Just got back from a great trip around a bit of the southwest. We flew into Vegas, picked up our car, and hit the road for Moab. Unfortunately, the first car we got wasn't all we hoped for when we booked a "premium" car We realised that the iPod wouldn't fit into the lighter jack. That wouldn't do at all. So, we asked to change, and the good people at Hertz were quite accomodating. Much better...RAV4 Limited. With GPS! Once we finally hit the road, we got to see Hoover dam. Pretty neat, but the traffic was insane, and the bridge they're building right next to it was much more interesting from the car...slipforms! We started to gain elevation and checked into our room in Tusayan near the Grand Canyon. We bought our chips at low elevation. The next day, we hit the Grand Canyon for a little hike and to soak up the view: Fotunately, we laced up our boots anyway and made our way into the canyon. Once we got below the weather, it was actually pretty amazing. Pretty awesome. They really scare you out of going too far out down the canyon. I guess they drag out lots of blue-hairs every year. We hiked down for 2 hours with lots of picture breaks and a quick snack at the bottom. We hiked back out in just over an hour. Glad we left when we did. The weather wasn't getting any better: Then we stopped in Mexican Hat for dinner. I got to sample my first beer of the trip: Alright, enough dilly dallying. Onto the riding. Being with my better half, who is a good rider, but still a bit of a novice, I thought it best to go with a guide. An excellent decision for us. We went with Solfun tours. The operators are a little...quirky? But the guide they set us up with was great and the Stumpjumpers Comps they rented were just about right for the type of riding we were doing. We started things off with fun intro ride on the Monitor and Merrimac Trail. A good intro to slickrock: I kept expecting one of my wheels to take off "wet root style". It never happened. Lotsa fun in the slickrock bowls. The Lady has a way of not charging in sometimes. I'd yet to see her fall off her bike. Thankfully, that first bail is now out of the way. She took it like a champ. Lots of fun little ledges and stuff to fool around on right next to the bowls. You can just ride around in circles and session for hours if you want. Another little drop: A little follow the leader... The slickrock is so different from anything I'd ever ridden before. Everything is so quick! Pedal downhill, uphill...whatever, and you're gone. I guess the light bike had something to do with that too... Off to lunch: Out to lunch: It really wasn't as scary as it looks in this pic. Day 1 was great. Sara got a little singed in the sun, so on Day 2, the guide and I hit Amasa Back. Another fun ride. I was actually developping an appreciation for pedalling up. I still like the other direction better: I didn't have the balls to try the stepup. And I forgot to take a pic. Oh well... Onward! Note the guide kind of got shafted bike-wise. I got to ride an Enduro. Not bad, but the rear brake was shuddering like crazy if I kept it on for any length of time. Not particularly confidence inspiring. Somewhere near the top I think. And back down: I was still rarin' to go after we got to the bottom, so my guide suggested we hit the Practice Loop on Slickrock. Awesome: Such awesome traction...actually makes climbing fun! Day #3 was to be a day off, but after a quick Skype with MMike and being told that I was retarded for not having Porcupine Rim on the agenda, I ran across the street to Poison Spider and asked about a shuttle. After a mixup about the departure time (ah, quirky shop folk...) I was in need of a ride up. Thankfully, Sara is awesome and volunteered to shuttle me up. After preparing mentally, I was off. Such an incredible view. The wind was HOWLING. I rode it solo, so there weren't many photos. But I managed to get a few good ones: Gary Fisher Roscoe. Awesome, awesome bike. Although I had no idea where I was going, I never felt lost. The trail is really well marked: I had my helmet cam on, and taped all the good bits. Unfortunately, it was very poorly aimed.... Gimme a couple more tries, I'm sure I'd get it. Give or take a hospital visit or two. I was so pissed. An hour of footage, and it's all of about 4 feet ahead of me. Rats. I did get this filmed though... Pretty awesome eh? NWD 0.00032547 Seemed like I'd been going for quite a while and started to run out of gas. It was time to stop for a bite. I chose this spot: The weather was really wierd. So much dust in the air, I was sure there was going to be some crazy lightning. Never came, but check out the sky: Awesome trail. I made it down in just over two hours. DAY 4 was another fun day. We headed out for Klondike Bluffs/Baby Steps. Back to the Stumpjumper Sara cranking up some more slickrock: My camera has a macro mode: Ate at a spot with a cool view of a canyon in Arches National Park. Crazy landscapes: Kinda cool: Coming down with speed This is the outfit we used: Then we went to Bryce Canyon. They do the hoodoos that they do so well. Then we moved on toward Zion. Almost got busted for speeding along the way: But then did some climbing. Can't go to Zion and not climb... Then we went to Vegas. Nothing worth mentioning there. Not true. We stayed at the Stratosphere and rode the Big Shot. Quite a ride: Well. There you have it. An awesome trip. If you haven't been to Moab, go. It's pretty awesome. And if you do, don't forget to ride Porcupine Rim. Next time around, I'll ride Sovereign.