The drive from Hurricane, UT to Bryce Canyon, UT was a very nice ride indeed, especially the portion of the drive between the Zion National Park entrance and the Checkerboard Mesa. My biggest mistake: judging distances in this part of the country based on the map-based distance, or even relying on Google maps and Mapquest’s driving time approximations. Here is a view of the town of La Verkin, UT from the appropriately named La Verkin Overlook (need to thank Sundar for forcing me to learn and use the stitch function on my camera).
Given that we were stopping practically every mile for a photo, we were behind schedule even before we even got to the State Road 9 (Zion Mount Carmen Highway) tunnel inside Zion National Park limits. Incidentally, “zig-zag curves” are referred to as switchbacks. The previous night, I had thought about driving up to the tunnel in the evening as it was “only 3.4 miles” or something from the park’s entrance. Good thing I had not attempted that!
As it was, we took about an hour to get there, and it would have taken us longer had we gotten stuck behind the RV that was about a few hundred metres behind us. That vehicle shows up in this picture (below) right about the centre – family was scared when I ran back to the car after taking this photo (I did not want them to cut us off)!
This tunnel is narrow and bigger vehicles need to be escorted through the tunnel, as traffic is closed in the other direction for the duration that the big vehicle is travelling through. Needless to say, RVs and vehicles behind RVs are delayed by the amount of time that it takes the tunnel to be shut down in the other direction.
Anyway, long story short, after a stop for Subway sandwiches that cost an arm and a leg apiece, we got to Bryce Canyon at about 1 pm, though we had left Hurricane about 9 am.
Here is a shot of Checkerboard Mesa!