Bear's 2007 Winter Fling


The Plan
The Reality
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These pages are actually being posted a year beyond date of trip. However I am putting it up because I get asked about this trip a lot, and the original blog postings are hard to dig up out of the misty bit-buckets of the Bikemojo and MTBR discussion forums.


Through the winter and spring and into the summer of 2007 I basically continually had mountain-bike based adventures planned, and fall from the wayside as various things prevented them from coming through. Lack of funds here. Project priorities at work here. Travel partners backing out there. This all led to a less than Fully Happy Bear, which as anyone can tell you leads to a Bear With Claws.

To top this off, basically on November 1st of 2007 the group I was working in was fired - shut down, disbanded, laid-off, whatever you call it, my job was no longer necessary for the company along with a few others. I try not to take this personally, it was only the second time I have fallen under the axe of a layoff. They did offer me to keep my job, if I wanted to move to Fairfax VA - and they would have helped me move. Not a bad offer, but being as Maria wasn't finished with school yet it was not yet time to leave Austin. So plan B. Take Severence (which was pretty much more than fair) and move along. I spent most of November nailing down a new job, which as it turned out would start on January 1st 2008. Since my severence would run through into January a very strange opportunity arose.

The solo road trip. Just me, two bikes, a cute little camping trailer, and the process of exploring myself, the southwest US, and the making of new friends.

This set of web pages describes the trip. I have transcoded the text from my original "blog" entries on the MTB discussion forum - specifically the Passion forum - without any significant changes (or corrections for that matter). I'm sure that the first couple days elicited mostly just the "eh, look, another dweeb with a computer and digital camera" reaction, yet somehow about the end of the first week it had become clear to me that some people were actually following it. Some actually got upset (jokingly) with me when I didn't post up quickly enough in the evenings, I was shining some happy mountain-biking sunshine into their often wintry work-a-day lives.

The TRULY AWESOME part of this whole trip can be summarized easily: I made new friends. I would not call them close friends yet, but certainly friends. People whom I will always beg floor space to crash upon if I am going to be in the area and which likewise they will always find my door open to them if they come near where I live. Bikes not required. I had people open their homes and share time with me, and that is what made the trip truly great.

The Plan

The plan, such as I had it, was to leave home on December 1st and drive to Camp Eagle (near Rocksprings TX), and participate in the TMBRA Marathon Mountain Bike Race on the 2nd, then on the 3rd launch north and westerly towards New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. We (the southwest US) had been having a surprisingly warm and dry fall and early winter, so the hope was that the weather patterns would remain tolerably close to that behavior.

And yep, you guessed it that quickly, just like any Battle Plan this one really did not survive much longer than the first day intact.

The Reality

Like I inferred, some things did not go to plan.

There were also some truly awesome things that went on.

11/31 - to Camp Eagle, TX   12/10 - Blue Diamond, NV
12/1 - Holidaze Marathon Race   12/11 - Bootleg Canyon (XC), NV
12/2 - to Durango!   12/12 - Bootleg Canyon (redux), NV
12/3 - onward Fruita!   12/13 - to Phoenix, thanks Adam and Jenny!
12/4 - Kokopelli Loops, Fruita   12/14 - South Mountain to Excess?
12/5 - Bookcliffs, Fruita, snowy passes   12/15 - Sedona, and icy slickrock - eek!
12/6 - If snowed, go skiing!   12/16 - Two and a Half Bypass, Phoenix
12/7 - Got snow? Ski more!   12/17 - ahh, La Milagrosa, Tuscon
12/8 - to St. George (thru a blizzard)   12/18 - to San Angelo
12/9 - Prospector Trail (wet), onto Vegas   12/19 - Ride then Return Home!


I did learn some things about myself on the trip.

I learned that I tend to a more rigid structure in some aspects of my life, and which I should go more freely.

Just because I plan to be able to bike or do activity X on a given day does not mean that it will happen, and I should be happy to have any choices at all.

I should be happy to appreciate quiet time with nature, it happens not frequently enough.

I learned that I let small bumps in the road of life upset me too much, and that I should be more flexible and easygoing.

I learned that I do not need for the ambient temperature to be between 40 and 110 degress farenheit to be happy outdoor exercising.

I learned that I should not let rain falling on my face cause rain to fall in my soul.

I was reminded how much more I enjoy road tripping with Maria. She brings so much more to my life than most people can fathom. Travelling and exploring the world with her is a true treasure.

I was reminded that above all, the richness of life comes from experience, not things.

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