The spirit of adventure drives  us here at SBM. Many of us have moved across the state or across a region so we could enjoy the outdoors. Isaac Tait, our beloved Gear Manager has just relocated to the East Coast due to his wife’s school and work needs. So Isaac left the San Gabriel Mountains of So Cal where he grew up and learned to rock climb, mountaineer, ski and love the outdoors. He undertook a cross country road trip adventure and eventually arrived at a new home on the East Coast. We’ll chronicle his trip and all the adventures he had along the way.

Part 1

With my car fully loaded, I bid goodbye to the San Gabriel Mountains. It was a bit odd to see them in the rising sun, not knowing when I would see them again – if ever. It is hard to leave your stomping grounds. I had experienced a lot of adventures, from dodging bobcats, backcountry skiing, lots of gear testing for Seattle Backpackers Magazine, rock climbing and even mountain rescue operations. These mountains had become my second home and while I was going to miss them, I was also looking forward to exploring a new backyard.

I was beginning my solo road trip from Los Angeles, California to Rockville, Maryland. Well, almost solo – my pet parakeet named Cheeky was buckled in the backseat to keep me company.

Cheakie copy

The first leg of the road trip went smoothly with only a few small thunderstorms in California, Nevada and Arizona. When I crossed into Utah, though, the skies really opened up and the rain came down in buckets. When the speed limit jumped to 80mph my little Honda Fit (with a 16’ canoe strapped to the roof) could barely keep up. The big rigs took the opportunity to pass me, sometimes going in excess of 100mph! I was glad to get onto the I-70 as the mountain passes slowed down the truck drivers significantly and the terrain became even more spectacular.

I pulled over numerous times to explore the Fishlake National Forest and San Rafael Swell area. The scenery was so spectacular that I never wanted to get back in the car. The saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas,” but I doubt they have earthworms as large as I found in Utah!

Giant Earthworm copy

Point Of Interest – San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management. However, this spectacular region of Utah is also the scene of a heated political battle between those who want to utilize the area for its vast energy resources and those who want to protect it by designating it as a national monument.

San Rafael Swell copy

If you are planning on visiting the San Rafael Swell, the city of Green River, Utah offers camping, gas, food, and lodging. It is highly recommended that you visit the Swell with a high clearance (preferably 4wd vehicle) as the I-70 is the only paved road in the region. Flash floods, sand storms and rough roads are the norm, not the exception.

The region is a stunning maze of canyons, plateaus, cliffs and rivers and is often referred to as the “Sandstone Alps.” Rock climbing, hiking, and river sports are plentiful. If you would like more information, the Price Bureau of Land Management office is happy to help.

Green River, UT copy

My first day of driving wrapped up when I made it into Fruita, Colorado. I was excited to explore this state, as I had never been before. However, unbeknownst to me, I had just entered Colorado at the beginning of a rainstorm that would soon cause floods of near-Biblical proportions.

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