More of Hot Creek Canyon:

Hot Creek Valley was the first of many seemingly endless valleys. We crossed highway 6 and here Dale found the only tree for miles around.

Boney’s track led us past the Lunar Crater (which we never actually saw) and then down this rugged 4x4 road into Railroad Valley. This is definitely the slow road to Utah!

Somewhere in the valley the road just ran out. I could tell approximately where we needed to be (other side of valley) so we just kept going with no road. We bushwacked a few miles through sand and brush, alongside fences and eventually came out through a ranch road. This was a bit stressful as the weather was quite hot and we kept running into fences and whatnot causing trouble. Here's a pic of me (just my tracks and dust) stubbornly continuing as the road begins to vanish.

Cherry Creek Summit. The road up was great! Swoopy, 3rd gear rollercoaster. We went too fast. :)

Going down the other side was just beautiful! The creek, the green, the canyon, etc. We stopped at Cherry Creek to wash clothes, use the water filter and take baths. The water was bloody cold, but it sure was nice to be clean again!

Now we were in Coal Valley. It’s yet another one that goes on forever. I really liked the big valleys; the big sky and overall huge, simplicity of it all. There’s no way to capture the feeling in pictures. You see the road 20 miles away going up out of the valley and it seems like you could never ride that far. No trees, a few cows. The cattle are everywhere in NV. The bulls hang out together and do their thing while the ladies have their own social clubs. I think the cattle own the state, not the people. There certainly are more cattle than people out there.

Up Timber Mountain Pass; and what’s on the other side? Another endless valley of course!

At this point I was really exhausted. Three days of riding and two nights without sleep was taking it’s toll. I rode a bit slower in order to stay upright. Despite this we decided to push on to Pioche: the next gas, the end of the long run, and hopefully a hotel.This hotel was recommended by a friendly lady at the gas station. There’s no office. Dale used this phone to call a woman who said “the key is under the mat. If you like it and want to stay, leave $55 cash in the bible.” So we did. We never saw anyone. Funny. We got some good food and a rest.

Day 4
This morning we went out for a good breakfast and did a bit of bike maintenance, then hit the road. We left the extra gas jugs at the hotel to lighten the load a bit. After a few miles of rutted, slick roads the terrain changed to fast and fun and we found ourselves in UT. I don’t think we ever saw a sign when crossing state borders. The GPS always told me we were there. After a few miles of pavement we were back on dirt and following these train tracks.

I think we followed the tracks for an hour or two. The road had lots of scraps of fence wire lying in it, which required extra alertness to avoid a flat tire or worse. The map showed the town of Lund up ahead. The large font would lead one to believe it’s a town of some significance. Dale said we’d gas up there for sure… but it turned out Lund is a ghost town!

There were several well-labeled ghost towns on these tracks. No worry, we wouldn’t need gas for a long time anyway. I called the Lund Highway the “most annoying road” of the trip. Fancy name for a crappy road to a ghost town. It was a mix of broken asphalt, potholes and washboard dirt. All with a very strong, cold, side wind blowing. 30 minutes of this was quite enough.Eventually we came to Parowan, UT. This is by a major highway, so I knew we’d find gas. The layout of the local roads is a bit confusing and somehow we ended up in a greasy mud hole while trying to shortcut to the gas station. Pavement in front and behind, gas in sight, yet riding in a mud bog…. Such silliness! Well we got through without trouble to get gas and lunch.Next it was up Bear Creek Road, or Bear River, or Bear something… We saw no bears. This connected with highway 20 and dropped us into Panguitch, UT. The weather was getting iffy and the forecast was rain and cold, so we found a cheap hotel.

Day 5
I was here about 10 years ago and recalled the Casto Canyon trail as being super nice. We left the luggage at the hotel and rode up the canyon off hwy 12. Yes it’s nice!

Then the hail came. In no time at all the roads were greasy slime. This was some of the worst mud I’ve been in for quite a while. It was almost as slippery as ice and the tires became heavy slicks. Snow is easier. I actually enjoyed it a little… the smooth flowing riding style works for me. But it went on much too long and we were concerned about finishing the loop. Dale absolutely hated it. I think he has permanent emotional scars. :) We rode back to Panguitch in the rain and went straight to a car wash. Much blasting required!

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