It's fair to say I am no world-traveler, but I have spent my fair share of time in a car the last couple of months traveling around the US between driving down to Florida and then out to California. Yes, that's right. Carl and I drove coast to coast with endless stops in between together in just about 10 weeks and didn't kill each other. That's telling, right?
While we weren't able to get to every place on our bucket list (Moab, UT.... I will see you someday soon....), we were able to get to some pretty amazing places thanks to all these work trips. While work and the bikes always come first, we were lucky enough to spend a few days in some really cool areas across the country.
We all know I am not always the best at roughing it and prefer to go glamping vs camping, but it's safe to say these locations are all Kathryn approved. (with a little help from Carl who made sure our camping gear was spot on for more ease-free camping for this diva).
My desire to travel is stronger than ever. For now, check out the towns we've stopped in that I've declared notable.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I had realtor.com pulled up a few times while we were in Fruita, CO.
Before making the trek to 18 Mile, make sure to stop at The Hot Tomato for some fresh and delicious pizza (we had the Stinky Deluxe) and Copper Club Brewing for a local beer (or several, in our case). Before you know it, this town will have your heart. Between the chainring-themed town logo and the locals desire for Fruita to become the #1 biking destination, this place means business and makes their passion for biking well known throughout the community.
As I mentioned, it's a bit of a drive to 18 Mile but trust me when I say it is well worth it! Once you're out there, you're not going to want to leave. For only $10/night-- yes only ten dollars-- you get to feel 100% secluded while sleeping under the North Fruita Dessert stars and wake up to shred some amazing singletrack.
In just a day, we were able to make it to Hesston, PA from Chicagoland. And to our surprise, it was another absolutely gorgeous area that we were not expecting. While an entire day in a car may seem like a lot of hours for many, for us it a was a cake-walk (after all, we had just gotten back from our drive out to CA a week earlier).
After stopping at our Pittsburgh area dealer, Bear Dog Bicycles, we drove two more hours East to Hesston, PA for Dirt Rag's Dirt Fest. Dirt Rag sure hit the ball out of the park on picking a location for Dirt Fest. It's located in part of the Raystown Lake Region-- a 8,300 acre man made lake and centered around the Allegrippis Trail System-- a newly built 30+ mile singletrack trail--thanks IMBA! Oh, and there's endless campsites around the lake, and options to rent houseboats and cabins. Family vacation, anyone?
I never understood the big hype of going to Arizona... until I went to Arizona. Luckily for us, we had the opportunity for a quick trip to Scottsdale last fall to meet with one of our dealers, Regroup Coffee & Bicycle. After a little business was time for play. If you're a foodie like we are, you must stop at Diego Pop's and try out their Brussels Sprout Nachos. Yes, it's weird. Yes, they are amazing.
We were determined to get in some riding, especially since we actually went here last Fall and riding was a no-go in the frozen tundra known as the Midwest. Carl's dad, Don, was also with us and eager to get in some riding himself. Brown's Ranch Trailhead lays right in the middle of Scottsdale. It's now been over 6 months, and we still talk about how much fun we had on these rolling dessert trails. Personally, we enjoyed the Orange Segment and the Orange Alpine 6 the most. Now that the Stage 5 is out, I can only imagine how much fun it would be on these trails. Maybe a trip in the near future is necessary...hint hint.
Although we didn't actually stay in Reno, we just had to stop and take some pictures of those dreamy views! Who knew the "Biggest Littlest City in the World" would provide more than just casinos?
If you've been out to Reno or anywhere near, do you have any recommendations on places to go and things to see (eat)? If so, we'd love to hear from you as we hope to make it back here some time. Comment below. We stopped at Burger Me for some road fuel. If passing through, we recommend it. They have been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and were voted a Top 10 Burger in the U.S. in 2013 among many other awards/reviews.
Las Vegas, NV
Speaking of casinos... Carl and I went to sin city and didn't go to a single casino? While the opportunities were everywhere (like, every single grocery store and gas station), we hit the jackpot outside of the slot machines at the Red Rock National Canyon National Conservative Area.
Red Rock Canyon is located just miles west of Las Vegas and provides endless miles of amazing hiking and views. Although we usually prefer to site see via two-wheels, we hiked here and I sure am glad we did!
We camped here as well and were lucky enough to get the last campsite available. If you do plan on heading out here and wish to make it a weekend trip, make sure to call in advance as camp sites are limited.
Las Vegas is also the new home of Omar, perhaps better known as The Bike Bondsman!
Any Big Little Lies fans? If so, this town may ring a bell. However, most of you will probably know it as home to the Sea Otter Classic. To say the least, California (at least where we were!) was much different than I was expecting. Part of this may be due to the insane amount of rain they had received. What was normally brown and dry was flush, green and damp. Biker's paradise? Probably not. Head a bit further south to Santa Cruz and probably so. But the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is host to 40,000 consumers (and vendors!) making it a biker's paradise for sure. The Sea Otter Classic is an experience like no other.
Although there is camping on site if attending Sea Otter, we found a spot a little more secluded and in town. So long as you don't mind a drive in the morning for 'The Otter,' you're going to love Monterey Veteran's Memorial Park and especially it's ocean views. [Here's a list of other local parks and beaches!]
Camping closer to town meant we were closer to the Fisherman's Wharf, and there's plenty of pubs & sea food restaurants to check out there. Although we didn't get a chance to do more, there's all sorts of fun things to do like sport fishing and whale watching. [Check it out here].
This place ROCKED! Easy drive (given the distance), friendly staff running Santos Fat Tire Festival (what brought us to Ocala), and a great trail system. What's not to love?
Since we were vendors here, we were able to camp right behind our booth which always works out great for us. Since this is before the days of having the Nemo Helio Shower, we showered at the local YMCA--which was very needed after a long day in the Florida heat & humidity. *Tip from Kathryn* if you're a member at a YMCA, you're able to use any facility you can find across the US (at least we've been able to in our experience). Although we now are able to shower at camp, this is a great alternative if you're in need of four-walls and some hot water. Another "I need a real shower hack"... stop at a truck stop! Believe it or not, now days they keep them pretty nice and you're able to get that shower you need while on the road.
Alabama... it took me awhile, but it now has my heart and I am looking forward to returning in the fall for the Coldwater Fat Tire Fest! We made a pit-stop here for a demo-day with one of our outside sales reps, Cory, who lives in the area.
If you're looking for a place to camp, and are up for quite the drive up a mountain (no, seriously, it's a haul!) check out Cheaha State Park. As far as biking goes, make sure you've got agua and head to Coldwater Mountain for some killer elevation and miles of great riding.
Last but not least, how could I not give the place we call home some loving. I know what you're thinking... Sheboygan, WI? I thought the same thing. Now that we live here, I do declare I am in love!
Whether you're looking to bike endless miles through the various Kettle Moraine State Park trail system throughout the area, want to give surfing a go on the local beach fronts on Lake Michigan (Sheboygan is the fresh water capital of surfing, after all), or spend an afternoon golfingat one of the Top 4 public golf courses in the world, you may want to stop here. And make sure to swing by 3 Sheeps for some local beer after riding at Evergreen Park.
Ready to travel yet?
* notable mention, Canton, GA (Atlanta-ish) home to Blankets Creek and our dealer Sixes Pit. Blankets Creek has become one of the most renowned and well-ridden trails in the entire country. There are a total of 7 different trails that range in difficulty. I just didn't have any pics outside the shop or the demo day (except this one). What's not to love about northern Georgia?