Monthly Archives: October 2011

Nine Months on the Road, Just Getting the Hang of It

It seems like just yesterday that I was writing the 6 Months in Review post from my parent’s house in Virginia.  We knew that the summer would fly by, but it seems like fall is passing even quicker.  When I started adding up numbers of nights under the stars, miles driven, and hours volunteered I came to appreciate our journey in a new way.  We volunteered the same number of hours in the last 3 months as we did in our entire first 6 months on the road.  We are driving fewer miles, moving at a slower pace, but getting to experience more and give back more.  I think we are starting to get the hang of this!

snow on the car in Fort Collins

Feels like we've come full circle, getting snowed on and heading south

A few milestones from the last quarter before I run the numbers:

  • Last month we finally paid off / resolved the last medical bill from Jay’s accident on Week 7.
  • This month we had the first time experience of staying with new friends that we met during our travels.
  • During Month 7 we had our first radio interview by a news source.
Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail

The last 3 months have also seen us both riding a lot more

Things we are excited about in the next 3 months:

  • Volunteering with the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon — we will be hiking into the canyon and staying at the bottom for a few days removing tamarisk.
  • Spending Thanksgiving with Jay’s family in Phoenix — and Jay will continue his tradition of riding the Flight of the Pigs ride on the day after Thanksgiving
  • Exploring California — we have lots of friends there to visit and cool places to see and volunteer
  • Testing the waters on bicycle touring  – I am determined to at least try bicycle touring and we are hoping to start small in southern Arizona or California
  • I’m also hoping to learn to ski (both downhill and cross country)
Abajo Peak in fall colors

Fall is almost over, but we were lucky to experience brilliant fall colors in southern Utah

Hours Volunteered:  195.5 hours in the last 3 months, 391.5 hours for the last 9 months.

We have increased our average volunteering per week from 7.5 hours per week in the first 6 months to 15 hours per week in the last 3 months.
During the last quarter we have also had the opportunity to have a greater impact working on projects where we have expertise or experience.  For example, Jay took the lead on installing irrigation for the native plant demonstration garden at the Kane Ranch for Grand Canyon Trust.  Sharon led a photography workshop for junior high school kids in Chinle, Arizona through the Muskoka Foundation.  We have also been trying to build up experience in trail building and have had the opportunities to work on trails in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Utah, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
Jay working on irrigation at Kane Ranch

Jay working on irrigation at Kane Ranch

States & Provinces:  
In the last 9 months…
3 Provinces
30 States
and the District of Columbia
sunset over sand flats recreation area

Sunset over Sand Flats Recreation Area

Miles on the Car:  Well, the odometer has crossed the 100,000 mark.  It was at 90,000 around June 1st.  We have driven a bit fewer miles in the last few months, but mostly we are just covering more miles on dirt and covering shorter distances at a time.  We are starting to see some wear and tear and are looking forward to installing new springs this week or next.
Jay working on car

We have been struggling with collapsed springs since early in our trip -- we hope to resolve that later this week!

Top Posts in the last 3 months:
In case you missed them, here are the most popular new posts on our blog in the last 3 months.
The blog continues to pick up readers.  We had 5,183 views on the blog in the last 3 months.  We have 47 active subscribers, 35 of whom are not related to us.
Budget: Without any major setbacks in the last 3 months we have managed to stay on budget, but in our first 6 months we had over $7,000 in emergency expenses between Jay’s medical bills and car repairs.  As we look at the year ahead and continue to enjoy life on the road we are more interested in finding sponsorship or ways to earn money along the way.  Let us know if you have any ideas!  And of course we always appreciate your support, especially in the form of gas gift cards or items from our wish list.
jay and sharon in tent
Nights Under the Stars: 42 in the last 3 months, 99 nights total for the last 9 months.  It’s exciting to be so close to 100 nights sleeping under the stars.  Right now we are in Colorado and it gets colder everyday, but as we head south we plan to keep tent camping.
Thank you so much for reading our blog and for supporting us on this journey.  We welcome your ideas and feedback as we finish out a full year on the road.
jay in lick wash

