The highway merged with US-6 in Spanish Fork Canyon, along the mainline of the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, and a place I spend many hours watching trains. Unfortunately I didn’t see any as I dropped down the canyon and into the valley of Utah Lake. The road turned North along the foothills of the Wasatch, and through Spanish Fork where I stopped for a bite to eat at a hot-dog place that was once part of an old motel (with the cabins now made into very small apartments.) Here again, a sign one was on the old road.
I went through Provo where I attended college, and up through Orem and the other towns in Utah Valley. This place has changed tremendously, and there were few signs of the old road anywhere. The highway ended at the North end of the valley and became I-15, but I wanted to take the frontage road since it was the older road. Sometimes finding the old road isn’t worth it – this was one of those times. It was hot, dusty and full of cement trucks going from a sand pit. I went around point of the mountain and saw the Salt Lake Valley – my hometown – for the first time on this trip. The road dropped down into the valley and promptly ended. I had forgotten that even in my youth the road became part of I-15, with it’s own “exit” just up the way. I got lost in the maze of big-box stores in Draper and decided to just hit the freeway. As I did so I remembered the exit for US-89, but it too was gone, so I had to go a bit up the freeway before exiting and heading over to State Street and picking up the old road.
I could drive State Street in my mind and not miss a beat. Sure some things have changed, but a lot hasn’t. I rolled up through Sandy and Midvale and Murray – past the old radio station I worked for that had it’s studios in an old drug store and us DJ’s sat right there at the old soda counter spinning records for all the world to see. I turned right at 45th South and headed to where my Mom and Ron now live. It’s not the house I grew up in, but it’s the closest thing to home in my hometown. It sure felt good to get off the bike and cool off. Mom wouldn’t hug me until I showered off the road grime, so I did and I got my hug.
It’s good to be home for a day and rest.