MTB Trip to Utah- Western Spirit or DIY?
I am starting to think of trips for my GF and me for next year. Because she recently purchased a new house, funds are not limitless for a trip. That being said, both of us would like a mountain biking trip out west.
My question for the Passion board is how easy is it to arrange a trip on your own, without an intricate knowledge of the trails? Are they well marked to make for an easy day without getting lost? And would people recommend camping or staying in a Moab hotel? I am curious, because I think after a long day on a bike, I would like to come back to a bed.
And how easy is it to find vegetarian food in Moab? I am a vegetarian.
Finally, what should I expect to pay per day for a good bike rental in Moab? And do the hotels/campsites fill up quickly? So many questions.....unless I can answer most of them I will be forced to book with Western Spirit(but admittedly would like to save some dinero if at all possible).
Curious what others do here, as I am sure many others plan on doing the same thing.
I've only been once but...
You can easily do it yourself and have a good time. I took the family out there two years ago. We rented an RV in SLC and shipped our bikes, so its not quite what you're talking about. However, using trail books you can buy in any store out there (or where you are!) you can easily pick out trails to ride. I had no issues with getting lost or missing turns. There are plenty of hotels and cabin type things in Moab to rent, again, not hard to find if you have google.
Do yourself a favor - go to Arches while you're there, you can't ride there, but it is an amazing place. Do a couple of hikes, you will not believe it. Go see Delicate Arch - as over-photographed as it is, its still an awe inspiring sight.
We are all vegetarians as well - we had no problems getting food when we went out to restaurants.
Thanks.....I never considered an RV but perhaps I should. Do you remember what you paid for it?
Originally Posted by Jisch
I don't remember exactly, however by the time you got done with the per day, per mile and gas - it wasn't much savings over hotels. Our main reason for getting an RV was to be able to cook meals and have more room (i.e. easily carry bikes) when travelling. My kids were 10 and 12 at the time, they can be picky with food. It made sense to be able to make their favorite foods right when we got back from rides or hikes.
Originally Posted by brianthebiker
We're actually planning another trip out west, so many options its hard to nail one or two down. Phoenix/Sedona and Moab/GJ are at the top of the list right now.
My first advice is to look at the weather there and aiming at that range you're most comfortable with. I prefer April and October, but some like it warmer than I do.
While I've gone there prepared to camp, I've mostly stayed in a motel as I do prefer a bed and shower in the desert particularly. The camping ranges from primitive sites to the RV/Cabin type places, the best spots tend to be taken quickly. When it's windy the sand kicks up, and the sites along the river might be a bit buggy. The motels are reasonable and plentiful. If you like it funky and cheaper, you might like the Lazy Lizard hostel on the edge of town. There are some weekends that are big with the 4x crowd, and availability can be tight at the last minute (the way I've always arrived). The restaurant choices aren't exciting, and my vegetarian friends say it's no worse than most places.
Route finding in the Moab area is easy with a good map/guidebook. The Latitude 40 series maps, Moab East & Moab West are what I've used. There are several large bike shops in town, so rentals should be plentiful and fairly competitive, but I always bring my own so no personal experience.
Fruita is about a two hour drive from Moab and makes an excellent day trip (or stay in Fruita or Grand Junction and spend a couple days in the area). Route finding fairly easy there with a good map/guidebook (Over the Edge bike shop's publication is great).
You should be able to use the internet to answer your questions about Moab and services easily.
Western Spirit and Rim Tours are both based there and get great reviews from people I've met who've used them. You get better food, personable guides and hopefully some like-minded passionate mountain bikers to share it with. You do pay for it, but then they do take good care of you on the other hand.
"...the people get the government they deserve..."
Originally Posted by Bikinfoolferlife
Yes, I would love Western Spirit, but calculating the costs make me wonder if we should make it a DIY trip (about a $2000 difference to play with for 6 days for car rental, food, and lodging). I have gone with Backroads twice so know all too well what I am missing, if the food with Western Spirit is even close in comparison, but costs are a consideration at this point.
Flights(400*2) 800 (same)
Shuttle(30*2) 60 (go to car rental costs)
Bike Rental(35*6*2) 420 (same)
Equipment rental 65
I have heard that there are not many hotels in Moab, and the ones that are there are not inexpensive.....is this true? Would like to make a spreadsheet and look at the two side by side if at all possible.
I was in Moab in 1997 in October and remember it being very hot, but many of the Western Spirit trips are earlier. Am curious how hot it gets in September.
