Manifest Destiny – Week Five, From Dirt Bikes in the Desert to Power Shifting in the Lone Star
- Got up early to head into the desert to ride dirt bikes with Rick.
- KZ1000’s are not made to ride deep into the desert but somehow I made it in. No drops!
- Absolutely nothing around for as far as the eye can see.
- Ricks buddy, Evan, had come up the day before and set up camp on BLM land.
- Ripped with Rick on his LT3 and him on his RT2.
- Explored the surrounding rocks at sunset.
- Shit got real weird at night. There is some sort of military base near by. We sat and watched planes do wild maneuvers and saw crazy flashes of light followed by loud booms. Some serious military activity near by.
- No rain fly tonight. Falling asleep staring at the Milky Way.
- The absolute perfect morning. Waking up seeing the sunrise behind the hills in every color imaginable.
- Made it back out the sand road w/o dropping the KZ. We were right next to the Integratron which was built by a guy who claims the plans were given to him by visitors from Venus and is capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity, and time travel. I regret not going inside.
- Very short ride today as we wanna camp and explore Joshua Tree National Park.
- Stopped in the town of Joshua Tree for the best breakfast burrito we’ve had yet. Literally watched the Babes Ride Out (of town).
- At breakfast we met an old timer named Woody who has been riding for over 50 years. He’s got a sportster at home that has 175,000 miles on it and currently is on a month long trip to Mexico. Inspiration right there.
- Set up camp at the Hidden Valley Campground in Joshua Tree National Park. We set up right in an alcove against the large rocks. Great spot!
- Climbed rocks and went on hikes.
- Rain came in and we decided to take an afternoon siesta.
- The rain cleared and we headed into town to resupply. The ride back in the park was crazy dark and wild.
- Back at camp we had a fire mishap. We’ve taken to starting our fires the easy way, with gas. Let’s just say we now know what two gallons of gasoline looks like burning in a fire pit.
- Another surreal morning scene. Packed up and ran into 29 Palms for gas and a replacement gas can.
- Ran east on 62 through the Mojave. Barely a car in sight for 100 miles. May have had that cliché “motorcycle trip, find yourself” existential moment in this stretch of desert or maybe not.
- Hit Arizona and was not impressed for a very long time. The Saguaro’s standing mighty and tall was a diamond in the ruff of the scenery.
- Headed for the mountains. The plan is to get to Cottonwood to then make for Fossil Creek tomorrow.
- While in the desert, Evan had mentioned a road we were to hit; and hit it we did. AZ 89A north out of Prescott, AZ. Such an amazing mountain road that wound in the Prescott National Forest.
- We stumbled up Jerome, AZ and I fell in love with the town. It’s a classic old west town built into the mountain revitalized with a lot of great restaurants and shops. We stuffed our faces on the best ribs I’ve had in a long time. Bobby D’s BBQ.
- We then shot down to Cottonwood and found some BLM land in the nick of time. Tents up as the sun hid itself behind the mountains.
- A thunderstorm rolled in overnight and for about 2 hours we were convinced that we were going to die in our tents.
- The sky was clear and blue when we awoke. The original plan was to go to Fossil Creek Falls but after some research and word from Radke’s brother, we decided to go to another swimming hole. Word is the road to get to Fossil Creek is long and too rough for our bikes.
- We headed to Bull Pen which was much closer. The road back was 5 miles of hard pack and rocky terrain. Probably not meant for our bikes but we went for it anyways.
- We hiked back the desert a mile and were ready to quit a couple of times but kept going. Near an old supply zip line we found it. The Bull Pen swimming hole. What a fucking gem. A deep clear pool w/ a rope swing and red Rock cliffs to jump off of. We wasted no time in making ourselves at home and stayed longer than we should have.
- We headed east on AZ 260 and were not disappointed. The road shot up into green pine mountains and wound just enough to be fun but not too technical. The first chunk went through the Coconino National Forrest. Pure woods and roads. The smell was a punch to face of the most natural, piney, and woodsy scent. The best smelling road this ride so far. It, yet again, reminded me why I love riding motorcycles. I would never had that visceral experience in a car.
- The Coconino became the Tonto National Forest. By this point we were high on a ridge cresting the mountain. We stopped at a small general store for gas and talked with the owner. This section of AZ is the Rim Country. I need to come back here and spend some quality time. I fell in love with northern Arizona today.
- Pushing along 260 it became the Sitgreaves National Forest and all we could see were green mountains to the horizon.
- Finally we came into the town of Show Low then through the Fort Apache reservation. This is where it got real cold. and the road got real fun again. Lots of warning signs for elk crossing but thankfully no elk (mega-deer) in sight.
