22.09.16. Cedar City, Utah to Torrey, Utah. Day 94
It has been one of those days that completely exceeded our expectations.
This was mainly due to the cold weather front that was all across Utah, Arizona and Nevada, apparently the tail end of a hurricane.
We left Cedar City, and took Highway 14 through roads that were immediately stunning, taking us winding through autumnal trees as we climbed higher and higher. Within, 20 minutes we were in thick fog as we cruised up to the summit, and the temperature had plummeted right down to 6 degrees Celsius. Very chilly indeed, and sadly not a lot to see.
However, as we climbed back down, and finally reached our turn off the temperature had begun to rise again. We stopped to warm ourselves with Hot Chocolate before heading on to Scenic Byway, All-American Road number 12, which was our route to Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon was another chilly experience, a little misty, but still thoroughly enjoyable, to stop and take in the stunning views over the 18 mile long collection of amphitheatres, ending in a huge semi-circular viewing platform It has very distinctive structure caused by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed. The rim of the Canyon is as high as 9,000 feet in places.
After the visit, we stopped for fuel and a spot of lunch and Paul told me we would be using Highway 12 to make our way to Torrey, our stop for tonight. It was about 110 miles away, and as it was so cold, I told him I was looking forward to getting there.
Little did we know what awaited us on Highway 12. This road turned out to be the very best that we have ridden in our three months on the road. It was pretty good along to a place called Escalante, 46 miles on from Bryce Canyon. Escalante is home to a National Monument called the Grand Staircase. We stopped to stretch our legs here, and a guy on a Yamaha Super Tenere pulled alongside to ask if we would be riding the Hell’s Backbone. He told us it was a dirt road, so sadly, no, as we’re trying to preserve wear and tear on the bike, which was a bit disappointing.
Our disappointment soon disappeared though as shortly after Escalante came the most spectacular scenery, corner after corner of great roads, lined with the most magnificent rock structures 360 degrees around us, and for as far as the eye could see. We climbed higher again, 8,000 feet and above, and just could not believe our eyes, with the breath-taking magnificence of it all.
Interestingly, when we arrived at the Broken Spur Inn, our stop for the night, when Paul checked in and told the Manager we had come on Highway 12, he seemed surprised. We think it’s probably a well kept secret by the Utahns.