Beyond Description – Version 2

There was no blog post yesterday.  We went exactly zero miles.  We stayed in and listened to the disaster that was the Indy Colts first game of the year.  We sat in the bar here at the lodge and listened to Bob Lamey using my laptop.  I did manage to get a picture of the lodge that I promised before.  I also included one of our set-up in the lounge for the Colts game (not bad surroundings).

Today we decided to tackle the road we came in on 4 days ago.  It wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  They were working on the rock face at one point so we were stopped for a few minutes but otherwise an uneventful trip into Parowan, Utah.  We were tired of breakfast at the lodge so we were lucky to stumble on to the Parowan Café.  It turned out to be a great find.  The food was good.  The servers was really efficient (even if her voice hurt my ears).  As a fund raiser, a local organization was holding a raffle.  The top prize was a new rifle that was proudly displayed on the wall.  This is my kind of place for sure.  (In this day and age, I’m not sure how many places would display a rifle under any circumstances.)

After 27 cups of coffee, we left the café and headed for Zion National Park.  The speed limit on I-15 through this part of Utah is 80.  It’s funny how quickly I got used to cruising at 80 even in the Queen Mary Express.  In high traffic areas, the speed limit slows to a leisurely 75.  It was right about that point that the QME (Queen Mary Express) couldn’t get slowed in time and passed a local sheriff.  He gave us the eye ball but I slowed and pulled into the right lane as soon as possible.  He went around us very slowly then left us in the dust to get a dump truck that had been ahead of us.  I think the sheriff was dumbfounded that the QME would actually get up to 80.

We rolled on down I-15 to the Harley dealer.  You can never have too many Harley t-shirts. Then on to the entrance to Zion National Park.

You can’t drive through Zion.  You have to park and take the shuttle bus up and back.  I refuse to try to describe the park.  I have included a couple of pictures from the very last shuttle stop at the top of the park.  It’s the stop you go to walk into the “narrows”.  There are a lot of published pictures of the narrows.  Unfortunately to get there you have to walk a mile to the entry then wade into the creek the entire way.  We weren’t equipped to do any serious wading.

On the way back down on the shuttle, multiple phones started sounding the local weather alarm for flash flood warnings in the area.  The bus driver announced that the narrows was closed the rest of the day due to the fast rising water in the creek from local rains.  We would have been at the narrows entrance just about the time they closed it.  Our luck held once again.

We did get to see a really fat squirrel at the last shuttle stop.  I know it’s impolite to call something fat but this guy was obviously living large in more ways than one.  I nicknamed him Mr. Waddles for obvious reasons.  He was very tame and appeared to be good at begging even though signs warned visitors not to feed the wildlife.

The park was crowded.  Most of the crowd were non-English speaking visitors.  This always amazes me.  I think more foreign visitors go to our national parks than US citizens.  I’m glad we’re here.  (We even got to lament about the Colts with a woman on our shuttle bus who was brave enough to wear the horse-shoe emblem.)  The bus driver had all of the roof vents open in the bus.  There were even great views to be had by looking straight up through the roof vents – fantastic!

Before we left the park we needed to get something light to eat.  Across from the parking lot is a commercial area with a market.  We actually walked out of the park and bought some snacks.  We sat at a picnic table adjacent to the market to eat.  I have included a picture to give show how incredible this park is from any position.

Also in this shopping area is the “Locks of Love” gate.  It’s a nice looking metal gate.  Couples hang padlocks on this gate and throw their keys in the river to signify that their love is forever locked.  What a nice sentiment.  I did notice that the gift shop will sell you a padlock in case you didn’t bring your own.  They will also sell you the “upgraded” lock which is engraved with the names of your choice.  I suspect that the gift shop comes out to the gate after closing time and “recycles” the locks (anything for a buck).

We left Zion and headed back to the lodge aboard the QME.  We had to navigate a hail storm on the way.  It’s amazing how fast the weather can change in the mountains.  In the park we had enjoyed temps of upper 70’s and low 80’s.  Within a few miles it was raining and 60.  By the time we topped 10,000 feet the temp was at 43 degrees and we were getting pelted with hail.  We are now safely back at the lodge for our last night before moving on to Arizona.

My word of advice: get to southern Utah and put up with the crowds just so you can see Zion National Park.

Our Utah home for 4 days.

Our Utah home for 4 days.

Listening to Colts game from Utah (sorry it's so dark)

Listening to Colts game from Utah (sorry it’s so dark)

You know you're in a great small town diner when they are having a gun raffle and proudly display it.

You know you’re in a great small town diner when they are having a gun raffle and proudly display it.

The view from the last shuttle stop in Zion.

The view from the last shuttle stop in Zion.

The trail to the narrows.

The trail to the narrows.

I called him Waddles - he didn't appear to be underfed.

I called him Waddles – he didn’t appear to be underfed.

View through the roof vent of the shuttle bus.

View through the roof vent of the shuttle bus.

The view from our lunch picnic table - WOW!!!

The view from our lunch picnic table – WOW!!!

Locks of Love.

Locks of Love.

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