There’s nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the glowing red desert at sunrise. Saturday was a perfect day in Monument Valley and even though we were due in Moab early afternoon, we couldn’t resist taking a quick bike ride before we left. We rode down the 4 wheeled drive descent into the canyon and pedaled around the huge rock monoliths for a lap (me) or two (Tim) before packing up Frank and hitting the road again.
By 2 pm, we’d reached Moab and met up with Jimmie Shell in the parking lot of City Market. Moab was rocking. This town knows how to market itself, and every weekend throughout the spring is a hot rod rally, Jeep safari or Hummer extravaganza. This weekend was the Classic Car Show and every make and model of American vehicle from the 50’s to the 70’s paraded up the streets.
We decided to escape the mayhem of town and camp at one our favorite outposts on Willow Springs Road, 6 miles from town. This BLM tract of land is a great spot for free, spacious camping with great views of Arches National Park in the distance. We wound up and down all the 4 wheel drive roads until we finally found a spot tucked away in a wash. Here we settled in with burgers and margaritas and made ourselves at home for a night by the campfire.
Sunday was cool but sunny morning and we got our bikes ready. We were headed to Porcupine Rim, one of Moab’s most acclaimed bike trails. With 5 miles of uphill and 10 miles of technical downhill, it’s a local favorite. We started riding at noon and by 2 had reached the top. I was feeling pretty nervous about the next 10 miles of rocky drops and steep pitches that I remembered from my rides 10 years earlier. Tim and Jimmie were fabulous though. They stuck with me for the entire downhill, showing me the best lines and how to drop the foot high ledges without shooting over my handlebars. For me, the ride is still scary, but at least it wasn’t terrifying…which in the scheme of things is a huge improvement.
Monday and Tuesday were work days, but thanks to the Wilson Booster, we were able to get strong cell service to stay put in our sandy site on Willow Creek. Monday evening fellow Jacksonites, Wolste and Hillary, joined our camp and we celebrated their arrival with spaghetti and horseshoes.
By Wednesday, our blue skies came to an end. We’d watched a huge storm approach from the Pacific and our red sand campsite was about to turn into a wet mucky mess. We packed up and turned back to town for the work day. We found the Wake and Bake Coffee Shop who put up with us all day. Jimmie drove home and Tim and I spent the evening cleaning Frank, washing clothes and shopping for the next few days, while Wolste drove East for a new and less messy campsite.
It was a good thing too. This morning we woke up to the unusual April sight of snow in the desert. Fortunately we were on good hard packed ground and easily left with Frank to our final destination for the week, Fruita CO. Here we’ll stay for the next few weeks, biking, working and biking…as soon as the snow stops!