In Colorado the roads can get rather busy.I had left the comforts of Lucy & Stevens home in Placerville with a belly full and a great night sleep! It was good after a couple of fairly chilly nights out there.
They had shown me picture albums of their vacations, my reaction was; “WOW! Where is THAT!?”
Lucy told me and I left their house with a brand new plan!And a brand new friend.
Alex comes from Argentina, but he’s been here a long time now. I met him along the road the previous day and he figured I cannot leave the area without having seen Telluride, so he took it upon himself to show me around and bought me breakfast.Not just that, he told me about some great places to camp and put me in touch with some friends further down the way.I rode into the Paradox valley where there is a whole lot of very little, but some awesome hills with little roads and great views.There’s some spectacular places to pitch a tent in this part of the world!And it just kept getting better!The store in Bedrock has been closed for years, so don’t count on re-supplying there. It’s still a nice place to have a break and play with the dog for a while.Climbing out of the Paradox Valley and into the next one I noticed the Geronimo farm,
I stopped to see if I could fill up some water bottles and got chatting, right now there is a lot of work being done.
And cyclist be aware!
This family is building up a bicycle rest / camp area where they are planning on renting out cabins as well!
They just so happen to have finished their caravan that very day! They had rebuilt and cleaned up and finished it about an hour before my arrival, So I was their very first guest! How perfect is that? With some gorgeous hikes in the area its a wonderful place to spent a little time.
This is their own little paradise where everything is organic, GMO-free and 4/20-friendly.
Just so you know, it’s Colorado after all…
You find them along HWY 90Just 6 miles before the Utah border.
By now the weather had started to get a little crappy, it was windy and snowing and it seemed there was no end to this hill.
But as I rode over it I suddenly came out of the clouds a whole new and very different landscape opened up. Red rocks, and a lot of them.
It reminded me of Australia a little bit.
Except totally different.
If you look good you can see all sort of things in the rocks, like clouds. I saw a face.
Alex had put me in touch with Billy from Poisonspiderbicycles in Moab, who was super helpful with finding me a place to crash for a few nights and helping me with some preparations for the next leg of my trip.
Which takes me to the idea that Lucy gave me;
After dropping me off at the start of this 100-mile trail in really bad snow Billy went back to town and I pitched my tent under the roof of the information centre, I thought it was closed.
But that was not the case, in the morning a few guys came by to open up and refilled my water. That was nice, because apparently I was not going to find any water for the next 100 miles, my biggest worry was that what I was carrying would freeze.
The next one was that the start of my trail wasn’t exactly open. But it was just a 4-mile stretch, so I sorta shot through because it would be a shame to end the trip before it even started.
But then I was on the trail! And it was a little gray and cloudy but spectacular!
Crazy rock formations and big huge canyons! (mind you, not ‘grand’, just really big)
It is canyonland, after all.
It’s supposed to be a desert,
And there’s supposed to be no water,
But that, clearly, was a lie.
Not only did it come down bucketing in the form of snow, rain and hail, also little creeks were flowing.
The first couple days were a nice combination of sun and clouds.
It’s called the white rim trail, but is was not very white at all.
The terrain was pretty good, the rock could get a bit slick and sometimes there was a little too much sand to ride through,But mostly it was perfectly rideable.
Before I started I had to get a permit and tell them where I was going to camp every night,
I guess it didn’t matter all that much as it was not very busy.
I’ve seen a grand total of 3 vehicles, all in the first couple days.
I marvelled at the rock formations.
And even had turkey on Christmas eve!
and then I woke up on Christmas Morning.
the good thing is I had only planned to ride 15 miles that day. The other good thing is I really like snow.
But it can slow down your progress severely.
Especially when you hit mud, cleverly disguising as snow.
That was a mess, but didn’t last all too long.
The other good thing was I found a nice shelter to melt snow and make coffee, all was really excellent!
Except that I had to push my bike up the steep bits (drag, more like) And on the other side I had to push my bike down, as for some mysterious reason my brakes had totally stopped working. Not very convenient indeed.
I found the most gorgeous spot to pitch my tent along the Colorado river.It was a full moon so I didn’t need to use my flashlight at all.
I did use my candle, That’s mostly for warmth.
