About a week ago, my friend Lydia sent me a message asking if I wanted to attend Harrison Eurosports' weekend event at the Zion Ponderosa. I had seen notice of this event previously but waited too long to sign up. So, when Lydia's invite came, I jumped at the opportunity. Yes, yes, yes, I'll take the little bed in the covered wagon at the Zion Ponderosa Resort! Yippee, adventure time!
Zion Ponderosa Resort is just about 75 miles from home, just the other side of Zion National Park. An easy two hour ride for me. I checked out the Ponderosa's website and was kind of wowed by it. Our registration fee for the event included breakfast Saturday and Sunday. They have an onsite restaurant so we wouldn't have to ride for meals.
Anyway, I was excited for another adventure and even more excited when Lydia told me that Kerri would be the third person in the wagon! Yay! I only knew Kerri from Facebook but knew I would adore her and was looking forward to meeting her in person.
Okay, the cast is set, Lydia, Kerri and I all going to share a covered wagon for two nights!
But, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. First I had to get there! I left Friday after lunch around 2:00 pm and rode to Zion National Park. Oh my heck! I think the line to get into the Park was the longest I've ever seen! Gack....oh well, nothing to do but wait in line. I finally got past the entrance gate and took the laboriously slow ride up, up, up the mountain. Of course, there was a long line to enter the tunnel, so I waited some more. I snapped these two pics while waiting because there wasn't anything else to do. Unfortunately, my XM radio wasn't working - I think my dongle is dead :-( The scenery was stunning so that did keep my attention for a bit!
More putt, putt, putt along. Some bikes rode in behind me and one brave (or crazy) rider zoomed past me and the slow tourist van. I stuck behind the van, waiting ever so impatiently until I had a good opportunity to pass and then I gunned it. Success! I was now in front of the van and had a couple of other bikes behind me. I twisted the wick just a bit and dove in and out of the twisties with a huge grin on my face. I found the turn for Zion Ponderosa and almost, just almost, dumped the bike because I had to stop rather quickly and make a left turn. Good thing the bikes behind me were paying attention! We all arrived at the Pondersosa in one piece, excited to get our lodging sorted and check out the place.
Here I am at the front of the resort. I was the first of the Three Old Ladies group so I picked up the keys and went in search of the covered wagon that would be our abode for the next two nights.
I found a nice place to park just off some pavement. Yeah, I later found out I could have ridden a paved road right to the wagons. Hahahaha, my adventure was just beginning :-) I unloaded my stuff and opened the wagon door. First of all, I was surprised it had a door. I expected canvas tied with a rope or something. Anyway, it had a door and this is what I found inside!
Actually, they were coming from Salt Lake City and making stops for a photo game along the way. I thought they would show by 6 or so. I hung out at the wagon and eventually I spied a rider coming across the culvert just like I had done earlier. I yelled out "Kerri!", she turned her head, gave me a wave, rode up the same rutted road I had and arrived at the wagon. Yippee! Not to much longer, Lydia, the smart one, rolled up on the asphalt to the wagon. Okay, the Three Old Ladies in a Wagon were finally all together. The party could start!
Everyone got situated with Lydia in the big bed, after all, she organized our little group. I found out later that Kerri was also late to the party. As a matter of fact, so was Lydia. Lydia managed to pull it together so we could all have an adventure together. Good stuff. It was getting late and we headed toward the restaurant for dinner. It was quite crowded and the hostess told us it would be a 50 minute wait. What? That meant hanging around the restaurant for almost an hour? Naw, I wasn't going to do that. I looked in the dining room and it seemed to me there was plenty of open space. So, me being me, I walked into the restaurant and started chatting with peeps at the tables. Most of them were with the Harrison Eurosports event so I used that as an opening line. Something like, "Hi, you guys with the Harrison group? Oh cool, you riding street or dirt tomorrow?" That kind of stuff. Anyway, as I made my way around the room, I saw a guy sitting at a table for four. I asked if anyone else was sitting there? No? Cool, you with the Harrison group? Yes. Cool, can we join you for dinner? Sure!
And, that's just how it happened. The "Guy" was Tom Brooks and he very generously allowed the Three Old Ladies in a Wagon to share his table. Ha! We didn't wait 5 minutes much less 50! Yippee! We have a table, we have menus and we now have a new friend. How cool is that?
Turns out that Tom was staying in Wagon #3 so he was across the tiny "yard" from us! After a delicious meal, we headed back to the wagons. Well, Kerri and I did. Tom and Lydia were busy charging their cell phones at the restaurant/lodge ;-) Kerri and I refilled our drinks and decided to walk down to the bonfire being hosted by Harrison Eurosports. Probably only a dozen or so folks left at the fire but we had a good time meeting people, visiting, enjoying the blazing fire. Then, back to the wagon for bed.
We met up with Lydia at the wagon and we all got ready for bed. Now, the beds had decent (clean) linens with a blanket and then a big, fluffy sleeping bag on top for additional cover. I had brought a winter weight bag but seeing how the wagon was outfitted, I opted to climb between the sheets and pull the provided bag over me. But, it was getting COLD. Very, very COLD. I climbed into bed with socks, yoga pants, tee shirt and my buff folded into a beanie to keep my head warm. Quite ridiculous but it worked. Now, we're Three Old Ladies in a Wagon! With not much space at all. How was this going to work out?
