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  1. #1
    another bozo on the bus
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! A Taste of the Good Life...

    While many on the East Coast were shoveling snow from winter storms, some friends and I were digging the warm weather and unfamiliar terrain in the Arizona desert. The plan was to drive to Harrisonburg Saturday after work, spend the night, and round up the troops to depart around noon on Sunday. Folks were hanging at the Lee Street house late Saturday night watching movies and consuming malt beverages, but things wound down early enough to get a decent night’s sleep. Breakfast at the Little Grill then over to the JV Palace to meet Collin. He had things pretty sorted out when I arrived and we headed over to Tim’s place. As soon as we rolled up, it was obvious we would not be leaving anytime soon. The racks were not installed and nothing was in the van. Collin and I hit the shop to re-up on some goods for the trip and then I headed for the groc shop. We eventually got on the road as the sun began to hang low with Ruby making herself at home, watching the world go by out the back window, on the fold- up bed Tim fabricated in the van. We drove for 16 hours until we arrived in Mountain View, Arkansas where we up with our most hospitable hostess for fried bologna breakfast before hitting the Syllamo Trails. Andrea kept telling me how great these trails were, but seeing as nobody else had even heard of them, I was skeptical. Everyone has their own idea of “great” or “best” and I was just hopping we were somewhat on the same page. I was impressed. Fifty miles of twisting, flowing single track with some good techy sections for sessioning. We did a short ride that first day and dined on mac and cheese watching videos in the amazing cabin Andrea’s family owns, overlooking the river. Next day was a longer ride and dinner at Tommy’s Pizza. This place was no BS with a 10% surcharge for parties over 6, which was not a gratuity and a sign stating “No Loud Children.“ Southern hospitality never disappoints.




    Departure...



    I cant believe I pulled this one off. Note rear wheel off the ground and the close proximity to the tree...



    (Sue foto)

    A ghostly Andrea passes in front of Sue's lens...



    We left Andrea’s around 10am headed West again, stopping on a ranch road in New Mexico to get some sleep. We watched the sun rise over the hills and Tim received a message to sell all of his stuff once reaching San Diego. The constant “hiccup” his van suffered from was the catalyst for his vision. Just a stone’s throw from the mountains, I caught a pebble to the windscreen chipping it. We stopped off in Flagstaff to search out some fork parts for Tim’s 5.Spot, but the would need to be ordered and shipped to Sedona. We dropped down from the Ponderosa pines of Flag via rt89 through an amazing canyon that eventually took us into Sedona. I will be honest, I was a bit turned off by how sanitized Sedona looked and how ritzy everything was. We happened into Craig within our first 30 minutes in town, who visited Harrisonburg last year, and turned us onto the good camping spot. He has been living out his dream for the past couple of years and is coming up on his 1000th day mountain biking the states after retiring from his aviation job after 30 years. Check out his blog at runutsadventures.com. The moon was bright enough to read by, but the temps dropped quickly after the sun set. We retreated to Tim’s vans for socializing in the warmth of his heat buddy before calling it a night. A low of 23 degrees that first night in the desert.

    Head West...



    Overnight at the Bar 7 Ranch...



    The sun warmed things up quickly, but there were bike issues to sort out before hitting the trails with Craig who showed us Special Ed, Sketch, Ridge and a bunch of the system trails in town. It was a great intro of the riding to come in the follow days. Things just got better from there. Hooked up with some great folks who showed us the hard to find goods where a shuttle wont take you. There was no shortage of top notch trail, nor top notch riders to show us the way. Our Appalachian rock skills transferred well to the legdy sandstone but we more danced our way through things than bombing through them. I realized pretty much immediately that I was under gunned for Sedona on the 29er as everyone rode trail bikes, so I just had to step up my game a bit. I wasn’t going to be one of those who uses my bike as an excuse not to ride sections, but we all have our limits and I am pretty good knowing where I stand in relation to those limits. We all had fun watching each other try to get through obstacles and trying techniques and lines that are a bit out of our comfort zone. And speaking of being out of your comfort zone, the exposure was very different form trail riding here. Some trails such as Hangover are built on an exposed layer in the sandstone and in some sections, fallen trees filled with flat stones formed the trail and you could see the void through the rocks. Eventually we became more or less desensitized to it, especially after riding a trail more than once. Ledge N’ Airy was another which had extended sections of high exposure with technical climbing along the ledge. There were some primitive camps under an overhang along the ledge which was pretty nuts. You have a hike to get out there and what if you have pee in the night?

