The scene was the one road town of Nephi, Utah, and as Shane stepped out of his vehicle, he hoped that the land his mother had driven to was far away from the state of Arizona. Mike and Claire had parked just a few feet from his vehicle, but Shane quickly hobbled toward the vans protection in fear of an outsiders demand for his “card de verde.” You see, over the last few weeks, Shane’s face skipped the sights of a razor, and at first glace he looked like a mix between Zoro, Pedro, and Elian Gonzalez.
Anywho, as the story goes, with a wish of luck and a kiss goodbye, Mrs. Hegde drove away from the Mystery Machine unaware of the fate she had just left to her son. It had been just three days since Shane had left the group, but already the dynamic had corroded. Time seemed to tick slower than a commercial free episode of 24, and each group member was at the brink of hallucination from the nothingness of Nevada. Today’s ride, the first through Utah, provided some hope, but after looking at the following images Shane’s optimism receded faster than Sanford’s hairline.
***Viewer Discretion Advised***
While driving to the day’s destination of Salina, Utah, I flipped through Claire’s camera and came upon a grouping of 58 solo pictures taken by Zane and Jason. The following photography may be disturbing to the elderly and some small children. The pictures trace two men’s journey from normalcy, to the brink of humanity. Please use caution while scrolling through the below photo journal.
Pulling into Salina, the only chance Shane had to survive was to find a hotel room where he could save himself from camping with the wana-be Heath Ledger-Jake Gyllenhaal duo. And, lucky enough, the only motel in town was owned by fellow Indians who decided to give the group two rooms for free. Hours later, as the group rode into Salina, they recounted the day’s journey: Beautiful mountainsides, miserable headwinds, and constant waits for the mining towns “wide load” moving vehicles.
Now that Shane is done attempting to be a part of the ride from the comforts of the van and hotel room, we can move on to our story at hand. Although this writer is proud to have the sheer muscular strength and ability to hold himself as shown in the train photo above, serious matters must be addressed. First, we begin with a recap of today's ride: Beginning with our team's departure from Delta as a cohesive unit, we all knew that today would be a straightforward, fairly easy ride. Filled with spaced out climbing and long, enjoyable descents, today's scenic route introduced us to the scenic hills of Utah that will be our home for the next week. After splitting up for the first 40 miles of the ride, our four healthy riders (Zane, Sanford, Kirsten, and Jason) met up in the bustling town of Scipio for lunch. While Mike and an under-the-weather Claire dealt with the five year-old formerly known as Shane, our riders munched on Subway sandwiches prepared in a timely, efficient manner reminiscent of that of the Subway in Tressider Union at Stanford.
Mounting their bikes once more at approximately 2 pm, the riders spent the next two hours climbing against the wind. Finally the team reached the lovely city of Salina, truly a diamond in the rough that is Utah's open country.
Other than rest, recovery, and relaxation, the day’s highlight was a trip to Salina’s widely known and locally respected eatery: Mom’s Café. The environment of the dinner was everything homey, and the old woman that served us (Mom?) clearly drizzled some of TLC on our ribs. The restaurants scones, a local staple food, was to-die-for after submerged in “Honey Butter” (which we recommend you purchase at here).
Tomorrow’s schedule lists an 80-mile trek through southern Utah and an afternoon trip to the Grandest of all Canyons. Though it seems like rough sailing, we are all glad to have our group back on track and can’t wait to spend the next four days in the Land of Joseph Smith.