Being stuck 21 days in Moab without bikes was a mixed experience. Moab is definitely a cool little place. An amazing amount of events, rallys, festivals etc take place there. And since it’s dirt ride mecca a lot of adventure riders pass through. Angie & Paul were still in town, so we got the chance to hang out with them again.
We met Gert and Annette from Denmark, Mathieu & Nick on their DR650’s, Steve, Alec & Eric who were doing the White Rim on a DR650, a BMW GS and an Aprilia Caponord. We met Richard Duvall on his BMW, Denis & his father Richard on their DR650’s doing the TAT. We met Jon Beck on his KTM. He just finished doing footage for a new Klim promotion video.
The RawHyde Motorcycle Adventure rally in Moab took place while we were there, so we got the chance to meet a lot of the people there and the vendors presenting their adventure riding products. We met Mark from Klim and his wife Rose. They were so sweet and invited us to come and stay with them in Arizona. We met Justin from Touratech, Eric from Wolfman, Craig from CJ Designs with his amazing AWD KTM 950 , Lee Chamberlein and his friends and a whole lot more. There were more than 100 participants most of them on large BMW adventurers and they were taking their Beemers through some tough terrain.
I got the chance to hook up with the brand new Moab roller derby team. They were just getting organized and worked hard to find training facilities and to recruit skaters.
We did almost every restaurant in Moab, went to every single store in town, we did day tours in the rental car. We send a lot of stuff to Denmark, washed the bikes, ordered spare parts, bags and a new seat for the Bunny bike, repaired bags and clothes, made business cards, updated the website and visited Moab Powersports basically every day. We also spend an entire day making laminated copies of our private documents and our license plates. Lars was eating a sick amount of painkillers to get through the day, so it wasn’t like I could take Lars on a rafting tour or take him mountain biking. So some days we just stayed in the motel and watched crap TV and were crazy bored.
A few good places to hit, when you visit Moab:
- The Moab diner – just awesome, awesome, awesome and cheaper than most of the other breakfast restaurants!
- Moab Brewery – if you like good beer and lots of it. It’s Utah’s only micro brewery. The service and food is good. There’s a waiting line everyday at dinner time, but you can have a beer in the bar while you wait.
- Subaku Sushi – up there with the best of sushi restaurants. Happy hour between 5.30 PM and 6.30 PM. Don’t miss out on their amazing Ceviche salad. It’s to die for. And the service is amazing.
- Eclecticafe. Hippie style with a beautiful flower garden and sweet staff.
- Red Rock Bakery and Cafe. For Internet and a bagel and a damn good cup of coffee. Sweet staff and good music.
- Miguel’s Baja grill for very good Mexican food. A bit pricey though.
- Zax for an awesome burger and good service.
- Paradox pizza. Simply awesome and very sweet staff. They take out if your too beat up after a day on the White Rim.
Forget the Jailhouse cafe, the Pancake Haus and the Fiesta Mexicana restaurant. At McDonald’s you get decent WiFi but cold food.
We made a day trips to Canyonlands Nat. Park, the Valley of God and Monument Valley.
The road to the Valley of Gods is beautiful.
The people at Moab Powersports (MP) were great. We were off course super frustrated that getting the parts was taking so long, but it seemed to us, that they were doing everything they could to get the stuff as quick as possible. The first week, we couldn’t really do anything until the insurance adjuster came. He was there Friday afternoon and I have to admit that when he finally arrived, he was just a very fair and efficient guy. So finally MP could start ordering the parts. In retrospect we would have asked them to order the parts immediately. It’s not like we wouldn’t have paid for the parts ourselves, if the insurance had given us a hard time.
The real problem was that we never knew that it would take 3 weeks. Had we known, we could have done longer trips, but we kept believing that we were almost there.
Bikes hanging out at Moab Powersports
Doricca the owner is a sweet lady who has a sincere interest in making her customers happy. The service Manager TJ and the mechanic Justin were all really cool and let us work on our bikes in the shop. Something they normally don’t do. We went there almost every day for 3 weeks and they always seemed happy to see us. We would hang around and play with Justins dog Jake and talk to all the other customers.