A fun photo of Jay in Lick Wash, Utah

Make a Difference Day at Garden of the Gods

Last Saturday was Make a Difference Day, a National Day of Service sponsored by USA Weekend.  When I worked as a volunteer manager we debated the value of days of service.  They often require a lot of organization and time on the part of the volunteer manager and often do not get a lot of meaningful work done that directly relates to the mission of the organization.  This is especially true for organizations with a human services mission whose volunteer opportunities are often one on one or require weekly commitments.  Now that we are on the road and looking for easy ways to get involved as we pass through a town, I love days of service!  When I know there is a day of service coming up my job gets a whole lot easier and we are free to choose almost any route with the assurance that there will be something we can get involved with anywhere we land.  For Make a Difference Day that meant that we changed our route and headed south from Denver to Colorado Springs and got connected to a project with the Rocky Mountain Field Institute at Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a really special city park on the edge of Colorado Springs.  There are these amazing red sandstone rock formations that seem to come out of nowhere.  It is a very popular spot for rock climbers and that is why Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI) is volunteering there.  As they mentioned in the project introduction, this is a park with National recognition, but with city park level funding.  They really depend on the work of dedicated volunteers led by organizations like RMFI.  RMFI specializes in restoring natural areas that are special to rock and mountain climbers.  On Saturday they were restoring meadows that had been trampled by park visitors as well as fixing an access trail for climbers.  We ended up in the small group working on the access trail, which was great because I got to learn about rock work.

stone step

Part of the trail we worked on with one of the steps visible

 

the lower portion of the trail we worked on

Building steps out of stone can be hard and tedious work.  You are building trail that will stand the test of time and in this landscape of sandstone (i.e. stone that was made from sand and will turn back into sand pretty easily), it requires bringing in large rocks from a quarry and placing them just so.  The rock has to be stable enough that it will not be dislodged by rain and wear.  Building stone steps requires a lot of work up front finding just the right rock, digging just the right size hole, and positioning it just so.  Once the rock is placed correctly you can start cobbling small rocks together behind and around it to keep it wedged in place and then backfill with dirt.  It is a slow but rewarding process and after 7 hours with a group of 5 people we had built three steps.

Below is a fun video from RMFI that shows a similar project to what we were working on:

Visiting Dean Bikes World Headquarters

For those of you who don’t know, there are still a few companies building bikes in the USA.  These companies are mostly very small with a huge emphasis on craftsmanship.  I am lucky enough to own a frame made by such a company.  My frame was hand built by the folks at Dean bikes in Boulder, Colorado.  Naturally, when I realized we were going to be in Boulder I called them up and asked if I could come see the factory.  Rich was excited and replied with an enthusiastic yes. These guys are proud of what they do.  Dean produces less than 200 frames per year.  They have at most four employees at any given time.  At the moment, they have Rich and John and one part time person.

Jay in the Dean show room

John TIG welding a frame

The entire operation is in a pretty small space.  They do not use any fancy automated machinery.  All the Ti frame parts that are machined come from Paragon machine works which uses a lot of high tech stuff like cnc water jets and lasers.  Dean does all the tubing cutting, notching, bending, and milling manually.  They have a couple large old lathes, a few band saws and a Bridgeport mill.  This is vastly different from Cannondale (whose factory I toured a few years ago) which uses things like cnc lasers and two pass welds, turning out around 200 frames a day when running full tilt.  That is before they moved all production to Taiwan.

Of course it was great to drool over the latest frame designs.  I have not been this impressed with a new bike since the North American Handmade Bicycle show in Richmond in 2010.  The bike in the picture above is one of the latest from Dean.  There are lots more photos of it on their website. It’s like a soft tail since there are no pivots on the chain stays, but it does have pivots on the seat stays. This isolates the shock from side loads and allows for more travel.  It also makes for very nice lines.  This bike also featured the latest from Paragon with a 1.5″ tapered steer tube, and belt compatible sliding rear drop outs.  Yes, the bike in the photo is using a belt drive with a rohloff internally geared hub.  Sweet.  Maybe someday I will be able to afford to have one of these custom built for me….

38th Week in Review: A wonderful land of beer, bikes and snow

snow on the car in Fort Collins

snow on the car in Fort Collins

Before we get into the week that was, I have to make note of the specialness of this day.  Today we are celebrating being exactly 1 year away from getting married.  I was calling this our -1 year anniversary, but Jay said that phrase does not make any sense because you can’t celebrate the anniversary of something that hasn’t happened yet.  He didn’t think “ground zero” was an appropriate reference either, so now I will just say the longer phrase that we are getting married 1 year from today.  Yay!

