“I learn by going where I have to go.” —Theodore Roethke
This is the first update about a small group of dirt bike riders who came together in April of 2023, for a week of riding in and around Moab, Utah; on trails with names like Fins and Things; Chicken Wings, Five Miles of Hell, Onion Creek and Tower Arches to name just a few.
If you don’t know Moab just imagine Disneyland; now add a collection of trails, some grizzled looking “special” characters in various colorful riding attire suitable to their sport; then mix it all up and toss in the 4×4 jeeps, side by sides, mountain bikes motorcycles; now take out the Sleeping Beauty castle and there you have it. Welcome to Moab!
Just so we’re clear from the very start; my primary focus will be riding and surviving anything from severe ground undulations, sand hill traps, steep up and downhill slopes, extreme drop offs and late night partying vs bringing you a well thought out daily ride story.
I’ll be riding my new 2023 Husky 350FE motorcycle. On the next story I plan on introducing you to my septuagenarian friend Tyedye Keith, who sports a dirt bike riding body that looks like it’s designed to last 100 years or more. And then there’s Bruce, a man of talents with no boundaries, Super Dave, Mike the Hulk and a few others. This story is about dirt bike motorcycles, Moab, human interactions and tribulations and so are the daily dispatches for the next seven days.
Near the area of Moab, the Colorado and Green Rivers exposes no less than 300 million years of geology. It is just so marvelously fascinating country that OHVers from the entire country choose to come here. Thankfully not at the same time. Hotel rooms with one and two stars ratings easily top $250 a night. And just so we’re also clear an off-highway vehicle (OHV) is one capable of off-highway travel including all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s), four-wheelers, three- wheelers, dirt bikes, motorcycles, trail bikes, and even snowmobiles.
Thousands of years earlier the valleys, mountains, and deserts all around Utah were once home to native peoples like the Shoshone, the Goshutes, the Paiutes, Utes, the White Mesa, Southern Utes, and Navajos.
The first Europeans that saw this area were the Spanish Conquistadors and you know how that ended with the Mayan culture. But in this part of the world it wasn’t the conquistadors that wreaked havoc on the populations it was only two Spanish padres looking for a few good souls to convert and use their labor for the good of the church.
History moves really really fast in human terms. Imagine- only twenty years after the defeat of the Aztecs and nearly 50 years after Columbus landed on the new world the Spanish explorers made it all the way here. Plus they also discovered the mouth of the Colorado River but, it took a one armed Civil War Major John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) to run the entire river being the first one to ever do so by going down the Colorado River in 1869.
Ninety nine days later, he emerged successfully from the Grand Canyon. The three men that quit earlier and refused to go on never made it out alive.
My friend Tyedye was so moved by the picture below that all he could do was reply with a definition of awe!
In general, awe is directed at objects like the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Canyon or the Moab back country that we will be riding.
There are three reasons for me to go ride now. The first is because I have a new bike and my riding skills need to exercised.
The second one is because I haven’t been scared shitless on a trail in a long long time.
And the third? We shall see, it’s only day one. Tomorrow we ride!
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