Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is the entrance to the 1+mile long tunnel in Zion.

We left Zion this morning. At the entrance gate we paid the $15 to go through the tunnel as we headed for the eastern entrance of the park. Large vehicles need to make these arrangements as the tunnel is curved at the top and large vehicles, such as our motorhome must go right down the middle of the tunnel so traffic must be stopped at the opposite end to allow us passage.

Stopped for a picture on the way out of Zion. In the background you can see the tiny little wall I mentioned.

I must tell you now about the road. It is NARROW. There is no shoulder to speak of and at least six switchbacks. Guardrails are non-existent. The feeble attempt at a barrier at the sides of some of the curves were probably made in the 1930s before anyone even dreamed of driving 14,000 lbs towing another 3800 up and down those canyon walls. Of course it's the same old story, I'm looking down, when I dared to, from my lofty perch and can't see the side of the road. What an invigorating way to start the morning. As soon as we exited the park there were real roads.

On the way today all the B & Bs, dude ranches, and cabins had no vacancy signs. I lost count of the number of tour buses heading for Zion.

On the way to the campground we came through Red Canyon.

We are staying at Bryce Pines Store and Campground just eight miles from Bryce Canyon . As Tom was registering a young man approached the motorhome to look at the boys who were on the dash. I opened the window to say hi to him. He was traveling by motorcycle and I said he was traveling light not like us. When he responded he had an accent so I asked where he was from. He haled from Korea and is on a trip around the world. Yes world.

Our campsite in the pines.

Well Bryce Pines is really nice. We are nearly 8,000 feet above sea level and the air is thin for us flatlanders. Our campsite is in a grove of Ponderosa Pines and the sky is so blue.

Well we set up camp, had lunch and headed for Cedar Breaks about sixty miles away. We took the car, yeah. Again up winding mountain roads but no switchbacks this time. It was a beautiful drive.

Cedar Breaks

Again another awesome view. We were at 10,300 feet looking down at a canyon full of spires called hoodoos. There were some arches, which the ranger lady kindly pointed out to us, as well as a several thousand-year-old bristle cone pine (they did a core sample of the tree to determine it's age). We saw a Bald Eagle sitting on a rock next to the road. It was probably about 4 years old as his head was just turning white. We saw mule deer, cattle right on the road and the fattest chipmunk we have ever seen eating flowers right at the visitor center door. Well worth the 120 mile round-trip ride.

Mule deer along the road.

The fat little chipmunk eating flower heads at the Cedar Breaks Visitors Center.

Met a couple from near Milwaukee at our campground and had a nice visit with them. Talked to a woman for California while I was doing laundry. They are returning from Idaho and will be home in two days. They are traveling with two yellow labs and have a cute Airstream trailer.

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