bikes general moosling travel

Moab biking roadtrip – the video

Aha, finally finished! Here is the little video/slideshow from our trip down to Moab in April this year. I miss my bike. Well, I miss riding my bike in warm weather on red rocks and dirt. Riding on snow just isn’t the same. But this is a nice little taste of the awesomeness of Moab. I’m amazed I managed to take as many photos, and as much footage as I did, the riding was so nice it was easy to get distracted.

Mountain biking around Moab, Utah, April 2013. Featuring Megan, Alex, Finn, Brendan, Jeremy, Jackie, Chad & Michelle, and a lot of very awesome red rock.

bikes general trip reports

Moab 11: The end of days

And so the final day had arrived, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Moosling and I dismantled the camp as Brendan and Alex went and rode Slickrock one more time. Our final FINAL ride was to be at Klondike Bluffs – one the Tout could do as well.

Setting out on the trail together, I was dangerously close to falling asleep, and was torn between disappointment that we hadn’t gone to ride Captain Ahab one more time, and relief that I was riding a trail I could happily ride in a state of semi-consciousnesses.

I woke up a little as Brendan and I split off onto more interesting trails, to create a loop from UFO and EKG, but it wasn’t my finest day of riding.

As Brendan went and returned his bike, we went and got some icecream. Then it was onward to Salt Lake City, where we very fortunately had access to Jeremy’s basement, as it was miserably cold and raining.

At the final breakfast in Salt Lake City it was time for VAFFLES! A breakfast so sweet I thought my brain might actually explode. Then it was farewells (I did consider tying Brendan to the roof of the car and bringing him back to Canmore as a regular riding partner, but the weather really wasn’t looking favourable, and there was absolutely no room inside the car), and so Brendan set off back to the UK, while we commenced our epic drive north.

Despite the occasional showers, it was all going quite well until we crossed the Canadian border around 8pm, at which point the rain started to freeze, and then it was snowing on icy frozen roads. Although we were theoretically only a two hours drive from home, we took the sensible option and stayed in a motel for the night, finishing the drive the next day.

The other side-effect of the night’s weather was the tremendously artistic ice bike decorations.

I’ll leave you now with a few excerpts from the Cop Shop section in the Moab Sun News. Hilarious in their brevity, grammatical errors, turn of phrase, and of course the general oddness of the things that seem to get reported to the police in Moab, the stories were favourites for reading out around the campfire:

Oh dear
An officer was dispatched on the report of an injured deer. While assessing the situation the deer died.

Grown yet juvenile
Two adult men got in a fist fight after one of the men made fun of the other man’s name.

Get off my lawn – and my wood pile.
A 62-year-old Moab woman dropped off a statement to the police department saying a suspicious man went through her property on his way to her neighbor’s house on S. 300 East. She said people leave her neighbor’s house at all hours of the night, “speeding away, driving on the wrong side of the road.” The woman thinks there is something going on and wants to know what. She is also afraid they are planning to burn down her wood pile.

Two employees at a Main Street restaurant got into a fight in the kitchen. One woman said the other threw a salad in her face. The other woman, the manager, said the salad accidentally flew out of her hands as she gestured. Either way, the two went at it, throwing punches, pulling hair, calling names, hurling insults.

And black helicopters are following me too
A man came into the police department and claimed he was hypnotized in Mexico and that the LDS church put GPS trackers on his car. He said a bank employee told him he doesn’t deserve to be on social security and that a dentist harassed him five years ago. The officer ran information on the man and found that he had a warrant for his arrest.

Attackable guy
A man said a dog bit him while he was walking down Main Street. Witnesses said the dog allowed other people, including children, to pet it without incident. It was surmised that the dog did not like the man he bit.

Real men wear scarves
Officers were dispatched to a local bar on the report of a fight in progress. The five men in the fight reported the fight began because one of the men was wearing a scarf. He was teased for wearing the scarf. Then there was a brawl that resulted in three tables being broken.

A cat was stuck in a soup can. Before the officer arrived, the person called back and said he got the soup can off the cat.

A woman got out of her car and was met by an intoxicated stranger. He yelled obscenities at her and said her home was built by cheap laborers.

Pollo burritos?
Officers received a report of a chicken running on Main Street near a restaurant. Officers could not find the chicken.

Love thy neighbor
A man had rocks in his yard. His neighbor didn’t like the rocks. The neighbor asked the man to move the rocks because the rocks were “disorderly”. When the man went out of town, his neighbor removed the rocks. An officer told the neighbor he shouldn’t go in the man’s yard.

Time for an eye exam?
Two boys were riding bikes on Center Street. A woman saw one boy but not the other, because he was under her car. She felt the right tire run over something. The second bicyclist yelled at her to back up. She got out of the car and saw the boy under her car. The boys injuries were not life threatening.

Distance biked: 22 km
Elevation gain: 373 m

bikes general trip reports

Moab 10: Slickrock, the return

Early in the morning it hovered around 0°C. The Moosling and I drove everyone and their bikes up to the top of UPS, where it was a nice warm and snowy -4°C, and dropped them off to ride down Porcupine Rim. I was not terribly sorry to be missing out as I hopped back into a warm car and drove to a playground in town, where I failed to nap a little while the Moosling had a great time (the playground in Moab with all the musical instruments is wonderful).

