This morning, we hung out in the parking lot of the Visitor Center of the Natural Bridges National Monument stalking our victims. As we did in other national parks, we like to save our legs for the ride out of the park and to the next city, as opposed to riding to the park entrance and throughout the park. I found our victims, Pinky and Joni. They agreed to adopt us for the morning and drive us throughout the park as the 4 of us checked out Mother Nature's beauties.
Here are our chauffeurs. Why is everyone in pants and coats (I had on as many layers as I owned) and Dave's still wearing shorts?
Last night, the park volunteer was telling us about how the rock formations were created. It all has to do with 3 elements - time, gravity and water. So cool.
Quick, what's the difference between a natural bridge and a natural arch? A bridge is formed by water banging on the rocks so much that it eventually creates a hole. Can you below how there's water running beneath the "bridge"? An arch (as seen in the Welcome to Utah sign) is caused by wind blowing enough against the rocks that it finally carves out a hole. Pretty cool, huh?
Here's some cool rock formations along our hike. What you see is actually me zooming in 1000 percent.
Can you see how thin the top of this bridge is?
Dave and me.
When we were done sightseeing, Pinky and Joni volunteered to tow our bikes and take us up north to Salt Lake City. I love it that people just volunteer to adopt us like this. We declined because Salt Lake City was too north. But that wasn't the real reason. The goal of this trip is to ride and enjoy the country, not get from point A to point B fast. If I wanted to get to San Francisco fast, I would have bought a plane ticket 70 days ago.
Here's more red rock formations once we were outside of the park. Can we say Boobie?
Today's ride was pretty easy. Other than this one 3% downhill where the headwind was so hard that we had to pedal in order to actually move, we were coasting with a tailwind most of the day. It's about time.
More scenery shots.
Can't get enough of the views.
If the above red rock formation looked like a boobie, what do these red rock formations look like? Can you imagine how the left side of this rock formation will one day look like the right side? It's right there at the same level, so it must just be the way the wind hints the right side of these rocks to carve it out like that.
Here's one of a few canyons we saw today. I'm sure the Grand Canyon started out like this at one point.
Would this be considered graffiti? No ink or paint was used - just rock against rock.
This trip has been memorialized. How long do you think this will last? Do you think rain would wash this away? I wonder if anyone has seen it since Dave wrote it.
We met 3 Finnish guys going East. I felt so sorry for them because we were going downhill with a tailwind all day. That only meant they were going uphill with a headwind. After some idle chit chat, they asked for water. Hesitant because we were going into the unknown (more about that in the next few paragraphs), we offered them our reserves. How can you not help out a fellow cyclist fighting strong headwinds and going uphill, right?
These guys are going from San Francisco to New York. The opposite of us. It took them 12 days to get from the West Coast to here. I have a feeling it's going to take me more than 12 days to reach the Golden Gate Bridge.
Okay, more about this going into the unknown. When we left the Natural Bridges National Monument this morning, we talked to the rangers to see if they knew this so called "Hite Recreation Area" was open. We heard from so many sources, including the rangers, that they did not believe it was open. We asked the 3 Finns if they knew it was open. They guessed no and forged on. This is why I was hesitant to give away our water because who knows if we have a place to stay tonight. This is why today's blog entry is titled, "Waiting for Godot". We have no idea if this Hite Recreation Area exists or not...
More crazy red rock formations.
Yeah! A 10% truck downhill. I seem to remember being really afraid going down this truck downhill, though. 10% is pretty steep. And, the winds were really strong. The sidewind was so strong it almost knocked me over. I could hear it whistling on my spokes. At one point, the wind literally shoved my bike and me to the left a foot or so. It was scary. I didn't really enjoy it.
When we got to the intersection that leads us to Godot (the Hite Recreation Area), we pondered for a while. Godot was a few miles downhill. You'd think I'd like the downhill part, but the reality is, if nothing existed, we'd have to climb uphill out of the canyon. Here I am in the canyon en route to the unknown recreation area. It's so amazing what I'm seeing today.
Once in the recreation area, it was empty. There was a convenience store but the sign on the door said open 11am-2pm. It was now 4pm. Bummer. Thankfully, Dave looked inside the window in hopes of life and there was a man just sitting behind the counter. What? The store was open well after the posted hours. I guess this was good Karma for us giving the Finns our water.
After unsuccessfully control-6'ing the worker for us to stay in his indoor shelter (he did finally give us the address of his house (all within the recreation area) for emergencies only - just like the volunteer from last night, these national park employees are not allowed to take in visitors like ourselves. For their own safety and I imagine so we can contribute to the camping fees.), we dined on frozen burritos and canned veggies. Not a gourmet feast, but still food.
After dinner, we went down to the water to enjoy the scenery some more.
As well as the sunset.
After a porno shower in the women's room, we set up camp on the sidewalk just outside the visitor center. We had acres of open fields to set up our tent but we opted for some coverage from the wind. The wind was howling like no one's business. I'm glad we decided to seek protection for two sides of our tent. All night the wind was gusting probably 10-20+ mph.