Moab express

I'm planning to leave Tuesday morning for my first bikepacking trip of the year. I'm going to leave Loma, Colorado, and take the Kokopelli Trail to Moab, ride up Potash Road, ride around the White Rim up Mineral Bottom and then back to Moab. I'm giving myself three days to do this. I'm guessing that it will be close to 300 miles riding mostly dirt in the hot, hot desert. It's a fairly ambitious plan for the state I'm in right now, but it needs to be done. You can follow me on my SPOT shared page. This map above also should register the last point sent. The SPOT page is here:

Wish me luck. I'm really nervous so I'm gonna need it.

LATE EDIT: I was setting up my gear at the trailhead when I discovered a loose spoke in my front wheel. I'm bummed I didn't catch it earlier, but it seems like a bad idea to start ~140 miles of remote dirt road and trail with something like that. I detoured to Fruita and plan to show up at one of the bike shops in town Tuesday morning and hope they can fix a wheel fast. But I probably won't be on the trail until late Tuesday morning or early afternoon. This may limit my window to ride the White Rim, but I'll have to play it by ear.

The drive down here was amazingly beautiful, with dramatic lighting on the Book Cliffs and an apricot sunset. But it also gave me five hours to think about just how lonely I really feel right now. In the past, I've really enjoyed the solitude of solo bike tours, but I have a feeling that solitude is going to be a real challenge for me in this trip - maybe even more so than the heat, the scarcity of water, and the 50 mph wind gusts that have been ripping through this part of the world. I'm still optimistic that I'm going to go through with this trip; but, man, I don't think I've ever had such a hard time coaxing myself to go on a bike ride. And I include the Iditarod in this list.


  1. WOW. A lot of people take 3 days just to do Kokopelli, so that's quite the ambitious tour! Sounds fun though, and I hope you find the clarity you're looking for. Nothing can offer that like the southern UT desert...

  2. I was just in Moab a couple of weeks ago. What a great place.

    I hope this trip ends up being a healing venture for you, despite your misgivings.

  3. I'm not an expert on long bike trip or some of the hardcore adventure stuff you do (although I *do* enjoy reading about your adventures)....why not ride for a few hours and find a nice place to camp and do some thinking for a day and ride back?

    Sounds like you have lots of head clearing to do....

  4. Be safe out there Jill!

  5. Maybe find a bar in Fruita instead, and some strangers with a sympathetic ear. A good drunk is as cathartic as a 300 mile solo ride, and much more safe. Post the bar on the blog, and we can all call them and buy you drinks.

    Or not.

  6. Richard5:39 AM

    Jill, what a great ride ahead of you! I think you'll be swept up in the beauty and forget everything else. Good luck!

  7. Good luck on your trip. You've got the physical fitness thing down. Hang in there and you're get the mental toughness needed as well.

  8. Good luck and God bless you, Jill. You are my hero!

  9. What a great ride! I hope you get your wheel fixed quickly. It shouldn't take long. It may take a while to get into the ride mentally with what's going on but I think you'll end up getting in the zone after a while.

  10. Are you going to try to go riding with Fatty while you're down in Utah? As a fan of both of you guys and knowing that you've known each other through your blogging for quite a while it just seems like something that should happen.

  11. If it makes you feel any less lonely, just think of all the strangers who follow your blog and are on the edge of their seats waiting for the next update on your adventures! You're most definitely not alone! (But not in a creepy way, we're not stalkers :p)

  12. Chris7:47 AM

    I aimed for doing Kokopelli in 3 days. (scratched after 2 because of an injury to another member of the group). Then I barely lived to complete White Rim in one day.
    Go superwoman go!

  13. Good luck Jill. If the long rides don't work out you can still have plenty of fun on shorter trails in Moab. Have fun whatever you do!

  14. Jill,

    A loose spoke on a front wheel will not usually affect much. I usually carry a few extras in my seat post. I also carry a kevlar emergency spoke.

    Although rare, the biggest problem is the chain coming off between the rear cluster and the spokes. That will gough and greatly weaken the spokes on the drive side.

    If you pick up a lot of adobe mud on your chain and/or rear derailleur, then it may lead to this problem. Or, if your derailleur hanger gets bent too far out of alignment it may also allow the chain to come off like this.

    I am glad you are using a SPOT. I hope you are also using your regular GPS with the Topo maps loaded into it, because it can help you find springs. There is a heck of a lot more water out there than most people realize.

    You can always push a bike with a broken wheel and you can go hungry for quite a while, but water is the biggest issue out there. With the topos loaded in my GPS I have found water in the high desert when others have sworn that there was none.

