NoI Not again. A mountain was closed to begin my journey. Then an entire state. Down the east coast: closed. Even when I found things open in Virginia and Kentucky, they was closed the day I was there. Broadway, Beale and Bourbon Streets were mostly closed. Here, I drove an hour back the way I came to find something in the guide book: Fifth Water Hot Springs.

Call me Griswald. Chris Griswald. I was going in. And I’m glad I did. It’s in the guidebook of places to stop if you are going from Salt Lake City to Moab. It has to do with what Irene said going 15 minutes away from a city to find a valley. Now maybe the middle of the summer is not the best time to visit hot springs (unless you are in Iceland), but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to walk around the gates and signs after driving through that mess of a highway again. The drunken Scottish guy that invented golf and set out the markers for the Arches National Park Trail? He was in charge of marking the lanes for the road construction on Route 15.

They say the trail is moderately strenuous, about 4 1/2 miles round trip. It sits about 9 nine miles off the highway (I saw cows again!).

I can just imagine coming here in colder weather. As hot is was, I jumped in anyway. It was beautiful, with the warm to hot waters oddly refreshing in the heat. It’s a just a little piece of extraordinary amid the ordinary.

The return strip was less strenuous and the knee is only aching a little bit.

The day started off with learning a few things about bull riding. It’s funny what you learn when you talk to people. A guy was asking me outside about the electric scooters that are seeming to dot a lot of the cities I pas through. I explained and then asked him what he was doing in town. He was from a small town in California and was here for a bull riding competition.

It just always looked to me like a person hanging on for dear life and being whipped around like a rag doll. It turns out, that is the way it is supposed to look. The rules are pretty simple. You hold onto the bull with one hand and can’t touch the bull or your body with the other hand. It becomes a counter weight. A bull rider has to guess what the bull is going to do and react instinctively. Each move is in counter to the bull’s movements.

“You always keep your eyes on the bull’s shoulders,” the guy said. “Where your eyes go, you will follow. So if the bull is getting close to the fence, and you get nervous and look at the fence, you’re going to end up on the fence.”

That’s a life lesson right there. Ignoring “Closed!” signs not so much.

But I’m about to go out for dinner and call it a day. I haven’t been sleeping too well and have a long drive tomorrow through a lot of desert. Salt Lake City is an interesting place. As much as I think the road crews really screwed up the job marking the new lanes for construction, the thing that jumps out at me about the highway is it moves fast and smooth. The streets in downtown are really wide. It is just so much more open than back east. I wonder if that has something to do with being settled later and having the room to build right at first instead of trying to fit more roadway into an existing plan?

There is a lot more to do and see around here. The great outdoors in all four seasons and just a short drive away, from spelunking to skiing–I wouldn’t recommend the two together. I’d love to visit in the fall or winter. Or even another summer. I wouldn’t mind heading out to the Great Salt Lake again and going for a swim and seeing if I can find those antelope.

People ask me what place I have liked the most. I’m just enjoying the ride, keeping my eyes on the bull’s shoulders.


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