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Well, it’s finally happened. We got sick of our “crap” bikes. Thanks to our friends at Cottonwood Cyclery (and hey – support your local bike shops by the way!), we got a stellar deal on these:
Actually, these Marins are far from crappy. But, the old pet name for our bikes that get stuck riding outside the RV is just way too ingrained at this point. Sorry, Marin. We love your bikes, but they’ll always be affectionately known as the “crap” bikes.
Of course, getting new mountain bikes meant we had find some trails to put them to the test. Luckily for us, we live less than 4 hours from the Mountain Biking Capital of the World.
There are tons of options for camping around Moab. We tend to gravitate back to Horsethief Campground, just outside of Dead Horse Point State Park, and this time was no exception. Horsethief is a BLM campground down a dirt road with no hookups, but there are pit toilets, tables, a fire pit, and usually no one else around. Though it should be noted we never visit Moab after March since that’s when the crowds hit, so don’t hold me to that no-one-else-around thing.
There are some mountain biking trails that head right out from the campground, which is pretty convenient. The first loop is actually quite easy and a great place to warm-up before heading out on bigger rides. Because that’s the thing about biking in Moab. The trails can get pretty technical. You can “think” you’re a pretty good trail rider when you come from other parts of the US. Moab will show you otherwise very quickly.
This picture up above is a great example. They call this “slick rock,” and mountain bikers….GOOD mountain bikers I mean… eat this stuff up. And it looks pretty fun and easy, right? Except what you can’t see is that it’s actually a 10% downhill grade. And while my bike wants to go 50 miles an hour down this “slick” sheet, there are unpredictable elements working against me. Cracks, bumps, loose rocks, and an insane husband who thinks his bike can fly. Have you ever seen those goofy exercise gadgets that you stand on and they shake you to near death? Okay. Imagine this whole rock sheet is one big shaking vibrating gadget set at its most violent level of vibratey-ness. That’s what slick rock feels like. You can feel your brain rattling in your head!
So yeah, slick rock isn’t always “slick.” But, we loved every painful minute of it. I think that’s something James and I have in common. We both tend to crave movement. And not just any movement. We’re drawn to the kind that challenges us, makes us sweat, and maybe even intimidates us a little (or, sometimes, a lot).
We love the feeling of pushing our bodies to capacity, and seeing what can happen. What we learned this trip is that wipeouts can happen. Yep, I’m sporting some pretty impressive bruises, but still, even after a few falls, we weren’t discouraged.
Because when this is your playground, it’s hard to be anything but awed.
James and I love old stuff. Abandoned roads, ghost towns, ruins… just fascinating. So if there’s something cool and old to see along a biking trail, well, we’re going to detour and investigate. Moab has tons of old stuff to see. Like the Halfway Stage Station:
This was a halfway point for people living near Moab who were trying to catch the train in the 1880’s. It took them 8 hours to get to the train station, and this was their rest in the middle of that journey, where they could get a meal and a fresh horse. There are all sorts of rusty artifacts littering the area:
We had fun trying to guess what all those rusty things once were.
And if you’re into REALLY old things, you’ll like this. We saw dinosaur bones in their natural resting places! The Dinosaur Trail is located near Moab, and is one of those “bucket list” type places to visit in the area. There are actual dinosaur bones embedded in a rock face, complete with interpretive signs explaining and pointing out the bones.
Here’s James giddy with excitement about the dinosaur foot bones in the rock face just above his shoulder. Really, he actually was giddy with excitement. But he was mad at me that I made him sit still for a picture.
And if you want to go, go soon. I’m not sure how many years this will remain open. There has already been significant vandalism and some of the bones have even been stolen; it’s devastating to see empty pits where the bones once were. Plus, you’ll need either mountain bikes or 4-wheel drive to access the trail. This isn’t something you can drive your RV up to.
So yeah! That was our most recent trip to Moab! Another successful “Lance” trip in the bag. And despite a few impressive bumps and bruises, our new Marin bikes were champs. Still, you won’t catch me in shorts anytime soon…
One more question! Do you think that 4 bikes could go on the back with the 2 up where yours are sometimes (expensive ones) and then 2 below, possibly other door mounting? I’m wondering about stacked bike clearance, windage with covers, opening both doors with added lower rack and obviously protection especially theft.
Bikes, washroom and bed seem to be the biggest issues for us.
Well, I wouldn’t try it with any of my bikes…
You might be able to make it happen, but some of those bikes are going to be awfully close to the ground. Also, you’d have to stack them on the passenger’s side, or you’d obstruct the license plate and get yourself a ticket. That’s about 80 vertical inches of bikes – nearly 7 feet. Vehicles only 9 feet tall…
At that point – just get a small trailer. Seriously. I’ve considered it.
James, could you insert link to the review you recently did on a non hitch type bike rack please. Thank you, Cristi.
