After another free, tasty buffet breakfast at the Broken Spur Steakhouse, we departed Torrey on UT-12 going South. We climbed up the same mountain we came down yesterday afternoon but in Boulder we continued on 12 into a National Monument called the Grand Staircase – Escalante. More spectacular Utah scenery can be enjoyed passing through this gigantic series of huge mesas. Our first town was, unsurprisingly, Escalante, where we continued on, past Kodachrome Basin State Park, with its colorful phallic formations, to a little farming community called Tropic. Motorists passing through Tropic merely need to look Southwest and up a bit to see the spectacular formations of Bryce Canyon NP, maybe 3500 feet uphill.
We continued along up to the entrance road to Bryce but we did not drive in. Instead, turning the other way, we took a marvelous scenic drive to the North on gorgeous Johns Valley Road to the almost ghost town of Antimony, a former mining settlement. Lots of abandoned mines can be spotted along both sides of this road. A bit further up, we came to the Otter Creek Reservoir where many Utahns were fiddling with their boats and fishing. From there, we turned onto UT-62 and continued to Kingston before meeting up and turning South on US-89. We followed 89 South into Panguitch, through town and on through Hatch. After a bit more, we made it to Tod’s Junction, a gas station, where we turned West on UT-14 over the mountains, through Duck Creek Village, past Cedar Breaks National Monument and down the other side into Cedar City.
Our lodging for the night was a motel called the Abbey Inn, right downtown. Although it was the most modern of all the motels we have stayed in on this whole trip, it was also the second least expensive, had an accessible john and shower, in-room phone, good air conditioning, comfy beds and a nifty ice machine. It was dead quiet at night. Due to Covid, management was not running the onsite restaurant but we found a good one just a short drive away.
Today we had marvelous scenery all day and a great hotel at night – a unique combination on this trip.