A Saturday in the Saddle and Lunch at the Home Plate

We were on the road by 10:30 am headed south along the west side of Utah Lake. We like avoiding the freeway when we can and have found this “relatively untraveled” road to be a good diversion from pounding out miles on the Interstate. One of the things I enjoy about riding is that it’s a lot less about the destination than it is the journey—which is why I often prefer to take the long way to get places.

The goal was lunch at the Home Plate in Fairview (one of my favorite places to stop on the road). Kelly and I decided to take the back way to Nephi through Mona Canyon. It was a great morning, but the clouds started to get serious and it smelt like showers were on the way as we left Nephi headed for Moroni, Mt. Pleasant, and Fairview.

The temperature dropped as we climbed the little pass and dropped down into Moroni—but we’ve been colder riding through here in February or March before. We did run into some rain a couple of times before we made it to our lunch stop. It never really got too serious about raining on our parade, it seemed more interested in getting the bikes dirty.

I’m a big fan of Highway 89 and enjoy any opportunity to spend time on that highway (even if it’s just from Mt. Pleasant to the Thistle Junction). When you think of the famous roads like Route 66, Highway 1 down the west coast, or Highway 50 (the first transcontinental highway), it’s not uncommon for 69 to get left out. In the old days it was often referred to as the National Parks Highway because of it’s close proximity to the Grand Canyon, Zions, Bryce, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks.

Although Highway 89 now officially goes from the Canadian border near Glacier National Park and terminates in Flagstaff, AZ, there was a time when it went all the way to Nogales—basically Mexico to Canada.

A couple of years ago, on a tour to the Grand Canyon, I’d completed a goal to ride from the top of Utah to the bottom on 89. The section from Panguich to Kanab is a beautiful stretch of highway—89 is well worth abandoning the Interstate and slowing down to enjoy the road less traveled (even if you don’t jump off at Bryce, Cedar Breaks, or Zions).

After a nice lunch, we climbed back on the bikes for the ride home. The temps gradually started to increase as we wound our way to Thistle following what turned out to be an ancient Native American route that joins with Spanish Fork Canyon and beyond.

We were obviously back with the hustle and bustle of Saturday afternoon traffic as we climbed on I-15 for the rest of the way home. We jumped off the freeway at Point of the Mountain and went through Draper the rest of the way home.

All told, we spent a good 4-1/2 to 5 hours tooling around Utah. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Where did you ride?