December 20th, 2014
I had a tough time sleeping in my Rock Springs motel room because my mind was preoccupied with the start of the next day’s ride. What happened is that I lost my sense of direction. East felt like west and west felt like east. Twice, I got up in the middle of the night and took a map and a compass out to see which of the two on ramps on I-80 I should use. One was closer to the direction I wanted to go, west, but it felt like it was going east. My mind said one direction while the map and compass said the opposite.
On Saturday, I started my ride just before 7am and headed the direction the map told me to go. As I got to the on ramp my sense of direction amazing returned. I rode 7 miles on I-80 and got off the ramp to U.S. 191. As soon as I got on U.S. 191, I started climbing, climbing, climbing. Even when I reached the plateau the climbs continued. Finally, when I reached the south end of the plateau the road descended, but only for a few miles. I couldn’t believe it, it started climbing. There’s a photo of one of the climbs which in the distance I couldn’t believe was an actual road until I saw a car coming down. With about 100 yards to the top of this hill I had to push the bike.
With a 1/4 of a mile to Dutch John, which took me 12 hours to complete 66 miles, there was of course, a hill. There was tent camping behind the general store, and I was informed that the ride to Vernal had more down hills. Not so. The ride started downhill toward the Flaming Gorge Dam but the road climbed the rest of the day from 6,500 feet at the dam to 8400 at the summit. There was one stretch which I believe set the record for the longest continuous ascent.
To add insult to injury, it started to rain, and this was cold downpour rain. At one point, I was pushing my bike up this steep hill, getting soaked, while cars, semis, motor homes, etc. were gunning their engines as they passed along side me on their way to the top. Visibility would have been better looking through a gunnysack.
Now, the best part. The rain stopped, and there was finally, sun. A few miles after the summit there was this sign, which I wanted to take a photo of but too wet to get the camera out, that stated that there were 10 switchbacks ahead with 9% being the steepest descent. The switchbacks were incredibly long and it was basically, a thrill ride with the bike careening close to the edge of the road seemingly, forever. I’ll never forget this descent. Hopefully, they have a name for it. I made it to Vernal around 6pm.
I left Vernal, Utah just before 7am because I was scheduled to meet my brother, Tony, in Rangely, Colorado at 5pm…53 miles and I didn’t know what the terrain was like. Well, overall, it was one of the more forgiving rides: flat, downhills, no wind, and with reasonable ascents. I made it to Dinosaur, Colorado at 12:30 and this is 15 miles north of Rangely.
I called my brother and he said that he was near Rangely and would head my way and pick me up. Around six miles outside of Dinosaur, Tony spotted me, stopped, and we loaded his SUV with the bike and trailer.
Good thing I didn’t attempt to ride to Grand Junction because the highway from Rangely to GJ is, in a nut shell, not made for bicycles, very dangerous. After spending the night at Tony’s we drove to Primm, Nevada, spent the night there and headed for Altadena.
In Primm, I talked to Beverly about my need to see a doctor regarding my blistered lower lip which has been driving me insane with a constant burning sensation. She set up an appointment for 3:30 on the day we would arrive, Wednesday.
While at my doctor’s, I decided to mention that my legs, especially, the left one would get swollen during the day but at night return to normal. He didn’t waste anytime sending me to the lab to draw blood. The lab results showed that I needed an ultra sound. The ultra sound confirmed that I have Deep Vein Thrombosis DVT and require treatment, now.
After instructions from the nurse, I injected Lovenox into my right love handle and will have to do this twice a day for seven days, along with taking Warfarin (anticoagulant) probably for the rest of my life because I had the same problem five years ago. The doctor’s appointment was for 3:30 and we:Tony, Beverly, and yours truly, didn’t get home until 11:30.
I often wonder how things would have turned out if I would have continued the ride and not bailed early or by not having a blistered lip that got me in the doctor’s office or by not mentioning the swollen legs.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed the ride.
As Always, Carl
Addendum: My doctor also, made a referral for me to see a hematologist (blood doctor). One day short of finishing giving myself injections I saw a hematologist. His conclusion was that I didn’t have another blood clot but that the swelling is the result of the vein in my left leg narrowing. He recommended compression socks (see photo) and told me to discontinue the injections and the Warfarin….Hooray!