The day starts in the middle of the night. Around 1AM horse neighing very close by. It's dark but about 20m from my tent I see the black siluetes of a few horses in front of the bright star sky. I've been hoping for this before I slept in last night. Finally I can see them close by [or at least their siluetes]. It's a magical moment.
Unfortunately I am again too hectic while opening my tent. Thunder-like hammering of hooves into the ground and I am left in a dust cloud within seconds. Off they went. With hopes to wake up with a herd of horses peacefully grasing around my tent I fall asleep again.
When I wake up after another frosty night [tent looks like a chrystal palace inside again] same procedure. Horse neighing close by. It's behind me so I cannot see anything. Opening the tent, off they went... what a bummer. Still a rather exciting start into the day.
Today my little off-road retreat will end. 40km off-road left to Wendover and from there I hope to make some decent, paved progress towards Salt Lake City. Tomorrow I want to be there.
After ten more kilometers along the edge of the valley I turn towards Morgan Pass to cross the Goshute Mountains. With 2200m it will be actually my highest pass so far but I am also starting 1750m [5km up, 450m of elevation gain, most of it in the last 2km]. The road again no road, more like a rocky hiking trail. Long story short: the first 3km are fine, the remaining... Lots of pushing, lots of screaming, lots of swearing.
The fact that I am pushing up this hill topless in the hot sun while I was sitting in my tent at -10 degrees with all my clothes on two hours ago gives me some pleasure.
On top of the pass an amazing scenery, also a very different one. The Goshute Mountains have rough red rock from this side, small pine trees instead of bushes, in the distance the white salt flats of the Great Salt Lake Desert.
After looking back a last time and a gratitude note to the valley that provided me with a great adventure the last days I am starting the 1000m elevation downhill towards the salt flats. The road is still not a road... Long story short: Lots of sliding, lots of walking, lots of screaming... I even take a fall. Well, actually Klaus takes a fall. I don't know how but I am able to jump over the handlebars and run it off without falling. [Klaus is fine, too].
The scenery remains great and I take the slow going downhill as an opportunity to stop a lot and enjoy the landscape. Occasionally I hear the neighing again but the horses seem to hide well between the trees. I see some nice Eagles up in the mountains and some Coyotes instead [if anybody is wondering: Coyotes have roughly the size of a wolf but have the character of a fox in my opinion - very curious but incredibly shy].
I arrive in Wendover [last town in Nevada, lots of Casinos] much later than expected after 5 hours and just 40km done. It's 230km from here to Salt Lake City. To not repeat my Thanksgiving challenge the break is held short. Fastfood and lots and lots of drinking [I accidentally drank most of my water half asleep last night]. I leave the town around 4PM and ride through a breath taking sunset into the night and into the salt flats. Again mind boggling: from the place I pitch my tent I can still see Wendover. It looks like a short 30 minutes of pedaling away. In fact I rode 3 hours and 70km from Wendover to where I am now.