Ashley here, coming at ya from the Grand County Public Library in Moab, Utah. We have a winter storm moving in causing the temperatures to drop, and it’s been raining on and off since 3am..so what better way to beat the weather than with an update about what we have been up to?! As per usual, Sean wrote the draft while I scrolled Instagram (@thebeirnes) and now I am typing it up and adding my thoughts. So without further ado…
We took nearly 4 weeks off from blogging while we got ourselves situated here in Moab, our temporary home for the season(s?). A lot has happened since we left Arizona, we basically hit the ground running full speed the moment we got here, and haven’t stopped since. There must be something in the water here, because everyone is getting after something; a hike, a bike trail, a climbing route, a BASE jump, a 4×4 road…you name it, someone here is doing it and inspiring us in the process. One of the reasons we love this town so much, is the people + their enthusiastic energy to pursue their passions + new things too. It’s an inclusive and inviting community that is ultra encouraging and makes you want to dig deeper and try harder. How can you not fall in love with a place that lovingly pushes you to be better than the day before? It’s truly special + unique.
When we arrived in town on a Tuesday, we went straight to the Rec Center and signed up for a 3 month membership, which is funny because we didn’t even consider that we wouldn’t be able to get jobs and stay long-term, full trust in the universe I guess! We took our first shower in a month, I shaved for the first time in 3 months, and we left feeling like official Moabites. Next, we did laundry so Sean could wear his black hiking pants and the collared shirt we thrifted in Sedona to go and apply for jobs, LOL. He applied at 2 places, and the second one actually hired him to barback and said they would call in the AM to discuss details. They never called, so the following day, Sean went to the busiest restaurant in town as soon as they opened, applied, and was hired on the spot and started the next day. They barely needed to train him, so he was making tips 4 days after we got into town. It has turned out to be the best serving job either of us have ever had, and because of that only Sean needs to work while we are here. We feel so lucky and grateful that it all worked out this way.
Once Sean had the job, we had to figure out where we could stay (for free) for the next 3 months. Honestly, it was a bit stressful at first, because there is a van camping ban in town, and you have to stay in a paid campground within a 20 mile radius of town. I decided to stop by the BLM field office and talk with one of the rangers to see if there are any plots of land that bypassed that rule…and lo and behold there was. 12 miles outside of town, there is some land that you can camp for free on, the roads are dirt and get sketchy after rain, and it’s super crowded, but hey- beggers can’t be choosers, so it will due! The first week it rained often, usually around 5am, so we’d have to wake up and drive out fast before the road turned back into mush. We didn’t find a permanent spot for a week because of how crowded it was, but the spot we ended up with has great views of the La Sals Mountain range and is within walking distance to 2 porta pottys which is super awesome. I think we may move around a bit, but overall the area is really working out nicely for us.
When Sean isn’t working, the 3 of us have been hiking around in search of Petroglyphs + Pictographs (Native American rock art that is etched or painted). The best ones we have found have come from building relationships with locals who than entrust us with the not-well-known whereabouts and the visitor’s center has also been a wealth of knowledge of locations hidden and known. Always ask the volunteers! They obviously love and appreciate the land, they often have the BEST beta. See below for pictures of rock art we have found around Moab.
Unfortunately, no one in town sells or can get Rufio’s food delivered so we had to make a trip to Colorado to stock up. About every 20 days, we have to make the drive into Grand Junction, which is less than ideal, but also gives a chance to hit up REI, Walmart, Target, and other stores Moab doesn’t have (and doesn’t need). We get a lot of questions about Rufio’s diet, his skin condition, and health, and we can’t stress this enough, Freshpet has changed him for the better 100%! He is in the best shape of his life, energetic, stronger than ever, happy, his hair has grown back completely, and he actually eats in one sitting without us having to legit beg him to eat! He actually inhales it now too fast, so we have the opposite problem. So to us, we’ll drive 500 miles for the dang food, and they were so kind to reach out and offer to overnight a goodie basket for him, which we had to kindly pass on because we don’t have some where to mail it (can’t go to our PO Box) LOL so they are sending us coupons and mail instead, truly a great company. It helps they are from where I grew up too 🙂
The warmer weather has been making an appearance more and more, and that has led us to find some of the best swimming holes in the area. There are so many hidden gems we had no idea about, some not far from town either. The water is still pretty cold, but that doesn’t stop us from cooling off for a refreshing dip- wakes you right up! Sean’s coworkers have been giving him beta on some locals only spots that we are dying to check out, a few beaches on our list to get to as soon as this winter storms passes.
After a recent oil change, we found out the van needs some pretty serious work done, so she goes in tomorrow for the first step in essentially replacing our steering system- seems important ;). Wheel bearings are first up, and will cost around $400. We will probably spend about $2-3,000 on the repairs we need before hitting the road for the west coast. The way Sean’s job is working out, that will only take about 2.5 weeks of work to cover. People often ask us about what would happen if something went wrong with the van, and to be honest, it’s inevitable! Of course something is going to go wrong, it’s a machine, that we keep well maintained, but a machine’s parts need to be replaced every so often and that cost $$$ in both parts + skill. That’s what the money is for though. Obviously, we’d rather spend that money on adventures and exploring, but when you think about it, that is kind of what we are spending it on, considering our van takes us on adventures and gives us the ability to explore anywhere. Money well spent in our minds.
Our goal while in Moab is to really hone in on Rock Climbing. Recently, we bought a crash pad so we can go bouldering safely, while being able to effectively work on strength and technique as well as every piece of gear we need to Sport Climb. It has been really fun for us to find a project to work on together and help one another not only send it, but cleanup our moves on the way up. I booked a one on one session with a guide 2 weeks ago, and ended up learning so much and getting so stoked on the potential, we booked him again for the both of us for my birthday on Monday. It was such a great learning experience for us both, and we left feeling confident that we could climb together the next morning. So we woke up early and hit the wall…full transparency: we struggled, were scared, and ended up bailing on 2 quickdraws on the top of a route- but that’s okay! Because we got out there and tried. Sometimes when you try to overcome your fears, they overcome you- the only thing that matters is that you keep showing up regardless of the outcome, and that’s exactly what we plan on doing in both rock climbing and life.
Thanks for reading, and being here, it means so much. Below are some photos from the past month- enjoy!