Summer 2016 – Day 11, Zion National Park

The days were flying by too quickly, but we had jammed as much riding, hiking and sightseeing as we could into each one of them. Today was our last day together, and we started it at a wonderful coffee shop right around the corner from our hotel, Willow Canyon Outdoor. It was a combination coffee shop and sporting goods store. What a great idea! With no big box stores anywhere nearby, Kanab is the sort of locale that can support a business such as this. We enjoyed coffee and biscotti and then loaded up to return to Zion National Park.

Willow Canyon Outdoor
Willow Canyon Outdoor

We headed back to Carmel where we stopped for a late breakfast at the wonderfully kitschy Thunderbird Restaurant, Home of the Ho-Made Pies. Supposedly when the restaurant was first started during the Depression, wood was in short supply and they had to abbreviate their tag line to make it fit on the sign. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. We had breakfast but were too full afterwards for pie!

Carmel, UT

From there it was a short ride to the visitor center at Zion. We parked, refilled our water bottles, and waited in line for the tram to take us north on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. We rode it to the end where we disembarked to hike the Riverside Walk. This is a very easy hike that parallels the Virgin River. There were a lot of sightseers but it did not feel crowded. We took our time, enjoying the breathtaking scenery and stopping to observe a mule deer who was very accustomed to people. The water was low and both kids and their parents were enjoying wading in the water.

Then it was back to our hotel in Washington, UT where we had left the rental car and luggage. The next day my wife would return to Salt Lake City to catch a late afternoon flight home, and I would begin my trip back home by returning to Colorado for two more days of cool mountain riding before hitting the flat, hot plains. The middle third of the trip was over.

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Matthew Dragiff

A Goldwing rider from Jacksonville, FL.

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