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National Parks - 2010 Trip - Day 13

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Start Location:  Cedar City, UT
Ending Location: Hurricane, UT
Miles Today: 120
Trip Miles: 3772
States Visited: 8
National Parks Visited: 10
Low Temp: 47.3° F
High Temp:105.4° F
Min Elevation: 2786'
Max Elevation: 6014'

Route Map:


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Today was an interesting day.  Because we needed the new front tire, we got up a little early to head to St. George.  We were on the road by a little after 8:00 and pulled into the dealer by 9:00 AM this morning.  Another traveler had  arrived just before us and they were changing the oil in his ST1300.  He wanted a new tire as well but they didn't have one the right size for his bike.  His name was Rich and we talked for at least an hour while they worked on his bike in between other service appointments.  He was a really nice guy and seemed to know a lot about motorcycles and riding in general and loved to talk about them.  It wasn't until he was about to leave and the service guy started asking him some questions that I found out his name was Rich Schlacter and he was a well known road racer back in the late 70s and early 80s.  In fact he was a Formula 1 champion in '79 and '80.  He's a builder in Connecticut now, had been on the road since the last week of August and wasn't planning to get back until early October.

Anyway, we were out of the dealer by 11:45 with a brand new front tire and a bill for $232.17 not to mention an elevated confidence level.  Since we planned to stay in Hurricane tonight and we had to ride right through there to get to Zion, we stopped on the way and made our reservations so we wouldn't have to worry about the motel filling up. While I was checking in, Linda was checking out all the pamphlets of things to do in the area. Her favorite was "The Polygamy Experience." Tour the world's largest polygamist colony! No joke. It is for real.

We arrived at Zion National park at about 1:00 this afternoon.  The park was very full and they had put signs out saying that both the visitors center parking and the overflow parking were full and that we should park in town (Springdale) and take the shuttle into the park.  Like I mentioned yesterday Zion uses a shuttle system and there are actually 2 loops.  One loop goes between various parking places in town and the visitor center and the second loop stops at all of the popular spots in the park.  We ignored the full signs and found a spot in the overflow lot that only a motorcycle could fit in.  We started at the visitor center and boarded the park loop shuttle.  The first stop was at a human history museum where we watched a 20 minute film about the origin of the park and lots of information about the park and its hsitory.  I won't try to spell it out here since Wikipedia and lots of other sources can probably explain it better than I could.  The buses drop you off at each point and you can hike or just enjoy the scenery and then get on another bus whenever you're ready.  Buses come every 6 to 8 minutes so you never have to wait very long.  This seems to be a good system for such a popular park.  The first time we were here back in the early 80s, you just drove through the park.  The problem is that you are in a narrow canyon so parking places are very limited and there were always traffic jams.  It took forever to get anywhere and then you couldn't stop.

We spent all afternoon riding between stops and taking short hikes at most of them.  One of the interesting and famous ones was Weeping Wall.  Here water drips right from the stone and it appears to be raining.  Most of the stone in the park is Navajo Sandstone and very porous - like a sponge - so it soaks up water when it rains and the water eventually works its way out of the rock.  Because of all the moisture it's also a good example of a hanging garden.  We took lots of pictures and even hiked as far up into the park as you can get.  It was a popular hike and there were lots of people on it.

You're going to have to work on it a little bit to see the pictures this time.  The way the picture tagging works is that a digital picture has EXIF information attached to it with lots of data about the shot.  One of the pieces of information in this data is the time the picture was taken according to the clock in the camera.  The GPS also logs the latitude and longitude and attaches it to a very precise time value in the GPS.  The software places the tags on the map based on the comparison of the two times.  Normally, while we are moving, this works great.  The problem is that bike sat in the same spot all afternoon, so all of the tags are in the same spot and on top of each other.  You can still view the pictures however.  Directly above the map is a drop down box with the file names of all of the pictures.  If you select a name from the box instead of clicking on a tag on the map, you get a thumbnail of the picture and you can click on the thumbnail to see the full picture.  Not as convenient as the tags but it works and it's one of the consequences of the shuttle system.  Maybe next time I'll wear my wrist mounted GPS and merge the two files together.

We got back into Hurricane around 6:00 and it looks like we are heading for Great Basin National Park tomorrow.  This park is in eastern Nevada and it's one we have never been to.  It's also kind of in the middle of nowhere so we have to plan out gas stops and motel lodging carefully.

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