Sunday, August 7, 2011

(Day 56) Utah, a little Arizona, a lot of desert and finally some trees in Colorado!

The morning began early again.  Not sure what it is with me when I am on the road… I can never sleep in… something tells me it has something to do with the excitement of what I may see in the day that lies ahead.

I awoke well rested.  The air conditioning was a real treat.  It was 35 degrees celsius outside when I went to bed.  It was a splurge, but I could not have seen me falling asleep in a tent at that temperature!

I was glad to be up early as I knew the dawning light on the rock formations I would soon be seeing would be quite amazing.  I was not disappointed.

About 40 minutes down the road I entered the eastern end of Bryce Canyon with one beautiful vista after another.  The light on the canyon walls seemed to make them glisten and come alive – like flowing water.  The variations in the colours of the rock added such contrast to the light show.

By 7:30 the sun was more or less fully in the sky and the light and shadows on the passing canyons was enough to make me just want to stop and enjoy the show.

A panorama shot would have to do.  While my photography skills do not do the area justice I do hope you get the sense of just how beautiful this area is even in spite of the barrenness!!


A few more miles down the road I entered Byce Canyon.  The light on the canyon was dazzling.   Such a contrast to the barren surroundings.  I kept stopping to take pictures.  At this rate I was not going to get very far today!!




Then, in the midst of Bryce Canyon there was Red Canyon... and the colours got that much more spectacular!!







At the Bryce Canyon resort I stopped for breakfast.  It was about 7:30 and I was frozen!  It is cold in them there canyons!!  So hard to believe it was so warm when I went to bed!!  Breakfast filled the belly and the gas tank was fine.  After a few Facebook conversations as I had a second cup of coffee I hit the road again... and the landscape changed yet again!


Open desert.  And then the rock formations began...


At Kanab, AZ I stopped for gas and this little fellow was so cute.  He had a bag of candy and wanted to put it on the counter.  He jumped up and down and could not reach.  I blew my horn and the attendant then saw his little hands just below the counter.  He turns around and smiled at me and waved!  Too cute!  Dad got his two BIG cans of Bud Light and packed them off in the car (it was about 9:30 on a Sunday morning).

As I continued eastward I could not help but laugh at the number of BIG TRUCKS hauling BIG BOATS westward... then it dawned on me... Lake Mead was up ahead.  The traffic was literally nuts as all the weekend folk were headed back wherever they came from.  I did choose to go down along the lakeshore.  Looking at it from a distance was enough for me.

Lake Mead
Words cannot adequately describe the rest of the day.  I will simply let the pictures speak for themselves.  The land is so vast.  So barren.  So beautiful.


Monument Valley
(looking east) 
Monument Valley
(looking east)
Monument Valley 
Monument Valley
(looking west - the road I had just travelled)

Mexican Hat
(note the coloured swirls in the cliffs)
It was about 2:45 when I crossed into Colorado.  I don't know what I expected but I did not expect more of the same.  Welcome to colourful Colorado said the sign.  Didn't look to colourful too me... in fact, it looked more bland then the desert from which I had just come!!



Because of the time and heat I opted not to go to Four Corners.  Instead I made tracks to Cortez, CO where a room was waiting for me at the home of a CouchSurfer, Donna Fitzpatrick.  Donna is a live-in caregiver to seniors in the area and opens her home to CouchSurfers.  Thanks so much for your hospitality Donna.  I enjoyed some time with her dogs and then headed out to supper.

End of the day stats: 712 KM at an average speed of 74KM/H with changes in elevation from 1000+ to 2300+ meters.

  
A great day... on the Sabbath Road...

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