Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Travel Tuesday: 2016 road trip Days 1-4

Instead of inundating one post with a million photos, I'm going to do a series of Travel Tuesday posts to share photos from my recent vacation. If you follow me on instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you've seen many of these already!

Dave and I took a 16 day road trip adventure into the western deserts to climb and bike ride throughout the first half of April. It was an incredible (and affordable!) trip and such a great escape from life. We had two primary destinations along the way: Red Rock Canyon, Nevada to climb and Moab, Utah to bike.

I know many wouldn't take a "vacation" that included so much exercise, but I don't really know how to live my life any other way! I looked at it as a fun quasi-bootcamp for my rider fitness. Over the course of the trip, Dave and I biked and hiked well over 100 miles. (And drove 5200 miles.)

We left WV Thursday evening and made it through the night to western TN before taking a break to sleep awhile. Once we'd reached AR, we paused for a bit near Conway to hit up some singletrack I'd found through the MTBProject app (what a useful, accurate resource!) before continuing on to OKC for the night.

We had a great night in OKC with a friend I hadn't seen since I was 13, and then we headed out for Albuquerque the following day where we found more singletrack to enjoy. We crashed in Albuquerque that night and struck out for Arizona the following day.

We'd originally planned to reach primary destination number 1 (Red Rocks) the following day, but following with the theme of finding a place to bike to break up the drive, we decided to stop in Flagstaff. Ultimately, our 15+ mile ride that day led to us not wanting to drive more, so we found a sweet camping spot and crashed in AZ for the night.

Interspersing the drive with biking daily was AMAZING. Neither Dave or I enjoy being immobile and confined to a car for long. Getting out to exercise and spin our legs was a great way to battle against the tedium that is driving cross country.

Departure photo
He didn't even make it out of the state before he dug into the Chex Mix my mom made us
Dinner in Knoxville
Downtown Knoxville
AMAZING trail system outside of Conway, AR. VERY well constructed and SO MUCH FUN!
Damn good dinner from Packards in OKC
Not sober. Not warm.
Downtown OKC from the rooftop bar (so cold)
Rooftop bar.
James' dog Fozzie. OH MY GOD HE IS THE CUTEST.
OKC bombing memorial - just wow. A chair for every victim.
Reflecting pool where the building once stood. Chairs on right. Survivor tree to left.
Gorgeous trails below the Sandia peak on the edge of Albuquerque. A TON of fun once I got over my fear of falling onto a cactus.
Fisher Point loop trail near Flagstaff. Thanks to the trail running ladies for taking this for us.
The field we took the previous photo in viewable below. We rode to the top of the rock formation!
Mmmhmm. Gimme this any day.
Peaceful (and free) camping spot. We managed to only pay for camping 3 nights of the whole trip.


  1. Wow, it looks like you had a lot of fun!

  2. how clever to mix in biking with road tripping! i would have never thought of that but can definitely see how it would improve the entire experience! wonderful pics too - looking forward to seeing the rest!

  3. Sounds like it was a great time :) BTW....what bike specs would you recommend to a beginner who wants to get into mountain/trail biking?? I had a decent bike (Cannondale frame) but it was stolen during college, never replaced it but I loveddd biking everywhere.

    1. Beginner...front suspension and disc brakes are a must. A 27.5" wheel would be great and is becoming more popular. 26" will work, too, but stay away from 29" as that's a lot of bike for a beginner to handle. (I'll never make the jump to 29ers just because I'm not a big person and it's a lot easier for me to maneuver a 27.5. My old bike was a 26 and it was nice, but a bigger wheel rolls over rocks easier!) If you really get into it you can upgrade to full suspension later. Frame/make of bike doesn't really matter as there are a lot of great options and as a entry-level biker you'll find success with any of them. I ride a Liv Lust2 now. Liv is a company that makes women's specific bikes and they've recently paired with Giant. My local bikeshop is a Giant dealer which is why I've ended up with the bike I have. The shop up in Davis (where I spend my weekends) carries Cannondale; your shop loyalty will determine your bike company a lot of the time as they'll have what you need for your bike when you need it! Getting

    2. Thanks for the info, I'll definitely keep it in mind (: After doing some reading/research, I stopped by my local shop yesterday, talked to a bike fitter and tried out a bike. I'm torn between getting true mountain bike or getting hybrid road/gravel trail bike (which is what I test rode and really liked). Most of the places I hike/plan to ride are the latter...

    3. Get the bike suited for what you'll do more of! Money better spent that way. =) You can always upgrade and trade it in later if you change up your preferences. :-D

  4. Wow, congrats on a great ride (fall aside) and a great-looking horse after -- can't wait to watch you guys tackle the 100! And what a cool sponsor, too. :)

  5. Off to a great start! Looking forward to the rest!

  6. That sounds like so much fun! I hate driving long distances too, so that's a really cool idea to break it up with biking. :D I wish we could have met up. I was so upset I had to work, especially since I ultimately quit that job days later lol. Dang timing!

    Thanks for the info on bikes in the above comment. I'm planning to save up for a new one. I've always had cheap bikes, because it was just a hobby and I was broke, but I got to ride on a friend's really expensive mountain bike that had bigger wheels and the difference was incredible! It made me realize that my current bike is taking the fun out of it for me. So I really appreciate the info. I can't wait to go bike shopping and really get back into biking. :)

    I'm glad you had fun on the trip and I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures!