After what was a very mild night the tent was dry so it didn’t take long to pack up and get going. It was off down main street to the centre of town, this is where the Grand Canyon Extension cycle ride begins, ending 577 miles later in Phoenix Arizona.
The route starts off down the old highway 91, parts of which still remain after the I15 was ploughed through. The first section is 8.5 miles running parallel to the I15. A good paved surface and downhill, all very nice.
In the distance we could see a rainbow and of course some very heavy looking rain clouds responsible for the rainbow, but strictly speaking light diffracting, reflecting and dispersing through rain drops actually makes a rainbow! Nothing to worry about at the moment.
Crossing over the interstate again and moving further away from it, the riding became more pleasant, the road itself very quiet. It was here we saw about 5 small ground birds (running rather than flying not pushed through a pepper mill!), they seemed to have a quiff of their heads and moved faster than my camera hand. See later for more exciting information.
We actually joined the Interstate and had to cycle along it for 2 miles. This was about the same as riding down the hard shoulder of a motorway when it is fairly quiet. It was actually fine and we did not feel at risk.
Then off onto the old highway 91 again, it was here the skies darkened and a wall of rain approached, we donned our wet weather gear just in time as for 20 minutes we cycled through a deluge, then it was gone. Here we saw three very large ground birds run across the road, bigger versions of the 5 we saw earlier, they were wild turkeys (no really living free not just angry and maladjusted).
We kept our waterproofs on as we had 8 miles back on the interstate again, the lorries threw up a huge amount of spray when the passed. The 8 kiles went quickly mostly downhill, you did need to be careful of the debris on the shoulder, you wouldn’t believe the number of bits of tyres we had to avoid. It was here we saw our first cactus.
At exit 27 we left I15 and headed towards Zion National Park. Highway 17 took us into La Verkin, the riding was worse than the interstate, a poor shoulder and cars passing too close.
As we spent so much time at the edge of the road it was inevitable that a tyre punctured Janet’s this time a piece of flint (or it could have been James Coburn). A swift repair and onwards to a supermarket stop where coffee and cakes (apple, cinnamon and cherry) were enjoyed. We also rang ahead and booked into Zion River RV and Campground, our most expensive site yet at $43.
Then the uphill started as we slowly moved towards Zion Park, we did see a huge bird of prey with a 5 – 6 foot wingspan, a fully grown golden eagle I think again too fast for my camera arm.
And to finish what better than a cactus ot two.