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Some time in the desert: Solo Moab with my VW Camper; the definition of Quality Time

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

In the last few weeks there has been a lot of this (here oil and misc engine work):

 

moab 019.JPG

 

And some more of this (wheel cylinders):

 

Off season Spring 2010 021.JPG

 

And even some fuel work (the worst), fuel work- I HATE the smell of gas and the odoriferous residue to leave on your skin, so I'm not In a good mood here as the paparazzi snaps a photo:

 

Off season Spring 2010 022.JPG

 

Liberty has a special connection to the bus- she was born in it while we were living in it and driving the country in 2001.  Yes, this is Eden,  she often gets greasy and helps out- they all do at times, but high fashion was the order for the day:

 

moab 025.JPG

 

This then leads me here: JH Community Radio, KHOL- the coolest and relatively new user supported radio station here in JH.  They were having a ticket give away for a pair of tickets to the Desert Rocks Concert in Moab.  We called and entered but didn't win.  I was bummed.

 

Things in my life always just kinda work out... Soooo, the next morning the station manager called to say the original winner couldn't take the tickets and they were mine.  The bus was ready to go, lubed, fueled, new brakes, lots of fuel system work, lots of TLC.  Bam!  I got tickets and time!

 

Mrs. Skiing in Jackson, being the excellent and wonderful wife she is, urged me to go solo and not take one of the kids.  Solo time is pretty valuable for a guy like me, so while hesitant at first, I jumped at the opportunity.

 

Being alone in the most awesome vehicle to ever hit asphalt is a memorable experience.  This is a break in the driving for coffee and a break.  The bus will drive from JH to anywhere on the planet, but you had better be in the slow lane the whole time- it doesn't like to be driven hard.  Here, South of Rock Springs in the early AM:

 

moab 032.JPG

 

Wild horses in the road.  They are everywhere in the Southern part of the state.

 

moab 034.JPG

 

Now we're getting to the good stuff.

 

There is no quick way to Moab, especially when you're driving 52 MPH.  Lots of stops only make things better!  However, one of my favorite roads is this.  With pit stops and breaks it took me a few hours to drive this road.  It is one of the most desolate roads I've ever been on.  I was driving it for two hours before I saw another car.  A steep mountain pass has to be crossed and the road up and down is sh!tty.  I can't remember the road # but here it is.  Full awesomeness.

 

coolest road.jpg

 

There are lots of things to see and do, here, petroglyphs along the side of the road.  There are four or five major sites to see them along the road:

 

moab 037.JPG

 

Where is the Road Runner and Coyote when you need them?

 

moab 038.JPG

 

Here is the Bus in all it's glory, bringing the good times to me.  Here, I'm just over the pass on said lonely road:

 

moab 042.JPG

 

The view commanded a pit stop:

 

moab 041.JPG

 

The bus hates interstates.  At maximum warp speed, to power generator only will deliver new sights @ 62 MPH.  I had to drive on I-70 to for about two hours.  What a drag.   Trucks and cars were passing me at probably 90-100 MPH.  Two hours on the interstate- not one cop.  Traffic was FLYING- maybe the fastest traffic I've ever been in.  Numerous cars and semis passed me like I was standing still- at times easily twice my speed.  Interstates suck.  I hate 'em.

 

moab 043.JPG

 

Now we break out the good stuff:

 

Colorado River and the La Sal Mountains in the background.  Route 128 into Moab from the Northeast.

 

moab 044.JPG

 

Another Bus shot.  The Bus hates cold weather and while we have used it as a daily driver for several winters in the past, it really shines in the desert.  You can't really tell, but the whole front of the vehicle is a giant radiator.  It purrs like a kitten when the temps are above 90F.  It doesn't even run well until the temp is above 80F.  Hotter the better.  Once we drove it in a traffic jam in 110+F temps once and while other cars were dropping like flies, the Bus ran like a dream.

 

moab 045.JPG

 

Fischer Towers area.  Several climbs in the famous book by Steck and Roper, Fifty Classic Climbs in North America (published in the sixties) are in this area.  When Christy and I were dating, we took a trip to Moab and hiked all around this area.  Truly amazing beautiful.

