What was odd was that the checkpoint was at a fork in the road. The map in the checkpoint didn’t show any sort of fork. I realized I had gone way too far south. I also realized I didn’t have enough fuel to get to any gas station, so my objective became to get somewhere I would find other people. The fork off to the right curved north and went up through the canyon. It looked like the best way of making progress in the right direction.
I went up a few miles and the trail vaporized into a riverbed. I went up and down the riverbed in both directions looking for where the trail crossed. There were several feeding rivers that might have been covering the tracks, so I went up a couple. No luck, the trail was gone. The tank reserve went dry and I threw in the towel. Here:
I sat down and thought about my options. I opened up my bag and pulled out my spare gallon, good for 40-50 miles.
I rode back to the checkpoint and looked at the little map again. It showed 1063 meeting some sort of larger road at the very base of the canyon, but I was not confident in the map. I decided to ride 1 mile further down 1063 to see if I could spot another road. It wasn’t there. I turned around and went back to the checkpoint.
With 40 miles of range I had no choice but to go back the way I came. I was tired and sweaty, and frustrated.
For the next hour and half I fought may way back up the canyon through the rocks.
At the top I hit 1063. Hmmm. I thought I was on 1063.
I turned east, saw my motorcycle tracks and was relieved. A few miles further something didn’t seem right. I didn’t recognize the terrain. I parked and examined the motorcycle tracks on the ground – they were a different tread!
I pulled out my laptop and brought up Google Earth to see if I could spot anything helpful in low resolution. I noted the location of a mountain on the map and saw it off to the south. I realized that I needed to go the opposite way to get back to the Schoolhouse.
Ten miles later I was back at the schoolhouse with no more than 1 cup of gas in the tank. The nearest town was St. George, 57 miles north.
There were three hunting lodges nearby which I walked to. The first one had a locked gate. “Hello?!” “Anyone home?!” No answer.
The second I knocked on and walked around. Empty. There was an abandoned truck in the yard and there happened to be a cut up garden hose on the ground. For grins I checked the fuel tank – bone dry.
The third was also locked. “Hello?!” I hopped the fence to knock on the door. No one.
The sun was now gone. I walked back to the schoolhouse.
I had only seen one car in the morning, and no one since then. I had no idea how long it would be before someone might come by. I was prepared to be marooned for a couple days.
I found a ‘just in case’ food supply of expired canned food in a cabinet.
I cracked a beer, the only thing I’d had all day, and put on all my dry gear to prepare for the 30 degree night.
You’re probably jealous of my underwear pillow.
More to come . . . .