Wand(Aryl)lust
"Hello. My name is Aryl Rebecca. My interest are varied and spread over the world wide. The toughest part of my tenure as a single parent in my 20s & 30s has been the feeling of being paralyzed in the status of my situation.  Alas, no more. I am as free as you are.  I am as FREE as we are.


  About ME: I waited 12 years before my son got his own US Passport.  It is my belief that that one document is so important to the understanding of our humanity, our "One-ness" on this planet.  IN those 12 years of waiting to take him outside of my beautiful country, I promised myself that I would teach him the lesson, through experience that "The grass isn't always GREENER on the other side."  To teach myself this as much as him we explore OUR world, from the inside out!  These are our adventures on the paved roads, and on the beaten paths.  To search, to travel, to discover...is to find yourself, again and again and again.
Fruita, Colorado (March 2015) 

How to make a 13 year old boy SMILE?  
"Mountain biking, Pizza, Rocks, a pocket knife and lots of chill-laxin in the "outside!"

I have a friend named, CP.  He is the great adventurer of self inspiration.  When he calls, I make efforts to say "YES!"  Last week, he offered us a trip to Fruita, Colorado to ride the 18 Road and Kokopelli Loop trails.  I said "YES" and told Remi, "No" to a Magic the Gathering tournament... and off we went!  Long rides across Colorado are always a treat.  We made an extra adventure by loading up our bikes and gear the night before with CP, and took the bus from Boulder, CO to Golden, CO where he works, on the following day, Friday.  (NOTE: Colorado has a great bus system.)  Remi saw mountain goats, and the adventure began! It's only 250 miles from Boulder to Fruita... and I-70 is Straight through the mountains...  Chris and I had stayed at the Balanced Rock Inn before.  It's owned by a Polish family, they allow dogs, and it is walking distance to Fruita's little historic downtown.  Oh, and bet you didn't know, Fruita has a Gazebo! 

All a bit hungry, Chris pulled off in Parachute, CO for a burrito from Taco Bell.  Fast food joints are not my thing, but alas Remi was a bit hungry and we where trying to make it to the hotel before 10 pm.  The girl there was clearly on drugs, and I think only got 2 things right.  Remi was disappointed and I said, "Well there is another reason to not do drugs... it disappoints those around you."  He was in disbelief that the girl screwed up his simple order.  Alas, we moved on, checked in and hit up the local City Market(Kroger).

Day 1 Saturday Morning: 18 Road
http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/279821/kessel-run
Remi put on his new spandex padded bike shorts, with no complaints.  He wore a helmet and was excited to be riding around in the desert and hanging out with his mom.  We got some yummy snacks packed, Eldo Water in our bottles and began the straight ride up so he could experience his first SHOOT down.  Kessel Run is a fun swishy down.  Advanced riders and beginners can enjoy this as it all depends on speed and the use of your breaks, as to the level of comfort you are willing to smile about.  Remi took a small break at the top after a short ride up the road.  Then OFF he went.   I like him to ride first, plus I get to see my son happy on a bike... which is his small unknown gift to me.  By the end, of the short fun, he was hooked.  I could see it in his eyes.  We had gone out on some loops before, but he wasn't in the right frame of mind to enjoy.  
MID-DAY SIESTA : These are important when the sun is blazing hot in the desert.  Over heating sucks!
Day 1 Saturday Evening: Kokopelli Loops
Rustler's Loop, GREEN Rating, 3.7 miles 
This next loop was a treat!  Lots of family's with toddlers, and silver haired grandparents, and fast riders alike ride this trail.  Remi wanted to be in front and didn't like it when folks caught up.  He found his pace, which is fast.  We stopped a couple times to take a drink and enjoy the scenery.  Remi has this way in nature.  He SEEs it.  He FEELs it.  He stops and asks me to sit with him, and to just take it in.  We often have these, "Student becomes the Teacher" moments.  I saw a cottontail bunny and laughed, while feeling the warm rocks. He just looks and smiles... He often goes off trail to catch a glimpse of something new.  Long ago, I stopped trying to direct him in nature and gave him free reign
over his curiosity in it.  When he stops, there is nothing particular about these scene before him.  He usually says, "Mom, sit, and listen... Do you hear that?"  or "Mom, come, sit and let's just relax and enjoy the scenery."  Remi is an Earth soul for sure. We found so many lizards just of the trail past the slick rock section.  Remi insists he get closer for a photo. I am reminded of the lizards in Colombia that I saw a couple weeks before, and the messages all of nature can teach us.  Remi and I, well we are a tag team of smiles.  I bring him out to faraway places, and he reminds me to just RELAX.  Which is a hard thing to do as a single mom.  
Towards the end of the first loop, Remi was wearing a light long sleeved first layer.  He was over heating, even in the late afternoon sun.  He got frustrated, and I let him have his space to work out the emotions coming up.  I find this soo important, and a reminder that he is finding his autonomy, and learning to be, him.   After 10 minutes I remind him that we have a short up and the rest is down.  He stops one more time before rendezvousing at the pivot tree where it is all down hill from there.  The scenery is all new him and alluring.  He seeks shade when he gets hot, and comes out revived after a couple of minutes of cooling.  CP catches up with us, and Remi FINALLY swaps out his long sleeve for a tank top.  He is smiling again, and into the last section of the ride.  He has moments coming down that launch him into the air, and he catches himself.  He is in LOVE with the heartbeats these new sensations bring.  He retells the moment again and again... "Did you see that?"  We end with all of us happy.  Chris is training for a 100 mile bike race in the summer, and I am there to just be.  To share my love of biking with my small awesome family, thankful for my friends, and their abilities to share with us.  We go back, we all shower off the sweat and dust... and as the sunsets over the surrounding mesa's... we walk into town.

