Moab, 2017 Edition

Intrepid Trail, Deadhorse State Park.

Intrepid Trail, Deadhorse State Park.

Big Chief Trail, Deadhorse State Park.

Big Chief Trail, Deadhorse State Park.

Cross Canyon trail, Klonzo North trail system.

Cross Canyon trail, Klonzo North trail system.

We went to the Outerbike Moab bike festival, tried some great bikes and scored some nice swag!

We went to the Outerbike Moab bike festival, tried some great bikes and scored some nice swag!

Demoing bikes at the Outerbike festival. Riding North 40 in the Moab Brand (Bar M) trail system.

Demoing bikes at the Outerbike festival. Riding North 40 in the Moab Brand (Bar M) trail system.

Circle-O trail, Moab Brand trail system.

Circle-O trail, Moab Brand trail system.

Bull run trail (Mag 7 trail system).

Bull run trail (Mag 7 trail system).

Bull run trail (Mag 7 trail system).

Bull run trail (Mag 7 trail system).

Gemini Bridges Rd.

Gemini Bridges Rd.

Beautiful campsite among the boulders (only accessible for short 4 X 4 high clearance rigs). I posted it  here on Campendium  if you'd like the coordinates.

Beautiful campsite among the boulders (only accessible for short 4 X 4 high clearance rigs). I posted it here on Campendium if you'd like the coordinates.

View from Gemini Bridges Rd.

View from Gemini Bridges Rd.

Driving on Gemini Bridges Rd.

Driving on Gemini Bridges Rd.

Rocky Tops trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Rocky Tops trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Rocky Tops trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Rocky Tops trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Ramblin trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Ramblin trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Chisholm trail (Horsethief trail system).

Chisholm trail (Horsethief trail system).

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system).

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system)

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system)

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system)

Big Mesa trail (Navajo Rocks trail system)

Trying to play the trumpet with Stéphane.

Trying to play the trumpet with Stéphane.

Our beautiful campsite on Dalton Wells Rd.

Our beautiful campsite on Dalton Wells Rd.

I've already written a lot about Moab since it is our 4th time here (I published a long post containing lots of practical info last year), but we still had a long list of trails to ride. We stayed in Moab 3 weeks this year and rode almost daily, so we checked pretty much our whole bucket list! The Navajo Rocks sector blew our mind (Big Mesa was a favorite) as well as Bull Run (Mag 7).

We went back to Milt's as is our tradition for the girls birthday now and discovered that the food is much better if you eat inside than outside (that was the Milt's we knew from 5 years ago - we had been disappointed in the quality of the food in the last few years). The space inside is very limited (a snack bar counter and two tables, but it's well worth waiting at the back door for a party to leave - it is still much faster than doing the line outside and waiting 45 min to be served).

We drove the whole Gemini Bridges Rd in the Westy. This year, we ended up staying on Dalton Wells Road since Willow Springs was very crowded. We found a great spot off the main road along some beautiful green cliffs. It gets pretty windy on those flats sometimes, but there's no avoiding it in that area. Just keep your awnings in check.

We also discovered a great place to get awesome espresso without having to wait in line at Moab Espresso and Gelato, it's a little bike shop café called Bike Fiend

We spent a lot of time at the Poison Spider bike shop since our bikes got damaged just before we got to Moab when a trucker backed up in our Westy while we were parked in a truck stop to cook dinner one night. Lucky for us, the trucker's insurance company was great and covered all the damages and bike rentals while the bikes were getting fixed (JF got a brand new bike). We had great service and if ever you need anything while in town, go see Russell, one of the managers, he's really an awesome person!

 

A day in Bend, Oregon

We sampled 10 of their beers and really liked the Pray for Snow, the Swill, the Big Daddy Fresh and the Apocalypse IPA.

Read their story. I love it. It is so Bend!! Big powder day? The "Gone Skiing" sign goes up. Too hot to work? Mandatory company float (down the Deschutes River). 

This is truly all you need.

A bookshop café? Yes please!

A dressed-up cyclocross race.

We had been wanting to visit Bend for many years already. We knew it was a cool laid-back Pacific Northwest town with great mountain biking and breweries, but that was about it. 

Bend is only just a few miles away from some of the best mountain biking trails, hiking trails and ski resorts in Oregon. Outdoor enthusiasts flock from far and wide for parks like Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, skiers and mountain bikers to Mount Bachelor, and rock climbers to Smith Rock State Park.

I have no clue how 10 brewpubs and three breweries (with more set to open soon) stay in business in a city of 80,000 persons. There are even cycle pubs for a very entertaining way of seeing Bend’s breweries. 

For a city of its size, Bend has a remarkable array of good restaurants. And Dog Fancy magazine called Bend the most dog-friendly city in the country. It’s hard to say what the city doesn’t do perfectly.

For many who move there, the point is to step out of the rat race, slow down and enjoy the finer things in life.

So yeah. Bend is the place.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most alternative cities in America. It's a green, cool and incredibly bike-friendly city. And it's a total foodie town. Food carts are the big thing here. They are everywhere and most offer very high quality tasty food. 

Every time we visit big cities, the girls are deeply disturbed by the sight of homeless people and beggars. They ask questions, try to understand how these people ended up on the street, feel sad and helpless. While we were waiting at one of the food cart, Mathilde had spotted a young woman begging on the corner of a street who looked quite unwell. She decided to buy a bratwurst for her with her own money. It was a very touching moment when she gave it to her.

JF spent a few day working at Stumptown Coffee while the girls and I explored the downtown area. We spent a few hours at Finnegan's Toy store (and good 30 minutes of those playing with wind-up toys and laughing!)

We spent more than 5 hours (over the course of 3 days) at Powell's City of book, the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world.

On another day, we walked Hawthorne Blvd and had a lot of fun in the vintage second-hand clothing stores. The girls even found their Halloween costumes!

We also went for a soak (and a shower!) in the beautiful outdoor heated pool of the Kennedy School, a 1916 school turned into an hotel, restaurant and theater. 

One day, we went to Washington Park and visited the rose garden while JF worked in the elephant house, an open building (with electricity!) that once housed the first elephant coming to Oregon from Thailand. We also went for a hike in the beautiful trails of that park.