The cardboard boxes are going to be delivered to a bike shop about an hour away, along with an equal number of bikes, to be packed and shipped back to their owners. Some people packed up their bikes last night and are not riding today. Dianne and I are riding from the tunnel to the end of the ride, then packing our bikes to be shipped home.
The views were incredible as we entered the park. The people in one of the cars saw big horned sheep on the mountainside, but we didn't. The ranger at the gate was friendly--she was expecting us and gave Les his permit with no hassles. It was already printed and waiting for us.
The people that rode in were waiting for us, some right inside the gate where Les asked them to wait and some about 6 miles up the road, right before the tunnel (where the ranger told them to wait). The ranger at the tunnel was friendly and efficient. We have not had a problem with NPS rangers since Calf Creek all those days ago, when a ranger gave us a very hard time and threatened to call ahead and warn the other parks we were coming.
Just after the tunnel we saw Santa Claus (actor John Hanks) sitting in a car on the side of the road! He was there to meet his little sister Lori, whom he had not seen in several years. It was a happy reunion and he stuck around and took photos of us with all of our cameras.
We got on our bikes and took off! The road after the tunnel was all downhill with switchbacks. It was steep enough to be fun but not steep enough to be scary. It went on like that for miles.
Traffic was light; we mostly had the road to ourselves. When we got to the turnoff for the scenic route open only to bikes and park shuttles it started raining. Soon it was pouring buckets, so we turned around and headed back to the main road. Dianne and I stopped at the Visitor Center, then continued to the meeting point. While waiting for Les and John to get there with the bike boxes we cleaned and dried off our bikes.
Rick arrived, anxious to get on the road. He is driving back to southern California today and offered to take a couple of riders with him as far as Las Vegas. Originally Dianne and I were going to go with him, but I found out this morning that Eli and Ze'ev (shown above with Rick on the left) were rather anxious to get to Las Vegas early... so we traded places and Dianne and I are shuttling in with Les and John later this afternoon.
Orrin took three people to Salt Lake City, and the rest of the people with cars each took a few with them.... and there were 7 of us left to shuttle to Las Vegas: Vance and Janet, Dan and Anna, Mike, Dianne, and me. They dropped us all at the airport, but waited while Dianne and I tried to call the hotel shuttle to see if they could accommodate our bike boxes... we finally all gave up on ever talking to a real human, and John and Les brought us to our hotel (about a mile from the airport). On the way to our hotel we found a backpack belonging to Dan, so we made arrangements for him to pick it up here on his way to the airport tomorrow morning. John and Les are on their way back to Utah to drop off a rental car at St. George, bikes at Cedar City, and then drive all the way back to Salt Lake City. They are two tired guys! Another successful LAGBRAU is done.