Author Topic: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding  (Read 2743 times)

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Offline scottskaja

WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« on: August 12, 2013, 08:35:40 am »
Credit Card touring the WE from Bryce UT to Pueblo CO this year. Looking at the AC maps, I'm scratching my head over the ride from Hanksville UT to Blanding UT, and could use some input from those of you who have experienced this area.

Option #1 is that I can do it in a one-day straight shot of 126 miles, but it would be a one-day straight shot of 126 miles... with no services :(

Option #2 is to do two days with an overnight stop at Defiance House in Bullfrog Marina. The downside to this routing is that due to the schedule of the ferry that crosses the Lake Powell, I wouldn't be able to start a century day until 11am, putting me in the dark riding into Blanding.


Offline aggie

Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 10:37:54 am »
There is a possible place to stay at Hite.  I don't think it has restaurant but there are supposed to be family units available for rent so you won't have to camp.  There is supposed to be a store so you may be able to find some food you can prepare in the unit.  Check out this website for the family units in Hite:

Offline BikeFreak

Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 01:11:38 pm »
There is a  grocery store at Hite which is open 8am-5pm. So there ARE services. When I passed through, I camped at the campground (the worst campground experience in my life). I was also looking for the motel (because it was listed on the ACA maps) but could not isolate anything. There were a bunch of houses on the left hand side before entering the park area where you have to pay a fee. But the place was sort of completely deserted - it was a very strange feeling.

If you are a strong rider, and don't carry a lot of equipment, you should be able to do the entire 126 mi in one day. Just start out as soon as the sun gets up or maybe 1-2 hours before using lights. The route itself is not very demanding - fairly straight and no steep hills. Well, towards Blanding there are some small, steep arroyos.

Very annoyingly, the grocery store at Hite is some mi off the main route. So fueling up will add approx 5 mi to your 126 mi.


Offline zzzz

Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 10:03:05 pm »
I got a little deja vu reading this post. Someone else asked almost this same question in the spring and I think the same 3 folks are writing their replies.

I was also CC touring last September and came thru there. Hite was closed so I spent the night at Bullfrog, took the first (10:00) ferry out and started riding at 10:30. The first 65 miles is 95% uphill (mild, but still...), and I was facing a big headwind and it was 90°± temps from the start. It was the toughest day I ever spent on a bike and the slowest average speed for a day on the trip. My Garmin says it was 90 miles (google earth called it 95) and it was No-Mans land the entire time.  I ended up doing 3 days of over 120 miles on my trip and none of those was close to this difficult.

Of course the temps and the wind are the luck of the draw, but make sure you're in shape because you may need every bit of fitness you have. Did I mention to carry plenty of water?
I did get to Blanding before dark but not by a lot. And it's not all doom & gloom...Comb Ridge,  which you will climb after you drop down into Comb Wash was about as cool a sight I saw from the road on the entire trip. There's also something about completing a really tough day that is uniquely satisfying.


Offline scottskaja

Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 02:21:59 pm »

You mentioned this leg was your lowest average speed, do you recall what that number was? Last year I went from SF to Bryce with an overall speed of 9.3 mph (including stops). My toughest day last year was the 13 hours of climbing the Sierra Mountains, getting into Kirkwood just after sunset.

Also, do you recall what time you got into Blanding (aka... what time is sunset in early September in SE Utah)?


Offline zzzz

Re: WE Advice - Hanksville to Blanding
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 10:33:42 pm »
Hi Scott:

I started the ride @ 10:27 & I rolled into Blanding right at sunset which is @ 7:36 on Sept.9, so around 9 mph for the day. If I recall, I stopped 3 times during the day to eat & refill my water bottles from the water I was carrying. My average speed for the day while riding was 11.6 and actual riding time was 7:45.

I was thinking about my last post and I should have added some items:

1) The thing that made my day so hard was the wind. For all I know I may have hit one of the very few days a year it's coming from the east. If the wind had been coming out of the west, it just would have been another long day on the bike. You can check what the weather is doing in Hanksville and decide on whether you want to go with a Plan B or a Plan C.

2) Plan B can be to go north from Hanksville up to Green River and then over to 191, go thru Moab, and then get back on course @ Monticello. I thought about this but ultimately decided against it because I was going to lose a day and I didn't have one to spare.

3) Plan C will require some checking on your part to see if it's feasible.  I believe there is camping on the far side of the lake (this needs to be verified!). I know you're CC touring but I hope you are at least taking along one of those SOL Escape Bivvys with you. Hanksville to Bullfrog is a relatively short day (66 miles). If you check the weather and it looks like the wind is going to be up and out of the east, you leave Hanksville early in the morning, there is a store shortly before you enter the park, stop and get a dinner, breakfast and lunch for the next day as well as a couple of gallons of water and take the last ferry of the day across and spend the night at the campground. I realize what I'm suggesting isn't very appealing but you can get a early start, beat a lot of the heat, and get into Blanding at 4 or 5 and not be spending all day worrying about making it before sunset.

BTW: this is a really cool web site that shows you what the wind is doing anywhere in the US at any given time:

FWIW: The wind in that area of Utah is currently dead.

Good luck with your trip,