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.

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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!

 

Winter Airstreaming St. George Utah

Emily & Silent Partner


Evening, Peeps!

Sometimes Airstreaming is just about not being home. The destination doesn’t have to be exotic, though you could do a lot worse than the St. George KOA in Southwest Utah.

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This RV park occupies a strange spit of land between the I-15, Quail Creek State Park:

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And the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area:

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The Escape

We’re here more or less on a whim – had some vacation time and a handy Airstream so we headed out of town the day after Christmas seeking mountain biking and, well … not home.

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Temperatures are hovering well below freezing and a winter storm is passing through but wow is it cool to watch the snow fall on the mountains while you’re mountain biking. Today we rode several trails in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area.

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We headed out on White Reef Trail:

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Then back on Leeds Reef Trail:

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My riding companion was’t feeling especially photogenic today.

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But we persevered on the Quail Creek Trail where we enjoyed the sweet smell of fallen leaves before returning to the Airstream home.

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The Portal To The Mountain Biking Dimension

Ok, Peeps. More frozen adventure to come tomorrow! Peace out.

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Bulldog Detail Sponsors Us!!

Emily


Good evening, peeps!

Connections

Funny how life is connected. For example, how does camping lead to a bad parking decision that leads to a sponsorship? Allow me to explain.

The White Mountains connects to the Airstream…

After our trip to the White Mountains the Airstream furnace failed, so I left it with a dealer for a few days.

The Airstream connects to Fred’s neighbor…

After picking up the Airstream from the dealer mid-week, a car was parked on the other side of the street from Fred’s house and I was alone. A normal person would have either a) Asked the neighbor to move for a few minutes or b) Left the trailer out front and come back later. 

Fred’s neighbor connects to my bad decision making…

I chose c) Pull in tight, possibly brushing up against a small bush in the the process, without a spotter. What could be the worst that would happen?

Well, this is what happened:

The aforementioned “small” bush turned out to be a Palo Verde that’s been cut super short, and it left a severe scratch in the Airstream for 10′ (3m) give or take.

My bad decision making connects to a wonderful new relationship!

But all is not lost!

Enter Bulldog Detail. These guys run a shop in Scottsdale, Arizona and specialize in  scratch repair, ego repair and ceramic coating. After explaining what happened to the Airstream they quoted me an incredibly fair price and got it done in only a few days. bulldog_logo 2

While Fred and I were dropping off the Airstream we asked Kyle owner/operator if he would mind us making an episode around the scratch repair. One thing led to another and we all thought Airstream MTB and Bulldog Detail would complement each other, thus a sponsorship was born! 

Ceramic Coating Oh My

You can find an extensive walk-through of what Bulldog Detail did to repair this scratch and the special ceramic coating they applied to defend it against future encounters right here in our latest video. There’s a lot of science here centering around hydrophobic coatings, electrostatic properties, hardness scales and layered barriers – enjoy!

Onward With the Sponsorship

With this episode we are rolling into season 2 if you can believe it, and what better way than to spruce up our splash screen with credit to Bulldog Detail. We’re proud to have their sponsorship and look forward to a wonderful year! By all means, if you have any questions comment or even better give Bulldog Detail a call.

Riding the Lake Mountain Spur Trail – Airstreaming the White Mountains

Fred & Emily


Evening, Peeps!

Please join us on our final ride in the White Mountains, this time on the Lake Mountain Spur Trail.

This ride is interesting because that thumbnail above is where we rode in the caldera of an extinct volcano! It looks innocent enough until you realize it’s also at 8500′ (2590m) and the site of former magma flows.

Enjoy!

This is Arizona? Airstreaming the White Mountains!

Fred & Emily


Good morning, Peeps.

I mentioned in my last woefully old post that we were planning an adventure to the White Mountains in eastern Arizona. Why go there? Because the White Mountains is on my list of “special places”. In this post, we live up to that promise with a lovely diary of our adventures including Airstreaming, mountain biking and camping.

The Plan

I’m sure by now it’s come through I deeply miss traveling full-time in the silver tube, but there is one benefit to living in sticks & bricks – those brief opportunities to escape the bonds of careerdom are even sweeter when the diesel motor is roaring and the horizon is ahead.

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And so it is.

As the kiddos head back to school, the sun sits lower in the sky and mother nature is about to release her triple-digit grip on the valley Fred and I embarked on a multi-day adventure to the high country.

We were equipped with a gaggle of new technology, including a GoPro Hero 6 and more suction cup camera mounts than an octopus. We made our way into the wilderness to do some serious dispersed camping and to review no less than three mountain bike trails.

To get there we pass through Payson, up the Mogollon Rim, though Show Low, then Pinetop and finally to Los Burros Campground.

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See It! Live It! YouTube It!

For the visually oriented you can see part one of our adventure at our YouTube channel here! And then continue reading on below for a written account of how Fred almost got eaten by a bear.

Ok, Fred wasn’t almost eaten by a bear, but you will see some nice pictures and a dachshund in the woods, what could be better than that?

