Day 43

Today’s ride was dedicated to Ellen’s cousin, a survivor of childhood leukemia. Now he is 18 and there is a Relay for Life team in his name called Josh’s Jurassic Joggers. His county is one of the top fundraisers. Today as we rode out of Dinosaur National Monument, we remembered his love for dinosaurs and his fight because he doesn’t want any other kids to have to go through what he did. We also rode in memory of Grace’s friend’s father who passed away in the second week of the ride from pancreatic cancer. The memorial service is today.

The climb out of the campsite was tough. We knew as we rode down steep hills for 12 miles yesterday that it would be difficult to get out, and it was. As we rode out of the prehistoric-sculpted desert laced with rivers and oases, the terrain changed to look more like Utah. Reddish hues of rock jutted out of the brush, and the road extended into the infinite horizon. Clouds are hard to come by in this desolate land. The weather is upper 90′s… With a RealFeel temp of 107… So it was a hard day. We took rest stops every 18 miles, but still the heat was oppressive.

We got into Dinosaur, then crossed the Utah border – state #13! So far what we know of Utah is many dead
white-tailed prairie dogs, an unbearable heat that saps all energy, and a whole lot of roadside trash – ideas for Secret Santa? Also, the road is pretty horrible (bumpy and small shoulder) and there was a headwind. But we survived.

Here we are at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and there is a shower and wifi! Vernal is actually more obsessed with dinosaurs than the town of Dinosaur itself. There are giant sculptures everywhere in Vernal. However, each street in Dinosaur is named after a different dinosaur. Tough competition.

In Vernal, we got a portrait from the brother of a woman we met at the visitor’s center in Jensen. Susan’s father had a rare incurable tumor on his face. He survived as doctors used his case to come up with a cure for others diagnosed with his condition. Susan’s brother, Michael, and his wife Aleta came to Vernal to tell about how his father taught him a lot of things before he passed away from colon cancer. Michael learned to be a giving person and that if we were all givers, the world would be a better place. He said to make as many memories as possible.

Fun fact of the day: so far on this trip, we have climbed 17 miles in height. Additional fun fact: we are now in the Colorado Plateaus ecoregion, which is a high desert. This means it is very hot.

Here is Utah!

Leave a Reply