Monday, September 21, 2009

More on Mountain Driving

I know I have mentioned mountain driving in at least one past blog entry, but it deserves a little more attention.

Today we took the much-dreaded Scenic Byway 12 from Escalante to Torrey, UT. We inquired at the Interagency Visitor’s Center after reading that the road’s summit was 9800 feet above sea level. We were told that the road did have a 9800 ft. summit and that there are many steep grades and switchbacks.

Yesterday we had decided to head to Boulder, UT in the car to see the Anasazi State Park Museum in a valley over the first set of mountains. I drove. The road is just as advertised—scenic, but who had the time or nerve to sightsee. There were turnouts and scenic overlooks, which we took advantage of. The views, when stopped, were fantastic. There were two sections that had 14% grades and many more 8%. One section of road went across a spine between two mountains and it was difficult not to see the sheer drop-off on each side of the road. This road is not for the feint of heart. Tom took photos and video both when we were stopped and moving.

We made it there and back fine but we knew we would be heading back with the motorhome the next day. We decided to drive separately. Why pull an extra nearly 4, 000 lbs. up these winding roads and then try to slow both vehicles on the way down.

This morning took the Scenic Byway 12 drive. Tom was at the wheel of the motorhome and I was driving the Suzuki. The 70 miles took us 2.5 hours. By far the worse portion was the first section, the one we took yesterday.

If that was not enough after we got settled at our campsite, we took off again. We buckled the boys into their car seats and drove the mountainous Fish Lake Loop. The sagebrush and cedar trees disappeared and it was like being in another world--blue mountain lakes, streams and groves of quaking aspen that were brilliant yellow to orange.

We came home and took a nap.

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