Went to Moab and tried to do it all (Bikes, crawler, tow rig on dirt roads, etc)

Harry Johnson

Active member
Sep 13, 2023
Spreckels, Ca

Kids were on spring break, my 80 year old mom was itching to travel somewhere, and the wife and I wanted to mountain bike and wheel, so we picked Moab for a week.

There's a ton of stuff to do in Moab, but we only had a week, so the wife and I settled on bringing our jeep and some mountain bikes. Loaded everything up by lunch time and then went back to work to finish off the day before leaving that night:

Rolled into Bakersfield that night and checked into a hotel for the night. Decided we should probably bring the fancy bikes into the room with us.
Put the minions to work:

The next day we were delighted to find no one had fawked with our jeep in the parking lot, so we headed out for St. George, UT. Got a little snow heading through Tehachapi, Ca.

Checked into St. George for the night. and then headed out for Moab the next day. I have to say, I'm really impressed with how my wife's fancy soccer mom-mobile tows. Some rest-stop on I-70

Because we were traveling with my 80 year old mom, we went fancy and stayed at the Gonzo Inn in Moab. Not a great spot to try and figure out where to put an additional trailer and jeep, but since this was the weekend after easter jeep safari, I was able to find some street parking for our trailer and stuff our jeep in their lot.

The next morning we were going to do some "recon", but ended up just running Hell's Revenge. Our 3 year old got to take the preschool class Mouse with him for this trip, so we had to document its adventures. Here he is at the first overlook on the trail.


oh yeah, the overlook views are pretty good in the other direction too:

Despite its scary name, Hell's Revenge was actually pretty chill once you wrap your head around the insane traction the slickrock provides. (side note- I found out why it's called "Slick Rock" and not "Amazing Traction Rock": It was named back in the 1800's when people only had horses and wagons for transportation. Turns out this type of rock is really slippery if you're a horse.)


If you stop and get out, the views out on the this trail are pretty legit


Now we don't have a ton of pictures of "gnarly obstacles" because my wife hadn't been wheeling in a while, and every time she does, it makes her skittish of flopping/rolling. Every time we got to something scary, she would claim she had to get out and film it. To help her out with that, I convinced her to stay in the jeep every time we ran something difficult. Less pictures, but I think maybe she's coming back around to scary angles in vehicles. She did manage to hop out on the descent down to Hell's Gate, but I made her get in for the climb back out.

Fun little ledge later on in the trail that the Minister of Safety felt she should "film"

Hell's Gate wasn't very dramatic as long as you stayed on the correct line. I would imagine that The Escalator also wouldn't be that dramatic for the same reasons, but the correct line isn't that apparent. We were running solo, but saw some dudes walking up it scoping the way, so I figured I'd go for it and ask them if I was doing it right. About half way up with the driver's side front tire in the air, they both told me "no." Turns out about half way you need to cut from riding one side of the wall all the way over to riding the other side. After some creative backing and turning and a few white knuckles from the Minister of Safety, we were able to climb up. Unfortunately the Minister of Safety didn't feel like taking any videos due to only 75% of the jeep's wheels being on the ground at a given moment, so you'll have to settle for this pic of us parked at the top, which sadly looks a lot like the rest of Hell's Revenge. The backseat minions were unphased.


At this point we had to haul butt back to Grandma for lunch and the Minister of Safety was thirsty for something that would increase her serotonin levels and possible fix her Escalator PTSD, so we attempted to haul butt back out. ....unfortunately, there are a lot of other rigs on the trail.

Other vehicles passed and butt hauled back to town, we found "The Best Margaritas in Town" and drank them.... oh yeah, some people with horses had the same idear



After that my kids never stop moving, so it was off to the pool. The Gonzo in has a pretty nice pool setup.

And once we had swam off the morning's trail dust, it was time to get in some quick moab bike park laps before dinner. They have a pretty legit expert jump line and also some good stuff for the smaller kids:

Part 2 continued below
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The next day we went Grandmalanding. My mom is 80 now, but she used to be right in the thick of wheeling, mountain biking, hiking, etc. so I knew she was going to want to get out and see the countryside despite being old and having some knee issues preventing her from going on big hikes or climbing into anything higher than a stock SUV equipped with a step. So we busted out the grandmalander... er I mean the tow rig, and headed out to see the sights. First stop were some roadside petroglyphs on Potash road just outside of Moab.

If you look real close at the first dark area just above that little blue SUV there, you'll see some stuff.



