Day Sixteen: Payson, Utah to Orem, Utah - "Vibes" - CycleBlaze

From "Vibes"

By Jeff Lee

June 30, 2024

Day Sixteen: Payson, Utah to Orem, Utah

Today's short ride was the easiest and most pleasant one of the trip.

Joy and I lived in Utah Valley for three years in 2009 through 2011-ish, and we've kept in contact with our friends Christa and Bob there since then. Today's destination was their place in Orem.

Utah Valley, sometimes disparagingly/ironically called "Happy Valley" by its non-fans, was busy when we lived there, but I'd heard that the population had exploded since then. So I spent some time last night attempting to map out a low traffic route from Payson to Orem. It helped that I was doing this ride on Sunday morning, when the Mormons, who make up a large majority of Happy Valley residents, would be either inside their churches, or at home studying their religious texts.

I didn't want to arrive too early at Christa and Bob's on Sunday morning, so I took  my time getting ready, and didn't ride out until after 9:00.

I backtracked a couple of miles of yesterday's route, and was immediately on pleasant farm roads.

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This was very, very nice riding. Almost no traffic at all. Despite my mid-morning start, it still felt fairly cool.

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Eventually the farm scenery became more industrial. I crossed over I-15 for the first time. Sunday traffic continued to be very mild. The mountains that loomed over us when we lived here still depressed me a little. I never understood why, but living at the foot of the mountains always made me feel a little uneasy.

A long section on Kuhn Road in the Springville area was especially nice riding. No traffic at all on Sunday. I remembered riding this when we lived in Utah.

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I had to cross I-15 again. This time it was not quite as easy, and I spent several minutes on a sidewalk peering at the map on my phone, trying to ensure that I wouldn't inadvertently ride onto the interstate.

Now I was in Provo, in the vicinity of the BYU campus. I was trying to connect the Provo River Parkway Trail. Finding a way onto this trail was the hardest navigation of the ride. Google Maps showed that I could enter the trail by riding through an old mobile home park.

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I wound my way through the mobile home park. Most of the modest homes were very old, although most were tidy. The park butted up against I-15, and despite the wall that had been constructed to reduce the noise, I could still hear the constant rush of traffic on the interstate.

At the end of the final cul-de-sac, where I expected an entrance to the bike path, there was a fence instead. There was no way I was getting around, under, or over this thing:

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I was slightly aggravated, but maintained my composure as I backtracked out of the mobile home park, and then into a modest neighborhood that butted up against a park, through which I rode my bike across a soccer field and finally connected with the bike path.

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The path follows the Provo River and has lots of shade. It's very nice. It made riding through Provo much more pleasant than it otherwise would have been.

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Mormon boy dressed for Sunday recreation on the path. Shouldn't he be at home studying the words of the Prophets, though?
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I exited the path and rode on quiet city streets for less than two miles. I suspect that the fact that I was doing this on Sunday made it much, much more pleasant.

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After a little confusion - my hosts' neighborhood looked different than I remembered from my last visit in 2019, because of a new housing development next door - I found their place, and Christa welcomed me.

It was very enjoyable catching up, and hanging out. Despite my protestations that I didn't need anything fancy, Christa made a delicious dinner that was the best meal I'd had since the one Morri made back in California the night before I started this tour.

Christa and Bosco. He's a very good boy. Their other dog, Ellie, was initially suspicious of me, and kept her distance for a while.
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Later, after it cooled down a little, we went into the backyard, where Bob has an impressive garden, which supplied some of the ingredients of tonight's meal.

One of their chickens.
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Christa and Bob.
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Bosco likes berries from the garden.
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I went to sleep a little later than usual, after working on a route to get me out of the super-busy Utah Valley and closer to the Wyoming border.

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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 991 miles (1,595 km)

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