Reflections on Airstreaming Moab, Utah

Emily & Silent Partner

Evening, Peeps.

My heart is heavy as we are now back in Phoenix….and therefore, not Moab. As I work my way back into my professional life, it occurs to me there are a few additional thoughts to share about Moab from previous trips, so enjoy some random musings.

What’s In a Name

I find it totally fitting that even the name Moab is somewhat mysterious. For me the Paiute origin story, referring to the word moapa, meaning “mosquito”, has the most resonance. Still if Moab was instead named Vina or Uvadalia I suspect it would have exactly the same energy and feel.

Arches National Park

Yes, Arches National Park is pretty amazing.


But keep in mind – all of Moab and surrounding area is amazing. Do you really need to pay for it, when everything is amazing? For example, drive up Utah 128 from Moab to Interstate 70 along the Colorado River, it’ll blow your mind. Or, Utah 313 to Dead Horse Point. I happen to find the drive through Canyonlands more rewarding, and the view at the point equal to the task (though yes you do have to pay for that too). Or for free you can ride the Zephyr trail (mentioned later) that crosses into the north end of the park.

Still, we stayed in Arches one time (see the featured image) because, well, everyone said it was the thing to do. The park has essentially one road that you can drive for an out-and-back, at the low low fee of $25, or, you can pay the low-low fee of $25, drag your trailer all the way to the end of the 28mi (45km) road and maybe get a camping spot.

A year ago we made a point to get to the park early and found the front gate can’t (or won’t) tell you whether the campground is full, so we paid the stupid fee and drove the 28mi (45km) and we discovered that almost no sites fit the Airstream, and ones that did were occupied. You can’t mountain bike the park, you can’t take your dogs out anywhere except on the streets & campground and cell coverage is terrible.

Despite these setbacks the campground host took pity on us and offered us a one-night stay in the host’s spot because they were staying in the ranger’s cabin. For this we are profoundly grateful, but my take on Arches National Park is that the park is pretty cool but the fee is outrageous for what you get.

Mountain Biking Pipe Dream

Pipe Dream is a blue/black trail that runs directly along the western edge of town. I found this trail more black than blue so I never got any zen here owing to the habitual dabbing and dismounts. I can still see it being a handy go-to trail if you lived in Moab as an excellent “work on your skills” destination.


Mountain Biking Zephyr

Zephyr is considered more of a connector than a destination trail, but nevertheless we rode it once to see what’s there.


The oddity about this trail is is crosses briefly into Arches National Park for free, and it offers some truly heart-stopping landscapes such as these. Though this looks like an undulating landscape of routine slickrock, look closer and you’ll notice the beginnings of a verdant canyon filled with water, green trees and birds. Though the trail itself was, for me, entirely forgettable the “Planet of the Apes” like scenery absolutely made it worthwhile.

La Sal Mountain Range

The La Sal mountains just blow my mind. I just can’t get over the juxtaposition of looking up at the mountains and seeing snow when it’s 100° F (38° C) in the canyons.


Also I don’t know why this amazes me, by the La Sals are considered part of the Rocky Mountains and a source of Uranium.


Fred and I rode The Whole Enchilada a couple years ago, which starts high up in a snowy aspen grove and bottoms out on the Colorado river. We caught a shuttle from the previously mentioned Poison Spider Bicycles, but honestly, the shuttle should go two hours earlier – it was hot as hell and I wound up with early signs of heat stroke at the end of the ride.

Overall we both found the ride a little too extreme for our sensibilities, and agreed that the Porcupine Rim portion of the ride was the most enjoyable and least deathy. The final segment down to the river, though, was way more than either of us would do again.

Still, it is pretty amazing to start a ride in snow and wind up over 100°!



I forgot to mention Milt’s Stop N’ Eat in our previous blogs. Milt’s is a kitschy actual 50’s era diner located on Moab’s former main drag. They serve exactly the right food for after mountain biking including delicious burgers and yummy salty fries. We highly recommend the experience, though sadly they’re closed Mondays.



But Emily, you didn’t mention the most Moab of all Moab mountain bike trails, Slickrock!

I’d have some pictures for you if my crappy Buffalo NAS hadn’t taken them to the briny deep, but I’ll commit heresy here: We didn’t like Slickrock.