Live bat presentation at the Wildlife Experience

Live bat presentation at the Wildlife Experience

So anyways, we have spent the week (and will spend the rest of the month) in Colorado.  Colorado is one of those states that I have always thought that I would want to move to, but I could never decide where exactly.  We have visited several cities and towns along the Front Range and I think Fort Collins and Longmont are my favorites, but I’m not completely sold on either one.  This week we’ll get to explore what they call the Western Slope, so maybe we’ll have a new favorite place by the end of the month.

buds for boobies poster

Only in Colorado....

What is clear after this week is that Colorado is a mecca for microbreweries and for outdoor recreation.  We can not keep up with all there is to taste and do.  Jay is working on a very extensive brewery review that will be up soon.

Hours volunteered: 14 hours (combined) building stone steps on a climbing access trail in Garden of the Gods for Make a Difference Day

States: 1 – Colorado – Denver, Arvada, Fort Collins, Boulder, Longmont, Nederland, Colorado Springs, Parker, Canon City

Budget: over – we splurged on a hotel in Fort Collins since it was set to snow the night we visited.  We also joined CouchSurfing this week and look forward to tapping into that network in the future.

People Visited: Wendy and Jim Pearson, Shannon, Sarah, Sam, and Savannah Myers, Roger Ratcliff and Donna Young

Nights under the stars: 1 – free campground near Nederland, CO

Best meal:  We were treated to many amazing meals at Jay’s cousin Shannon’s house, particular stand outs were a breakfast casserole with lots of bacon and teriyaki salmon.

Two other shout outs go to Yak and Yeti in Arvada for delicious Indian food and Fort Collins Brewery for their bacon wrapped pretzel.

Best beer:  This is ridiculously hard this week because we have visited 10 breweries.  A few standouts include:  the Chai Milk Stout at Yak and Yeti, the Common Ground coffee infused amber ale at Fort Collins, the Home Plate Stout at New Belgium, and the Sawtooth Ale on cask at Left Hand.

Breweries we visited this week: Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse in Nederland, Yak & Yeti in Arvada, Left Hand and Oskar Blues in Longmont, Trinity and Phantom Canyon in Colorado Springs, New Belgium, Odell, & Fort Collins in Fort Collins, and Upslope in Boulder

Nederland, Colorado: Magnolia trails

We were passing through Nederland on the Peak to Peak highway and wow, they had a resturant with a big sign reading brewery and smokehouse. Naturally, we stopped. Yep, the Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse was good. Then we stopped in at the local bike and coffee shop and talked with the friendly local wrench about trails in the area. This led us to the Magnolia trail system which also had free camping.

brewery and smokehouse

Wild Mountain Brewery and Smokehouse

The trails here had a good bit of variety. Over one afternoon and one morning I rode most of them. It would be great for us non locals to have an up-to-date map.  There is quite a bit more trail than the maps show.  This is really not a problem as it shows some good folks have been busy building new trail.

view from one of the Magnolia trails

I have two favorites again. The Sugar Magnolia trail that leads down to the high school is great. It’s well built with a few technical challenges and some good flow. It put a grin on my face for sure. It seems like this one was built recently and really shows how far the area trail builders have progressed. This thing is well laid out and should be quite sustainable.  I noticed a lot of blow downs that had already been cleared. Now that’s what I like to see!  These guys are on top of their trail system.  I picked up my other favorite trail segment near the camping area under a wooden sign nailed to a Ponderosa reading Re-Root. This trail twists and turns its way through a field of abandoned collapsed mining test holes. Lots of banked turns and rollers.  Then I came to a bit of a clearing and there was a little sign somewhat high up nailed to another Ponderosa pine that said Sams Club. Near here are the super fun optional rock lines. There were a few other optional lines around in the area that were all very rollable and added value for the experienced rider.

one of the trails north of the main road

This trail system seems to be a somewhat overlooked hidden gem.  It was a very nice sunny afternoon and yet there was hardly anyone there. I would certainly recommend riding here.

Getting Past the Beginner Stage: What I’ve Learned About Mountain Biking

Starting in British Columbia this August I started riding my mountain bike a lot more.  In the last three months I’ve had the opportunity to ride in British Columbia, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.  This variety of experience is great as I move beyond the beginner stage and start to learn the technique I will need to be an intermediate rider.  Of course, riding intermediate level trail also requires fitness and practice.

