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.