Matt and I have finally settled on some dates for what I've nicknamed the "Retirement Tour 2007" (in hopes that there will be more in the future). Matt sold all his houses (yes, multiple), and picked up a small place in Silverton, CO, and a Sportsmobile (SMB) and is now traveling around, doing a lot of riding, traveling, and this winter, chasing powder. He's Living The Life. Since I recently quit my job, and am only now working part time, I'm temporarily, and partly retired. So, I'm joining Matt for about a week to do some good riding. Matt will start off in Silverton in the SMB, visit some family, and then we'll meet up in Flagstaff. We'll do some riding around there, Sedona, etc., then likely head up to Moab for a day, then to Fruita and Grand Junction for more riding, where I'll finally fly back from Junction. Here's a map of Matt's SMB route.
I have chosen to bring my Niner full rigid on the trip, but will be renting a Niner Rip 9 for my time in Arizona, thanks to Absolute Bikes in Flagstaff. I plan to get a full suspension 29er next spring, and it's down to the Rip 9 or Specialized's new Stumpjumper 29er. This will be a great way to get in some serious test riding on the Rip 9. I'm waiting to find out about any full suspension 29ers that Over the Edge Sports has in Fruita. If they have something, then I may rent there as well.
The flights for me, flying from/to Eugene airport, are pretty crappy (i.e. the only flight out of Eugene to Flagstaff on the 13th, departs at 5:40am!), but it's a small price to pay for should be a great trip. During the trip, we'll "live" in the SMB, as we did at Mountain Bike Oregon. This should give us great flexibility in where we want to go on any given day, and we don't have to worry about hotel reservations, etc. We are also thinking we'll take a short side trip to the Grand Canyon, since essentially neither of us have been (Matt was there when we was too young to remember it), and we'll be right in the neighborhood.
While my family is a bit bummed that I'll be gone for six days (especially since I'll have only been home for two after the business trip I have right before this, and then we leave for Hawaii a day after I get back :), it's really something I need to do at this point. I would even like to turn such trips and experiences into more than just something I enjoy, and have been scheming about how I might actually turn this into part of what I do for a living. I give it a pretty outside chance right now (especially since I've been used to the nicer lifestyle afforded by being a software developer), but who knows - passion can take you far!
Also, if you have favorite trails to recommend for Flagstaff in particular, as well as any of the other places I've mentioned, please do tell. I can't wait to ride in some of the new places, as well as revisit places I've ridden, but not for at least a couple years. I will be blogging the trip every day once it's underway.