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S24O to Antelope Island State Park, Utah

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S24O to Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Old 07-12-21, 09:06 PM
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Smokinapankake
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S24O to Antelope Island State Park, Utah

So I’d been wanting to get into bike touring for many years but always found an excuse not to, usually playing up the “victim” aspect of it - not enough time off, equipment is too expensive, bike is the wrong kind, ad nauseum. But I stumbled on the bike overnights website and a whole new world of possibilities opened up to me. So I started tentatively doing short, quick, and dirty overnighters around home. I live in North Ogden Utah, so there are plenty of places to go. This will be a short journal of my haps and mishaps on my S24O to Antelope Island state park, the longest (mileage wise) trip I’ve taken yet. Updates and pics to come shortly…
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Old 07-13-21, 08:15 PM
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The plan was simple: take the Denver & Rio Grande Western rail trail from Roy south until I intersected Antelope Drive in Layton. Then West on Antelope Drive until I hit Antelope Island, then from there a few miles to the campground. Sorry I don’t have a nice map graphic to add… I figured it would be about 30 miles one way; I commute sporadically 35 miles so I didn’t think it would be too bad.

My wife dropped me off at the trailhead about 2:30 or so and off I went. As you go south on the rail trail you are forced to cross many busy streets but thoughtfully at each crossing there are warning lights you can turn on to alert motorists to your presence. These made short work of the crossings except at one point a road crew was doing some asphalt repair on the trail. This forced me to go through a gravel section to detour around it, filling my tires with goathead thorns. I stopped immediately and brushed them off as well as possible, then continued on my way vowing to watch the tires.
About a half hour later the tires were miraculously still holding air so I figured I cheated fate that time.
Unfortunately, there is not a grade crossing at Antelope Drive; rather Antelope is on a tall viaduct over the trail and some parallel RR tracks. You go under the viaduct, then backtrack through a neighborhood to the intersection where you can then turn west onto Antelope Drive. Fortunately I hadn’t gone too far past the neighborhood before realizing my mistake. But on approaching the intersection I noticed my rear tire getting soft. No worries I thought: I’ve got a CO2 canister and some patches. Little did I realize my canister was good for one fill up! This is where fate got back her due and maybe some more.
I realized I needed a pump to actually find the hole, patch it, and refill it. More than what one CO2 canister was good for. Being in the middle of Layton, on the busiest street in town, I figured there ought to be a bike shop reasonably near by. Google confirmed my hunch, and off I went trying to outpace my diminishing tire. At one point, while consulting my phone for directions, I dropped my drivers license and Discover card. But I got to the shop before they closed, and only then realized my credit card and DL were missing. A quick fill up with their pump and retrace of my steps found both items by the side of the road unharmed. Phew! Now back to the shop to get this tire fixed and pick up a pump while I’m there.
By this time I was a little frazzled but eager to get on my way.
About 6 pm I got back on Antelope Drive westbound. The Island is accessed via an 8 mile long causeway, after paying your park entrance fee back on the “mainland”. I queued up at the station behind a minivan full of bored looking kids. The attendant gave a sidelong glance at my bike but let me through anyway.


At the beginning of the causeway

The causeway is deceptively long. I think it took about a week to get to Antelope Island. Long, flat, and swarming with brine flies, I couldn’t get off it soon enough…
I saw lots of bikes, but they were all headed the opposite direction and going much faster than I was.

The signage on Antelope Island leaves a bit to be desired. Yes, it does announce your arrival:


The sign pointing to the campgrounds has you huffing up a long hill and around a 5 mile loop:


Had I taken a right, instead of going up this long hill, I would have come to my campground in about a mile and a half. Oh well. I stayed at Ladyfinger #4, probably the best site there:




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Old 07-13-21, 08:31 PM
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The campground was empty until about 10 pm when a young couple occupied the site next to me. Between his incessant yapping and the F-35 jets from Hill Air Force Base flying over every half hour, I didn’t get much sleep. But I had the promised of an outdoor shower in the morning to look forward to.

