Nancy Cycles!

Nancy Cycles!
"You got to be careful if you don't know where you are going, because you might not get there." ... Yogi Berra

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Last Day -- Killer Hill!

Saturday 10/5/2013

Yet another Plan B took us to another part of the Park on State and County roads. Our leaders are working hard for us on this trip. They would have had some time off as they could direct us to be on our own wandering around Zion -- had it been open! Instead they had to scout out options for us and continually follow us as our support.

Today's option -- hmmmmmm. We drove to a spot to unload the bikes, and our leader Dan said we would ride a mere 6 miles up the "hill" to a turn around. Then down the hill and ride all the way back to our hotel. Sounds simple enough. And I guess it was pretty simple. BUT THE HILLS WERE MINI MOUNTAIN PASSES, and there were tons of them. Not everyone made it up and I was determined to keep going until I saw the whites of Dan's eyes. The first time I stopped was to breathe -- and had a hard time at that. The next two stops were to walk up hills. I do not recall the last time I needed to walk a hill -- today I walked two. Even Dan said he was gasping for breath (and he is in fantastic shape) and that these were KILLER HILLS even for him. He hadn't time to ride it prior to taking us on it -- only did it in a car, and we know how that is!

We start out with my bike having a flat tire -- at least it was on the front
Three chose to do a hike -- here is David and Jude -- I think they were the smart ones. (Peter is the other hiker but not in the photo)
Six of us start up this gentle grade as if we know what we are doing


I stopped once before the hills really started to try to capture the striations in the rock

After this photo I was becoming very miserable and grumpy! Going through my mind were thoughts like... I don't want to take one more photo; when we get to the top and someone says wasn't it worth it I will say NO; what are these guys thinking of -- we are ELDERS! I made it til I saw Dan who was now on this way down and said no need to go further even though George was up there -- either resting or waiting for an Aid Car, I thought -- I was within a mile but it was ALL THE WAY UP some more, and my legs and lungs could not be forced to go up there. Especially since Dan said -- turn around here.

Coming down was a screamer and Mary, the other of us who got as far as I did, does not like fast downhills so she opted to get into the van for that part. To me, that was the pay off for making it UP there.

Coming down I stopped for a photo


I reached the State Road and this is the scenery

Finally back at the hotel I dropped off the bike to be stripped of my gear (saddle & pedals), took my extraneous gear off the bike, and headed directly to the hot tub. Well -- after putting on my swim suit.

The hills directly across from our hotel

Then it was relaxing time, a little (very little) walk around, and preparation for dinner. After breakfast tomorrow we head for Cedar City our departure location. We are done.

These guys -- Dan, Steven, Kirk and Bill -- have been fantastic and have taken exceptional care of each and all of us. I hope to do another trip with them, but their trips are hard! I doubt I will do the Rolling the Rockies trip that has a mountain pass, but will consider Bikes and Brew out of Fort Collins, even if I don't drink. The riding will be good and I love these guys.

This will be the last post for this trip -- it has been a doozie!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Parks still closed ;'-(

Thursday and Friday 10/3 & 10/4/2013

I did not post on Thursday because there were no photos. We climbed 20 miles into a fierce headwind and each of us had our head down fighting into the wind. The other side of the hill we had climbed was downhill for 25 more miles and IT presented us with even stronger headwinds. A difficult day.

It was not the best of cyclilng for any of us. We were on a high speed highway, little shoulder, and sometimes NO shoulder, with rumble strips directly next to us, and high speed trucks, tractor trailers, RVs often pulling something behind them, and huge tour buses passing us. And they were all in a hurry and not liking us being in their road. They had a perfect right going the speed they were as this was a HIGHWAY -- HIGH SPEED HIGHWAY. A few of our riders got quite rattled with the conditions, but we all got in safely to Mt. Carmel Junction, our stop for the night.

In addtion, there was not much in scenery on this route. I was grateful for the challenge in miles and hills as a test of how I will do on my upcoming southern tier tour, but would not choose to do this route again.

The nice part about the day was a soothing hot tub, nice swimming pool, and a pitch & putt golf course for the duffer. The hot tub was a remedy for my sore and tired back.

Friday morning started out cold! 43 degrees cold. Though we would have a later start for this day the temps did not warm up much by our 10:00 departure.

Again, in the wisdom of our government, Zion National Park is closed. We rode to the entrance gate thinking we may be able to ride through the park (as long as we did not stop and look!) like the cars and motorcycles could do. But -- bikes were not allowed today as they always are at any other time.


