It was with some (OK, great) sadness that I ate my last bowl of camp porridge and had my last mug of Egyptian tea for breakfast - for Friday was our last day in Moab. I still hadn't put in a fast lap of the Slickrock Trail - something I was keen to do to see how my fitness & riding had improved over the ten days. Alex & I headed out while it was still cool & the trail was pretty much deserted. I was quietly pleased to rattle out the trail in seventy-five minutes - about fifteen minutes faster than two other best times.
With camp packed up, there was nothing left to do but leave our little home (and go and hit the brewpub and drown our sorrows). Actually there was, I posted postcards and we finally visited Sweet Cravings, a cafe (serving breakfast, lunch and plenty of baked goodies) that we'd had the eyes of our stomachs on for some time. Megan promptly declared her lunch as the best sandwich she had ever had - my Thai chicken wrap was also worth of similar levels of praise.
There had been some discussion of what would be our final ride - Megan & I were keen for Captain Ahab again as it was so damn good, but that was hardly family-friendly. We settled on heading out Klondike Bluffs again to do a bit of riding with the Tout, before Megan & I could address our unfinished business with the singletrack that we didn't get to ride on the mud-scapade . This worked out OK as there was still much tiredness around due to the second (& as far as I know, last) instalment of Finn's night-terrors. We had a pleasant little ride together on Dino-Flow - rocky, but not too technical - before Alex & Finn left us to the more tricky stuff.
We rode a bit of EKG, which proved slow, rocky & reasonable technical; Megan wasn't having a ball as she struggled to stay awake, but we made it up to UFO and that trail flowed a lot better and was a lot more enjoyable in our not-quite-peak state. Taking the easy, but fun, way down Baby Steps that we knew was there and onto the last part of EKG & then that, as they say, was it. All over red rover; I'm not sure I've gotten over that yet.
I had to head back to town to return my trusty steed & took the chance to grab a shower. I was pleased that I wasn't charged for the few minor scratches, but especially because I was pretty convinced I'd blown the seal in the shock.
We rolled out of Moab faced with the four-hour drive back to Salt Lake City. As the weather closed in, I was well relieved to get a message from Jeremy saying that we could stay in their basement while they were away - not camp on the back lawn as was originally planned. That saved us much hassle & time in not pitching & taking-down camp in the rain and cold.
As I tend to do, that long solitary drive back to Salt Lake gave plenty of time to reflect on a fantastic biking holiday. I can't even put the variable weather down as the only negative - it wasn't always brilliant, but that was all part of the trip & gave some interesting snow scenery & riding. As for all the positives - excellent trails, spectacular scenery, great friends making for superb riding buddies, a very good bike, my riding & fitness improving significantly and some very tasty meals & beer - I'm not sure what to name the highlight, although one does tend to lean towards the riding, as it was a riding trip after all. Definitely the best holiday I've had in a long time (probably since the last USA riding trip in 2011) & that's saying a lot as I've had plenty of trips all around the place in the intervening time. Maybe it's because there's not usually many photos of me on my, mostly, solo travels - but seldom have I seen so many photos of me grinning maniacally; that's probably a good indicator of the quality of the trip.
Up sort of early Saturday morning as the others faced a 1500 km/almost 1000 mile drive back up north, we sorted everything out and then made a rather tortuous trip (due to being trapped within the SLC marathon course & new tires being bought for the others' car) to the last of Jeremy's recommendations - WAFFLES! It's not often that I sink fifty dollars on breakfast, but every last cent was worth it - delicious. Then it was goodbye time in the rain, which at least made it mercifully brief & to the point - but then I wouldn't expect much else from us lot.
Before I knew it, I'd returned the rental car, flown back to Heathrow (two planes, Mama!), tubed, trained, taxied, picked up my car and made it home - winning the not-race home as the return to Canmore was slowed by snow & ice in Alberta - and was back at work.
6 hours ago