No problem. You can find the video on our YouTube channel. Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNZ6srHGCbE
The 59K mod for inside bikes seems possible but without having a 59K available and moving cushions I’m playing with pics and rough measurements. The biggest dilemma is where to store the bike side cushion. Could it be used as backing for couch on passenger side? We don’t care about bikes inside but I want to not have them in the way, create a suitable bed for 2, maintain access to washroom and keep area clean from bike gear.
Any 59K owners that can provide input?
Will join Facebook also.
I never tried to bring any bikes into a K. Seems like it would work. You’d need to think carefully about removing the Froli, and maintaining access to the storage underneath that bed, but yes, it could be done.
After following your blog plus others still trying to figure out how to carry 4 bikes (2 inside) and have enough space in the Travato. Leaning towards the 59K because of rear washroom layout and storing the inside bikes opposing one another against the side bench window. Bed cushion would be moved away from below bikes to give area for forks/back wheels. Idea is to sleep using one side bed cushion plus install centre isle supports for the other cushion completing double bed larger than 59G? My road bike stands 39″ from floor to top of seat with front wheel removed. What is the clearance below your 59G bed?
What an interesting mod idea for the K, Ron! You’ll have to keep us posted, and make sure to join our Travato Owners (and Wanna-Be’s) Facebook group because other owners would be very curious about this. http://www.facebook.com/groups/travatoowners Our G bed easily clears 40″, but remember, we’ve got a customized rig built around a raised bed to accommodate our race bikes. Which means cabinetry is all different and windows different, too. Keep in touch as you proceed!You’ve got us very curious. 🙂
Maybe I missed it somewhere, but could you write a small comment about what you’ve learned about using the exterior bike rack? Some hints about which bikes work better, how to position them and generally what you’ve learned might lessen the learning curve. I’ve tried to put two vintage 10 speeds up on mine and it’s been very frustrating even with their relatively narrow handlebars and me lowering the rack a notch.
Eric – are you psychic?
Just this past weekend, I planned out a video (which will appear on our YouTube channel and over on Winnebabolife.com) where I’ll go over pretty much everything I’ve learned about the Fiamma bike rack. It should be up within a month!
Hey folks – been following for awhile but love this post…LOVE Moab….favorite trail is Porcupine Rim….can’t wait to get back on the bike…..still taking it easy from a dual pelvis fracture (road cycling accident versus a skateboarder) that also tore my meniscus…..in the meantime I’ll live vicariously through your blog! LOL
Oh my! And we thought cars were our greatest worry when road biking!!! Great to hear from you Bill, and here’s hoping for a speedy recovery. We always hate hearing about road bike accidents, but so glad you’re okay. I’ll send good vibes that you’ll be back on the Porcupine Rim in no time!
You guys kill us! 🙂 Ha!
A favourite bike we had was a Marin, that we later sold. Funny how some things always have a soft spot with you even years later.
One of many reason that we bought our Class B was to see those beautiful landscapes you have in that area.
We had a beautiful day here and are so looking forward to spending some time in the RV and on the boat. Spring and Summer and Fall, bring it on!
Yeah the unique landscapes around the Moab area are quite amazing, we’re so lucky to live close! Neat you have a warm spot for Marin; we’ve always liked them and are thrilled to finally own some. Glad it’s warming up up there on your little piece of paradise! Sounds like Spring fever is setting in…hope you get the boat out soon. 🙂
Those views made my heart pang. Congrats on another great trip!
Yeah, John, it kinda takes your breath away, doesn’t it. 🙂
Yay! Utah Rocks! Can’t wait to get back.
Keep on rockin’ gang.
Hope you get back soon, Don! You’re right. Utah rocks. It’s one big playground. 🙂
I use a Specialized Turbo electric bike with Ortlieb panniers, off the back of my ERA. It’s a hybrid bike that’s perfect for city or trail riding. Plenty of power for hot weather or hill riding. About $3K.
Now THAT’s a toad!
Sweet, Eric! I’ve always wanted to try one of those…
A lot of RV’rs promote driving a larger rig with a dinghy for hub-and-spoke exploring. I wonder if you can write about using your “crap” bikes to run errands like grocery runs, picking up coffee, or visiting restaurants for meals leaving Lance hooked up as a home base.
Do you use side bags or backpacks for trips like this? What sort of range are you comfortable traveling by bike from a campsite?
Ted, that’s actually a pretty interesting idea for a post! Our “toad” vehicles. lol!
We don’t often stay in one place for very long – but for something like an RV rally that would totally work, as long as there were roads that were safe for cycling.
At home, I have large panniers and a commuter type bike I can take on grocery runs. But we don’t typically travel with that bike. Out in the RV, we’d use backpacks.
I’m not a good reference for errand length though, because I tend to go kind of long. 😉 Time, not distance, becomes my limiting factor.