Old Mecca, Same Stoke

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I am on the road yet again and this trip finds me in Moab, UT. This place never gets old. Some try and say otherwise and I say those people are blind fools. It has fluctuated in popularity over the years but fun will always be had here. I remember the first time I came here, 10 years ago, and I was in complete awe of the landscape. Every ride is a journey to someplace that just overwhelms my senses.

Recently, pulling into town has always made me think of this clip from the Roam video. It just about sums it up for me.

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I am only here for 3 days but I am going to optimize the hell out of those 72 hours. Even though this trip is based a little more around climbing rocks than riding, we still brought bikes and intend to ride every day. Not having a bike while in Moab is just foolish. I once had a friend that went to Moab without his bike. Needless to say, we are no longer friends.

Maybe I will run into this guy while I’m out there

I’ll leave you with this quote from my homebody Ed. Love him or hate him, the boy had a way with words. I completely understand how he came up with these while in that red southern Utah desert

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break….I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.”
Edward AbbeyDesert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness


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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single women and single malt. Currently in Carbondale, CO Follow on Instagram @dirty_biker

25 Replies to “Old Mecca, Same Stoke”

  1. Great video, the second one. Living in Washington State we are lucky to have access to some rock similar to that – as well as access to mind blowing mountain bike riding.

    If only it were as simple as he makes it look. Family, medical, all sorts of obligations that make dropping out not really an option for most of us stuck in the Matrix I mean system. Nice to dream though.

    Thanks for posting that.

  2. But knowing that these places are out there, and some folks are doing this stuff, sets the mind to wandering…..

  3. Abbey has been compared to Henry David Thoreau. Odd thing, that. I don’t recall the sage of Walden advocating the destruction of lives and property.

  4. If you like Mr. Abbey’s work, go read Wallace Stegner. Or for that matter, John Muir. But definitely the Stegner. _Angle_of_Repose_ is probably the definitive novel of the old American West. And no, it doesn’t end well for Our Hero.

  5. I’m reading Angle of Repose right now. I find it boring as hell. I hear that Crossing to Safety is much better.

  6. Uhmmmm.

    How is that sad ??

    What part of mentally ill escapes you ??

    He lives in a box on top a pick-up truck out in the middle of bum-fuck desert nowhere.

    Doing what he does as part of your life is one thing. Doing that AS your life is sad.

  7. Personally, I prefer Leopold and Carson. Abbey’s writing has its place, but the near idolatry of him is a bit much. I think it was McMurty that compared him to Thoreau, so I wouldn’t discount it entirely. Many authors and artists have a hard time living up to the expectations we have of them because of their work.

    On the non-evironmental side, I’ve been enjoying Cormac McCarthy lately. Well, as much as one can enjoy the brutality of his novels.

  8. I think you’re just putting your values on it. I couldn’t live that way for very long, but he lives little different than many desert rats. I could find you plenty of those guys down in Terlingua. I guess it’s just not shocking to me. If he expressed that he wanted his life to be something else, then it would be sad that he wasn’t making that happen. Seems like he’s made his life what he wants. He gets to go crag climbing all the time. Other climbers come to him.

  9. FFF would you say the same if he was a famous musician that always wanted to be close to music, or a poet that wouldn’t go anywhere without a notebook? This guy’s thing just happens to be crack climbing, and he goes for it. Admirable and inspiring if you ask me.

  10. I’m moving towards living like that guy, and I am probably mentally ill and I see it as a huge piece of why I want to do this. The bigger part of why is that I’m not leaving anything of value behind, no kids, marriages, career, or assets. That’s easy.

    Don’t know if that guy is sad or mentally ill, I assume he has the bug in his head that makes him also see little to no value in mainstream society as compared to the life he chose but who cares? If he’s happy and getting by in life like he wants to it’s no problem. I think most people who are aware develop a level of disgust with the mainstream but can’t or won’t or shouldn’t just bail. I’ve never climbed before, it looks like a good activity for solitude, but what do I know.

  11. All coins have two sides.

    “FFF would you say the same if he was a famous serial killer that always wanted to be close to his victims, or a pervert that wouldn’t go anywhere without molesting a kid? This guy’s thing just happens to be crack climbing, and he goes for it. Admirable and inspiring if you ask me.”

    Crazy is as crazy does.

  12. The second video was inspiring to say the least. Less is indeed more. If everyone lived with less our world, especially our country, would be a better place.

  13. FFF, that’s a ridiculous extension to the argument. You don’t agree with the choices he’s made or how he lives, so you want to discount him by saying he’s crazy to live in a trailer and climb all the time. The truth is there are lots of people in the West that live like that. They just don’t particularly like dealing with lots of people, or care that much about making large amounts of money. I don’t see how that makes them mentally ill.

  14. …we all have demons in our lives & who knows what first directed this man to this environment but like him, if you can turn demons into angels with which you learn to sing ‘hallelujah’, you have achieved a beautiful relationship with your own life…

    …from the few words he spoke, he sounds saner than most driven ‘achievers’ i’ve met in this world…

    …i couldn’t live that kind of life but as i watched that, it almost brought tears to my eyes to see a being with so little pretense & so in accord with himself & nature…

    …his needs are simple as is his lifestyle but it all sings of a greater appreciation for being on this planet than most folks could conceive of, from my way of thinking…

  15. I think the one thing that keeps luring me back to my bike is the solitude. Ain’t sayin’ I know where the guy’s coming from because I never met him. But I think I can appreciate him just the same.

  16. @D2— re: Stegner, stay in the saddle and pay attention. Maybe I’m old and I’ve lived in the West too long, but his grasp of how it works out here is possibly the best ever set to paper. And no, it doesn’t end well.

  17. I’m just not digging the characters. Love his writing style, though. He puts together some amazing sentences.