Dave's Cross-Country Trip 2003

Day Two

by Dave Schultheis

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - Salina, Utah

I slept well but woke before dawn to the sound of the neighbors closing their doors. It was 6 a.m. Mountain Time, so I got up and dressed in three layers. It was c-c-cold outside as I loaded the Road King. The sign at the office said it was 38 degrees F. as I checked out at about 6:45 a.m. and added the face protector.

East of Salina, U.S. Highway 50 follows the route of Interstate 70, so I headed east on I-70 with the sun in my eyes and virtually no traffic. However, there were some remarkable sights to see, various rock formations and beautiful vistas off to the side of the highway.

I stopped for a load check and to warm cold fingers near the Fishlake National Forest, then continued. I noted that Utah has very long merge ramps and gore points, along with numerous "ranch exits" with signs saying "no services."

There was on offramp to a place called Loa, with "gas, food, and lodging," but the sign at the bottom of the ramp said the town was 25 miles thataway. I did not need fuel, so I passed by. I could see signs for Denver, over 400 miles away. I passed through miles of beautiful Utah. As the sun got higher in the sky, my fingers were not quite as cold and the sun was no longer in my eyes.

At 8:40 a.m. I pulled into a Chevron Station in Green River UT. I knew I was in Grand County but there were no signs on the freeway. Oh, well, there will be more "G" counties along the way.

At 10:00 a.m. I stopped for the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign, and then about 30 miles later, stopped at the Colorado Welcome Center in Fruita for a current map.

On the approach to Grand Junction CO, I had to decide whether to continue east on Hy 50 or Interstate 70. I chose the Interstate because I had not been that way before and I had been on Hy 50 a few times.

When I got into Grand Junction, it took some amount of back and forth, but I finally found Grand Junction Harley-Davidson, on a frontage road, where I was greeted by exactly one of their several employees. I did not find any bargains. It had warmed up, so I put away the face protection, stopped for gas at a Shell Station on Horizon Drive, and continued east on I-70.

Some miles later I stopped at the Garfield County sign for pictures. Near Glenwood Springs, about mile 120-something, I saw a radar sign saying, "Your speed is 80, slow down now," so I slowed to 50 (the marked speed limit), which of course felt like standing still.

There were warning signs and flaggers, then a lane was closed for a few miles while the Colorado highway people removed boulders from the highway near some tunnels.

About 12:40 p.m. I stopped at the Bair rest area, where it was quite warm with a breeze. I talked for a short while with a guy on a Kawasaki sport bike, headed for southern California, and exchanged weather reports. I changed to cooler gloves and continued.

Then the fun began, miles of cones for painting stripes on the highway.

About 1:30 p.m. I pulled into a Texaco Station near a traffic circle at the west end of Vail CO. East of there the highway gains altitude and the temperature dropped. I traversed Vail Pass at over 10,000 feet. I stopped to put on face protection, then later for a Jefferson County sign picture. The sign had been hit by a car and damaged, but it was still readable.

I could tell I was entering the Denver area because of the increased traffic, and then I saw a city limit sign at about 3:40 p.m. It was about 56 degrees F., and took between 20 and 30 minutes to get through the city.

I stopped at a Texaco Station a little after 4 p.m., somewhere east of the Denver International Airport. Two of the station employees saw my "San Jose" patch; the male told me that he was from Cupertino (near San Jose) and the female told me that she was born at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose. I checked the porcelain and bought a small set of bungee cords from the bargain rack. It was very windy as I got back on the road, and the wind kept up for many miles.

I stopped near Limon for a Lincoln County picture, then at an Arby's and McDonald's in Limon County, continued for another hour and a half and stopped at a Texaco Station in Burlington County, then another half hour later for a Kansas picture. The Kansas Travel Information Center was closed, so I could not get a current map.

I continued for many more miles, remembering that I had started the day in Salina UT and wondering if I could make it to Salina KS by nightfall.

However, that was not to be, and I took exit 53 at Colby KS, found several motels near the highway, but all had interior hallways and looked expensive. The Quality Inn had a sign that said "single $42," but there were "no singles left." The (part-time, just filling in) room clerk told me that a room with two beds was $54, and she refused to show mercy and give me a two-bed room at the "single" price, even after I promised to behave and not mess up both beds.

So I looked elsewhere and found a perfectly good Best Western with at-the-door parking for a better price. The clerk said that I had passed into Central Time about 18 miles back, and it was now 9:50 p.m.

She also told me not to worry about security, that they had a low crime rate and that the police came by every few minutes. Of course I never saw a patrol car, but the outside security lights were shining brightly.

I parked the Road King on the sidewalk by Room 32, unloaded the bike while watching the end of NYPD BLUE and CNN, made a few notes, checked the maps, investigated a click in the wall (?), took a shower, set the alarm for 6 a.m., pushed the "sleep" button on the clock radio, and went to bed.

This was the second day in a row that I had started the day in one state, ridden completely through a second, and gone to bed in a third. UT, CO, KS.

Miles for the day = 724. Miles for the trip = 1537.

Tomorrow: cold temps, a closed dealer, cough and sputter, and an old favorite.

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Created on January 1, 2004. Updated on January 12, 2004.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA