Slabbing

If you hit the overpass crossing of Twenty-first South at I-15 early in the morning you’ll come across a heavenly smell of baking bread, but only on a motorcycle. Spanish Fork’s Canyon winds will try to tip you to the west and the current’s even more fierce at Nephi.

UDOT’s finally smoothed out that bucking patch just north of Scipio – it was enough to stand you up on your pegs – and the lane additions on the south side of the Toquerville exit are taking forever.

“Slabbing” is a term used by motorcycle adventurers and overlanders alike to describe the least preferred method of getting from A to B. Pavement, traffic and cages are the slabs’ common denominators which everyone who considers the journey the destination wants to avoid. Any other path between my home in Bountiful and my office in St. George adds hours on to the already bum-numbing 4.5 hours in the saddle, so unless I’ve made room in an adjacent day, I’m rolling on the asphalt and grooved concrete of Interstate 15. I’ve covered other routes on this blog, from Highway 89 to Highway 36, the Cottonwood Road to Skutumpah, Shafer Trail to the Burr Trail, and I-15 seems to be the price paid for these remarkable detours to work.

I-15But I still love it – the road more so than the trip. On my way south I usually get ahead of the rush hour traffic at 0600 through Salt Lake City, staying in the diamond lane past the Point where I drop into Happy Valley. The diamond lane turns treacherous from Lehi to American Fork and it’s best to pick a middle lane until that construction mess gets completed. Past Payson, though, where the State of Utah deems it okay to limit your speed at 80 miles per hour, the slab picks up and winds through six thousand foot passes and stretches of valleys that certainly got too many hopes up for anyone making the trek to the Spanish Trail.

Coming home, especially late Fall and early Spring, sunsets explode the majesty of the Uintahs, Timpanogos especially and despite the valleys’ malignant air conditioning, I’m always glad to be home.

 

My last commute yielded an overnight camp in one of my favorite spots along the edge of the Colorado Plateau, and I’m being vague for a reason.

 

The view forces my diligence at grading and prepping for the next day’s discussions. I need only look away for moments to wonder what I have missed. It’s so quiet my ears ramp up their signal to noise ratio and the color saturates my optic nerves in ways I could never capture digitally.

But, that doesn’t keep me from trying.

CanyonCampEstSunset

It’s the journey and the destination. Interstate 15 always holds that promise.

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