On Powder Days there are No Friends

Last night I stayed down at Willow Springs to avoid driving up the possibly snow covered switchbacks on rt 313 to Navajo Rocks ride. If snow did fall I would be down here and able to ride say Bar M trails. Weather forecast called for snow showers in afternoon. Good enough for me as I could get my ride in b4 the road would be an issue.  Snow was spitting here at camp spot. I drove away.

RT 313 was bare and wet. At the Ramblin TH there were maybe 6 rigs w/ riders getting ready to go. Snow was falling. A big group left going counter clockwise. A man and woman went clockwise crossing the road. I followed them as that was my route. Temp was 31 degrees, today is going to be cold and wet. I wore liners, tights, baggies, wool long underwear long sleeve and a short sleeve long underwear top and a heavy jersey. I added cold weather gloves and booties. Topped off w/ rain shell. Cold and wet and maybe slippery snow covered slick rock.

snow falling on red slick rock
snow falling on red slick rock

The paint marks are clearly visible. I climbed higher and the snow depth increased.

First tracks
First tracks

On Powder Days there are No Friends. Nobody else around.

I rode the entire 17 mile loop skipping several bailouts. I pedaled over snow. From here I was almost at the high point. I used caution as I did not have a feel for snow covered sandstone. The route crossed the highway, the trail names are Big Lonely and Big Mesa finishing on Ramblin. Big Lonely had the above snow cover. Snow covered the paint markers in places. 2 riders rode part of Big Mesa as I could see their sandy tracks on exposed slick rock.

Season time. My gift to myself is under the tree

Ah, you shouldn't have
Ah, you shouldn’t have

The group that went CCW didn’t make it very far. Ramblin was untouched. I lost the trail several times.

This move scared me


The view above was taken obviously in better conditions and looking CCW. Today I rode it towards the viewer. Not captured was the snow on the rock. The move was to coast down hill in the fall line to carry speed up the other side on off camber slope to the exit. I slip would mean a nasty slide down on the slick rock. The only alternative was to downhike the slickrock to the was below the hike a bike back up. I squared my line and let my speed carry me up. Gravity scrubbed my ascent just below the top. I gingerly steered and slight pedaled to safety. The off camber slope is under my bike. I never really checked the traction on top of snow.

My rear brake is back to its bad performance.

No fresh tracks. I made my way back to the TH. The first group of cars were gone, 2 new ones took their places.

I had turned the heat on before leaving. So nice to crawl into a warm space. Snow had ceased falling. 31 degrees at TH.

I drove back down into town for a shower and to watch the Seahawks. Cleaned I drove to Moab Brewery and caught the second half. Beers are 3.2 alcohol for $2.75. I let their kitchen prepare my dinner. Nail biter game for the Seahawks win.

After dark I drove back up out of town 11 miles to Willow Springs for the night. Same spot again. Pretty deserted.

SO far I am pleased w/ the 1X10 gearing. Hurricane Cliffs will be the test for a long steep sustained climb for granny gear. I still have the front derailleur stuff attached. Started looking for a 1X10 crank set.

Tomorrow I visit the PO to pick up my mail. If delivered I will head to Hurricane. If not, wait another day.


It’s 8:30PM, 31 degrees outside at 4531′ elevation, 69 degrees inside and it is snowing outside (of course). I’m parked at my same spot on the rocks.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. I drove into town in time to do my wash and go for a ride before my participation w/ Wabi Sabi. Laundromat open 24X7. Clean clothes. City Market was open for needed groceries. But the Zags were playing on ESPN and Moab Brewery is nearby and they prolly receive the game. The game started before they opened but I watched it on my phone. Doors unlocked I slid onto a bar stool and the guy made the required TV station change. One beer made it thru the rest of the game. They lost by 1 point. I said good bye.

I dawdled a bit then drove over to the Grant Center where the feed is to be spread. Wabi Sabi. I volunteered for the second shift to work a serving station. I ate first. Wonderful and plentiful food. Community effort for food and serving. Place was beyond packed with a spectrum of people. Very few appeared to be needy. An overflowing plate w/ turkey and the trimmings. My turn came to make a flying switch w/ the person that was serving squash, didn’t miss a customer. I spooned squash for the next hour until the pans went dry, even then I repeated the spooning action giving plates a splat of air. Many people went along with the emptiness. Young bearded man beside me served carrots. We started playing the audience and sort of keeping track of who refused either of our vegetables. Interesting guy on a road trip from PA. I asked him how he found out about the event. He said he googled  and found it. He wanted to join in to help. What appeared to be an official commented on my “Change Agent” badge on my jacket. I told her how I came to possess it. She said she has a friend who hands them out. Mine was given to me maybe by her friend years ago as we passed each other at the laundromat in town  I use. A job title I had when I was a P&A at Boeing was “Manufacturing change management specialist” or something like that. I was a change agent.

The burning fumes from the sterno cans made me nauseous and hot. I begged off from my station just before dark as I wanted to be at a camp spot before dark just after 5.