We thought we were finally able to leave Moab on Friday Oct 7th and were mentally already on the road – but not!!! The last part for Lars’ bike – the front fender, was still in the USP truck and wasn’t gonna be there before the following Monday!!! So 3 more days in Moab! It was almost more than I could bare and the mood was record low.
But as always, when a negative thing happens, it opens the doors to something else. Tom and Cynthia from the ADV forum wrote to us that they were arriving in Moab Friday afternoon. Cynthia is from Florida and brought a DRZ400, Tom is from San Francisco and brought a DR650. They had planned to spend a week riding in Moab.
They invited us to go ride with them Saturday. I had just gotten my bike back from the repair shop and gladly accepted that offer. Lars chose to stay in Moab and rest his sore ribs.
Cynthia and Tom turned out to be awesome company and just the injection of energy and mojo that I needed at this point. We did the Schaffer trail, the Pucker Pass and the Gemini Bridges trail. All very different rides with everything from easy gravel roads, sand, rocks, hairpins and a few spots where we all were lucky to stay on the bikes. And we had a blast.
Tom & Cynthia.
Three Suzi’s ready to eat some red dirt!
Cynthia is very experienced on dirt as well as on the road. Tom is also a skilled biker, but he hadn’t done any dirt since he was a kid – and he had only 16 miles on his Suzuki! I was amazed how cool he was about the riding – Cynthia even took him on the Write Rim trail a few days later. That’s an intensive dirt riding course if there ever was any. But Cynthia is a “No Bullshit” kind of lady and didn’t show any mercy to the poor fellow. I would have been terrified! So Tom gotta be ADV dirt rookie #1!
Cynthia by the Colorado river on the Schaffer trail
Cynthia & Tom heading for the long canyon road and Pucker Pass.
Tom coming down the hard section of the Pucker Pass.
Cynthia coming through the famous hole on the Pucker Pass. She looks so cool on her DRZ
The Gemini Bridges had some pretty technical riding as well. No doubt we were pushing Tom at this point.
Amazing view from Gemini Bridges over red rocks and La Sal mountains snowy tops.
San Fransisco, Florida and Alaska – what a cool trio!
Tom works as an airplane mechanic and I asked him to help me adjust my handlebars which were still crocked and fix my new Rotopax petrol can mount that came off on our ride. He helped me fix both – he even went and bought screws and bolts and refused to let me pay for it! – AND he gave me his shop manual!!! He also helped Lars mount his fender, and they helped us take back the rental car and made sure we got back on the road again.
So even if we loved hanging out with Cynthia and Tom we had to get on the road again when finally that last part for the KLR arrived Monday. We were kind of sad to leave, especially since I connected so well with my new sistah, but the 21 days in Moab had cut deep into our travel time and we really needed to get going.
We headed south towards Monument Valley and Navajo Nation in Arizona.
Mexican Hat, Utah
Beautiful Monument Valley.
Monument Valley is of course beautiful but I was sad to see that once again the Native Americans have been left with useless piece of land.
How they ever survived on that land before tourism brought a little money their way, I simply do not get. It is such a sad landscape to ride though. It’s dry and nothing of real value can grow there. The houses are in bad shape, the cars are old, the horses and stray dogs are thin and miserable, and the people are overweight from their fast food diet. It’s seems obvious that if you are born as Native American in an Indian Reservation in modern America, your destiny will be very different than if you are born Caucasian in a middle class society.
Tepee camping in the Mountains in Flagstaff.
Drying your laundry in a tepee is easy!
Lars and I had not handled the whole crash and waiting time in Moab very well. We were getting on each other’s nerves and we were stuck in a pretty bad circle. I’m sure we were equally responsible for the situation, but the result was that we were picking on each other and focusing solely on negative stuff.
Of course there was a lot of old stuff in this conflict as well and when we arrived in Flagstaff it eventually came to the point, where we just couldn’t continue. We had a big argument, split up and went our separate ways. It was horrible and I think we were both pretty chocked.
We had planned to visit Mark from Klim and his wife Rose in Mayer, North of Phoenix so when Lars turned up there alone, we had them involved in the whole situation, which was kind of embarrassing. They are super sweet and were very good about the whole thing though. With three adult kids, I think they are used to a bit of drama.
If anyone thinks that a journey like this, will save their relationship, they might think again. Your differences will stand out even more and being together 24/7 can be a little much!
