2022 Hoka Hey – Leg Three

Leg 3

July 2 – Day 7 of the 2022 Hoka Hey (continued)

Washington UT – Boulder UT area

I was back on the road and starting Leg 3 around 3pm and rode on fighting the heat.   My route had me going north on UT-18 and then east on UT-56. 

UT-56 near Iron Mountain UT

I passed through the town of Cedar City UT and started entering the canyons which were really cool.

UT-18 near Cedar City UT

Of course the downside of canyons means there are less roads and few ways around any stoppages of traffic.  10 minutes after the above photo …

UT-18 east of Cedar City UT
UT-18 near Cedar City UT

At last I got to see the source of the stopped traffic.  A one lane bridge with a light … a very very very short light, long enough for 3-4 cars to get through

UT-18 east of Cedar City UT

Finally, just shy of an hour after traffic ground to a halt I had an open road in front of me

UT-18 east of Cedar City UT

I continued on past my turn onto UT-148 and wasted 10 minutes going off-route.  I got back to my turn and headed north on UT-148 and half an hour later the heat was catching up with me and as I entered Cedar Breaks National monument I pulled into a scenic overlook for a break.  The view was outstanding

Cedar Breaks National monument

Cedar Breaks National monument

Cedar Breaks National monument
Cedar Breaks National monument
Cedar Breaks National monument
Cedar Breaks National monument
Cedar Breaks National monument

And there was a marker indicating there was a Civilian Conservation Corps camp across the road.  I found out not long ago that my grandfather was part of the CCC … apparently he hated it.  For those unfamiliar with the CCC, it was a government program to put people to work during the depression

Civilian Conservation Corps camp marker

Stretching my legs, removing my helmet and jacket, and drinking a fair amount of water I felt refreshed and got back on the road.  My 10-minute break was over, and I headed north and then northeast to the town of Panguitch UT.  Along the way the scenery was still great

UT-143 south of Panguitch UT

After passing through Panguitch I was headed south to UT-12 near Hillsdale UT and continued on until I got to the town of Escalante UT around 10pm.  I stopped for gas and two or three other riders stopped while I was taking a break.  One had spoken to local resident who told him there was camping available at the local community center.  After fueling up we headed that way and I found the camping area.  It was little more than dirt with a packed dirt road with parking spots and picnic tables.  There were no facilities at all.  My heart sank because when I heard campground I was thinking bathroom and shower.  I was getting spoiled…

I opted to continue on and rode for another hour or so and near the town of Boulder UT I saw a sign for a campground.  The road into the campground was a rather steep downhill ride which was no problem.  At the entrance there was the typical sign that said to find a spot and come back to pay.  I checked out the map and saw there were sites close by so I started my hunt for a place to camp. Had I had any concept of what was going on in the world around me I would have realized that the date was Saturday July 2nd, prime holiday weekend where many like to go camping. 

The sites I passed were occupied and then I went down a slight decline and came to a water crossing.  A sign said something like “Caution, Slippery”. Ok I thought, I will be cautious, and I entered the water without a second thought.  I got about halfway across and then suddenly the back of my bike passed me and I was laying on my left side in slimy water wondering what happened. 

I got out from under my bike almost slipping on the slime and assessed my situation. My bike was on its left side in about 8 inches of water and perpendicular to the road.  I was on a concrete pad that was maybe 20 feet wide and there was a drop-off of about a foot a few feet from my rear wheel.  I thought things could have been much worse had the bike slid off the pad.  I was able to easily rotate my bike so it was facing back the way I had come and drug it on its side rather easily to the edge of the water.  That was how slippery the slime was.  And did I mention it smelled?

Now I was stuck.  Try as I might I could not get enough leverage to lift the bike.  I could not get low enough to put my butt on the seat and lift the bike that way.  And if I did the twist the handlebars trick I could only get it about halfway up.  My next thought was to empty the right pannier since it was full of tools and other heavy gear.  Then I saw someone coming from a nearby campsite to help.  When she got closer I saw she weighed maybe 120 pounds and I thought there was no way we’d be able to lift the bike.  Fortunately I was wrong, she gave me just that little bit of extra lifting ability to get the bike up.  I offered her all the money I had in my pocket but she declined.  Perhaps she had realized the quickest way to get back to sleep was to help me get my bike out.  30 minutes after I entered the campground I was headed back out on the road.  The time was now 11pm local and I was wet and cold and totally miserable.  Big lesson learned, when you come to a water crossing walk it first.

I rode for the next hour looking for a place to stop for the night but saw nothing.  There were fences along the road and there were just enough houses around that had I set up my tent I’d be close to the road and visible from someone’s living room.  There wasn’t one parking lot of parking area, and I was getting colder and more miserable.  As I get cold my riding skills diminish and I was starting to get concerned that I might do something more stupid than ride into a water crossing without walking it first. 

