The Great Salt Lake and nervous cows
The saying goes that you should "take only photographs and leave only footprints". I left a little more than footprints the next morning as I needed the toilet. The emergency toilet paper from my sister proved useful. I made sure to bury everything.
I set off from the ghost town of Kelton along the old railroad grade again. Once again the horizon was much further than it seemed. I reached the corner of a range of hills by about 11am and had second breakfast and "saw the elephant".
A little further along was an outcrop that went into the Great Salt Lake. Well, it would have done if there was any water in it. It was obviously a place where people brought their 4x4s to camp and drive around on the salt flats firing their guns at things.
I left my bike on the "shore" and clambered up to the top to take in the view. In the distance it looked like there may be water but it could have been a mirage. I'm amazed to see occasional bursts of colour in the desert and there were some purple flowers near the top of this outcrop.
Back on the road I had fairly loose gravel and rocks. This is fine when it doesn't get to a centimetre or so of thickness as then steering becomes next to impossible.
At Salt Wells there was a lovely causeway road across a beautiful wetland. On the other side I hit a gravel hill and didn't have the energy to pedal so had to push my bike up.
At this point I became aware of a herd of cows. Most were on one side of the road and were edging towards me. I wasn't sure how agressive American cows would be so I stopped. Their shiftiness turned out to be because I'd inadvertently separated a calf from the herd. I was offended that they mistook me for a cougar or other predator so yelled at them that I was a human and waved the calf across the road. It finally took heed of my wild gesticulations and the herd retreated. I carried on only to have repeat performances three more times with herds ahead.
I was very happy to cross a cattle grid and be finished with the nervous cows but then I heard a strange mooing sound. There were no cows though. Was I imagining it? Over the top of the hill I had a nice freewheeling section but it became clear the mooing was from my bike. Approaching a farm I had more uphill and I realised the sound was from my pannier rack. The left side bracked had sheared the bolt off with all the vibration of the last few days and it was rubbing on my tyre. I took the Ikea bag off and put it on my back. I braced the Ortleib bags and rack with the bunjees and continued. Pushing a bike is so much more thirsty work than riding and I was going through my water faster than the day before. Over the top of the hill I had a welcome freewheel down to paved road about a mile from the famous Golden Spike.