- After exiting the reservation lands we now hit the Apache National Forest and dropped in altitude and warmed up some. The White Mountains loomed ahead.
- We didn’t take many pics as we spent to much time at the swimming hole and the sun was setting fast. The days are getting shorter on us and we are crossing a time zone.
- We jammed it to New Mexico and went through a town at 8000 plus feet of elevation. With my air leak issues, the KZ is running great at these heights.
- Finally we reached camp at the Head of the Ditch Campground in the Gila National Forest. Just in time to warm up by a fire or a hot bike.
- Woke up to below freezing temps. Headed into Luna, NM and hung out at the general store till the sun warmed up the world.
- NM 180 killed it coming out of the mountains. We spotted a sign for a ghost town and headed up a sketchy one lane, crumbling, twisting road. 9 miles in we ran into a road crew who are repairing the road and have 2 bridges out. No go. Bummer. We turned around and got back on 180.
- The mountains soon became cowboy country. Literally. Cowboys everywhere.
- After Silver City it was nothing but stupid long straight stretches of desert and it was now 90 degrees. Sucks for us because we are still dressed for the below freezing temps from this morning.
- We jammed I-10 to Las Cruces then crossed over to the missile capital of the country then through a border control checkpoint. Glad I’m a citizen or this trip would be over.We arrived at White Sands National Monument and promptly got a back country spot. We were excited until we realized it was a mile off the road. Carrying our gear back was a motherfucker.
- With camp secured, we did a cruise around the park look on the bikes. I feel like I am in Dune waiting to outrun a sand worm are any moment.
- We were able to catch the sunset from atop of a dune then went and made friends with our neighbors. They had sleds and we went night sledding. Sick.
- Stargazed till bed then stargazed some more in bed. No rainfly tonight.
- Quietest place ever with such good sleep. Awoke before the sunrise and watched it come up over the Sacramento Mountains on top of the highest dune near us.
- Today is planned as a sacrificial day. My good friend Waldo has given me a belated birthday present and booked us a hotel room in Austin for us Friday. In order to make Austin in time we decided to ride as far as we could into Texas.
- We could have taken I-10 the whole way but fuck that. I routed us through Alamogordo and up into the Sacramento Mountains via the Lincoln National Forest. Absolutely worth the 30 extra minutes on the entire trip. It took us all the way into Artesia where we hit 285. We have already did this road. South of Carlsbad it becomes, what we call, Fury Road (see week 3)
- Fury road was crazy busy today with tankers and giant pickups. The sun was shining and the sky blue which gave a completely different atmosphere then the last rainy and dreary time we visited.
- We stopped for gas again at the weird no-mans gas pumps. I made a big fucking mistake. The pumps really aren’t labeled and as I filled up my tank I noticed the color of the gas was off. It hit me quickly that I just filled up the KZ with diesel. I won’t go into detail on what occurred next but after 15 minutes and ripping my tank off, I had the situation rectified. New name for the trip: Manifest Pollution.
- We took off and finally hit I-10 in Fort Stockton then did 200 miles to Junction, TX.
- Camp was at Schreiner Park. I found it on www.freecampsites.net that it was cool to camp in this park. We set up in the dark right on the South Llano river. We sat on a dock staring at the stars till it was time to pass out.
- All total we did 500 miles in 9 hours. Long day.
- Might not have been a great idea to have slept in a town park. Pickup trucks drove through all night rolling coal and drunks hung around till 3 am. Somehow we slept.
- At 6:30 we were up and out. As we pulled out of the park my clutch cable snapped. Fuck. That was my spare. I put the old frayed one in (about 10 strands left on it) then rode to a truck stop and hustled to find new ones. Thankfully dimecity cycles had 2 in stock. I had them overnighted with Saturday delivery to my friends house in Austin.
- We took off for Austin and I power shifted the KZ the entire way. Things got hairy the closer to town we got but that clutch cable held on for those times that I needed first gear the whole way to my friend, Caroline’s.
- After dropping off gear at her place we went to the Hyatt to check in to the room Waldo got us. We got necessary beers and hit the pool then grabbed much needed showers. For the record, it’s been a week since we last showered. Nice.
- Headed out for a bowl of real Texas chili. You heathens can keep your beans.
- Took some time off our feet before exploring East Austin bars and actually stayed up past 9pm.
6 responses to “Manifest Destiny – Week Five, From Dirt Bikes in the Desert to Power Shifting in the Lone Star”
Published - Sep 14, 2012
Go out and ride today.