Wednesday, July 12, 2017

further afield

As we weren't really sure what we would do for the entire day on Friday in scenic Beaver, Utah, while H went for a twenty-mile morning road ride before it got hot, I searched the internet/gazetteer for something for us to do.  First off, we went for breakfast (oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar; and homemade cinnamon rolls) at El Bambi, as recommended by our bartender and her husband from the night before.  El Bambi was just up the street aways, easily walkable.  We noticed several other Crushers in the little truckstop/diner (breakfast all day, 6 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sundays, open at 5 a.m. for the Crusher in the Tushar by special arrangement) and ended up talking with Dan from Phoenix, who turned out to be our next-door-neighbor at the motel.  He had driven the course on Thursday so as to know exactly what he was up against; this was directly opposite H's approach where, in a departure from his usually wanting to know absolutely everything about anything he's getting into, H preferred to not know and just deal with things as they came up.

Image result for el bambi beaver utah
I love this sign

Since we had some time to kill before we could pick up H's race packet, and since I really had been unable to come up with anything better (there is definitely hiking in the area but (1) it was already getting hot and (2) H, wanting to focus on the race, hadn't brought hiking boots with him), we drove west on Utah Route 21 through Minersville and Milford.  We were in search of a ghost mining town, Frisco, which from 1880-1885 had around 6,000 (!) people, hotels, a hospital, a weekly newspaper and schoolhouse, a red light district (!!) and some twenty-three saloons (!!!).  We found it, in the middle of absolutely nowhere, about fifteen miles from Milford, carved into the side of the hill.  We drove in a ways but the road was rough and our aging truck's suspension is not to be trifled with; we considered getting out and walking in further but ultimately decided not to since the temperature was flirting with 100 F.

Image result for horn silver mine utah

We retraced our steps, pausing for a beer at a picnic spot alongside the Beaver River, then headed south on I-15 for a couple of exits before heading east on Utah Route 20, a pretty road through the mountains that goes through Bone Hollow and Bear Valley.  This road ends at US 89 (which runs south to Panguitch, not far away, or north to Circleville and Junction, which H didn't want to go to because he'd be riding his bike there the next day).  So we stopped at an RV park for drinks and to take a photo of the smoke from the still-lingering Brian Head fire, at this point 70%+ contained but still smoldering.  The air was thick with smoke and we felt grateful that it was not finding its way up to Beaver.

Such a bummer

When we got back to town, the place was starting to get busy with cars/vans laden with bike racks.  We hung out at the room for a little while, waiting for it to cool down a bit, then walked to the center of town to pick up H's race packet at the visitors' center, a really cool old log cabin.  The packet pick-up was scheduled from 2 - 9:30 p.m., so while the influx of racers was constant, there was never a long line.  Amazingly, I even knew one of the volunteers: my old massage therapist who left Salt Lake City about 1.5 years ago when her husband got a Forest Service job based out of Fillmore.  The scene was super-chill with a couple of food trucks and a band, Mad Max and the Wild Ones.  We went and picked up a pizza from Freestyle Pizza - which took an hour and seven minutes (!!!!) because they were getting slammed by all the Crushers - and ate it in the park while Mad Max et als. wrapped up their set.

Pizza al fresco

There really weren't that many cyclists hanging out (which is what we had expected), so when the band quit at 7:30 p.m., we walked back to the motel, stopping first at the grocery store to pick up a Gatorade for H.  At this point the motel parking lot was full, with what were obviously Crushers' vehicles.  The rest of the evening was organizing for the race and then, once that was done, out on the motel balcony, drinking beers and chatting with neighbor Dan.  Early to bed, though, for tomorrow we would crush!

Mellow vibe at the packet pick-up

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