Monday 21st September
Our second attempt at leaving 3 Step nearly failed as well, as Ed’s bike decided to die as he rode it round to the front to say goodbye.
After hours of investigating, trying parts from my bike and endless trial and error, he discovered that the pickup coil had failed. He finally managed to get it going again by heating it up with a soldering iron, but the only problem was he couldn’t turn it off, otherwise it wouldn’t start again if it cooled down. ‘Let’s hope we don’t have to go through any puddles!’ I thought to myself. We finally said thank you and farewell to Julie and Scott, and made our way to Moab.
We were barely a mile down the road when my bike started playing up. ‘Really?!’ I thought to myself. ‘Not now, we cant go back’. It felt like something was stuck in the main jet, and I managed to bunny hop another few miles until it died completely. This was the final straw for me at that particular moment in time. This may sound silly to any men (most women will understand) but I was already feeling in a bad mood because my trousers felt tight. I’d basically eaten too much delicious food and had put on weight. It’s about the only thing that gets me in a bad mood, that and ironically being hungry. So add a broken bike and extreme heat in to the mix and you had a recipe for a rather pissed off Rachel. I just couldn’t snap out of it. Ed set to work fixing my bike while I sulked in my tight trousers and played with the gravel. He eventually discovered that it was due to a dodgy earth wire, and soon had the bike back up and running. I half heartedly thanked him and we went on our way. What a dick.
For some reason I was expecting a rather average and dull ride to Moab, so consider my surprise when we started making our way towards a mountain. I didn’t know we had to go over a pass, and definitely wasn’t expecting the detour off the smooth gravel road on to some fairly technical rocky stuff through the woods.
I wasn’t geared up for it, mentally, but soon got in to the swing of things and it snapped me right out of my mood. It was good fun bouncing our way up the mountain, and before I knew it we were back on to smooth gravel and winding our way up further. We came round a corner at one point and all the tops of the trees had created a sea of colour as far as the eye could see, it was beautiful.
Yellow and green continued to line the trail, and with the cooler temperature there was the real feel of autumn in the air, I loved it.
As we climbed up higher there were some fantastic views of rocks in the distance, and they had the most beautiful pink hue to them as the sun lowered in the sky. They had a certain magic about them, and I found them quite mesmerising, stopping several times to soak it all in.
It was while stopping however that I discovered that my bike had started smoking again, and this time it was worse than before. It was bellowing out, and I knew that the instant gasket hadn’t worked. Luckily we had some spare oil so I kept it topped up, and we continued on our way to Moab with a blue/white cloud trailing behind us. As we came down the pass we travelled through the forest, before coming out on the other side. All the trees were bare exposing beautiful silver bark, and it really reminded me of winter in England. I love crisp and clear winter days in England, and the thought gave me a good feeling as I rode down the hill.
It was as we came round a corner that we had our first view of the Moab area, and it didn’t disappoint. The view was incredible despite it being hazy, and I couldn’t help but stop and stare at it. There were amazing rock formations in the distance, and I can safely say that I’d never seen anything quite like it.
The amazement continued as we wound our way down, going past some incredible rock formations that can only be described as otherworldly. In fact the whole area was otherworldly, it was truly spectacular.
The trail soon left the graded gravel that we’d been riding on and took us over loads of rock ledges and obstacles which was great fun. I was wishing I had a bit more ground clearance though if I’m honest, we had to be very careful what route we took. We got to a steep uphill ramp that I really didn’t know how to tackle, so Ed gave me instructions on how to get up it. I went for it, committed, and felt like I’d been shot out of a rocket, it was brilliant!
I even landed it perfectly despite having to put my feet down, and carried on riding feeling rather chuffed with myself. Even Ed was impressed, which always gives me a good feeling.
The sun started to set as we got closer to Moab, casting beautiful colours across the sky. I’d just stopped to take a photo of Ed when two other bikers stopped for a chat, and before I knew it we had ourselves a dinner date. They continued on as they were faster than us, plus I kept repeatedly stopping to admire the views and take photos; every minute saw the landscape change. The shapes changed. The colours changed. It really was incredible scenery.
We finally rode in to town and found the restaurant that the guys had told us to go to, and had a lovely evening chatting about bikes and travel. (I have to admit that I’m writing this a month later and can’t remember their names and didn’t write in my journal! I’m thinking John and Shaun? Probably completely wrong. Sorry if you’re reading this guys!!).
We didn’t have any accommodation lined up and they were in need of a proper bed, so we ended up finding a cabin to share at the Lazy Lizard Hostel. The only problem was getting there. We’d completely forgotten about Ed’s faulty bike, and after being turned off for nearly two hours we couldn’t get it started. Thankfully though with the aid of a tow rope and a bike that actually had some power, it wasn’t long before we were winging our way to the hostel.