Monday, December 8, 2008

How the West was won

We have talked a lot about getting together in Arizona for some riding in the winter before but since many of the folks here are really into dual sporting lately it became clear that we were actually going to do it this year. Being dirt friendly we decided to rough it and camp as well. This is the story of that adventure.

It is about 11am Friday and I am still getting hammered with work calls. Seems with the fiasco of the Auto guys, I can't get a break and it feels like every corporate flight department in North America is worried about budget cuts. Do these people not know I am late to meet the Hoons at the Lake? Enough already, I tell my Admin to send my calls to voice mail and I get my buddy Rick and we take off to the lake. He is in from San Antonio for the week on business and is going to hang with me and the gang out on the lake for a few days. We decide sort of at the last minute to head out via the Apache Trail. As we get near the Lake, I mention that I see a few bikes behind me and one of them is in a loud jacket that my pal Twisties has. Soon enough it is apparent that they are our group.

Twisties rocketing by us on the pavement!

We catch him in the jeep once we get to the dirt.

The nomads are already making themselves at home roughing it out here.

You can see that base camp life will be a true test of their resolve

Chris takes it upon himself to be the "fireman"

I go and catch the sunset on the water while the Hoons continue to gather

Jamie and Whip keeping the world in balance

We may not be smart but we for sure aren't clever

Mrs. Whip had all sorts of food out for us. I tell you she is just AMAZING!

Mr Happy arrives soon enough

Did I mention my man Chris is making a mean fire? Man it was good to be warm cause it was cool out in the desert.

I end up riding with Rick back out to my house and return the next morning. I have to answer the 74 emails about nothing important. I get up and head out in time to get a great breakfast Saturday.

First man I see is Butters! I has been too long since I got to see my pal from Tucson. We chat a bit and I make the rounds to see Timmy and little Sammy too. It is great but then I notice it.

Love is in the air out here let me tell you.

One of the top 100 Finns I know is there getting a hug from the ever lovely Camille

Mr. Happy and Janet getting into it on the trailer ramp.

Diane is studying for a big test Monday so she is not coming to the lake. I miss her a lot but understand. It is great that everyone asks about her too.

But we aren't here to just kiss each other. We are here to get out and ride! I take the folks not riding out for a little Jeep Tour.

We climb out to the East of the Lake and make our way along the road towards the pines nearby

The majestic Saguaro is a plant I never tire of photographing. They are worthy.

But we keep climbing and soon enough we are out in the pines and having a grand time in the Jeep.

I catch these guys darting over the road. As usual. NO BEARS.

I am on a mission to bring back the glory days of early 70's Album Art. Tell me this doesn't look like that to you. From Left to Right Chris "House" on Lead Guitar. Ely "is coming" on the Bass Guitar, Louise "Fingers" on Keyboards and backing vocals, Rick "Squishy" on Drums, and Mr. "Two Shocks" Lead Vocals and Rhythm guitar.

We roll back into camp to hear about the fun that the others had. I think we win though because the record company is giving us a big advance. The other folks are stuck in tents!

Tim has us in stiches with #14, a rare funny joke even to me

But Sammy steals the show!

We eat like kings. Chase away Javelinas

Drink enough Scotch that wearing White Mittens gets to be a sign of being cool

And fall asleep under the stars of the desert. It don't get much better than this.

Dawn broke Sunday Morning but the blue skies were short lived as a low moved in from California. I guess they were jealous

I spent the night in the back of the jeep and was very comfy! I will be buying a Futon mattress from IKEA for the CA trip, but the Jeep is going to be almost as good as Whip's RV!

Our Hero well rested but ready for a day of adventure...after some coffee of course

Louise gets my vote for most amazing person on this trip. She did so much for all of us and was great in the jeep too! Here she is dishing out breakfast.

This Blueberry Oatmeal Breakfast and sausage looks amazing.

But I am trying to be healthy

I still am not sure where those purple streaks came from on my plate!

Even the Vegetarians are happy this morning!

This is as close as I get to riding because the tailbone frown Maybe next time

Philly Flash even shows up on his RT and takes off on Whip's Dirt Bike. I will let them tell that tale though

Whip wastes no time hoping on Chris' KTM to give chase!

All the while Bob sits waiting for his chance to try and kill them out on the trail.

While all the moto's scatter, we take off in the jeep to go explore.

Now we take off on a small fire road and I decided to take a left and not go into the mountains. As we cut through the Cholla forest the road turns into a trail, then into a ATV track as it makes it way out into the desert. I am not concerned but do not want to back track. We come to a point and at first I think we have hit a dead end because all of the ways down look pretty steep. Then I see the trail heading down a bit of a slope. The ladies choose to walk down the hill. Chris and I decide to ride down.

It is always tough to show the real steepness of the hill, but this picture comes close.

We make it down and back out to the road. The colors in the lower desert are finally changing and winter is coming even here.

On the way back we see two of these guys out in the marshes near the top of the lake on a nest.

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