Tuesday, September 28, 2021

White Rim Tour - Day 2

 Last night as we turned in, it was a beautiful evening. Cool enough that we needed a sweatshirt and the sky was filled with a full moon. At midnight I was woken up to the sound of the gusting billowing wind blowing my tent first in one direction then seconds later blowing it down in a different direction. The tent poles creaked and bent and the tent fabric made snapping sounds in the wind. Fortunately the tent was undamaged. As the wind below across the desert floor, it picked up the fine dusty sand and deposited it inside my tent.

When I woke in the morning, every thing in the tent, including my face and sleeping bag was covered with a layer of the red dusty sand. Sometime during the night, I had put on a COVID mask so that I wasn't breathing in the dust and put on my sunglasses so the dust would keep out of my eyes. I've done a lot of camping and never had experienced this kind of wind before.

The wind had brought cooler weather with clearing skies. After a nurshing hot breakfast and good strong coffee, the bags were packed, the tents came down and stowed and the F350 reloaded with all the equipment. This was followed by a another daily ride briefing by Dave and Birdie pointing out the highlights of today's ride on the map. Compared to yesterday, this ride was going to be longer at 20 miles but we were starting a bit earlier and the day was fairly long, so off we went.

If you decide to take this trip in the future, I would advise that you stop at the Visitor's Center in Moab and pick up a copy of the "A Naturalist's Guide to the White Rim Trail", by David B. Williams and Damian Fagan. It pertains directly to this tour pointing out landmarks, geology and animals.

On a ride like this, you begin to grasp the age of our little planet as you descend the geological layers of the canyons. From the start of the ride, we dropped 1000 feet or so and today we will be continutinging on the White Trail layer with our lunch stop at about 15 miles to view into Monument Basin and and the Colorado River cutting through it. Like looking back in time and imagining the geological processes and the types of life that may have existed. Just so different than our daily experiences at home.

The photo below was taken during the lunch stop with Keith pondering, Life, the Universe and Everything.

The camp for today is called "White Crack" and is located a bit more that 1 mile off the loop. Once we got camp set up, Birdie and Dave took the group on a short hike. One of the fascinating things that that they pointed out was some small depressions in the rock surface, maybe 12-15 feet in diameter that were filled with water. Looking more closely you could spot small shrimp like creatures and other animals swimming in the water. As explained to us, these tiny lifeforms complete their entire life cycles in just a couple of weeks hatching, maturing, mating and dying when the little ponds dry out. The offspring however can survive the following dry conditions and when the rain fills the tiny ponds again, they hatch and the cycle continues. It's interesting in the ways that life finds a way to continue.

Today's Photos


Sunday, September 19, 2021

White Rim Tour, Day 1

 The day started at the headquarters of Rim Tours where the loading process began. Moving stuff from our cars to the tour truck, a huge Ford F350, custom fitted with every thing that we would need for the trip. Our bags with clothes and camping equipment all stacked, packed and tied down in a specific sequence . You could could quickly tell that these folks knew what they were doing. The bikes went on to the top of the passenger van.

With everything in order, introductions were made, quick briefing was held and we were on our way to the start of the trail. Our guides for the tour were Birdie and Dave. Folks that we would get to know better on the ride and would rely on for the entire route. The ride to the start of the trail in the Canyon National Park would be about an hour.

Arriving at the start, the bikes and riding equipment was unloaded and with a couple quick peeks over the edge of the rim provided us with a sobering view of what we'll be doing for the next 4 days. Starting at the rim, we would be dropping about 1000 feet to the desert floor below on via 12% grade switchbacks winding down the sheer wall. Miss a turn, and you won't have to worry about setting up camp tonight.

Dave and Birdie led a map briefing of today's ride with the destination being the "Airport" campsite.

Lunch was the a the landmark called Musselman Arch, at the 7 mile mark. The rest of the day was fairly flat but with soft sand on the trail and using a mountain bike that I was not familiar with, it was slow going.

The campground was called "Airport". So named because during the 50's this area was mined for uranium and this stretch was flat enough to allow cargo planes to land and take off. If you look at the photos, the last couple of photos are of a rock formation that was dubbed the tower as it overlooked the landing strip.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Trip Introduction

Trip Introduction

The trip will be a 4 day ride in Canyonlands National Park. More specifically in the Island In the Sky District that is boarded by the Green River and the Colorado River, refer to this map.

We'll be entering near the point on the upper right had corner on the Shafer Trail and follow it clockwise with overnight stops at "Airport", "White Crack" and "Potato Bottom".

The follow is the map of the upcoming ride. Description of the rides will follow in further updates


The Trip Begins...

Arrived in Moab UT yesterday after driving from LA, about 750 miles. Left LA on Thursday (Sept 16th) in the afternoon and stopped overnight in Las Veges. Next morning continued the trip arriving in Moab at 4PM Friday to meet up with the rest of the riders for dinner.

After a sound sleep we met up for breakfast Saturday and a visit to the local information center to make plans for the day, It was decided to head up the road to visit Arches National Park. A place well named for the over one thousand stone arches located though out the park with sizes ranging from 3 feet to 306 feet from base to base.

We spent the better part of the day viewing the arches and the weathered teetering rock formations to the point that adjectives to describe the sights were insufficient. We only left when our water ran out and the sun was too much, but it's a sight that I would like to come back to and view again in cooler conditions.

Tomorrow we head of on our 4 day mountain bike adventure. The following is the ride description from the ride brochure: 

White Rim Trail, located in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, is truly a special place. Deposited 280 million years ago, the namesake White Rim sandstone lies 1,200 feet below the towering cliffs of the island-like plateau above. The trail contours along this hard layer of sedimentary rock with views of the magnificent canyons 1,000 feet below carved out by the Colorado River to the east and the Green River to the west. The views from this rim will surely broaden your perspective of the surrounding canyon country.

Sounds exciting hun?

 Link to today's Photos

Happy Riding,


Monday, September 13, 2021

The Summer of Travel Continues

 Last year (2020) was the first summer of the pandemic. Travel plans were shelved and everything was locked up tight as a drum. I had been planning a bike ride of Brittany in France. It was postponed to this summer. With the spring pandemic outbreak, the ride was postponed for another year. Maybe 2022 will be a better year for international travel?

I was determined not to let this summer be like last year. I started to make some plans that included calling biking friends that I've ridden with on past trips. I was invited to join several of them on this trip. I've heard how breathtaking the view of the Utah desert can be, so I jumped at the chance.

This is my summer to make up for lost time. Started off with an bike trip along the Erie Canal, followed by a SCUBA trip to Bonaire and now a mountain bike trip in Utah.

The tour is starts in Moab UT. The tour outfitter is Rim Tours and I'm starting to get petty excited of the views that I expect to see on this trip. Looking at the weather forecast for the trip, there seems to be a break the summer heat on the horizon, so I'm keeping my eyes on the forecasts and preparing for both hot and typically chilly evening temperatures.

Rim Tours has also provided a FAQ document that make interesting reading for anyone considering this ride.