Here's more amazing scenery shots. I can't get enough of this terrain. Look how the wind is carving these amazing formations out of the rocks. Do you see the "crumbs" at the bottom of the rocks from the carving?
Today's terrain changed from red to brown...
to gray. This scenery totally reminds me of Mos Eisley. For all non-nerds out there, and I had to learn this myself and may get it wrong as I'm trying to explain it to you, Mos Eisley is spaceport town in Stars Wars (okay, I cheated, I looked that up on Wikipedia). All I know is for 6 years at my job in San Francisco, Mos Eisley was the code/beta name for our product. If I remember correctly, I was telling Dave how this terrain looks like a desolate country and then he said, "like Mos Eisley?" Oh, he ruined it for me. Once I heard Mos Eisley, I could only think of work. And who wants to think of work when one's on vacation?!
We were gradually climbing all day. Here are some more amazing landscape shots.
We stopped at this organic farms market. Inside the store, I had freshly squeezed juice of a whole melon and endless number of peaches. Talk about fresh and oh so good for you. Delicious. Look at the view this farmer has from his store. Back there is his organic farm and the mountains. After hanging out with the farmer for a while, I bought a bag of tiny plums and we headed out for more pedaling.
More Mos Eisley.
A river runs through it.
Doesn't this look like piles of sand from a construction site, more than Mother Nature?
Pretty colors again.
Another national park.
More boobs. The rock formation is called something Dome. Or maybe this is the "capitol" as in the name of the national park.
Dave checking out the Hickman Natural Bridge (I believe there was water below this at one point. I forget if I explained, but a natural bridge is caused by water. A natural arch is caused by wind.)
Come check out the natural bridge before time, gravity and water take over.
Up close and personal. Look how the wind carved out this rock.
We hiked a mile to get to this view. It was embarrassing. We were passed by 70+ year olds while hiking. Kind of like my triathlon where I couldn't catch this man with 75 on his leg during the run (For some reason, in triathlons, they put your age on your right calf. I think they do it for this exact reason. When I see a 75 year old man running and I can't catch him, it motivated me to really try to pick up the pace and catch/pass him.) I'll chalk this up to riding all day and wearing "hiking" shoes by SIDI.
Dave enjoying some quiet time.
After our hike, we did some apple picking in the park.
Service golden retriever. If Arcea was here, he would be feasting on all the apples on the ground. Yum.
Here's my bounty. Sure I could have gotten more, but one can only eat and transport so many apples. The cost of the apples was something really cheap. It was an honor system thing where you just pay into a little lock box.
Mountains behind the apple orchard.
Deer eating apples on the ground.
After apple picking, we head to the campsite to check in. As our luck would have it, they were sold out for the night. What? Are you kidding me? Riding out of the park to the next town at this point was really out of the question because it was getting late and also, it was 15 miles of pure uphill. We were saving this for tomorrow after we played around in the park and our legs were fresh.
Anyhow, Dave starts throwing a hissy fit at Ranger Bill who told us there's no camping available. He said he's never heard of cyclists being turned away for camping. I tried to ask if we were to just happen to walk up to someone and asked them if we could share their campsite with them, would that be okay? Answer was no. Dave was really upset and showed it. I had to pull Dave aside and try to calm him down. I tried my best at Control-6'ing the ranger to see if we could stay at his place. I offered to make an apple crisp with the apples I just bought. But like all previous rangers, they are not allowed to take in visitors. After a while, the ranger showed us a spot in the park where we could illegally camp and hope that the night crew doesn't find us. Eh - I didn't want to be fugitives! Dave told the ranger that we couldn't do that because of the "condition he was in." At this point, now the ranger thinks Dave is a walking case of something dangerous. The two of them go off into a corner and whisper stuff. Dave just added salt and pepper to the sickness he's been feeling these past few days (but as of right now, he's pretty much okay). Whatever Dave told the ranger, the end result is the park people got a truck to take our bikes and us out of the park to the nearest motel. But we had to leave then; so no more playing around the park for us.
After waiting a tiny bit, Ranger Nathan pulls up in a truck, equipped with some killer (literally) riffles. Not sure if the riffles were for dangerous bears or fugitives. Anyhow, he loads up our bikes on the back of the truck and drives us out of the park. During the drive, he tells us stories about the park. Here's the castle rock formation.
Outside the park, the ranger drops us off at the first motel. Lucky for us, they had one more room at a reasonable rate. I'll take it! The room was spacious and clean. What more do you need? How about a nice restaurant? I'll take that, too. This is the nicest restaurant since Durango, CO. Of course I liked it, but I could tell Dave likes "value meals" (as in food he can hoover and feel like he got his money's worth). Back in the room, Dave ate some microwave rice to get his fill. I was perfectly content with my nice dinner. At night, we watched Wedding Crashers. I'd seen it before but it was Dave's first time. That movie is funny no matter how many times you see it.
On the news, we heard that there was a cold front going through the area and it was 30 degrees out at night. Boy, am I glad to be inside and not camping outdoors! However, we either cheated on our bike ride because we hitched a ride out of the park; or, we were cheated because we didn't get to fully enjoy the park. I guess it being 30 degrees out, I don't care if you consider it cheating, at least I am warm.