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  1. #1
    MW
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    Guide me to Fruita!!! (please)

    To make short of a longer story, I'm quitting my fancy job and leaving the Bay Area. The coming year is a slate left intentionally blank, and--before I panic about what I've done (give it 'till mid-July)--I've blocked off the two.point.five weeks following Memorial Day for a road trip . . .

    . . . and I'd like to ride Fruita.

    Yup, I'll search for and read the many Fruita threads on MTBR. But I specifically wanted to put this to the Homers: folks on this board generally do right by each other, and I'm looking for that sort of feedback.

    Some notes:
    • This is a solo trip
    • I'm leaving from CA (looks like 80 to 70 is the route of least resistance?)
    • I'll be camping the entire way
    • I ride a Flux, more-or-less as a Flux is intended to be ridden (sorry, no Sanchez-style mayhem)
    • I'm a fair XC bike handler, but have grossly underdeveloped tech skills
    • I'm in "okay" shape right now
    • I'm not looking to kill myself . . . I'm just looking to ride, camp, enjoy some peace, and ride some more


    I'm not sure whether Fruita is the "ideal" destination for me as rider, or whether this is a good time of year for a visit, but I see stuff like this . . .



    . . . and it's pretty much a Pavlovian response: pass the drool rag, thanks.

    The vision:
    • 2-3 spots near Fruita, where it'd make sense to set up camp for a 3-4 nights at a time and spend the days riding / exploring
    • 2-3 spots off 80 or 70 to break up the drive to/from Fruita, where I could camp for just a night or two and still get in a cool ride
    • Some solitude (I've had enough time on uber-high-traffic trails in the Bay Area to last me a while)


    That's about as much structure as I want for this trip: just identify some spots, secure some maps/routes, and fill in the details as I go.

    So, what do folks think? Awesome plan? Wrong place for me? Wrong time of year? Tips, suggestions, or caveats? What? I've got time to fiddle the plan around, and I'm open to just about anything.

    --MW

  2. #2
    GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
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    You'll love it. Stop by the bike shop in town and I'll show you where to go. Trails for every skill level and rider.
    NOAH SEARS
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  3. #3
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    in fruita...

    sounds like a great trip. while i can't recommend anything west of utah, you need to for sure cisit moab utah for at least 2 or 3 days. pick of the guide book called "rider mel's guide to moab", it's the trails bible for the area.

    while in fruita, definately visit a shop but i recommend camping at the end of 18 road at the foot of the book cliffs. from the camp, there are several loops right there. its a perfect set up. also, some good rides and camping out in the Rabbit Vallet area. have fun

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW
    [*]2-3 spots off 80 or 70 to break up the drive to/from Fruita, where I could camp for just a night or two and still get in a cool ride
    Don't waste your time stopping to ride on the way there. If you're going that route then just drive straight through to Fruita, get a ride in, then sleep and recover from the drive. It's only 15-16 hours total, depending upon how fast you want to drive.

    If you want to break up the trip, then take the Southern route and stop in St. George, ride the Goose, and then head on to Fruita.

  5. #5
    MW
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    NC: thanks for the invite! I'll definitely stop by your shop and get the lay of the land.

    ridet: I was thinking a stop in Moab might be in order, and thanks for the book tip. Any recommendations for cool but lesser-traffic'd Moab rides? I guess Slickrock and Porc are the two "everyone should ride these once" kind of rides . . . but I would easily pass on that for something a bit out of the way.

    UM: not too worried about the drive time, as I did NY to CA in 3.5 days (solo) when I came here for the job. It's more a question of enjoyment. The southern route would be via 15, correct? Hadn't given that much thought, as it means driving half the length of CA before turning east. But maybe a giant loop is in order: St. George, then Fruita, then Moab? I actually have from the 27th through the 17th, so there are some extra days to play with.

    EDIT: okay, just looked at a map . . . to make this a "loop" with stops of both sides, there'd need to be a cool destination off of 80 somewhere in western Utah or Nevada. Is there? Otherwise, it's just a straight rip out of Fruita back to norCal.

    EDIT2: okay, wow, really showing that I suck at geography . . . didn't realize that Moab and Fruita were so close to each other. What's the story with Durango riding these days? I remember that was considered a sweet destination several years back, but I seldom see anyone mention it anymore. A Moab-Durango-Fruita loop would be totally do-able (at the possible expense of St. George).