The temperature was pretty low that night, but at least it was sunny and clear in the morning!A winter wonderland.And a virgin road! I shared with no one, except a big cat of sorts.It was already the last day of this little loop and all I had to do was get out of the Canyon and back to the road.Easier said than done.When I got to the top it wasn’t the top, the road gradually kept climbing, that wasn’t the issue.Wind!
I kept crawling along at a snail’s pace.It did not make me happy.
I found a little shelter next to this bush.I did make it back to the road, It was just around sunset and I still had a way to get into town,
But just as I worried a little, because it’s all the way downhill to Moab and I was still riding without brakes I ran into a vehicle who gave me a ride back, and there was a surprise for me.Not only a big steak and a good beer.Jim decided to come visit and have a vacation over the new years weekend.
Naturally, we went bicycle riding.
We got a couple of mountain bikes from Poisonspider bicycles and headed out to explore some of those famous Moab trailsThat was great fun!
Very different from our last ride up in Montana!
But we had a plan so we needed to move.
So we moved.Through monument valley and Zion,In only a few days it was new years, and my bicycle had an appointment with a fancy hotel room.
This one,In this place,
You might have heard of it.
It was a bit of a shock from my tent to this utter decadence.
Expensive meals, expensive shows, watching people and walking around.
What can I say.
It’s different alright.
Good to have seen and good to get away from after a few days. So that’s exactly what I did.
Wishing you all the best!
53 thoughts on “At Opposite Extremes”
Prachtig geschreven en heel erg mooie foto´s weer Mirjam! Ook voor 2016 wens ik je nog heel veel mooie en veilige kilometers toe, en alle geluk, en blijf je natuurlijk graag volgen! En natuurlijk hartelijk bedankt voor je goede wensen. Groetjes.
Wow, Mirjam, another awesome ride!
All the best to you too and thanks again for the wonderful pics (and story)!
Fantastic blog, unbelievable stories – georgous photos -liked it very much!
Best of luck and wishes for 2016!
Your American pictures are making me plan! Beautiful!
What beautiful country you are riding in Mirjam,you are an amazing woman!!! I’m glad you got to spend New Year’s Eve in an exciting town and enjoy some good food and comfort. Thanks for the update, I’ve been wondering how you are doing!! Stay safe and maybe head for somewhere warm!!!
Superb photographs! Thanks for blogging your adventures , its a way of life I’m making happen bit by bit for myself after getting hooked on bike life on the trans American ride I did.
I think the snow and the winter light makes those landscapes even more photogenic.
Mooi hoor… en wat een contrasten :-). En schitterende foto’s zoals altijd.. Liefs!
Wat een spectaculaire foto’s weer! Blij dat je zo genoten hebt van mijn staat – je hebt het fantastisch weergegeven.
I just love your posts and Pics!
Remarkable. Truly remarkable. Wonderful photographs. You are an inspiration!
Ik val in herhaling…. De foto’s zijn weer prachtig! En je belevenissen zijn geweldig. We blijven je volgen, ook in 2016.
Save travels! Gerdo en Wilma
Hoi Mirjam, Wat heb ik genoten van je prachtige foto’s en je verhaal. Voor ons zijn een heleboel plekjes herkenbaar omdat we daar ook hebben rond gereden. Alleeen dan in de zomer. Voor jouw een heel goed en fietslustig 2016 en ik kijk uit naar je volgende editie.
groet van Heleen Smit.
Happy New Year, really enjoy your blog. Look forward to read more of your adventures in 2016.
Absolutely the best! I have been following you for almost a year. This was beautiful. Thank you! Happy New Year to you!!
Every bit as inspirational as usual, Mirjam, and with the usual treasure of pictures that National Geographic must envy. I’ve been a cyclist for decades and try to imagine myself doing trips likes yours but can’t begin to. Your parents must be in awe of what their daughter can accomplish!
Here’s wishing you the best in 2016, especially many more miles of safe but exciting cycling and good health.
You bet! (Mirjam’s parents…)
Hey! You traveled through a part of the world I know extremely well. I lived in central Colorado for 12 years, and southern Utah was practically a second home for me. Winters can be surprisingly brutal on the Colorado Plateau. (but spectacularly beautiful as you found out) Enjoy!
