*Mal and I are BOTH going to be writing on this blog, so we’ll just annotate whoever is writing.
[Charlie writing] Pop. Pop…pop pop pop pop. “Is it raining?” asks Mal as we’re doing 85 mph west down I-70 on our way towards Moab. We’re driving alongside the gorgeous Colorado River and something is hitting our windshield at the rate you’d associate with rain, but it’s not rain, it’s bugs. Our view of the deep pink, orange, and yellow sunset, not to mention the road is entirely obstructed by some sort of insect genocide. The windshield washer fluid does little to remove the guts, so I press on until we stop for gas again in Grand Junction. It’s Easter weekend 2019 and Malorie, and I are on our way to Moab to meet a friend that I went to high school with. We’ve had our eyes on the western slope all winter waiting for some good weather and this holiday weekend was looking perfect. Are Easter miracles a thing? The plan is to meet up with my buddy Dustin and his friends Keith and Bri in the desert just north of Arches National Park, have a couple drinks, catch up, and then ride some classic Moab chunk the following day.
Dustin and I haven’t seen each other since we graduated in high school in 2008 and a lot has changed since then. We’re both from a small town (technically a village) in upstate New York. We graduated with, like, 80 people. I weighed around 300 pounds when we graduated, and I took up the all too common video game obsession thing after we finished high school. Dustin went on to do some crazy degree at SUNY Plattsburgh called “expeditionary studies” while I studied zebra cakes and whoppers. I eventually lost 120 pounds and found out what the sun looks like, and I never turned back. The outdoors has been my religion ever since. Dustin continued to do stuff outdoors and grow absurd amounts of body hair. So here we are, 11 years later and we both have a love for mountain biking, and we’re in the same area. So there’s a little back story.
Anywho. So we pushed west down I-70 towards Moab. We watched the sunset behind Grand Mesa in Grand Junction, and Malorie squealed with delight as the full moon rose and illuminated the dusk sky. We listened to my odd assortment of old and new tunes, and when that got old, we listened to the hum of the rooftop tent on top of her Tacoma. I have one note associated with this drive and if you’re reading this, please do me and the entire world a favor and heed my words: THE. LEFT. LANE. IS. FOR. PASSING. NOT. FOR. YOUR. LEISURELY. SHITTY. SLOW. ASS. DRIVING. I judge people and their lives based solely on their usage of the left lane. Please use it the correct way.
[It’s Mal] We drove through the bug massacre and tried to get to Moab before sunset. We failed. Setting up camp in the moonlight was absolutely beautiful. If you know me, I have a slight obsession with the moon. I think I should have been an astronaut, not a surgical tech. Anyways, after catching up with Dustin and having a few drinks, we crawled in our tent and slept the night away. Waking up surrounded by massive rock slabs slapped our ego’s in the face. We made coffee, ate delicious breakfast burritos, and headed out to the Klondike Bluffs. Dustin asked, “Mal, how comfortable are you with riding blacks?” hmmmm…well Dustin I’m pretty freakin comfortable, BUT I can’t do anything stupid due to my lack of insurance. So we headed out on Dino-Flow and connected up with the Little Salty. Climbing rock slabs is totally different than climbing the kitty litter we have in the front range. It’s so nice to actually have traction on your climb! After making it to the top of the bluffs, we descended down Baby Steps to Alaska. There was a lot of flow and chunk making this trail one of a kind. My Yeti SB4.5 is a godsend for those kinds of trails and makes me look like a pro. We got to the bottom of the trail, and a father and son were trying to jump-start their 4-runner. Having the most anal dad, I have a battery powered jump starter, along with a million other “zombie apocalypse ” devices stored in various compartments. We gave them the juice to start their 4-Runner and headed out for lunch.
If you’re ever in the Grand Junction area, you have to check out Rockslide Brewery on the corner of Main St. Great food and free WIFI! After lunch, we wanted to get one more ride in before sunset, so we pushed for 18 road in Fruita. We didn’t have a ton of energy, so we rode a little trail called Pumps, Bumps, and Rollers. Holy shit that was fun! Super fast and flowy with rollable jumps and tight corners. We set up camp about 10 miles from the major trailheads and watched the epic full moon rise. We geeked out over the moon and ate about 20 chocolate chip cookies before turning in.
The next morning we woke up, closed the tent, and headed out to ride Zippity Do Da. We climbed up West Zippity to Frontside (note: if you ride this trail just know the cows have made their mark on it). After a brutal climb/hike-a-bike we were at the descent. Now, this trail is known for its exposure and steep, fast descents, so I was mentally prepared. That is until we got to the first super steep section. Charlie flew down like it was an ant hill, and I stood at the top whining like a little baby. It took me about 15 minutes of talking myself into it before I actually descended the damn thing. After riding that roller coaster, we climbed up to descend Joe’s Ridge into Mo’Jo. We stopped at the top of the climb and let the two little boys (probably age 7) drop in first. These kids made me feel like a little bitch because they were just babies riding clip-less pedals, and I’m 30 struggling on flats. We descended the ridge into Mo’Jo’s, which was one of the flowiest, fun trails I have ever ridden, and made our way back to the truck.
If you have ever met Charlie or me, you would know we take food very seriously. We love trying new restaurants and honestly, just food in general. There is this little breakfast spot in Grand Junction that we discovered last year on our way back from one of our Utah trips, called Dream Cafe. And shit the bed, Dream Cafe is the bomb diggity in my opinion, and we had to eat there before heading home. We bowed up on eggs benedicts, breakfast tacos, and pancakes before making the push back to Woodland Park. Just typing that is literally (Chris Trager voice) is making my mouth water. We made it home and reveled in our successful mountain biking trip. I am one lucky woman to have found someone that enjoys all the same aspects of life as I do. And a man who can tolerate my road rage and stinky armpits.