There vs. Here

Moab                          vs.                New Jersey

My bicycle riding has taken me to many places, in my home state and out. Though I have seen many interesting things and ridden some great places here in New Jersey, it is the other places I have ridden out of state/country that have more of a prominence in my memory.

Of all these places, Moab Utah is near and dear to my heart and as a result, I find it hard to compare anything to the majesty that is the Canyonlands region. Most everyone knows that if you are an outdoorsy type, Moab is where you should be. Conversely, if you are of the type who loves high taxes and miserable roads, then New Jersey is for you.

While I am comparing the two, I know I am being tremendously bias and I hold out my hands in admission saying “guilty as charged, lock me up”. Yes, I favor Moab so much more than my home state but, to be fair, New Jersey does have its fine points. It does have the Pine lands, its very own version of mountains in the Skylands region of its northwest, its amazing beaches and shoreline, and of course its history. However one can never point out these attributes without adding “…and of course the worst roads you’ll ever ride on”.

Oddly enough there are some similarities. There is a Long Branch in New Jersey….

Just past this traffic light the street ends at the ocean

And there is a Long Branch in Moab…..

The Long Branch trail. Part of the M.O.A.B. Brand trail system

Guess where I’d rather be.

I am also aware I am being completely unfair by comparing the Mountain biking in Moab, to the road cycling in New Jersey. The two couldn’t be further apart, not just in miles, but in quality, excitement, scenery and pleasure. In Moab you get winding single-track through red rock outcrops and formations, canyons and mountains, sage brush and cactus. In New Jersey you get rocks and debris on road shoulders (if there is a shoulder), high traffic, craters, cracked pavement and potholes, broken tree limbs and weeds.

Hot Red Dirt                  vs          Hot Black Asphalt

The traffic is different too. In Moab, you are just as likely to see a Jeep with big tires or a side-by-side going down mainstreet as you would a FedEx truck or SUV. What’s really cool in Moab is that everyone pays attention. Everyone is aware and accepting of those on two wheels, be it a bicycle or motorcycle. They expect it, they know to look for it. Here in New Jersey, they only thing drivers look for is the green light.

Moab Traffic             vs      New Jersey Traffic

Most of New Jersey is relatively Flat, the southern half anyway. The highest point in the state is 1,803′ above see level. My current driveway, is a mere 16.4′ above see level. My last house, the driveway was 3.3′ above sea level. Yikes! I know. By contrast, Moab is way up there.

Slick rock (left), Burro Pass (right)

Okay, you get it. There is no comparing one to the other. Moab doesn’t have beaches, unless if you consider a sandy area along the banks of the Colorado River a “beach”. Moab itself doesn’t have lush pine forests unless if you wander up into the La Sal Mountains nearby. Yes, there are extreme differences. Yes, one I have called home for the vast majority of my life and the other has been a fairy tale place to visit twice in my life.

I have a farm in upstate New York and I love it there. It is the definition of off-grid rural country life miles from all the hectic crap of every day modern life and I love it. It is our escape on weekends. If money weren’t an issue, I’d have a place in Moab as well and jet- set between the two every week. But, that not being the case, yet, I’ll keep dreaming of seeing this every day…..


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