Live, Play, Travel

Desert Dreaming

May 22, 2015

It’s been raining in Boulder for a good couple weeks and no one knows how to handle it. When you live in a place that wears it’s 300 days of sunshine like a badge of honor, extended periods of clouds and moisture can quickly send people into deep despair. Want to see a bunch of Coloradans lose their proverbial shit? Turn off the sun for a while and see what happens.

With the weather in the mountains and Front Range being dismal and a long weekend on the horizon, it seems like half of my Facebook feed is talking about one thing: going to Fruita.

If you don’t mountain bike or live somewhere on Colorado’s Western Slope, you’ve probably never heard of a little town called Fruita, Colorado, and if you have it’s most likely because you saw the exit as you drove past on I-70 from Denver to Moab. It’s a stop on the highway that probably doesn’t mean anything to you, unless you’re a mountain biker, and then you know it’s heaven.

Like many people, our first stop in Fruita was part of a longer trip to the hallowed mecca that is Moab. We set up camp at the Colorado National Monument and drank beer as we watched the sinking sun light up the Bookcliffs across the highway. The next day we discovered the smooth, swooping, ribbony trails that the North Fruita Desert (a/k/a “18 Road”) is known for, the campground full of friendly mountain bikers, the exposed and ledgy riding of the Kokopelli Trails, and the high desert solitude of Rabbit Valley. We were hooked.

We headed on down the road to Moab a few days later and spent some time on the tourist trail. We did some riding, visited Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and hung out in town. We liked Moab, but we found ourselves being drawn back to the quiet, laid-back vibe and flowing singletrack that Fruita is famous for. So we headed back a day early to get another fix.

And that is how our Moab/Fruita trips have gone ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I like Moab. I like it a lot. But I love Fruita even more.  Moab is a tourist town. A place where t-shirt shops line the main drag and Jeep tours constantly go rolling by. Fruita is a place that is way off most people’s radars, a place that has no t-shirt shops. What it does have, besides world class mountain biking, is a stunning but not well-known national park, a really great pizza place, and a quiet stretch of the Colorado River that rolls along the edge of town. It has a grocery store and farmer’s market and a bunch of friendly locals that seem to embrace the bike obsessed crowd that descends on their town every spring and fall. It is also one of the best places imaginable for a family camping/mountain bike trip, but that is the subject of a different post.

We aren’t going anywhere this weekend. Bad weather in the mountains and an intense travel schedule have convinced us that a long weekend at home is just what the doctor ordered. We are still getting settled after a couple crazy weeks and my husband is preparing for a trip to Moscow that may or may not happen in the coming days. A long weekend at home is kind of what we need … but it doesn’t mean that I’m not dreaming of the desert.

Happy Memorial Day weekend, y’all! I hope the sun is shining wherever you are!

[A housekeeping note: My Facebook button is broken. I’m working on getting it fixed! In the meantime, you can follow along on Facebook by clicking here and liking my page. Thanks!]

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  • Reply Jess Curren September 30, 2015 at 12:11 am

    We discovered the bliss of Fruita and 18 Road this past summer. I seriously fell in love. We also had a local meet up with us and take us to the Hot Tomato for lunch. AH-mazing. We were so busy riding Kestle Run that we completely skipped the National Monument, so naturally we’ll have to come back. Naturally.

    • Reply jendz October 1, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Well yeah, obviously a return trip is in order! And yes, the Hot Tomato is SO GOOD!

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