Thursday, July 1, 2010


FROM THE BORDER of Nevada and Utah, heading east, I wonder what must have happened to our Mormon brethren that they should be exiled to a place such as this. Shared routes US 50 and 6 split at Delta, Utah after a several mile run through pretty desolate stuff. And the poor town of Delta, at least what I could see during my short stop there for a Coke and a smile, looks as if it exists because “it’s about time we stuck a town somewhere.” The usual businesses line the highways with the usual number of closures of moms and pops and the usual numbers of upstart national franchises. But the town seems, again at only a glance, tired, dusty, work-a-day and sad.

Traveling north it will be several miles until the next town of any size, but shortly after heading north, the arid land becomes less arid. Those industrious folks in Delta had tamed the water and created pastures out of the dust. Long sweeping arcs of Rain Bird sprinklers fed huge green circles that I remember seeing from the air.

The closer I get to Salt Lake City, the more I marvel at the efforts of folks to tame an arid west into productivity and commerce. Each small berg has at least one Mormon Church and I am given to understand that the word “ward” refers to something other than Beaver Cleaver’s dad or a ne’er-do-well under charge of the court.

AT A POINT, I have hooked up with I-84 and am motoring north through Salt Lake. It is a city in all respects with drivers who perform as if they apprenticed in Sacramento. Coupled with highway construction through the heart of town, the inability of cagers to allow a reasonable distance between self and others at speed prompts me to take my fatigued body off the freeway and find an alternate route.

State Routes in California are paved. Some shoddily so, but paved none-the-less. I supposed state routes in every state would be similarly surfaced.

Route 39 heads east out of Ogden and, according to the map, route 162 will head north through both Eden and Paradise – two places I’m not likely to see in the next life – and take me to Logan, this day’s destination.

The great thing about the BMW GS Adventure is the versatility engineered into it. Somewhere along the 162, after about 390 miles of riding, the pavement ended. A touch of a button and the suspension is adjusted for single rider, bags, and mountain surface. I click off the ABS and plunge into the dust and rock. In first and second gear and standing on the pegs, the road unfolds, as does the view. I am entering the Front Range of the Wasatch and actually find the slow, bumpy going a bit therapeutic on my bum.

At the crest of the ride, I stop for pictures of a field of yellow daisy-like flowers and a view of Eden, with all of its pastoral and garden-like qualities.

THE SOJOURN cut a substantial distance from what was to be a 450 miler. I arrived at the Best Western, showered and took a walk along a wonderful Main Street. Rounding one corner, about ¾ of a mile from the motel, I know I heard angels. I looked up and saw not only the word “Bakery” but listed on the window in painted manuscript were the words “Cinnamon Rolls.” I knew where breakfast would be on the morrow.

Evening had me walk through neighborhoods and find a seat behind a Tabernacle where the brethren were just leaving evening services. A park bench afforded a lovely view of nighttime creeping up the base of the Front Range. I placed a phone call or two and scanned the local paper. Good way to spend fifteen minutes – until it got too dark to read.

I trundled down the hill and bedded down thinking about tomorrow’s early departure after the cinnamon roll.

I ARRIVED AT THE BAKERY at 6:55. Five minutes early. A young man let me in.

“Cinnamon roll, please.”

“The fresh ones will be out in about 90 minutes. I can sell you one of yesterday’s for half price, though.”

“I’ll walk around the block, thanks.”

“For ninety minutes?”

I thought about this and my desire for an early start. It was 228 miles to Jackson and I needed to be there by 2:00.

“You’re right. I’ll take a used one.”

“A used one?” He laughed and handed me product wrapped in cellophane.

I tipped him a buck for letting me in early and sat down outside thinking the next time I come to Logan, I need to not be in such a hurry to leave.

Day-old dry and with coffee unavailable, I couldn’t finish the pastry.

© 2010
Church of the Open Road Press

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