 

moab 047.JPG

 

Here same shot with some technical data.  I think this application, Theodolite, was written by a fellow bear:

 

moab 048.JPG

 

Here is where I was able to camp for a few days when I got to the concert venue about 15 miles south of Moab.  I had to drive this awful road for about 4 miles to get here:

 

moab 050.JPG

 

The concert was a full time hippie freak show- and while I can fit pretty well into that environment, the solo quality time is what I was looking for.  Sure I had a great time, but the concerts weren't the main gig.  The bands get rolling around two in the afternoon and play until the sun comes up- really.  The stages were set on a rock stage just over the ridge.  The sound was great, so I didn't really have to go down there to hear the music.  I'd walk down and see who was playing then come up and leisure at the Bus.  It was great, people were just camped all over the floor of the desert- it was a fiesta of epic proportions.

 

I got in some great rides on the Redline.  This bike is badass.  It will go anywhere.  Yes my skiing friends, it is a single speed set up with 2.3 tires and a 32 x 22 drive train.  Man, it is fun to ride.  Climbs steeps like an escalator.

 

moab 053.JPG

 

I was taking a break and wanted to get a picture of the cliff below me and laid my bike down to show the scale.  There was a two or three hundred foot cliff below and when I put my bike down, the pedals rotated and by bike almost slipped over the side.  My heart stopped- it really did.

 

moab 056.JPG

 

It was nice to come back to this after riding:

 

moab 051.JPG

 

That's really it for the good pics, just more of the same.  Six days of FUN!

 

And my return shown here in time and place on top of Teton Pass:

 

top of pass.jpg

 

Yeah the shows were great, but for a guy like me to get to take a trip like this was amazing.  Sure I get to go to conferences and take business trips without the gang, but this was different.

 

I only broke down once.  That was in the rain on Malad Pass north of SLC.  I changed a fuel filter in the rain on the side of the road.  I was up and running in around 15 minutes.  Covered in gas (one of my favorite things /rolleyes), I went to the Flying J Truck Stop and took a trucker's shower.   Usually I have the solar shower ready to roll, but that morning was rainy and cold- and I was pretty grimy.  On the road, a trucker's shower at Flying J costs $10 and is worth every penny.

 

The rhythmic sound of a 1.9L wasserboxer does the soul good.  I highly recommend it.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 16

Stephen,

"Thank's for reading"??? No, thank's for sharing! I saw the bus covered with 2 feet of snow this winter, but, it's much better seeing the van in action. Way too cool. You need to talk to Philpug about becoming the next owner of his PBR's.

 

Warms my heart to read the continuing saga of team McDonald. Many chapters to come. See y'all in January.

 

Mike

post #3 of 16

Kudos to the best family ever. Stephan, you are the man. 

post #4 of 16

This is undoubtably one of the coolest TR's.......

I can imagine how cool it would be to take a road trip in a VW

 

Thanks for Sharin'

post #5 of 16

Loving the scenics.....it's always nice to be reminded why I live in the great American West!!

post #6 of 16

Sometimes I miss my bus.  Then I remember that I don't miss fixing it all the time.  I also drove on the coolest road ever on my way to Moab this spring to run Cataract Canyon.  I have been over that road many times.  The pass is Douglas Pass and it sucks in snow.  It can be very gnarly.  I did it one time on the way back from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in my friends converted 59 city bus.  We had to stop 3 times on the way over the pass to let it cool down.  I know there are a ton of pictographs on that road, but I have never stopped to check them out like you did.  Maybe next time.  Awesome trip Stephan!

 

I also like route 430 through Irish Canyon.  Heads south out of Rock Springs turns to dirt at the Colorado border and ends at the Gates of Lodore put in on the Green River.  That road over Douglas Pass dead ends at the put in for the Ruby Horsethief section of the Colorado river.

post #7 of 16

One lucky guy! 

post #8 of 16

Way cool TR SIJ;

 

What were the bands?

 

Oh, and that was Bonni that passed you on I-70 going 100.   She said your left blinker was on

post #9 of 16

What a great TR...thanks for sharing!

