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  • Writer's pictureJoy Ma

Day 45: wild dusty west desolation and 7-11

Grand Junction, CO -> Thompson Springs, UT

90 mi, 2555 ft elevation gain


Bikers: Lucy, Duha, Joy, Vin

It was so nice to be home. The summer started off a bit stressful, but Colorado taught us that we can just enjoy what we have and take it easy. We've gotten into a habit of arriving at the next stop early, and finding a nice place outside to hang out :)

Ah, yes. Today, I woke up in the lovely CSU kitchen at one of their agricultural learning centers. I remember I had the best breakfast: reheated veggie pie (we got free from a cute peach store!) with Laoganma chili oil, plus oatmeal with instant coffee. I knew today was a long day and highs of 100°, with no places to stop, so I stocked up on water, both by chugging and filling my water bottles. (Life hack: stick your water bottle with water in the freezer overnight if you don't have an ice machine!)

Lucy took off first to get a head start on the quickly approaching summer heat, while I was chugging water. Then, a little before Vin and Duha, I was out! 5 miles in, I ran into a little RV park by the river with a little cold water fountain, drank more water, then kept going. Grand Junction has a nice little bike trail that stretches 20 miles east to Fruita, the last city before the Utah border. On my left (to the south), the Colorado River flowed and red sandy rocks and mesas stood tall. The infrastructure is also really nice, with bathrooms every few miles and signs... Fruita: 16 miles ahead. Fruita: 12 miles ahead. Fruita: 6 miles ahead. Fruita: 0.2 miles ahead.

20 miles in, Fruita had a wonderful visitors center with another cold, cold water fountain I made sure to hit. I noticed a little sign there too, saying no overnight parking but cars could rest for 4 hours and commercial vehicles for 10. Before leaving the visitor's center, I got a text from Audrey: the choose your own adventure quiz was out! A couple days ago, we had an eventful ride...fences were hopped and cars were bumped into...have you taken the quiz yet? Bike path closed...which spoke are you?

On my way out of Fruita, I passed this little lake park with what looked like a mix of ziplining and water-skiing that looked so's a video from my bike:

Today, the song I was listening to was "22" by Taylor Swift...lovely happy song if you ask me.

Vin, our route planner, chose a nice quiet road through the plains of Colorado...barely a few cars passed me each hour. Here are some different POVs of the bike: the road ahead, my shadow, a 0.5...

Saw some cute deer:

And then, I passed into Utah! Some kind fellow thoughtfully made this sign to welcome us to the new state.

The road immediately started crumbling when I crossed the border...untraversed as it was, it probably hadn't been redone in decades. It was kind of fun to go uhhhhhhhhhhhh and let the bumps on the road go uhuhuhuhuhhhh uh uh ...Even though the road wasn't paved, pretty sunflowers bordered the road. I wondered who put them there...a kind soul or government road person or the forces of nature or a combination :)

Turning onto the interstate, the support van (Kat, designated driver; Andrew, crash recoveree; Audrey, rest-day partaker) greeted me with a hello and fresh water refill.

I love the highway because I get these signs telling me how far away I am from my destination, I thought this one was fun cuz I was listening to 22:

With just over 20 miles to go, the heat started ramping up. While the water chugging and cooler morning had me happy for most of the ride, I could definitely feel the heat waves start to get to me. Thankfully and with the support of the van, everyone made it to the RV park in Thompson Springs! Thompson is pretty much empty except for a 7-11 (a really nice one) gas station and the RV park. Ever since Glenwood Springs and especially Grand Junction, the dusty, dessert plains and mountains have been giving this very rugged, desolate, wild wild west energy that is quite different from the mountains I'm used to. It's very beautiful, and I wish I could learn more about the place and the culture of life here. Here's our 7-11 stop and back at the RV park.

Kat made dinner on our camp stove: white bean soup, and we pitched our tents, and hung out around the grills as lightning and dust storms picked up.

The clouds were insane and after the sun set, the stars were so beautiful.

Definitely could feel the magic going to bed under a clear sky and lightning flashes.


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