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Home > Magazine > Adventure > Our Out-West In-Laws RV Road Trip Report

Our Out-West In-Laws RV Road Trip Report
January 05, 2000

Well, I'm back. We survived our 4200-mi road trip in our

little RV. Me, my family and the in-laws! How bout that!

We went from Mich > Ariz and back by way of Boulder, Colo,

my old stomping grounds. I rode my bike every day after

our driving. What a great way to explore and get fresh air.

So here's the report: the US has become Bangladesh.

(Whatever that is.) Faceless, senseless sprawl of crowded

ugliness and doom. Did you know it's a traffic jam across the desert?

From Sante Fe to Flagstaff, 400 miles of nothing but cactus,

it's bumper to bumper.


But there are some hold-outs. Southern Colorado seemed to be a

working blend of old and new.


As opposed to the scary Ariz and NM. Boy, the desert was cool anyway.

I liked that heat. No one should be allowed to do anything with water

besides drink it and get quick rinse-offs, though. Otherwise it

seems exactly like trying to turn the moon into Disneyland.

Underground huts, hillside dwellings and adobe sure seem like

the ticket. Air conditioning is just begging for bad karma. Well,

respect your limits anyway, don't flaunt them. I really liked all

the OUTDOOR A.C. and 'misters'. Hey, it's not hot or dry outside

anymore! Problem solved!


Boulder was darn scary. Still nifty in some ways, though. But

nary a zine in sight, for all the fact that they claim to be alt-culture.

Neither the bikeshop nor old bookshop I visited would take either

my bikey-zine or bikey-zine-book. I planted them on

the premises! The only way to get real books out anymore, eh?

Actually, the bookshop took some books after I told the buyer

to just pretend they were used or remaindered. He said that's all

he sold. So I gave him a better price. Illusion and an open mind:

unbeatable combination. The 'Beat Book Shop' didn't carry many

books by Beats. (Mostly 50's collectibles. OK, I'll give em a break,

they had SOME. A couple hundred even. Didn't seem like they were

trying much. Only new Kerouacs, etc.) The clerk there and at

another oldtime good used bookshop didn't know Vagabond Press

or John Bennett.




Special Report about Boulder


Wow, what changes! Totally built up, but I notice a local mag editorial

stating that kids still didn't have any normal rec facilities like a bowling alley.

Also, there were no campgrounds in the phone book. What a town!

But what a lovely town. BP's, too.


We pulled in at night and oh how the Creek Bike Path

has developed into such a well-used lushness. People strolling and

twinkling lights everywhere. Same with the Pearl Street Mall. It's over

the top, but still homey feeling. Very very nice. I suspect it's mainly

due to all the trees growing in compared to when I was there. So much

more lush now. The creek was so full, too. Gorgeous all around.

Hard to believe it was my backyard (lived right off the Mall). Nice

to see Trident Bookstore still happening.


I asked at the big bikeshop on the Mall whether there were any shops

in town that sold folders, trikes or bents and he said "In Boulder? No way."

Too bad. They wouldn't carry my zine or stock my new Victor Vincente

of America 'Dirt Road Rider's Trek Epic' book either. Their loss. I gave

em a couple copies out of pity, I said, and said to make sure any mechanic

who has an interest in bike culture should take a look since it was all roots

stuff for them and lord knows they like that. The young manager said he'd

get rid of his mag/book shelf if he could, no one buys any of it he said.

I said that's coz it all sucks. Some nearby crowd started smirking. I said

"See this one copy of Dirt Rag here? It's almost sold out. See all these glossies

here? I agree, they don't sell. You have to send all the annoying tear covers

back. Well, why not just find and carry as much stuff like DR as you can?

Help the poor starved bike culture. They'll buy all you stock of anything that's

good." Deaf ears. I asked if anyone knew where the Morgul loop was, since things

were so built up since I was here last and I wasn't sure anymore if it was even

rideable or whatever. I had to go thru a couple young staffers

to find someone who knew.


On our drives across town I noticed many old bike shops DEAD, but didn't

get to explore enough to notice any (good looking) new ones.


