Tues, May 27th: Rather than going to see the
arches in the famous park here in Moab, some riders showed us another place to visit with
far less tourists and beautiful views Dead Horse Point state Park, just southwest
of town, on the edge of Canyonlands National Park. This is the area where the movie Thelma
& Louis was filmed kinda cool! We followed the Colorado River down below the
DHP lookout, past the salt lake farm, and up the Shafer Trail into Canyonlands NP. The
steep and rocky climb zigzagged up to yet another breathless overview. When we got to the
top, we sat on the edge and just stared out at the Canyonlands life just
doesnt get much than this
Weds, May 28th: Happy 65th Birthday Gabi (Chris mom). After
getting some tires ordered on-line (to be delivered to Las Vegas), we departed Moab and
rode to the Dixie National Forest. As we climbed to 8,000', the climate cooled with
the forest, and we decided to stop and make camp at the small-ish Single Tree campground.
There was plenty of wood to gather for fire, great trees for the hammocks, lots of
shade, a fire pit and a raised BBQ, nice picnic tables, and new flush toilets -- yeah,
it's the little things. We were only going to spend the night, but the hosts were so
friendly, and everything just felt good. The next day we would take the panniers off
and go explore some of the dirt roads -- funny, the bikes were almost harder to ride as
they rose up much taller, without the extra weight of our gear J
In the afternoon we checked out the various camper-rigs, wondering if the owners had
"size envy". Although it was a small campground, there happened to be one
of everything: VW camper; a pickup/camper; a pop-up trailer; an air-stream trailer;
a 5th wheel caravan; Winnibegos; and the big new buses, complete with satellite
navigation, large TV, washer/drier, and towing a color-matched jeep! We spoke to
several owners, and each preferred their size, as fuel costs and accessibility to less
traveled routes are better with the smaller rigs. We're still happy with our
tent/thermarests, but a double cooker would be nice.
The camp hosts Randy and Karen were really nice to us, and brought us 3 trout they
caught the day before, which we grilled on the wood coals for dinner yum!
Fri, May 30th: On the way to Bryce Canyon NP, Erin's odometer flipped
100,000 miles -- kinda cool, eh?! We've now traveled 93,250 miles on this journey.
Once we got to the park we quickly found a spot in the campground. We filled out
our permit form, and paid our $10 for the campsite. There were a few more people here, but
we had great "neighbors", and good trees for hanging our hammocks. What makes
Bryce so special are the numerous Hoodoos - intricate rock pinnacles formed by
weathering and erosion. We spent 2 days checking out the views from the various overlooks,
the colors changing with the lighting. On Saturday, we spent a few hours in the tent
listening to the rain beating down under the passing Monsoon. Later, the sky cleared and
the views were spectacular! In the evening, we had a BBQ dinner with Andy and Gabi, a
Swiss couple travelling the southwest on 2 bikes.
Sun, June 1st: After rising early and getting our gear packed, we left Bryce
and headed down to our last canyon in the area Zion National Park. The temps rose
as we descended from 7,000 down to 5,000 at the parks eastern entrance.
We then descended through a cool 1-mile long tunnel that was cut into the mountain back in
the 1930s. At its western end, the road zigzags further down to the visitors
center and campground, at about 4,000. There were plenty of sites in the first-come
first-serve campground, but finding shade in the 100F heat was a bit of a challenge. After
making brunch (eggs, cheese, salami, onions, peppers), we went into the nearby stream for
a soak in the frigid water. Later in the afternoon, we walked over to the visitors
center and caught the shuttle bus further into the park/canyon. It used to be you could
drive up the road, but in an effort to cut down on traffic, no private vehicles are
allowed into the canyon. They are trying to do the same at the Grand Canyon too, but the
project has been on hold for awhile. We walked into the Narrows, a narrow section reached
by walking up the middle of the river to where the canyon walls are only 20' apart.