Our Road Trip Tales, just like our Great Big Summer Road Trip, have come to an end. We are going out with a bang with this interview with Eric Koczab of KART, which stands for Kick Ass Road Trip. His organization creates customized road trips for adventure seekers. We know you’ll love learning more about what makes them tick.
How did KART get started and what was/is the idea behind it?
There are several reasons for KART. Firstly, the old cliche ‘find something that you love to do and are good at and try to get paid for it’. After years of cooking/managing kitchens, traveling the world and most of the region KART covers, mountain biking/hiking, and eventually tour guiding, I wanted to combine my many hats and create a job where I show people a bit of this beautiful world in a different KickAss Road Trip kinda way.
I wanted to introduce them to a lifestyle that changed my life, even if it was only for a brief moment.
Secondly, I saw a problem and came up with a solution. People want to see and explore the Rockies and Utah’s Mighty Five (Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef NPs). They want to mountain bike some of the best destinations in the world. They may even want to enjoy some of these amazing festivals in cool settings. But many of them live very far away and doing this on their own would require extensive driving with all their biking/camping gear.
There are tour outfitters that allow you to bike or hike or whitewater raft or see national parks, but with KART you’re not doing just one of those options, you can do all of them on your terms and not the tour company’s. Also, you’re doing this with a very small group with lots of flexibility.
Basically, I take care of you each step of the way – securing the gear you need for each adventure, showing you the best attractions and hidden gems, cooking delicious food at a comfortable campsite and getting you to each destination.
On a KickAss Road Trip, you just have to show up and enjoy.
Who are your clientele and what sets them apart from people who do other trips?
My hope is to attract individuals age 25-50, somewhat fit, who love the outdoors and can handle a few days camping. People who want to do more than just take a photo of the Grand Canyon.
This is for people who don’t mind knocking out a 15-25 mile trail on one day but also want to enjoy some fun and relaxation on a quiet lake. This is perfect for active families, couples, or few old buddies who want to reunite for a special occasion like a bachelor trip or a 40th birthday celebration.
There’s a huge market for young mostly Europeans/Australians/Canadians on their ‘gap’ year travels but they want to see as much as possible from LA to NY in 14 days.
There’s even a bigger market of mature adults that want to finally see the Grand Canyon and Zion before it’s too late. Both of these groups can sign up with Trek America or a big bus tour and get that experience. There are also those active families, couples who love the outdoors and rent RVs and do it on their own. But what sets KickAss people apart from the rest is their desire for freedom from rigid itineraries and lack of flexibility. KARTers are different because they don’t need someone to hold their hand constantly and prefer to experience the lifestyle rather than witness it.
What are your most popular offerings? And why do you think people do them with KART?
The combination of biking, hiking, river floating, power-boating, festival-going is what sets KART apart and I hope all my trips offer this type of combination. In a week we can climb a 14er, float the Colorado river, biking the ‘401’ trail, find our own private beach and dance to some great music in the mountain air. To be able to combine all these things in one week is very difficult to do on your own especially if you’ve never done it. I have done it many times and I make the worry of planning and executing something like this easy.
What are the must-see areas in and around Moab and Zion? What do you think people neglect to do when they come on their own that KART does?
When you’re in Moab you must spend a day in each of the national parks nearby; Arches and Canyonlands. Plenty of amazing landscapes and hikes throughout to keep you busy for hours. Moab is also known as the ‘Mecca’ for mountain bikers and jeepers. Hundred of trails for beginners and experts for either. The Colorado river floats slowly, so you may want to take in a lazy river. Personally, I like going up to the high country of the LaSals. The views to the east are of Colorado and to the west of Utah. There are a few alpine lakes you can get away to if you want to get away and cool down from the 100 degree heat down below. Dead Horse Canyon State Park has one of the most amazing examples of an Oxbow of the Colorado River. You can spend a week in Zion and not see it all but you can and should definitely see the top of the park by climbing up Angel’s Landing and the bottom by exploring the Narrows. Unfortunately, few get to explore the amazing but harder to access Kolob Terrace and the Finger Canyons in the northwest part of the park. The north rim of the Grand Canyon is only 2 hour away. The Red Bull Rampage takes place every year just outside of the park near Hurricane.
For more information about KART, visit their website.
For more of our Road Trip Adventures, and to read the entire Road Trip Tales series, click here.