It sure was neat seeing all the bike action around town though.

Lots of cool super dudes riding around. Girls on decked out oldstyle

cruisers. Shredsters everywhere. I hope someone can read. I recall

always reading all I could on cycling when I lived there. (How any

bike shop could turn DOWN bike culture materials is BEYOND me.

How often do they have people approach them with bike books and

zines? Good ones, real ones? (Not map guides or how-to's.) I'd say

NEVER (hardly). Hard for me to see the view that there's NO demand

for bike culture. Man, the library had ALL the great race videos you

could check out for free! --That was great. I soaked up all bike culture

when I was there and I know I wasn't the only one. Poor riders, being

kept from culture by silly shop clerks. Well, I'll just go direct! Serve em right.


Next day we had a SPLENDID breakfast at Chatauqua Park then I rode up

Flagstaff to the very top. Whew and Lord Almighty. I stopped twice and walked

one switchback and tacked about 1/4 mi. But otherwise, me and my 42-24 were

doing fine. And what a descent! Yow! It was like doing a handstand. I used to

do this ride every week? Crazy! I stopped at halfway down to let my rims cool.

Then I saw my crew in the RV ahead and blasted to in front of them and waved

then took off again. The rest of the way down I could handle the switches a lot

better. I got off the brakes and started using my body to dive in and pull the

front end around. A person could get better at this. But how the real riders do it,

I can't even remember. I think I had a couple good descents in my day down it.

No brakes on straights, I recall. Yikes! I felt pretty good all in all, surprising since

I haven't seen much riding or altitude since....and 195 lbs vs. 165!


Then I got a banana, planted a few more zines and VVA 'DRRTE's around town

and took off for the Morgul Bismarck loop. I was going to meet my family at

Eldorado Springs in an hour. Marshall sure hasn't changed! Hot rod

frat kid yelled at me for riding on Broadway at 30mph then I recalled that the paths

were indeed rideable around here and used it. They were gravel paving the first leg,

but man it was still a blast to ride big gears up the whole grade just like old days.

The Wall sure is different! I had to stop and ask to verify. The prairie scene sure

is different with skyscrapers! I rode up it nice then looked for the false flat. Hmm,

that musta been it back there. Then I felt lost again, a new subdivision instead of

pasture. Then a huge long grinding uphill. Oh, ugh, where am I. At the top, a fork

in the road and suddenly it dawned on me, hey, THAT was the rest of the Wall!

Twice as along as I thought, enough room for a whole moodswing. No wonder it

was always so sneaky. I'd forgotten. Then the rest of the loop was the same:

everything felt twice as big as I recalled. It was neat coming on old stretches

where I knew I'd put the hammer down in races. I prefered to do dirty work on

the other grades instead of or in addition to the Wall. The bigring on uphills is

what you want to look for the chance to do. Whenever you can do that when the

field doesn't want to is a good opportunity. Quiet or nagging grades are good

attack places.


Then the big downhill back to town. Too many cars for comfort really. I used to

match their pace, but that was in old speed limit days...also on 53-12! 52-13

just didn't cut it. Then I rode up to the Springs and had a swim. What a great

day! Hurray. Brought back old memories. What a lovely, splendid place for a

swim, too! Springfed, not crowded. A lovely courtyard setting. We filled our RV

water supply there. Can't beat it! Then we drove on back to Michigan!


So, all in all on this trip, I had two great rides in Boulder, one lovely evening hilly

ride in Missouri, a superfast urban ride in Phoenix, a splendid desert pass ride

outside of Phoenix, a short prairie ride in Dodge City after watching the rodeo,

and a wonderful rim ride at the Grand Canyon, with hardly a tourist

in sight, just a couple shuttlebuses (no cars allowed!). What a fine bunch of rides!

And many of them in the Big Ring, surprisingly enough. Musta been the

energy buildup in the RV. Or maybe I'm finally getting some riding in.

Now, what to do about those 30 extra pounds? Club rides coming up!

We'll see if my Boulder rides do me any lasting good! :)

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