My plan was to drive up to Horsethief XG because I believed Willow Springs would be packed and I planned on riding either Mag 7 or Navajo Rocks. Horsethief had like 3 occupied sites. Cold night, 20 degrees. I selected a site that faced the east for sunrise warmth.

Clean sheets. Material is flannel. They used to be scratchy but over time and sleeping on them they are now very smooth and soft.

I decided to ride Mag 7. I parked at the intersection of Gemini bridges rd and hwy 313 which put me right at start of Get Away. 27 degrees, sunny, but blustery. Chilly layers: liner shorts, long insulated tights, heavy baggies, thick wool socks, mid weight wool long underwear top, long sleeve jersey, wind shell, helmet liner hat, and insulated gloves. Almost too cold to warm up as my ride went downhill. My eyes tear blurring my vision over a speed and or temperature threshold. Today both conditions played havoc w/ vision. I like to ride just before lunch to catch peak sun warmth to finish before chill sets in. I rode Get Away down to end of Bull Run then returned on entire Get Away. I added a new trail, Mustang, as an extra.

Arths pasture looking west back up canyon
Arths pasture looking west back up canyon

Cryptobiotic soil is actually living simple plants that hold the sand together.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI added Mustang which is a newly built trail. The trail steepness is mostly about 6 degrees, great layout.

Back at the van I basked in the sunshine in the lee of my van. 37 degrees but warmed by the sun.

My plan was to stay up here for the night to position me for a Navajo Rocks ride tomorrow. Except I watched snow clouds steadily approach. Forecast did call for snow. The hwy descends from the mesa via 2 nasty shaded switchbacks that would prolly be slippery. I did not want to learn if so. I drove down to Willow Springs and scored my rocky spot. Mag 7 is 1,000 above me.

I’ll see what the weather gives to decide what to do tomorrow.

9:14PM snowing no more, 33 degrees.

I converted

Yesterday was a rest day. Cold morning. Furnace ran all night. Skipped exercises for a rest day. Made French toast. Cleaned up and made for underway. Drove into town 11 miles away.

I stopped in parking lot of Chile Pepper bike  shop in case I needed help converting my drive train from a 2 by to a 1 by w/ a Oneup 42 tooth rear cog and a 30 Tooth for the chain ring. Pleasant working outside. I removed the baby chain ring 22T, the middle a 32T, and the bash guard and attempted to install the new chain ring and the bash guard. Wouldn’t fit as the bolts to chain ring were too short. A trip to a wrench inside steered me to not attaching the guard which I did and the bolt threads were long enough. Really…. no guard is required because the chain covers all the bashable damage teeth. The cluster was converted by adding the 42T sprocket behind the stock 36 and removing both the 15 and 17T sprockets and replacing them w/ just a 16T gear. Put it all back together and walked my bike back to the shop to adjust the rear derailleur. Shifting is spot on. I left the front derailleur and shifter on in case I do not like the new set up.

I buy my propane from a local feed store. I figure I burn about a gallon a day. My tank holds 5.8 gallons.

Drove back to Willow Springs by late afternoon to secure a camp spot as this place is crowded. I scored my spot

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAForecast for today still called for high winds, gusts to 40mph. Winds picked up just after sunrise. I wanted to ride to experience the new drive train. I watched winds blow snow off the La Salles: big plumes of snow carried into the air. Down here it was windy. I chose Bar M trails because of the lesser amount of loose dirt that the wind could blow into my lungs. At the trailhead I felt strong gusts. I checked the velocity w/ my wind gauge 23mph gust from the SW. The TH is about 2/3 of the way downwind from upwind trail end. I rode the tech stuff into the wind enjoying shelter occasionally.I rode the slick rock back with the wind at my back. Jogs in the painted route would swing back into the wind which is like pedaling uphill. I was glad I chose this way. I didn’t plan it, I just wanted to ride the tech stuff first off.


The new gears are great. I am spending more time further down the cog set because of the smaller chain ring. But when I climbed I had low gears. I hardly used the 42T low gear. I am sold on the change. I will remove the front shifting stuff.

30 X 42 Oneup
30 X 42 Oneup

I drove back into town for a shower then turned around and drove back to Willow Springs and scored my spot. Lots of traffic continued to drive back the road. Never seen so many campers back here.

Tomorrow is Wabasabi Thanksgiving feed. I’m volunteering for the second feeding. The volunteer coordinator called me yesterday to remind me of my commitment. She said they have 130 volunteers. A front page article in the local paper said they had 70 but needed 100. Great that people are stepping up for this community activity. I plan on doing my wash first. If I manage my time I could ride Pipe Dream and take a shower before eating.

I ordered shipment of my in box mail at Earthclass, the mail forwarding service I’m using, to be shipped to Moab. I’ll be here until it arrives. Next stop is Hurkin on the other side of the state. My route takes me thru AZ to get there, road conditions will determine departure date. Friend Les from Spokane is in ST George now. He stopped at OTE in Hurkin. He sent pics and words from Clayton that I had better show.

Zags beat the Huskies.