PIZZA TIME at the HOT TOMATO!  http://hottomatocafe.com/menu/
This is surely the 2nd best part of the trip for family and friend time.  Chris and I discover a beer that is chocolate chipotle, light and actually pretty good.  I get a salad and some crusty bread, as a pizza is a funny thing for a vegan.  Remi gets his own slice of za, cheesy bread and a cup of endless refills of soda.  We all share our favorite moments of the day.  I am in heaven.  Friends, children, and smiles after a day OUTSIDE!  Remi is a keen direction hold and I let him find his way back to the hotel by himself.  He likes this and I appreciate his ability to not get lost.  Fruita is a small town, but new places can seem daunting to the untrained compass sometimes.  He is proving to me that he maturing, and able to find his way in life.  Thump Thump... my heart skips again with joy.

We have all packed into the small room to save $, and Remi gets the floor again, in a little nook with his iPad and sleeping bag.  CP, his dog Ridge and I share the queen bed, I snore, and pass out first.  

Day 2 Sunday Morning : Kokopelli Loops (Daylight Savings SPRING ahead, has kicked in)
We pack up and head out eating our pizza leftovers for breakfast.  Remi is even faster this time and we stop only 3 times.  Once to check out the river and for Remi to build a rock tower.  The second time for Remi to climb down into a small sandy valley, and see a snake.  The last time, felt like a sacred old spot, to the left of the trail.  I looked up and saw a face in the rock.  It was magical.  We came down fast the last section and smashed it.  We waited for CP at the car, who was riding much longer loops and just basked in the sun with several other riders in the parking lot.  Remi went climbing and found a stick to train with.  It was a great ending to this short trip to the Western Slope. 

PS. My mountain bike front wheel was acting up so I rode an old TREK rigid.  Better to be out on a bike, than think you need some fancy ass bike to enjoy riding a bike out on a trial.  Sure, if speed and distance are where you are at, the money spent can make those extended trips more enjoyable.  There is an element of outside that says, do it do it do it.  This element doesn't say how, it just says get your ass outside.  I like to ride a rigid bike.  It doesn't bother me.  My ass can be a little more sore, and my hands get jarbled, but if I give way to things not being exactly how I want them, I have learned I can miss out on the most amazing new adventures.  This is just a thought.  Remember, $5000 bikes are relatively new in on our planet.  Spend your money where you will, but NATURE doesn't demand anything but your presence (presents).









Moab, Utah (March 2015) 

Sand, Heat & the SUN! 
"Where is the SHADE MOM?"... Behind "that" rock REMI!


