What Is That Thing?
The Sportsmobile Lopes 55 is the brainchild of mountain-bike racer (and motorcycle rider) Brian Lopes and Sportsmobile, a conversion company that's been modifying vans for outdoorsy types since 1961. Lopes returned from Europe a few years ago brimming with enthusiasm for the Mercedes-built Sprinter conversions he'd seen there. Already the owner of a Ford E-Series-based Sportsmobile, he got together with company president Alan Feld, himself a dirt-bike rider, and together they concocted a van just for bicyclists and motorcyclists. Based on the longest 170-inch-wheelbase Sprinter, the Lopes 55 seats five and features an enclosed 8.5-foot toy box and sleeping berths for two, plus a sink, microwave, refrigerator, and a whole lot of soul. Sportsmobile; 559/233-8267; www.sportsmobile.com.
Small Towns, High Times
HIGH: Good eats, local motorcycle and bike shops, boundless off-road adventuring, and close proximity to Arches National Park and the Colorado River.
LOWS: Focus on tourism, way too crowded.
HIGHS: Mayberry RFD feel with forested Abajo Mountain and spectacular dual-sport riding nearby.
LOWS: A crossroads town with truck traffic.
HIGHS: Sleepy small town with cheap motels, friendly locals, and a bounty of dual-sport rides at your doorstep. The town McDonald's forgot--God bless it for that.
LOWS: If you find one, let us know.