Finally, around midnight, I saw a sign for a scenic overlook and I turned down the road.  It was about 50 lower than the road and had a nice parking lot and a vault toilet.  Essentially this is an outhouse with a larger structure around it.  The grass was rather tall so I opted to set my tent up on the parking lot.  My gear was soaked but I was not comfortable leaving it outside so I brought it into my tent for the night.  I then laid my head down and fell fast asleep … without setting an alarm, I was that miserable.

Total miles for the day were a paltry 500

Leg 3

July 3 – Day 8 of the 2022 Hoka Hey

Boulder UT area – Tonopah NV

I woke not long after sunrise around 5:45 am and stepped out to see my surroundings.  I was still miserable and this was a really low day for me

Campsite near Boulder UT
Campsite near Boulder UT
Campsite near Boulder UT

My riding gear was still damp but the sun was coming up and there was a light breeze blowing.  I laid my jacket over my windshield and my riding pants over my seat.  My boots I put out in the sun and went back to bed for 90 minutes.  I got up, took a baby wipe bath, and drank two of my breakfast drinks so I had something in my stomach.  I packed up and dressed, my riding gear was almost dry.  Just before I left, I checked out a historical marker and saw the road wasn’t paved all that long ago (1985)

A local came by and mostly ignored me which I was fine with since I was still in a miserable mood. Before he left, he asked which direction I was headed, I told he and he said to be careful because there were cows on the road.  With that I headed back out on the road with a slightly improved mood around 7:30 am.  And he was right about the cows, I passed 3 groups of them and had to use my horn to get them to move so I could pass.

My route had me on UT-12 to UT-24 near Bicknell UT to UT-62 near Koosharem UT, then US-89 (again) near Circleville UT to UT-20.  Essentially I had made a big left hand circle and at the intersection of UT-20 and US-89 I was maybe 10-15 miles north of Panguitch UT.  I had a short 20 or so mile run on I-15 to Beaver UT.  I headed northeast into Nevada and then picked up US-6/US-50.  I was on my way to Ely NV.  At one of my gas stops I had stuffed a bag of ice inside my jacket to help me deal with the heat.

Along the way the winds were fierce and I was using one hand to support my helmet and neck.  Along the way I encountered a dust storm where I had to all but stop due to no visibility, but I knew it was short so I kept going. There was another rider about ¼ mile behind me and I hit my flashers to help him see me in the event he was traveling faster than I was.  I rode out of the dust storm and checked my mirror to ensure the other rider made it through.  I have no idea what I would have done had he not and fortunately I did not have to find out.

I made it to Ely stopped at a truck stop for a break around 4:45pm.  There were a few other riders there and they asked how I was going to handle the 167 miles between fuel stops on an upcoming leg.  Fortunately if I keep my speed down to 55-60 I can get almost 50mpg which would leave me plenty of range as long as I don’t miss a gas station.

They headed out and I chose to relax a bit. After eating I fueled up and got on my way around 5:15pm, 30 or so minutes after I had stopped. I was on US-6 to NV-318 to NV-375 (Extra Terrestrial Highway) near Crystal Springs NV. This stretch was 120 miles went fine and just after I turned on NV-375 I saw a sign indicating 150 miles to next fuel.

No services sign at the beginning of NV-375 – Extra Terrestrial

I continued on and around 9:30pm as it was getting dark I passed Rachael NV, home of the little ale inn, but no time to stop because I wanted to maximize my daylight riding.  I continued on and reached US6 near Warm Springs NV around 11pm.  I turned left towards Tonopah, home of the Clown Motel, and rode on.  I passed a rest area and considered stopping but decided to ride on to Tonopah.  As I was getting close to town I saw the telltale green and white alternating lights of an airport and thought that may be a good place to stop if I found nothing in town. 

Once in town I stopped at a gas station for something to eat and drink.  I had passed a sign for the Stargazers Park and thought that may be promising.  When I got to the park, I saw two cars at the far end. Figuring they were kids I chose to give them space and parked next to what I thought were benches. In closer inspection they were fireworks launch tubes and decided not to sleep next to them. After riding around town for a bit I backtracked the 8 miles the airport and decided to sleep there.  Most airports have benches to watch planes land or take off, not this one, at least none that I could see in the dark.  I opted to go without the tent and sleep on my cot on a concrete pad next to the airport beacon.  Finally, I laid down at 2am and got to sleep

Campsite at Tonopah airport (Blue tint is due to the airport beacon directly above me)

Total miles ridden were 647

Leg 3

July 4 – Day 9 of the 2022 Hoka Hey

Tonopah NV – Trinity Center CA

Monday day 9, the 4th of July, I was up around 5am so I could be out before anyone showed up at the airport. I stopped in town at a gas station to brush my teeth and get something to eat. As I got on the road I noticed the sun was coming up. I was heading west on US-6/US-95 until they split near Coaldale Junction NV where I turned north to Yerington NV where I turned onto NV-208 and headed towards Topaz Lake NV.

