Zen On Dirt

Crashing the Dixie 200

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One of the most challenging parts of living a nomadic lifestyle is maintaining a sense of community. A sense of belonging. Something, I believe, all of us, as humans, need. It’s a lot easier to do when you build that community in one spot, or even around one activity (think bike racing where you see your friends several weekends a month), but spread out has its advantages too. More effort to maintain, yes. But worth it.

Often, our travel isn’t as straightforward as it may seem from the outside. We generally go through several iterations of a plan before we setting on a way forward. Travel has to be flexible, occasionally creative, and always needs to be approached with a sense of humor. With me having to be in Boulder to dog-sit in a few days, we hatched a plan to take us to Salt Lake City, where we could spend some time with Scott’s family, then I would fly to Boulder to watch dogs, and then Scott would meet me somewhere in Colorado at a later date with the Scamp.

But on the way to SLC, from the Kaibab Plateau, we decided to crash the Dixie 200 start party. I did Dave Harris’ monster of a bikepacking race back in 2011, and it still ranks as the hardest bikepacking route that I’ve ever done, mostly because of the endless piles of downed trees. But we knew that Alexis and Denny would be camping there the night before the race, as would Dave any Lynda. And Alice D was going to race, so it would be good to see her again. That made the effort more than worth it.

Getting to the campsite required fording a little creek. The Scamp and the van did great.


The campsite would prove to be a little challenging due to lack of cell reception and Scott having a dozen trackers going, including big ones following Tour Divide, Trans Am, and RAAM. But where friends are camping, we’ll camp. Cocktail hour was going soon after we got the Scamp set up.


It was fun to send 10 people off for their adventure the next morning before heading to town for work.


Pink line of doom! I had the same issue 24 hours before start of Tour Divide in 2012 and ended up calling the GPS expert (Scott) to help me fix it. 

I was a little jealous of the prospect of their adventure. But I knew better. This was a Dave Harris race.


We ended up finding the gas station that acted as the hub of the small town of Parowan. Wi-fi, gut-bombing breakfast burritos (I’d skip that next time), and seating for laptoping. An endless stream of ranchers and other workers streamed through, getting their $2.50 burrito and 44oz soda in their Big Gulp mug.

By the time we finished computerizing, Dave and Lynda had left for their ride, leaving us to ride alone. In the end, it was probably for the best as we suffered around the 9-mile Navajo Lake loop. I spent the time dreaming about laying on a beach…I know that when I dream about horizontal time, I’m tired.


There was a lava field. That was neat.


I bemoaned being tired. My irrational side said that I’d done nothing of significance in the past week. My rational side pointed out that I’d done a lot on the Kaibab, and a lot before that, and that being tired was a totally normal reaction to having spent a lot of time in beautiful places while trying to do it all. And really, it’d only been the past three days where I’d relaxed, and three days does not make one week. One of the hardest parts of Scamp life, for me, is to know when to say when. When have I hit my 90% of exhausted. When is it time to stop. Moderation has never been a strong point for me.

Given our energy levels, it was an easy decision to head towards SLC a day early. Especially since Scott’s older brother agreed to do another nearly-full moon Mt Wire sunset hike with us when we got there. Plus, with the record temperatures, we weren’t going to refuse an air conditioned house for a few days.



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