    Good luck! I hope you find it therapeutic.

  15. Wow, you are in my neck of the woods now. I just love Fruita. I hope the beauty of the place is able to distract you from your loneliness.

  16. dinglearm12:07 PM

    Jill: I am just trying to catch up on what is going on "up in alaska". Sorry to hear about you and Geoff. This ride should help you sort out things.

    I have ridden around Fruita and Loma a few times. Sweet rides, good views, and they provide a lot of introspection....

    Take care.

  17. Probably too late, but if you need any type of support between Loma and Moab, fell free to get in touch.
    I live in the area and have time.

  18. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Looking forward to seeing some pics and maybe some video...maybe even a bright smile from you.

    Sounds like a wheel truing class is in the cards.

    I would love to see the camp setup and how you packed everything along with the ride report.

  19. Jill, I hope you have a fun, safe, head clearing ride. I was sad to hear that Geoff broke off your relationship. From experience I can say you will no doubt meet your someone special soon enough.

  20. Anonymous11:09 AM

    I've ridden the Kokopelli - it's tough! Make sure you have plenty of water.

    Good luck!


  21. Go Jill! This sounds like a fabulous adventure. Can't wait to hear all about it.

  22. You wll not be riding in solitude. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of us will be riding with you in spirit. We have stuck with you for years and we will not abandon you now...

    All the best!

    Eric Oliver

  23. DaveP3:21 AM

    So, does anybody else check the Spot page and zoom in *real* close...kindathinkin'....maybe....Jill's gonna look up?.......sigh.......couple more years i guess.

  24. Julie in Alaska11:31 AM

    Sorry you are out there riding with such a heavy heart. We have all suffered through similar suprise betrayals and it takes a while to learn to shoulder it and just go on with your life. You can only do it one day at a time, as they say, or one mile at a time, in your case! You are such an outstanding and talented'll overcome. The thing I realized after a similar breakup (with timing even worse than yours, but not much) is that my own dreams remained intact...and I have since lived them out! After the break-up, I was able to thrive! You will too, I know it. Good riding to you, and come back to AK. I think we need you up here.

  25. I can't believe you're doing this alone. You are SOOO amazing! What an inspiration!

  26. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Can't wait to see your photos of that awesome territory - some of the best in the country. Stay well; all of your friends, real and those of us in etherland wish you the best.


  27. Anonymous1:02 PM

    I've been checking in on your spot daily to see that your still going strong and I am glad that you are. Just like other stated, you may be alone on your bike but we are all here waiting and watching. Good luck trying to figure things out and clear your mind. Your strong will and tenancity in your daily adventures will surely help you get through.
    Erin in IA

  28. Anonymous2:28 PM

    Slow day at work - following your progress on SPOT and Google Earth. Can't wait to see your photos.

  29. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Mike In WI say's

    That's one heck of ride Jill!!!

    After watching you on SPOT, I feel trapped in my dark office watching your wonderful progress...

    I decided that Alaska does not need you but us in the lower 48 love having you around.

    Mike In WI

  30. Anonymous7:05 PM

    Jill your spot says that you are just climbing Horsethief, ouch. You are on the home stretch GO GO GO you Rock!

  31. VA Biker7:50 PM

    Jill, you are one tough cookie. I mean that in only the best way, with the highest level of respect. Be safe and good luck.

  32. Hey, I'm a winter biker from wisconsin, 47 years young, and your blog reader for 2+ years. A guy I was dating broke my heart a few months back, and I've been slowly reclaiming the biketrips that we took together by biking them alone. I've always loved biking alone, though most friends will discourage me and raise their eyebrows when I tell them what I've done and where i've gone. Your lifestyle has done nothing but fully supported my own true desires to be on a bike as much as possible and feel the sustaining joy and strength that comes from a trip well-biked. I've never written to anyone I don't know, but felt compelled to do so because your breakup entry upset me so. I'll spare the advice, because it's all about the journey: you'll find your way. You already have so many times (geez, I suddenly feel like Glenda the good witch of the North telling Dorothy she had the ability to go home all along!). Jill, you're an amazing amazing woman and my hero. Rock on! I am!

  33. Anonymous2:15 PM

    Best Wishes, Jill.
    Sounds like you should add minor bike repair to your reclaimed life. Just tighten it until it plunks the same pitch as the others. It'll usually do.
    Hammer on,

  34. Anonymous7:41 PM

    LOOSE SPOKE\!!! gotta take care of that stuff in the field...

    get with it.


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