Over the last weekend I was invited to a dear friends’ going away party in the beautiful Utah desert just outside of Capital Reef National Park – also known as Swingarm City. Surrounded by stunning plateaus and dramatic natural features in an otherwise seemingly desolate area, we set up camp for two days of nothing but fun, laughter, and sometimes questionable decisions.
After getting off work Friday afternoon I loaded up the truck and headed South to meet the crew that had left a few hours earlier. Three hours and a ton of music later I pulled off the main road and onto the dirt long after the sun went down. I started driving towards the area I had camped at on our last trip and was soon flagged down by a RZR.
“Are you Cristin?”
“Awesome! Follow us!”
It took a bit of nighttime navigating to figure out exactly where the camp was located – which happened to be right up front by the entrance. Five people including my friend Ed (who the party was for) were just getting the party started which included 3 dirt bikes, an 800cc RZR and a whole lot of terrain to explore. I decided to join in on the fun with my truck – that new King suspension and all. Needless to say my little truck rallied through the desert phenomenally. We pitched camp soon after and started a bonfire – old dressers burn really well by the way. A few aerial fireworks signaled the official start to the wild weekend ahead.
One a side note, the prior week I had finally received my new roof top tent, courtesy of Reise Outfitters and I was very anxious to test it for the first time.
Behold. The Ronan Penthouse.
The next day I slept until the sun came up. #heaven . Aside from my feet being cold from my socks falling off, I quite enjoyed the first night in the penthouse. I got up and made some hot breakfast of eggs and sausage on my coleman burner and went to make some fresh brewed coffee with my new Bean Envy french press only to realize it had shattered! Last night’s bouncing around must of broken it. Needless to say, I was pretty heartbroken.
(On a side note, after the trip I wrote into Bean Envy – the french press company – and told them of my unfortunate mishap, hoping to get a discounted price on new one. Not only did they send me a brand new one free of charge, they refunded my money for the first one. I was seriously blown away!! Here I was ready to purchase a new one and they excelled with their customer service. THAT, my friends, is a trait many companies miss these days. But I digress.)
After breakfast the motorized wheels began turning every which way. People were taking off left and right, going out for a while to explore the desert world how they please, or stepping up to many of the dirt bike challenges this same landscape offered daring riders. Those who stayed back at camp shot BB guns, played horseshoes, or darted into the nearest town 11 miles away.
Come late afternoon, from out of nowhere (or from out of Maggie’s bag) this T-Rex showed up! This T-Rex was quite fond of the toys and wanted to play along. As I’m sure you can only imagine, absolute hilarity ensued. (Video edit coming soon!)
As the dinosaur got weary of our shenanigans, the sun began to set on our weekend paradise…
Real quick, shoutout to the girl pictured above: Maggie! I don’t think I have ever met anyone that I immediately idolized more than this girl. You want to talk about who should win a Badass Brunette badge, it’s this girl! Go check her out – IG: @_maggiehicks . This girl is living the dream: she is nomad in this big beautiful world, setting up home wherever her heart desires, making a living through the internet… she’s literally everything I dream of becoming. Seriously. She’s your dream come true.
Ugh. Damn… anyway, back to sunsets.
Once the sun went down, the party started turning up… and I mean WAY up. Once the next bonfire raged and glowsticks appeared it was all over! What took place that night in the dusty desert land I’ll let remain its own secret. I’m certain my health insurance would frown on a few decisions made in the warm shadows of that night.
But a new day will always dawn – time for round two? HA. Not exactly. It was slow morning getting the wheels to start turning again. I explored a little bit on one of the dirt bikes but kept it very low key – specifically in part to not owning/wearing any dirt bike gear. I got back to camp, packed up my tent and laid out in the sunshine with Nick and Maggie to wait for everyone else to return so that I could start taking off towards home…
..with a few photo opportunity stops along the way.
Goodbyes fucking suck guys. Plain and simple. Especially goodbyes towards people that mean a lot to you. Ed and I have a unique relationship. We met on an online dating app, go figure, and things took a while before we really started connecting. It started with all the adventures: motorcycles, dirt bikes, camping, off roading, Moab, skydiving (well, he was supposed to get his license!), hiking, snowboarding.. basically anything and everything outdoors. But then what got me even more was his ambition, his goals, his dreams, his mental attitude. I’ll never forget meeting up with him at Hogswallow (a local bar with the coolest patio) and talking for HOURS. We talked all about things like the 4-hour work week and how we both had this huge desire to create a life just like that. Ed was already yards ahead of me in this regards – he already had a few businesses in the works, a few of which were already lined up in the profit queue. Talking with Ed always inspired and motivated me. He would give me a different perspective or approach to an idea. We could bounce ideas ALL day long and this will be one of the greatest things I sincerely miss the most.
Granted, in this day and age you are only a FB post or text message away from someone despite the physical miles between you. We are more connected than we have ever been. (Maybe we will bring the good ol’ phone call back in style?) But his move is for good reason – to focus more intensely on building his empire – for which I cannot argue. Maybe this will motivate me as well. We can compare progress after the projected year anniversary approaches.
Here are a few of my favorite moments spent with Ed and needless to say they were never short of epic.
You will be sincerely missed my dear friend. Here’s to the absolutely AWESOME times we shared and to the many more we will one day have again! Utah, and yours truly, will always welcome you back with open arms once you start missing us. 😀
Until that time, let the grind begin.