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.