It’s pretty rad being partnered with someone who digs what you’re doing with your free time, aka overwhelming cycling habit, but EVEN RADDER to have someone in your life who will wake up at 5am and say “Hey, you want to road trip to Utah this morning?” Such is how PPR Recon Day 3 began. The lovely LT was particularly motivated on this day, and I am not one to let such motivation slip by. This is one of the myriad reasons we work together.
So far I’ve ridden the paved portion through Lake Mead Recreational Area to Valley Of Fire a few times, driven the Rainbow Gardens road which runs sort of parallel to the actual route through the mountains from downtown Las Vegas to Lake Mead Boulevard, and ridden to the beginning of the course at McCarran International Airport. Today we were driving up I15 to Mesquite, NV and on to the end of this first leg at St George, UT.
The ride from Valley of Fire to Mesquite is mountain and desert trail and access roads until just short of Bunkerville, where you pick up some pavement into the south side of Mesquite. I highly recommend popping into town to refuel and re-up on any supplies you might need. There are very few opportunities for this between Vegas and Mesquite, and looking like even fewer from Mesquite to St George. We ventured out to the course with the trusty Tahoe to get a few pictures and see what the gravel roads have in store.
The portion we could drive was incredible, with chunky as hell gravel, a few boondocking camps, and of course the amazing views. LT and I have been intrigued by the boondocking life, working that into future travels. We happened upon a family of free range cattle right along side the gravel. In my hundreds of free range riding in northern Nevada I never once saw more than a random lizard or bird, it was cool to finally see these guys and gals. Check out the picture of the calves trying to “hide” from us, they were adorable. We drove to the Arizona border on this gravel road where we encountered a number of warning signs, actual warning signage, stating that further road vehicle travel would be ill advised and potentially dangerous. I decided to walk a few hundred feet past the warning signs to confirm and yes, once you get into Arizona the “road” gets a little weird. I’m on one hand really looking forward to riding this, and on the other realize that my current tire of choice (I am testing WTB Riddler 700×45 tires for review) may not be optimal. I suppose there is only one way to find out. Wink.
We moved on from Mesquite towards St George, UT. Once you pass into Arizona on the trail, then into Utah, the real climbing begins. When looking from the interstate out towards the area the route runs there is a lot of “where in the hell do you think it goes?” moments. There is a lot of unfriendly looking terrain and a 4000+ ft climb hidden out there. Can’t wait for that, one thing I’ve learned from all the mountain pass summit climbs in 2019 is that however long it takes you to get up, that’s how long you get to see that beautiful view. You get to go down the other side too, which isn’t too bad. Gravity and I get along much better on the downside.
In keeping with the theme of my previous post on a proposed course start re-route to Taqueria El Tizon, we decided to call the most popular taco place in St George the end to our day of recon. Where is this? Only the Northernmost Taco Bell in the City.
I’m really excited to get out on the Fargo and ride this first segment as soon as possible. The first attempt is slated to be a 4 day ride to St George with most likely a return ride in the Tahoe. I’m also looking at a possible loop back to Las Vegas from the PPR for future week long excursions with no sag-back. After that it will be on to segment 2 and beyond that to Durango, CO. The stoke level is high, and I kneel at the Altar Of Radness awaiting my time to depart.