Zion National Park April 2011 Since I have never ridden in Utah I picked Zion as my destination for a short 2 day trip. I packed up the bike on Tuesday night cleaned and lubed the chain and did an oil change. Got out of the house around 10 A.M. on Wednesday and pointed it north on I-15. It was a beautiful day, though overcast and a little cooler than it had been for a few weeks. Cruising along at 75mph I made it quickly to Mesquite and pulled off to have a smoke and something to drink. It was still overcast but had warmed up and I was feeling good with the liner out of my jacket and my summer gloves on. Got back on I-15, through Arizona and into Utah. Took Hwy 9 east towards Zion and pulled over to fill up and get some cash for the entrance fee. A sign said $25 to drive through and I figured on paying for a campground. Low clearance signs outside of Zion. Pulled up to the entrance gate and read the sign. Was happy to see that motorcycles were half price at only $12 and good for 7 days. Paid the park ranger and got back on the road. Riding through the canyon was amazing. I was surprised that so many people were driving 10+mph over the speed limit. Not sure why you would go to a National park and want to fly through it without really seeing it. I pulled over a few times to let others past. Gave me time to take a few more pictures. Came around a corner and there were some cars stopped in the road. There stood three Bighorn sheep grazing beside the road. I didn't have the GoPro running or my camera in arms distance so didn't get a picture of them. Road on out the east side of Zion where it got much colder and had to stop and put the liner in and get the winter gloves back out. Glad I brought them. I made it to Hwy 89 and pointed it north towards Bryce Canyon thinking I could find a campsite somewhere along the way. There was still snow on the ground and threatening skies so I turned around and headed back south towards Pink Corral Park. The campground was too full for me so I kept going another few miles and turned off. The powder is soft and thick in the area and with my feet out to keep the bike upright I made it to camp. Set up the tent and made some freeze dried Mac N Cheese for dinner. Took a walk after dinner and got a few more pictures before the sun went down. Went to bed and decided to read a little before falling asleep. I had just added Kindle to my phone and bought a copy of Tracks and Horizons by Carlos Caggiani. It is a story of a Uruguayan that road a 1947 Indian over 26 countries from 1964 - 1966. Finally decided to get some sleep and with the temperature dropping, I zipped myself into my mummy bag. After a terrible nights sleep I have now decided it is time to get some new camping equipment as the stuff I have is pretty bad. I had purchased a mat to lay down under my bag and it really is almost as hard as the ground anyway. The tent I have is made for midgets and the mummy bag leaves no room to move. I only use the tent if it is threatening rain or cold so that won't be as important for a few months.So I finally pull myself up and it is cold with cloud cover. I mucked around for awhile and the clouds broke and the sun came out. Finished packing up and got back out to the paved road. Stopped along the way to take a few pictures of the dunes. They didn't look quite as pink today since it was cloudy. Rode down to Mt. Carmel Junction and got some coffee. They had expresso there so I got a cup of mocha. It was one of the better mocha's I have had and it was in some gas station in a small town. I sat down on a guardrail and enjoyed the coffee while sending a few messages to my wife and brother. I wanted to go back through Zion and get some more pictures before turning it south and homeward. I stopped at the entrance gate and was reaching for my park pass when the ranger (same one from yesterday) told me he remembered me and I didn't need to show him the pass. I thanked him and pulled over in the parking area to turn on the GoPro. I set it to take pictures every few seconds and started down the road. Always a good sign on a motorcycle. I was hoping that I would see some more big horn along the road and strangely enough they were in about the same spot as they were the day before. Since I had the camera going I thought I probably got a few pictures of them. Turns out the camera battery had died and wasn't taking pictures. I didn't know this until I entered the tunnel and the red light wasn't blinking anymore. So on the other side of the tunnel I pulled over to change batteries and curse myself for not changing them before I turned it on. Giving the camera the grumpy face. The tunnel that I didn't get pictures of entering. Back on the road to Springdale. Stopped in Huricane for a few minutes and made it over to I-15. Just south of St. George the wind kicked up to the point that I couldn't keep it on the road. The forecast had been for a windy day but this was worse than I thought. I road over to a park in Bloomington and parked. The wind just got worse. I waited around for a few hours while checking the weather information. Vegas had a wind advisory at the time but it was supposed to get better after 5. Late in the afternoon it died down enough to make it down to Mesquite. Not without fearing for my life as trucks and cars flew passed me through the snake river area of northern Arizona. I pulled into a gas station and called the wife who said that the wind was still fierce down there with gusts up to 70mph. On top of that the advisory had been pushed out till midnight. I decided that the smart thing to do was spend the night in Mesquite and hit the road in the morning. When I woke the wind was gone and it hadn't even started raining. I jumped on the bike and hauled for home.