A few minutes later I was in California headed towards Lake Tahoe.  The scenery was changing but still great

CA-88 near the Slinkard/Little Antelope Wildlife Area

I continued on to Lake Tahoe.  It was nice … nice and crowded since it was July 4th.  I’d like to come back when I had time to stay, and it wasn’t a holiday

Lake Tahoe

I got away from Lake Tahoe and headed north to Truckee CA. 

CA-89 between Lake Tahoe and Truckee CA

I continued north on to  Blairsden CA.  After 10 minutes I decided to backtrack into town and get fuel, costing me 20 minutes.  I continued on to Paxton CA where I turned onto CA-89.  Much of this time was riding in the mountains and was relatively slow going for me since I am not a twisty rider, I much prefer sweeping turns.  There were also signs of fires in the area not too long ago and many of the roads appeared to have been recently paved.  I followed CA-89 to the town of Chester where I tuned towards Mineral CA where I decided to take short break and take a few quick photos

CA-36 near Mineral CA
CA-36 near Mineral CA
CA-36 near Mineral CA

I continued on and had been riding in a light rain for a good part of the ride. As the day wore on the heat and traffic from earlier in the day had taken its toll and the twisty roads meant I wasn’t making as good of time as I had hoped.  I started thinking about a place to sleep and realized I would need a place to set up my tent due to the rain and temp.

I came around a corner and was closer to the yellow line than I should have been and a Sheriff was coming the other direction. Of course he turned around and we had a friendly chat on the side of the road.  He was aware of the Hoka Hey and I mentioned I was getting tired and looking for a place to sleep. He mentioned a rest stop up the road near Webster CA. He also mentioned a KOA campground north of there in Trinity Center CA right on my route.  He also mentioned that a rider had gone down in a turn in that area the day before but had no idea of his condition. I thanked him and we wished each other well.

I checked out the rest stop and decided to head to the campground which turned out to be an hour away. I pulled in around 10:30pm and found a site. Fortunately, I checked the bath house before I set up camp because it was closed. I found another which was open and picked a site close by.  I set up my tent, went to the bath house to shower. On the way back I could not find my campsite. I wandered about for probably 20 minutes before I found it.  The campground was a happening place with a large party going on nearby. They wrapped up around 11pm I went to bed and set my alarm for 6:30 so I could get a decent amount of sleep.

Campsite

Total miles ridden for the day were 650.

Leg 3

July 5 – Day 10 of the 2022 Hoka Hey

Trinity Center CA – Lincoln City OR

Tuesday day 10 I was up around 6:30 as planned. As usual it took close to an hour to dress and get on the road, I have no idea where the time went. Today’s route had me heading north up through California and into Oregon.

As I pulled out onto CA-3 the roads were still a little wet and there was a shroud of fog hanging over the mountains

CA-3 north of Trinity Center CA
CA-3 north of Trinity Center CA
CA-3 north of Trinity Center CA

I continued to wind my way through the mountains on CA-3 for about an hour and came to the small town of Callahan CA and a marker indicating this was originally part of the Oregon Trail

Oregon Trail Historical Marker – Callahan CA
CA-3 in Callahan CA
CA-3 in Callahan CA
CA-3 in Callahan CA
CA-3 in Callahan CA

I noticed I had a cell signal which was the first time since the evening before so I took the opportunity to give my wife a call. 

I continued up CA-3 for a total of 2 hours and got on I-5 for about a 15 minute run and crossed into Oregon. I exited and rode several Oregon highways and then turned north on US-97 which ran along a lake with pretty cool views.  I continued north past Chiloquin OR and kept going on US-97.  30 minutes later I realized I had missed a turn so I turned around and headed back to Chiloquin and turned onto OR-62, a total loss of an hour which hurt.  I continued west on OR-62 for 2 hours until I turned north on OR-1.  An hour and a half later I merged onto I-5 near Canyonville OR for a short 15 minute sprint to OR-14 and then OR-42 where I continued west towards the coast  I merged onto the Oregon Coast Highway, US-101 south of Coos Bay OR around 7pm local time.  I continued north getting brief glimpses of the coast and made fairly good time.  I had several brief bouts of rain showers along the way which caused me to slow my pace a bit.

