A mighty cold day in USA

Trip Start Mar 20, 2011
Trip End Jun 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Nephi, Utah to Rawlins, Wyoming USA

Today was to be about the coldest day on this whole adventure so far. My new friend Kevin on his Harley look-a-like was going up North to have a look at Flaming Gorge and I decided as I have a few days to spare I might just as well go with him.

Last night Kevin could not believe that I would do this long journey without a sat-nav system fitted to my bike. I told him "they send you in the wrong direction most of the time" and sure enough that is exactly what his was trying to do to us this morning.

Looking at the map we were to head in a North/Easterly direction but this silly sat-nav system of his wanted to send us way off to the West.

We headed out of town and decided to join highway 15 until we came to route 6 East and then followed this road for mile through the hills. It was now pouring with rain and as we climbed the mountains to the summit at 9496ft it just got colder by the mile. By the time we reached the top there was snow all around and the temp was well below freezing. I had my jacket with its liners in and also my heavy duty rain suit and was still feeling the pinch. The heated grips were on high heat all the way up that mountain. Normally with these set at high one would burn their hands off after a while but in these freezing conditions I was convinced they were not working correctly as they just did not feel as hot as normal.

We stopped at the summit for a few photos but with the weather as it was we never got any good shots and in any case all we wanted was a nice cup of hot chocolate!!

Back on the bikes and we could hardly feel our hands as we raced down the pass. We were both in a hurry as we knew there was a grand cup of hot chocolate waiting for us at Duchesne once we get there.

Rather than fill up our tanks first we just both ran into the coffee shop and demanded a hot drink. With cups in hand we then went outside and got chatting to another motorcyclist who was riding a Honda Pan European 1300.

After a hot drink we filled our tanks and were just about to leave when Kevin headed back inside the coffee shop and re-filled his bike cup for his journey ahead. He has a cup-holder fitted into his dash and with a open-face helmet drinks at leisure as he rides along the road. Perhaps I should invest in such a item;-)

We headed on along route 191 in the dry but looking ahead it really did not look good weather at all and by the time we arrived at the town of Vernal Kevin had decided he was going no further as it just looked like a massive storm up towards the gorge.

We had a quick lunch in a local cafe and then we departed on our own routes. I followed on route 191 again until I took route 40 along the side of the gorge. The first few miles were just boring and there was nothing but trees all along the road and I began to wonder if it was even worth coming this roundabout way. Lucky for me it was as soon I was riding through sandstone cliffs and there below was a mighty big dam, it was just beautiful scenery. I stopped a number of times and took photos as usual and even took a side road down to the dam itself. Every view point or tourist area I stopped was just empty and I never seen another person. Perhaps the poor weather was keeping everyone at home.

As the road climbed out the valley and into the hills it began to get colder again and soon it was snowing. My biggest worry was getting along this road as now the snow was laying and the place was becoming more white by the minute. However it soon turned to rain and finally sunshine.

This road I was now on was right across a very high mountain range and even though the sun was shining it was still very cold indeed. There was a terrible gale blowing from the West which made riding very difficult indeed. I was now on route 530 and still had a long way to go before reaching Green River and in this gale it was just hell.

Finally the road started to descend into the town and the first place I headed for was a coffee shop where a nice hot cup of coffee was to be had.

Green River appeared to be a large railway town with lovely surrounding sandstone mountains. I took a ride around and took a few photo's of the rail yards and mountains before heading onto interstate 80 and heading East towards Chicago which must still be about 1000 miles away.

The speed on this highway is 75mph but if one obeys the speed limit then every other vehicle, inc large trucks is overtaking you so its best to sit around 85 most of the time and just keep up with the traffic ahead.

Right next to the highway was the railway and a road with not a single car to be seen on it. Also there was beautiful mountains in the area but being on a highway meant I could not stop for photos and so I turned off at the next junction and took the old road which was running alongside the highway. As there was nothing on this road meant I could maintain the same speed as the highway. I stopped a few times and took photos of the mountains as well as .....you guessed it, trains!!

Sadly this old road was not to last forever and I soon had to re-join interstate 80. I raced along at 80 mph plus but was now feeling the cold and decided as it was now after 5pm I was going to stop for the night in the town of Rawlins.

By the time I found a hotel it was after 6pm and I was just frozen. Into the room and heating on full and that's how its been for the last 4 hours or so. I think the cold weather has bitten me and its taking a very long time to get my body warmed up again.

Tomorrow I plan to simply stay on interstate 80 and head east as far as possible towards Chicago. I am hoping also hoping to visit the worlds largest railway yard somewhere along this route but will have to find where it is first.

One thing that is great now is that I am riding alone and can simply stop and start wherever I wish. Petrol stops were a massive time consuming task when we were riding in groups and also lunch stops etc. I find I can cover many more miles riding alone.

As always my little Honda Transalp performed like a dream today and for the first time in ages I noticed the engine temp remained well below 80 Celsius due to the cold weather. One problem I have had with the bike these last few weeks is its automatic chain oiling system. With the temp being as hot as it has been the lub oil becomes very thin and of course simply runs out onto the chain like water and so needs refilling everyday. However today with the cold weather it was different and the oil was coming out as it should drip by drip.

And that concludes another day of my Pan American adventure
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David Rodgers on


I see you missed out Ely, Nevada. DON'T miss out on UP's Cheyenne roundhouse (opposite the station) for 844 and 3985 and there's a Big Boy in town too.


Trevor Heath (Seattle, Washington USA) on

Green River was the last stand of the Big Boys. Four being kept there until 1962

The UP 844 is leaving Cheyenne on Friday. If you can hold off for a day in Cheyenne, you could chase it east to North Platte.

Here is the schedule http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/details.shtml

adventurescot on

Looks like I missed everything guys. I should have stayed back and watched the 4-8-4 but my mind was also set on getting to New York. If something happens to my bike or Ihave a accident I wont get home on the date. Also have to get my bike onto ship by certain date.One thing I did notice was a Big Boy or some massive mallett at the entrance to Omaha. It was high up on a cliff together with a bug UP diesel with a sign under it saying "Welcome to Omaha". I could not stop as I was on the freeway otherwise I would have been there like a shot.

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