Dateline: Gallup, NM
To confess is better than to be found out. I paid $15 for a shuttle ride to upper TH of Porcupine Rim Trail, eliminating maybe 2 hours & 3000′ road ride. During the ride I learned there are 4 shuttle services in Moab for just mountain bikers. I struck up conversation w/ this petite young woman before getting into the van. She rides a composite hard tail as is hers. She and her boyfriend are from Montreal. She sat next to me in the van and we continued chatting. her boyfriend rode up what we drove up.
It is true that Porcupine Rim Trail is longer and sad to say better to take the shuttle to top. The services just received permission from USFS to go all the way to 11,000′. Moab is 4,xxx’, imagine almosy 7,xxx downhill.
As it was we were dropped off @ upper TH for a 3300′ drop with 600′ of climb. $ grudgingly parted w/ but well enjoyed. Fresh snow dusted the ground from last night’s storm. The first part was new to me. It is above the old entry point where there was an uphill jeep trail to get to rim proper. However there is The Notch that is a treacherous drop a bike cliff face to get down. The trail stays right along the rim’ edge like the Wilson Lake trail, albeit much greater consequence of a blunder. Then the old rim trail is joined. I rode it way better than my previous ride back in maybe ’04. I have more confidence in my ability from all the technical riding I have done and the fantastic suspension tuning from PUSH, and, oh, The bike itself, my Turner Spot.
The lower single track section dfropping off the rim to the river below has had some helpful rework but it is mostly the hung on the edge of canyon rims and difficult. Quite a few places still require walking.
Finally down onto pavement and ride back into town, past the closed spring and the reforestation of the valley bottom. Tamarask(?) grows like Scotchbroom on flood plains chocking out native cottonwoods that are being restored. The spring closure is contentious. I scanned a front page newspaper article that the city government is considering how to legally reopen it to satisfy public request.
Stopped @ Visitor bureau for a list of places offering showers. Picked the KOA S of town. Nice shower facilities for $5.00.
Back into town @ Gearhead parking lot for groceries across street, filtered h2o, & laundromat. I spied a hair salon with a sign soliciting walkins. I saw a woman washing the front window so I had an inkling that there were no customers. I needed a grooming. I had $10 cash. I walked in and exchanged greetings and told the owner (only person present) that I had &10 to pay for a trim and she accepted my offer. I look better kempt.
New laundromat w/ nicer facilities.
A truck w/ 2 road bikes pulled into a parking lot and guy Troy, spoke to me. He said he saw me @ Fruita out on road 18. He told me that he and his friend Rachael were camped out near Sovereign TH and invited me to join them. They are in their maybe mid 20′s. Just a few exchanges into conversation I asked them uncharacteristically how they were playing the big Goof. Pretty personal. They wondered the same of me. Rachael was a ski instructor @ Aspen and saved her tips. I do not recall what Troy did but he placed 20th in the Telemark Worlds. Rachael is also a sponsored downhill bike racer.
I drove out there. Great place to camp up against rocky ridge just before crossing sand wash to TH that i didn’t want to drive across. Later they arrived as did 3 other single guys. I met Eugene who works for McKenzie in Oakridge, OR, home of the Powderpuff and ALpine trail. I met McKenzie on 2 previous visits. Chris works for Cog Wild in Bend, OR where I have ridden several times. I met 2 contacts and shared some common history that felt good. Chris and Tory each have VW Vanagons. Something for young people to have old people’s rigs. And they were listening to Led Zepplin played loudly and commenting about the musicians way more than my knowledge when it was new back in late 60s. Young people.
Woke up to sunny AM. Fixed bfast & did some weak internet work and geared up to ride the Sovereign trail. Said goodbye to 3 guys and told them I will look them up. Chris kept telling me that the fall riding in Moab is special and that they ride usually way up high where upper Porc Rim trail starts. Hmmm, too many enjoyable fall places to ride.
Rode sand wash to TH. I am the first person on trail. Another technical ride that was rather flat but @ end of out & back ride I rode 15.88 miles and climbed 2020′ on combination of slickrock and sand. Better ride, made more moves. Felt flat, low heart rate but heavy breathing. Chatted with a woman riding the first Turner Spot DW link bike I have seen on the trail. She was happy and enjoying it, however she left a junk bike for the Turner so she had a different perspective on how good it is. Told her about PUSH. 4 guys showed up and 1 was riding an older Sultan. I caught up w/ him later and gave him a PUSH pitch. Further back to TH I walked a tech move and a rider resting on a trailside rock spoke to me. He told me he was beat from riding the 3rd day and was looking for improvements. I told him about PUSH and went on about how is riding would be so much better. At the end he said he felt like he had just been to a Scientology session. Oh well, the unPUSHed.
Plan is to drive down to Gallup, NM and ride NM and AZ. Headed out of town accordingly. Land became drier & drier w/ less & less plant life. drove over to 4 Corners monument that is on Navajo res. They waived the $3.00 admission as they were about to close. All I had time for were a few pictures & drove the van 2x around monument. No bike ride.
Route to Gallup, NM was thru Indian res and I did not want to dirtbag camp as i was uncertain what their response would have been. Plus it was pretty barren. i drove down 491 in dark. Van headlights are focused too close in on low beams so i potentially overdrive my lights which is dangerous and no fun. And I jumped onto old rt 66 again. I picked a side street and found a gravel parking lot outside Amerigas propane dealer for the night. I needed propane anyway and this worked.
Dead tired so I immediately went to bed. Temp dropped during night, cool for even all the blankets. Turned heater on when I got up. Ate bfast while waiting for propane people to arrive. Finally did and I asked if I could buy propane here. A driver said he could fill me from his truck when he started his rounds. Cool, remote delivery.
Here I am in New Mexico, my 43rd state. I am resting today. I tweaked my right knee like when i torn the meniscus and am concerned. Rest just means I won’t use it for a day.
I found a trail guide book for Gallup that I will purchase later today and plan my rides. The author claims a rider could ride here for 20 days and not ride anything a second time and why would you want to ride anywhere else. Claims, too many of them. Desert riding. I have been told that if it gets too warm just ride higher up in mountains. My altimeter reads 6230′ and the fridge is not consistently lighting because of elevation.
Mel, I have ridden 2880 miles on the Turner and driven around 25,000 miles.
Mark, I will post those siderock picts. Tell me about your full suspension bike purchase.
Off to other things.