My Weekend Ruled. A Lot. (Part I: Preamble)

11.7.2006 | 7:32 am

There was a time when I used to go on weekend-long mountain bike vacations to Moab all the time. They were usually impromptu. On Thursday, someone would give someone else a call, an email thread would start, and we’d settle on what time we’d leave the next day. I’d give my wife a day’s notice (or less); I knew she didn’t mind, because that meant she’d have a weekend to herself to read Jane Austen books, hang out with her craftsy friends, and watch DIY shows on TV.

That time is over.

Now I have a job that requires me to think and focus, not just show up. Now I have kids I want to spend time with. All my friends, of course, have the same kind of restrictions. So pulling off a three-day Moab trip is a big deal. It takes planning and maybe a little bit of sacrifice.

It’s a big enough deal that I’m going to write about what happened the whole rest of this week.

Oh, and it’s also a big enough deal that Kenny makes a poster for the event:


Two Days Before
As part of the early planning for this trip, someone proposed that we camp for Fall Moab. To be clear, everyone already knows that I do not like to camp. And yet, consensus was reached, I was overruled, and it was decided that we would camp.

Nobody took into account, however, that I can be a subtle and manipulative jerk when I feel like it.

Two days before the big event, I called the hotels around Moab and discovered that you could get a room with two beds for $50/night. Not bad. So I called Bob, ostensibly to finalize when I’d pick him up at the airport, let him know his bike was at the bike shop and ready for him, and so forth. Here’s how the crucial part of the conversation — ie, the real reason I called – went, though:

Me: So, you’ve got your sleeping bag, right? (note: I did not tell him I have plenty of sleeping bags, one of which he could borrow)

Bob: Yeah.

Me: Got a pillow and a pad to sleep on? The ground’s going to be cold. (note: I did not tell him I have several cots and pads, any of which he could borrow)

Bob: Yeah, I should be able to find those in the garage somewhere.

Me: I wonder what the low temperature’s going to be in Moab. Let’s check….Whoa. It’ll be in the 20’s.

Bob: I guess I’d better bring a good coat. (Note: I did not tell him that he could borrow any of the several coats I own)

Me: No doubt about it. Man, you’re going to have to check a lot of luggage.

Bob: Yeah, that’s going to be a pain.

Me: I guess we can buy groceries in Moab, though.

Bob: You know, I’m beginning to think it would be easier to just get a hotel. It’s probably too late to reserve rooms, though.

Me: Well, actually, I just happened to check this morning and the Aarchway Inn has plenty of availability and they’re now in their winter rates. It would only cost us $25/person/night.

Bob: I think I’ll send out an email proposing we stay at hotels.

Me: Hm. That’s an interesting idea.

So Bob emailed the group, I replied with a supportive-though-disappointed note, and the deal was done. We’d be biking during the day, but getting a hot shower and eating at restaraunts at night. Perfect.

The Day Before
Thursday, Bob flew out from Seattle; Tom flew out from Iowa (or is it Ohio? I can never remember which is which). Yeah, this trip is important enough to fly out, no matter where you live (I flew out for it myself back when I lived in Washington).

Since Bob would be staying at my house, he got to help me make something new: Mattisse & Jack’s Bake at Home Oatmeal Energy Bars. Yep, Connor over at Matisse & Jack’s sent me a couple boxes — about the same size of cake mix boxes — to try out their product: mix in some yogurt and applesauce, mix, and bake.

Here’s what the result looked like:

I may not be the best food photographer that ever lived. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an energy bar that you could actually call attractive. Well, we’d see how they taste when we shared them with everyone at Moab the next day.

Day 1
Bob and I had planned to get out the door by 8:30am, but first there was a small matter of me pestering him to try out the Teeter I keep in the backyard. Here’s Bob — on the high setting — doing it in his jeans and without a helmet, making it look easy:

I maintain, however, that Bob is a numbskull for not wearing a helmet. As you can see, it’s a long way down.

We left late, because I stalled for several minutes, trying to make a tough decision: should I bring my geared bike, or the singlespeed?

Finally I decided to not decide, and brought both. I’d decide on a ride-by-ride basis.

We all met at Racer’s, where Kenny was passing out the posters he had made. Then he thought about it for a moment, and decided that he’d tape them to our cars, instead. So we all — me in my tiny Acura RSX, Rick in his monstrous Hummer H2, and Kenny in his nondescript Jeep — loaded up our bikes. Bob, Tom and I had geared bikes, everyone else had a singlespeed. I got a sense that I’d be peer-pressured into singlespeeding a good chunk of the weekend. But at least I had the option to use whichever bike I wanted.

