So, I travel over half the year for my employer. I sometimes find myself waking up in a hotel room, after hitting the snooze button for the third time, and wondering where in the 50 states am I in now? Wait, am I even in the USA? Why yes, I know this because my electrical outlet looks familiar to me! Yay!
In 2016 I found myself away from home with an extended weekend over the 4th of July. Uggghhhh! I’m away from home to work, I don’t want to be away from home with nothing on my hands for 3-4 days! So, I searched FB for events happening over the weekend. Fireworks, family picnics, band shows, blah, blah, blah. Everything sounded crowded and over the top to me. I have this thing about being in crowds due to my travel as a single brown female, I’m constantly scanning my six, and that’s tiring. Then I find a women’s MTB group ride happening on the 4th! Oooooohhhhh, that’s more my style and I signed up. All giddy and shit because now I have something to look forward to, until I realize it’s a four hour drive away. Well, fuck tomatoes! What do I do now? ROADTRIP!!!!! 😉
(Stretch regularly. You don’t want to wait until you get to the gas station and fall out of your car because you no longer have feeling in your legs. I know at least one dude out there was thinking, “I wonder how far I can get with this drunk chick?” – Somewhere, Utah)
I planned my excursion by checking my route via https://roadtrippers.com/ and selected points of interest on my way down. My plan was to check out Paul Bunyan’s woodpile. Despite being known for his exploits as a lumberjack, the so-called Paul Bunyan’s Woodpile is a unique rock formation in the middle of the Utah desert. Then it was on to The Trembling Giant, or Pando, which is an enormous grove of quaking aspens that take the “forest as a single organism” metaphor and literalizes it: the grove really is a single organism. Well, I never found Mr. Bunyan’s woodpile as it was pouring rain when I got there. Plus, there was a suspect hobbit with wild sheep roaming around looking at me wondering why I was encroaching upon his Shire. So, on to Pando!!! Yeahhhhhhh, I should have researched when the best time of year would have been to visit because the trees were naked. Couldn’t even tuck a Benjamin in there and have it blend, they were so cheeky naked! What the hell…let’s hike! I had been in the car for about 3 hours, Mr. Bunyan didn’t stand and deliver, Pando was mooning me with naked trees, and I needed to stretch my legs.
Here’s the fun part: Attempt #1, I make it probably 100 feet from the car and it starts to rain, hard. I run for cover under a picnic shelter to wait out the rain. Attempt #2, I trek back out and ended up going back to the car after 15 minutes because now it’s hailing. Attempt #3, I’m actually driving out of Fishlake National Forest when the rain and hail stop. Snap of the fingers, we look good to launch! I get out of the car, put my pack on and, there’s the lightning! Okay, fine, I’ll just continue on down to St. George! I’m getting the message now, thank you!
(See, naked trees! Pando – Fishlake National Forest)
(I should have just taken heed after hiking didn’t work out the first time. – Fishlake National Forest)
The remainder of the ride was uneventful. The scenery was littered with grand ol’ Americana proclaiming its pride in the glorious canyons and wide open sky. I didn’t even mind when the occasional RV would ride the left lane at 5 miles below the speed limit. Hell, I was in God’s country and nothing could spoil it! However, I then became hungry and really wanted something to eat before I would ascend to being “hangry” and the last 10-15 miles, I drove like Andretti.
(A shot of Kolob Canyons on the way down.)
Mañana, I was promptly at the advertised meet time, I was at Red Rock Bicycle Co. of St. George, Utah. They specialize in bikes, outdoor recreation, and having a good time! Danielle gathered the MTB women together while the roadie women took off down the pavement, chasing the sun. Let me tell you, this was some of the best riding I had ever done! I tend to go even slower in new areas because I’m unsure of the twists and turns and what lurks beyond the berms. This was some wide open nirvana!!!! I could see for miles and didn’t hesitate to lay down some speed, hoping that my cheap brakes would work once I did need them. I flew so fast, I think the sweat evaporated off me leaving a twinkling of … okay, okay, I wasn’t going that fast, but you get the gist!
After two hours of fantastic flowy goodness, dynamic drops, and sinister slickrock riding we returned to the car. With a grit stained smile plastered to my face, we headed back to the shop where we did partake of the drink and the bagels. Camaraderie abounded and eventually, my adventure came to a close and I readied myself for the four hour trek back to Tooele, Utah. I bid my new friends adieu and promised I would return when I could. I haven’t returned yet, but I stalk them on FB regularly. 🙂
(Summer is on the left and she works at Red Rock Bicycle Co. If you could ever meet such a beautiful soul, Summer is your gal. She was such a good sport as Danielle and I brought to her attention how the design on her name tag resembled a phallic symbol.)
(Danielle!!! Group leader world-class! This is one bad ass woman, right here!)
So, what’s the point to this blog submission? That even the most uneventful road trips, or the damndest weather situations, can lead you to the most eventful experiences. I wasn’t running from “The Hitcher” or trying to sort out my personal demons, although I’m sure that would have made for a more interesting story.
The message is to make the most out of your situations, good, bad, or boring. You never know what the end results would be without putting one foot in front of the other. If this had to be spelled out for you, then could you be denying yourself by sitting still?
Until next time…