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Day Four - May 19, 1999

The Land of Jazz

Idaho Falls ID - Salt Lake City UT

4:13 riding time - 231 miles - 60+ degrees

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I can't believe that we spent the night less than 30 miles from Rigby ID, the birthplace of Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the CRT tube.  I could have easily convinced Mark that we should have made the pilgrimage, but when I thought about it, the CRT tube is on a fast exit path and appears to be a phenomenon whose impact will mostly be in the 20th century.  Oh well.  On to the next century.

Our path to Salt Lake City is dominated by I-15, so we took highway 91 whenever possible, running parallel to the interstate.  That took us through Shelley, where a large sign reminded students that all athletic gear is to be returned to City Hall before the end of the school year.  We passed many establishments that were shuttered long ago as the impact of the soulless interstate made itself felt on these communities.  

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Greg's elegant ride

Several of you have asked to learn more about how I am packing my bike, since Mark has gone Bronson on me.  I snapped this shot this morning before we departed, showing the sleek elegant lines of my Harley-Davidson Road King, nicely balanced by the matching leather saddle bags and 'T-Bag' attached to the integral back rest.   Note the morning sun glistening off the windshield.  Mark's bike is in the background, where it shall stay for the rest of this paragraph.

Most of the riding today was in and around the mountain ranges surrounding Salt Lake.  We stopped several times to take pictures of the scenery. 

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Your tourguide

All of the pictures I'm posting are taken with a small digital camera, chosen for its ability to be operated with one hand while driving with the other.   The camera has a small LCD screen on the back that allows me to see the framing of the shot.  Since most of the shots end up being of subjects other than me, I decided to turn the camera on myself.  The strap around my neck keeps the camera within easy reach while we're riding.  You can tell by the expression on my face that it is not currently raining and the temperature is at least 60 degrees.

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High-tech cruising

Those of you who were along for the 1997 JerkQuest remember that I was using a Garmin GPS195 mounted to the handlebars.  I've since upgraded to a smaller Garmin unit that is every bit as functional, the GPS III+.  It has a database of the entire US, so all of the roads that we're traveling on are in the unit.  I can glance down and easily get a fix on our current location, the next waypoint, time of day, speed, altitude, and what's for dinner.  At the end of the day I download the track we've traversed into DeLorme's Street Atlas, and then clip our track and paste it into the web page.

You will notice that the photo "Greg's Elegant Ride" clearly highlights that Mark's bike is missing an important component, namely a windshield.   I guess if you're spending most of your time doing 120 through 90 degree hairpin curves, most of the wind is going sideways relative to the motion of your bike and thus you would not need a windshield.  However, unfortunately for Mark, there are significant stretches without such twists and turns, and Mark's upper body and helmet become the windshield.  Now that we are entering bug country, Mark has to spend an increasing amount of time at each fuel stop debugging himself.  I, on the other hand, confident behind my plexiglas armor, am free to to take pictures of the routine and pass judgment on Mark's selection of bike for this trip.

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Step 1: Decontaminate

Step 2:  Scrape.  Go to Step 1.


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No obstacle for Mark

The closer we got to Utah (the beehive state!) the more slow-moving traffic we encountered. 

I grew up in Indiana, which presumably has nearly all of the farm equipment made, in all available colors, but I have never seen one of these implements.   I can't even imagine what they're used for.  I'm sure one of you will fill me in. 

I ended up being in a conga line behind this thing for several miles.   Would you believe that Mark drove under it?

Tomorrow we do the last leg of the outbound leg of JerkQuest '99, ending up in Green River where we convene with the rest of the Jerks who are arriving via conventional, boring, routine, predictable, crowded, unreliable commercial transportation.   We have an orientation session tomorrow night, and then get on the river Friday morning.  I have no idea what to expect from this part of the adventure.  Stay tuned.

Until tomorrow,

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