Road to Sturgis: Day 5 ‘Heavenly Zion’

Zion National Park

There is no doubt the Grand Canyon is stunning. But you can’t ride a motorcycle through it.
However, today we did the next best thing and rode our Victory tourer into Zion National Park, a similarly stunning valley of skyscraper rock formations like the Grand Canyon.

Virgin River Valley Zion
Virgin River Valley

We’re on day five of our 3200km trek to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally riding a Victory Cross Country Tour which we can’t show in the photos until the press embargo lifts on Sunday (July 27).
We started out early today from Las Vegas to beat the predicted maximum of 110F (43.3C). The Interstate 15 north out of Vegas is a mind-numbing, head-boiling drone, but at least the 75mph speed limit makes for a fast getaway if you happen to be running from the casinos, the law or the Mob. Pretty soon you are exiting Nevada and entering Arizona for a short blast across the north-east corner of the state.
And it is a very entertaining little section as you scythe through Virgin River Valley which has been hewn out of the rock by talented engineers and makes for spectacular scenery. The temperature has been steadily increasing past the old ton and hasn’t abated even with the climb in altitude.

Cowboy country Zion
Cowboy country

On the other side of the range, the views extend in every direction like a 1950s cowboy movie poster. If you have time, stop at the bustling city of St George where they seem to delight in fireworks displays most nights.
Shortly after, we take exit 16 on State Route 9 past the unique wave rock formations into the town of Hurricane where you should fuel up before the exorbitant prices further on into the national park.
As you climb out of town, the road finally begins to wind and become more entertaining at the posted speed of 65mph. However, you will probably ride slower as you will be distracted by the absolutely gob-smacking panorama that unfolds before you.

Zion National Park
Zion National Park

Around every turn it just gets better and better. The colours become more vivid and varied, there is finally some greenery and even an avenue of trees. The temperature is also a shade cooler here.
We ramble on through the quaint village of Rockville with its achingly cute Americana houses and finally into the touristy but oh-so-delightful Springdale, the gateway to the park.

Bruce and Scott

Here, I meet Colorado bikers Bruce Dean and Scott Murphy who have come from the opposite direction and are headed to Las Vegas tonight. They are topping up their wet cool vests at the gas station and give me some great advice on riding Rocky Mountain way; coincidentally the Joe Walsh song that had just been playing on the Victory’s radio.
Springdale has plenty of cafes, restaurants, galleries, bars, hotels and resorts. It’s a great watering hole for the night and a spectacular venue for our bike sunset photo shoot. You’ll just have to be patient for Sunday to see the shots!


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