After pushing Teeder through the snow for four hours, I vowed not to make the same mistake twice. A few days later, the route was to go higher in elevation, farther north, and stay there for much longer. Time to improvise.
Instead, I stayed in a valley, on paved roads. Within three days, I could be back on the intended route without hitting any snow. Anna Lee, a WarmShowers host I'd have a few days later, was instrumental in figuring out which roads were navigable and in coming up with a Plan B.
After a relatively short day, I arrived in Fairview. I could've easily kept going, but Fairview was the northernmost city in the valley. There would be no lodging options past here, and now on paved roads surrounded by private land, pulling over and camping wasn't an option.
Through an unexpected chain of events, I wound up getting help from a guy who ran an auto shop. More specifically, he found a customer that was willing to take me in. Ken was at least 80, about my height, and probably 20 pounds lighter. He had sciatic nerves, asked the same question twice sometimes, and probably didn't hear well. He still shoots his bow and spends a lot of time in his workshop.
After I followed him to his house, we sat on his porch swing. He mostly talked and I mostly listened. Ken was originally from Montana, but has been to every state. "Except Alaska and Hawaii," he added much later. "But I'll never go there. I have no desire to see the ocean again.
"I've been everywhere, and this is the best cotton-pickin' place there is." He paused, then gestured. It was a perfect day. Sunny and warm, but not too warm for jeans if you wanted to wear them. There was a light breeze rustling through the trees. For Utah, the valley was notably verdant, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. "How do you beat that?" He paused again. "It's peaceful here. And the people, good folks here. Lots of religious people here. Lots of Mormons here."
Ken showed me around the place, including his basement with a DIY archery range, a dozen drums of fresh water, and in his words, "Enough canned food to feed the town for a week. Maybe more." Ken didn't seem like a paranoid survivalist, but it raised my curiosity.
Eventually, Ken went to work in his shop, insisting my help wasn't necessary. I finished my book, "The Alchemist". Good book, especially the first half, but the last 30% or so had its philosophy going over the top, according to me. Someone else might enjoy it even more than I did.
from Wild West