Category Archive 2010 Road Trip

Sweet Arizona Sunshine

Tim and I arrived back on the Mesa at 10 pm Sunday night.  It was chilly and we were tired.  There was no better greeting than to drive into camp and immediately be handed two hot steaming bowls of homemade clam chowder by Dan.  Tim and I had thought we wouldn’t need to eat again ever after our weekend food fest, but on a cold night, soup a la Staebler hit the spot.

We spent the next day enjoying amazing weather, working, eating fabulous Dan Burgers and relaxing with BJ, Lisa and the Staeblers.

Grillmaster Joe
Grillmaster Joe

Tuesday we hit the road again for the longest leg yet.  We were driving South to Prescott for my Dad’s birthday on the 26th.  We packed up Frank after the work day, said goodbye to everyone and drove off the Mesa towards Flagstaff.  5 hours later, we’d setup camp near the Sunset Crater National Monument.  By noon the next day, we were comfy working in the Prescott Starbucks.

That night we celebrated Dad’s 72nd with Lisa, Dad, cousins Amy and Russ and their entertaining and very  precocious daughters Holly and Annie.  It was the start of an awesome weekend of family get-togethers.  We relaxed in Dad and Lisa’s welcoming home, dined on Dad’s delicious grilling, and laughed at great stories.  My brother Brett joined us with Peggy and kids, Joe, Cypress, Brittany and Timmy on Friday and the weekend was full of people, sunshine, biking and the occasional jello shot.

Wearing the Colors

Colonel Duncan Wilmore

Lisa and Timmy Listen to Senator McCain

Mothers of the Deceased
Wreaths from the Mothers of the Deceased

Prescott is one of Tim and my favorite towns.  It’s big enough to be interesting, small enough to be friendly and very patriotic.  On Sunday we joined the festivities.  The entire family drove out to the VA hospital to attend the Memorial Day celebration.  John McCain spoke to the crowd, commendating the Prescott WWII veteran who was being honored that day and reminding us to never take for granted the liberty we enjoy thanks to the sacrifices of so many.  It was a powerful speech.

Duncan and John McCain
Dad talks to Senator McCain

Joe and John McCain
Joe and the Senator

Brett and John McCain
Brett introduces himself

After the ceremony, we had an opportunity to shake his hand.  When Dad mentioned the Wild Weasels of Vietnam as he introduced himself, the Senator’s eyes lit up.  He pumped Dad’s hand while sincerely thanking him for his service.  It was tangible moment of connection and was an honor for us to watch.

Thank You Veterans
Thank You Veterans

It was very reluctantly that we said goodbye Monday to make the long drive back home.  We’re leaving perfect 85 degree weather to drive to raining 50 degree Jackson.  We may even get a taste of snow.  I guess there is no place like home.


It was 6 pm by the time Tim and I had driven the 270 miles north up I15 to Salt Lake.   We pulled into Jimmie and Keri’s driveway next to the Garage Mahal and were greeted by the birthday boy himself.  Jimmie had completed 41 trips around the sun and was ready to celebrate.

Birthday Boarding

He and Tim grabbed their longboards and skated to the Italian restaurant while Keri and I followed by foot beneath the darkening storm clouds.   We feasted on veal, salmon and piles of pasta.  Tim and I had lost a couple lbs from our earlier flu and this weekend we were destined to put it all back on and then some.  Charley and Amanda joined us midway through our meal and we had kicked back with wine and Bud Light (the restaurant’s only beer choice….we love SLC).

Stuffed, we walked across the street to Dick & Dixie’s for obligatory Birthday tequila shots.   By this time, the clouds had opened up and torrents of rain were flooding the streets.  The ladies opted for a car ride home, but Tim and Jimmie stuck with their original commitment and longboarded through 3 inch puddles to get back home.


The next morning, we got an early start.  It was Trish Hauschild’s graduation from the University of Utah Medical School and we knew there would be a fight for seats.  We arrived just in time to join Jimmy H, his mom Anne, sister Janice and brother Mike and nephew Nicholas for the festivities.  3 hours later it was official – a Dr. Hauschild was in the house.  Next up is a surgery residency at the U.   Our friend Jahan is also a new surgical resident, heading to Mass General.  We had a lot to celebrate.


We piled in the car and headed up to Park City for the party.  Somehow the amazing Trish managed to not only graduate, but then put together a huge spread for friends and family.  We ate and toasted and ate and toasted the new docs.

Stuffed…again, we returned to SLC.  Jimmie Shell had an early flight to Virginia the next morning so we finished the night with bike ride around the park (girls biking – towing Tim and Jimmie on their longboards) and a low key bonfire.

Happy Hauschilds

Sunday morning was the first pretty day we’d seen since arriving to Salt Lake on Friday.  We put on our Sunday best and drove Frank to the Grand America Hotel.  Jahan’s family was throwing a huge brunch graduation celebration and we were invited as honorary Hauschilds.   This Salt Lake institution knows how to put on a brunch.  Sushi, lamb, waffles, prime rib, omelets, crepes, crab, shrimp, ceviche were just a few selections on the incredible buffet menu.  Did I mention the 3 foot tall chocolate fondue fountain?

