Ride & Trail Reports

President’s Week Quest for Red Rock & Sunshine

Reynolds Wheels

Things Go As Planned, Until They Don’t

From an intellectual standpoint, the whole premise of camping is absurd. Why would anyone leave the comforts of their home – complete with bed, bathroom, kitchen, and all necessary modern amenities only to wallow in filth for days on end? Add to the mix a couple of dogs and a ten-month old, and the insanity goes to 11 real fast.

A little background: Over the years, our (as in my wife and I) camping style has gone through an evolution, best to be described, in brief, by the following lifecycle:

1) The Dazed & Confused era – aka car camping just outside of town with a cooler full of hot dogs, cheap beer, a handle of Jack and a dozen or so other people.

2) The backpacking years – post-college slumming. True dirtbag camping where the goal is to travel as light as possible – which comes in handy when you have no savings account to speak of.

3) Activity-based car camping – Camping as a means to other recreation, aka mountain bike camping or road tripping. Essentially, styled-out car camping, however, in this case, camping is a means to an end instead of the main activity.

After years of mastering #3, two things became apparent, 1) I’m too damn old to sleep on the ground and still feel like riding my bike the next day. 2) Tent-camping with a kid was never going to happen. Which eventually led us down the road of restoring a vintage travel trailer for our camping needs.

Snow Canyon State Park

The Silver Bell – Our 1973 travel trailer turned adventure rig.

While we’ve been hitting the road in the camper with grand results, there is a new variable we’ve added to the mix – Josie, our 10 month old. This would be her first multi-night adventure and the real test as to whether or not our grand ambitions of raising a family of little happy campers would come to fruition – or rather, if we would be resigning ourselves to hotel rooms and trips to the grandparents for the foreseeable future.

Josie Bean

Our happy (for now) little camper.

The plan was to head south for Presidents Week. It’s been a helluva winter, which is certainly not a complaint, however as good as the skiing has been, I’ve been itching to put some rubber on rock in the sunshine. We settled on St. George as it’s relatively close, has accessible camping, and appeared to have the best forecast. If things went well, it would also allow us to push on further towards Vegas or Sedona.

Zen Trail

Trail cairns at the summit of Zen Trail.

Well as they say, even the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Josie, my ten-month old, had a mild pre-trip bout with the flu, which she so kindly passed on to her dear old dad. Only my version was not so mild and left me full-on delirious before departure, relegating me to managing my body temperature and trying not to puke instead of trip-planning and packing. Nevertheless, in our post delirium, we persisted.

Fast-forward through the details, a few of which include running out of gas along the interstate mid-baby blow-out, gale-force 40-50 mph winds while camping, broken trailer parts, and resolving ourselves to a cheap motel room the final night of the trip, and I’d say overall, the experiment was a success – if only in the sense that we proved we could make the best of things against the odds. I’m not sure if it’s through blind optimism, or pure obstinance, but we’ve already started planning the next go-round.

Zen Trail

The Devinci Spartan in it’s element on Zen Trail.

The trip wasn’t a total wash as I did manage to sneak a ride on Zen Trail aboard a Devinci Spartan courtesy of the folks over at Park City Bike Demos. Check out more Spartan pics here and brief review.

About the author


Alex is a designer by trade & mid-grade adventurer by night who’s quite partial to knobby tired bikes, clean design, & dirty hands. When not updating this silly website, he's likely off exploring the nearby hills with a few of his favorite partners in crime.

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