In pre-COVID-19 days, which seems like long ago, I would spend up to three months on MTB road trips, mostly to Virgin and Moab, Utah and the Grand Valley, Colorado. The famous hot spot for MTB there is Fruita but Grand Junction is the biggest city in the region with 63,000 people and is home to the Lunch Loops and other fine trails such as Ribbon.
I’ve been based for the past twenty years in my native Silicon Valley, California, which has great weather, exciting new technologies in all directions, many wine regions nearby, the Pacific at nearby Santa Cruz, and decent X/C level trails. For bigger and more technical trail fun then Lake Tahoe and Downieville are four hours away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and have excellent trails, camping, and wonderful lakes and rivers for summer swimming.
I’m bored with the trails around the San Francisco Bay Area and Tahoe camping is so popular with the world that I can rarely find a campsite anymore. And in the winter Tahoe has snow and often lots of it. When I was a skier that was wonderful but I’m no longer interested in being cold and wet.
My wife and I can live anywhere we have broadband and have no change in income. We aren’t dependent on local employment. We live in one of the world’s most expensive housing regions and a break would be nice. We could save money for new bikes! Well, probably better housing instead.
We’ve long considered Moab and Grand Junction / Fruita. That area is like having a second home anyway, so why not just move there?
Moab has a small population, 5,300, and we prefer much larger. So that leaves Junction which also has a nice university. We like intelligent informed friends and conversation. While there is some of that in Moab there are more opportunities in Junction.
Another plus for the Grand Valley, besides the terrific technical trails north and east of Fruita and the Lunch Loops almost in Grand Junction is that the local MTB group, COPMOBA, is building more trail systems, whole systems, not just a trail, to the south of Junction! More red rock trails to explore and without the 16 hour drives from Silicon Valley.
Another BIG plus is that Moab is only an hour and a half away. Virgin in southwest Utah which includes the famous Gooseberry Mesa is only 5 1/2 hours away, half the time it takes me from Silicon Valley.
We can be on our bikes on our favorite trails pretty much all year except for occasional snowfalls which don’t last long. Yes, the summers are hot, but riding is great in the mornings and often in the evenings.
There is another benefit. I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains with big views from home. My 16 years in Anchorage had beautiful views from home, including glaciers and volcanos. I want a home that has beautiful views and that is possible Junction. Same with being within a short ride of world class bike trails.
The current pandemic makes planning a move difficult. We don’t want to move in the heat of the summer so we would wait until fall. We could easily be in lockdown mode again in the fall which makes travel more difficult.
We hate the moving process and trying to get all our things in either moving pods or a truck, or both, and then unpacking and getting setup again. We dread it. However, planning the packing is underway.
After that we will have road trips in CO, AZ, NM, WY, MT and the Rocky Mountain provinces of Alberta and British Columba in Canada. So after a brief pandemic intermission, the MTB road trips will be back and by next year I should be shooting with the amazing Skydio 2 drone!
Hang in there everyone! We’ll get through this shit!