Leaving Page, AZ, I headed south on Highway 89 to Bitter Springs where I would pick up 89A. The section of 89 just north of Bitter Springs descends along the edge of the mesa toward the valley below. The views were fantastic, but alas, there were no places to pull over for photos. I approached Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge, the graceful arch bridge that spans it. The original bridge is now close to vehicular traffic, but open to pedestrians so it was a nice spot for photos of the gorge and the river below. I met a wildlife photographer who was photographing condors. This was his second day at this location.
Just west of the bridge is a turnoff on the right leading to Lees Ferry, put-in point for Colorado River rafting expeditions. There was a large group of people getting ready to embark on their rafting trip. And again, little did I know that we would return together in less than a week.
I continued west along the southern edge of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, happily racking up the miles. I entered the Kaibab National Forest and the temperature dropped as I gained elevation. I was back in the twisties, and I was enjoying the relaxed riding. Compared to Colorado, this was easy riding. The views in Colorado were postcard perfect, but I felt that I couldn’t really enjoy them because I had to concentrate on the road. Here, the riding was more like the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road peaked at Jacob’s Lake, the turnoff to head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and I began the descent out of the forest. Just before leaving the forest, I stopped at an overlook. A short walk from the parking area brought me to a rustic overlook.
I got gas in Fredonia and then continued on. I picked up 389 through the Kaibab Indian Reservation, crossed the border back into Utah, picked up UT 9 in Hurricane, and rode that last 30 minutes to our hotel in Washington UT. My wife was driving from Salt Lake City and would meet me that evening. I checked in and unloaded and did some searching online to find the nearest UPS store. I had hauled about 50 pounds of camping gear with me on the ride out, but due in part to the heatwave, I did no camping. I also wanted to find a do-it-yourself car wash to clean the bike. Turns out there was a UPS store just two exits down I-15 in St George and there was a car wash about 2 blocks from the UPS store, so I got both errands done.
Back at the hotel, I swam in the pool, dried off in the sun, and just relaxed. The first third of the adventure was behind me.