Super last minute trips are often the most exciting moments in my world.  I often feel the pull of a specific landscape, and once it is in my head my favorite phrase becomes vital to the manifestation of that specific location. That phrase is, "Decide WHAT it is you want.  Write that Sh*t down.  Make a f*cking list, and work on it EVERY SINGLE DAY!"  Everyone has a way they make their worlds, THEIR world.  This is one of my ways.  That and my grandmother and grandfather on my fathers side, Ta and Grumps, drilled the phrase, "Thought, Word, Deed" into my head, every summer growing up.  Deed is often the hardest and worthwhile piece of the equation.  Deed FINISHING has been the hardest thus far for me in this grandiose adventure of life.  I have started several schools, and have loads of education, but no degrees.  My only exceptions are the completion of two Jingui Qi Gong levels, traveling, and TWO for life commitments to my son Remi, and Co-ops.  This is a travel blog though, so we will stick to those adventures completed.   

It is the close of Spring Break 2015, and after a short jaunt for 2 nights in the Ceran St. Vrain valley with some fellow co-opers, at the beginning of the week (it snowed), I feel the pull to end it by taking Remi to Moab, Utah.  He wasn't able to see his father this Spring, and I wanted to find a fun connection with my son, the way I know how to.  BY BEING OUT SIDE! It's hard to connect with teenage sons, especially when what they want is to either be with their fathers, or with their friends.  Finding any opening in the focussed engagement factor is KEY.  I have found that biking and going to new places where there are streams, shade and sticks is the skeleton key to my son, Remi.  

We made it out later than I had planned on Friday evening.  Oil checked, gas filled, car loaded, we made one last stop to get Remi a flip phone that we could use while on our trip. I have taken to free internet phone service, PINGER, to save money.  Now connected to the emergency line with our STAR TREK flip phone, we head south to Golden's, Route 6, Clear Creek Canyon.  THE ADVENTURE HAS BEGUN!

The short road from 6 to I-70, the highway we need to get to was closed, so we found the route through Central City, Colorado that would allow a westward avenue, and no feel of back tracking.  It was soo COOL!  I had never been up to this Casino filled town.  It was a bit, overwhelming, and Remi kept saying... This reminds me of what an Italian town looks like.  HA!  Entertainment.  By sunset we where in Silverthorne, and had a bite to eat.   I wasn't sure where we were going to camp in Moab (it's the high tourist season), but remembered the small out of the way campground that had bathrooms, hot showers and usually spots open for $20/night.  I called my friend CP, to find the name so I could map us there, and HA HA! he was already there!  Pack Creek Campground here we COME! http://packcreekcampground.com

Last minute decision, was to stay in Parachute, CO at the cheapest place I could find, The Parachute Inn.  $50 gets you two beds, a TV, mini fridge and CLEAN bathrooms.  I was tired and it was almost midnight and a couple hours of solid sleep is not only safe when driving on the highway, but priceless.  Bonus was the Dean's sausage wrapped in a pancake and a V-8 that Remi had for breakfast at 7 AM upon our check-out of the little hotel.
  
Day 2 Saturday: Utah 
I woke Remi up at the UTAH border, and after a few minutes... I saw my first EVER American Pronghorn heard.  I was driving Remi was half awake, so no photo... but they are really cool and here is photo and some info from 
http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/environmental_education/BLM-Idaho_nature/wildlife/herbivores/american_pronghorn.print.html
Description: Pronghorns are the fastest land mammal in North America.  They can run at more than 53 miles (86 k
ilometers) an hour and across great distances. Many people in Idaho refer to these animals as “pronghorned antelope.”
Pronghorns have a tan upper body and legs, but they have a lighter brown to white lower body. They also have a black band around their snout, a black nose, and black neck patch. If you can see the black band, you are looking at a pronghorn, not a deer.

Seeing such a magnificent grouping of animals was a welcoming sign to our little mini-vacation, and why we had driven so far to meet the desert, and spend quality time together within our small family unit of 2.  

I decided to take the scenic road 128 into Moab from the east, and our drive in was beautiful.  No traffic and great weather.  Remi woke up after I stopped and read the 3 informative signs at the top of the road.  He began to get excited when we entered the astonishing RED canyons of the mighty Colorado river heading west. My favorite photos are of the red mesa's with the La Sal's just beyond.  Two amazing landscapes one amazing view.  It is at those moments that the diversity of OUR EARTH becomes overwhelmingly AWESOME!

