Zion to Bryce Canyon Natl. Park

Sunday, May 21, 2006, Cedar City, Utah
What is it they say about 'best laid plans...'? I feel like I should be asking "Do you want the good news or the bad news?" It seems that every diary I write lately has some problem or other that changes or thwarts our plans, sometimes costs us money we hadn't expected to spend and takes us to places we hadn't expected to be. Well, don't expect this report to be any different.
We were planning to leave Zion NP on Thursday, but unfortunately the food we ate on Wednesday night gave Juergen a terrible belly-ache with all the accompanying niceties! So we did indeed leave the National Park to go ½ mile down the road to a private RV park so that we would have hook-ups and I could do our laundry and Juergen could sleep with the air-conditioning on when it got too hot in the middle of the day. This move took us over an hour, rather than the 10 minutes one would have expected, because our truck started to misbehave. When I took off from the campground, depressing the accelerator did nothing and a light came on the dash to say 'check engine'. We tried a few things that had no effect, so I left Juergen half asleep on the passenger seat and went and called the AAA emergency road service (no mobile coverage in National Parks!). This took about 20 minutes and I was informed at the end that someone would be there in about an hour. I walked back to the truck to discover that it had miraculously 'healed' itself! So we drove to the phone and called the AAA to cancel the call-out and then went on to the RV Park. The day passed there as expected - I did the washing and read my book in the shade and Juergen slept!
On Friday we set off for Bryce Canyon as we had planned to on Thursday - after visiting a mechanic to get an opinion on the truck's little problem. But after driving out of the RV Park just using the idle, it suddenly started behaving itself again, and he couldn't really tell us anything.
It was an interesting experience driving through the mile long tunnel, with the feeling that we had it all to ourselves - I guess Juergen didn't quite get that because he could see the cars following us! The scenery coming out of Zion NP after the tunnel was also stunning. Eroding sandstone does produce the most amazing patterns, like the wavy lines hill and the Checkerboard Mesa we stopped to photograph, and numerous others along the way. [Photos in the Zion section]

We left Zion NP and continued on toward Bryce Canyon, through a number of small towns - villages really - and eventually entered the Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest. Red Canyon gives a taste of things to come in Bryce Canyon, but it also has its own character. Once again, eroded sandstone in the most amazing shapes. We entered Bryce Canyon NP, found a campsite (it was Friday, and weekends sometimes fill up quickly) and left again to drive about 25 miles to Panguitch, the next largest town, in order to get a second opinion about our truck's problem and to find a supermarket. The second opinion was a little more knowledgeable than the first, but since the truck was behaving itself, he suggested we spend the weekend in Bryce Canyon as planned and head down to Cedar City on Monday to his partner business run by his son, as he has equipment more suitable to make a diagnosis, although his opinion leaned toward a problem with fuel injection, and that could mean big bucks! So we did what shopping we could in the tiny local supermarket and drove back to Bryce Canyon.

Continuation on > Page 2 > !

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