After evaluating our options and our desire for extending the trip significantly by heading north again, we decided that we would go back home. So soon you ask?
After picking up the correct part at the dealer around 11:00 and then installing it, we are ready to get out of Las Vegas even if it means going on I15 with wind gusts up to 20mph. Thankfully, the traffic on the interstate is pretty light and we exit in St. George to go on State Route (SR) 9, then 59 towards Kanab, UT. Leaving Nevada, we enter Utah (St. George) only to head into Arizona on SR 59 which eventually turns back north into Utah. Three states in one day 🙂 .
The heat is really getting to us, plus we stink, or at least I do 😉 .
We initially contemplated staying at a Lake Mead National Park campground just east of the city but ultimately decided against it not just because of the high daytime temperatures but also because of the lack of cooler nights. Las Vegas lies considerably lower than where we were coming from so evening and night time temperatures wouldn’t nearly drop as much as at higher elevation. We didn’t realize just how bad it really was until we walked back from dinner that evening and it was still 102ºF at 19:40! I’m glad we went the hotel route.
Having ordered the motorcycle part with overnight delivery to the Las Vegas BMW dealership we headed off towards our next destination – Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada. After an overnight low of 45F in Panguitch, the early part of the day through the Dixie National Forest and into Cedar City, UT the temperature was very moderate due to the higher elevation ranging in 6400-7700 feet. However, as we left the forest and descended into the lower lying Cedar City it started warming up. As you are riding it’s an interesting experience because you can physically feel the air temperature increase as you ride and descend.
We needed good internet access to get caught up on email and our blog. After checking out the available campgrounds we settled on the “Hitch ’n Post” in Panguitch, UT as our destination for the day with plans to head to Cedar Break National Monument the next day. The campground was in the town itself so we could walk to the market and, more important, to the liquor store since we are going through cold beer at a breakout speed – I’m having a hard time keeping up with Diane who seemingly has a hollow leg. 😉
No drive-by tourism for us this time around. We took it upon ourselves to spend some time walking the trails of the park. Why hike you ask? For one, Diane has really been hitting the potato chips hard and she needs the exercise desperately (what a mean and terrible thing to say! – especially since it’s not true. It’s the salted almonds that are doing her in.) . Secondly, it seems that not many people actually walk on the trails so there are no crowds like you encounter at all the pull-outs for photo opportunities. (Not that I’m crowd-averse or anything like that). Finally, you see things (like Cohab Canyon) that are not even visible from the road.
I tried to capture the incredible scenery that we were riding through on highway 24 today even though it involved a 30 mile section of I-70 which didn’t make Diane very happy, especially with a speed limit of 80mph. Thankfully, traffic on the interstate was light and we were off of it before long. Avoiding the interstate all together would have been a two day detour since Canyonlands National Park extends quite a way south with no easy east-west connection. No epic hikes today, just beautiful landscape.
Being on the road and camping can lead to interesting encounters. During our ‘down day’ on Thursday, while sitting in the community kitchen in the late afternoon using our electronic gear, Diana and Faulk, a couple from Canada joined us at our table because the other tables were taken by a church youth group. We struck up a conversation and chatted amiably about our plans and what they had seen and planned to do. When we ran into them again on late Friday afternoon they shared their itinerary which listed the campgrounds they were staying in. They had done their research – Diana had a “must have clean bathroom” criteria similar to Diane’s – which we leveraged by making note of the campgrounds in Torrey, UT (Capital Reef National Park) and Escalante, CO (Grand Staircase Escalante) since we are planning to visit both places.
We got through the rainstorm with much less leakage. There were a couple of drops but nothing that wouldn’t allow us to go to sleep. Morning broke with lingering black clouds but no rain.