Leaving Zion feeling rested and accomplished we ride farther on our journey. We focus and have Bryce Canyon on our minds as our next major destination. We finished the Grand Canyon Adventure Cycling map in Cedar City then continued east on the Western Express bicycle route.
With each peddle stroke we become stronger. Mentally and physically. Climbing hills with our heads down and the mantra “I know I can” running through our heads. At times getting off our bikes and pushing them up the steep and scenic passes makes us feel more connected to the road we travel on. As trucks and cars zoom by devouring the roads, we savor every last inch.
We know every crack in the road, every pot hole, every turn out. We notice when the repair job wasn’t done properly. We see all of the rodents who did not survive the divide in their habitat, and the ones who scurry by just in time. We smell the fresh pine trees blossoming for the season. Riding from high desert valleys into snow covered mountain ranges on a daily basis, we are very aware of the elevation.
Waking up about an hour before sunrise using the birds as our alarm clock, we look up once more to the endless sparkle in the sky, and prepare ourselves for dawn.
We have become very efficient at packing up camp and getting a head start on the heat. As light begins to brighten the night sky, we thank the ground that we used as our temporary home, and jump back on our true homes for another day of testing how strong our minds will allow our bodies to be.
An hour after we begin, we break for breakfast. Breakfast usually consists of a couple handful of almonds, dried cranberries, cliff bars, and peanut butter. If we are lucky, we have a V8 fusion and/or fresh fruit to top us off as we hurry to take advantage of the cool but ever warming day. We ride and stop frequently for photo ops, to take off a the layer of clothes needed in the morning, to share a passing thought, or because we just want to enjoy where we are.
Depending on the terrain, we usually cycle about 30 miles before we break for lunch. We break out the bread and make ourselves sandwiches, ranging from peanut butter and honey to jam packed veggie delights. Accompanied by one or all of chips, olives, pine nuts, fresh, dried, and/or canned fruit; we eat so much, we hardly have anything to put back into our bags.
We allow our stomachs just enough time to digest the food before we begin the home stretch for the day. Ranging between 30-40 miles we finish the cycling portion of the day around 1pm. If we must go farther, between 50-80 miles, we take an extended lunch break of 2-5 hrs, and usually roll into camp between 5-7.
As the summer approaches, and our ride takes us north, we have plenty of time to set up camp before the last glimmer of light falls over the mountains. We set up camp systematically so we can begin to relax.
We are happy to share that we have made it to Bryce Canyon! Southern Utah is scarcely populated and the pristine condition of the landscape proves this to be true. Every turn leads to another wondrous rock formation more breathtaking than the last. The bright blue skies with the puffy cumulus clouds overhead reflecting their light on the oxidized iron rocks create a magnificent combination.
Tonight we have been invited to a cookout where there will be dancing, live music, and, of course, a gun show! We look forward to getting to know some of the locals and how they live their lives.
Until next time, keep on trucking. And shooting your guns. AMmerica!!!