Gaaf Mirjam dat je in CO en Utah bent! Ik volg je al sinds ik je heb ontmoet in Tibet, waaaaay back in the daze. Maar nooit een reactie geplaatst. Altijd prachtige foto’s en mooie verhalen. Je bent een grote inspiratie voor me. Tot wanneer blijf je in de US? Ik misschien dit jaar weer terug om de Continental Divide Trail te lopen. If the Universe is with me on that. Liefs Vi en keep on truckin’!
Mooie verhalen en prachtige foto’s! Ride on!
Het moment, dat je zo een overhangend stukje rots tegenkomt voor beschutting om even pauze te houden om een warm bakkie te maken. Fantastisch!
I am lost in admiration, but you do know you are 100% bonkers right? But in a wonderful, unique Mirjam way. Please keep the reports and photos coming and please stay safe. Enjoy!
Excellent. Beautiful pictures!
It’s hard to believe that the canyons with their beautiful rock formations were created by flowing waters.
Excellent pictures there, hopefully I will be there either this year or the next,
best wishes Mike.
Wat een schitterende natuur daar in Colorado, echt FANTASTISCHE foto’s.
Fantastic adventure !!!
I loved the blog , the travel and beautiful photographs .
and a very happy new year to you too. great storys and pictures! thanks for that wonderful site
Lieve Mirjam, ik wil je bedanken voor het prachtige fotoalbum!
Ik wens je nog heel veel fietsplezier,
Lovely places to visit – brings back memories.
Looks amazing! I would love to go there!!!
thats really adventurous !!! would love this independence..
Looks like you had fun, perfect way to “smell the roses”, keep on biking! 🙂 Beautiful pictures!
That was an amazing post. You are a total inspiration and I salute you and look forward to reading all of your blogs.
Wow! So muvh ❤ from India
Your blogs are just as adventurous you experience the land on your bicycle. Looking forward to your next blog.
You live such an inspirational life! Would love to do something like this in the future. And would love to connect with you! Maybe have a read of my blog and see if it’s for you, it would be great to connect with other bloggers no matter how dissimilar their content is 😛 https://jemimajuice.wordpress.com/
Wauwww indrukwekkend! Mooie Foto’s!!! Je hebt een nieuwe volger bij!
Amazing and absolutely gorgeous photographs. Looking forward to more of your posts! Truly inspiring.
I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog and checking out all of the places you’ve been. It’s incredible and inspiring!
Amazing..amazing..amazing. Can’t think of any other word!
Wow! Amazing adventure and fantastic pics
Beautiful pictures! Great job on the riding. Very impressive.
I’ve just discovered your blog and I’m hooked! Wow! All the best for 2016, and keep sharing your stories and amazing photos. Thank you.
Wow Wow Wow!!!! Is all I can say
But it isn’t quite enough, so Just a couple more things.
I am married to a Dutchman, his whole family are strong mentally and physically, his Mother and Father came out to Australia in the early fifties
He is from a family of nine kids, and now there are with his Mum, ( sadly his Dad has passed), his brothers and sisters and all the grandchildren and great grandchildren a total of 85 members in his family. All since his Mum and Dad came to Australia, and the family continues to grow…I love them all to bits, his Mum is 87 and still walks 5 kilometers into town and back most days, she hasn’t long given away the bike riding…Amazing!!
I noticed in this captivating blog that you mentioned Australia, did you travel around here on your bike also??? I guess I will find the answer to that question after I read all your blogs which I promise you I will, because I think you are Awesome.
Cheers from Annie on the Gold Coast in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊
wow, amazing trip! You’re such an inspiration!
Grüße aus Österreich. Ich wünsche dir weiter Gesundheit und viel Kraft.
Greetings from Austria. I wish you continued health and much strength.
Beste Mirjam, Misschien een Veluwse reactie van me…maar al die schitterende, elkaar overtreffende ervaringen ! Je doet meer kennis op dan je ooit in een universitaire studie antropologie zou kunnen verwerven. Indrukwekkend! Groet, Sjoerd Stellingwerf
Unbelievable photos…its amazing….wow..one of the best clicks in recent times…superbbb
Petje af Mirjam, je doet het toch allemaal maar. Veel geluk met Tara and Jim ofcourse
Bigtime Respect for you Madame, You Rock and are a dynamic Woman Fantastic and all the best
The scenery is so special and beautiful. Great pictures