So it’s “Day 10” and we’re waking early to hit up Zion National Park. Day 8 was a long 12 hour day on the bikes hitting both Archer and Capital Reef National Parks. Not only that but the ride into Escalante, UT was technical, way fun and we stopped atop a mountain pass to take some sunset photos. Waking on Day 9 still had us feeling beat so decided to cut it short. Woke later than usual and stopped riding earlier in the day. The plan was to make it to Zion National Park then call it a day in Mesquite.
Well that didn’t happen and we wound up getting a hotel about 15 miles from Zion. We figured we’d hit the park first thing in the morning and start fresh. So here we are to Day 10. We wake early and are having breakfast right at 7am when the restaurant opens. We finish that up, load the bikes and I think we’re off right after 8am.
About 25 minutes or so later we arrive at Zion National Park, one word – AMAZING. By far my favorite National Park so far. When you enter the park you see the expected sights, nice cliffs, rock walls, etc… We even stopped for a bit to get some shots of this nice little canyon with a stream. As we came up we noticed a couple (some climbers) putting all their gear on. Craig had already stricken up a conversation and they asked if it was our first time to Zion. We said yes and how pretty it was. They asked us if we had been on the other side of the long tunnel to which we replied no. They quickly informed us that this was nothing and that we would be awestruck when we came out on the other side of the tunnel.
Sure enough we got back on our bikes and headed down the road. We went thru a short tunnel and then came up to the long tunnel. Park Rangers had vehicles stopped and only let a few go at a time. By the time you know it we’re rolling. When I say long tunnel, I mean long. I’m thinking a mile or two thru this mountain. Well in this tunnel they have a few windows cut out so you can catch a glimpse or peak of what’s to come off to the right. What a breathtaking view. Unfortunately, stopping in the tunnel is no longer allowed which I wish it was because there is a view out of this world. Once we exited the tunnel, it was something straight out of the movies, Jurassic Park to be exact. There wasn’t an area to pull over and take a photo of at the top which I regret because that was the best view in the house and especially with the morning light still being good. Of course we did pull over a few times and took some photos which really don’t do the park justice.
Anyway, after Zion it was now time to light the afterburners and get going. Destination, Beatty…a town on the edge of Death Valley which would be perfect for an early morning crossing. About a 3 hour ride which would take us thru Arizona, into Nevada and to the edge of Las Vegas. From there we would head West to a town called Beatty. Of course after a magical morning of riding thru Zion, things couldn’t stay the same. Soon as we got out of Zion and close to a town called Hurricane (but pronounced Hurricon) we’re hit with 50mph gust from all different directions and various small dust storms along the way. Makes you think back to that town name. Well this didn’t let up at all for the next hour or two and I was pretty happy when we finally pulled over for lunch and fuel outside of Las Vegas (check out the YouTube vid to get an idea of how windy it was). Trying to keep a bike upright (shiny side up) with loaded cases in those conditions is a challenge. One minute you’re leaning full left as that’s the direction the wind is hitting you, to then have the wind switch on you and come from the right catching you off guard and requiring a weight shift right. Cruising at 80-85mph with a 40+ mph headwind makes it feel like you’re doing 130.
As we’re finally getting close to Beatty we decide to hit another small town (Pahrump, NV) that also offers a close stop on the edge of Death Valley. So here we are. Craig is napping and I’m blogging. In a bit we’ll grab some grub, get some good rest and be ready for tomorrow’s adventure. Tomorrow we’ll be crossing Death Valley, going thru the mountains and ending up in Bakersfield, California. Check out the Google Map because it looks like it’s going to be a fun ride!
The one and only Zion National Park
On the road again.