TR - Thanksgiving in Moab-
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007

    TR - Thanksgiving in Moab

    So it took me quite a while to get around to pics and this trip report, but still want to get one put together. We did some awesome riding! A friend of mine bought a townhome in Moab this summer and invited me out for Thanksgiving. He could only make it for the 4 days, but Gil and I went for the whole week.

    To break up the drive we stopped in Hurricane/St George for a ride. A couple friends of ours were spending half the week there so we hit up Guacamole in the morning with them.

    Heading out

    Cool shot heading over to salt on the rim

    I think Christian regretted the full rigid bike but he wouldn't admit it

    Playtime on the rocks

    Twisting and weaving

    Closing the loop on the outer rim

    Guacamole is always such a fun ride, we covered almost everything there in under 3 hours. That is also nice, because it meant we had time for a second ride.

  2. #2
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    We stopped in for lunch and then headed off for a second ride. There are tons of great rides in St George and new ones are still popping up. I wanted to check out one I saw on Trailforks, that seemed to end with a good descent and had some good reviews...Babylon to Little Purgatory.

    This ride is a ways out of town. From Hurricane you head north to 15, or from StG you go north on 15. Then a ways off the highway. To what seems like middle of nowhere.

    Cool formations on the drive out

    Big surprise to start was a stream with flowing water

    We crossed it a number of times to start, and the ride wasn't looking that promising at first

    Then we turned off the initial trail onto Historic Babylon and it got better (but not easier)

    Amazing views behind us in the late afternoon light

    And great views ahead too. I-15 is somewhere between us and those mountains

    After some tough climbing up a gully we hit the top and start to drop down Little Purgatory. More great views...

    Trail was perfect IMO... raw, chunky, little traveled

    Some fun switchbacks and steeper towards the bottom

    A few nice drops too. Perfect level of tech

    Then back down through the stream crossings. A bit more rideable heading back to the truck.

    I really liked this ride, would do it again. It is probably one of the longer descents in StG. Not as hard as Grafton but still a fun descent with a few tech spots.

  3. #3
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    Day 2

    After StG we had dinner at a nearby restaurant and then hit the road. We still had a few hours driving to get to Fruita. Plans to spend a few days there and GJ were in doubt due to rain in the forecast but we could get at least one day in.

    Comedy set in when at midnight and the gas at 1/4 tank I figured we could make if from the Moab turnoff to Fruita. I know the gauge drops faster the last 1/4 tank but I normally get 50-60mi out of it before the warning light comes on, so 60mi to Fruita shouldn't be a problem. Well the needle dropped like a rock and the warning light came on 25 mi later. WTF??? 40mi to go. Can I make it? I've never driven more than 20mi after the warning light came on. Rather than take chances I turned tail back toward the turnoff. Better late than run out of gas, that would have sucked at 1am. Finally made it to the 18 road campground at 2am. There's something to be said for never passing a gas station when you are below 1/2 tank!

    Waking up was a little chilly

    We broke camp and then parked down at the lower trailhead. Climbing up Prime Cut

    The spark coming out of the guy's ass is a nice touch

    At the upper TH we headed over to Zippity

    I last rode Fruita back in 2009. I love to pooh-poo it since 18 road gets hyped so much but damn these trails are fun

    We climbed back up Zip Off, a trail that I don't recall existing last time here. It climbs back to Zippity, from the west. Very nice climb until the last few hundred feet (HAB)

    Still traversing back to Zippity

    Great views from Zip off

    For the next lap we hit Joe's Ridge, another classic

    Another really fun trail

    We didn't have a huge amount of time left so we opted for a few odd man out shuttle laps on PBR. This trail was a lot more fun than I remembered. I rode Gil's bike, a new Intense Primer as my front skewer had snapped on Joe's part way down when I tried to tighten a loose wheel. I couldn't keep the maxle tight after that. The Primer is a fun bike for sure, felt really solid. My first "real" ride on a 29er. We took off back to town in time to hit the bike shop where I got a new skewer.

    Gil on PBR

  4. #4
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    Day 3

    The forecast was not cooperating with us this trip and rain in Fruita/GJ would chase us over to Moab pre-maturely.

    We camped over near Klondike bluffs, and got rained on most of the night

    We packed up in the morning during a break in the rain and headed into town for breakfast. It was looking clear through mid afternoon so we headed over to Amasa back area.


    More climbin'

    Great views of the La Sals would become a theme for the trip

    Playing around

    Great views at the top

    Still lots of work on upper Ahab

    Then the descent... Gil brought the go-pro, so you can watch me miss key turns!

    And we finished just in time for a rain delay

    We were able to get the code to get in the condo early and were living large as it rained outside.

  5. #5
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    Day 4

    Navajo Rocks seems to be the trail system of choice for riding immediately following rains. After stopping in at the shop we headed out to the trailhead. Plan was to ride part of the loop and then head up to the Mag7 area via a new-ish connector, and then back on 7up.