Phoenix to Payson

Our stop in Payson usually includes a quick bite at Sonic.

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And a quick adjustment of the GoPro hanging off the back of the Doxi Bus.

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The Mogollon Rim

Immediately outside Payson the drive then takes us up “the wall”, or more correctly the Mogollon Rim. This rift is a violent uplift that runs east to west splitting Arizona essentially in north and south halves. Any drive north in Arizona, therefore, ultimately climbs up this jaw-dropping terrain.

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Mogollon Rim

At the Mogollon Rim visitors center you can look out over the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. When I think of Arizona this is where my mind goes.

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Safe Travels Senator John McCain

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Booking Los Burros

After gorging ourselves on photos we moved on, passing through Show Low then Pinetop and ultimately into the far eastern arm of the national forest’s Los Burros Campground. As for booking reservations at Los Burros, I’m kidding. Where we’re going we don’t need reservations – Los Burros is free!

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For amenities, this campground has a vault toilet.

That’s it.

Really.

In exchange for this sparsity, though, you get unbelievable views of flower filled meadows, giant trees and blue sky.

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Sites are first-come-first-served and there isn’t any running water or trash pickup. You pack everything in and pack everything out. It also happens Los Burros forms the trailhead for the Los Burros Loop, one of the best trails we rode up there.

Finding Los Burros completely full is uncommon but we arrived close to Labor Day and the campground was full, so we were forced (aka thrilled) to do some dispersed camping along one of the many fire roads in the area. We landed only a quarter mile away in a lovely aspen grove.

Does it get any better than this?

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Ginger doesn’t think so.

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Amenities & Activities

Stuff Not Mountain Biking

Close to Los Burros there are a number of small towns, a casino and an interesting watch tower used by the forest service during high risk months for spotting smoke.

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You can even pop into New Mexico with a fairly short drive. But make no mistake, Fred and I were here to mountain bike so that’s what we did!

Mountain Biking

I’m going to come at you soon with more detailed reviews of each of these trails but Fred and I rode three different loops over three days and here’s a primer.

Los Burros Loop

The Los Burros Loop was the most aggressive ride of the trip topping out at 1,900′ (580m) climbing and 13 miles (21km) distance.

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This trail consists of highly volcanic sharp single track…

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Some mud…

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And epic stretches of aspen and pine.

Land of the Pioneers

Land of the Pioneers was less aggressive at 688′ (209m) 9 miles (14.5km). There’s a story to tell about this ride but I shall hold that until my next post.

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Lake Mountain Loop

The Lake Mountain Loop was a ‘make your own adventure’ ride as I call them but lets just say to get up there it involved some walking.

Ahem.

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Anyhoo, how many time do you get to go into an old volcano caldera? Well that’s what the loop is, a trail around a volcano!

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No smoke or lava here, though – just lush greenery.

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Flowers

Ok, you knew it was coming. Flower time! With all the rain this season there were more flowers and greenery that I’ve ever seen here so I must share.

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Ok not flowers, but mushroom can be kinda cute?

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And … fern type things…

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And berries…

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What Could Go Wrong

It had to happen I suppose. After a pretty good run with the Airstream she decided to get a little grumpy. Maybe she’s telling me she doesn’t get to go out enough?

Furious Furnace

The first night at our sweet sweet location we discovered the furnace wasn’t working. This wasn’t entirely fatal as we did have the generator and the heat pumps worked fine, but that’s only when the generator was running which usually isn’t overnight. That made for a couple of mildly uncomfortable sleeps but not unbearable. The ultimate diagnosis?  A failed limit switch.

Cost $400.

Bad Bed Mojo

The first night at our sweet sweet location I went to roll out the guest bed which cleverly lies under the front sofa and literally ripped the decorative fascia off with my hands. Examining the wreckage I could see the stupidity of the design: The panel is held on by three small wood screws that are a) too shallow so as to prevent poking though the decorative laminate and b) prone to self-releasing in the continuous shock and vibration environment the trailer offers.

The obvious solution was to draw three #8 machine screws through the front of the fascia and affix them to the aluminum bed frame with lock washers and nuts then cap the machine screw heads with the same white button covers as are used in ten thousand other places in the trailer.

Cost: $30

To Be Continued…

Fred and I kind of lost our mind on this trip, we have three more videos on the way as we review each trail we rode. It sure wore Ginger out.

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In the meantime take this away with you, the White Mountains are awesome, and should you have the opportunity go there!

 

E1.11 A Tour of Airstream MTB’s International Serenity Part 2

Emily & Fred


Morning, Peeps!

As promised, we have the follow-up episode on our 2016 International Serenity ready for your viewing pleasure. This time, all about the insides!

E1.11 A Tour of Airstream MTB’s International Serenity Part 2

Herein we explore every nook and cranny of the Airstream, carry out some trim repair and discuss aspects of living full-time.

So with that, we again bid you adieu, enjoy, comment, participate, subscribe, and live well!

– Peace