Lesson 805: From the San Juans to Moab by Mountain Bike

David Yetman, along with seven friends, journey from San Juan to Moab on mountain bikes and experience challenges of the various terrains such as basins, cliffs, alpine forests, mountains and deserts. The group endures numerous physical challenges as they ride through remote, rugged Western terrain on their mountain bikes.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the landscape, environment and geology of the four corners area of the Southwestern United States from the perspective of a journey on bicycle.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places & Environments: E, G, H

Discussion Prompts

  • Are there other parts of the United States where four states meet at the same place, or is the four corners area unique in this way? 
  • Why is the mountain bike the best way to make this trip? What might change about the trip if it were done on foot or in a vehicle?
  • Why do you think they have a “no cell phone” rule? In what ways might the trip be better or worse if everyone had their cell phone with them? Do you agree with this rule? Why or why not?
  • Why is elevation a factor in this trip? What challenges does high elevation cause? Describe some of the other environmental and geological challenges the group experiences.

Lesson Activities

  • David Yetman takes 7 friends with him on his mountain bike journey. If you were to go on this trip, who would you take and why? Write a travelogue entry outlining your plan that includes the people and items you’re bringing and why.
  • Create a drawing that illustrates the various types of terrain they traveled through such as desert, forest and mountain, from low to high altitude. Annotate each zone with a description of the challenges of traveling on bike through each type of terrain and altitude. 
  • You have been tasked with naming four new huts that reflect the landscape of the area and are unique, original names. Work with a partner to create the new hut names and descriptions and then present to your classmates and vote on your favorite.
  • Create a journey book that illustrates the highlights of this trip. Use the quote from the video, “Everyone’s got their own journey” to explore the environmental, physical, interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of the trip.


  • alpine
  • endorphin rush
  • endurance
  • navigation
  • perched
  • plateau
  • terrain
  • unsurmountable
  • uranium mine
  • variants


In the Americas Season 8 Lesson Episode 5