Western US trip report (wall of text, many photos, very little actual mtb content)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Western US trip report (wall of text, many photos, very little actual mtb content)

    Back in September my girlfriend and I packed up the car and went driving for a few weeks. We were headed out to ride in Fruita and Moab, and visit a bunch of state and federal parks. While the dollar wasnít great gas was cheaper than we expected and we mostly camped along the way which kept costs very reasonable.

    After a solid two days of driving we were in Colorado. I wonít bore you with the driving up to that point (cough, friggin Nebraska lol). Almost as soon as we crossed the Colorado state line the scenery got very nice and colourful, but there were a few long desolate spots, driving through huge open cattle ranges and massive scale farm operations.

    We made a quick stop in Denver for some, aww, shopping, and proceeded to Rocky Mountain National Park to camp. RMNP has an elevation of roughly 10,000 ft where we stayed and we got up to just below 12,000 ft. Breathing was a bit of an issue. Also it was elk mating season and these things were everywhere. Scores of them. Very cool to fall asleep at night to their calling sounds. Also that night we saw the clearest night sky Iíve ever witnessed. Didnít know one can actually see the milky way in such vivid detail (and colour).

    Got some hiking in the next day and travelled along the incredible Trail Ridge Road past the continental divide for some amazing views of the rockies. Camped the next night at Grand Lake. More hiking, and met some really cool people from the area that I donít think Iíll ever forget. Also had a fox visit trying to score a free dinner.

    Did I mention the scenery? I love being in the mountains and this place was perfect - everywhere you look youíre surrounded by evergreen walls with massive rugged alpine peaks. Incredible wildlife viewing as well.

    Next we had a relatively short ride to Fruita, Colorado. The scenery flattened out a bit and became very sandy orange. I want to shout out superlightracer whose post from the winter made me realize how much I wanted to travel to this area.

    Camped a few nights at a state park. The grounds were just pristine and the town of Fruita was a really funky place to be. From our site we could see how close we were to the large red mountainous area called National Monument. Stopped at an LBS called Colorado Back Country Biker - cool store with really nice informative, sharing staff.

    Let me get something off my chest in regards to tent camping. I have camped in Ontario hundreds of nights but always at provincial parks, so I donít know if this is an American thing or if it is this way in Canada too - tent campers get the shaft. Each place we camped (with the exception of RMNP) the grounds are clearly catered towards RVs. This campgroud in Fruita was sort of the pinnacle of this trend. Tent campers have to park in a certain area and use wheel barrows to transport their goods to their tiny gravel strewn site. RVís on the other hand had huge beautiful lots, with full on lawns, complete with man made shaded enclosures and picnic benches, at each site. Yes Iím sure the RV sites cost a bit more but man, the differences in site quality was pretty evident. Letís move along.

    Over the next few days I had some great riding at 18 Road and Kokopelli.

    18 Road was a blast. From flat desert to foothills with unique squat vegetation to riding along roller coaster like ridges. Erosion was a bit of an issue here, though no complaints. Met some local guys in the parking area who really went out of their way to show me some good loops and other info. The overall friendliness of people we met on this trip was astonishing. At times it almost seemed Ďover the topí. I am very introverted by nature and can honestly say by the end of this trip I was more positive and outgoing to strangers weíd see along the way.













    Kokopelli was just wild. Literally riding up a mountain, impassable rocky sections that youíd swear werenít part of the trail if it hadnít been marked as such, exposure along ridges, and incredible views of the Colorado river, then super fun downhills. This place sort of destroyed me but I wish I had an extra few hours there.





    Go home trail, you're drunk





    We visited National Monument. Something Ďso Americaní about their national parks is they have incredibly scenic roads through them. Yes thereís hiking, and it was great but it was almost humorous how they paved highways so you can sight see the highlights by car. Which is super convenient when youíre short on time. The highways also make for truly epic road biking trips as well Iím told.















    Next we were on to Moab. By now the landscape is a sun soaked red. Desert sand, rock formations, mountains, all red. Moab is in a valley so again, amazing views pretty much wherever you are.

