About an hour after leaving Page, the road opens out revealing more massive rock formations and dusty dry plains. We pass through Marble Canyon and the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument on route to Jacobs lake.
It was on one of these roads that we came across an 18 wheeler jacknifed in the middle of the road, some Japanese tourists had hit the brakes in front of the truck while slowing to admire the view. The truck had pushed their car off the road then jackknifed. The state troopers were now on the scene and waiting on the tow truck. Thankfully they waved us through as there was just enough room to get by.
After reaching Jacobs Lake we turn off to enter the Grand Canyon National Park, the road to the canyon is about 45 miles long and is twisty and well surfaced. Around us are the blackened stumps that were once trees before this area was hit with wild fires.
Once at the Canyon we park up and walk down for our first look at the big hole, before walking along the edge to take it all in.
I then get brave and walk out to the remote viewing platform and Em gets this pic from the main building.
If we are honest the Canyon is not as grand as we had expected, but we will reserve judgement as we plan to view it from the south rim later in the trip.
Leaving the park, we head back towards Jacobs Lake but once again our planned campsite looks very bleak, so we commit to reaching our second option which is a campground in Cedar City.
This means crossing back North West into Utah and despite our best efforts to avoid it, another hour of night riding. However the campground at Cedar City proves to be worth the journey and we decide to stay for a few nights.
This is probably the best campground we have stayed in so far and we have a cosy cabin near the main facilities. The main shower block is very upmarket with black tiles and chrome fixings, they play Country music all day and night in there, which I have to say is very relaxing and a great idea! I spend a good hour having a shower here in the mornings! I also get chatting to the lady who cleans the showers (guess I was in there alot!), Maria is from Mexico and speaks no English at all, so this is the perfect time to try out my Spanish. She seems quite impressed and says my Spanish is very good. I tell her about the trip, she replies that I must be rich to not work for a year. Thinking she means I must be loaded, I say 'no I'm not rich at all', she then tells me how much she gets paid ($7 a day).
After the conversation ends I feel very embarassed as clearly I am rich in her eyes - I have a house, a well paid job, food on the table, money to spend on travelling, a motorbike etc. It is amazing how travelling makes you realise how very lucky you are.
Having a base for a few days allows me to service the bike and fit the new rear tyre that we have been carrying while Em researchs the next part of the trip utilising the campgrounds free WiFi.
This stop is a good one and I manage to get our laundry sorted too while Darren is busy on the bike. The oil change proves to be abit of a challenge as we need a special part to remove the oil filter, after getting Darren to the local autoparts store via a taxi, he comes back with a $1.99 filter cap recommended by some truckers he met there. It is a perfect fit and does the job. After some research on the internet we find that BMW sell a filter cap tool for about $99! That evening is a late one and I order us pizza for our tea, which gets delivered to the campground.
Before leaving the campground the next day, I place a small present and note in Spanish for Maria to find once we are gone. We head off on the interstate which is very windy and nearly blows us over at some traffic lights just 10 mins into this journey.
The GPS again leads us south away from Cedar City, passing back into Arizona for a while before crosing into Nevada and the town of Mesquite. After a few hours we see Las Vegas come into view like a mirage in the desert, we plan to stop in Vegas in a few weeks time, but for now we just bypass the City while heading for Indian Springs.
On the outskirts of Vegas the fuel light came on and seeing as we were in the middle of the desert I did not want to risk us making Indian Springs with what fuel we have, so we turned around and headed into the outskirts of Vegas to fill up. If in doubt never pass a fuel stop!
Its getting close to lunchtime now and you can really feel the heat, even at speed, all the vents are open on our clothing as we pass through towns that seem to be in the middle of nowhere.
Indian Springs offered no accommodation, neither did Amargosa Valley a few hours further, it was a long hot day when we finally secured accommodation in Beatty, but at least its still daylight!
After getting cleaned up, we walk over to the local Casino (really) and eat in the Cafe there, the walk back to the motel takes us past a massive sweet shop - so Em is happy. We spend a good hour in the sweet shop getting munchies for the next few days.
Darren also failed to mention that I am happy here because it's hot!
We wake the next day and begin to prepare for the days journey, we are crossing Death Valley so precautions have to be made. With extra water on board, bike thouroughly checked and with us covered in suncream, we set off.
Posted by Darren Homer at December 10, 2007 02:37 AM GMT
The temperature is in the very high 80's as we ride through the outskirts of the dessert crossing from Nevada into California as we do so, the views are impaired by the shimmering heat haze.
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