After a night in Moab, it will be back out for three more days, this time the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park. Even though this is a relatively easy ride, almost entirely of dirt road, I feel special to be able to ride it as it is one of the few places in a National Park that a bicycle is allowed off-road, and I believe the only that combines this with the ability to camp in the backcountry. Some people criticize National Parks as too touristy, and they avoid them for other places. I like them, even though they can be chock full of idiots piloting RVs and are mired with restrictions, I find them interesting and a good testament that America can actually do a few good things with its' land.
I will head out from Moab on the road, turning onto Potash road and following it out to the Potash plant. Right near the plant, I will leave the pavement and begin a long slow climb up into the mesas. It will get a bit steeper, as I found out one of the Canyonlands regulations is that for the camping permit to be valid, I MUST check in at the ranger station, even though it is several miles and 2000 vertical feet out of the way. Oh well, a detour up the Schafer trail cannot be that bad, if even for the view and to chastise the ranger at the top.
After complying with all government regulation, I will descend back down and continue out onto the White Rim, camping at the "Airport" location, even though there is no actual airport anywhere nearby.
This day should be relatively uneventful, with no technical sections to speak of, mostly roads, a bit of climbing and around 60 miles total. However, this should be the beginning of the very scenic section of the trip, which is just as exciting to me as riding the bike.
Riding in the National Park brings me to one of the best Abbey quotes of all time, for this one I completely agree with and believe it should be the basis by which rules and legislation in our parks are decided upon. The funny thing is, you talk to rangers today and they think the same. The only people that want to pave and port-a-potty our National Parks are the brainless lawmakers in Washington. Ugh.
"No more cars in national parks. Let the people walk. Or ride horses, bicycles, mules, wild pigs -- anything -- but keep the automobiles and the motorcycles and all their motorized relatives out. We have agreed not to drive our automobiles into cathedrals, concert halls, art museums, legislative assemblies, private bedrooms and the other sanctums of our culture; we should treat our national parks with the same deference, for they, too, are holy places. An increasingly pagan and hedonistic people (thank God!), we are learning finally that the forests and mountains and desert canyons are holier than our churches. Therefore let us behave accordingly." - Edward Abbey