So I went and did this big trip, and what do I have to show for it? An empty bank account, and an overflowing pocket full of memories.
It’s hard to imagine that I have now been home for just shy of a month, and am still totally not settled. Moab was by far the highlight of my time down south, which made the transition coming home all that much more difficult, (or maybe it’s the fact that our ‘April Showers” have really overdone their welcome).
Moab seemed to not only be a mecca for mountain biking, but also for really amazing people. Beyond shredding, I got to meet fellow enthusiasts from various walks of life, all of whom were in the mindset of ‘living a life on purpose’. What an inspiration it was to share stories, goals, projects and past experiences them.
After dropping my dad off at the airport in Grand junction, I snuck back to Moab, I myself, not ready to leave. It was in those last few solo days that the Moab magic really happened. Among session’ing a trail that I had been anxious to work on (Rockstacker), and nailing 85% of the double black features, to sharing campfire stories, and lifetalks over lady shreds, it really was the icing on the cake. I had never felt so happy and so in my element.
My final week in Moab was also shared with Jeep Safari Week…an interesting event to witness from a mountain bike. On one of the biggest Safari’s, the lead spotter so subtly informed us that we had a $5 million train of jeeps coming at us. The drivers were, to my surprise, quite happy to share the trail and let us pass through, after all we were ripping faster than them.
I also had the privilege to run into fellow vanlifer / mountain biker Tim Lutz (@vanlifetravelogue). What an incredible story he shared as we shredded on bikes, of how he has moved his entire life to revolve around vanlife, and more adventure into his everyday life. Be sure to give him a follow!
Now that I had a bit more flexibility on my hands, some more national park exploring was needed. Arches National Park unfortunately had overnight construction, which meant that you could only get in for sunrise hikes on the weekend. I managed to crawl myself out of bed, and put foot to trail at 615 am. Ugh it was an early, and cold, one, but it meant I had the entire Delicate Arch to myself aside a couple others, instead of the usual herds of people. I rewarded my early morning, with climbing into (ssshhhh**) the Double O Arch with my coffee and journal, and sat soaking up the sun on the warm desert red rock.
After 3.5 months I still think that I could never tire of these view. My evening routine consisted of climbing up onto the roof of the van, watching the sunset behind the rim on the west side, and then turning 180, now bundled up in my Rumpl, and watch the full moon rise in the east. What a real treat. There was no way to get more peaceful than that among the silence that filled the high desert at night.
After spending a total of three weeks in Moab, home began calling my name (not that I really wanted to start heading home). But I timed the trip back so that I could land in Indianapolis for the Live Adventurously premier, created by DNK Presents. I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Danielle and Kate (the owners) back at the Trek Women ride at the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival, as well as the four amazing women featured in the film. They have started something truly incredible by giving an opportunity to women to live their life more adventurously through outdoor adventure. My short time in Indy was concluded with a fun and zippy ride on some of the local trails.
Side note: avoid Kansas at all possible. I had sore arms from scrubbing the bugs off the front of the van.
I opted to make the final haul home that afternoon. Canada was, of course, super friendly upon my return. Which included the Border Patrol Officer giving me the most outrageously goofy look when I said I had no alcohol to declare, and my reasoning was “Im on a budget”. Apparently you have some massive quota that you’re allowed to import when you’ve been gone 97 days.
The time I gave to myself to go and enjoy what I love doing the most, was priceless. I truly feel like a new person, having had the chance to just be in the moment, soaking up the high desert sun, while shredding some slickrock. The friends I made along the way also made the trip so worth it in itself. Although, I am quick to admit that the transition back to the ‘real world’ is not as simple or quick as I had hoped, but, life is too short to not take the damn trip.
For more inside #VanLife details, follow miniiadventures.com
And always remember, home is where you park it!