White Reef Loop St. George UT

 

Emily


Evening, Peeps.

Way back in December we went up to St. George to do some winter Airstreaming and of course some mountain biking too.

Now behold, my very first video documenting the experience. I mean “mine” as in I edited this video.

Not Fred.

Me.

The editing experience has given me a whole new appreciation for Fred’s work, and this was a quick video! Anyway, we call these “Snack Bars” because the video’s only a couple minutes – about as long as YouTube analytics tell us people watch our videos anyway.

So enjoy this snack, peace out and see you soon.

Airstreaming the Redwoods

Emily


Evening, Peeps!

The hard part about blogging after a trip is realizing all the things you should have done. For example, I wish that I’d realized I was going to start a blog. If I’d known that I would have spent much more time taking better pictures.

Case in point, the redwoods. They just don’t photograph well except in the vertical format, which annoys my photographer sensibilities. And then when you finally find the time to write about it the pictures you did bother take just aren’t quite up to the task – you have to scroooooolllll to see them all.

Still:

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That’s a camper to the right there – imagine you’re standing right down at the base. Gawwwd they’re big!

Redwood Rewind

So let’s catch up.  The reason I’m talking about this is in mid 2017 we left Vacaville (close’ish to San Francisco) after completing some unexpected repairs to the Airstream and I was determined to get us to the redwoods come hell or high water.

To get there we took the 101 north to the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Vacaville to Humboldt Redwoods State Park

For our overnight we stayed at the Giant Redwoods RV & Camp right off the 101 where the opening picture above was taken:

Giant Redwoods RV & Camp

I have to say, Giant Redwoods RV & Camp was just wonderful. The vibe was laid back and easy, there was lots to explore including awesome access to the South Fork Eel River. Sites were level, shaded and equipped with full services:

 

There was a nice new clean bathhouse and the owners were friendly and accommodating. They even placed some calls for us to work out a glitch in our Good Sam membership. I also super appreciated their laid back welcome for dogs.

Crescent City

The next day we drove up the 101 which hugs the coastline. Our destination was Redwood Meadows RV Resort which is just outside Crescent City.

Humboldt to Crescent City

Although the 101 hangs precariously to the seaside cliffs, and the trees are thick, you still get heart-stopping views like this one now and again. I mean, if you’re into that sort of thing  ;o)

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When we passed through Crescent City and managed a little time to explore the water. The bay is so shallow the water recedes extensively at low tide.

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Finally we made our way to Redwood Meadows RV Resort, of which I managed to get exactly zero pictures.

Redwood Meadows RV Resort

Even without the pictures I can say only good things. The park has trees but it’s been substantially thinned so satellite reception, ironically, was just fine. Our site was level, clean and fully equipped. People were friendly, though evidently there had been some problems with theft in the past. Prices, in my opinion, we exceptional both for the time of year an ambiance.

The best thing about this campground though was location. Perched right on the edge of the Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park the park offered convenient access to Crescent City and exceptional access to acres of redwoods. We made frequent trips into town for supplies but still felt very much “away from it all”.

Riding the Redwoods

Ah yes, my favorite topic. Mountain biking.

Located close to Redwood Meadows RV Resort is the Little Bald Hills Trail, which is located directly across the Smith River from the RV park. Strangely getting there involved a somewhat serpentine though jaw-droppingly picturesque route.

Little Bald Hills Trail

Part of the drive includes a covered bridge which I think might be made out of redwood. I sort of expected to see Ichabod Crane.

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The trailhead begins at Howland Hills Road, which is surrounded by tall and dense redwoods. The road is narrow and winding but parking at the trailhead was spacious enough for half-dozen trucks.

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From there things got intense. This trail runs at a grade sometimes over 20% and with the humidity running 100% within seconds the sweat was rolling off of me and attracting car-sized mosquitoes. But who cares, look at this place!

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Interestingly one of the strongest memories I have from the redwoods is the smell. It’s a very distinctive pleasant sweet odor. I can still smell it when I think about it.

