wind.
I was in the middle of nowhere in Nevada yesterday… pedaling through vast, expansive, open land, with mountains adorning the east and west sides. But today, it was even more expansive, as you could see mountains far, far way…and see the road more clearly—thereby seeing how much further there was to pedal! It was getting dark, and as I approached Milford, and Matt came back in his car to see where I was located. I was only two miles away, and Matt told me where he and the MIT group were camping….on the grounds of the Milford High School, which was a green patch of grass next to some recreation/play equipment. Matt and I went to the local diner and met up with a group of bicyclists doing the exact same ride across the U.S. Greg was promoting Mercy Housing and his group was Mercy Riders (www.mercyriders.org). I also met Claire–a fun and energetic woman—who was also riding for a cause “Riding for Pikki”, a young boy who had some serious health conditions and Claire (www.clairetheroad.com) was riding to raise money to help Pikki. Causes–from the heart–can give one that extra push to overcome tough rides, when conditions become brutal.
Back to the campsite and bed around 10pm. Good night!