Ely, NV to Page, AZ
This was the hottest, toughest day of the trip so far, but had some truly amazing scenery. For everything worth having there is a price.
The day started with a continental breakfast at Evah’s that was so-so. Then I discovered the touch screen on my GPS stopped working so I could no longer plot routes. It still showed my current location, speed and elevation, but I had to navigate the old fashioned way for the rest of the trip.
I headed south on highway 93 and got gas at a junction near the Utah border. Two presumably Mormon women in traditional dresses and hair styles stopped in a brand new Volkswagen SUV and got out to clean the windshield. They were absolutely beautiful but had sour expressions on their faces.
I made it into Cedar City, Utah and stopped for gas at a Sinclair station, then ate lunch at the Subway next door. A businessman in a suit chatted with me about my bike and trip as we waited in line, and he told me the scenery in Colorado would blow my mind.
I tried to take scenic route 14 east out of town but a few miles up the road was a blockade saying the road was closed. I saw a local drive around the signs and continue up the road but I didn’t want to take any chances so I pulled over and figured out a detour using my printed AAA map. It required that I head south on I-15, then pass through Zion National Park.
The temperature was climbing fast and so was the traffic on the super slab. Pushing high speeds doesn’t impress me and it uses up tires and oil, something I wanted to be cautious about on this trip, so I maintained a reasonable speed. At one point a roadrunner dashes across the hot freeway in front of me. Meep meep!
I pulled off the freeway at the exit for Zion, then paid $12 to go through the park. The canyon walls truly made me say, “Oh, $hit!” inside my helmet after every turn. It barely looked real. After climbing some hairpin switchbacks, the road enters a tunnel. The eastbound traffic had to stop and wait for a large RV to come out of the tunnel. As I was sitting there sweltering in my helmet and gear, I chatted with the ranger lady flagging traffic. She said she had just measured the ambient air temperature at 120 degrees. Yikes!
Eventually we were allowed to proceed through the tunnel. There are several windows cut out of the rock and into the open canyon air.
I eventually made it south and across the border into Arizona to the resort town of Page, near Lake Powell. It was hot and I was parched. Because my GPS was on the fritz, I had to ride around the loop through the entire town before I found the Super 8. The front desk staff were not very friendly but my room was cool and large and I was out of the heat. The nearest restaurant was a pizza joint about a quarter of a mile away across a Home Depot parking lot. The chef salad and beer were good, though.