Thought I’d shake things up a bit and take the western route on this commute – St. George, Enterprise, Milford, Delta, Tooele and Salt Lake. Google says a little more than six and a half hours. My watch put us at nine, having stopped to shoot and rest a number of times.
And that is very uncharacteristic for me. I’m genetically predisposed to get there. Period. Motorcycling forces me in to and out of my seat and that’s a good thing, a rose-smelling thing, except on this trip, my initial stop was to smell the smoke.
The Pine Valley fire burnt on as I made my way up Highway 18. It has threatened residents, but as of this writing, evacuations are still voluntary.
Riding on past Central I came to hallowed ground, the Mountain Meadows. One hundred twenty one children, women and men perished here at the hands of Mormon settlers in 1857. On the 11th of September, no less. It’s a complicated story, one I tried to capture in a documentary I produced several years ago. Take an hour and watch. There are lessons in this story that still need to be learned.
Several changes since I’ve been here before. It’s been a few years. The most obvious is the Arkansas flag that flies beneath the Stars and Stripes. Another is a pathway that leads to another memorial at the siege site. I didn’t have it in me to follow it.
The cairn remains the same, though there’s now a plaque declaring the site a national historic landmark.
This makes this spot a part of the NPS system. I’m not sure that wrests the monument from the stewardship of the LDS Church, though I hope it does.
It was here where it hit me, hard; we are dealing with a new massacre, though this one is executed one at a time. And like the Mountain Meadow Massacre, this tragedy will go on unrecognized by the brethren, for to do so would induce some level of culpability. And that’s a dying shame.
Researching, writing and producing the documentary changed my life, making me acutely aware of systematic romancing of LDS history.
From the Meadows, 18 to Enterprise and Beryl Junction, then 56 to Cedar City I-15 to Enoch, and then 130 and 129 to Milford. On the way the heat shield on my exhaust pipe flew off the KLR. I was fortunate enough to retrieve it and rethink lock washers.
Milford looks as if it were cut from the Sierra foothills, a railroad town in its post-mining phase of energy production.
There’s still the patina of old Milford, but not far outside of town are acres of solar and wind turbine energy production.
There are windmills and solar panels in the above pic. Rarely do I have the right focal length attached to my XM-1 and there’s a point reached in riding where I’m too lazy to get off the bike to swap out lenses. I decided to shoot nothing but primes a while ago, and while the exposure range is wonderful, a fast zoom would come in handy.
And on this road, so would the accoutrements of a coupe. Or an F-250. I came close enough to hitting a kamikaze deer that I could have slapped it on its rear-end as I dodged at 80 MPH.
Six out of Delta to 36, and things improve, a little cooler, curvier.
From Stockton 36 pops over a ridge treating travelers to a view of the Great Salt Lake. I stopped in Tooele at a Starbucks for a frapathinger and then on to the North Temple frontage road at Salt Air that brought me home.
This ride is 360 miles, mostly above 90 degrees with breaks in the heat at 7000 ft. summits.