Sharon's bike on Peavine Trail

My bike on the Peavine Trail (like a rail trail) in Prescott

I have been trying to ride a mountain bike for the last 5 years.  Over most of that time I was focused on the a few simple lessons:

Beginner Lessons:

  1. Momentum is your friend.
  2. Proper form for rolling over rocks and roots.
  3. Look where you want to go, not at the obstacle right in front of you.
Now that those principles are solidly in my mind and body, I’m trying to learn new things to improve my riding and get me through more technical terrain.
sharon on schultz creek trail

One of my earlier and not very successful mountain biking experiences

Moving from Beginner to Intermediate:

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park

  1. Food is a performance enhancing supplement – On the Rainbow Rim Trail in northern Arizona I started to bonk on a long uphill stretch through often loose rocks.  I was getting SO frustrated and thought that I would not be able to make it the full 11 miles.  I sat down in the shade and told Jay to go on alone to the next Canyon overlook.  He could pick me up on the way back.  Well, after eating a snack, drinking some water, and resting in the shade I realized that I had just been getting lightheaded.  I was back on the bike and so excited to meet up with Jay at a beautiful point overlooking the Grand Canyon.
  2. Learning to Failure - One challenge we have on the road is that we often only get to ride each trail once.  While we were in Flagstaff, AZ for a week I decided to get the benefit of repeating a trail and rode Soldiers Trail three days in a row.  I picked up a book on mountain biking and the author recommended “learning to failure” instead of “learning to fail”.  He suggests trying a tough segment a few times in a row, moving on to the next thing if you still aren’t getting it instead of just repeatedly crashing.  If you left yourself crash repeatedly on the same point it builds up as a major obstacle in your mind and can become a permanent road block.
  3. Will your bike through the sand – There are so many different types of trail and trail conditions.  Riding in sand was very new to me until I got to Moab.  We started on the Intrepid Trails at Dead Horse Point State Park and Jay explained that sometimes you just have to will your bike through the sand.  Strange as it sounds, it works.  By looking out ahead, holding momentum, and keeping a steady relaxed grip on the bars you just trudge on through.  Sand is still not my favorite surface to ride on, but it no longer terrifies me.
  4. Spin in a Lower Gear – A multi-day bike trip on the White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park was sort of a cross between mountain biking and bicycle touring.  We were covering 25 miles a day and so it was important to keep moving at a decent pace.  I kept getting dropped by Jay’s dad and his friends and finally asked Lisa how I could keep up.  She recommended dropping down a gear and spinning (pedaling at a consistent and quick pace).  This did seem to help and really became important when we hit the epic climb up Shafer’s on the last day (5 miles of uphill switchbacks).
  5. Keep it in a higher gear through the rock garden – Having just come off of the White Rim, I was used to using all of my gears.  When we got to the Magnolia Trails in Nederland, Colorado I was trying to drop to a lower gear in order to keep pedaling through some rocky section with an uphill slope.  This was usually ineffective, I just didn’t have the power to keep the biking moving over the terrain.  Jay reminded me that for most trails I ride and for rock gardens in particular, I want to keep it in the middle chain ring and just use some power to muscle my way through.
Sharon carrying bike on Walker Ranch Loop

Some trail is just not safe for anyone to ride, such as these rock steps along a cliff at Walker Ranch

Photo Review: Colorado, Birds, Bugs, and Fall Colors

We have been in Colorado for a week and a half now and have gotten to see some of the beautiful geography it is known for.  Here are just a few photos from Fruita and Heil Ranch (near Lyons).

Fruita desert

North Fruita desert

spider in North Fruita desert

spider in North Fruita desert

Moth on flower in North Fruita desert

Moth on flower in North Fruita desert

Colorado River near Dotsero

Colorado River near Dotsero

Bird near the Colorado River near Dotsero

Bird near the Colorado River near Dotsero

View from Colorado River near Dotsero

View from Colorado River near Dotsero

Heil Ranch

Heil Ranch

bird at Heil Ranch

bird at Heil Ranch

autumn leaves at Heil Ranch

autumn leaves at Heil Ranch

neon green lichen

neon green lichen

fall colors

fall colors

SAME Cafe: Where People Are Separated by Give and Give Not vs. Have and Have Not

Same Cafe sign

There are very few times in our travels that we are in a place with as much diversity as the SAME Café in Denver.  It is a place where people who are marginalized and defined by what they do not have (homeless, unemployed, developmentally disabled, economically disadvantaged) meet side by side with people who would be seen as the “haves”.  However, in this context the café creates a space in which people define themselves and one another by the “gives” and the “give nots” rather than the “have” and the “have nots”.  Everyone who comes to the café is coming for the same reason: good healthy food, a warm comfortable space, and a community that cares about one another.  In exchange for this bounty which the café provides, it asks that you give what you can.  The sign suggests two forms of payment: money and volunteer service.  By allowing people to give in any way that they can, you create a structure in which everyone has something to give.  For example, the small group of adults with developmental disabilities were the first patrons to arrive.  They get there early in order to sweep the floors and set the tables.  Then there’s the busy lunch crowd with people dropping in on their lunch break and choosing to pay in money instead of time since that is what they have to give.

