Friday, June 29, 2007

North Rim and Zion

Two beautiful parks today. We left Page, Az this morning and rode towards the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The weather was great--not hot; not cold. Perfect. Of course, it was 8:30 am, so the heat had not started yet.

The two Suzuki dealerships I had located via the Internet the night before opened at 9:00 am. So, once we left town, the cell phone coverage stopped pretty quickly. At Bitter Springs, we stopped so I could check into dealing with my very sick chain.

The first dealer I called, in Cedar City Utah initially thought he had a chain to fit. But after checking, informed me that he didn't have one.

The second dealer, in Ricfield, also didn't have a chain, but said he could have one by tomorrow afternoon. I inquired about getting sprockets as well, and after checking, told me that he could get the front sprocket as well, but not the rear sprocket--except by air freight. I asked about the extra cost to air freight one, and he told me it would probably be about $30 extra. Because a new chain on old sprockets wears out very fast, I decided to pay the extra so I wouldn't need to worry about it again for another 15K or so miles. He checked with the service manager as to whether or not they could do the work tomorrow afternoon. He came back on the phone and said they would be able to do it. Hooray--there should be no breakdowns now. With Richfield less than 200 miles away, I feel home-free!

The phone calls took about 30 minutes and then we rode hard towards the North Rim.

It was great. I like it better than the South Rim because it is not as busy or crowded or developed. The views are equal. The lodging at the small village is quaint--lots of log cabins of different configurations for different needs. I liked the place a lot.

Then north towards Zion National Park. As it was getting later, we decided to stop at Mt. Carmel Junction to get a room. Got one that was perfect--you can park the bikes at the door of the room. Makes it so much easier to deal with carrying things into the room. The room also has Internet; hence this is being posted on the current night. As a bonus, the food I had for dinner was the best of the trip--a pasta dish that was very good! (Best Western).

Zion was beautiful. The road to the park was good--saw some buffalo along the way. The park road was fun--twisty and fairly tight at places. As a bonus, there were 2 tunnels-one short one, and one that was 1.1 miles long and twisty. FUN! Also, there was one area of multiple switchbacks that reminded me a lot of the Alps two summers ago. The riding in the park was fun.

Saw deer, turkeys, and mountain sheep. The sheep were awesome; they were walking on the side of a rock--how, I don't know. There was a ledge about 3 inches wide that they were walking on. Amazing!

The only downer in Zion was that we couldn't ride our bikes up the canyon. Shuttle busses are the only way to go up the canyon. So, the scenes were blocked by the bus. Oh well....

A good day. Most of the day we had good temperatures, with heat only in the afternoon on the ride down the hill from the North Rim to the hotel. We wet the vests for the ride from the hotel to Zion-a good move.

Tomorrow Bryce Canyon and new chain and sprockets.

Today was 320 miles.

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