Sunday, May 21, 2006, Cedar City, Utah
We arrived in Cedar City and found Royal Express Transmission, where we were planning to get our truck fixed tomorrow and also found that there was room to park the truck there and spend the night. Since the problem always occurred when the truck was cold, we thought this would make the diagnosis easier. We didn't really want to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening there so we drove on through on Main Street and found an Albertson's - our supermarket of choice - and proceeded to fill our rather empty fridge and cupboards. We then went back to a beautiful park we had passed in the middle of town and parked and cooked dinner and relaxed a bit before heading back to the workshop to park and sleep. It was a beautiful balmy evening and the park was green and lush with lots of trees - the perfect place to unwind after the early stress of driving 15 miles at an average of 7 miles/hour.
Monday, May 22, 2006, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah
Yes, the date is correct - it is not December 22, but today we drove through snow! Not through old snow on the ground like the other days, but snow falling and even staying on the ground. We were at nearly 10 000 feet and it had been raining most of the day in Cedar City which is at 5 600, so I suppose it snowed most of that time up on the mountain. We were travelling once again through Dixie National Forest from Cedar City over to Highway 89 which will eventually take us to the Grand Canyon. As we reached the summit the road was actually icy which caused us both a bit of concern, but as we passed the intersection with the road to Cedar Breaks, it cleared very quickly and it wasn't long before we left the snow behind. But what an unexpected experience that was.
We had spent the day in Cedar City waiting for our car repairs. Early this morning we got up and got ready so that when the owner, Chris Mock, arrived we would be ready for him. He didn't seem at all perturbed by the fact that we were camping in his 'backyard'. He had a quick look and gave the opinion that he thought it was some sort of sensor connected with the accelerator. I think we breathed a sigh of relief that it could be that simple. We had to wait a couple of hours while his workers finished some other jobs and then it went up on the hoist. It was indeed the sensor, but when he checked for the part we all discovered that you can't just replace the sensor, but have to buy a whole new unit. The cost [$700+] was almost as much as if it had been the fuel injectors! While he was at it we had the rear brakes repaired - we had known for a while that they needed attention. While they were working on the truck, he lent us a car so that we could go and do some necessary shopping and the job was complete by soon after 3.00.
I must say that the service from Chris and his employees at Royal Express Transmission were very helpful and provided us with the quickest service they possibly could have. We would recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in this area of southern Utah with some sort of vehicle problem. I was most appreciative of the way he worked us into his busy schedule so that we could be on our way as soon as possible.
So we headed out of town on our way to the Grand Canyon and decided to take a small side trip here to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. We caught a peek on our way in but will take a better look tomorrow. Now it is a little late and a little cold but I can still hear people out there on their OHVs - off highway vehicles (dune buggies to the uninitiated like me!). Hopefully there is an opportunity to see the dunes in a place not being torn up by these things!
Tuesday, May 23, 2006, Grand Canyon, North Rim, AZ
The Sand Dunes were very beautiful and we were up early enough that the dune buggy drivers weren't quite out there yet. The colour is amazing and they seem to go on and on. The very red sand on the roadside as we drove out toward Highway 89 reminded us both of the countryside in Australia - except that the pine trees growing out of it weren't really right! And then we were on our way to see one of the seven natural wonders of the world - the Grand Canyon.