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Flowers were uncommon, only sprouting up in rare patches of open sunlight.

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The climb was absolutely brutal, requiring frequent dismounts due to fitness and thick dead-fall. Still, at the top I was greeted with a fairy like view. I found that the higher I got the redwoods gave way to more common pine and less fog.

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Despite the murderous climb I rode this trail a half-dozen times during our stay. It’s not for the lighthearted but damn what an experience.

Reflections

Our trip to the redwoods had the best possible outcome – it made us want more. We only spent a couple weeks there due to our soon-to-end travel so now we have a little seed germinating that will almost certainly take us back to there for a much longer stay. This place absolutely has “it” and we can’t wait to go back.

Airstream Repairs Part 2 – Shelf Fix

 

Fred & Emily


Evening, Peeps.

Riffing on our repair video here, we noticed during our last trip in the Airstream that there was a perceptible bow in the closet shelf. Looking more carefully at the design it became apparent the shelf was not supported in the rear where it meets the exterior shell. This left the shelf hanging precipitously in space, so even without much weight on it just fishing around for items on the shelf would cause the wood to sag.

Fred and I talked about various approaches to this problem and finally landed on the idea of a supporting bracket affixed to the Airstream shell itself and a floating “T” to hold the shelf up and away. We decided on the floating “T” because we felt like the Airstream designers probably left the shelf floating to give everything a chance to flex in transport – bolting the shelf directly to the Airstream skin would risk tearing it apart.

Floating Support

At last, armed with the idea pictured above we proceeded to manufacture a bracket and you can see the results in a four minute video below.

Hope you enjoy this Airstream DIY and peace out!

Airstream Repairs Part 1 – Closet Fix

Fred & Emily


Evening, Peeps!

Yes, the blog still lives. But sadly, boring things like work keep getting in the way so we haven’t been producing as much content as we’d like.

Still, we found some time to address a fairly serious issue in the Airstream which is separating closet panels. While I would normally jump all over Airstream for their bad quality on this front, I have to say I think I understand what they were after.

The closet in its original form has sort of a “negative edge” appearance, which has almost no visible screws and a nice clean white appearance with few seams. When new, this approach is quite stunning and makes the closet look very spacious.  Until the screws back out, the unglued pegs fail and panels start to bow.

Fred and I talked about various solutions to the imploding closet, like re-threading the failed wingy/doodads that made the negative edge possible in the first place, or running a white piece of angle along the closet edge. In the end you will see see our video below we settled on a very straight forward set of brackets to keep things in place.

Hope you enjoy this Airstream DIY and peace out!

 

Mountain Biking Zion’s Doorstep

Emily & Silent Partner


Evening, Peeps!

Today was our last day winter Airstreaming in St. George so we did it up in style and rode the Hurricane Cliffs JEM Trail, which is literally on Zion National Park’s doorstep.

You Are Here

The weather was bright and clear, if not a bit cool but it made for exceptional desert riding.

Mellow JEM

Our trail of choice was the Mellow JEM feature ride. I chose this ride because we wanted something, well… mellow. The climb is only a few percent and the route makes a classic lollipop. Total mileage ~11mi (18km) and 1100′ (335m) of climbing.

Ride Preview

This ride stitches together the JEM Trail.

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To the Cryptobionic Trail.

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To the Dead Ringer Trail.

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In truth the outbound leg was OK – nothing wildly technical though I found the initial exposures up against the Virgin River a little gratuitous and unnecessary. As I contemplated my own death it occurred to me this shelf ride is very similar to Porcupine Rim in Moab. Oh, and that’s Zion National Park directly ahead – not half bad eh?

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Even the less deathy stuff is still mind boggling. I can’t imagine what this looks like when it’s running.

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All these trails were tight green single-track with occasional blue uppers. When I finally “got” this trail though was on the way back.

Oh, that’s cool!

