Escaping life

Last year's post Frog Hollow vacation was mostly off the grid, dirtbag style camping. It was nice and relaxing - a chance to just settle in to a routine without distractions of the world. We did plenty of off the grid this year, but all spent more time in cities and around people. In some ways, the mix was even better - we were better prepared to head off the grid but were able to make all kinds of connections. And the time alone was that much sweeter.


Sunset at the McPhee Reservoir outside Dolores - got to see a part of Colorado I'd never been to before
Thanks to the challenging weather at the race, people were in a hurry to get home, get clean and warm. With no one left at Frog Town and a brief dry window, Nick and I also packed up our gear and headed to St George. Our first thought was a nice campground with laundry and showers, but that proved to be elusive. We ended up in Snow Canyon for the night - one of the quietest nights I've had. Best shower I'd had since the 29th of October (and it was only the 2nd of November.) After riding and some more searching, we settled on a cheap motel that offered kitchenettes and laundry. Ended up staying three nights - the place was centrally located and we had power, cooking abilities, laundry and showers. We had clean clothes and a cooler full of prepared meals when we finally left town. With the in town came cell service - good and bad. Good because I was able to get a start on the race report and such. Bad because it meant I was able to peruse Facebook and such. Part of the goal of the trip was to loosen the wires and cords I've become attached to. However, it also allowed us to meet up with Jonathan Davis and ride with him twice.


Took more selfies then ever on this trip - kissed by the sun in this shot
Gooseberry was the first off the grid nights for us. A quiet campsite and no power quickly led to an interesting schedule. I would get up as the sky lightened - just before sunrise. It was chilly but it was my time. No distractions. I took advantage of the dawn stillness to stretch and do yoga. Peaceful - moving through the flows on a large, with the sun rising to the east and the moon setting in the west. No sounds but the birds chirping. After it warmed up a bit, Nick would also get up. We'd eat and then get organized to ride. Mornings were riding time. It was a little chillier then, but the trails were quiet. Nick stretched after the ride and I got a snack ready. We'd chill out - read, enjoy the sunshine and generally decompress. Dinner was served as the sun was setting, which treated us to a spectacular moonrise on the first night. And then as darkness surrounded the camp it was bed time. Yes - we were climbing into bed around 7:00 most nights, asleep by 8:00. Not something we would ever do at home, with the lights and the distractions of TV, music and cell phones. And it was awesome, getting that much sleep. I think it was one of the reasons that I was able to keep riding more last year, on harder trails and for longer rides.


We thought about camping at the reservoir, but the wind was too bracing. Found shelter in the trees at Boggy
The next time we were in town and had service, I was able to get a hold of Jeff Hemperly and we joined him for a spin around Phil's World in Cortez. He was recovering from the Moab Trail Marathon and I was starting to reach my limit of consecutive days of riding. I needed a day off the bike soon - but I didn't want to miss Phil's World. So it was a slowish recovery ride for Jeff, a super easy ride for Nick and fun for me. I was slow, I was tired but Phil's World is just too much fun. I did behave and take the next day off the bike, just running a little while Nick was riding. On Jeff's advice, we were in the Boggy Flats trail system. Not as off the grid as other nights, but close. We did a little exploring - heading to the end of the road and getting caught up in a Dolores traffic jam. Missed the new riding, but the running was much easier then Phil's World would have been.

An interesting traffic jam to get caught in... All in a days work
And then Moab. We woke up with ice on the inside of the windshield and discussed getting a hotel while in Moab. There's plenty of camping options, but it's still November and it was getting cold. We had big days planned and not sleeping because we were freezing would prepare us for the big days. So hotel it was, which actually worked out great. We got clothes washed and were able to cook delicious, healthy meals in a warm kitchen instead of shivering over a little camp stove. When we woke up Friday to snow on the rim and cliffs around Moab, we were even happier we'd spent the money for the hotel. We did decide to skip that day's ride because of the weather and started heading for home.


Nick coming down Rib Cage in Phil's World with me in the distance
Truly lucky with this trip - the perfect blend of racing, trail riding and fun. We got plenty of exploring done around St George. I finally got to ride Porcupine Rim. We were gone for 17 nights and only spent 6 of them in hotels. We had big plans for riding and only had one day weathered out - and only because we decided it was time to head home. Not everyone is able to live this kind of lifestyle - traveling around with no plans except for riding and the two weeks was a treat. I was concerned about two weeks on the road prior to leaving, especially when one week toasted me last year. But it was good - we balanced riding, rest, relaxation and running enough to get almost everything done.


The gummi worms I carried with me on all the rides were a hot commodity at times...

Jeff - very happy to play tour guide at Phil's world and regale us with tales of his marathon (sounded like a fun time...)


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