Monday, February 19, 2007

Trail Riding and Stuff (I share but do not edit) Part 1

Looking down on the bathtub, the top of the falls.



Frank is my buddies name, he works for a living and he works real hard, come winter time, as a rule he is laid off work for about a month , a month he has learned to embrace. Half of this month he takes his wife on a trip with his Truck and Camper/Moto Hauler , they visit the southwest US and all parts in between. After about two weeks he drops her off at the airport and picks up a few of his riding friends whose bikes he hauled west in his trailer, it works out for everyone. We send our gear out with Frank, we give him gas money plus a little extra for rent. This trip Frank stopped in Tucson Arizona so his wife could gamble, his wife won 1,100.00 US at the slots, Frank loves his wife, Frank has a new helmet, gear bag, etc…. I think his wife was not selfish with her winnings…
Frank picks us up at the airport and drives us to base camp. We mount our bikes and ride into the sunset, 50 miles of trail mostly jeep roads. As is tradition the first day is easy we stop at The Wild Horse Saloon for a good cheeseburger, chips and lively conversation about the days to come. Then belly’s swollen with red meat, eyes heavy thinking a hammock and a nap would be nice, we high tail it back to base camp to meet up with the rest of the group. People arriving from various parts of the US, we fight over sleeping arrangements and pop a cold beer…I asked “Frank what’s the plan for tomorrow” he replied “ Well we head up to the bathtub then up to hell hill and after that its all just fun”!
The bathtub a rather innocuous name for something more clearly defined as “torment and struggle”. What the bathtub was named after was a tank at the bottom of a dried waterfall , the tank was set up for live stock to drink from during the dry months, the cattle are gone but the tub remains and so does the dry waterfall. Frank is first up he makes it look easy, then Stevo, a little more of a struggle because of the water that pooled at the top of the falls has been stirred up and is now trickling down the falls. The falls are now wet and slick , it is left for the fools to follow. I try not once, not twice but…three times before someone grabbed my bike deeming me incompetent and they were able to lay the front tire on the edge of the dry falls, or a staging area for a waterfall. I then pushed on the rear of my bike and soon it is over the falls , I climbed hand over fist and walked to my waiting bike hopped on and rode to the next steep climb. I watched for a few minutes, parked my bike then posted myself at the most difficult part of the hill and spent the rest of the hour grabbing bikes bars and riders helping them up this slope. After all this I was able to ride up the hill without aid, not because I am a good rider, just because by this point I knew the path to follow, the only problem was I had no witness’s to attest to my rare skill and courage. One of our friends who drove 500 miles and brought three motorcycles decided to call it quits after day one, there’s always one in the bunch, sane and rational, something I will never understand but respect.
Phoenix, the state capitol of Arizona with a population of 1,321,045 give or take a few is the 6th largest city in the United States, the Navajo call it Hoozdo, or "the place is hot", in plain old English I call it a great place to ride in the winter. Our base camp is along highway 74 known as the Carefree Highway and only about 50 miles from Phoenix, at base camp we have access to hundreds of miles of trail single track, jeep trails and more cactus than you can shake a stick at... They run National Enduros in this area and as luck would have it on day three, the president of the club that organizes the National Enduro drove up from Phoenix with his buddy and gave us a nice tour of challenging but not miserable (see bathtub) single track enduro trail, lots of rocks (I lost count) and two flats. Our Guides Tom and Don knew the area well so we were lapping up the luxury of not trying to figure out by GPS where the hell we were and where the hell we were going… Thirteen riders in two groups, we all became one group after a few wrong turns (after all the desert is a confusing place to ride), what with the wash’s (dry river beds that flood when you camp in them) Mountains (Very large Hills) this was not Nepal but still I think they are referred to as mountains, confusing even with GPS, and a Compass. Do not leave your compass at home; it does not require batteries.
In the evenings we would service the bikes, our hands busy all the while forging in our minds excuses for our bobbles during the day, which someone would no doubt mention during dinner or around the fire later. The strategy is to try to take this bobble and spin it into a tale detailing how you passed the someone who mentioned your bobble, leaving the excuse making in their lap. During all these after ride chores, John our selfless chef would start to grill some sort of carrion. Charlie would busy himself making hand cranked ice cream or his famous peach cobbler made fresh in a dutch oven, the remainder of the group sipped drinks around the camp fire, weaving and winding along a trail of conversation that eventually led to grown men giggling like girl scouts....PART ONE...YES THERE IS A PART TWO.

13 Comments:

At 4:14 AM , Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

This is a lot like a girl party except it's boys and you have motorcycles.

Gimme some of that cobbler.

 
At 5:43 AM , Blogger Barnes said...

Great story Josh. I would like to hear you laugh like a girl scout. Could you do a laugh audio post, like Madame O'Brien?

 
At 7:43 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

Erin: You can have my cobbler, I don't have much of a sweet tooth. Yep, a lot like a girl party, I left out the part about errr. nuthin'.

barnes: Thanks barnes, its all based on fact, you can tell because I did not inflate my superpowers to much...As for as the audio post,I'm trying to master logging on to new blogger so it may take awhile.

 
At 6:04 PM , Blogger ing said...

Wow, that sounds like FUN! But Phoenix in winter -- I bet you need the fire, and warm sleeping bodies, and a good chef.

Add a faithful dog and a hot spring and I picture heaven. Frank sounds like a lucky dude, and I'm glad the rest of you get a slice of his luck to go with the cobbler.

 
At 6:27 PM , Blogger josh williams said...

ing: A hard won vacation for everyone.Good to hear from you, Frank makes his own luck and I am lucky to know him as well as the few who read my post. Thanks I hope all is going well with your move and such...JW

 
At 4:39 AM , Blogger Lee Ann said...

Wow, sounds like an incredible time.
The photo is beautiful. I would love to see a photo of the "bathtub".

 
At 4:46 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

lee ann: I posted a picture of the falls, the bath tub is not visiable but present.

 
At 5:03 AM , Blogger Lee Ann said...

Thank you...wow!
Amazing!

 
At 7:28 AM , Blogger Toby said...

Great story. I never rode, but I used to camp and canoe a lot. I miss it.

 
At 8:02 PM , Blogger Lee Ann said...

I have actually blogged drunk a couple of times. It was fun at the time, but the next day when I went to visit other blogs (my routine visits), I saw some comments I left...it seemed so out of character for me (nothing really bad BAD, but I did apologize). I haven't tried it for a while, might be something fun for a weekend very soon!!!! ;)
Enjoy your beers, have one for me!

:)

 
At 10:36 PM , Blogger Mone said...

wow, that is quite a challenge to get up those falls. Looks like impossible to me. And a little scary.
The pic of the sun going down with that huge cactus is great. Are there any dangerous animals around? Other than crazy men I mean ;)

 
At 5:07 AM , Blogger josh williams said...

lee ann: thankee

toby:Thankee, everytime I think of a canoe I still think of poor Ned Beatty(sp)...

lee ann: I drink red wine instead of beer,as of late for the health benefits. I have noticed the differance in strength, I dont think blogger is a better place because of this...

mone: Part two shares a tale about the jumping cholla, ooooh I cant talk about it , much to scary!

 
At 5:14 PM , Blogger Toby said...

Poor piggy.

I took a second look, I may be late, I'm most likely late, but you desert pic looks a lot like an eff bomb.

 

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