Desert Life

A longer than normal winter had us wanting to go somewhere warm and dry. With the trailer finished, we were ready to leave for a better climate in the desert. We had a loose plan of heading to Grand Junction for a couple of days then to Moab, Utah for another 5 or 6 and then back home.

When we had the tent trailer, we had to plan our stops. We didn’t like the idea of sleeping in a rest stop with it. With the hard-sided trailer, we weren’t worried about where we stopped so we left late on a Thursday with a plan to arrive in Grand Junction at some point on Saturday.

We stayed at The Camp in Grand Junction. It’s only open on event weekends and is just a field with water and bathrooms, but it’s really close to the bike trails (pedalling distance to the Lunch Loops). The site was clean, quiet and had a big communal fire pit in the middle of the place.

We got a good afternoon of riding in at the Lunch Loops on some of our favourite trails: Holy Cross and Eagle’s Wing.

Mark on Eagle’s Wing

 On the way back to the site, ran into someone we raced bikes with last summer who was also staying at The Camp. We decided to meet up for a ride and got to do a big shuttle on a trail we hadn’t ridden in years. This didn’t work out too well for Mark, he broke his derailleur and had to walk out while the rest of us finished up a big lap on Holy Cross and Lemon Squeezer. 

The Ribbon – Slabs on slabs on slabs

We skipped Fruita and headed straight over to Moab on Sunday afternoon.

Roadside, but a great view to wake up to.

Our plan was to arrive in Moab after the bulk of people left for the weekend so we could get a site on the Colorado River. Haha! Turns out people just don’t leave those sites (Wednesdays seem like the biggest turnover day though). Also turns out that showing up to Moab looking for a site on a Sunday night isn’t the smartest idea. After driving around in the dark for a bit, we gave up and found some space up by Canyonlands to stay for the night (on the side of the road) and found a site at Horsethief the next morning.

Horsethief is up on the way to Canyonlands and close to the Mag 7 trails. Since it’s at a higher elevation, it’s a bit cooler and seemed to have a steady breeze which was good to keep the trailer cool for the dogs. The sites weren’t close together so we didn’t really notice the other campers, with the exception of the old guy running his generator (apparently he’d never heard of solar panels).

There are no services here, we filled up the water tank before leaving Grand Junction at the Fruita Visitor Center. Since the tank is really old, we don’t use it for drinking water, so we filled up a 5 gallon water jug every other day at GearHeads in Moab, where they have free filtered water. 

Massive site 24 at Horsethief

After a quick set up, we headed out for some biking. We did a quick loop out at Navajo Rocks in the morning and then into town to ride Captain Ahab.

Navajo Rocks
More Navajo Rocks
We dialled in camping breakfasts

It didn’t take us long to get into a routine of making food, lounging, riding, lounging some more and dinner. No trip to Moab is complete without daily fancy coffees from Wicked Brew and pizza and Tiramisu from Paradox Pizza. The trip included a lot of coffee and pizza slices.

Last year we rode Klondike Bluffs for the first time. We were stoke to go back this year to explore the whole area. It was worth the two days we spent riding out that way. Nothing was too technical, just fun downhill sections with some short technical climbs. The north side was more downhilly and the south side seemed more xc.

This year we explored some new trails, including the trails around the campground. They were pretty easy, but seemed flow downhill in all directions.

We also decided to do another Porcupine Rim shuttle. It had been a couple of years and we heard that some new trails were built up at the Kokopelli drop off. There is one, Jimmy Keen, but it was nothing to write home about. Although it added about 10 kms of trail, it was pretty flat and uneventful. We’d skip it next time.  The rest of Porcupine was the same. A couple of spots have (thankfully) been smoothed out. Even with the smoothed out bits, Mark managed to dent his rim beyond use (he did manage to make it out without walking this year!).

Touring around Klondike Bluffs
Porcupine Shuttles with Coyote
Somewhere out on the Horsethief trails.
Views for days.

With only 3 working wheels between the two of us, we took Friday off from biking and spent the day exploring the desert around the outskirts of Moab. Not a bad idea since the temperatures skyrocketed to 34c. We headed out to Needles Overlook and took some of the 4×4 roads around.

Moab never ceases to surprise with new areas
The dogs had a pretty good time.
Campsite at night

The mission of escaping the rain for some dry biking was accomplished. We left the desert relaxed, slightly sunburnt and ready to go back again next year.

All ride logs from our trips can be found here.




Leave a Reply