From Provo, it’s a quick three hour drive to Moab. During this three hours, I get progressively wound up, and I can tell I’m not alone. We traditionally stop in Wellington to grab a sandwich, and I can see that everyone is already acting different than when we left Provo. We’re giggling, joking, jumping around.

The group of friends has gathered. The road trip’s begun. In just a couple hours, we’ll be riding on sandstone. I’m so excited, I occasionally burst into song.

Tomorrow: Part II: Bartlett’s Wash, energy bars, Gold Bar Rim, and the best restaraunt in Moab.


  1. Comment by bradk | 11.7.2006 | 8:40 am

    some of the readers may get the wrong impression of us from that poster that Kenny made. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But just to be clear, other than dug, we are all heterosexual.

  2. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 11.7.2006 | 8:58 am

    That’s a sweet backyard project. Here’s one of my all-times favorite photos:

  3. Comment by Bob | 11.7.2006 | 10:23 am

    Three things need to be pointed out:

    1) The conversation between Elden and me never took place. At least not that way. Paul’s the one who made me realize how inconvenient it is for middle-aged men to camp in November. After any ride in Moab, I’m stiff, sore, and bent. The conversation went more like this:

    ME: I’m not going to camp. I’m getting a hotel room.

    ELDEN: Good golly, I admire you!

    2) The teeter totter is in Elden’s SIDE yard, not back yard. His side yard is bigger than the entire lot I live on in Seattle. Behind his lot is a ranch with horses. I’m telling you, Fatty is living the dream.

    3) Unlike Elden, I am a genuine fat cyclist.

  4. Comment by sans auto | 11.7.2006 | 10:38 am

    Riding out here from Oregon, my uncle convinced me daily to stay in a hotel rather than camping by bringing up snakes. I carried a tent and sleeping bag 1200 miles and every afternoon the conversation was the same:
    Jim: Well, I say we call it a day, lets look for a place to camp.

    Me: Sounds good.

    Jim: Did you see the 5 dead rattlers on the road back there? I bet there aren’t any in the grass around here.

    Me: How far to the next town?

    Jim: only a few miles, would you rather get a room?

    Although some of the hotels were such dives that I would have been more comfortable in a tent, we stayed away from the snakes every night… Even if we had to ride an extra 50 miles to find a room.

  5. Comment by Eufemiano Fuentes | 11.7.2006 | 11:15 am

    nice teaser fatty. I can’t wait for the rest of your story. I kinda just skimmed this story though, and I didn’t quite pick something up.

    Why is michael moore riding your teeter?

    Anyway, looking forward to the whole weekend recap.

  6. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 11.7.2006 | 12:34 pm

    For those of you who don’t know, that’s Ricky M and Bob on the poster.

  7. Comment by Born4Lycra | 11.7.2006 | 5:51 pm

    Brilliant poster!

  8. Comment by Al. | 11.7.2006 | 6:07 pm

    Not as manipulative as you claim! Regardless, look forward to seeing what you guys got up to.

  9. Comment by KatieA | 11.7.2006 | 7:20 pm

    Those energy bars look tasty… but how to make them when they don’t have them outside of the US? Stop being so darn Ameri-centric Fatty! Post a proper recipe that us “non-Americans” can make, damn you!!

    Now I’m hungry. Bugger.

  10. Comment by Jsun | 11.7.2006 | 8:07 pm

    bob- I also am a better rider if I stick my tongue out

  11. Comment by seth | 11.7.2006 | 8:07 pm

    How can I get a copy of that poster???

  12. Comment by Ricky M | 11.7.2006 | 11:01 pm

    Let me explain that poster. I had no idea Bobby was going to be behind me–they didn’t tell me in wardrobe. They didn’t tell me in hair and makeup either. Kenny, thanks for capturing my love for Bobby.

  13. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.8.2006 | 3:51 am

    Ah, the road trip. It is still traditional in my neck of the woods after 20 years that the Billy Idol EP, Vital Idol be played repeatedly on any outward journey that will culminate in a bicycle ride.

  14. Comment by Boz | 11.8.2006 | 5:49 am

    Does the old saying “They’ers a little truth behind every joke” apply here ? Hope not. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. I’m sure the man laws were obeyed at all times on your romp in the desert.

  15. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Advice to Attendees of Fall Moab this Weekend | 11.6.2008 | 2:05 pm

    [...] while I will not be attending Fall Moab, I do have some valuable advice for those who will, based on years of [...]


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