It was a joyous and filling feast.

After our enormous meal and hugs all around, Tim and I said goodbye.  After this whirlwind dining fest in Salt Lake, we were traveling  back down to Gooseberry Mesa on our way to Prescott, AZ.  Before pointing Frank back down I15, we checked in with friends Dirk and Nicole for a quick hello on our way out of town.  Then it was back on the road for another 270 miles and another celebration.

Senor Diaz es el Diablo

We arrived to Gooseberry Mesa at 3 am on May 17th and were greeted by the entire Staebler family.  Sam, the 3 year old youngest Staebler wasn’t feeling well that night.  “A touch of food poisoning,” we said.  “Must have been a little bad papaya,” we said.  We held poor Sam while he groaned that his stomach hurt.

Senor Diaz or El Diablo?
Senor Diaz or El Diablo?

The next day we caught up with Rebecca, Dan, their daughter Sydney and a recovering Sam.  It was great to be back on the Mesa.  We retold tales of past trips where Vertical Media employees came down to celebrate springtime while it was still snowing in Jackson.  Senor Diaz, the unofficial (imaginary) mascot and good luck charm of the Mesa was alive and well.  The sun was warm and it was good to reconnect.

Tuesday we saw Senor Diaz’s nasty side – El Diablo.

Tim and I were working when Rebecca came by the van.  “It wasn’t the papaya”, she announced.  Dan was now sick and so was Sid.  Stomach flu had hit camp.  We placed orders of Gingerale with BJ and Lisa who were on their way up from Springdale.  By evening Rebecca was green too.   Tim and I greeted BJ and Lisa alone and had a quiet dinner while Dan and Rebecca stayed in bed.

Next day El Diablo dropped by Frank for a 24 hour visit.  By 10 am Tim and I canceled work and were flat on our backs.  It took 16 hours of sleep before we started feeling better.

Pre Sick

Once 75% of the camp was ill, BJ and Lisa wisely drew a clear (and actual) line in the sand.  Nobody crossed it and they remained healthy.  Thankfully the flu was short lived and the next day we were all cautiously eating again.  We celebrated non queasy stomachs with a batch of Carne Asada purchased from the Mexican Carniceria in Fruita.  For anyone traveling through Fruita, you MUST stop at this small authentic Mexican market for the best marinated steak in the area…tortillas are homemade that day too.

Finally Able to Eat Again

The next morning we bid farewell to our recovering Mesa friends and started driving north.  It was Friday and Jimmie Shell’s birthday.  We had dinner reservations for Jimmie’s favorite meal, spaghetti with red sauce, and we didn’t want to be late!

Escape to Utah

After 3 days of biking and working at the Book Cliffs, Tim, Lisa and I packed up for a day in town. Jamis had come through and sent a new rear triangle and Tim’s bike was ready. It was time to end his week long pedaling hiatus.

Book Cliffs Camp
Book Cliffs Sportsmobile Jamboree

We settled in for a work day at the Aspen Street Coffee Shop. While we waited for our first cups of caffeine, I picked up the free local paper.  At the top of page 3 was an promo for the Palisades’ Classic Bike Festival on Saturday. I brought it over to Tim and Lisa.  Bike races, BBQ, winery tours, scavenger hunts and bands popped off the page.  The weather looked good and we decided we shouldn’t miss it. Registration started that afternoon so we did our errands and drove a half an hour east.

Scenic Escapes
Scenic Escapes

Palisades is a small town 10 miles east of Grand Junction at the base of the western slope of the Rockies.  Their motto is “Life Tastes Good Here” and as you drive down the highway you can see its many wineries and orchards.  We hadn’t been there before and weren’t sure what to expect when we drove downtown.  It was 7:oo pm and we arrived just as the opening Festival party was wrapping up at the Twisted Brick Gallery.

We walked in to register and 30 minutes later we felt like we amongst old friends.   The guys of Rapid Creek Cycles showed us as much hospitality as we’d seen on our entire trip across the States.   We chatted about trails and town over Jello shots and snacks.  When they learned we had vans, they invited us to camp overnight in their parking lot so that we wouldn’t have to leave town that night.  We took them up on their offer.  Tim had registered to race in the 34 mile Grand Mesa Grinder at 7:30 am so we knew we’d need an early start.  Lisa and my races started more leisurely at 10 am but breakfast needed to be cooked by 6:30 to get Tim on the trail.

Morning Joe
Morning Joe

It was about 11 when the rain started.  By 5 am the next morning, it was obvious there would be no race.  The entire valley was socked in with clouds and cold drizzle.  We went to our computers to reassess.  We scanned weather websites looking for sunshine in the forecast and found it 100 miles away in Moab.   So at 7 am Saturday morning, we packed up again and started driving.  After errands in Grand Junction, we turned south into the sun.  Gradually the clouds and rain broke up and by the time we reached Moab, we were back in the 70’s.

