Panguitch to Beaver - The woman who sat on the toilet too long (and other odd American tales) - CycleBlaze

July 7, 2014

Panguitch to Beaver

Pastoral softness
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IAIN CAMERON is a wise man with whom, on this site, I rarely disagree. So, when he regretted riding through Cedar City because it took a day and added 1 200 metres of climbing all for countryside no better than he'd seen all week, I took it to heart. Karen, too.

Cedar City is where Adventure Cycling takes you, perhaps because it thinks it's better that way, perhaps because it doesn't want the responsibility of suggesting cyclists ride on an interstate. Here, I should add, bikies are allowed on the shoulder of interstates where there's no alternative.

I can't tell you what the ride through Cedar City is like. I can tell you, though, that riding towards the interstate and then into Beaver has just one big hill that I remember but few reasons to take pictures. What you see one hour is pretty much what you saw the hour before.

Just one of many on this ride
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What made the day remarkable, then, was the interstate. Riding it is like any other busy road: noisy, fairly easy, occasional slip roads to negotiate and a broad shoulder scattered with tyre shards and other debris. In fact, it would have slipped from our mind had we not been chased over that single hill by clouds the darkness of the world's end. Turning right meant they had no distance to make up and, waiting until we were far from shelter, they began throwing bolts of lightning and then Noah-like rain that bounced and then covered the highway, and finally a blasting wind threaded by incipient hail.

It wasn't, as you might guess, all that pleasant.

We stood by the roadside looking convincingly pathetic in the hope that someone would stop. A woman with a kind face offered to let us sit in her car until the deluge was over. But by then it was better that we continue. It has become a running joke, that Karen assured me it never rained in summer west of Pueblo. And so, when Belinda had kindly washed the filth from my jacket back in Dolores, I hadn't thought to waterproof it again. I now had no more protection against icy rain than a cotton shirt and a leaking jacket. I began to shiver and I shouted to keep riding, to stay warm. Our benefactor wished us well and drove on with a wave.

Five minutes later, of course, the rain ended. It couldn't rain that hard for long. We bowled down the hill into Beaver and into the first gas station prepared to offer hot coffee. For the first time, I put on a sweater. I hadn't dared until then because, had it become soaked, I'd have had no warm clothes at all.

I pondered buying another sweater, one for evenings, one for downpours. I could wear it until I managed to find waterproofing spray. I looked around the gas station, which had a range of sweaters and other clothes. But this was a town called Beaver. And everything on sale, here and across the road, was emblazoned I like Beaver.

And, while my standards may be low, I do have my limits.

Today's ride: 80 km (50 miles)
Total: 4,895 km (3,040 miles)

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