Day 18, 10 July: 250 miles, 4.5 hours
Hwy 12: 15 miles to Hillsdale, turn left on US 89
US 89: 21 miles to
Hwy 14: 42 miles to Junction,
I-15: 60 miles to
Total estimated distance: 3,542 miles (actual, 3,585 miles, 15 miles inside the ‘free’ mileage limit)
So now the race really was on...Helen and Martin were off to get their marriage license (and shirt) in Vegas. This was our last day of the holiday in the US. Bill would be on the plane headed home when his daughter was getting married -- her choice -- but Auntie Jane would be available to help the bride get ready on the day. Helen had expressed some concern about still fitting into her wedding dress, yummy American food being what it is and Martin certainly not being diet-minded. Jane was a little nervous about having sole responsibility for shoe-horning Helen into the dress, but it turned out all their worries were unnecessary.
The rest of us who were not getting married the next day set about seeing Bryce Canyon. Chris dropped Bob, Bill and me at a starting point and we went for what we thought would be a leisurely stroll on the Queen's Garden trail.
But first, both the guys had to whip out their respective video cameras. Each had a witty, original narrative to accompany their films. Bob: "This is the last day and here we are at Bryce Canyon..." Bill: "This is the last day and here we are at Bryce Canyon..." My camera batteries were dead, but I had Bill's newly found still camera, and so I joined them in the ritual. Shelley: "This is the last day and here we are at Bryce Canyon..."
We had a time deadline as Chris was going to return for us in an hour. We also had 250 miles to drive and our aim was to return the RV that afternoon before the rental place shut at 5pm. However, thinking that we did have an hour, I was stopping to take pictures, even though I've seen Bryce several times and already have one or two (million) shots. Bill got annoyed with me, saying we'd never make it back around the loop at this pace. I'd thought we were doing an out-and-back route, but not wanting to be late when Chris arrived, I got serious about the walk, though I was wearing flip flop sandals. When Bob and I expressed concern about the route, Bill assured us that the signs indicated it was a loop and I stopped some other tourists -- turns out they were French -- and they also said it was a loop; we could make it longer if we wished by linking into another trail. We thought not...
Guess what? If you didn't do the longer route, it was NOT a loop and we had to hurry back to meet Chris. That was one of my two exercise periods in this holiday (the other was running for a train, which we missed). It was hot and arid and up hill. My lungs were unhappy with the dry air and I was really thirsty. I made it to the top 20 minutes late.
But Bryce Canyon is spectacularly beautiful. (Click pictures to enlarge).