    Two other questions:

    Is it going to be blistering hot this far past spring? should I even be worried about that, or is it a non-issue?

    Also, I stumbled across this thread about camping issues, space, and availability . . . and I gotta say, that aspect of riding Fruita doesn't sound like much fun. Anyone have insights about the camping situation?

    --MW
    Last edited by MW; 05-08-2008 at 01:52 AM.

  6. #6
    MK_
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    You can do it two ways, stop at each destination along the way, then grand finale in Fruita, followed by a long drive back. Or long drive first then stops along the way. You could also check out the weather forecast for temps and plan accordingly. Fruita and Moab have very similar weather most of the time.

    When in Fruita, make sure you ride stuff in Grand Junction. For many, it's better terrain than Fruita. There are quite a few other areas in the vicinity with great riding like Palisade and Rabbit Valley, too.

    _MK

  7. #7
    rr
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    It will be hot during the day, ride early and in the evening. I would try to camp at 18rd, I imagine most of the issues in that thread were due to spring traffic. You can camp there and ride the 18rd trails that are right there or just drive over to the Kokopelli area or GJ, no need to camp anywhere else, unless you want complete solitude.

  8. #8
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    What kind of vehicle are you driving? If you have a fairly high clearance 4WD you can get some more remote access to the camping in Rabbit Valley, it's free, beautiful and primitive. Bring water - lots. The riding is great and far less crowded than 18Rd, although during the week, you won't see too many people anywhere. The weather will be warm then, but not unbearable. As RR said - ride early or later in the day. A few days in Fruita will let you hit all the good stuff, 18Rd, GJ, Kokpellis Loops and Rabbit Valley. You'll find ample XC style riding interspersed with plenty of technical problems to sharpen your skills.

    You would be foolish IMO to drive all that way and not hit Moab also. Spend a day or two there and take the Hwy 128 River Road out to Fruita. You could camp in the Dewey Bridge area and have all the solitude you want plus great higher elevation riding that won't be so hot - Top of the World, Dolores River Overlook, Beaver/Polar Mesa, etc. Here's a great link for the stuff in the Fruita/GJ area - this road trip would be a dream come true for me - you'll have a blast. http://www.gjmountainbiking.com/site.html
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  9. #9
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    The "Fruita camping anarchy" has for the most part passed. It was the direct result of many weekends in a row of local events, coupled with great weather, and hordes of people from the mountain towns (Vail, Eagle, Telluride, and CB especially) that are sick of snow! In April we had the first mountain states cup race, the festival (and the preceding and following weekends of all the people "avoiding" the crowds), and then the first weekend of May was the 18hr race. while still currently very busy with tourists, the trend will taper off over the next month. If you get here to town before 5pm on a friday you are almost assured of a nice campsite @ 18rd.

    Also, tourists tend to ride theses trails:
    Rustlers, Horsetheif, Prime Cut, Kessel, and Zippety - so you'll see quite a new people on them during the weekend. Hardly anyone seems to venture out west within the Kokopelli system where some of the great rides like Lion's Loop, Troy Built, and Mack ridge are. Same goes for 18rd, Western Zippety is a really great way to make your way to the downhill directional trails if you don't want the congestion of Prime Cut.
    NOAH SEARS
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  10. #10
    aka baycat
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    Picture you linked to was when we were out on Zippity. Little ahead of Nick on that section and we were loving it. Minus the crazy ass cross wind.

    Do Gooseberry Iif you can. The tech stuff on the trip will blow you away in comparison to Nor Cal. It did for us.

    We did 18 Roads in one day hitting all the stuff. Chutes and Ladders, Joe's, Zippity and multiple runs down Kessel.

    Make sure to hit Lunch Loops and experience the Ribbon, Free Lunch, Holy Cross (my favorite of the trip!), and Kurt's Lane back to the parking lot.

    Did not get much time in Kokpelli, since we were dead. Did Horsethief. And need to get back and do Troy's, Mack and Moore Fun.

  11. #11
    MW
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    Man, so much going on right now with packing and moving and getting things tied off at work . . . then I open this thread and it's just -huge- smiles. Thanks to -everyone- for all the awesome feedback and suggestions here, this is really excellent.

    So if I've got this right . . .

