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The Shakedown Ride

As mentioned in the introduction, the original plan for my shakedown ride was to take a ride through Northern Arizona, and particularly the Sedona region. However, there were many fires in the area and we thought it would be best to head towards Southern Utah instead - I've always enjoyed Zion and Bryce, and had never been to Capitol Reef before, so Utah here we come.

 I had picked up the new GS earlier in the week, and dropped it off at my parent's house in Summerlin, a suburb west of Las Vegas, earlier in the week. Pete had picked up his rental Harley, an Ultra Classic, the previous evening. So bright and early Sunday morning, I take a cab from my hotel on the strip, and with Pete following on the Harley, head over to my parent's house. I pack the Vario topcase and sidecases, strap my laptop bag against the topcase, and we're ready to hit the road!

Day 1 - June 25, 2006

Packed and Ready to Ride (Pete's rented Harley in the background)

So we head out on the 215 Beltway, and then catch I-15 North. We reach St. George, and spot the Cracker Barrel on the right-hand side of the freeway - time for breakfast. Pretty busy place, but we get seated and it's time to eat.

Pete and the bikes in the parking lot at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant

After a good breakfast, we hit the road again heading North on I-15. Upon making the turn at Highway 9, I spot Zion Harley-Davidson off the side of the road, and make a stop there. I figure Pete may want to get a shirt (he's got his own Ultra Classic back in Atlanta, and you know how them Harley riders like to collect t-shirts). Of course, I forgot that it's Sunday and the shop is closed, but it's time for a picture anyways.

Window Shopping at Zion Harley-Davidson

Leaving Zion H-D, we only have about 40 more miles to reach the park entrance. I always love the majestic feel of Zion National Park - beautiful canyon walls immersed in red and orange colors. Part of Zion is now off-limits to vehicular traffic, so we took the park bus to see some of the sights.

Zion National Park

 If you want to see more pictures of Zion (sans bikes), click here.

After doing the tourist bus ride up the canyon, we climb on the bikes and head north out of Zion and on our way towards Bryce Canyon. We stop for a few photos before leaving Zion.

Photo Op on the way out of Zion NP

Probably should have taken some pictures going through the tunnels leaving Zion, but we didn't. By this time, it was getting pretty warm, and we were wanting to leave the tourist traffic behind and still had many more miles to ride. It's about 85 miles between Zion and Bryce. They're not all that far apart in distance, but what a difference in geology. We stop at one of the view spots, and of course take a quick picture in the parking lot.

In a Parking Lot at Bryce Canyon National Park

Then it's off to the rim of the canyon to see the sights.

At one of the many view points in Bryce Canyon National Park

To see more pics of the Bryce scenery, click here.

After touring through Bryce, we head back to Highway 12 and then east to Escalante for the night. We rode through town and found the Prospector Inn and Restaurant - clean rooms, inexpensive, restaurant towards the back - perfect. We park the bikes, took showers, and decided to grab some dinner at the restaurant. Then it's time for sleep, because we have many more miles to travel tomorrow.

Parked in front of our rooms at the Prospector Inn

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