 

da Flav

post #10 of 16

I nominate Stephen for "Father of the year".

post #11 of 16

Stephan, artfully done my friend, Excellent job and I am always in awe at what an incredible planet we live on! You rock.  What a rich man you truly are.

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

You guys are way too kind.  I'm just out playin', doin' my thing.

 

Insofar as the bands, I didn't recognize but one of them and that was at least the lead singer of Ozomatli - they played at the Jackson Hole Resort Mountain Festival at the end of the 2008-2009 season.  They killed it then and the lead singer sure killed it in Moab.  I think they were the best band.  They were kinda out of their element (urban hip hop) in the hippie freak show, but they sounded great.  Even so, they got the crowd moving.

 

Finn:

 

Why don't you fly out one weekend this summer and we'll do a trip in Yellowstone for the weekend???  Working as a bike guide in Yellowstone (among other places around here), I've got the inside scoop on cool things to do!

 

Strangely, this is one of my favorite Yellowstone pics- President Chester Aurthur likely doing some swilling with a few cronies in YNP:

 

Chester Aurthur.jpg

 

One of our favorite things to do it to poach the parking lot @ Old Faithful (where there is no camping) and hang out in the lodge, then sneak out to the Bus to sleep.  Lots of history. 

 

Last June, Mrs. Skiing-in-Jackson and I spent our 15th anniversary weekend poaching the parking lot @ Old Faithful Inn...  I wouldn't have traded that for a suite at the Four Seasons!

 

Edit:

 

I just showed this latest post to Mrs. S-I-J and she suggested I mention our complimentary police cruiser ride to the border of the Park!


Edited by Skiing-in-Jackson - 6/5/10 at 8:37am
post #13 of 16

Great report, Stephen.  That looks like so much fun. 

 

I've driven that road and it is indeed a very cool drive.  There are so many amazing places out here in the West if you just get away from the interstates.

post #14 of 16


I hate that picture; the hat makes me look so fat!   I may very well take you up on that. Let me look into it. I will give you a call.  The Four Season's can't begin to hold a candle to YNP. See, you can't buy that kind of thing, no matter how much you may want it, it's free to those who "see it".
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skiing-in-Jackson View Post

You guys are way too kind.  I'm just out playin', doin' my thing.

 

Insofar as the bands, I didn't recognize but one of them and that was at least the lead singer of Ozomatli - they played at the Jackson Hole Resort Mountain Festival at the end of the 2008-2009 season.  They killed it then and the lead singer sure killed it in Moab.  I think they were the best band.  They were kinda out of their element (urban hip hop) in the hippie freak show, but they sounded great.  Even so, they got the crowd moving.

 

Finn:

 

Why don't you fly out one weekend this summer and we'll do a trip in Yellowstone for the weekend???  Working as a bike guide in Yellowstone (among other places around here), I've got the inside scoop on cool things to do!

 

Strangely, this is one of my favorite Yellowstone pics- President Chester Aurthur likely doing some swilling with a few cronies in YNP:

 

Chester Aurthur.jpg

 

One of our favorite things to do it to poach the parking lot @ Old Faithful (where there is no camping) and hang out in the lodge, then sneak out to the Bus to sleep.  Lots of history. 

 

Last June, Mrs. Skiing-in-Jackson and I spent our 15th anniversary weekend poaching the parking lot @ Old Faithful Inn...  I wouldn't have traded that for a suite at the Four Seasons!

 

Edit:

 

I just showed this latest post to Mrs. S-I-J and she suggested I mention our complimentary police cruiser ride to the border of the Park!

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

Great report, Stephen.  That looks like so much fun. 

 

I've driven that road and it is indeed a very cool drive.  There are so many amazing places out here in the West if you just get away from the interstates.


AND out of "The Hole"!

post #16 of 16

Awesome adventure there.

 

I can relate a little bit when I did the Bullrun..though I was at a rather brisk pace...covered some of the areas you did, unforgettable views.

 

Redline....I have sentimental fondness for the brand.  "It all starts with a REDLINE"

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