16 miles before breakfast and coffee. 90 degrees by 9am. Hangry and hot. Pavement pedaling into town. The hole in Ian’s pants is exposing his whole right cheek. Needs new pants. My ass hurts. Butt bruise is getting bigger every day. Need padded pants. Need food for fuel. Need to get off my bike and into a creek. Need not to talk.
Mouth watering dreaming of cinnamon rolls and potatoes, eggs and cheese that’s not melted in my bag.
We woke up with ants crawling over us. When we set up camp in the dark, the only flat spot was actually an ant hill. Quickly we shoved our shit in our bags and hit the road with the promise of a diner. We entered the highway and shared the road with cars for the first time. We crested the final hill and soared into town, and town was closed.
Labor Day left one business open for breakfast. A dainty little cafe with croissants. We’ll take it.
Out of croissants? Okay, I’ll have a bagel. Out of bagels? What do you have? Bread. Okay I’ll have a sandwich on bread. And the largest coffee you got.
They gave me a small coffee. I reminded them about the largest coffee they had. They gave me two small coffee cups. The sandwich on bread was palm size. I could’ve eaten twelve. It was gone in twelve seconds. Scarfed it down.
A motorcyclist commented on our bikes and made jokes about sticking with his bike. He said he used to bikepack but didn’t think he could do it anymore. He said he was proud of us and he knew it was hard work. He left his hat on the table and almost rode away until I chased him down waving it around.
After chugging coffee, we left the cafe to the grocery store. We should’ve gone straight there. We loaded up with kiwis, peaches, kefir, bananas, hummus, crackers and barbecue chips.
We looked all over town for WiFi so I could sit down and catch up on some writing. The library was closed and every cafe that advertised WiFi in their windows were closed. We followed false leads to WiFi at a gear store and at a grocery store, all to no avail. Finally we found the courthouse. Like lizards we laid on the concrete shade and slammed water mooching off the courthouse’s WiFi.
“We cannot pedal up Cottonwood road,” I said. It was our next planned stretch of exposed desert in Grand Staircase Escalante with no shade or water for 100 miles. “We’ll die.”
“We won’t die,” Ian laughed. “But we’ll probably run out of water. I’m down with getting back up high. It’s too fucking hot.” He got to work looking at maps and rerouting us to higher elevations.
Our biggest success of the day was visiting the thrift store. Ian got new pants with flowers on them for $1.50. They were much tighter than the running shorts he wore before. I knew I shouldn’t have gone in there. I found a Spongebob Dreampants onsie for $2 and shamelessly bought it and strapped it on my bike for the next 100+ miles.
We pedaled out of town in the opposite direction we thought we would when we woke up. We waited until the last hours of daylight to start moving. 90 degrees was cooler than 100 degrees. We slept in a beautiful red rock canyon with flowing water with the milky way streaking above us in a fantastical show.
Grateful for…cold kefir, 10 cent bananas, the bushes outside of the courthouse, hot coffee, no golf course in Kanab, waking up next to cholla and juniper, Ian’s patience, the sound of running water, yellow sunflowers on the highway, large shoulders, sleeping under the milky way, red walls, water filters, and maps
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