Grand Canyon Adventure: St George to Richfield, UT

Screen Shot 2013-05-11 at 8.26.23 PMBy comparison, one of the shorter days of the trip. Steve needed to get back to Salt Lake and on home to Canada, so he headed up I-15 for the long push up the Interstate, while Amanda and I decided to ride through Zion National Park and back the way we came up Hwy 89.

Zion may not have had the 1000s of visitors the Grand Canyon was experiencing, but there wasn’t a parking spot to be had at the visitor center and people were parking down the street throughout Springdale.

Zion is one of my favorite places. We’ve spent countless hours hiking the trails, wading through the Virgin River to the slot canyons, and one time even took a wrong turn on a hike into the park from the plateau above with my sons and a close friend of ours—and got stranded on the plateau for the night a few years back. We definitely learned the value of carrying the right survival gear (the stuff we now carry in our day packs has forever been influenced by the night we bivouacked on the trail above Angel’s Landing).

Thunderbird-1Not long after leaving the canyon, we found ourselves at the Mt. Carmel junction with 89 and the Thunderbird Restaurant. Riding through here a few days ago, Steve had a chuckle at the sign advertising “Ho-Made” Pies and even took a photo of the sign on the road in Orderville.

The sign was hand-crafted during the era of the 1940s and 50s by what the restaurant describes as the “tin men.” They wanted the sign to say, “Home-Made Pies,” but there wasn’t enough room on the sign, so they guys abbreviated it “Ho-Made.” In recent years the sign started causing a little bit of controversy, so “…we figured why not grab the bull by the horns, embrace our heritage, and start merchandising.”

“At a time when women in business were rare and something of a scandal, Fern [Fern Morrison, the original owner and a homesteader in Mt. Carmel the same year the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel was constructed in Zion National Park] was a woman before her time. the Thunderbird stands today as a monument to Fern Morrison’s courage and determination.”

Thunderbird-2Amanda and I both had a hamburger and shared a Ho-Made coconut cream pie in honor of our riding companion of the last few days, Steve. The pie was great, our waitress Savannah, and the atmosphere of the restaurant was fun and friendly. We watched several groups of bikers come and go. It’s hard to miss the Thunderbird as you ride (or drive) through Mt. Carmel. You should definitely stop and have some pie.

I’m glad we opted for a return trip via 89 because the section of the ride we powered through in the rain just a couple of days before was breathtakingly beautiful today. I mentioned before that this lower section of the highway through Southern Utah is one of the most beautiful (at least in Utah) and it didn’t disappoint us today.

We’d been pushing hard for a few days and Amanda was starting to feel the pressure of the miles, so we stopped 40 or 50 miles short of our intended destination and decided to spend the night in Richfield (one of the bigger little towns along Highway 89 in Utah). After a good night’s sleep, we’ll start the journey home to celebrate Mother’s Day with family.



Filed under Utah Rides, Western Rides

4 responses to “Grand Canyon Adventure: St George to Richfield, UT

  1. Harlan Wayne

    Thats always a fun ride and been to that junction many times.

    Well, we made back from our three night on the road ride a great time was had by all. For me the ride was 1133mi. and of course we did HighWay 50 again. I love it on Nevada’s vast open roads.

    Keep posting, I always enjoy reading of your adventures.

    PS. next week it’s Sedona, AZ.

    • Nevadasun,

      I’m glad you like the blog. The only way I can describe this week’s ride was “epic.” Can’t wait for the next one. Hwy 50 is also a fun ride. I really enjoyed the passport the State of Nevada uses to get you to stop in each of the towns along the route.

      Ride safe and have fun in Sedona.


  2. Steve

    Actually, instead of hitting I-15 directly out of St. George, I rode through town and headed west on Old Highway 91 through Santa Clara. I rode past Kayenta, and on to Highway 307, where I turned north through Gunlock State Park and on to Veyo. There I turned north on Highway 18 up to Enterprise, and from there east on 18 then east on 56 to Cedar City. There I prudently fueled up and jumped onto I-15 and into Salt Lake.

    I can’t recommend the trip through Gunlock highly enough! WOW!!! Very few cages on the road, in fact, the bicyclists were more of a hazard than cars. The red cliffs are spectacular, the road narrow but well-paved and very twisty-windy, just like we like ’em!

    On a sports bike you often feel like you’re attacking the road, riding very aggressively into the corners, hammering the brakes, slamming the bike down, then snapping the throttle wide open to scream into the next corner before slamming on the brakes again. This road was different. I held my speed, but instead of attacking I felt a calmness. The bike just sort of folded itself into the curves, with only a bit of tugging on the bars. It was an amazing sensation of… peace. Thanks for pointing me in that direction, Ty! It was a beautiful highlight of a trip full of highlights

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