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Always Learning
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A mountain biking vacation with the family.... Who ever said it couldn't be done? It was our first attempt at it and all in all things went pretty well on our trip.

2 adults, 2 children, 2 dogs, 2 bike racks, 1 RocketBox, 1 tent, 1 van and a desire to ride and travel was all we needed to launch the summer of '04 trip. Legs and lungs were trained after all 4 of us did RAGBRAI (518 miles across Iowa) at the end of July.

Original goal was to drive from Iowa to San Francisco via Colorado, go through Utah (for Moab) and end up in San Fran for a family function where I was to sing at a 25th wedding anniversary. We also had tickets to see 2 Giants games (in which Bonds smuthered the Expos with some homers). The first snag came via some scheduled surgery that my wife needed (skin cancer had to be removed on the face). Surgery ended up being much more detailed than thought requiring oodles of stitches and recovery time. So we altered our plans and shortened the trip due to the surgery. Trip was shortened even more due to me getting a concussion during a mountain bike race while on the first 3 days of vacation. I'm still trying to recover from that bang on the head. More on that in another post. This put a crimp on the driving as I was literally "out of it" from the bang on the head. Our big vacation with high hopes of seeing Moab, Yellowstone, Lake Tahoe, Mount Rushmore, and just about anything and everything in between fell well short of the original goals. However, we always have next year to catch what we missed this time around.

Anyway, what follows are just a few pictures of the trip that are a potpourri of the family (campsite, trails, riding, river, rainforest, eating burned dinner, van all loaded up, etc...) to give you an idea of what a family has to go through to travel across country with bikes and camp. Most all of you are well acquainted with camping, dogs, building fires, mountain biking, etc... . Mixing all of that together was a new experience for us which for the most part worked out quite well. You want burned black Hobo Stew? We know how to do it. You want a fire that fizzles out after 5 minutes thanks to wet wood? We know how to do it. You want screaming and hungry kids 7 miles from the campsite out on the singletrack? We know how to do it? You want your black lab to run and jump in the sewage lagoon out behind one of those Interstate rest areas? Hey - our dog can do it. Talk about the need for an emergency rinse off and shower...

Anyway, we chose camping sites that were secluded and allowed us to break the "leash rule" most of the time for our 2 dogs (labs) because nobody else was around us. And of course, we had to take turns riding our bikes so that we could take care of the dogs. A couple of shorter rides we were able to lock them in the van, but we're not too big on doing that - so they were justg short family out and backs with all 4 of us on our bikes riding easier trails.

The first night that it was "my turn" to cook the meal in our camping chef rotation, I decided to do the old standard Hobo Stew. It was raining all day, everything was soaking wet and cold - so I figured a big pot of stew for each of us would warm our innards. When I asked my wife how long to keep the stew in the fire she replied "my rule of thumb for everything is an hour". Well, you know the result of that lovely advice.... I think we all managed to choke down about 3 bites with the rest being burned to a charred black crisp. Thank goodness for s'mores and wine to get our calories that night until we could get out of camp and sneak in a real nice warm breakfast at an iHop.

Here's a couple of posts with the potpourri pictoral. I never manage to take enough pictures and pretty much didn't bring the camera on the majority of rides because I wasn't using my CamelBak.


580 Posts
Nice........sounds like quite the adventure. Had to laugh at the dog and the sewage lagoon....we have a turd hound of our own. She's SO proud when she finds some fresh human poo to roll in.

Better luck next year on hitting your goals, but sounds like you did okay this time too.

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