Thursday, March 4, 2010

Will drive south for dirt: part 2

Day 5: More dirt


 See those smiles?  Those smiles are because of this:

Desert singletrack: smooth, then rocky, then gentle, then steep, but always a blast.  On night #4 of our trip, after the piezookie, we drove the 30 odd miles to Boulder City.  We stayed at the historic Boulder Inn, built when the dam was being constructed in the 1930s.  It has been nicely restored and we felt special staying where professional road cyclists stay during their spring training camps.  (Did George Hincapie ever lay his head on our pillows? I can only dream.)  The hotel had a great breakfast included in the price of the room and we recommend staying there if you are ever in Boulder City.

Boulder City was created to house and feed the constructors of the Hoover Dam (then called the Boulder Dam).  Today it seems its main function is as a tourist stop for visitors to the dam, but more recently the town has made great improvements to a canyon just on the edge of town called Bootleg Canyon.  There are miles of mountain-bike trails and tricks like bridges and teeter totters, and a zipline.

We visited the Hoover Dam a few years ago, but didn't have bikes.  This time, we came prepared to ride the Boulder Canyon trails.  We put in about two and a half hours on trails called: Middle Lake View, Upper Lake View, Girl Scout, Caldera, Boy Scout, Skyline, and East Leg. 

Here is a two minute video to give you a feel for the trails.

If you want to see where we rode, you can check out this GPS track in Google Maps.  I forgot to turn the GPS off so you get the track of us driving around town, looking for a pizza place to eat, too. 

My bike looks tiny in this picture.  It feels tiny because it is so light. 

Darn cool rocks too.  Most of the trails were over altered volcanic rocks that I intend to investigate more next time we return. 

After the ride and lunch we pointed the car in the direction of Flagstaff, Arizona.  To get there, you must cross the Hoover Dam.  A new gigantic bypass highway is being built so that traffic will not have to wind down the canyon to the top of the dam and cross on the dam.  This thing must have taken some engineering.



The pictures don't really give you a sense of the scale of the thing. It is grand. 
So then we were in
 yes, that's Arizona.
That night we stayed in Flagstaff.

Day 6: transit
We checked out Flagstaff briefly the next morning.  Nice looking town with a lot of snow since it is at such high elevation (~6900).


But then it was back on the road again via Route 66 before turning northeast to drive through the Navajo Indian Reservation and into Monument Valley.
Going this route from Vegas to Moab was not the most direct, but neither of us had been through Monument Valley, and I really, really wanted to go.  It was so worth the extra couple of hours.  There had been snow recently, which only added to the incredible beauty of the landscape. You can click on any of the pictures to get a larger view.

On the north end of Monument Valley you cross the San Juan River at Mexican Hat.  Just north of the "town" is this rock called Mexican Hat Rock and behind it is Raplee Ridge.  Good thing Drew was driving, because I was in awe. 

Raplee Ridge is in the Monument Upwarp in southeastern Utah. It is a long, narrow, folded anticline that formed about 70 million to 50 million years ago.  The folds are just so visible!

After the third or fourth photo stop. Drew convinced me we needed to make tracks to Bluff to try to tap into a wi-fi network in Bluff so Drew could try to trade some work days around.  We ate fry bread, of course!  When in Rome...
Eventually, through a desert covered in snow as deep as it has been seen since 1972, we made it to our condo in Moab.

The original plan was to spend a couple of days mountain biking in Moab, but because of the aforementioned record snow, there was no dirt to be found.

So instead I had plenty of time to sew new covers for our patio furniture.

And they look dang good if I do say so myself. 


So that was days 7 and 8. On day 9 we headed home and two hours later Drew left for work.  What a great American road trip!
Note: this post is being brought to you from our automobile on Interstate 15 by using my phone as a modem.  Now this is mobile blogging!

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