From Cedar City to Denver, aka Up

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant, thanks to a donor in Germany.

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant at Colorado Children’s Hospital, many thanks to a donor in Germany!

This section of my trip started with lots of climbing, and that was pretty much the theme for the next two weeks or so.

Wednesday June 10th found me in Cedar City, visiting my Cousin Kathy and her two sons. I got going pretty late as I took the opportunity to clean out and reorganize my panniers in an attempt to get a fresh start. I also really enjoyed chatting with my cousins and continuously helping myself to just one more slice of coffee cake.

Eventually I left and started my adventure on the Western Express Route. This route has a rather foreboding description on the Adventure Cycling website:

The Western Express Bicycle Route… challenges the rider with extreme weather and riding conditions, as well as logistical obstacles. One’s efforts are rewarded, however, by experiencing some of the least visited and most magnificent areas of the American West…

East of Cedar City, Utah, the route passes through some of the nation’s most isolated communities and several of its most spectacular scenic wonders. Take some time to explore Cedar Breaks, Escalante, and Natural Bridges National Monuments; Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. To even the most experienced of travelers, these natural sculptures, spires, buttes, and canyons are no less than humbling. The Utah portion of the route could be a worthy destination in itself.

I’d already taken my tours through Zion and Bryce Canyon, so I wasn’t expecting to encounter anything that could really compare. Oh, I was so unprepared. Continue reading

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From Salt Lake City to Cedar City, aka Seven!

I got the photo I wanted! Does that mean I can go home now?

I got the photo I wanted! Does that mean I can go home now?

For those of you who don’t know, choosing my route across the country was an arduous task. In fact, it continues to be an arduous task. There are so many things to see, and only so much time.

Previous versions of my route included continuing up to Seattle, going through Yellowstone, sweeping down to the Grand Canyon, poking around New Orleans… pretty much I wanted to do it all. Some things just had to be saved for later trips.

But there were two things that I refused to give up: Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. And so I continued heading south from Salt Lake City. I know, I know, a cross country trip from west to east doesn’t get accomplished by wiggling north and south. Whatever, I wanted to see southwestern Utah.

Kevin's aunt and uncle, Pat and Ray, in Spanish Fork.

Kevin’s aunt and uncle, Pat and Ray, in Spanish Fork.

So on Saturday May 30, after leaving my wonderful hosts in Salt Lake City, Lou and Julie, I headed to Spanish Fork to visit Kevin’s aunt and uncle, Ray and Pat. They treated me to a fantastic evening of ice cream and 8×10 photographs of Kevin and Sunyoung’s wedding in Korea. They had also spent some time in Thailand, so I got to flip through their photo albums as we shared our different experiences there. The ride to Spanish Fork was incredibly hot, though, and left me drained of energy. Of the three of us, I went to bed first. Honestly, night owl me? That’s impressive. Continue reading

To Folsom!

It was time to do a longer solo trip to really work out the kinks of bicycle travel, so I decided to go to Folsom.

Yup, that Folsom.

I hear the train a comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend,
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since, I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

– Johnny Cash

Why Folsom? Back in my student teaching days, I made a friend in Felton named Molly. She just recently started a teaching job at a continuation school in Rancho Cordova and moved into a house in Folsom. I really wanted to see her classroom and hang out with her a bit and just get to know what her new life is all about. She’s gone through some difficult times, to put it mildly, and I’m just happy that things are going so well for her now.

Of course, I wouldn't be starting in San Francisco.

Just a small section of the Western Express Route. Of course, I wouldn’t be starting in San Francisco.

Fortunately, the Western Express Route, a quicker route across the US than the TransAmerica Route, goes right through Folsom, and I just happen to have those maps! It was too perfect: a fantastic opportunity to explore an Adventure Cycling route, and a route that went along the American River Trail, no less! I love the American River. I used to go whitewater kayaking on the American River quite a lot, so that river is filled with precious memories for me. Continue reading