Gemini Racers
Gemini Bridges Blur

We camped at our favorite spot at Willow Springs and then got on our bikes for a 13 mile ride out to Gemini Bridges.  The sun was hot and the ride was gorgeous, climbing back into the canyons towards Canyonlands.  That night we soaked in the warm night under the stars.  We knew we’d made the right call.

Gemini Bridges Biking
Photo Ops
Gemini Bridges Biking
Biking under Blue Skies
Moab Views

Sunday morning was even more perfect.  We cooked up an enormous Cowboy Omelet and planned our day’s ride.  We decided to go back to Porcupine Rim.  Tim dropped Lisa and I at the trailhead and drove the 10 miles back to town to start his ride.

Lisa's Bike Shop
Lisa's Bike Shop

Porcupine Rim was an entirely different ride than my last try 3 weeks earlier.  With Lisa leading the way, the rocks seemed smaller, the steeps seemed less steep and we had a blast.   Though Tim was 10 miles behind us, he still caught us ¾ of the way through the downhill and we all rode out together.   The day was hot and we celebrated with ice cream malts and burgers under the shady oak at Milt’s Diner in Moab.

Porcupine Rim Biking
Porcupine Rim - Starts with a Smile

Tired and well fed, we said good bye to Lisa and prepared to get back on the road.  Lisa was heading east again to pick up BJ from the airport in Grand Junction, while Tim and I were heading west to meet Dan and Rebecca on Gooseberry Mesa.

6 hours later, very early Monday morning, we pulled into camp.   We received a big Staebler greeting under the stars and settled in for a short sleep.   Next morning we woke up to the familiar view of Zion’s towers in the distance.  Life is Always good on the Mesa.

Fruita Rocks

It was dark and cold at midnight. Fires dotted the camps. And down by the lake, 87 bikers prepared for a very long night.

Is that a Clown?
Is that a Clown?

This was the start of the annual Fruita 18 Hour Bike Race. At 12:00 am Saturday morning, riders sprinted to their bikes and muscled each other out over the single track to be the first around Highline Lake. It’s two wheeled mayhem. By the third lap, the riders had distanced themselves from each other enough to create some welcome breathing room.

Built for Feed
Built for Feed

More Support

This year we had 4 teams racing. Tim and Geoff raced as duo Men – alternating each lap for 18 hours straight. Each lap was about 35-40 minutes so downtime was minimal. I was part of one of two ladies foursomes from Jackson. We had a much longer break. We each started with two laps during the night and then went to one each during the day. It never seemed like much of a rest, but we had far more than the guys. Our friends Derek and Lisa from Denver were racing Co-ed duo. They each raced 2 or 4 laps a piece before they kicked their feet up.

Pre-Race Prep
Pre Race Prep

Mary Lynn on the Last Lap
Mary Lynn on the Climb

The Switchbacks
Lisa R on the Switchbacks

Martha Into the Finish
Martha heads up

The Quigley Climb
Quigley Climbs

Another Clown
More Clown

Marieke on Last Lap
Mareike with Beaver Tail

With so many strategies, you never knew who’d be in camp, but the constant coming and going of racers added a lot of excitement. It was a great time. Sarah, Geoff’s girlfriend, supported the guys while BJ, Barry and Sam aided the girls. Part of the guys support was performing duties in full costume. BJ wore his clown suit until he had to catch a flight early in the morning for Mexico. He passed the clown wig to Sam who complemented it with a full length gown for the duration of the race. We couldn’t have asked for a more spirited band of cheerleaders.

On the Dam
Rest Break

Round and round we all went with only one spill. It wasn’t until about 15 hours into the day that we suffered a serious casualty. As I was getting ready to ride, Marieka rode into the race gates. “Tim broke his bike!” she shouted.

Race Ender - The Jamis Frame Splits
End of Tim's Race

Sam jumped into action. He grabbed his bike and rode it – fully gowned – to where Tim sat on the track. Tim then traded bikes, finished his lap and called it quits. A support on his aluminum frame had cracked completely in half. The Jamis had served him well for 5 years but had had enough.

Malt Liquor Aid Station
Malt Liquor Stop

He then joined the guys and cheered the ladies on for their last laps. Final standings ended up with Tim and Geoff at 9th of 15 (though they were 6th before the great bike breakage), Ladies finishing 3rd and 4th of 5 teams (we comfort ourselves knowing that 1 and 2 were both pro teams) and Derek & Lisa winning the Co-ed duo. We celebrated the victory with tequila, tacos and camp fires.

The Tough Girls - Champions of the Couples
3rd Place Beavers

Taco Line
Taco Line

Next day, Tim and I were off to town to see what could be done with his bike, while everyone else did some riding. Good news from Jamis: they lifetime warranty their frames so now we wait for the new piece to arrive. Meanwhile Tim borrowed Derek’s 29er for the day and they pedaled up and down the Book Cliffs.

Now 2 days later all the riders and supporters have headed home. It’s back to Tim, Lisa R and me. We’ll stick around until BJ, Lisa’s boyfriend, flies back to Grand Junction from his 6 day bachelor party in Mexico. From there we’re westward bound. We’ll squeeze as much sunshine as we can out of the days until we head back to snowy JH in 3 weeks!

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