At Opposite Extremes

In Colorado the roads can get rather busy.Ladies on the roadI had left the comforts of Lucy & Stevens home in Placerville with a belly full and a great night sleep! P1090013It 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!Colorado roadsAnd 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.AlexNot just that, he told me about some great places to camp and put me in touch with some friends further down the way.bicycling alongI rode into the Paradox valley where there is a whole lot of very little, but some awesome hills with little roads and great views.still snowyIMG_3162There’s some spectacular places to pitch a tent in this part of the world!P1090108IMG_3142IMG_3155And it just kept getting better!good roadThe store in Bedrock has been closed for years, so don’t count on re-supplying there. Bedrock storeIt’s still a nice place to have a break and play with the dog for a while.Paradox ValleyClimbing out of the Paradox Valley and into the next one I noticed the Geronimo farm, Geranimo 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 90HWY 90Just 6 miles before the Utah border. Utah

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.Ugh

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. Red Rock Country

Except totally different.same same but different

If you look good you can see all sort of things in the rocks, like clouds. I saw a face.a face in the rock

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;White Rim

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. whoops

But then I was on the trail! And it was a little gray and cloudy but spectacular! Crazy as

Crazy rock formations and big huge canyons! Big Canyon (not grand, mind you)(mind you, not ‘grand’, just really big)Canyon

It is canyonland, after all.Canyonland

It’s supposed to be a desert,Cactus

And there’s supposed to be no water,rain in the dessert

But that, clearly, was a lie.

Not only did it come down bucketing in the form of snow, rain and hail, not really a smilealso little creeks were flowing.found water yay!

The first couple days were a nice combination of sun and clouds.Sunshine!

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 slickslippery slopes and sometimes there was a little too much sand to ride through,a little pushBut mostly it was perfectly rideable.Sandy bits

ridablebreak time

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

I’ve seen a grand total of 3 vehicles, all in the first couple days.Big View

I marvelled at the rock formations.Marvel

And even had turkey on Christmas eve!Turkey Jerkey

and then I woke up on Christmas Morning.

A white Christmas

It snowed!

the good thing is I had only planned to ride 15 miles that day.snow The other good thing is I really like snow. trails

But it can slow down your progress severely.ugh

Especially when you hit mud, cleverly disguising as snow.Ai

That was a mess, but didn’t last all too long.My Roadpretty place

The other good thing was I found a nice shelter to melt snow and make coffee, all was really excellent! 

My caveExcept 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.My MessIt was a full moon so I didn’t need to use my flashlight at all.

I did use my candle, CandleThat’s mostly for warmth.

The temperature was pretty low that night, but at least it was sunny and clear in the morning!good morning!A winter wonderland.winter wonderlandAnd a virgin road! I shared with no one,Virgin road except a big cat of sorts.big cat?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.glorious morningEasier said than trailWhen I got to the top it wasn’t the top, the road gradually kept climbing, that wasn’t the roadWind!Lucky my feet stay warm

I kept crawling along at a snail’s pace.Snails paceIt did not make me happy.

I found a little shelter next to this bush.shelterI did make it back to the road, getting backIt was just around sunset and I still had a way to get into town, the end of a day.. a year.

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.STEAK!Not only a big steak and a good beer.polygamy porterJimJim 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 trailsRockin' AThat was great fun!whoop!

Very different from our last ride up in Montana!snowy

But we had a plan so we needed to move.Arches NP

So we moved.Monument ValleyThrough monument valley and Zion,ZionZion NPnice roadZionIn only a few days it was new years, and my bicycle had an appointment with a fancy hotel room.

This one,hotel roomIn this place,Vegas Baby

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!happy new year!

53 thoughts on “At Opposite Extremes

  1. 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.

  2. 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!!!

  3. 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.

  4. Wat een spectaculaire foto’s weer! Blij dat je zo genoten hebt van mijn staat – je hebt het fantastisch weergegeven.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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’!

  10. Het moment, dat je zo een overhangend stukje rots tegenkomt voor beschutting om even pauze te houden om een warm bakkie te maken. Fantastisch!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. Lieve Mirjam, ik wil je bedanken voor het prachtige fotoalbum!
    Ik wens je nog heel veel fietsplezier,

    Oma Stuifzand.

  14. 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 😛

  15. 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.

  16. 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 🌞 🌴 🌊

  17. 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

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