    Around Fruita: 18rd, Koko, GJ, Palisade, Rabbit Valley
    Between Moab and Fruit: Dewey Bridge area
    Moab: should be able to figure this out

    If I hit the Goose, is that pretty obvious or is there another set of suggested ride/camp options there?

    Also, no bites on Durango? Not worth the time, or . . . ?

    cutthroat: thanks for the tips and link. Driving a little Subaru, so -truly- remote sites won't really be an option.

    NC: thanks for the trail tips and feedback on the camping situation. It sounds like I should be okay without reservations at 18rd or the like, correct? Or, worse comes to worst, there are other options at hand should 18rd be full.

    baycat: yep, the pics thread from your trip really reminded me I wanted to do something like this . . . and that I should get off my arse and go for it. We'll see how well I handle the tech sections, but it's those shots of long, ribbon-like singletrack that draw me in . . . that's Flux territory.

    Thanks again, everyone. In less than a day, this has gone from a fairly vague idea to something that almost resembles a plan.

    --MW

  12. #12
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    Your Subaru will be adequate to get back into Rabbit Valley if you want to check it out. Knowles Overlook camground is nice. For Dewey Bridge camping head up the dirt road on the right immediately before the bridge (coming from Moab) - 3 miles up the road there is nice campsite on your left with picnic tables, fire rings and a vault toilet - Cowskin Camp - nice spot not too remote and close to some good rides. 18 Rd is a hoot and nice camping too. Durango has great riding, but it's a bit off the route along I-70.
    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cutthroat
    Durango has great riding, but it's a bit off the route along I-70.
    And we love it that way
    Craig, Durango CO
    "Lighten up PAL" ... King Cage

  14. #14
    MW
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    Yeah, but Durango's only a handful of hours down the road from either Moab or Fruita . . .

    I've got almost three weeks to play with, and if I decide to skip the St. George option, why not look at Durango?

    cbrossman: any suggestions, or are they closely-guarded secrets?

    --MW

  15. #15
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    Do not skip St. George, dedicate at least a day to hit up Gooseberry Mesa in Hurricane.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW

    cbrossman: any suggestions, or are they closely-guarded secrets?

    --MW
    No secrets at all, and you are correct, Durango is only 2.5 hours from Moab.
    There are many miles of single track right from town, and many, many more within a 45 minute drive.
    Our really high stuff will be under snow for another month, but Horse Gulch, the Colorado Trail, Log Chutes, and others are ready to go. And I highly recommend Phil's World near Cortez.
    Durango is a cooler (read not so hot) alternative to Moab and Fruita. A Different kind of riding, different scenery, but plenty of trails.
    If you get this way, drop me a line and perhaps we can get out. I'm no Homer, I ride the bike most Homers wish they bought , a Ventana.
    Craig, Durango CO
    "Lighten up PAL" ... King Cage

  17. #17
    MW
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    I was thinking Durango might make a nice respite from the heat, dust, and exposure of the other destinations... cbrossman's comments confirm. That's going to be hard to pass up, I think (Turner, Ventana, or otherwise).

    baycat: the only issue I have with Goose is that it seems rather indirect . . . but maps.google just told me that's actually rubbish. Hmm . . .

    So now I'm thinking . . . 80/70 to the Moab / Fruita / Durango triangle where I'll divide time by the seat of my pants, then home via the south with at least a day set aside for the Goose.

    That, kind friends, sounds like a plan!

    --MW

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MW
    UM: not too worried about the drive time, as I did NY to CA in 3.5 days (solo) when I came here for the job. It's more a question of enjoyment. The southern route would be via 15, correct? Hadn't given that much thought, as it means driving half the length of CA before turning east. But maybe a giant loop is in order: St. George, then Fruita, then Moab?
    The Southern route adds about 100 miles to the 50 route but is easier driving. It's about 50 miles more than the Northern route (80). That's all from memory so take that with a grain of salt. 80 is the easiest driving from a pavement quality and grade standpoint.

    St. George is worth the stop. The riding is great.

    If I'm traveling with a bunch of guys in the SUV then the 80 route is fastest, Southern route second fastest (going there, not coming back) and 50 route is slowest (but most beautiful if you have daylight) based upon 8 trips from the Bay Area. Fastest route driving solo is 50, hands down due to low traffic, lack of speed enforcement and long sightlines.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    multiple runs down Kessel.
    more fun than the law should allow
    Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. Benjamin Franklin

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