Of course we also had to bring along the preschool class mouse.


A little farther down Potash Rd. are some dinosaur tracks preserved in a rock. This was in the same parking lot as the Poison Spider Mesa Trail, but the Minister of Straight Sheet Metal overruled my attempt to do some fairly extreme grandmalanding.

Continuing on down the Tour De Potash and while everyone was ooh-ing and aah-ing over an arch, onX and I were hatching a plan to get some dirt miles in back to town. Turns out there's a road that runs from Potash rd. up to road 313(which runs back toward Moab.)

It was tame enough for some grandmalanding, and the views were alright too..



View back down the canyon we just came up:

On our way back I convinced my now seasoned grandmalanding(and even a small bit of pregrandma-ing) veterans, that we should find more dirt roads back into town. This lead us to taking the grandmalander down Gemini Bridges trail. In one maybe mile long section, this was a bit gnarlier than I had anticipated, but I managed to only drag frame once and otherwise keep the grandmalander in once piece.


Bonus, we got to drive past Gooney Bird Rock and drive over the Gooney Bird's toes for good luck.

PART 3 continued below


If you like mountain bikes, Moab is one of those places that gets painted as a bucket list destination. As such, we had to bring our bikes and let our kids get a taste of those unique Moab trails. Luckily for us, there's a new trail system built that is shuttle-able via Sand Flats Rd. right out of town that is fun enough for expert level adults, but not too gnarly for our 3 year old. The only downside was how to shuttle? Hunting around and we were looking at 1 trip up the hill to cost about $160 for all of us.. OOOOR, we've got a grandmalander with a bike rack, a jeep that we can at least stuff adults in, and all dang day to move vehicles around. After coming up with an elaborate shell game of move-the-car, we ended up getting about 6 runs in for just the cost of gas. There are better ways to do this using one car with normal sized adults, but this was the only way to make it happen with man to man defense and a 3 year old.


We rode Eagle Eye, Hawk's Glide, and Kestral something or other near the bottom.




The next day it was slick rock time. Those of you who have ridden it know it's fun, but has tons of steep ups and downs, some would argue that's what makes the trail exciting. That's all well and good if you're a full size adult, but there's no way I'm hooking a tow rope up to my 3 year old for every single short climb. Luckily I had a plan! We brought both of our kid's stacycs, and as many batteries as possible JUST for this day. Most of Moab is no ebikes, however Slickrock is a run what you brung trail. You'll see regular bikes, ebikes, dirt bikes, and now, here's some stacyc action



That evening, we did a little more grandmalanding out to Arches national park for the sunset... it was OK I guess




PART 4 Continued Below at some point
Thanks for helping me plan my next trip to Moab. Been there a few times but looking to explore the area more. If you go there when it is warmer check out power road and the water falls.
Headed Home

Fun is over, time to head back to the real world... well, almost. My sister-in-law was down in St. George with her kids, and the drive is long sooo.... Figured we might as well stay an extra night there, do fun stuff and let the cousins all play. We rolled in in the afternoon while everyone was still out in Zion national park. Our kids are huge fans of Matt's Off-road Recovery on youtube, so it was pretty much a no brainer to make a pilgrimage over to their shop.

Damn they saw us coming- we ended up buying ALL the merch:


At that point the cousins STILL were not back... we could have hit the hotel, but also Sand Hollow was about a 5 minute drive away, we had a jeep on a trailer, and Grandma offered to relax and read a book while we took the kids for a rip.


It turns out The Minister of Safety had an issue with some of my chosen lines (The Minister of Cusswords has issued a warning on the following videos)...

After we put our toys away and met with the cousins for dinner, we called it a day. We were supposed to get up and drive west right away buuuuuut..... first we all had to explore the St. George Narrows in Pioneer Park:

They've got a slot canyon there that is super close to the parking lot. That of course, also means tons of people. My 6 year old didn't seem to mind:

They also had some wind caves for the kids to play in

That was cool and all... but the boys and I dorked out hard when we realized this was PRIME RC Crawler territory. Seriously. It's like a mini sand hollow out there and some people were running it:



After that it was time to hit the road

Added bonus of playing in the park in St. George is it knocked the kids out for the long-ass drive through the desert to Tehachapi

We checked into a hotel there (waaaay better than Bakersfield), put the kids to bed, and the Minister of Dinner and I headed out to my favorite after KOH stop- TK Pizza


Not a bad finish to the trip.
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