25. Apr, 2016

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FRIDAY 09-05-08 

Today we experienced an ‘American’ Tunnel, as opposed to a ‘Swiss’ Tunnel. On leaving the campground we had to re-enter Zion National Park and pay $15 for the journey through the tunnel which has height and width restrictions. 

The journey to the tunnel was up a long, narrow, very steep road full of switchbacks (hairpin bends) and no crash barriers, with a long drop if you get it wrong. Out of the corner of my eye I could see The Chef's left hand firmly gripping the armrest once again. I must admit I didn’t enjoy the trip up nor the trip through the single carriageway tunnel as I was concerned that if I strayed too far to the left or right I’d take the roof off the RV. 

Why ‘American’ Tunnel? Rosina observed that the Americans build a twisting narrow road that climbs high and then build a short tunnel through the mountain near the top, whilst the Swiss would have gone straight through the mountain at its base. 

The scenery once we were through the tunnel was very picturesque, eventually becoming very fertile, rural countryside within a valley with a river running by the side of the road. 

When we refuelled en-route I decided to treat the RV to some 89 octane petrol as opposed to the usual 87 we’d been feeding her on. She certainly seemed to run sweeter on it and I was happy to spend that little bit extra as we were continually asking her to do an awful lot of climbing. 

As we approached Bryce Canyon National Park  www.nps.gov/brca the scenery became very dramatic and we were full of anticipation. On arrival at the main gate we paid our entrance fee and then went to the North Campground which was just through the gate, and opposite the Visitors Centre. It was from here that the shuttle buses would take us through the park. We drove slowly around the campground looking for a suitable pitch. There weren’t too many vacant ones that could take our length of vehicle but we eventually managed to find a spot right next to the pine forest. 

 We went for a walk and after about 250yds or so there it was, a most wonderful view of the canyon below. 

We continued our walk towards Sunrise Point, logically one of the best places to view the sunrise. On the way we spotted a building set back in the forest and decided to investigate, it turned out to be the General Store, which, according to our map should have been much further away. We then realised that the scale of the map we were using suggested that everything we wanted to see was within walking distance. After a look around the store I spotted a sign which said they sold logs for campfires. I asked what time they closed and they said 8 o’clock. I told them I’d be back for some firewood after we’d had our walk. On reaching Sunrise Point we checked it out ready for the morning and then returned to the store where I bought one netted bag of logs for $4.95 plus state tax of course, and up on to my shoulder it went. 

On returning to the RV I scrubbed clean the black steel Fire Pit/BBQ, at the same time thinking how odd it was that the very organisation which preaches the dangers of forest fires, provides each pitch with a log fire and BBQ facility. Once it was clean The Chef and I went skirmishing for small pieces of wood and pine cones. We collected lots before deciding to try out our repaired BBQ grill tonight and use the Fire Pit/BBQ tomorrow. After enjoying the ‘barbie’ I lit our gas-powered campfire which we then sat by for a while admiring the clear starlight sky until it became too cold for comfort due to a cool breeze blowing, not helped by the fact that we were at an altitude of 8,000ft. 

Before going to bed I set the hot air heating system to 15C as a precaution against a cold night. 

LOCATION TONIGHT: North Campground, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (GPS: N37.635438 W112.166385).