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  1. #1
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    Extended Trip to 'tah - Living year round around MOAB

    Hey all, I'm in the planning stages of an extended getaway to MOAB and surrounding trails. And as I begin to gather information and build a plan, there are a few things you locals could answer that would help me in my pilgrimage.

    PLAN A:

    A few things that are obviously up on the list:

    -Water availability? Are there public access locations to fill large potable water containers?

    -Parking for a truck and trailer? My truck is 4x4, but I obviously will not be able to reach anywhere too remote (nor would I want to risk it!). So, outside of paying $500(?) a month for a campsite, what options are out there? I need no provisions on site. Some nights will be spent at a campground, as I am a social butterfly, who enjoys a conversation or a two a month.

    -Local Law: While I'm sure vagrancy is not welcomed anywhere in the country, I do plan on being a contributing member of society, but how much do I have to concern myself with law enforcement? EPA? Rangers? Etc.

    -Temperature Extremes: I can drink warm [read: hot] water all day, but my water supply will surely freeze in the Winter. This is one of the major obstacles that I have yet to provide a solution. *edit* The ultimate option here, might just be to suck it up and rent a room for the winter.

    The plan, in a nutshell: Is to work as much as necessary [read:as little] to sustain my lifestyle; ie: Ride my bike, drink a good beer here and there and just f*&#in live!

    I'm in no rush and have plenty of time to do my research, but I figured I'm not the only one who envies a life, completely outdoors. This isn't my first rodeo, but it is a pretty big step up, so any information is welcome!

    Thanks ya'll

  2. #2
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    Um, winter in Moab is pretty sucky. It's cold, campgrounds are empty/no tourists, locals are kinda weird. No jobs. You might want to do St. George or something instead during those months.

    There is BLM camping (some places have pit toilets, some don't, generally no water) all over the place north of town. All free. In theory I think you are supposed to only stay for 14 days consecutively or something but I doubt it's enforced in any meaningful way. Worst case you could just move to a new site every couple of weeks.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "EPA" but unless you're planning to strip mine something I think you'll be ok. Hell, you might be ok if you *do* want to strip mine...

    Good luck!

    -Walt

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    locals are kinda weird.

    -Walt
    Gee Walt, I thought the same thing about Park City'ans

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Um, winter in Moab is pretty sucky. It's cold, campgrounds are empty/no tourists, locals are kinda weird.

    -Walt
    I will respectfully disagree, an empty Moab is my favorite, only a couple of trails get closed due to weather.
    Although full time camping through the winter could be a wee bit nippy.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by can't get right View Post
    I will respectfully disagree, an empty Moab is my favorite, only a couple of trails get closed due to weather.
    Although full time camping through the winter could be a wee bit nippy.
    Sure, empty is great, and average highs in the high 30s/low 40s mean you can ride some and not be too uncomfortable on the lower down trails, assuming there's not snow all over. But it's on the CO plateau (high elevation) and it's way too cold to be somewhere you want to spend the winter mountain biking - especially if you're totally mobile. Why on earth wouldn't you just drive to St. George or Sedona or southern AZ/NM?

    OP wants to be a "productive member of society" which I take to mean a part-time job. And there will be ZERO of those in Moab in the winter.

    I mean, it sounds like fun - but it would be MORE fun without being in Moab all winter (or all summer), IMO. Why limit yourself?

    -Walt

  6. #6
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    Definitely agree, Moab in the winter sucks. Cold. Snow. Brutal wind. A lot of stores are even closed. No Quesadilla Mobilla. No Jailhouse Diner. I'm out.
    Denver, CO

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Sure, empty is great, and average highs in the high 30s/low 40s mean you can ride some and not be too uncomfortable on the lower down trails, assuming there's not snow all over. But it's on the CO plateau (high elevation) and it's way too cold to be somewhere you want to spend the winter mountain biking - especially if you're totally mobile. Why on earth wouldn't you just drive to St. George or Sedona or southern AZ/NM?

    OP wants to be a "productive member of society" which I take to mean a part-time job. And there will be ZERO of those in Moab in the winter.

    I mean, it sounds like fun - but it would be MORE fun without being in Moab all winter (or all summer), IMO. Why limit yourself?

