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Published: September 16th 2015
MONUMENT VALLEY to NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT Section 5 CANYONLANDS STAGE 54 Distance Kms 89.57 kms; Total Dist to Date 6003 kms; Road
Condition: mostly good; Weather warm-hot day. Time in Saddle: 4.09 hrs Speed: av 21.5 kph. Max speed 47.5 kph Av Cadence 73 rpm Elevation: 960m up; Total up to Date 55,170m; 355m down; down to date 47,221m
Woke with yesterday's headache, but luckily it wore off after an hour on the road.
The Arizona border was .5 km from the entrance to the Monument Valley campground. My 6th US state in 3 weeks. Also clocked up over 6,000 kms today and over 55,000 metres in climbing.
The scenery was again spectacular, the monuments of Monument Valley before lunch and the Canyons and Mesas of the tribes of the Navajo after lunch. The colours were stunning, although I don't know how they will come out in a photo.
The National Navajo Monument was interesting and had displays of how they lived. They developed a sweat box like an igloo, packed the floor with hot coals, hung a wet blanket across the entrance. After the coals had died down, they would crawl inside and
sweat out the dirt. Much like a Finnish sauna. They also had a weapon for killing rabbits, much like a boomerang in shape but thicker and heavier. There was an interesting 2km trail which led down to a lookout with views to a massive amphitheatre eroded out of rock, which housed an ancient 12 century Pueblo village.
The camp is a bush camp, set high in the canyons, rustic and appealing. Found a space out of the direct sunlight. Another hot afternoon.
NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT to TUBA CITY Section 5 CANYONLANDS STAGE 55 Distance Kms 102.93 kms; Total Dist to Date 6106 kms; Road
Condition: mostly good; Weather warm-hot day. Time in Saddle: 3.29 hrs Speed: av 29.5 kph. Max speed 47.5 kph Av Cadence 74 rpm Elevation: 350m up; Total up to Date 55,520m; 1200m down; down to date 48,441m.
Its getting much darker in the early, 5.30 am, get up time. Need to be very organised with working in the dark. Breakfast is at 7 am, then on the road. Cool early, but as it rises to HOT temps 90 minutes later, better to endure the cool rather than wear the backpack.
Today was a fast ride, my best day average. No wind, road straight and only mild elevation and climbing. Lunch at 9.30, camp at 11.30, then set up tent, only 4 hours after pulling it down. I wont miss this!
Tuba City is dull. It Might be the commercial centre of the Navajo if i could get some information. Went to the Navajo museum, but it is closed for the entire months of September and December. No explanation.
After setting up camp we were hit by a sand storm and i had only just swept Out my tent. Luckily we weren't on route. Would have needed to stop as it was quite intense.
Tomorrow we ride into the Grand Canyon which i am looking forward to. The sights throughout mainland US have been stunning. I understand that from the GC to the border, the scenery is bland, but I'll soon find out!!
TUBA CITY to GRAND CANYON Section 5 CANYONLANDS STAGE 56 Distance Kms 152.36 kms; Total Dist to Date 6258 kms; Road
Condition: mostly good; Weather rain on rising ( and much of night)
warm day. Time in Saddle: 7.09 hrs Speed: av 21.3 kph. Max speed 56.4 kph Av Cadence 71 rpm Elevation: 1650m up; Total up to Date 57,170m; 450m down; down to date 48,891m.
We had another dust storm at dinner time, red dust was thick in the air and coated the tent and anything outside. Luckily i had zippered the tent and fly, but still some dust got inside. Then at about 10pm showers started turning the dust to mud. At 5am rain started and lasted intermittently until departure. It certainly is fun collapsing a wet tent and packing it in the rain, only improved by red mud!!
The ride to the Grand Canyons entrance was reasonable, about 900 metres of climbing, the scenery was high plains desert. Upon entering the park ($15) i was expecting a reasonably constant elevation. However it rose another 6-700 metres making it hard work. There were numerous viewing spots and the canyon views were awe inspiring. At its depth at the Colorado River, they have aged the rock at between 700-1200 million years old. The rock strata was of many rustic tones and in the varying light looked
marvellous. It was a special moment. As i have said previously there are some dramatic landscapes in the USA.
I stopped frequently to admire the views. There weren't as many tourists as i expected, probably because schools have resumed after the summer break. The elevation here is quite high, about 6,000 feet and with a breeze is a little chilly.
A beautiful blue sky evening. Even a few birds chirping. Another bush camp. However nearby are some splendid looking hotels. Oh well tomorrow night maybe!!!
GRAND CANYON to FLAGSTAFF Section 5 CANYONLANDS STAGE 57 Distance Kms 117.56 kms; Total Dist to Date 6376 kms; Road
Condition: mostly good; Weather Cooler day,blustery cross winds, then after lunch strong headwinds. Time in Saddle: 5.41 hrs Speed: av 20.6 kph. Max speed 45.9 kph Av Cadence 68 rpm Elevation: 1160m up; Total up to Date 58,270m 700m down; down to date 49,591m
Today was a day of high (8,000feet) cycling. Nothing unusual in the scenery, but a coyote crossed the road about 20 m in front of me, running fast away from me thank goodness. Also saw a dead roadrunner in good shape. Very strong looking legs!
The headwinds were at 35-45 kph, and were tiring, perhaps even more so after yesterdays big ride. Just out of Flagstaff is a village of Snowbowl, with ski lifts, ski trails and resorts. Apparently this area of Arizona has the fourth highest snowfall in the USA. Who new, I thought it was a hot state!!
Quite like the feel of Flagstaff, fairly modern looking, an old town, lots of malls on the downtown perimeter, an amazing array of fast food establishments, all with drive thru'. The US' cities all have lots of glitz, malls and fast food. This city is a university town with a campus of about 26,000 students ( maybe accounts for so much fast food), and also has a large homeless population.
Last night whilst eating pizza and a PABST 20oz can, I browsed through a real estate booklet, property ranged from about USD 200k for a small home to about USD 1.1 million for a substantial mansion many with 12 car garages!
FLAGSTAFF REST DAY.
Ate breakfast of pancakes and coffee, all from automated machines where you push a button and wait. Food tasted as you would expect when automated. I prefer the human element!
Wandered the town this morning confirming my superficial that the city looks pleasant. Unfortunately i left at 9am, but the downtown only starts to open about 11.30 so will head back after i service the bike.
Amazed at how many outdoors shops there are here and the amazing array of goods, which we just don't see at the GC/Brisbane, most at pretty reasonable prices.
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