Stone ● Cold ● Silence

Here’s why – the trail is blue/black. Fred and I tried Slickrock a few years ago really before we should have. Specifically, Slickrock is steep – like 100% grade steep. That requires massive fitness, and we found we just didn’t have it at the time. And fitness is important when you’re pumping your way up this massive incline with your eyeballs exploding out your face and there’s just no place to bail. If you stop your’re sliding to god knows where.

Someday we’ll do it again, especially now that we have the fitness and the skills. But I still remember it, and I suspect I’ll like Klondike Bluffs better (gasp). We’ll see!

And that, my friends, is what Moab is all about. There’s always more to come back for and great stories to tell (someday ask me about Magnificent 7 and almost dying in a Uranium tornado).


Airstreaming Prescott Arizona

Emily & Silent Partner

Evening, Peeps.

It’s that time of the year again. You know the time. The trailer’s been in hibernation – the days are getting a little longer and that tiny light behind your eye begins to blink drawing you northward. Along with all the other RVers we felt the clarion call as well, so today I bring you a live blog from Prescott, AZ.


For our stay in the high country we are blogging to you from White Spar Campground just south of Prescott, AZ (locals pronounce it “press”-“kit”). This is a fairly large campground and availability can be searched and booked on the federal portal.


Sites are spacious and deeply forested as the campground lies just inside the Prescott National Forest boundary on U.S Route 89. Traffic is moderate to high and all pads are located on high-quality tarmac. Water is available at strategic locations as are vault toilets and dumpsters. There is no sewer or power, cellular service was middling (even with the booster) and noise highly variable (though no surprise, things calm down during the week).

Amenities & Activities

City of Prescott

The city of Prescott is a rather astonishing 40,000 souls but much of that habitation is in the northern reaches. We prefer to wander around the southern courthouse plaza area where delicious ice cream, pizza and shopping is found aplenty. Conveniently laundry can be done at The Cleaning Machine just a couple blocks east on Gurley St.

Not as convenient, though free, a dump station is located at Affinity RV Service, Sales & Rentals north of town. Propane can be filled at Prescott True Value and we shop at Safeway located at the corner of 89 and Copper Basin Rd.

Goldwater Lake


Goldwater lake is located south of Prescott. This lake offers picnicking, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Via the Goldwater Lakes Trail #396 the lake can be reached on mountain bike in less than an hour.

Mountain Biking

Ah yes, mountain biking – my favorite topic. We’re only here a few days and sadly I was sick two of those days. Still, we managed to squeeze in a couple rides on several of the local trails.

I prefer to begin at White Spar Campground heading south on Goldwater Lakes Trail #396.


This trail is rated blue and I agree with that assessment due to fitness, as some of the climbs here routinely reach 13%. The views close to camp are worth the pain.


Further on the trail snakes its way through scenic creeks and small canyons.



Spring hasn’t quite sprung here but it made for great photography.



Though steep the trail is not technical.



The lower Goldwater Dam peeks through the denuded forest.


Past upper Goldwater Lake I cut into Feldmeier Trail #330.


330 is tame and enjoyable on the downhill.


At the bottom I take a very brief right on Banning Creek Trail #81, cut into Apple Blossom Trail #373 then finally Twist & Shout Trail #372 completing the loop.


What Could Go Wrong

The Airstream behaved pretty well on this trip. As of late one of the decorative finishing strips has been separating so I’m going to have to install a replacement finish. I think the torment of the Arizona desert heat did its worst.


I have also been blowing through a suspicious number of converter controllers in the Airstream. The fine folks at Airstream of Scottsdale agreed to install a 3rd party controller from Best Converter that is gentler on the batteries owing to its four-stage charging strategy.


In particular I settled on the BD1260HW.


The service technician also recommended against using 6 volt batteries in the Airstream as well as discouraged running the Airstream’s 1000W inverter while hooked up to shore power. Hopefully these recommendations will stop the long run of converter controller failures.


We’ve been to this campground several times and we highly recommend it primarily due to its access to unbelievable mountain biking, proximity to town and fair price. This campground definitely has “it”!



Airstreaming Alexander Springs Recreation Area

Emily & Silent Partner

Morning, Peeps.