Hahahaha, it worked out just fine. The first night, just like schoolgirls at a slumber party, we giggled and told stories then tried to be quiet and sleep until someone said something and started the whole giggle and stories all over again. This happened at least four or five times. We actually kind of worried that we might be annoying other campers. But, dang, we were having such a silly good time! Finally, we all fell asleep and the alarm came way to early the next morning. And it was frickin' COLD!
We decided to go ahead and gear up before brekkie and then traipsed down to the restaurant for a fairly decent buffet brekkie where we again met up with Tom. By now, Lydia and I had decided that maybe the dirt might be a bigger bite than we wanted to chew so we told Kerri and Tom we'd go along on the North Rim ride. Sweet, we now have a group of four for the ride!
Although we really tried (sort of) we missed the big group going to the North Rim by 1/2 hour. Yeah, that's how hard we tried ;-) Doesn't matter, I'd much rather ride in a group of four than 20 something! We actually took turns leading over the course of the day. We headed out and after a quick stop at Mt. Carmel Junction, I took off and waited in Fredonia for the rest of the group. They stopped along the way to take some photo contest pictures. From Fredonia, it was all about getting past the long straight stretch to the twisties that take you up the Kaibab plateau. Oh man, was that FUN! You know, all of us were having an "ON" day and it was fabulous. The sun was shining, the pavement dry and no traffic in front of us (after we passed a zillion or so pokies).
Our next stop was Jacob Lake where you take the right turn to go to the North Rim. We had a bit of fun here :-) By the way, there is NO lake here. This stop is named after a Mormon Pioneer, Jacob Lake. The Inn has the most incredible cookies so some of our party had to run in and get a cookie!
Three Old Ladies in a Wagon and a Guy at Jacob Lake.
Kerri eyeballing that chocolate gooey moonpie cookie!
We finally reached our goal, the North Rim. Parking was a snap as we grabbed spots just vacated near the lodge, yippee! We made stops at the Visitor Center and Gift Shop before going into the main lodge where we stepped out onto the patios for the views to die for! Point and shoot cameras just don't being to do it justice.
I think we're now feeling like the Four Musketeers or Mouseketeers but really, we're Three Old Ladies in a Wagon and a Guy ;-)
After a quick lunch of pizza from the Deli at the North Rim, we re-mounted our trusty steeds and headed to Cape Royal, a much less visited area of the North Rim that has stunning, drop dead, gorgeous vistas and views very unlike those from the Lodge area. The road to Cape Royal is a motorcyclist's dream, twists, turns, beautiful foilage, oh my!!! Especially lovely as the Aspens are golden and dropping their leaves like pieces of eight. Yes, yes, yes......
Here I am, leading the way.
Tom enjoying the beautiful scenery. It was absolutely perfect!
This photo is one of the vista pull-outs on the way to Cape Royal. Stunning! Oh, the bikes are pretty nice too :-)
Sorry, point and shoot poor quality camera. But, here are the information signs at our first vista viewpoint heading up to Cape Royal.
We hike along the trail and find many, many reasons to stop for photo ops. It is simply incredible! I saw this sign.....yeah, please don't get to close to the edge.....as I screamed at my fellow Old Ladies and the Guy.
This nice path takes you to the vistas up on Cape Royal.
Tom, me and Lydia being silly at Angels Window!
It was long enough to make a lasting impression! I was so relieved when we got through the slushy area and could no longer see any snow. I pulled into the service station at Jacob Lake, topped off my gas tank and the rest of the group showed up to do the same. We all had that kind of stunned look on our faces about what we had just ridden through! I think for Lydia and Tom it was their first experience riding in the snow and I don't think either one of them cared for it much ;-)
No matter, we were all safe, our gas tanks were full and we were ready to get back to Zion Ponderosa. We made quick time getting off the mountain. You could say we set a brisk pace, lol. Like I said earlier, we were all having an "ON" day and it just came together in a perfect rhythm of road, machine and rider. Oh man!
We made one more stop at Mt. Carmel Junction at Highway 9 for some ice and drinks. It was just getting dusk so we were quick to hop back on the bikes and head up the hill. As we turned onto the road for Zion Ponderosa it was littered with deer. I mean a mega boatload of deer. A goodly number of them were hanging out on the road, silly creatures. Fortunately, we still had a bit of light left and Lydia was on super high alert as she was leading. Yay! We made it to Zion Ponderosa without incident.
Kerri and Tom were behind us but had stopped to take a few pictures. It was worth the stop. Just look at this breathtaking sunset image captured by Kerri. Wowza!
And this one, also taken by Kerri, of the Resort entry.
The next morning we again trotted over to the restaurant for brekkie and back to the wagons to pack our bikes for departure. Lydia, Kerri and Tom were off to explore some of Utah's scenic Highway 12 on their way north to home. I only had about a 2 hour ride through Zion National Park and home. With our bikes packed, we said our goodbyes and gave big hugs with a promise to get together again.
I made it home safely although I had another long, long, long wait in line to get into and out of Zion National Park. The weather was again perfect and I wore a grin all day long :-)
I was sorry to say goodbye but everything has it's time. It was terrific to finally meet Kerri in person, make a friend with Tom and hang out with Lydia. We all just meshed together with no egos, no drama, no bullsh*t. Thanks Lydia, Kerri and Tom, it was a good time!
Who knows what's next? Stay turned for the next adventure!