the SAME cafe kitchen

the SAME cafe kitchen

The kitchen is all volunteer run and what frustrates this dedicated work force are the people who take and take and do not give.  Some people come back everyday and pay only 5 or 10 cents, coming back for seconds and thirds, never supplementing that meager contribution with volunteering.  Why don’t they contribute?  It is so easy to help out in some way and strengthen the café community, but it only takes a few leeches to begin to suck the life out of it.  Once you have people abusing the system then you start having conversations about adding controls or rules.  That conversation is one in which you are opening the door with a distrustful mindset and expecting that most people will take and take and not give.  That mindset is at complete odds with the one that inspired Brad and Libby Birky to open this café in the first place.  The two cannot coexist and I encourage the café volunteers to try to keep perspective on the majority of patrons who give and who appreciate what is served.  I’m also curious about ways that the cafe can reinforce the values that it was founded on.

The café looks like a regular restaurant.  They produce great food and have a colorful warm space for people to sit and eat or make conversation.  But like many cafes and salons throughout history, this space is also an opportunity to create the world we want to live in.  A place where people are valued for what they give rather than what they have and a place where people value a healthy hot meal for all enough to give what they have.

10 Tips for Cold Weather Tent Camping

As part of our weekly How To series, we share advice and knowledge about things related to our trip.

As the weather gets colder we are spending more nights indoors with family and friends, but we still camp in between and thought we would share some advice on how to enjoy cold weather camping.  Getting outside in the late fall and winter offers a different recreation experience.  You have more opportunity for solitude, no bugs, and different animals and viewpoints.  If you’re not prepared it can also turn into a cold and miserable night in your tent.

tent site in Oak Mountain State Park

Tent site at Oak Mountain State Park in February

Here’s our advice based on too many cold sleepless nights:

  1. Change into dry clothes – Usually campers are hiking or biking during the afternoon when it is warmest out.  It is very important to change out of sweaty clothes and into layers before the sun sets.
  2. Dress in layers – Start with a base layer that fits snugly (I prefer Patagonia capilene).  Next add a warm layer such as fleece.  Over that add a layer that will block out the wind.  A hat is vital and can make a huge difference in staying warm.
  3. Sleep in a base layer – When you’re ready to get in your sleeping bag it is time to strip down to the base layer or nothing.  There will be a few minutes of cold, but once your body heat fills the sleeping bag you will stay warmer than if you go to bed with all your clothes on.  You can keep your fleece layer in your sleeping bag so that it is warm when you get dressed in the morning.
  4. Use an insulating sleeping pad – Even if you have a very warm bag, you will lose all that warmth to the ground if you do not add an insulating layer such as a thermarest pad.  The pads that fill with air are usually more effective than foam for keeping you warm.
  5. Trap the warm air in your sleeping bag – Silk is a great fabric for trapping heat.  We use a silk sheet along the zipper of the bag or around our feet to make the most of our body heat.  I’ve also piled up clothes along the edge of the bag to prevent the heat from leaking through the zipper.
  6. Fire or no fire? – Most campers love to build a fire and consider it essential for staying warm, but to camp in a way that is safe and low impact you need to burn the wood all the way down to ash and that takes a long time.  You will end the night in the dark and cold checking your fire is out by using the drown, stir, feel method.  You may stay warmer and enjoy the evening more by just going to the tent sooner and reading or playing cards in the warm air of the tent.
  7. A smaller tent is a warmer tent – The rain fly traps the warm air that you are breathing.  A smaller tent will warm up a lot faster and stay a lot warmer.
  8. Don’t let essentials freeze – Take a moment to consider what might be at risk of freezing (water bottles, propane canisters, electronics, liquid or capsule medicines) and consider storing them in the tent or even in your sleeping bag.  Keep water bottles right side up so that the lids do not freeze.
  9. Set up your tent with the sun in mind – Ideally set up your tent without direct tree cover and in a spot that gets the morning sun.
  10. Get moving in the morning – A few minutes of yoga is enough to get my blood moving and help me get through those cold mornings.  Jumping jacks are always an easy, quick way to warm up too.
yoga mat at Oak Mountain State Park

My site for yoga in the morning

Mountain Biking in Moab

Sharon and I were in Moab for more than a week recently.  Lots of good rides to post about…. as usual my blogging has a lot of catching up to do with my riding.

