The Tonight Dough

Brigham City, UT to Clearfield, UT

With the days and distance dwindling remarkably quickly, I woke this morning very much aware that I was just two days away from Salt Lake City. It’s a bit hard to believe how much ground has been covered in the past seven weeks. In many ways it seems like it was just yesterday that I was pedalling over the Bighorn Mountains … or looking for a close encounter at Devils Tower … or shooting hoops on a farm in Indiana … or, well … you get the idea.

Another early morning start

And speaking of yesterday, the longer than anticipated ride of 120 km that brought me to Brigham City meant today’s penultimate riding day before my India hiatus would be considerably shorter than originally planned. Not that it was ever intended to be a particularly long riding day but certainly longer than 60 km.

My destination for the day was to be Clearfield, UT and, as mentioned, it was only about 60 km away. And it was to be a mostly flat 60 km.Despite the short riding agenda for the day, I still hit the road early in an effort to avoid any headwinds that might be literally coming my way later in the day.

Between the early start, the short distance, and the generally flat terrain, today’s ride went by very quickly. The complete lack of urgency to the day’s ride also made for a very relaxing time on the bike. As one would expect, those are all good things but considering I couldn’t arrive at my Warmshowers host’s place before 4:00 PM, it also meant that I was going to have quite a bit of time to fill somewhere along the route.

The “somewhere” ended up being Clinton, UT. Just 10 km from Clearfield. A town with a Walmart, a sporting good store, and a park with a pavilion and picnic tables – as well as a lot of other things but those other things weren’t on my particular itinerary. And of those three things, the park was probably highest on my list of priorities.

With several hours to fill before ending my day in Clearfield, I figured a park with a sheltered picnic table area would be as good a spot as any to hang out, have something to eat, and get caught up on the once-again-behind blog writing. My original plan was actually to head to the library but with today being Sunday said library was closed.

My first stop for the day was at Walmart – not that I really NEEDED anything but it seemed like a good place to pass a bit of time and get a few snacks and such for the plane I would be boarding in a couple of days. It turns out it was also a good place to get a two-litre jug of chocolate milk which I deemed to be more practical than ice cream given the schedule of the day.

From Walmart I headed over to Big 5 Sporting Goods. I didn’t really NEED anything there either but I was considering getting some sort of collapsible duffle bag for my flight rather than using one of my panniers which aren’t all that ideal for non-pedalling travel. Unfortunately, they didn’t really have anything I deemed acceptable in the duffle bag department but in wandering around the store I ended up staring at a wall of shoes. At that moment, I didn’t think I was really in the market for a new pair of shoes but, as I stared at the variety of options hanging on the wall, that thought changed.

Even though my current pair of shoes were less than a couple of months old – I actually bought them the day before I set out on this tour – they were a very cheap pair of shoes and, well … they were very much a case of “you get what you pay for”. My shoes had served me reasonable well considering the price of them but they certainly weren’t designed for longevity – especially when you factor in the number of times said shoes were required to be the driving force behind putting tent stakes into the ground. The soles of those shoes never stood a chance.

As such, I found myself buying another pair of very cheap shoes. Yes, I realize they won’t last long either but the biggest problem with the more expensive shoes is the height of toe area. Because I use the older style toe clips on my bike (rather than clipping into my pedals), I need to wear shoes that actually fit into those toe clips. Since the higher priced/quality shoes typically have a more solid and thicker sole (i.e., a good thing), they’re essentially useless on my bike (i.e., a bad thing).

Lunch

With new shoes on my feet and two-litres of chocolate milk strapped to my bike, I headed off to the sheltered picnic tables of Powerline Park. I just happened to see said park as I perused Google Maps and the satellite view revealed the pavilion I was seeking. And yes, as you probably guessed, said park got its name as it sits under a wide series of power lines.

The next few hours were spent having lunch, updating my blog, and just hanging out. The actual posting of said blog entries would have to wait as there was no WiFi at the park but at least I was able to take care of the writing portion of the process.

By 3:30 PM, I was packing up again and ready to pedal the final 10 km to my day’s destination. And it was an easy 10 km. The route was easy as the vast majority of the ride was on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Trail. A paved trail in great shape. And, with me heading south, it was also either flat or slightly downhill for most of it. The only unfortunate parts of the trail were the gates along the way at each street crossing. The gates are there to prevent people from using the trails with motorized vehicles or horses but it also makes it hard for cyclists to get into any sort of consistent pace as the gates required some caution (and speed reduction) to navigate through them. Fortunately, the further south I went, the larger the distance between said gates became.

Rail trail

On the upside (yet, VERY puzzling) was the fact that the prevailing winds from the south had once again yielded to a noticeable wind from the north. Somehow, I had a tailwind again. I was actually so surprised by the wind that I actually stopped to look at the map to make sure I was in fact heading in the right direction. I was.

I arrived at my day’s destination shortly after 4:00 PM and that’s when I met Brandon, my host for the night. Well, one of my hosts. Brandon’s wife, Mickey, was actually who I had contacted through Warmshowers.org but she was at work when I arrived. I would meet her later but Brandon was a great welcoming committee (well, if one person can be a committee).

Not surprisingly, Mickey and Brandon were great. Very welcoming. Super easy to talk with. Lots of interesting stories – including tales of RAGRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) with more than 20,000 riders! WAY too many for my liking but, at the same time, quite the event … this was the 47th year of the event. Mickey was even kind enough to offer me a can of Tailwind … the official beer of RAGBRAI (which I meant to take a photo of but, well … didn’t).

SO good. So very good.

As an extra bonus to end an already great day, there was ice cream. More specifically, Mickey presented me with a choice of one of five pints of Ben & Jerry’s flavours. While the choice wasn’t easy or to be taken lightly, I ended up going with the Jimmy Fallon branded flavour of “The Tonight Dough” which featured “Caramel & Chocolate Ice Creams with Chocolate Cookie Swirls & Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough & Peanut Butter Cookie Dough”. Yes, it was delicious. And despite the label indicating that each container contained four servings, it was a single serving container today. Calories be damned.

My sleeping quarters for the night was the 2006 Itasca Spirit RV (aka. Kittyhawk) parked in Mickey and Brandon’s driveway. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with such vehicles and, since I’d only ever been in one a couple of times, I loved that it was to my accommodation for the night.

Today’s totals:
Distance: 56.95 km
Ride time: 2:46:14
Average speed: 20.55 km/h
Maximum speed: 37.27 km/h


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