Zion National Park is a place everyone should visit once.
[simage=42,320,n,right,]Originally settled by Mormon farmers, they named it Kolob – the heavenly place nearest the residence of God. They must have felt the same thing I did. It’s a magnificent park and very worthy of the “National” title. If you don’t believe in God, visit this place and try to tell me it’s the result of some earthly manipulations.
We are staying in the Canyon Ranch Motel just outside of the South entrance to the park. Surrounded by Zion’s mountains. I am sitting outside watching the dark and a thunderstorm move towards us. The lightening dances around the tops of the peaks, my own personal light show created by the One who creates all things. A chilly wind blows over my neck. I’m enjoying my evening bourbon, thinking about what today was like.
[simage=34,320,n,left,]We started early this morning, a short run from Bluff to Mexican Hat for a damn good breakfast at the San Juan Inn and Trading Post. From there we rode through the awesomeness known as Monument Valley. It’s roughly a 25 mile straight road, the only curves being the ones that go around some of the monuments. If you’ve ever watched a John Wayne movie you’ve seen parts of Monument Valley. If you ever watched Road Runner, you’ve seen it in cartoon form.
The ride through Monument Valley put us in Arizona and we stopped in Kayenta for gas. From there we headed west for a couple of hours. We were flanked on our right side by miles and miles of red cliffs. [simage=35,320,n,left,][simage=37,320,n,left,]We past more monuments and encountered a bit of rain. We rode past the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area which includes Lake Powell, the second largest man made lake in the US behind Lake Mead. We crossed the Rainbow Bridge and was back in Utah. The landscape changed and we were back in the mountains and canyons.
We stopped in Kanab for lunch around 2:30. Kanab bills itself as “Little Hollywood” as there have been several movies filmed here. We ate at the Rewind Diner. Outside on the street there was plaque dedicated to Don Knotts and his starring role in the “Apple Dumpling Gang”.
[simage=38,320,n,right,][simage=39,320,n,right,]A short 30 minute ride put us at the North Gate of Zion. I like the way that sounds. We paid our money and started our ride through the canyon. As I said earlier, the place is magnificent! Every turn brings us to a new vista, a new way to look at the world. We pulled over to take it all in and a gentleman walked over to us. He had his camera out and pointed out a ram on top of this cliff just above us. We watched the goat a few minutes and then continued on our way across the park. Zion has two tunnels. We got the short one first and rolled through it. A few miles later we came to the long one. The Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel is 1.1 miles long and there aren’t any lights in it. It’s burrowed through one of the mountains and every so often there is a window open to a glorius view. It’s also narrow, so if you want to drive your RV through it, you have to pay an extra $15 to get a lead through. What that means is that they have to stop cars from entering the opposite end so you can pull your oversize vehicle through it. Regardless, in a 1.1 mile tunnel, Ruby causes quite a stir. The pipes aren’t real loud, but they have a deep resounance which get’s amplified in the tunnel. I’m not sure the people behind me enjoyed it as much as I did.
We exited the tunnel to find the road construction. They had taken up the old asphalt and were laying down new. Evidently we caught them on the day between as we had wet packed dirt to drive down the mountain on. I had to slow way down and thread our route trying to stay on the dry area of the dirt. This didn’t endear me to the people behind me anymore than the pipes in the tunnel. I took the first pull out I could find and let them all pass. We made it on to the asphalt without incident and passed out the south exit of Zion. We are staying here again tomorrow so that we can experience more of Zion. Friday we head for Las Vegas, NV.