In our continuing series on places we’ve stayed in the Airstream, I am proud to introduce Alexander Springs Recreation Area.


Unlike the previous Florida state parks we’ve blogged about, this campground is in a national park and therefore searched and booked on the federal portal. The park is located in the Ocala National Forest in north-central Florida which places it within easy driving distance of Orlando, Ocala and Gainesville.

Due to this urban proximity we found this park to be exceptionally busy and loud. As you might expect, most of the action takes place over the weekend as visitors let off steam, then it quiets down during the week. Despite the high traffic the park is quite expansive so we found one site for a week with no issues. Cell phone service was very strong and fast, which was a desperate relief from Manatee Springs.

Amenities & Activities

Alexander Springs Recreation Area sits off of a relatively remote portion of Florida County Road 445, which winds its way haphazardly around the southern part of the Ocala National Forest. The drive is beautiful and surrounded on all sides by sand pine, and longleaf pine and numerous water features. The entrance is closed at night and secured with a code supplied at check-in time.

Pads were asphalt, campsites were very sandy and there were no services – though our loop had strategically placed water taps that could be reached with a long hose. We only stayed a week so we used the dump station on our departure day. There were a variety of bath houses placed centrally to most loops but no laundry facilities. Satellite reception was easy owing to the tall thin pines around camp.


As with Manatee Springs the primary reason we visited this park was the springs.


Alexander Springs is a first magnitude spring and produces 100 million or more gallons (378 million L) of fresh water daily. The water offers a constant temperature around 72 °F (23 °C) making it thoroughly enjoyable with our 3mm wetsuits.

Snorkeling the springs was very different from Manatee springs, which offered stairs and a steep approach to a relatively small body of water. Here the expansive body of water started warm, clear and shallow at the shore and stayed that way for quite a distance until dramatically dropping off into a deep abyss.

The spring itself gushes out of a violent gash in the underlying white limestone and offers endless diving opportunities and creature watching. A thick and vibrant forest of sea grass formed habitat right at this boundary attracting a wide range of fish and turtles. I spent quite a bit of time just zenning out to the complex light patterns cast on the waving grasses.

Surrounding Activities

Alexander Springs offers a wide range of other activities including scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, bird watching and my favorite, mountain biking. Also serving somewhat as a study in contrast, though Alexander Springs is very busy it is also remote when it comes to groceries. We drove to Umatilla for fuel and groceries, which took well over an hour round trip.

Mountain Biking

The mountain biking at Alexander Springs was exceptional!

There’s a very well designed trail system connecting the Clearwater Recreation Area at the south edge of the Ocala National Forest to the Alexander Springs Connector Trail via two north-south running trails: The Paisley Woods Trail to the east and the West Trail to the, well – west.

There’s also a small connector between the Paisley Woods trail and West trail at the mid-point which breaks this trail system into a crude hourglass shape. This hourglass connector made these trails ideal for quick(ish) lunch-time loop rides, which I did every day.

The entire trail system bobs and weaves mostly between softwood longleaf pine and then playfully dips now and again into small hardwood clusters.


The trail was sandy single track and certainly would be best enjoyed on a 27+ or fat tire rig, but was still easily ridden on a standard 27/29 2.3″ tire. As with all my riding in Florida the trails we entirely bereft of riders. This was fine by me and allowed me to selfishly soak up my alone time with the forest.

On a parting note, one of the more amazing features of this trail system was the climbing, which you wouldn’t normally expect on a Florida ride. The trail glides among and ancient island ridge and you would be forgiven for thinking these were rolling hills belonging more appropriately to southern Arkansas. You won’t find intense climbing here of course, but it really was magical.

What Could Go Wrong

Strangely not too much went wrong at Alexander Springs, at least not RV-wise. Instead an unexpected family emergency forced us back to the desert southwest, so this was our last retreat in Florida.


As I mentioned previously, Alexander Springs was extremely busy and quite crowded on the weekends. But the water was enjoyable and the mountain biking the best we had in Florida. And jumping in the water after mountain biking, now that was priceless. I wouldn’t exactly say Alexander Springs has the “it” factor, but I definitely would say that about the mountain biking. That said, I would easily recommend staying here, or even anywhere close to the trails, the riding was truly amazing and left me wanting more.