The forecast looked good for Friday. We were hoping for a bit less gusty winds, and indeed, when we went out to have breakfast there was but a gentle breeze coming from the west. That didn't last long. By the time we were done with breakfast, the wind had picked up significantly. Another day of riding straight at good lean angles...
We started by going on the west side of the Flaming Gorge. Unfortunately, that section starts at a fairly high plateau, and the wind made itself felt from the minute we left Green River. There was little traffic, so that was good, at least you didn't have to pass too many cars while leaned over. We'd do that later...
US-191 that goes south to Vernal has some really good section, which we really enjoyed, even if it was a bit warm and windy.
Uintah County Heritage Museum:
The section from Vernal to Rangely is nothing to write home about. The scenery is bleak, sort of a high desert landscape, but without much vegetation that is often found in north American "deserts" and dotted with oil/gas wells. OTOH, CO-139 is fantastic.
The north section is mostly fast sweepers, then you get to a pass that's 8300 ft and it drops dramatically from there down to the valley below. And then there the construction. The northern states in the west are said to have two seasons - winter and construction. Massive repaving work on CO-139 (and it really needs it...).
Richard enjoying the curves
We got to the construction zone and waited, and waited and waited (in 34C heat..
) until finally teh pilot car showed up and escorted the long line of cars through.
It was even hotter by Grand Junction. Richard says the Tiger indicated 37C at some point. Probably just before we pulled over at a gas station to refill our hydration bladders that had been sucked dry. That section on I-70 was hot and windy too.
Finally, we arrived at CO-65. Ahhh... just the tough of this road climbing up to Grand Mesa made me feel all cold (despite the fact taht it was still around 37C...
Beautiful road too:
When we stopped here to take this pic, the temps had dropped to a much more civilized 21C (we were over 10,000 ft in elevation, about 4K over the valley below)
Turns out there are hundreds of lakes on Grand Mesa. Mesa Lake 1:
And many more we couldn't explore because they were at the end of a dirt road and Richard's insurance doesn't cover that...
Grand Mesa visitor center:
But, all good things must come to an end, we had to go back to the valley...
Yes, it was indeed still fairly warm there. Going through several small towns didn't help. At least the local cop decided to pick on someone else and we didn't get that ticket...
We made it to Montrose around 6 PM. Checked in and went to have dinner at the Horsefly Brewing Co. Excellent raspberry beer. Perfect for the first hot summer day.