Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kanab, Hwy 89, Peekaboo Campsite

I'm getting used to waking up early, again. The sun comes up, it's warm, I'm on my way. It's only 15 miles to Kanab, and a nice easy ride. The GSENM Visitor Centers seem to all be elaborate affairs, and I stop at the one in Kanab.

I meet another cyclist in Kanab, who warns me against Hwy 89. He's planning a route through 80 miles of rough dirt track and mud, to avoid it. He also warns me to stay well away from all offroaders, who are a destructive and untrustworthy bunch. In part I tend to agree, having seen some of the damage they do the desert, but near this tourist town I'm just as likely to run into families and kids on ATVs, on guided tours or staying on trails. As far as the warning about the road... After running the gauntlet every day among some of the worst drivers I've ever experienced in Quartzsite, I'll take the risk.

In Kanab, it's unmistakeably spring. The entire town smells like lilacs. There's a beautiful memorial garden, where I spend some time experimenting with my new camera. There's a nice grocery store, too, but I don't need much after stocking up in Page. With some trepidation, I leave town on Hwy 89.

Memorial Garden with a pond and fountain in Kanab.

Now, I'm sure the other cyclist has valid reasons for his opinion, but experience vary greatly. To my eyes, Hwy 89 was pleasant bordering on wonderful. The first mile or two out of town was narrow, with offroaders often riding next to the road, throwing dust and gravel around. Most looked to be ordinary enough people - some were riding with kids. None where speeding or being intentional obnoxious. After that, the ATV trail went elsewhere and the road widened out. Most of it had a decent shoulder. It was pretty steep, but that's to be expected. Climbing the staircase, and all.

Hwy 89 just north of Kanab.

Further along Hwy 89.

Part of a big piece of property along Hwy 89. Inside was a building constructed into the mouth a huge cave, a private pond(small lake, depending on how you look at it) with a dock, and a tall spiral staircase leading up into a high rock wall. The whole place had a kids club-house like feel, as if various people went to work building fun stuff. A sign on the wrought iron fence implied that it used to be open to the public, but is no longer on account of vandalism. I never was able to find out more about it.

The highway passes the Best Friends Animal Shelter, which is apparently the largest no-kill shelter in the country, or something like that. If I'd known just how far off the road it was, I might have gone down for a tour. My life has been lacking in cats, lately. I'd like to visit some. I was more driven to find a place to camp, though, as this had been a somewhat longer day then my last two - a whopping 30 miles, but most it had some pretty good climbs, and I'm still getting used to being on the bike.

Around 5pm I found a nice staging area for ATVers(Do I -ever- listen to advice? Seriously.) with picnic tables and fire rings. Another group was camped in a tight cluster of rvs, but I didn't see much of them. Had myself a tuna-corn-hashbrown sandwhich, then read for a few hours before bed. No need for a tent, again. It's in pretty rough shape after the wind in Quartzsite, so I'm going to try to avoid using it any more then I need to.

One of many roadside flowering cactii.

Peekaboo Staging Area campsite.

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