As promised, here’s the last of the St. George edits from 2018. For this segment we rode the Mellow Jem route out at the Hurricane Cliffs. This route is a blend of Jem, Dead Ringer and Connector back to Jem.
The trail overview didn’t mention the real possibility of a horrible death falling off the trail, which is stupidly close to the cliff edge, as you’ll see. But we survived.
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.
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.
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.
For me there’s no such thing as a bad day mountain biking, even when my face is frozen in place.
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.
If you’ve ever been to Sedona or Moab this area very much has ‘that’ feel. Replete even with unexpected water crossings.
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.
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.
I found some hard climbs.
And some sweet single track.
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’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.
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.
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.
Welcome to day 3 and 4 of our not-quite-as-live-as-I’d-like blog from Moab. Today we’re coming to you from the Eklecticafe where exceptional eats and coffees are found aplenty.
I’m blogging from here because cell coverage on the Colorado stinks, even with the booster. So we took a nice lazy morning to imbibe some flavored caffeine, eat some delicious strudel and share the past couple days in photos and prose.
Leaving Slickrock Campground
We left Slickrock campground but not before a furry-friend sendoff.
I have some ambiguity about this campground. The prices were high, but possibly not out of line when you consider being in the heart of town. The facilities were used – hard – but the staff was friendly, and they sold beer at the front desk. The electrical connections at the site bordered on a fire hazard, but the pads were clean, shade covered and otherwise well maintained.
I suppose my conclusion is I would come back, but probably again just as a mid-point while trying to land a better location on the Colorado.
Camping the Colorado
On day 3 of our adventure we moved to Goose Island Campground.
Goose Island is a remarkable BLM facility located not much more than a mile east of Moab on Utah 126.
We like this campground because it’s close to town yet limited to a couple dozen sites nestled up against a dramatic bend in the Colorado River. For $15/night you get unbelievable views of the river and epic sandstone cliffs worked meticulously by water and wind.
The campground offers trash collection and immaculately kept vault toilets but no water. Generator hours are a little odd at 8AM to 8PM, though we understand everyone wants to enjoy the outdoors in quiet.
Being so close to town this campground is busy. All sites are walk-ups so prospective campers (including ourselves) troll the area at all hours trying to score a spot. It’s also not entirely unusual for outside campers to stop by and drop trash in the receptacles, though there not supposed to. Given the amount of activity around here it’s understandable.
As I mentioned earlier, cell coverage here stinks. With the booster I can get internet but it’s too flaky to upload pictures for the blog. Still it’s entirely sufficient for texts and email.
Lastly as seen above foliage is light making satellite reception a snap.
Dead Horse Point State Park Take 2
In an effort to economize on our three-day pass to Dead Horse Point State Park, we rode there again on Day 4. You can read up on the trail details in our previous post here. Below are a few more non-mountain biking highlights.
The Point of the Point
The point of the point is this.
I’ve been to the Grand Canyon numerous times but I find this view infinitely more rewarding. It’s still grand, but somehow more intimate.
A Little Moab Walkabout
On Day 3 we spent some time in Moab grabbing food and groceries. We highly recommend the Moab Brewery. Patio seating is the best.
Eddie McStiff’s has awesome Pizza, though oddly not until after 3.
The Moab Information Center right next door has a gorgeous garden.
To be continued….
We’re lazing around today, I might ride North 40 if I can get out of vacation mode – you’ll find out tomorrow. Peace!
In our continuing series on places we’ve stayed in the Airstream, I am proud to introduce Fruita Colorado.
*According to a local we spoke with, Fruita is pronounced “Froo”-“tah”. Apologies to any other locals reading this blog if we got that wrong.
Free! That’s right – we boondocked on BLM land north of Fruita near the 18 Road Trailhead for free. As American citizens BLM land belongs to all of us so you can stay out here for up to 14 days at no charge. Etiquette suggests however, you try your very best to occupy only a campsite that has previously been established, pack out whatever you packed in, never dump water (not even gray water), be mindful of fires (as in dead out when unattended) and in general leave things better than they were when you got there.
Amenities & Activities
The 18 Road Trailhead is about 40 minutes north of town on a curiously non-linear route that threads itself among beautiful rural Colorado farmsteads and frustratingly slow school buses. Buses aside, the seemly endless series of lefts and rights eventually gives way to dirt as 18 road crosses onto BLM land; finally heading north uninterrupted.
We stayed at a dispersed spot slightly south-east of the trailhead and made use of a previously established fire ring and turn-around for the Airstream.
Since we were boondocking we were entirely cut off from services. Survival consisted, therefore, of a combination of solar and generator for power, our 50-gallon tank for water and every nook and cranny stuffed full of food for provisions. At the end of our stay we stopped by the Colorado Welcome Center, which offers a free dump station and water fill.
Our camp site was comprised of dense compressed clay and sadly we were also heavily surrounded by foxtails, an aggressive weed-like grass that is very harmful to pets. This heavily limited our dog-walking activities and definitely blemished the experience. The best thing about boondocking, though, are the stars, which are just unbelievable out there.
This area is wildly popular for off-road enthusiasts and there seemed to be a good balance of roads and trails for everyone. We also saw some horseback riders and plenty of other mountain bikers, noise was low and everybody pretty much kept to themselves. Also best of all cell signal was strong.
We came to this spot because Fruita is somewhat legendary in the mountain biking community, essentially right up there with Moab. Unfortunately, while we were staying there (early November) it rained quite a bit and I discovered on my first attempt to ride Western Zippity that the ground here is actually dried super glue, and when mixed with even the slightest amount of water, it turns into a dreadful slag that instantly cakes on wheels, gears, pedals and chains making riding impossible.
Once the rain subsided I did finally squeeze in one ride on the Zippity Loop.
This trail is marked blue/black and I would agree this is an accurate designation. Altitude makes for moderate fitness and there was one intense hike-a-bike on the north portion of the ride.
The ride wasn’t wildly technical except for one downhill on these ridges where I dismounted due to a puckery incline. As you all know by now I ride to zen out, and I got that on the western part of the trail but had to reel it in so as not to die on the black part of the eastern leg.
What Could Go Wrong
No Airstream Issues!
We came through Fruita in mid November, a full month later than we’d intended. This was due to a massive six week delay in Denver while Windish RV replaced a broken A/C unit and addressed a dozen other quality issues. They did excellent work, though and the repairs have held to this day. I also would not recommend hanging out in the Rockies this late in the season, we got lucky with only some moderate rain but at those altitudes anything can happen.
No Riding in the Rain
Because of our November arrival we were on a bit of a schedule and moved through Fruita quickly. The rain caught up with us there really giving me only one day to explore. When I tried to ride in the rain anyway I was severely punished by the cement-in-disguise. My only takeaway is don’t try to ride in the rain here, as I had to carry my bike out a mile (1.6 km) and take it to a car wash to get all the crud off.
As I mentioned previously foxtails are harmful to pets. We had a severe incident with one of those little buggers embedding in one of our dachshund’s paws leading to an abscess. Because of this lesson we very carefully charted a course to walk the dogs and inspected them after each walk to remove any hitchhikers.
Fruita is an interesting stop on our journey because my silent partner and I almost always agree on what locations we liked, except for here. I loved the remoteness and the one trail I got to ride was gorgeous. My silent partner, on the other hand, thought it was too lunar in appearance and found the foxtails ruined dog-walking. I suppose this means this particular location in Fruita, for us, did not have “it”.
We still talk about it though, and if you’re in the area I say go for it and ride the rides! Just be very careful with your pets and please respect the land, we saw a fair amount of damage from ATVs, which seemed so senseless.