    Cruising Navajo Rocks

    Lots o rocks

    When the bridge is too wide it takes some style to make it look cool

    Always trying to find the ideal picture angle at this rock...haven't quite got it yet!

    Is it Christmas yet?

    From the boring part of Navajo Rocks

    Up top

    Next we turned onto Chisholm Trail to connect us to Mag7

    Really fun trail with a huge variety of terrain, and great climbing grade

    Hole shot

    We took Getaway Tr down a few miles before connecting to the Mag7 network

    Great views there

    We dropped down a ways then climbed back to the top of the Mag7 network. From there we took 7up back to Navajo Rocks. Here's some vid of the good part of 7up. Most of 7up sucked. It drops down part on singletrack, part on jeep road and part on big rock slabs. Lots of elevation lost on jeep trail and too much climbing for a descent! Next time I would ride back on Chisholm for sure...

  6. #6
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    Great report so far as usual with awesome pictures. Keeping me motivated after almost a month off the bike due to random travel. Next time you get out towards Fruita, make the effort to go ride Palisade Rim out in.....of all places...Palisade. A super fun, scenic ride but still a great workout.
    Carpe Diem!!

  7. #7
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    Yeah, that was on the to-do list for this trip, unfortunately the rain meant we had to push off the rides in GJ a few days which didn't leave enough time for Palisade or the other stuff I wanted to ride there.

  8. #8
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    Continuing on....

    Day 5

    For Day 5 I planned a somewhat unique ride I've been wanting to do for years that would include some rarely ridden and lots of new-to-me dirt. As a bonus we could ride right from the condo...

    To start we headed over to the Pipe dream trailhead, where a lesser known trail called Hidden Valley starts with a stout hike a bike up a wall of rock

    Playing around at the bottom. We HAB'd up to the saddle in the background.

    Most of the way up. Trail reports I'd seen suggested having to toss the bike over massive boulders, but it was really just a run of the mill steep rocky HAB

    The Hidden valley opens up

    Great views of the La sals

    Hidden valley is a totally unique trail in Moab - flat and no rock after the HAB up.

    But it is hard to get to, and there is no riding back down the climb if doing an out and back, it is far too steep and rocky

    At the back end of Hidden Valley a short climb leads to a short singletrack descent and then jeep road which connects to the sandy and then rocky Moab Rim Trail

    Moab Rim is your typical steep up and down slickrock jeep trail

    With a great view looking right down on Moab

    Getting hungry Gil tries to capture some feral purse dogs for a snack

    Fun descent back down to the river.

    We hit the highway for a couple miles then did the climb back up Hymasa and headed in the direction of Pothole Arch

    The views up there never disappoint

    Though they can be a bit sketchy if you don't like heights

    Looking down, first time I've ever seen a rider on the jeep road below

    And on to Jackson! Having done first trips here in Spring and later having limited time I'd never done this trail before, but it delivered!

    Lots of fun challenges

    And like many trails, over too soon

    This is why you don't ride it in spring, under water

    To close the loop we spun a few quick miles on the road back to town and then picked up Pipe Dream trail, headed south

    Pipe dream only runs about 5 miles but at this stage of the day it seemed much longer. It's not an easy trail on tired legs...

    When you get here you're almost at the end. A couple more pavement miles back to the condo and it was beer:30!

    Here's a few vids of Jackson so you can amuse yourselves watching me miss more turns

    Fun day in the end. If I re-do, I might start with Pipe dream first. That was a beat down at the end of the ride.

  9. #9
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    Day 6

    By day 6 the trails over in Fruita/GJ had started to dry out after rains from a few days before, so we made plans to head back and ride Grand Junction.

    As with Fruita it had been many years since I'd last ridden Grand Junction so I was looking forward to a return trip.

    Kokopelli trails was first up, and we hopped right onto Moore Fun, cuz who needs a warmup?

    Starting off with a bit of climbing

    It didn't take long for things to get technical

    Still climbin'

    And yup, still more. After a few tries I made it up this switchback

    At some point things trended from up to down, and we headed over to Mack Ridge. Which pics belong to which trail is a bit hazy after some months, so just enjoy the ride like we did

    Great views of the river

    This was onto Mack Ridge for sure, some nice technical sections on the back side

    Some footage from Mack Ridge

    Next we crossed back on Lions to Steves and Marys. View from Lions:

    Tough climb out of a wash

    Continuing on above the river

    We checked out the drop in onto Horsethief bench but didn't ride it as we were getting short on daylight

    But a few good miles back to the truck awaited

    Beers getting close!

    Kokopelli trails were harder than I remembered with some legit technical challenges. I love trails that are challenging both up and down.

  10. #10
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    OMG this is awesome!
    I'll be there in 9 days.
    Can't wait. Thank you.

    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  11. #11
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    ^^^ Right on, have fun!