The Brand trails / Bar M ranch

This is a newer trail system relatively close to the city of Moab.  It is a stacked loop system with a decent variety of trails.  I decided to ride this trail system first because the Outer Bike, bike industry show was going to be setting up soon, and the area would become overrun with riders. There are currently about 27 miles of single track in total. My favorites were Dead Man’s Ridge and the other newer loop going out toward Killer B. The terrain is challenging but not overly technical as I was able to roll everything. Best of all, this trail system is still growing there are a couple more loops that have not opened yet.

The Porcupine Rim Trail

beginning of Porcupine Rim Trail

beginning of Porcupine Rim Trail

The Porcupine Rim is one of the Moab classics.  The first portion that starts at the end of the Sand Flats Recreation area is a less used high difficulty jeep route. After that it’s a closed road and then finally single track. This ride also offers up lots of classic Moab scenery.

I did manage to crash pretty hard on this ride not long after the point where the single track starts. I was going off a rather small and simple ledge at speed when a large wind gust pushed me way off the good landing zone. Just a little road rash and the bike suffered a bent derailleur hanger.  I kept my tires on the ground for the rest of the jeep road, which is not an easy task.  The final descent off of the rim on the single track is what makes this ride one of the frequently recommended classics.  The single track is hard in places but not unrideable.

This single track is also right along the rim and while the exposure here is not too daunting, the views offered up are great. Parts of this single track also flow well and give you the chance to carry some speed.

Amasa Back

This ride consists of the Cliffhanger jeep trail to the Pot Hole Arch trail to Rock Stacker to Jackson’s.  Amasa Back is a long narrow, tall mesa situated on the Colorado River opposite Poison Spider mesa.  This ride offered up some very technical terrain with a lot of exposure.  The jeep trail is one of the most technical around with virtually no stock vehicles getting through and it gets a rating of 4 or 5 with 5 being the toughest.  Cliffhanger is still no match for a skilled rider on a mountain bike. The single track on Rock Stacker may not have as many ledges, but it’s much harder and more fun to ride. I made my way up Cliffhanger without any drama and headed out toward Pot Hole arch on the single track while the weather continued to hold. The single track along here was a lot of fun with tons of great views. There was a huge section of downhill slick rock with natural rollers making for lots of speed and air time.

On a corner near the junction with Rock Stacker I struck my pedal and it broke in half.  Not good.  I decided to cut short the section that is an out and back to Pot Hole Arch. I proceeded tentatively down Rock Stacker and ended up walking a few sections since my bucked pedal did not offer much purchase for my foot or inspire any confidence.

Intrepid Trail System, Dead Horse Point State Park

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park

I rode this one with Sharon and I should probably let her tell most of this story. It was a great scenic ride with perfect weather.

The White Rim road, Canyonlands National Park

This is a classic route through Canyonlands known for amazing scenery. My parents and their good friends Pat and Cindy Kennedy made this year their 14th Annual self-organized supported bike trip.  There were 11 of us total.  It was a great group and four days and three nights of camping, over 100 miles of riding, and pure fun.  Sharon and I should really have a huge entire post dedicated to this.  Most of the trip through Canyonlands National Park really is even more spectacular than the now famous Tom Till prints.

Slickrock Trail

This is the most well known trail in Moab. It is a unique experience and anyone visiting Moab to ride should not miss this one.  The riding is almost exclusively on slick rock.  Every one remembers the first time they ride slick rock.  Dan and Lisa Friedman joined me for this ride, their first slick rock ride. The term slick rock seems silly as soon as you ride on a bit since the sandstone surface that defines slick rock grips like sand paper.  Grades that would be unfathomable on dirt are easily tackled with the ample traction.  This leads to silly giddy fun while riding it, and later after a few visits to Moab and more experience it makes you want to try what seems impossible to ride.  We got a late start in the afternoon with sore legs from just finishing the White Rim so we did not ride the whole loop.  No matter, the ride was a huge success with two more riders now hooked.  I am sure the Friedmans are now already thinking about their yet to come next trip to Moab.

Below is a little video Dan took of me having fun riding off trail. It’s important to note that while my brakes squealed like a banshee there was never a skid so my tires left no trace on the sandstone.