Pretty flash huh?
We had a nice night in our digs at Ruby's Inn. Because of the time we booked, we could only get one of their upmarket rooms. It was very nice. but we did pay for it. Very soft dressing gowns.
Up early to see the sun rise in Bryce Canyon. No sign of John and Kaz, so we went and knocked on the room next door to theirs. Whoops. Luckily, there was no one home, but John popped his head out of the next room. They weren't ready. Not surprising - it was cold. But we were up anyway so we rode out to the canyon to greet the sun.
Utah is one of a few states in USA that does not have laws about motorcycle helmets, and we wanted to try riding without for the novelty value. Two reasons why we haven't been doing it anyway, since we've been in Utah for a couple of days. We do not like the idea of riding at highway speeds without helmets and there's nowhere to put them while we ride anyway. In either case, we wore them this morning as it was too cold to go without.
Bryce canyon is a very strange looking place. Lots of pinnacles in the eroding cliff face. The rock is a sort of clay shale and soft, but with hardly any rain and big variations in temperatures night to day, the erosion forms distinct towers. The locals call them hoodoos. We stood and froze until the sun came up, took our pics, wondered at the sheer size of it all then went back to the hotel for brekkie and pack up for a late start.
We met up with J&K and Dave and off we went. Only 113 miles to do today. But as it turned out, we made lots of stops and saw a great deal of scenery we didn't expect. A quick stop for a shot looking back up into Bryce Canyon, then on towards Escalante. Lots of eroding hills with farms in between. Sometimes almost surreal scenery. Then it was on to the Escalante Canyon and the scenery did turn surreal. A wide expanse of rock, dotted with pine trees, formed the base of the canyon. It was many miles wide, but not too deep as USA canyons go. The few creeks and river that had carved their way through the sandstone were in deep winding crevasses. The area was too vast to get in photographs, but we made a few feeble attempts. When we get home I'll stitch a few together to see if that gives an idea of the size of it all.
Dave had his video camera and wanted to get a film of our two bikes descending into the canyon so we obliged while he stood up on a rock with his tripod. Then back up again so he could follow us down filming all the while. Down through the canyon, unto a deep crevasse to cross the main river, then back up and on to a razorback shaped section. More filming and we soon arrived at the small town of Boulder. Not to be confused with the one in Colorado. We had lunch in a small cafe where the waiter wisecracked about comparing bigfoot with Australians who tip. There have been sightings of bigfoot. Har har. Then he forgot to do some basic wait-stuff so he did get a tip, but not a big one. John is too kind.
Beside the cafe was a turn-off to a road called Burrs Trail. Doesn't sound too exciting, but Dave wanted us to do the side trip, about 40 miles up then back again. This was probably the most amazing place we have been so far. Talk about your red rock sandstone canyons! The walls were anything from 50 to 200 feet high, and it went for 20 miles, with a bitumen road all along it. Almost no tourists - we saw three cars and one bike apart from us while we were in there. We stopped and walked into a side canyon that reminded us very much of places in the Bungles. Not quite as tall though. As Dave mentioned, in any other place but Utah, this would be a National Park with all the trimmings, but is hardly known at all to the average American.
As we rode back out it began to rain and we carefully negotiated the corners. Back past Boulder and we climbed a large mountain, which took us up to the 9600ft level, about 3000ft above the canyon, where we saw some great panoramas through the rain clouds. Luckily we stayed mostly dry, but heard from other travellers who had suffered hail storms and squalls on their trip from Bryce Canyon.
Then it was back downhill towards Torrey where we split up and went separate ways to our separate hotels, agreeing to meet for tea later. On the way to our motel, we saw a GoldWing approaching waved as usual, but saw it was Jack from Albuquerque who had decided to leave early and go for a ride to catch up with us again for a few day's riding. So we checked in - marvelled at the vista from our balcony, then went across the road to have a cold one. One of the beers available at the little bar/cafe was called Polygamy Porter. Well we were in Utah after all. So we had to try it. Quite nice.
Jack went off to find accommodation and we settled in and later went up into town to meet up with everyone for tea. This time it wasn't too cold, so we went helmetless, legally, for the first time ever. Had a nice meal then came back and by now it was cold again, so we missed our helmets. We'll keep wearing them I think.
Here's today's pics:
|Sitting around at Ruby's Inn, getting to know Dave|
|Bryce Canyon in the morning sun|
|The towers are called HooDoos by the locals.|
|They cover a huge area - this is just a small part.|
|Entrance to Ruby's Inn|
|Nice fluffy gowns supplied|
|Posing in front of Bryce|
|Farming country amongst the mesas|
|Nice parking job|
|Dave sets up for filming|
|We wind down to the canyon floor.|
|Dave ready to follow us this time|
|His camera mount is similar to mine|
|Following J&K on "Black Leader"|
|Down the hills in to Boulder|
|Burrs Trail - this goes for 20 miles|
|Red sandstone both sides|
|Huge carved walls.|
|This is looking up into a side canyon. Almost looks like an explosion.|
|Couldn't stop taking shots.|
|The upper level of sandstone rests on very soft layers.|
|Driving back out in the rain.|
|From up at the 9500ft level, looking back down to the canyons.|
|Some of the best scenery we've seen so far.|
|Jack has joined us again|
|Self and Dave celebrate a great day's ride. (Sorry J&K, your shot didn't turn out)|
|So many beers - so little time|