After sleeping, I felt much more confident on the dirt road. The
mountainous part of this road was actually one of the most fun unpaved
roads on this trip.|
I took an amazing road from UT-14 near Cedar City to UT-9 near La
Verkin. This was by far the most amazingly scenic road that I took on
the trip. The first 10 miles were paved, winding back and forth almost
straight up a cliff overlooking a valley. It climbed from around 4000
to around 8000 feet, and at the top you could look down and see the
entire valley and the mountains on the other side, maybe 50 miles
The second stage of this road was around 30 miles long, unpaved, and 8000-9000 ft in elevation. It was all rolling hills, and the pavement was awesome hard packed dirt with very few rocky or gravelley sections. I finally started to get confident turning on unpaved roads. This brief section of altitude also brought some relief from the sweltering heat of the desert.
The thrid stage of this road was paved and went through Zion national park, dropping me from 9000 down to 4000 ft elevation. The views were amazing -- they took my breath away. Pictures can't even begin to do justice to the majestic panoramic scenery, but I've included a few anyway.
If you're planning a trip in the area, I can't recommend this road highly enough. It rules!
After recovering from the last beautiful road, I started out on a
60-mile unpaved road across the desert to get to Tuweep Overlook (also
called Toroweap) in the Grand Canyon. This overlook and campsite can
only be reached by 60 miles of unpaved road, but I had read that the
views are the best in the Grand Canyon, and its remoteness promised that
it wouldn't be overcrowded. I was not disappointed. But getting there
cost me: there was a 70-foot section of road that had literally been
turned to dust. The 4-8 inches of dust covered ruts in the road up to a
foot deep. Amazingly, I made it to within 10 feet of safety, only to
fall into a deep rut and be thrown off at around 30 mph. Luckily I
escaped with only a mild headache, and my bike made off with a bent
The campsite at this overlook was sweet! There was an enormous rock
overhanging my site, and I took the opportunity to sleep under the
stars, tentless for my first time. While I didn't sleep very well, it
was definitely a novel experience, one that I hope to repeat. This was
also the only developed campground that I stayed at on this trip.
Thankfully there was only one other group camping here.|
The next morning I went to the overlook and took some pictures. The
views were spectacular -- I looked over the edge of the grand canyon,
over 4000 feet straight down to the colorado river below. Just looking
down turned my stomach -- one wrong move and you'd fall to certain