Our first and only look at the beginning of Zion by bike
To prove I was actually at Zion


Frank and Mary ride down the red road to the gate


We pack up our bikes for yet another Plan B


Mary, Frank, Jude, David, Janet, Peter, Nancy, George and Jerry waiting for bikes to get loaded into trailer

Plan B meant a drive to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to have our lunch and a ride back out to the main road for the next leg. The ride was ----- windy and lots of uphill. More character building.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

The Dunes are nothing like the ones in Michigan. These are interesting because they are formed by high winds funneling through a notch between two mountains that carry grains of sand from the eroding Navaho sandstone. This phenomenon is known as the Venturi Effect.

The vans once again picked up riders and bikes to now drive through Zion. It is rather laughable that cars and RVs can drive through on the state road that runs to the next town, but are not (supposedly) allowed to stop, get out of their vehicle to look and photograph anything. We saw a lot of felons on this day -- oggling and photographing.

Of course photos do not capture the vastness and beauty


The mountain goats were doing a "stand-in" protest.



The colors and size of these canyons and rock formations are incredible. I am so glad to have at least seen Zion. We will miss riding through what many think is one of the grandest bicycle rides in the world, by not being able to ride through the Park, or along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive where the only motorized vehicles allowed are the Park Service shuttle buses. But our leaders have done an impressive and outstanding job of coming up with alternative riding and experiences. Tomorrow is another one of those Plan B days.


Thursday, October 3, 2013


Wednesday 10/3/2013

Bryce Canyon being closed, our leaders had a plan B for today and it was terrific. The first half of the day we biked from Ruby's Inn to Kodachrome State Park along a fairly light traffic highway. Weather was again gorgeous and we had more scenic views of the geological beauty.


Museum must be the building as there is nothing inside


Well tended farmland at the foot of the mountains


This is for Ed Baker


The road we traveled


Mama don't take my kodachrome away


Entering the Basin


These wall surrounded us at our lunch spot


After lunvch at Kodachrome we loaded bikes into the trailer and drove to a bumpy, five mile dirt road that would take us to the Slot Canyons. I had seen slot canyons only in photos and documentaries, so hiking through them was an exciting experience for me.

We head down to the slots


We had all brought our hiking boots, but remained in our cycling clothes!



At the end of our hike I told Bill (who pulled this plan B out of his hat) that he had made sweet lemonade out of lemons. Janet said yes, we should write a thank you note to the government!!

By the end of this day we were all bushed and dinner would be our only activity before each of us would hit the bed for longed for rest and sleep! A day of wonder.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Tuesday, 10/1/2013

Mary and Frank display our disappointed notice

We are all saddened, disappointed and frustrated by the closing of the National Parks. I won't wax political here and will stop with that statement.

The first part of our route was on a highway. Headwind, chipseal, and rumble strips are not the cyclists best friends. The most I can say is that we had a wide enough shoulder to feel safe. After that we rode on a dedicated paved bike path to our lunch stop.

At the beginning of the bike trail we made a stop at Red Canyon Visitor Center, which was of course closed. We did take a little mile long walk through the area and Kirk, a horticulturist, did some show and tell of the trees and other vegetation.

Hiking up the hill
Kirk explains about he Pinion Pine Nuts that were an important food source


Kirk has a rapt audience


Peter smells the Ponderosa Pine for a hint of Vanilla
A better photo of George, who retired to Bend


Frank begins the uphill walk
David listens attentively
A microcosm of Bryce Canyon

After our hike we began the ride on the bike path. This would start the climb to our destination. Even with the hills we had to climb, it was a delightful 8+ mile path. Compared to yesterday's 13%d er, this seemed fairly easy. Well, at least not a struggle even if in the granniest of gears. The path wound up, down and around through a canyon that afforded us some nice views,

A view from the trail across the car traffic road

We reached Ruby's Inn (established in 1916) at the edge of the Park a bit too early to check in. We did do the additional couple of miles bike ride to the CLOSED gate -- just because. Ruby's owns a huge amount of land. We drove to a viewpoint on the private land and took a half hour walk along the rim to get at least a glimpse of some of the Canyon.


On our walk along the rim on Ruby's land



Not nearly as spectacular as the real thing, but we did the best we could. Tomorrow our plan of biking and/or hiking in Bryce Canyon has changed to biking to a state park and another area.