Playing dirtbag

Our first long trip with the van and it was a good time. We did a better job of packing our gear and clothes for this race so we had a little more room in the van than at the last 24 hour race. What made this trip nice was the ability to set up "base camps" for a few days at each location. We got to Hurricane on Thursday and set up our usual 24 hour race pit with the two tents, the bike stand and everything we would need to make the race smooth. That completely empties out the van, and we have a nice living room in the CostCo tent. But the set up and tear down of that pit area takes forever! Not something we wanted to do even every other night! So it was important to re-pack the van with all the little things easy to get when we tore down Sunday night. Our riding clothes, the food, the table and cooking supplies and the coolers. By the end of the trip, we'd have the camp set up and tear down dialed. I also got really good at cooking on our little campstove from when the turtle died. It was a little chilly making coffee in mornings, but made the hot coffee taste even better.
Sunset over Zion from Gooseberry Mesa
Monday we camped on Gooseberry Mesa. Not the best of sites - if the wind had picked up it would have been very cold. It was already a chilly night with the clear skies. But we had a nice, level spot for the van, a few trees and great trail access right from our "front door." We could also make a fire since there was an established ring. Monday was kinda dreary and overcast, but the clouds lifted as the sun was setting, leading to some beautiful skies. Zion was aglow with the setting sun behind us and the mountains to the north were draped with a blanket of clouds. Just as darkness filled the mesa, the thin sliver of the moon peeped into view above the western horizon, hiding in the deep purple clouds. We were treated to stars like we never see in Colorado Springs. A sky full of them - too many to count, with the slash of the Milky Way clearly visible above us.

Another great sunset shot from Gooseberry
Nick - the "Pit Boss" getting my Stumpy ready to ride. Working dropper post? Yes please!

Choosing a beverage after getting an awesome fire started
We headed to Moab after our ride on Tuesday and found a secluded spot near the northern end of Sovereign Trail. That was home for Tuesday and Wednesday. Again, we saw no one else around. Just the quiet of the desert. It was so peaceful. No technology beeping every five seconds - not even the temptation to check to see what was going on. Without service for most of the trip, it was a great break and a dose of reality into what's important. Something I need to balance better. The quiet was also a treat. No constant traffic noise, no people talking - just stillness. This time, the moon was larger, hanging high in the sky as the sun's warmth faded. Nick got another fire going and we just sat together, watching the embers and flames toying with the wood. 
Sunrise on camp just north of Moab

Getting ready to ride Sovereign trail
With the planned attempt at Porcupine Rim on Friday, we were going to relocate to a campground in Moab for Thursday night. A shower would be good after a few days and some fun rides without. Hot wash cloth and baby wipes can only do so much! But when we abandoned the Rim, we decided to head straight to Fruita. Highline Lake State Park had showers and the camping in the state parks is usually pretty cheap. Not that that really matters, but... It would also set us up for getting to the Mack Ridge trails easily. There were two other groups in the campground - and one was the host! So another quiet night seemed likely. We both took showers, I cooked dinner and we sat around the fire to eat. Nick stayed up like he always did to make sure the fire went out. I was in the van and heard him making a racket. Odd. A few minutes later, he opened the van door "We just got stormed by four raccoons! Those critters came running the minute the fire went out!" Seemed like they were ready for some tasty treats left out by lazy campers! Well, that does not describe Nick at all and they were out of luck.
The moon and Saturn above our campsite - a nice view that we never see in COS

In the end, I can see the appeal towards getting off the grid and just riding and being with someone important.  It's easy to allow all the distractions to work their way into life and to start believing that it's more important than it really is. Not having that for over a week was good for me. A chance to step back and enjoy what I have, not wondering about what everyone else has. 
Nick climbing up to look at the moon


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