St. George was a beautiful area and we really enjoyed our time there. However, each day all four of us had our eye on the forecast for Moab. And as soon as the nights were not too cold and the day’s high temps were consistently in the 70s we all knew it was time to head to Moab. Team H had to say goodbye as they were due back home. Team D decided to slow their return home so that we could spend a week in Moab together. We took the lead for the 5 hour drive. Once we arrived in Moab we went straight for our favorite BLM free camping area. We were able to get a perfect spot well off the dirt road and with our own desert backyard. Team D pulled in right beside us and we had our own little courtyard between to include a nice fire pit. Alexander and Isaiah quickly began exploring there new backyard. They had rocks to climb and build with, cactus to avoid, and forts to build. Not long after our arrival they came running up to me telling we they found a grave of a General. While I was skeptical at first, I began to get a little excited as they led me well away from the camping area and out into the open desert. Unfortunately, what they found was a survey marker that had the word “general” on it. We all got a good laugh at that. We spent the week introducing Team D to all of our favorite trails in the area. Isaiah got better with every ride and soon was leading the pack thru the technical trails of Moab. Craig and I were able to go on a couple of rides together so that we could stretch our legs and push ourselves. Craig also joined Victoria and I as we attempted to beat her Slick Rock trail time of 2hr and 52 minutes. Victoria pulled Craig and I along the entire 9.5 miles of black diamond expert level trail in 2hr and 19 minutes. My parents arrived just as Team D was packing up to leave. Alexander and Isaiah spent their last few hours together playing in their fort and having a good time.
Grandma and Grandpa were happy to be back to the RVing life as they had been stuck back in the Seattle area selling their boat. Now that that is behind them they are free to rejoin us on our travels. The kids were very excited to see Grandma and Grandpa again. They told them stories of rock climbing and riding and running with their new friends. Grandpa began joining us on our mountain biking rides. We went on hikes with Grandma. Now that we did not have any friends with us we were able to get back into more of a routine as far as school and playing. We would get up and start school by 8 am and be done by 1pm we would then go for a ride or hike. In the evenings we would go for another shorter ride and or a trail run. We also joined a gym in the city of Moab so we had access to showers, a workout facility and a pool. This came in very handy and we most definitely got our money’s worth.
One of our favorite friends came to visit from Seattle. Yvonne Kraus is a longtime friend of my and is an amazing mountain biker and athlete. We had been planning to meet her in Moab for almost 3 months. Her vacation time and our arrival in Moab worked out perfect so she drove down from Seattle. It was great to see her and her little dog Ranger. Yes we had two dogs at our camp named Ranger. Big Ranger (our Ranger) and little Ranger got along just fine and it actually was not as confusing as it could have been. Yvonne rode with us everyday giving us all pointers on how to improve our riding. She also twisted my arm into going on more challenging rides such as the Porcupine Rim trail, the whole 18 mile loop at Navajo Rocks and the death defying, double black diamond ride of Captain Ahab. Victoria wanted to show Yvonne the Slick Rock trail so the three of us set out to ride it again. This time with Yvonne’s help, Victoria took another 3 minutes off her personal record. It was really great having Yvonne with us to both motivate and push us to go farther and faster. Well except one time. The four of us and Yvonne were on the Navajo Rocks trail. It is a very technical trail and by time you are near the end of the 9 mile ride you are ready for it to be done because you are just completely exhausted. Victoria and Yvonne were out in front just out of sight of me and Alexander. In the last 1/8 of a mile the trail climbs up a small hill and then quickly drops down to the other side. At the bottom of the hill is a large rock that can be jumped off. Alexander has jumped off of it before and this time Yvonne and Victoria were going to give it a try. Yvonne went first and rolled over it. Victoria was feeling a little cocky and decided to launch off it. That did not end well. By time Alexander, Ashley and I came to the top of the hill and lined up to go off the jump we found Victoria and her bike laying on the ground just below the jump. We rushed up to her and found a bloody wreck. She toughed it out and we stopped all of the bleeding. Soon we were all laughing again as we rode back to the trailhead. All four of us had a fantastic time with Yvonne. She really brings out Victoria’s competitive spirit, Alexander loves showing off for her and relishes the additional attention she gives him. I love that she challenges me to ride and run harder and faster. And Ashley enjoys having another adult female around. We were very lucky to spend time with Yvonne and look forward to her joining us again, probably on Samadhi in the BVIs.
Our new favorite ride in Moab is a 10 mile technical but flowy loop called Rodeo. The four of us set out one morning looking to improve upon our 90 minute time. We started with Victoria on point with Alexander right on her heals. All four of us were feeling it and riding quickly but smoothly. At this rate we were going to shatter that PR. About 10 minutes into the ride Alexander took a pretty tough fall and needed a few minutes to recover. We didn’t think anything of it we were still on a great pace. Not long after that we were slowly making our way up a technical hill alongside a small canyon with Victoria on point again. The trails comes very close to the canyon’s edge but is not that technical so normally is not a problem or had not been the previous 5 times we had ridden this trail. Not this time. For whatever reason Victoria was climbing very slowly and her front tire hit a rock and stopped her bike. She put ourt her right leg (the side with the canyon) to catch her fall but instead of the ground being at the level of the bike, it was about 18 inches lower that where she expected the ground to be. So by the time her foot hit the ground her body was already cart wheeling toward and over the edge of the canyon. I was about 15 meters behind her as I watched by 10 year old daughter go head first over a cliff. I could not see the bottom from my perspective and for a moment my heart stopped. I rode past Alexander to access the situation only to find Victoria about 10 feet below me sprawled across a large boulder. Ashley immediately began searching for a way down (not the route Victoria took) to get to Victoria. I called out to Victoria and she immediately responded that she was OK. I could not believe it. She regained her composure quickly (much quicker that Ashley or myself) and was soon laughing at the fact that she cart wheeled off of a cliff.