The nice snowy trails they were riding on Porcupine Rim

Once they were on the lower parts of the trail it seems it warmed up enough for them to mess around taking photos of themselves riding off a rock

The Moosling and I drove around to meet them at the bottom of the trail, and then returned everyone back to camp.

Sadly, Jackie’s bike hire was now finished, and she disappeared back into the welcoming arms of the rock climbing brethren (and sistren). But somehow Brendan was convinced to act as sole Greban for a couple of hours so Alex and I could go out and ride the Slickrock trail together – and so we did.

It hadn’t changed much in the few days since I last rode it. The weather was a little more pleasant, and we were travelling a lot more quickly. And we included the practice loop on the way back as well. And Alex was there to persistently ride up every single maddeningly steep uphill, but eye off the downhills dubiously and find less steep ways to get down. But overall, jolly nice and what ho, etcetera.

On returning to camp, the Moosling had not burnt down Greban, or vice versa… but it was officially our LAST NIGHT IN MOAB.

Distance biked: 17.7 km
Elevation gain: 349 m

bikes general trip reports

Moab 9: Snow, arches, and Amasa Back/Captain Ahab

And on the eighth night there was snow.

As a result, the morning was spent waiting for things to warm up a little, and for the snow to go away. We decided a trip to the Arches National Park was in order. Perhaps the arches would look quite pretty all covered in snow?

Here’s an arch with Brendan standing in it (if you squint really hard you can see him, he’s that wee blue spot).

And here’s another arch with Alex and a wild Moosling.

And here’s Delicate Arch. Oooh, look how pretty it is.

By this time we’d well and truly had enough of driving around looking at arches (well I had anyway), and wanted to go and do something more interesting. That wish was fulfilled when Jackie, Greban and I set off to ride *dramatic chords* Amasa Back and Captain Ahab.

Things started off simply enough, with some slightly startling downhill, then a steady climb up a rocky double track.

Biking up Amasa Back, towards the eponymous whale

Then things opened up, and we were cycling along next to Jackson Hole, with a great precipitous drop next to the trail. The sort where in a situation where you usually wouldn’t think twice about riding over something, suddenly you’re wondering: “But what if I DID just randomly swerve a few metres that way, and then roll a bit – just look at that enormous cliff!”

We headed up to the summit of Amasa Back first, taking some obligatory summit shots…

… before descending (wheeeee!) down to the trail junction and heading out and back on the Pothole Arch singletrack.

The riding was good fun, but it sort of petered out to an uneventful conclusion, leaving us with a dirty great hill to climb back up again, which seemed the height of rudeness.

But then we were on our way to Captain Ahab! I was alarmed by the entry sign – expert skills recommended? But apparently I have enough pseudo-expert skills these days, and it was a wonderful trail, flowing and fun, and I think the people who built it may have been wizards.

For an average descent grade of 11%, it had an awful lot of uphill though. Oh, but there would have been even more photos if we hadn’t been having too much fun riding to really want to stop and take photos.

Distance biked: 25 km
Elevation gain: 736 m

bikes general trip reports

Moab 8: Slickrock!

After a morning spent in an RV, waiting for the rain to clear (we didn’t just break into an RV, it belonged to friends who turned up for a night, honestly) we decided to head out and ride the Slickrock trail. But not before experiencing the strange taste sensation of garlic pancakes. Not only were they garlic-flavoured pancakes, but they were unintentionally garlic-flavoured pancakes, with no known source for the garlic. The pot didn’t taste of garlic, the raw pancake powder didn’t taste of garlic, the milk didn’t taste of garlic, the butter used in the pan wasn’t garlic butter. And yet we were faced with pancake after pancake with a strong garlic flavour.

Turning our thoughts away from garlic pancakes, we wandered a couple of hundred metres down the road to ride the famous Slickrock trail.

Firstly, let me clear up something. “Slickrock” is not terribly slick, it’s actually sandstone, and quite grippy. The slickrock on the Slickrock trail is Navajo Sandstone.The entire trail just follows white painted dashes on the rock, and apart from a few dives into brief pits of sand, is basically all riding on rock. The trail was originally developed in 1969 for motorcycles, so you’re not supposed to glare at them too much when they come revving past you. We didn’t run into many though, and they were all very friendly anyway. There’s another trail for 4x4s which criss-crosses through the same area, so you’re liable to see Jeeps posing silhouetted on the top of rock hummocks as well. That about covers it I think.

Without further ado, here are the photos (photos of me courtesy of Greban). They’re all fairly self-explanatory and involve people riding bikes on rock, so please mentally caption them yourselves…

Distance biked: 16.9 km
Elevation gain: 348 m

Note: The garlic pancake mystery was later solved when it was revealed that there was an extra ingredient added to the batter – an oil which was garlic infused. So the RV wasn’t psychotropic, and the pancakes really were garlic-flavoured. I don’t recommend it to anyone.