Day Five - May 20, 1999
The Jerks Have Landed
Salt Lake City UT - Green River UT
3:10 riding time - 185 miles - 60+ degrees
Red dot = Green River
Getting to downtown Salt Lake City is a real chore, due to massive construction on the freeways through town. But downtown Salt Lake City is quite pretty. After posting yesterday's journal, we walked about 15 blocks to Bill & Nada's (serving home-cooked meals for 53 years!). This place was undoubtedly on the outskirts of town for many years, but it has been surrounded by fast-food restaurants and strip malls. On the inside, the place looks look it has had the same decor for, oh, maybe 53 years, with murals of outdoor hunting scenes and vinyl-covered booths. The "Today's Special" menu looked like it was printed about 53 years ago, which undoubtedly makes it easy on the cook since it doesn't appear that the specials change more than once every 53 years or more. Regardless, the service was pleasant and the meal was adequate and we enjoyed a relaxing dinner after a grinding ride in on the dreaded interstate.
At each booth was a jukebox that I remember well from my youth. The songs didn't appear to have been updated in the last oh, 5.3 years or more, with an eclectic variety of Gershwin, Elvis, Beatles, Johnny Cash, Nancy Sinatra, The Cyrkle, and the Monkees. I provided the coin and Mark punched up J-7 ("I Should Have Known Better"/The Beatles). Very nice. The placemats in the picture had pictures of all the Presidents and their years in office. We quizzed each other - Who was the last President with facial hair? Who was the first President to have his picture taken? Which President served non-consecutive terms? Why are manhole covers round?
We dined in this morning at the Hampton Inn. Hamptons are a good place for this kind of travel, because they have consistent features (pool, hot tub, dialtone) and they offer a continental breakfast buffet where we can get a light meal before starting to ride. I learned that each Hampton is independently owned. Yesterday in Idaho Falls I forgot to complain about the fact that their coffee machine uses BOXED coffee (coffee concentrate) to which hot water is added. I pointed out this grievous offense to common dignity to the manager of the SLC Hampton, and he looked deeply shocked and promised me that all their coffee was freshly brewed. Hampton is still on our approved list, but we need to inspect the coffee machine before checking in.
We opted to take the dreaded interstate to get out of town quickly, taking us to US 6 which goes all the way into Green River. Once on 6, the scenery improved immensely. We got way up into the mountains, cresting out at 7477 feet above sea level. There was a lot of traffic on the road, and we ended up doing a lot of passing today.
US 6, up into the mountains
Yup, they're 6 feet away
I actually prefer two-lane traffic to interstates, because people seem to be paying more attention. There are times when the oncoming traffic can be intimidating, especially when there is a combination of motor homes and tractor-trailers coupled with a cross-wind, as evidenced by this image.
Tonight the rest of the Jerks arrive from SLC where they converge at the airport. Mark and I took the best of the rooms reserved by Jerkmaster Jim at the Motel 6, since they won't arrive for another couple of hours. When we checked in we were informed that 60 rooms have been occupied by a film crew working on a "sci-fi comedy thriller starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and some bad guy", and we were very lucky to get a room.
Tonight at 8pm we learn how to behave on a raft, and tomorrow at 7am we take off for the departure point. I'm fairly certain that I will not be able to find dialtone to do postings over the weekend, so it will be early next week before the round of journals covering the JerkFest hit the 'net. I am planning to take the laptop and the digital camera along, and the opinions seem to be unanimously agreeing that I am insane for doing this. You, on the other hand, are probably cheering me along. So, faithful reader, you win. I have waterproof bags for the electronics and a spare laptop battery, so I will try to write the day's events as we sit around at night. Or maybe not, if there's enough beer. Regardless, the computer will be along for the ride.
Some housekeeping items - thanks to Charlie Derk who identified the Slow Moving Vehicle as a fertilizing vehicle, with the extension arms tucked in "like an F-18", in Charlie's words (he's a pilot).
If you'd like to spoil the fantasy and see what this bunch of Jerks look like, here are the official portraits from the 1997 Jerkfest on Lake Michigan, taken by Mark.
Today's gratuitous photo, offered without comment:
Until the next time I find dialtone,