Smoky sunrise - lots of wildfires in 2020

After breakfast and a surprisingly warm outdoor shower, it was time to pack up and make my way home. My knee was still sore from yesterday’s exertions, so my visit to the visitors center was short.
The day turned out to be quite beautiful and the return trip was uneventful. No tire trouble, no lost credit cards, no backtracking to get enroute. Lunch was a delicious PB&J and some left over jelly beans while in the rail trail:




I was very happy to take a nap in the shady grass at the trailhead where my wife dropped me off while I waited for her to come pick me up.



All told I think I rode about 70 miles over the two days. It was interesting to see the bison on Antelope Island, but I didn’t want to get too close for pictures. I’m kind of wary of large 4 legged animals…
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Old 07-13-21, 08:40 PM
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Equipment I used if anybody is interested:

2008 Trek 7300 hybrid
low rider front rack, Bontrager Deluxe rear rack.
Overland Equipment front Panniers, thrift store find REI rear panniers.
Cheap mummy style sleeping bag rated to 35 deg.
cheap 2 man tent given to me from my father in law
cheap sleeping pad from Amazon
cheap white gas stove from Amazon

I’m probably into my bike $200 (bought used from a local seller); the rest of my equipment probably totals another $200 maybe.

The bike fits and is comfortable; in fact it’s my favorite bike by far. The rest of the gear is cheap enough that I don’t really care if it gets beat up.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 07-13-21, 11:27 PM
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very nice pics and write-up. glad you took the plunge. never been able to do more than the multiple day-rides from a hotel/motel setup personally.
your write-up will help someone else out there...statistically someone lurking vs a bf member but it's a (good) karma thing.
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Old 07-14-21, 10:50 PM
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The causeway from the Island. It looks like you had a good time in spite of a few " adventures" . Warning: bike touring is addictive!!

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Old 07-15-21, 05:29 AM
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I had to look up brine flies.
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Old 07-15-21, 10:09 AM
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Yes, it was a blast. The bugs were so heavy at about 11 pm they were literally swarming my tent trying to get in. I could hear them banging against the rainfly, almost sounded like it was raining. Then, about 1 am I got up to pee and it was dead silent. I guess all the bugs went to bed....
I think I'll plan another trip to Antelope Island this September. Get some pics of some buffalo this time. They are rather docile I guess, but I'm still intimidated by them....
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Old 07-15-21, 12:37 PM
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Don’t walk/ride straight towards them. I’ve ridden by them while they were longing at the edge of the opposite lane in SD. Same in Yellowstone, where they are the No. 1 cause of animal injury and death. Didn’t have a choice. But one was crossing the road in SD. I stoped and waited far back till he was a safe distance off the road.

And never get close if they are with calves, which should not be a problem in September. Like many animals, they are fiercely defensive of their young and can get up to speed quickly.

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Old 07-15-21, 01:16 PM
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Yes. There are warning signs all over the island, yet somehow, people still get gored every year by them. Hence my apprehension. Across the road is still closer than I'd like to get.
*At first I thought you were talking about not riding straight towards the brine flies. I thought "Why? They just get crushed". I'm kinda slow sometimes, and not just on the bike!
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Old 07-16-21, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Smokinapankake View Post
Yes. There are warning signs all over the island, yet somehow, people still get gored every year by them. Hence my apprehension. Across the road is still closer than I'd like to get.
*At first I thought you were talking about not riding straight towards the brine flies. I thought "Why? They just get crushed". I'm kinda slow sometimes, and not just on the bike!
From my 2015 ride in the Black Hills area.




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Old 07-17-21, 05:01 AM
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Goatheads and brine flies, I know them well. Glad you had a good trip despite the local irratants. Nice sunset camp picture
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Old 07-19-21, 05:16 AM
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Sounds like you had a good time. I enjoyed the pictures, thanks for sharing.

S24O tours don't appeal to me personally, but it was interesting to read about this one. It is an area I am not very familiar with (my only time in Utah was mountain biking around Moab), so the Great Salt Lake is an unknown area to me.
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