On the road to Road 18...

Some strategic shift trades at my night job and Christine and I were off on an impromptu adventure.  I never get weekend nights off, but a co-worker wanted to trade some shifts around for a few months so I jumped on it.  Christine and I have been waiting for a good opportunity to check out the mountain biking in Fruita, Colorado.  Unfortunately, a few days prior to the trip I took a good bike wreck near Snowbasin and busted up my left thumb.  I was determined to recover in time.  I am a seasoned veteran on the injury recovery tactics at this point of my adventuring career.  I employed some rapid healing techniques I have mastered.  In three days time I was back in game shape enough to take the chance.  The shift trades, weather, opportunity, timely healing, and motivation all came together to grace us with this mini epic into the Fruita desert.
^Highway 6 out of Price, Utah is a vast expanse of desert views and gas station frappuccinos.  We were running late getting out of town.  Christine and I both realized some last minute business to attend to while on our way out of the area.  We are both adjusting to mobile work life balances that have recently evolved for us.  Now we are becoming very transient and trying to hone in an ability to work from anywhere at anytime.  

^Road 18 in Fruita was the destination.  We had never been there.  Exploration was the name of the game.  We had no expectations, only good reviews from our friends Mike Gambee and Jeff Reda.  The BLM campground is way out there, and not super obvious.  We drove for miles on a dirt road that felt miles from town to begin with.  What we found was a mini Mecca of mountain bike trails and camping spots.  The area uniquely brings both of those worlds together.  

^The campground is right next to the trailhead.  It has legit sites with tables, fire pits, and scattered open pit bathrooms.  No running water, but welcome to the desert.  We settled for a stir fry dinner, and Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Then we called it a night.  We didn't have much time so we wanted to get an early start.

^Morning brought us to the standard car-camp breakfast and roll back up scenario.  We got it all together pretty quickly.  Christine and I are getting good at these road warrior skills together.   

^Then we were off.  As I said, the camping is right near the Road 18 trailhead so we were on trail in no time.  If we had longer to stay I would love the base camp ability of the area.  It is a really nice system of trails all throughout.  The campsites are right at the bottom in the middle of the whole system.  You could set up a base camp to ride in and out of there for days on end without repeating the same rides.  

^Oh, and it is gorgeous too.

^It was all buffed out dirt that undulated throughout the desert terrain.  It was up and down throughout the climb.  Here is Christine soldiering up on one such climb.  This one is an especially steep set of switchbacks.  You can barely see her nearing the top of the last push.  I was cheering for her from across the canyon.  My wife is downright nasty strong.  She climbed it better then me.    

^We rode a loop that brought us down a sweet ripper single track called Zippity Do Da.  It rolled along desert spines and into tight wash canyons all the way down.  The trail had great flow, and kept that flow going from top to bottom.

^Spine climber.

^Right at the end of the ride my chain started skipping.  When we rolled up to the Jeep, I discovered why.  Thank goodness it didn't pop on me out there in that big dry desert.  That would have ruined my day.  Probably would have made it a bit longer too.  Lucky.

^We had to rally out of there right away because we only had a little bit of time to explore.  We kind of snuck it in to begin with so we weren't too upset that it had to be such a short trip.  We were both stoked with what we had seen.  I wrapped some ice on my sore thumb, and we hit the road.  As we drove out of town we declared our intent to return.  We are looking forward to digging deeper into what Fruita has to offer.

^We drove highway 191 and 40 back to pick up our dog in Wanship.  The Ashley National Forrest is really scenic and remote.  A few ranches and oil rigs littered the desolate roadway, but not much else.

^Just outside of Heber City in the Uinta National Forrest I scouted some huge aspen groves that I want to try to come back to this winter.  I absolutely love skiing in aspens.  It is like the enchanted forrest inside of an aspen grove.  This spot was popping mellow slopes of aspen groves up all over the place.  It is pretty high in elevation and there where short mellow glades everywhere I looked. 

^Aspen glades everywhere.  I am looking forward to doing some more due diligence on this area as well as the biking in Fruita.  Sometimes you just need to get out on the journey and good things will line up out in front of you like the white lines of the open road.  Onward.