Lars was in Mayer being miserable and I was in a hostel in Flagstaff equally miserable. After being on our own for 1 ½ day, we met up again in Mark and Rose’s house in Mayer and talked it all through. We decided to cross the border into Mexico together and see if we could make it work. We also decided to stock up on tools, so we were able to go our separate ways later, or even just split up for shorter periods. We do have a tendency to take each other for granted so maybe it’s not all that stupid to go in separate directions for a week and meet up again later
I found myself being terrified of continuing the journey alone. I would definitely not camp in the woods if I was alone, and I wouldn’t do the same remote dirt roads and mountain passes if I didn’t have someone to ride with. Well, maybe I would, but I certainly would have to work on my inner fears. This was all a bit hard on me self-perception. I like to believe that I am 100% independent and able to go anywhere I want. I suddenly I found that, that whole concept wasn’t very attractive.
Hanging out with Rose in front of their amazing house in Mayer.
Rose runs an online adventure gear company www.gearmojo.com. We heard about her famous water bottles and got 2. She promised us that they will keep the water cold for 24 hours and will not condensate like most other bottles do. And she was right. The opening of the bottles is large enough to put ice in easily. They keep the water cold forever and you don’t get your stuff wet from the condensation. The price is reasonable considered the quality. $24 for app. 1 liter and $34 for 1,8 liter. We simply love them. Rose also gave us each a set of socks. They will keep our feet dry and they won’t smell she promised. We will take them to the extreme test! Finally she gave us vacuum packed snacks for the trip. Cinnamon buns and sandwiches. They will for sure come in handy in a tight spot.
We really appreciate the Kincart’s hospitality.
From Mayer, we went through Phoenix to Tucson and picked up a spare tire and tools. Then we headed for Bisbee, close to a small border crossing Douglas. Everybody we have meet, have advised us to go for a smaller border crossing, and I had worked well for us so far.
Riding through the Sonoran dessert in the Arizona landscape was amazing. It’s so dry and we don’t se water anywhere. The vegetation is mainly Creosote bush and thousands of enormous Suguaro cactus, with their crocked arms. Dry rocky mountains with no vegetation, long straight dusty roads and barbed wire. There are no rivers or creeks here, it’s called washes. The water comes quickly washes through these riverbeds and disappears quickly again.
Enormous Saguaro Cactus. This one is probably 200 years old and weighs a few ton.
We arrived in Bisbee Friday evening after dark without any reservations and couldn’t find a campground.
Downtown Bisbee was packed with people and the “No vacancy” signs were lit everywhere. We stopped in front of a cafe to make a U-turn, when a nice lady comes over and suggest at good place to park . I say “oh, we are not parking, we are turning around. But do you know where we can camp in Bisbee?” She debated with her husband and they quickly agreed that we would have to camp in their garden. They were carrying a bottle of wine and were obviously going to a party, but decided not to go and be our saviors for the night – and we never even took of our helmets! When we arrived at their house, they insisted we use their guest room and not the back yard.
Dawn and Kurt, was a lovely and very interesting couple, who used to ride bikes themselves. They had sold the bikes while they were refurbishing their lovely home where they live with Bella the dog and Hugo the cat.
After unpacking Dawn & Kurt took us back to old Bisbee and showed us the town. It’s a beautiful old mining town from 1880 in the mountains. The streets are steep and windy and there’s a very cool ambiance in the town. Kind of hippie goes mature in a cool way. They took us to the COPO cafe where we had vegan food and listened to a very good local musician.
They took us to a fancy art gallery and introduced us to the owner, a very classy lady. They also took us to the famous ghost Copper Queen Hotel for beers. The next morning they made an awesome breakfast and made sure, we had a map and everything else we needed for Mexico. They called around and got some tips from friends who frequent Mexico.
Kurt & Dawn i front of their lovely house in Bisbee.
We were amazed that they took us in like that and spend so much time with 2 complete strangers. I’m sure they have adventure blood running in their veins.
Later that same day I said “no” when a beggar at the border asked me for a few bucks for a meal! I wish I had been more like Dawn & Kurt and had helped him out.
So we say a final goodbye to the United States of America and hello Latin America with the usual liquorice pipe ritual. (Do you sense the heat!?)