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  • Writer's pictureGareth Owens

Route 66 - Day 17 - Page, AZ to Las Vegas, NV

The stunning scenery and bendy roads of Zion National Park - biking heaven

Google mileage: 275

Actual mileage: 313 Total trip miles: 2565

We set off from Page, AZ and passed Lake Powell, where we'd had drinks the night before. Within 15 minutes we were over the border into Utah (our eighth state on the road trip so far). The day was bright with sunshine and clouds, a perfect morning for riding through the desert.

Utah - road trip state number eight

We filled up the bikes in the little town of Kanab, about 75 miles into the trip and then rode on 30 miles to the Zion National Park entrance. As we approached the park we started to drive through meadows, woods and rolling hills. It was nice to be out of the desert for a while. We even pulled over to watch a herd of buffalo for a few minutes as they worked their way across a field.

Some new wildlife to add to the road trip list

As we entered Zion and paid the park entrance fee it dawned on us that we probably should have bought a national parks pass for our trip, but as we had already gone through a number of parks (and hadn't kept the receipts) it was too late now. Park entrance fees were a significant expense on the trip after our bike hire, hotels, food, beer and petrol (though not necessarily in that order).

Zion National Park, UT

As soon as we passed through the entrance we rode into what felt like another world. A tight, twisty and perfect laid road wound it's way around and over massive rocks undulating and rolling through a weird red sandstone landscape. The posted limits are extremely low in the park, but it would be a great place for some 'spirited riding' on a sports bike.

Riding through the rock formations in Zion National Park, UT

The visitor center for the park was at the opposite end to the entrance so we wound our way through the park, sometimes riding through tunnels in the mountains, stopping off at viewing points to take photos, or as I often tend to do, shooting photos of Alisa as I ride along behind her. A 'skill' with a DSLR that requires a high gear so that you can take both hands of the bars to operate the camera and lens.

The bikes - it's great to ride them on some bendy roads

By the time we got to the visitor center, we were hungry having not eaten anything more than a chocolate bar at a petrol stop since breakfast. So we took our time and had lunch. 

Alisa rides towards one of the many natural arches in the park

Zion National Park, UT

Amazing scenery at Zion National Park

From the park we set off, after a few miles of country roads we got on Interstate I-15 heading for Las Vegas, Nevada. By now it was about 1 in the afternoon and the temperature had risen significantly. For some reason it always feels even hotter on the interstate.

The I-15 is interesting as one section about 10 miles or so long has a big elevation shift dropping and tightly curving (for a highway at least) through some mountains and then running out into the open desert. In this section the trucks go quickly as they try and gain enough momentum down the hills so that they don't lose too much speed when going up the hills. With the high road and the speeds it's pretty dicey on the bikes. At the same time it's a fun road if you are confident in the corners. 

Once we were out of this canyon road we breathed a sigh of relief, but not for long. I-15 is raised up above the desert floor, so in addition to the trucks and growing raffia heading towards Las Vegas we had strongly gusting crosswinds to deal with. We pulled off the road about 40 miles outside Vegas to catch our breath, fuel up and plan our ride into town.

Getting into Vegas was pretty easy, though riding on the busy city highways is always a challenge in the US as people constantly lane switch with little regard to bikers. We found the Hard Rock Hotel for the night and checked in to our suite. 

We decided to stay an additional night (planning to forgo an additional night in LA at the end of the trip) as we had made good progress over the last couple of days and were ready for a break. Luckily arriving midweek means rooms are easy to come by. An hour later we're at the bar with a drink in hand, doing our best to live like rock stars at the Hard Rock.

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