“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein
"Life is good...it says so on my ball cap." mej

Header Photo: Rocky ridge to Gilpin Peak

Monday, October 14, 2013

Danger! Geezers at Play...



Take a billion or so cubic yards of ice cream, let it soften into smooth mounds under the Utah sun, then swirl in a dazzling array of syrups—strawberry, chocolate, black cherry—and refreeze it. That's what slickrock looks like, and this is how it looks to ride your mountain bike on it. And now, I'll tell you what it feels like to be a kid again.

 Camp Boonster Utah: If the first day out of the winter Crevice is a barometer, this trip is going to be a fairy tale composite of everything I dreamed my retirement life would be, should I be so lucky to live to see it. A celebration of health, fair weather, and a like minded woman, not to mention RV friends (read antagonist in this case) to play with :).

Boonie got it right when he scouted this boondock. It's about 14 miles north of Moab, a cute little town growing up fast in a red canyon crevice along side the mighty Colorado River. Bobbie and I scouted this road a couple of years ago, looking for new slickrock opportunities besides "The Slickrock Trail" above town...the one with a gillion spandexed riders on it. 

Bartlett Wash is a kinder-gentler version of The Slickrock Trail. We've ridden The Slickrock Trail many times over the past thirty some years, the last time being in 2008. But the most memorable was in 1982, when Bobbie went flying OTB (Over The Bars), didn't let go of them, and landed smack on her chinny chin chin. It was a bloody mess. Once I untangled her from her machine, she sat in a dazed state and spat little pieces of chipped teeth. As luck would have it we couldn't have been further from the trailhead. I flushed out the gapping hole with water (I could see her chin bone) and told her she was going to need "a stitch or two." Well, I didn't want to frighten her; I knew it was going to take a seamstress to close that gap. 

It was a Duct Tape moment...it's all we had and it worked. She rode her bike out of there and then I drove her to the ER of Moab's tiny hospital. She's a tough one.




Five or so miles from our boondock, on a road that can't make up its mind whether it wants to be Mancos Shale or Red Sand, we entered the pretties of Bartlett Wash. Gnarly old cottonwoods showed off their few hodgepodge jumbles of yellow leaves, and there was only a smattering of bikers camping under them. 

It seems like ATV's outnumber mountain bikes anymore. It is a sad, sad day and age when perfectly young and healthy kids must be carried every freaking place they want to go by a motor...such that one fine day Evolution will determine that Legs are no longer necessary. So they will begin to shrivel and waste away...replaced by motorized vehicles of one sort or another. 



Now for the "ice cream," miles and miles of mounds and slickrock pavement to play on...zig zagging, freewheeling, standing on the peddles.  With no mirrors to tell us otherwise, it felt like we were twelve years old again.  















Life, my dear friends, is short—time is all we have—so why not go out and make it "good!"

Peace out from "The Land of Oz."
mark and bobbie

27 comments:

  1. I gotta get a mountain bike again.

    Jim

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    1. I hope you really mean it. Mountain biking can be safe, comfortable fun if it's done right.

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    2. funny you should bring that up, Jim...
      The RV park in Virgin is surrounded by thousands of acres of BLM lands...rolling hills with everything from dirt roads to miles and miles of single track. And then there is the bike ride up and over Hurricane Mesa...hundred mile views into the heart of Zion and a lifetime favorite of mine that I was hoping to share with you and Gale. Neither of these examples are in the National Park...they are right out the front door of the RV park and are every bit as enjoyable as anything the Park has to offer. Just FYI...no pressure...just in case you don't feel like you are getting as much use out of what you have now...and in case you ever want to ride some slick rock :)
      Box Canyon Mark

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  2. Holy smokes that Bonnie is one tough lady. I'd be wimpering like a little dog if that happened to me. It's great to see you on the road again. Your excitement carries through in your writing. You are definitely in your element!
    Nina

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    1. It's Bobbie, but yeah...point taken.
      I would like to stay in my "element," is that too much to ask :))
      Thanks, Nina, enjoy your desert solitude and wind-down...
      mark

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  3. Replies
    1. You have no idea what your missing...or maybe you do. Either way, don't wait too long :))
      mark

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  4. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, awesome, excellent, wow, bow-wow. (Oops couldn't help the last one.) Such eye-popping photos!

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    1. Wow! That's a lot of "Wows."
      But wait, there's more...Stay tuned :)
      mark

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  5. Mark,
    Even with my legs in the shape they are, you make me want to come ride with y'all... Ms Bobbie is a tough one for a 'looker', Duct-Tape is good for EVERYTHING... I cut my thumb TO THE BONE oncst, used DT and it almost didn't scar... GO RED GREEN !!!! Bet he did more for DT than M&M ads !!!!
    Hope everything goes well , Bobbie doesn't need more DT and y'all have a HAPPY DAY !!!!!

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    1. Good! Riding will will knock the rust out of those legs :) If only I were as tough as Bobbie, I could rule the world!
      mark

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  6. Looks like some awesome riding! I rode the main Slickrock trail once and told Hans it was harder than giving birth! Current plan is to hit that area in the early spring...I'll be watching your posts for ideas!

    Metamorphosis Lisa

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    1. Yes, there are challenges for even the best riders on SickRock Trail. The main danger in taking on steep, steep slick rock is when it overcomes your strength, and you can't in your lowest gear make that crank go another half turn, and you come to a dead stop while in your peddles...is that you only have a tenth of a second to get out of those peddles and get your feet down, cause if you don't the second tenth of a second you are accelerating E=MC squared BACKWARDS in a free fall that doesn't have a happy ending. The secret is to "Know Thy Limitations!" and get off the pedals just before your are spent...and live to climb the next (or part of the next) day.
      mark

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  7. So jealous!! I really love slickrock. What beautiful country:)

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    1. It is so different...we love that it is so close to Lovely Ouray!!!
      mark

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  8. Awesome, is all I can say. Well, envious comes to mind, also..

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    1. I understand Envy. I dated her, made love to her, and put up with her jealous ways for most of my life.
      mark

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  9. hhhhmmmm...riding a bike with no PATH in front of you??? That blows the left side of my brain! LOL! Would love to try it one day. Love the photo of the "crowd" on top of that rock....four bikers and a lot of "stoned onlookers." ;-)

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    1. Sickrock will "stone" you for sure. Start with Bartlett Wash before trying The Slickrock Trail, tho.
      mark

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  10. I've loved the Moab area ever since being lured there by Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire many years ago. Great photos! Enjoy the ride(s)! - Joe

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    1. Oh the irony of Ed Abbey's Desert Solitaire "luring" you to a place he thought was being trampled to death. He must be rolling in his grave...that He, by writing the Keep Out book, became part of the problem...
      mark

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  11. Replies
    1. Just a slice...but the rest is just down the road :)
      mark

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  12. Oh, Bartlett Wash boondocking! I camped somewhere near there in 201 in a tent. So loved biking that slickrock and no, I never had the cajones to do the Slickrock Trail. Loved seeing the wash again, and hope to someday try out that boondock site.

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    1. Cool, so you know the place! It is a ruggedly handsome area, that's for sure.
      mark

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  13. We never rode bikes on the slick rock.....but we sure walked many a mile on it! And did some Jeeping too! Looking forward to all,your posts! We sure miss it!

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    1. It will be here when you return...I hope you have a roll bar in that Jeep!
      mark

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