Do both if you can afford it. The guided multi day tours are soooo relaxing mentally and not to tough of a pace (usually). I recommend Rim Tours (cus I've been on a few and I know the owner), but WS has a great reputation too.
Originally Posted by Jisch
If you do a guided tour, plan on staying in Moab at lease a couple days afterwards to do day rides and hang in town. Also visit the Canyonlands park and Arches. You will not want to leave or hurry at all after a guided multi day tour. The bike shops have good maps for cheep - recommend Chili Pepper BS (cus I know the owner - see a pattern?) Up The Creek Campground is very nice for camping in the middle of town (cus ..), not so commercial as the others (but no hot tub). If it's cold or hot season, hotels have AC, I can't recommend any hotel specials, the Motel 6 and Super 8 are kind of far for walking to town. There is a hostel on the south side of town for about $9 per night.
I'm veggie, no problem finding veggie food. The best quality food and draft 3/2 beer selection is at Eddy McStiff’s, and the Moab Brewery is good too. Lots of food options.
You will have memories for a lifetime from your visit.
Re: The guided multi day tours are soooo relaxing mentally
This is the argument in favor of Western Spirit......it is noooo nice not to have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. I have done 2 trips with Backroads and the food was fantastic, but what was even more enjoyable was the fact that someone was taking care of that for you. And the campfires are definitely another notch in favor of WS.
Re: Do both if you can afford it
Unfortunately, this will probably not be doable.
"I have heard that there are not many hotels in Moab, and the ones that are there are not inexpensive.....is this true? Would like to make a spreadsheet and look at the two side by side if at all possible."
Well, no, there aren't really hotels there, lots of motels. Closest to a hotel they've got is probably the Gonzo Inn (probably priciest too). Most of the places I've stayed are nice, but not great. I like the Red Stone Inn myself, has good prices, laundry, bbq, bike work area and is short walk to food/beer.
"I was in Moab in 1997 in October and remember it being very hot, but many of the Western Spirit trips are earlier. Am curious how hot it gets in September."
September is warmer. Look up temperature and weather patterns on the internet...
"...the people get the government they deserve..."
Moab is pretty easy to get dialed in on your own. I'd say go for a DIY trip there. Spetember is when it starts getting good there.
That said, Western Spirit is a fun, relaxing option. I won a Western Spirit trip a few years back, and would certainly do one of their trips again.
Here's the write up of that:
I'm a do it yourselfer. Between the advice you can get here, other sites, guidebooks and maps, there's no reason to have a guide service IMO. Food? With a little planning and organzing, it's easy to do great food while camping. I also like the sense of adventure of picking something off a map or a book. With a family of four, well sure cost is a factor too. I see it like this, why pay someone else to do for you what you can do for yourself?
just my two cents.
What she said.
Originally Posted by formica
I say go DIY.
I think most of your questions have been answered. I'll add this web site as a good resource -> http://www.discovermoab.com
Check out the Calendar of Events. Personally I stay away during 4x4 rallys. My favorite months to visit are April and October.
I've got nothing witty to say....
I personally think paying that kind of money just to moo around with some other cattle.uh.people is kind of silly. Just me.
There are plenty of places to stay, and plenty of veggie options. Stay somewhere with a kitchen and cook yourself if you want to have total control. Oh wait, if you cook yourself that would be meat. Never mind, I mean cook FOR yourself. I stayed at the Westwood Guest House one time and was totally happy. Kitchens, hot tub, one block from downtown, so you can walk to whatever you need. http://moab-utah.com/westwood/ This is not the Hilton, but it doesn't cost much (if any) more than the standard Moab hotel.
Fly into SLC or Grand Junction, rent a car(or better yet, 4x4) and drive to Moab. Rent full suspension bikes from Poison Spider or Chile Pepper. Get the Latitude 40 or Trails Illustrated maps, and take off. The shops will give you good advice on trail conditions and difficulties.
Avoid June through mid-September unless you want to know what it is like to ride in a blast furnace. It ain't bad once you get used to it, BTW.
Have fun, and I second the get off your bike and hike a few times suggestions.
I have the feeling that once I sit down and do the spreadsheet comparison, it will be a DIY trip, as you can get more days and more options via this route. I would prefer 8 or 10 days versus the 5 for Western Spirit......and this would probably still be much cheaper than that.
Originally Posted by honkinunit
Who's that guy?
Here is another good site to use as a reference...
Slow and steady gets you...7th place.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=2]"Hey! Where is everybody going??"[/SIZE]