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…