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After our too brief visit to Capitol Reef National Park, we left Torrey, UT early the following morning to go to Cedar Breaks National Monument. We wanted to get back on highway 12, a scenic route that would take us through Boulder, UT, and pass near Bryce Canyon National Park.

It was not to be. Just barely 2 miles on highway 12, the driver side front tire gave up its ghost. We limped back to the first structure that we saw, which turned out to be The Flute Shop. Before we even came to a complete stop, the owner of the shop ran out. I told him we had a flat and needed to park in front of his shop to change to the spare. He didn’t let us do anything and proceeded to change the tire himself! In less than 10 minutes. This completely random act of kindness left me almost speechless.

We all looked at the tires on the rental car. The flat tire had a big burst bubble and was beyond repair. On the passenger side front tire, the steel belts were showing through the rubber. The rear tires were also very worn out, although no steel wire could be seen. We were very lucky that the tires didn’t give out in the middle of nowhere over the previous several days.

We were also so fortunate that the owner of The Flute Shop was on the scene. He told us where to go to get the tires replaced, and he wouldn’t accept any payment for his help. As a compromise, we went into his store and bought a very good looking Navajo flute that he himself had made out of cedar.

So we went to Bicknell, then Loa. No tire at either of those towns. Finally we went to Richfield, a much bigger city and had our two front tires replaced, at the rental company’s expenses. But we had lost almost four hours and had to make a long detour to I-70 before getting on I-15. We got off that big Interstate at the Parowan exit and drove on highway 143, a windy road with 13% slope through most of it, to go to Cedar Breaks.

Cedar Breaks looks like Bryce Canyon, but smaller and more compact, with hoodoos and sandstone of the same colors. We were above 10,000 ft, at the highest elevation of our entire trip. It was very windy that day and I saw one hat escape from its owner to fly down the slope. But the sky was blue, the sun was shining, a good combination for photos, even if we were there in the middle of the day.

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