    Not surprisingly the riding here was sublime. One of the coolest bits of trail Iíve ever ridden was at Bar M, which is known as an easy family style riding area. This one trail was fast flowing fun with a few rocks here and there. Pretty flat, but this one section had me shouting and hollering - youíd be picking up speed on a smallish downhill, then a smooth right hand curve, the left, then right and so on. Just like in skiing how you carve to control your speed, these curves on this trail were so perfectly designed it was just a blast flowing alone, not needing brakes at all just 'carving'. Then youíd climb a bit, and another downhill, again with the carving curves. That made me smile for hours. Also from these trails you can see across the desert to the wild landscape that is Arches National Park.



    Also went to Klonzo,





    Slick Rock,



    then over to Dead Horse Point, which had just ridiculous views of the Canyonlands area.



    Had some great hikes (and driving lol) in Arches National Park.







    [/url]





    From here on there wasnít much biking.
    Last edited by Greg_o; 01-10-2016 at 05:10 PM.
    ..now just tinker with our bikes and feed the cats. - oldbear52

  2. #2
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    We proceeded Southwest to Capitol Reef National Park, and then to camp at Zion National Park. Zion was just amazing, but we got skunked out of the next days hiking because we couldnít access the road due to a rock slide.







    Next up was Bryce Canyon











    From there it was off to the Grand Canyon. Camped at a very natural and scenic area called Ten X, which was a great spot.









    Next day we drove to Monument Valley. This was a bucket list type of thing for me to see and it did not disappoint. Iíll let the pictures do the talking.











    From there we hightailed it back home, made it in two days.

    Lots of driving, put over 12,000 kmís on the car in the desert heat with no AC, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Some souvenirs





    Thanks for reading and putting up with phone pics!
    ..now just tinker with our bikes and feed the cats. - oldbear52

  3. #3
    Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!
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    Great write-up and pics...thanks for sharing!

  4. #4
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    Wow, just wow.

  5. #5
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    Gorgeous pics. Looks like you had a great time
    F*ck Cancer

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  6. #6
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    Awesome!

    You just got me even more excited. I booked a trip to Sedona for the end of March.....just the winter to go.
    Straight outta Rossland

  7. #7
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    Thanks all. If anyone is tempted, any one of these single destinations alone would be worth the trip.

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    Thanks for taking the time to post and share.
    Stay safe.
    Have a great trip!

  9. #9
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    Excellent write up. I am thinking what a trip that would be.

    Was your bike the right amount of travel and setup for the variety of riding you encountered? I would think an all mountain bike like yours would work just about anywhere.

  10. #10
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    Man, this is so cool. You are one lucky person to have experienced that. Totally jealous.

    Thanks for the awesome pictures.
    by Silentfoe
    I'm satisfied knowing that what I wear during my "day" job makes me more of a man than you'll ever be.

  11. #11
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    Epic trip. Great pics. I am also jealous. Very nice write up. What are you going to do next time?
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  12. #12
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    Nice to see you made the trip down. Gorgeous shots!
    Some great sets for the trainer:
    https://www.mixcloud.com/djfeelgood/

  13. #13
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    Great trip and hope to do similar. Agree on tent sites in campgrounds...almost always suck! We did 3 wk trip east coast and Newfoundland by tent and sleeping on gravel etc gets old pretty quick. Not to mention I had to replace my tent zippers afterwards as they were destroyed by all the grit!! But I have a wee camper trailer now
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  14. #14
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    Thanks all for taking the time to read through this.

    Quote Originally Posted by JesusJuice View Post

    Was your bike the right amount of travel and setup
    Yes (2012 heavily tweaked Trance 26"). I didn't do any of the 'extreme' Moab stuff but this bike was perfect. Kokopelli was probably the gnarliest place I rode and the bike was great, even on the long rough and ruggid downhill stuff there.

    Quote Originally Posted by secret agent View Post
    What are you going to do next time?
    Two weeks after this trip, realising I basically fell in love with road trips through the US, I went to Vermont and Pennsylvania to ride, trying to find time to post about that soon..

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanoeDog View Post
    Agree on tent sites in campgrounds...almost always suck! We did 3 wk trip east coast and Newfoundland by tent and sleeping on gravel etc gets old pretty quick. Not to mention I had to replace my tent zippers afterwards as they were destroyed by all the grit!! But I have a wee camper trailer now
    Yep I've been following your posts for some time, I really like that wee camper, looks like a real step up from camping.
    ..now just tinker with our bikes and feed the cats. - oldbear52

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