Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 15: A Day of Rest?

With some of this country's most beautiful national parks in our backyard, Moab, Utah proved to be the perfect oasis. We had narrowly escaped the senile drivers of Nevada and sprinted through the state of Utah in a fashion second only to the great Usain Bolt; finally, our tenacious cycling had provided us with a beautiful summer day to waste away.

With our next stop within a stones throw, we arrived in Moab on Sunday with a childlike fervor. Even Zane’s goldilocks began to bounce in the wind as we drove into town and headed toward our beautiful 5-bedroom condo that we had been graciously given to us for two nights at a discounted price. Taking advantage of the close proximity of Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, our group quickly divided for a couple hours to check out the tourism-centered town, reconvening later to watch the sunset on the enormous sandstone canyons surrounding us. Even the great Sanford Roberts felt small as our group hiked in, out, and around the towering rock structures. In true Peter Parker fashion, Jason decided that the 400 ft tall, free standing rock structures were nothing compared to his city skyscrapers, and a true Kodak moment was flashed as he ascended and perched himself high above the clouds to watch the sunset. After watching a sunset rivaled only in the Lion King, our group went to bed early in the hopes of waking up before the crack of dawn to see the sunrise. With a 4am wake up call planned, we all tucked in Saturday night looking more excited and much cuter than the kids in the Disney commercials.

As Shane took the motherly reigns from Claire, a 4am wake up call snoozed to a 4:45 breakfast bell and the smell of overcooked cinnamon rolls wafted from the kitchen, waking up Zane, Claire, and Jason. Jumping into the Mystery Machine, the group of four headed to Dead Horse Point to witness the widely acclaimed sunrise onto Canyonlands National Park. As the Stanford Rowing team knows, it takes a lot to silence Jason, and I am glad to say that the suns rays peaking over the canyons and across the Colorado River did just that.

Recovering from Shane's awful cooking (Note to group: Claire's sandwiches trump all), the riders all napped until their 9:30 death wish at Moab Skydiving. After signing away their lives, the Boys ft. Kirsten minus Mike, told each other their darkest secrets (Sanford loves Gossip Girl) and sent "I love you" texts to their mothers (Mrs.Silver: we know you did not receive one, but we did not want to ruin your birthday by telling you that your son was jumping 10,000 feet out of a airplane). Jason and Zane were the first to step up to the plane, as they felt their idolization of Vin Diesel aka XXX was enough to calm their nerves.

“You guys were up so high! You just looked like to white dots falling toward us!” exclaimed Sanford after the dynamic duo had successfully landed their parachutes.

“Well, if it makes you feel better, you and Shane looked like to little brown dots from up there?” replied an always witty Zane.

Next, Kirsten hopped into the plane and it was a true sight to see her ear-to-ear smile after she nailed a landing that would even impress Shawn Johnson. Last, but not least, Sanford and Shane strapped up for their dive. During the fall, Shane’s motion sickness got the best of him and he would proudly later place his name on the asphalt of shame with Jason for post-skydiving sickness.

Overall, the day was young and had already been quite a success as Claire and Mike had also triumphed in thrift shopping around town. After some more catnaps and a quick lunch, the A-team took off for one last hurrah at High Point Hummer, to off-road through the dunes of Moab, Utah. The ride took our team up and around rocky slopes and valleys, and, at times, only two wheels of our Costco sized vehicle were on the ground. The highlight of this tourist trap/gimmick/con came in a 45-degree ascent to the top of one of the dunes, where we parked and sat out to watch the sun go down across Arches National Park and the La Sal Mountains.

With a successful, rejuvenating rest day underneath our belts, tomorrow will bring a “short” 40-mile bike ride to Grand Junction – picking back up on the ride where Jason and Zane finished on Sunday. By Tuesday night the 2010 Face Aids Ride will have traveled across 3 states and is still awaiting its first presentation. It has been amazing to see the everyday American react to our journey, and we have been graced with many favors, beds, and meals as those we meet take hold of our mission. FACE AIDS began as a grassroots organization, and, likewise, our Ride Against Aids has taken root in our everyday interactions with the citizens of this amazing land.

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