I rode from Marble Canyon to Page today. Other than 3500 feet of climbing to get out of the canyon, it was an easy ride <grin>. Even the climbing wasn't too bad since I did it in the morning when temperatures were relatively cool and, except for half an hour or so, I didn't have the problem of climbing with a gentle tail wind.
Insead of going north, up river to Page
the road goes south for 15 miles as it climbs out of the canyon
Well, it climbs and descends a bit, but mostly climbs
89A climbs, pretty steadily until it ends at 89 some 15 miles from Marble Canyon. In that 15 miles it climbs about 2500 feet. The climbing is gradual except for a few sections where 89A goes around small plateaus sticking out from the cliffs. Those sections tend to a bit steeper. When it reaches 89, the remaining 1000 feet of climbing climbs up on to the last of those plateaus. The first part of that bit of climbing is steeper than all but the steepest climbing on 89A.
The first part of 89 which climbs that cliff in the background
This is a fairly serious climb with, unike 89A, too much traffic
The steep climbing lasts for a few hundred feet vertical, then the grade eases a bit. There is a passing lane all the way up, but no shoulder. Generally traffic was considerate, but I did have one double trailer cattle truck that passed too close on a steep section where the road dropped off into a ditch at the base of the cliff. He gave me very little wobble room and he stank. Going down 89 to Page I had another close pass - like tires right up to the white line - when I was on a pretty narrow shoulder. It was another cattle truck, and this time I not only uttered my standard expletive, but I also raised my middle finger. I was immediately passed by three more cattle trucks, whose drivers were probably laughing about my gesture! None of them came as close as the first truck.
The deep cut through the top of the cliff for 89
The 6000 foot elevation sigh on the other side of that cut
After passing through a deep cut in the cliff face, and passing a 6000 foot elevation sign on the other side, 89 starts a long descent to Page. There are a few minor climbs, but the general trend is down since Page is little, if any, higher than Marble Canyon. 89 has a shoulder but not a good one. At first it is rough and the inside part of it is a nasty, but narrow, rumble strip. It took a bit if concentration to ride it, especially when big vehicles didn't pull over as they passed. Then the road widens and has a good shoulder, most of which is consumed by a wide, and somewhat wobbly, rumble strip! I could usually ride between the white line and the rumble strip, but my bags were often on or over the white line. Most drivers were polite, but the occasional jerk or not too bright RV driver, came pretty close to hitting my bags. When a cattle truck driver comes to close, he is usually making a statement about his attitude towards bicyclists. When an RV driver comes too close, he is, usually just demonstrating his - or her - incompetence as a driver. The rumble strip was useable as a bail out lane and I did have to use it twice.
The 'good' 89 with rumble strip
The bad part of 89 was too bumpy to photography withput stopping
The Powell Dam at Page with 89 running above it on a bridge
I got to Page just after noon. I stopped for lunch at a Subway, then rode down to near the Powell Dam at the south end of Lake Powell. The most interesting part of that ride was being passed by two wide load vehicles carrying large boats. The first was a huge houseboat and the second was a very large cabin cruiser. I assume both, and the many other boats on trailers I was passed by on 89, were headed for Lake Powell.
After my brief trip to see the dam, I rode back and checked in a motel so I could send out the five (!) ride report/web pages that I had created since I last had upload access to my web server. Then I worked on getting my bike ready for tomorrows long ride across the Arizona desert. I'll be carrying about 8 liters of water and one liter of Pepsi as well as food for the day. As best I can figure, its 100 miles, mostly through the high desert, with no service and about a mile of climbing, so it will be a challenging ride!