    While riding the Hogs with Tex, I rolled an ankle off a 6 foot drop, but some Chinese potion loosened things up well. Then while out in Rabbit valley with Joe Murray, Chewy and Steve, I took a nasty cactus spine to the ankle which paralyzed my foot. Some trail side surgery courtesy of Tim, Chewy and a dull knife got the angry 2+ incher out and riding for 4 more hours. Collin went OTB when part of a ledge broke off and sent him tumbling 30 feet on sandstone rubble leaving him with a fine case of stigmata. Tim broke his helmet later that day at the bottom of Ken’s Trail in a loose chute and I broke a thumb when I hesitated rolling into a narrow chunky staircase on Lizard Head. On out last day in Sedona, Ross popped out his shoulder in a steep, exposed switchback. Posi vibes to a speedy recovery.

    Down the Rabbit Hole...



    Collin on the move...



    No poseurs...



    What did I just say!



    (Sue foto)

    Chewy gets some...



    Riding fuel...



    Jackie on the gas...



    Arizona pinstripe...



    Tim rolls in on Killer Bee...



    Tim snapped this one of me...



    Highline...



    While in Sedona, we camped, rented a house at the base on Schnebly Hill for a week and crashed at Ross’ house on our last night which got down to 12 degrees. We rolled out around 9:30am, headed south to Tempe in search of warm weather once again and hooked up with Gabe who works for the company Sue coaches for. We unloaded, kitted up and headed for South Mountain which has got to be the best in-town trail system known to man. Fast crushed granite surface with enough technical tidbits to whet even the most sophisticated palates. Good Mexican food and then Hump Day Pump Day at Gabe’s. Every Wednesday, Gabe hosts evening pump track sessions in his backyard. It was a chilly night, but folks were having at it. Collin slammed hard after his front wheel hung up on the wrong side of the fence on a wall ride. A photog showed up and we got her to take some runs as well. We all went our separate ways in the morning, Tim and Sue bound for New Mexico before hitting San Diego and Baja, Collin went back up to Sedona for another taste of the good stuff there and I battled winter storms and Interstate closures bound for the East Coast. I stopped off in Harrisonburg for the annual Super bowl ride up to Flagpole Knob before landing back at home in DC.





    Typical sight on National Trail...



    Tim puts his skills to the test...



    Collin puts a track high on the wall...



    So what did I learn and come away from this trip with? The obvious good time and memories of people I met on the road, but also the realization that it is possible to live the good life if I choose to do so. Everyone I met in Sedona made the decision to live that way of life. I also am feeling the urge to do some Super - Ds and even dusted off the old full face and body armor today for the first time in 10 years. Also, I realized that 3 weeks is not too long to be away. Actually, it didn’t feel long enough. Next year a 2 month rental in the desert? Anyway, here is the first round of photos. There are still a ton more which need to developed and Tim and Collin have hours of video footage which I hope to eventually post as well. A huge thanks to all who rode with us, put us up, dug in my leg and mocked my choice of bike on our journey. All of you helped to make this an amazing adventure. Hope we can turn some wheels again soon

  2. #2
    heaven help me
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    I am glad to see you are doing well!

    Rockville isn't the same without you.

  3. #3
    another bozo on the bus
    Reputation: washedup's Avatar
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    Yeah, just not posting up much anymore these days. Nobody showing up at Rockville to ride in Chuck Taylors lately? I was hoping to get out that way, but I couldnt get away from Sedona. Perhaps next year. I did run into Chuck and a few other from the Bay area in AZ so it was kinda like riding in norcal.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Great passion hit! Thanks for taking the time to write up your trip and post photos.

  5. #5
    Lone Wolf McQuade
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    Awesome, thanks for the mini road trip from my kitchen

    Matt
    I should be out riding....

  6. #6
    dead weight
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    Wow, that's quite the injury tally. Heal strong.
    A bunch of my ride pics: http://uberfarm.com/mnf

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Stellar adventure. Sounds like you guys had a great trip to AZ too. I can see I need to spend a bit more time in Sedona next time. Still so many trails I haven't done there.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

    www.stuckinthespokes.com

  8. #8
    another bozo on the bus
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    Tex on a respectable roll in...



    Sue drops in...



    Grant circles the drain on The Hogs...



    Collin riding the stairs that claimed my thumb...



    Craig looks on...



    The group regrouping...



    Bigger than it looks...



    Rollin' after sunset...



    Convoy...


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