The weather looked decent today even though there was a 30% chance of showers this afternoon so we decided to ride through Zion. Bundled up, heated jackets on and we hit the road.
Today’s route of about 155 miles. We did not return through the Zion National Park….you’ll see why later!
Heading north on 89 and we soon start to descend towards Zion on a seemingly endless hill down. We would never pull the RV up that hill, especially if it was hot.
Looks a bit stormy down there….hope we don’t get rained on.
We head west on Hwy 9 and I realize I only have $25 in my outside pocket. It’s a problem if you don’t have money ready in a line up on a motorcycle and have to fish around in pockets.
Zion up ahead.
Here the highway is a red brown cinder and this will continue right through the park.
Ouch! I wonder how long the line up into the park really is. Not fun moving slowly forward on a bike. Luckily it isn’t very hot because Harley’s are not built for going slow in the heat. Air cooled, not water cooled.
We make it through and lucky for me it was only $25 for a motorcycle. At this point there are only a couple of vehicles behind us and we are supposed to be going 35mph and yet there is a guy in a pick-up right on our ass. What do people come here for if they want to rage through, don’t they want to see the park?
The rock looks wind swept…kind of like a moon scape or maybe Mars scape since it’s red.
How do trees grow in that.
The first and shortest tunnel.
Heading down toward the long tunnel and another huge long line up.
The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
Construction of the 1.1 mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920's and was completed in 1930. At the time that the tunnel was dedicated, on July 4, 1930, it was the longest tunnel of its type in the United States. The purpose of the building the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel (and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway) was to create direct access to Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon from Zion National Park. Large vehicles can not negotiate the curves in the tunnel without crossing the centre line so tour buses etc. must be escorted through individually and pay a permit fee for this escort. This of course slows traffic down even more as you wait to enter.
Heading in. There is no light in this tunnel so I have reached forward and removed Eric’s sun glasses so he can see where he is going.
There are some portals as you pass through and I managed to catch this one.
I tried to get a portal here but got surveyor’s notes instead. Kind of cool!
Heading forward and there is a long line of traffic ahead.
Immense rock cliffs that go straight up right beside you.
Every shot would make a post card. Eric is seeing none of this as he keeps his eyes glued to the road with all the sharp curves and switch backs.
This is a reverse curve and they mean 20mph!
Just like the Rockies but red.
The highway continues to wind it’s self down the mountain like some big, huge, long snake.
No guard rails. The road is way down below to the right.
I continue to snap pictures so Eric can see where he has been later! I might also add that he has been swearing about the amount of traffic since we entered the park and that this will be a one of!
The viewing points were plugged up all the way through the park and I did see that 3.5 million people had been through the park last year. We will not reverse our route but go down through Hurricane and take the route to Kanab that we did when we brought the 5th wheel.
Bye, Bye Zion….I’m glad I got to see it but I likely won’t be back!
It is really warm on the other side of the park and we stop for a rest and an ice cream at a SubWay. We sit and relax in the sun.
As you leave Zion there are the small towns of Springdale and Rockville that are crammed with things to buy.
Need any rocks?
Rockville, very pretty and green.
As we head down to La Verkin the landscape is still just as amazing, just not as close.
In LaVerkin we find a quiet little city park to eat our lunch. It is really warm and there are no clouds around to rain on us. Very pleasant.
We head back through Hurricane and continue back to Kanab. It is warm but very windy and we ride along. Much nicer that when we travelled this road last Wednesday.
A good day….and Eric enjoyed the pictures on the TV later in the day.