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Parting Thoughts

Winter Airstreaming

Winter Airstreaming is a little hard – the roads were icy getting out here, the Airstream is covered in road salt which is just awful for this rig, and it’s f’ing cold – around freezing daily. We pounded through propane like nobody’s tomorrow but in exchange we saw something amazing – the desert in winter tableau, staged just for us.

I’d recommend riding here 10 times over. Just bring appropriate winter gear. Need I say more?

Pssst KOA – Pass It On

A quick shout out to the St. George/Hurricane KOA. This place rocks – electrical outlets were in awesome repair, all hose bibs were new, pads were level and clean with round high quality aggregate keeping the dust away. Pavement was even new. The bath house was in excellent repair, clean and warm. Despite the proximity to I-15 we also didn’t particularly pick up on the road noise.

KOAs tend to be expensive, but we splurged for this exact reason – you always know what you’re going to get and these guys know what they’re doing. Nothing beats rolling into a killer campground after 8 hours on the road and feeling all snugly inside that you’re going to get exactly what you paid for. And we did!

What Could Go Wrong

I try to make a point about what can go wrong in RVing. Not that I have a dark demeanor or anything, but I just think it pays to keep everyone’s eyes open to the possibilities when they travel.

This trip we had a few gremlins.

The water pump in the Airstream kept “topping off” even though all faucets were closed. We didn’t have a leak so I suspect it’s something to do with being in storage for so long. After a couple minutes it would eventually chill out. As I finish this post it’s stopped entirely so that will be one for a future service visit. The internets suggests it may be a bum pressure sensor.

Also the Clarion stereo the Airstream shipped with decided to lose its mind and spontaneously cycle through all modes instead of staying on Aux, which we use for DirecTV. That too has mysteriously “fixed” itself. Since I’ve always hated the Clarion stuff anyway this gives me an excuse to replace the sound system with all Bose.

Lastly Dee, our 2500 HD Denali decided to complain about low coolant today. I topped off the antifreeze while fueling up with winterized diesel and checked for leaks (nothing apparent). We may have an appointment at the Chevy dealer soon, time will tell.

And with that my friends, peace out!

This Blows, Mountain Biking Hurricane UT

Emily & Silent Partner


Evening, Peeps!

Yesterday I mentioned we’re at a KOA in St. George Utah. Ok, so technically speaking, we’re actually in Hurricane, UT which is next to St. George.

I suspect Hurricane is called Hurricane because this place blows – literally.

Today it was 43°F (6°C) with 20mph (32kph) winds.  ; o

The Ride

I wasn’t sure what the wind would do to the ride, but today’s journey took us on White Reef Trail to Tipple Trail to Red Reef East Trail to Prospector Trail.

This Blows

My silent Partner bailed early on due to the face-freezing wind but not me, no siree bob, I was on a mission!

White Reef Trail

White Reef doesn’t offer much in the way of views, but it does offer a nice easy warm up. All trails were easy blues, nothing technical just a bit of fitness. Courtesy of our GoPro 7 you can see my POV.

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For me there’s no such thing as a bad day mountain biking, even when my face is frozen in place.

Tipple Trail

Next up, Tipple Trail offered a sweeping view of the surrounding terrain. By this point I was warmed up and the intense wind was at my back offering a nice little assist up the climbs.

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If you’ve ever been to Sedona or Moab this area very much has ‘that’ feel. Replete even with unexpected water crossings.

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Red Reef East Trail

Next in line, the Red Reef East trail takes you directly up against the red cliffs of the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.

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Prospector Trail

The Red Reef East dumps you out into a campground so I took the road from the campground to Prospector Trail just to see what’s there.

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I found some hard climbs.

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And some sweet single track.

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I only rode Prospector for 45min or so, but it was a great trail with some pretty intense fitness.

A Followup On My Wölvhammer Boa Winter Cycling Boots

You may be wondering, how’d my winter MTB boots review in a previous post hold up in this cold?

Absolutely fantastic. Warm and lush. In short – perfect!

Tomorrow…

Tomorrow’s our last day here. The weather isn’t supposed to blow, at least not so hard, so I hope to bring back some great pics.

Peace out!