I needed a break, so I made a brief stop north of Florence OR and grabbed a few pictures

Oregon Coast Highway US-101 north of Florence OR
Oregon Coast Highway US-101 north of Florence OR

Overall the ride went without incident and around 10pm I began looking for a place to sleep. There were rest stops all along the highway and I saw plenty of cars pulled over apparently stopped for the night. However all of the rest areas were little more than a wide shoulder and I was not comfortable setting my tent up.

Around 10:30 I stopped at a gas station to top off a d get something to drink. I spotted a poncho and thought I’d buy one for an extra layer while sleeping, should have done that several days ago. The attendant inside was arguing with a customer over something, not sure what. The attendant told him to leave of the police would be called, and of course each person had to get the last word in. By this time a line of 10 people had formed.

I gave up and went outside. I took a short break for 10-15 minutes. Before heading out I decided to try to buy a poncho again so I went inside. The attendant was arguing with someone else and a line had formed so I gave up and headed out.

A mile or two up the road I caught a sign for a campground out of the corner of my eye so I turned and decided to check it out. If was some form of US or State park and apparently I needed a code for the bath house. I decided to stay so I found a site and set up camp.  There was a bathroom close by and I went in to clean up and brush my teeth. I figured I could get into the bath house in the morning and shower. I went to bed around 1am.

Total miles ridden were 590

Campsite

Leg 3

July 6 – Day 11 of the 2022 Hoka Hey

Lincoln City OR – Boise ID

I was up around 7am and packed up and out by 8am. I was bothered by my late start but I did feel good. I thought about how I would finish this ride. I decided I could make the third checkpoint by the end of the day and leave me two 1/2 days to ride the 2200 miles to the finish. I had built up a reserve to make the push so as long as I didn’t have slow twisty mountain roads I’d be fine. I’d also be working my way to a warmer drier climate so I’d hopefully be able to sleep on the side of the road without my tent. It felt good having a plan, now to execute it.

I continued north on US-101 enjoying the scenery.  After 90 minutes I stopped for gas and when I looked up, I laughed at a sign I saw for a Cemetery Recycling Center and immediately thought of the movie Soylent Green.  Ok, it says Cemetery and Recycling Center, but I had been on the road for 11 days so far.

Sign for Cemetery Recycling Center

Back on the road the ride was great and when I reached Astoria OR my ride on the Oregon Coast Highway was over and I made my turn onto US 30. I was now headed east.  At one point I was on historic US30 and enjoyed the ride along an older routing of US-30 with great scenery and some really cool old buildings.  Near Dodson OR US-30 merged onto I-84 for a short 10 minute run to Cascade Locks OR, a town I had visited during the 2019 Iron Butt Rally.  I topped off with gas and crossed the Columbia River on the “Bridge of the Gods” and then continued east on OR-14, the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway

Along the way I got the news that a friend of mine was in a bad accident. Up to that point I had been going through the motions of riding but had started to realize that my mind just was not where it should be for a ride of this nature. It started on day one when I broke my rule of stopping by midnight. I built myself a sleep deficit on day 2 and 3 that took me several days to dig my way out of. While I was feeling better than I had for several days, I found my mind wandering to things other than the tasks at hand, namely riding. Some of the roads were rather technical requiring one’s full attention especially when tired. That level of attention was lacking.  I had a suspicion that I’d be coming across some very difficult roads on the last leg and would need that level of attention for the finish.

Now that I heard of my friend’s injuries I found myself concerned for him rather than focusing on my riding. While that is natural, there is no place for that in Long Distance Riding. The only way I could help him was by staying safe. And I was failing at that.  My mind was racing on what to do. And then I realized that my not being certain of what to do was an indicator of what my decision should be. With that I made my decision, and called my wife to tell her that I had decided to withdraw. I then called my friend Chris who I had been talking to throughout the ride and let him know of my decision.

I pulled into a gas station to get some food and call into the Hoka Hey staff to inform them of my decision.  And with that, at 5:02 PM PDT my attempt at completing the 2022 Hoka Hey was over.

I’d be lying if I said I did not regret my decision 5 minutes later, but deep down I knew it was the right call …

I sat in the restaurant for about an hour and got something to eat and relaxed.  Eventually I went back to my bike, dug out my GPS, and plotted a course direct to Boise ID where the next checkpoint was and where a friend of mine lived.  I texted him to see if he would be available for breakfast the following day, and was back on the road with a combined sense of relief and sadness.  5 hours later I was at a hotel in Boise ID and slept in a bed for the first time in almost 2 weeks.

Total miles ridden were 938

Total miles ridden for the leg were 3,325

Leg 3 Route