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Old 07-02-2012, 05:51 PM   #71
guitarhack OP
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Columbia, SC
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Day 11, part 1

Sunday, June 10th
Mileage: ~ 375

Map Source lists today as roughly 375 miles, and 7 hours and 15 minutes driving time. We should have split the day up into two days - as there was so much to see.

My pre-trip planning had us driving though Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef, before landing in Moab for the night. I didn't count on a few other sights to see. The result of my oversight was a VERY long day and 300+ pictures. ...and I loved every minute of it. The family... meh, they did too, but I wore them out.

Hey look! I think I figured out how to get pics of maps! This is where we are going today:

One of the things we got into the habit of doing on the trip was spending a few minutes talking to the hotel staff. Be it places to eat, places to see, roads to take - they usually had good advice. Today was no exception. We mentioned that we were going to Bryce Canyon and the guy at the desk told us of a road closure, and a detour that would take us to Cedar Breaks - which we had never heard of. But what the heck - if it's on the way...

Our detour took us immediately onto the highway (contrary to the mechanic's advice) and up a few miles before we started cutting across the mountain range on some fun roads. To be honest, I am not sure where these next two pics were taken, and neither do you, so let's pretend they were taken where I am talking about. After all... I like them.

Quick break in the action...

As you know (if you have read this RR to this point), my chain has been giving me fits now for days. It put a real damper on the riding. Today I am riding with a new chain, and stock-sized sprockets. The last time I changed my sprockets out, I went down two teeth on the rear sprocket - thinking it would make interstate riding a little less high-revving. It did. In doing this, I knew there would be a trade-off in acceleration, but was OK with it. Honestly, I never noticed the acceleration decline - until now.

With the smooth-running chain, and two tooth gain in the rear sprocket, the bike was SWEET. I really don't know how to describe it. The difference was VERY noticeable and I was LOVING IT! I still am. I rode up in North Georgia mountains yesterday and had an absolute BLAST. The bikes new-found (or should I say newly-recovered) performance would have made the day exceptional on it's own merits, but the scenery - that went on and on and on - made the day truly unforgettable.

Anyway, back to the story. Thanks to the hotel's desk clerk, we were routed by Cedar Breaks. While flying along, I almost missed stopping - but caught a quick glimpses from the saddle and had to stop.

It was just the coolest. After looking at map later, I think we missed a good bit of the park. Oh well... another reason for a return trip.

The impromptu stop really paid off and I learned a quick lesson: if you see something interesting, schedule be damned... stop and look around! That lesson paid off a little later in the day. More on that later.

Soon after hitting the Breaks (pardon the pun) we hung a left and started heading east. We entered and exited the Dixie National Forrest several times during the day. Being from Georgia, it made us feel at home.

It was one more, in a long line of unexpected cool sights for the day.

And I am thinking, "Really, this is Utah?"

Where are the salt-flats? Where are the circling buzzards? Where is the dry, featureless desolation?

This place is freaking gorgeous!

And then Red Canyon snuck up on us.

I at least knew OF Red Canyon, but it really wasn't on my radar. I just figured it was another valley with a red tinge to it. Talk about underestimating it...

Red Canyon is amazing. (Note, I realize I am repeating myself. I am running out of superlatives for southern Utah. Sorry, it's not my fault - it's Utah's)

Enough of my inadequate words. Hope you can just enjoy the pics. The place blew me away.

...and the requisite bike shot

After all of this sensory overload, we stop to get Subway sandwiches for the cooler (for lunch later) and headed for Bryce Canyon.

The weather is near perfect, the roads are a ton of fun, and the scenery is as good as it gets. ...and the day is just beginning.

guitarhack screwed with this post 07-02-2012 at 07:28 PM
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