Length of the State of Utah Bicycle Trip

Monday, September 18th 2006


We got up in the morning, bidding adieu to Nanda, who began her tourist trip to Zion National park.Malcolm and I checked out, got on our bikes, and resumed our adventure at 8:30 AM.


The adventure resumes!


It was pleasant cycling through Hurricane, north to La Verkin, then east toward Zion National Park.But then we had to climb the Hurricane Cliffs.


As we expected, it was a walk-up hill (and a long one at that).Nanda, having eaten in Hurricane, passed us on her way to Zion.On seeing us walking up the hill she probably shook her head, thinking our chances of finishing the trip were about nil.


But soon enough, we crested the hill, and cycled the mostly-level terrain eastward toward Zion National Park.


Many times I have travelled to Zion, enjoying the scenery, but never as much as this time.Itís so much more relaxing on a bicycle, and you can see so much more as you leisurely cycle along.


Approaching the town of Virgin


We stopped in a shop selling one of a kind, Native American art work.It had an amazing collection of petrified wood, which if you didnít look closely, you would assume were regular wooden posts.


We went through Virgin.Is he, or isnít he?


and Rockville,


Enjoyed views of the Virgin River along the way


We ate a hearty lunch in the Bumbleberry Inn in Springdale, and inquired at the Zion Cyclery bike shop about how to get through the Zion Tunnel (bicycles are not allowed in the Zion Tunnel).They said the best way was to go to where traffic is stopped waiting at the entrance of the tunnel, and hitch a ride with somebody that has a truck.


Somewhat dubious at the lack of certainty, we entered Zion, where a sign directed all bicycles to use the Paírus Trail.This is a paved bicycle path, and is quite nice.


Cycling the Paírus Trail


Along the Paírus Trail


It ended at the junction with the highway going north to the Zion Lodge.We took to highway 9 again, heading for the Zion Tunnel.The switchback road going up there turned out to be mostly a walk-up hill, and it was quite hot.We appreciated every bit of shade we could find.


In this section, I discovered that when I get off and walk, pushing my bike, I tend to fall behind Malcolm.However, if I ride it in my lowest gear, I get ahead of him, but have to rest in awhile.About when he catches up with me, I can resume riding, staying just ahead of him, and not slowing us down.


In this manner, I got to the traffic waiting to go through the tunnel before Malcolm.I started inquiring about a ride, and at the 2nd pickup truck I asked, hit the jackpot with a couple from Texas.Malcolm arrived in the nick of time (just before the traffic started moving), and soon we were riding through the tunnel.We offered to pay for their helping us, but they didnít want money.


We intended to be let off at the parking lot at the east end of the tunnel, but there was road construction there, and stopping was not possible.They took us a few miles farther, past the construction, and we got out to resume our bicycle adventure, bidding them many thanks for helping us through.


Cycling east of the Zion Tunnel


It was up-and-down terrain, with a few short walk-up hills, but mostly we could ride it.


Enjoying the view of the east part of Zion National Park


Checkerboard Mesa


Before long, we were out of the park.We stopped at a convenience store, then continued eastward.The road kept climbing.We would top a hill, thinking it to be the summit, only to see the road climbing even higher in the distance.I began to get frustrated, thinking there must be a summit somewhere!It canít keep climbing forever!


But then again, topping another hill, we saw yet more climbing ahead.


Somewhere along this ride, I passed a whole flock of wild turkeys by the side of the road.I stopped awhile to watch while two of their compatriots crossed over the road from the other side.


Eventually, we did finally reach the summit, and the long glide down the hill was exhilarating!Not to be defeated so easily, the mountain gave us one last uphill grind before our last downhill into Mount Carmel Junction.We arrived there at 7:30 PM.


We found a motel there, exhausted from the long dayís trip


Our room


In spite of my hearty lunch in mid afternoon in Springdale, I was extremely hungry.We ate at a really good restaurant across the street at the Thunderbird Motel.I had another hearty meal in the form of a steak dinner.It was really good.If youíre in Mount Carmel Junction, try the Thunderbird Motel Restaurant.


On this day, we cycled 51.4 miles, at an average speed of 7.5 MPH.The bicycles were moving for 6 hours, 49 minutes.We spent 11 hours travelling (including rest stops).


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