Are first stop in MOAB was the Welcome center. I had to PEEEEEE, of course, and Remi I felt needed an into what we could do there, which is LOTS!  We got a book/CD about the geology of the Arches National Park (and surrounding areas) a couple postcards, and a Native American story book.  When we are camping at night, I like to read legends and stories about the earth and it's inhabitants to Remi.  It's become a little tradition.  Remi was able to check in with his father with his new FLIP phone, and we got our biking shorts on, had a mini lunch, filled up water bottles and headed off to the Bar-M loop trails.  They were my first choice because of their close proximity to Moab, and trails of all levels.  11AM Saturday... It's about 80 degrees and desert dry.

We road the Lazy-EZ trail, though I suspect the next time we will do the ACTUAL Bar-M loop.  Remi didn't like the sand on the trail, but who likes sad on a BIKE!  HA.  It wasn't to bad through and it is a just a a couple mile loop.  I had to remind myself that this is for Remi's enjoyment and to not push him to hard. My favorite moments were definitely when Remi put the cooling headband on under his helmet, photographing his stellar braid and rock'in pink socks, and witnessing his ability to smile after a mini breakdown on the trail because he was tooo hot.  He is a strong rider when not in the mid-day heat of the of high desert.  

Dalton Well's
 green hills were next.  We found some agates and other cool desert treasures like mice and lizard tracks. I lingered picking up trash on the road, and Remi found shade after a short hike under an actual TREE.  

COOLING OFF at the Moab Brewery, http://www.themoabbrewery.com/
Next stop was the Moab Brewery for some refreshments. We passed the GIANT ORANGE sand hill, on the right as we drove south into tow.  Remi and I both were excited about next time stopping there, as I comes up fast and I didn't have time to pull in.  Ok, Moab Brewery.... I love the beer there, though if you want anything over 4% you have to commit to a deuce.  Even in Moab, one is still in Utah.  We were both entertained by our waitress, who was smiley, talkative and not the best server.  I think Remi thought she was cute.  That was cute.  Each leaving with full bellies and ice cream cones, OFF to the CAMP!

Finally, we spent the rest of our early evening at the Pack Creek Campground.  Our site was next to the creek, and had views of both the La Sal's and the red Mesa's.  Chris and his friends, took off that night, as they had been there since Wednesday night.  It was Saturday, and we got free camping and firewood.  As I pitched the tent and Remi unloaded our gear, he met two boys around his age.  He wanted to hang at the campsite for a the rest of the night.  As he played and built a fire with new friends, I read and stared at the stars.  It was an early night, and I was in heaven again, sleeping under the stars.
  
Day 3 Sunday Morning : Moab Man/Rock-hounding/Colorado River
The guy at the campground directed us to the closest Petroglyphs which just happened to be the MOAB MAN... aka the ant man.... etc.
Way COOL. (PHOTO: Remi looking at Magic Cards, with the MOAB man in the background)  Remi was a little interested, but way into the climbing over slick rock.  The civilization that etched these figures into the rock, lived just over the hill, where because of the natural water feature, provided water, bringing beavers, deer, and other desert creatures close for hunting.  The area is protected by cliffs and natural obstacles.  We didn't do the trial, but we did feel the presence.  
(PHOTO: Selfie of a Happy Mama!)
Stopping at the local rock shop, I traded some mica from Boulder, for a bit of local rockhounding info.  Remi purchased a giant piece of mica, and off we went!  We found some new trails, biked, and logged in future camp spots that provide the most magnificent views of the red canyons.  I let Remi play in the wet creek over looked by DINOSAUR bones, as I followed my local insiders info, on agates and dinosaur bones.  

As all trips unfold, someone usually leaves something, somewhere.  Remi realized his prized STICKS were not in the car, so we headed BACK to the south side of Moab, before grabbing lunch and heading home.  

HWY-128 Scenic ROAD
On the way out of town, Remi got Chinese take-out, and I went Mexican vegan.  Pulling off just before the Big Bend campground, we found a hidden beach on the Colorado River.  We hung out, got wet and soaked up the scenery before the 5.5 hour ride home.  It was the perfect ending to our little mini-vaca to Moab, Utah at the end of Spring Break 2015. 
 

Soooo much gratitude to my father, Rod, for providing us with a little extra spending $, making this trip a complete success!







Subpages (1): Michigan Adventures