    Day 7

    By Thursday Dom, wife and friend had showed up in Moab and we talked Dom into heading back to Grand Junction to ride Lunch Loops.

    Lunch loops was the trail system that convinced me to buy a dropper post back in the day, with lots of short steep ups and downs. Seems like there are plenty of new trails since my last visit and we started off on one of them out of the trailhead.

    Climbing Pet E Kes

    Perfect climb up!

    Holy Cross was always a favorite so we decided to hit that up first. This and Free lunch were really the only two trails I remember.

    Everyone claims 29ers are better? These guys cleaned this first time each I think, it took me half a dozen run ins on my antiquated 26" wheels.

    I did have it easier making a loop top of on this rock though

    Maybe I am just regressing but the techy climbs on Holy Cross seemed a lot harder than I remembered

    Dom and Gil got way ahead after I took some pics and missed some of the side features. Caught up to them at the trails namesake

    Wish more places had signs like this

    Squeezing under the tree

    29er wheels make the drop look big

    Yes, it was...

    Riding the cliff edge

    Drop in after the road crossing on Gunny loop. Aside from this drop we rode that trail the wrong way!

    On to Andy's Loop

    Cave ridin'

    Backside of beyond

    This climb had a couple tough surprises near the top! I was lucky not to topple over and down the cliff after stalling out

    This was the last I'd see of Gil and Dom.


    My rear hub had started making funny noises on Gunny loop and by this time it was no longer freewheeling smoothly, leading to dropped chains every 50-100ft. I couldn't even coast. Even trying to pedal at the same rate the wheel spun to avoid freewheeling didn't work. Fortunately by the time it really got bad there were no cliffs to throw the bike off. Would've liked to have ridden more but my day was done!

  12. #12
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    Day 8

    Mag7 is permanently on the to-do list for Moab, so that was our planned ride for Day 8. The only wild card was my bike. I had called around to all the shops on the drive home day before but none in Fruita or Moab had a regular Stan's free-hub, only XD driver. Price of progress! I was prepared to rent a bike for the day if need be so we stopped in at Chili Pepper. But the mechanic thought he could get me going again and an hour later we were out the door. The freehub body had bowed out where the hub pawls are held but he was able to shave them back enough to get it to spin. Not perfect but good enough...

    No pics or stopping for the first few miles til we crossed the road and stopped to warm up

    This little up is always a good challenge

    The guys got ahead of me and somehow missed a turn ending up on the old heinous Goldbar Rim jeep trail rather than singletrack. They waited for me somewhere, by the time we figured it out I was at the top and then had to wait for them.

    Finally they get to the top, time to roll

    Blue dot (or whatever they call it now) is one of my favorite trails anywhere. Hard to beat the combo of views and tech (up and down)

    Yeah, those views...

    This drop seemed like a great idea til Dom burped his tire on landing

    More droppage

    Lining up the gap jump...or not

    Roller city


    And onto Portal. Gil dismounts for no-thing!

    Dom's friend Jeff cruising along

    I never seem to get any pics on Portal, stopped and got a couple that day!

    Footage: It must suck to ride with someone when you're go-pro'ing who always wants to stop and take pics!

    Felt bad for Dom and Gil as the shuttle retrieval took til after dark and it wasn't exactly warm out. Great ride though, bike survived which was also nice!

  13. #13
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    Day 9

    Last day... We were going to do a quick ride and then get out of town before an incoming storm made the highways a mess.

    I figured Dead Horse State Park would be good for a quick ride, albeit not so close to town. Never doing things the easy way we decided to drive in the back way up Shafer Trail.

    Token pushing over the rock pic

    Sign at the Potash plant says "Stop - No Trespassing - Your GPS is wrong" but doesn't tell you that all you have to do is stay straight rather than turn. Finally figured that out and continued on.

    Great views over the river

    Looking down from the top of the switchbacks

    The drive up Shafer took a lot longer than I thought it would, so it was getting late to still do a ride. Just as well, it was frigid with howling winds up top. So we bailed on riding and started the drive home.

    Had to stop at Monument Valley for the token pic.

    Someone please run these fools over

    But not this fool. Apparently I suck at doing headstands. I blame the wind.

    Heading down a hill toward Flagstaff the first sign that something was wrong was cars everywhere in the ditch. Time to back off the speed, its ice! This was maybe 20min north of Flag. It took us 4 hours to get just past Sedona. 17 was a parking lot. Semis like this one were stuck, couldn't get up the hills so two lanes traffic had to merge around them. Plows couldn't clear the road because of all stopped the traffic.

    Made for a late night, but good times! Fun trip. I don't think I'll do Moab again at Thanksgiving, it was too cold for this Socal wimp even with the condo. I'm glad we made it out there though, we got lots of good riding in. Also, I may have to stop slagging the Fruita/GJ trails. Overhyped maybe, but damn they are fun!

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