|Distance||53.24 kms||32.93 miles|
|Climbed||442 meters||1,450 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||3.93||-|
|Avg speed||8.4 kph||-|
|Distance||27,002.83 kms||16,778.88 miles|
|Climbed||283,513 meters||930,161 feet|
|Ride time (hours)||1,917.10||-|
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014
I set my alarm for 5:45am to catch the sunrise over the canyon. It is freezing this morning, with a stiff wind out of the south. There are quite a few people at sunrise point doing the same thing as I, but it doesn't detract from the beauty of the moment as the first rays of the sun paint the canyon.
I was thinking I would go back to sleep afterwards but I'm wide awake so I just pack everything up, say goodbye to my neighbors, and ride down to Ruby's Inn. The restaurant is packed which means little chance of getting a booth with a plug; instead I find a wall socket outside and plug everything in there. I should start keeping statistics on how much time I spend hanging around waiting for things to charge. Major headache. At least I get WiFi here as well, allowing me to get some stuff done while I wait.
The wind is, well, out of control today. I'm running out of adjectives for it: howling, screaming, hurtling, whipping, vicious, brutal, nasty...D) All of the above. I descend over 1,000 feet (that warms things up a bit) to Tropic on route 12, there are times when I'm pedaling hard down 4 percent grades just to make progress. I stop at a coffee shop in Tropic to take a break. Weather.com says the wind is 36mph here... I'd say that's a conservative assessment. The husband/wife that run the coffee shop and attached inn are very friendly. She says there is a storm coming in; this could spell trouble if I ride Cottonwood Canyon. I get various bits of information from them about the road and what to expect, and yes it turns to Mud of Death when it rains. I decide to hedge my bets: I'll ride to Kodachrome State Park tonight and stay at the campground. If it rains really hard overnight I'll just skip Cottonwood. If not I'll start riding the canyon tomorrow with a full load of food and water from the campground and if it rains hard on Wednesday I'll just hole up until it dries out Thursday. The forecast has 0 percent chance of rain for Thursday and Friday so my plan should work in theory.
I stock up on 3 days of food at the bona fide grocery store in Tropic (first well-stocked grocery store I've come across since Green River), then slug it out with the wind as I ride up to Kodachrome.
I stop at the BLM visitor center in Cannonville for a map and some advice. I want to know if there is any water down the Cottonwood Canyon Road. He points out a few places that have creeks but thinks they will be pretty muddy. He also says a grader has been out there, he's not sure how far along it has gotten but at least part of the road should be in good shape as a result.
The sign at the entrance says: Campground Full. Oops. Well I want to see this place anyways. The girl at the gate up the road says that someone told her that a cyclist was headed this way and to reserve a campsite for him, which she did. Very cool of them. And it turns out to be a great campsite, one of those sites that is awesome but no one takes it because there is no direct car access. I set up the tent and hop in to get out of the wind. I lie down, next thing I know it's six o'clock. I didn't sleep very much last night due to the pre-dawn wake up call so I guess I needed that nap.
I take the bike unloaded down to a path called Panorama Trail. I was planning on locking it up and hiking around a bit but the trail says bicycles allowed. It's a nice ride, tough on my bike because it's very sandy, but it has great views. I check out some of the rock formations. Panorama Point has a sweeping view of the mountains, made even better by the sunset.
Back at camp I make a fire and have dinner. I discover that the bathrooms have showers, electrical outlets, and a working camp sink! This is a sweet campground. At 19 dollars it's not cheap but that includes the park access and all those goodies. Turned out to be a good day after all, the wind even dies down around 9 to cap it off. Je suis comblé!