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 noticeÂ (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,Â 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 kidsÂ I want to spend time with.Â 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 andÂ 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 –Â 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)
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 weather.com….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: MattisseÂ & 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.
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 outÂ 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,Â Gold Bar Rim, and the best restaraunt in Moab.