Bryce Canyon National Park - Panguitch - 9/21/2006

It was freezing this morning.  Can you imagine if I had to sleep outdoors last night?  As we were riding, my computer thermometer registered 44 degrees.  My fingertips were about to fall off, it was so cold!

On top of that, the wind continued to blow today.  I yelled, "stop blowing so hard!"  We were climbing all day to Bryce.  I was down to 3 mph for some stretches.  Can you imagine riding your bike (and working as hard as you can) at the same pace that the average person can walk?

Here's a picture of some roadside natural beauty.

I'm not done bitching about the hills and wind.  MF, we've been climbing forever.  I know what all the signs mean before I can actually read them.  As I mentioned in an earlier entry, I can just tell based on the size, shape and color of the sign, along with the road condition (gaining elevation, plateaued, etc.).  At one point, I'm climbing and coming around the corner, I see another hill in the distance with a white vertical sign at the top.  It only means passing lane ahead (meaning more hills after you kind of crest that hill).  F!

Enough bitching.  Here's more amazing hoodoos on the side of the road.

When we finally reached the touristy area of Bryce (not yet to the park entrance), we had lunch of something "fast" like cafeteria style pizza, chicken nuggets, burgers or something along those lines.

After lunch, I used my charm and innocent good looks to try to convince strangers to let us hitch a ride with them into the park so we could save our legs to later leave the park and get to our final destination for the night.

I hit up this couple who gladly took us into their car.  So amazing how many people have taken us into/around national parks.  We offered to pay for the park entrance but they had a golden eagle park pass so no one had to pay.  Score.  Inside the park, we all stopped at the visitor center to check out what we needed to check out.  The couple saw us milling around looking for our next "victim" so they offered to take us to the first vista point.  Excellent.  When we got out and to the first vista point, this is what we saw!

Oh my God.

Voodoos galore.

Have you ever seen anything like this in your life?

Can you imagine when this land was first discovered?  Just walking around and you stumble upon on all these crazy hoodoos.

The views are amazing; the weather remains freezing and windy.

I remember hiking around the rim and this one lady for some reason struck up a conversation with us.  And part of her conversation included did I want to push my husband into the pit below?  First of all, he's not my husband and second, hmmm, not a bad idea ;-)  She said it a few times, too.  Maybe she wanted to push her own husband over the railing?

Don't know why but looking at this kind of reminds of me of a chessboard.  Maybe I'm seeing all the pawns and the bishop.

We opted not to do any real hiking (on trails) because we knew we still have to leave the park and go about 20+ miles to the next town.  Not enough time, especially given the strong winds and hills hills hills.

And actually, after a while, as amazing as these hoodoos are, they start all looking the same.

I bet in a few years, this wall of rock will have more defined ridges.

I believe this one is called Hammerhead or something like that.

In total, there were 3 major vista points.  We hitched a ride with somebody from vista point to vista point.  Would you pick me up and take me to the next vista point if I approached you in a national park?

Leaving the park area, I suppose we had a downhill because above all I could do above was complain about climbing right?  Perhaps when leaving the immediate park area, we had a downhill, but my notes specifically say "more climbing".  And look, how could we have a summit sign if we weren't climbing, right?

Soon after the summit, we had to cross the highway into Red Canyon Trail bike path.  Works for me, I love the security of a bike path.  We passed a few cycling groups headed the other way on the highway.  Don't know if they were a local cycling club on ride (probably not since today is Thursday) or if they were an organized tour.

What's more fun?  A truck downhill sign or a baby bicycle downhill sign?  Probably the truck downhill sign because you get those on a real road where you can just fly down.  With a bicycle downhill sign, you're on a bike path so it's more narrow and you can't really go that fast.  But look how cute this sign is.

The hole on the right is man blowing a hole in the middle of rocks so cars go through.

What an amazing view, huh?

Everything we did today was still part of the Scenic Byway 12.  You really should get out there and drive or ride this stretch of Utah.  It is so breathtaking.  If you wait too long, the below tiny hoodoos balancing on top of the rock below will probably crumble over because of natural forces or worse, man.

When we reached Panguitch, back to looking for housing.  I went in searching for the best deal for a motel, Dave, alternative housing.  I found a motel that was clean but the price was not quite right.  I knew that Dave would not "let" us stay there.  I'm sure the lady saw me going up and down the block on my bike through her window.  Last time I came back, I asked if she could do any better for us.  She finally told us a good price of $40 and I took it.  There are lots of motels on the strip and it was a quiet Thursday so she just had extra inventory sitting around.  Dave's luck at the churches did not work out so the friendly motel it was.  While waiting for Dave, I went shopping around the cut town.  I went into a few jewelry stores, again, in search of some turquoise jewelry that I've been exposed to on this trip.  Nothing caught my eye in my price range.  Oh well.

After my shopping, I went into the motel front desk to just chat with the owner, Cheryl.  Somehow we got a talking about how we'll be in Cedar City tomorrow.  I took this opportunity to ask if she knew anyone there that we can crash in their living room.  In fact she did - her son!  Her son goes to college in Cedar City and he's got a house there.  How lovely.  She called up her son to see if he was willing to host 2 strangers.  I threw in the incentive that I would make dinner for him.  College student, homemade meal?  No brainer.  Anyhow, he agreed.  Excellent.  No worrying about housing tomorrow.

For dinner, we ate at a restaurant that most people said we had to eat at.  It was good.  I had ribs.  I don't remember the ribs being the best ever, and I don't remember being disappointed either.  At dinner, the women's bike tour that we met in Boulder were sitting next to us.  We shared a few stories.  They were ending their trip in Cedar City tomorrow.  I contemplated asking them to take our panniers so we could ride unloaded but the logistics of trying to hook up with them in Cedar didn't appeal to me.  It's also good to have your stuff with you because you never know what will happen.

After dinner, I had ice cream at a local ice cream parlor while making phone calls.  I guess Dave didn't want any ice cream because I remember being there by myself.