    -Walt
    Hehe, I don't think I've worked a part time job in 15 years. I'm an electrician by trade. My plan is to hook up with an outfit in UT/CO for a while, until they allow my license to transfer, then I'll start my own thing and work what I need to get by. Obviously, that limits the whole bike bum fantasy for a short while. But by then, hopefully I'll have a good feel for the surrounding areas and terrain.

    And I hear you all about winters, and yes, at a certain point I too draw the line. I will be mobile, so I could travel. Or maybe just hibernate.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Sure, empty is great, and average highs in the high 30s/low 40s mean you can ride some and not be too uncomfortable on the lower down trails, assuming there's not snow all over.
    -Walt
    Keep singing it Walt, and I will hope that the masses continue to stay away.

    I have been located in St. George for the last 20 years, spring and fall used to be my favorite riding times. Now I just can't wait for summer, when everyone starts with "it's sooooo hot" and I have the place to myself again. Touristas have made me into a grumpy old man.

    To the OP, as a man in the industry I know that you will have real difficulty trying to run your own show and just work enough to get by. People need Sparktricians who they can count on.
    Just wait for another economic downturn and take the forced hiatus as an opportunity to ride a lot. It worked for me between 2008 and 2013, I rode so much I was salivating to go back to work.

  9. #9
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    Fair enough, it's certainly awesome to be out on a "crappy" day and see nobody. Even during peak season in Moab (or here in PC) it's not *that* hard to be by yourself, though, if you want to.

    But if you want total solitude on your bike, Moab in January will certainly deliver that!

    OP, you should have an easy time finding work (though I don't know the Moab construction/electrician scene at all). It's also pretty cheap to rent a place in Moab if you're looking to be there year round and you get sick of the truck life.

    I'd still skip winter in Moab if you're not tied to any particular location. But you'll figure it out for yourself once you get there, I imagine.

    -Walt

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by can't get right View Post
    Touristas have made me into a grumpy old man.
    Obviously because I'm one of those tourista's (3) times a year and you have the emptiest trails on the planet even in prime time. You don't know how lucky you are. I rode at a place in SoCal the other day that had more cars parked at the trailhead than I'll see in (4) days *combined* in St George/Hurricane. But I'm not complaining because the layout of the place is such that I was never near more than one group of 4-5 riders at any one time.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    OP, you should have an easy time finding work (though I don't know the Moab construction/electrician scene at all). It's also pretty cheap to rent a place in Moab if you're looking to be there year round and you get sick of the truck life.


    -Walt
    Cheap is all relative, I guess, but you would be hard pressed to find a non-scary, free market place to live in Moab for under $1000 a month at this point, unless you have roommates to help you out. You can't look at the averages because they are skewed by the government-built housing for which there are long waiting lists.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    Cheap is all relative, I guess, but you would be hard pressed to find a non-scary, free market place to live in Moab for under $1000 a month at this point, unless you have roommates to help you out. You can't look at the averages because they are skewed by the government-built housing for which there are long waiting lists.
    Yes, all relative. Compared to Denver or SLC (or basically anywhere with good mountain biking nearby), Moab is super cheap. Compared to, say, Detroit, it's expensive.

    -Walt

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    In theory I think you are supposed to only stay for 14 days consecutively or something

    Technically I think it's only legal 14 days *per month*. In winter I bet enforcement is nil, and it's probably easy enough to stay off their radar.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Obviously because I'm one of those tourista's (3) times a year and you have the emptiest trails on the planet even in prime time. You don't know how lucky you are. I rode at a place in SoCal the other day that had more cars parked at the trailhead than I'll see in (4) days *combined* in St George/Hurricane. But I'm not complaining because the layout of the place is such that I was never near more than one group of 4-5 riders at any one time.
    I am ruined for crowds of any kind. I can ride for MONTHS without seeing another soul on the trail.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by can't get right View Post
    I am ruined for crowds of any kind. I can ride for MONTHS without seeing another soul on the trail.
    Compared to what I'm used to, I don't even consider the "crowds" during the Hurricane MTB Festival as worthy of comment. I actually like running across fellow riders on the trail every now and then to "talk shop", maybe see where they are from, etc...
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  16. #16
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    Plenty of people dirtbag it down there. Mostly climbers down in Indian Creek. Like this guy.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, I dirtbagged it in the Moab for months at a time when I was a climbing bum. Good times. But not really in the winter. Back then Vegas was the place to spend the winter.

