What a day, we started out at over 9,000 feet and under 3 degrees C and finished at around 1,500 feet and 31 degrees C. And what did we see, rocks and more rocks, but they were in various locations and very nicely arranged.
First it was Bryce Canyon National Park, our US$80 pass has been well worth the money but be warned, if someone wants to sell you one or loan you one, we have had to show photo ID at every park at which we've used it. We weren't sure what to expect at Bryce but had been told it was spectacular. And it was but you have to work at it as every view point requires a short walk to get the best views, and on a busy day, be prepared to have problems getting a parking space at the best spots.
The first four view sights are within four miles of the Visitor Center with the rest along the canyon rim with the final one about 18 miles out. Not all these later ones are special but some are so don't do what we almost did and give up after the first couple of less than impressive ones. The first four place you at various points around an amphitheatre containing many stands on rock columns which they call Hoodoos. The later ones are in separate parts of the canyon and show particular spots and features. After a couple of disappointing views and about to leave, a fellow who we spoke to, he thought he had met up with us the day before but had us mixed up with another couple on a similar Goldwing, told us not to miss the others so away we went and he was right, very special sights awaited us. One of these is a large natural arch, a picture of which forms the background of the Utah vehicle number plates.
A tank of fuel and coffee and on the road heading for Zion National Park but before that we encountered Red Canyon. Once again the contrasting colours and rock formation types were apparent with these a very bright reddish-orange. There are a couple of archways cut through the rocks for the road construction as once again those impressive rock mountains and natural sculptures.
Then it was into Zion Canyon National Park, and another $30 saved with the pass. Approaching the park entry we encountered a small group of buffalo, not roaming wild but appearing to be farmed. Not as special but lovely to see a large group together. This park is different having little in the way of sculptures but plenty rock monoliths dwarfing the vehicles going through the park. The route included two tunnels, one a short tunnel and the other considerably longer, no lighting but "windows" in strategic places allow some light to enter and an opportunity for a photographer to get some quick photos.
On to Hurricane then a great ride down off the high plains we had been on all week. With the drop down off the high plain came the heat of the Nevada desert as we approached Las Vegas. With grey hills and a similar coloured surrounding desert seemingly populated by nothing but something that appeared to be some sort of salt bush, I could only wonder what it would be like to live here in the heat and dry on a treeless plain with no trees on the mountains either.
Into Las Vegas and locating our accommodation for the next two nights with ease, we then took a walk down the glitter strip for a look see and dinner at another Outback Steakhouse. Tomorrow will be a look around and relax day in readiness to hit the road again on Saturday.
502 klms today, total to date 14,275 klms.