    Alf used to spend a lot of time at the Enchanted Tower in NM, too. He is quite a character, to say the least. Sort of weird to see him again 20 years later, time marches on I guess...

    Maybe climate change has made Moab winters fun? If you're not a climber, keep in mind that on a 20 degree day, if the sun is out and you're on a south facing wall (ie, Supercrack, Cat Wall, etc - tons of the stuff in Indian Creek) you can climb in a t-shirt or less. Mountain biking would be miserable.

    -Walt

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Yeah, I dirtbagged it in the Moab for months at a time when I was a climbing bum. Good times. But not really in the winter. Back then Vegas was the place to spend the winter.

    Alf used to spend a lot of time at the Enchanted Tower in NM, too. He is quite a character, to say the least. Sort of weird to see him again 20 years later, time marches on I guess...

    Maybe climate change has made Moab winters fun? If you're not a climber, keep in mind that on a 20 degree day, if the sun is out and you're on a south facing wall (ie, Supercrack, Cat Wall, etc - tons of the stuff in Indian Creek) you can climb in a t-shirt or less. Mountain biking would be miserable.

    -Walt
    It's gonna take more than a 3 degree increase by the end of the century to entice me to winter in Moab!

  19. #19
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    Is winter in Moab that bad? I'm originally from MN and it gets cold.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    Is winter in Moab that bad? I'm originally from MN and it gets cold.
    Nothing like MN!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Nothing like MN!
    So colder?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    Is winter in Moab that bad? I'm originally from MN and it gets cold.
    That's what I was wondering, being from New England and all

    Hell, I saw my first snow flakes of the season a couples day ago...*raises fist to the sky and curses*

  23. #23
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    It's mid-Nov and 63 in Moab right now. When does "winter" start, exactly?
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Technically I think it's only legal 14 days *per month*. In winter I bet enforcement is nil, and it's probably easy enough to stay off their radar.
    Took this at Horsethief CG Saturday night, because my wife and I fantasize about dirtbagging:





    "After 14 days, campers must move 30 miles away to camp on BLM lands."

    Is that as the crow flies? Driving distance?

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    It's mid-Nov and 63 in Moab right now. When does "winter" start, exactly?

    Some years it doesn't. Which usually makes the following spring and summer exceptionally brutal.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    It's mid-Nov and 63 in Moab right now. When does "winter" start, exactly?
    For reference, it was ~55 degrees today here in Park City. At a ski resort. Winter hasn't started anywhere in UT.

    Typically it gets cold in mid-Nov in Moab. But it varies a ton.

    -Walt

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    For reference, it was ~55 degrees today here in Park City. At a ski resort. Winter hasn't started anywhere in UT.

    Typically it gets cold in mid-Nov in Moab. But it varies a ton.

    -Walt
    It was tongue-in-cheek. I'm only a few hours north of you, and we've had a number of strangely warm days lately as well. But still, given that we ride here in sub-zero temps for a good chunk of the year, I can't say I would find Moab winters to be particularly brutal. The mud (while usually short-lived) is a lot more limiting than the cold.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithhammer View Post
    It was tongue-in-cheek. I'm only a few hours north of you, and we've had a number of strangely warm days lately as well. But still, given that we ride here in sub-zero temps for a good chunk of the year, I can't say I would find Moab winters to be particularly brutal. The mud (while usually short-lived) is a lot more limiting than the cold.
    Well, sure. But if you're mobile/living in your truck? Why stay in Moab all winter? There are much better winter locations for riding/camping.

    -Walt

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    Well, sure. But if you're mobile/living in your truck? Why stay in Moab all winter? There are much better winter locations for riding/camping.

    -Walt
    Yeah, living in the high desert, I have no problem riding in sub zero temps. It would be the times when I'm not riding that would be miserable.

  30. #30
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    Well, hope you have a good supply of books.

    One problem I run into out in Moab, when I'm camping solo, is the complete lack of mental stimulation on winter nights.

    When the sun dips behind a mountain or mesa at 1700 and the already low temperature plummets, I'm not likely to remain outside for long. Even if you find a spot sheltered from the wind, those are some LONG nights to burn by yourself.

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  31. #31
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    I agree with Walt. If you're doing the van life and living mobile, why stay anywhere where it gets cold in the winter? Follow the sun and the dry trails. Maybe head to Tucson?

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