This time around we are here for about a month as already a week has passed. Fast it goes within this incredibly immense stage. Stage which is also the death of any kind of Internet connection, it is Nature and us and some unseasonably warm weather. Some nice clouds here and there, sunrises ans sunsets always a treat while cooking dinner in the open air, nothing like it. Yet, the space has been a bit intimidating. As I see groups riding, driving, I feel as being by ourselves a bit more caution is a must around here. Point A to point B is always a lot of miles and even though we have a SPOT and a SAT phone with the local numbers (911 from a SAT phone goes to New Jersey!) and it has taken me a bit to absorb what this area is all about. A winter in Death Valley! Thinking snow and cold as our previous short trips here, instead mid seventies every day... Good Karma!
Enjoy the Photos...
There will be more as we are able to connect.
3 millions of acres this time around with incredible weather which does not cease to amaze me. Pass up the “tourist” traps, the paved roads and what is left are miles of unpaved paths, most with more washboard I have ever felt. Yet the worth is present when we can spend nights and days without hearing anyone present. As long as we have water! Death Valley started very intimidating, mainly because we are by ourselves, even equipped with a SAT phone and a SPOT it would not be a scenario of substance to break down. Most I come across are in groups, a wise aspect. I did see my share of it with others and their flat tires, so far we have done well and moving on smartly. A couple more weeks probably before we have to head back to Texas, “Old Faithful” is being technically overhauled. I cannot think about it yet, I am falling in Love with Death Valley and finding ways to survive camping free, shower free, a bit of wifi and cell service here and there and that is it. More on the Journal...
If nothing else we have joined the mile marker "Tea Kettle" en route for the "Racetrack". Yet, there is much more when one has the chance to spend camping a few nights in that desolate space. It feels "way out there" and it is. No light pollution, a few tourists throughout the day a couple miles away, coming in and getting out as fast as they did. Sometimes I don't know why they bother, some not even removing their helmets or a quick window down and up, quick photo and back to where they came from. Mystery.
Spirit had a blast on the Playa which reminded me a bit of the "salt flats" only smaller. One on one, closer we have become. There is a promised certitude of not leaving such a space being the same person inside out. Changes happen as it has happened. It has been a space like no other I must say leaving me to often speechless throughout the time spend.
The "Racetrack" will become as "Valley of the Gods" have, most likely a once a year pilgrimage.
More photos on the Journal...
Just stepped out of the Park heading South East through Mojave National Preserve. I could not find any room in my heart to go back through Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson.. It is a bit bitter~sweet today leaving. Leaving while discovering more spaces we could be camping on while the entity of this enormous Park finally has turned into Friendliness. “Warm Springs” Rd off “West Side Rd”, “Hole in the Wall”, “Echo Canyon”, “Skidoo”, “The Racetrack”, “Marble Canyon”... and the names could go on and on. One bad day in exchange for all the good days while being here, it happens everywhere, mental downfall as much as physical when such a storm as in the recent past days takes place. “Death Valley” has now taken a different form in my mind, it has become a bit more familiar and yet, demanding a respect due for every moment spend.
It has been quite an experience, another landmark we will come back to no doubt.
More Photos on the Journal and a quote from “Spirit”
“Death Valley” is behind us, physically only, my Soul has yet to leave “Warm Springs” Rd, the hills off “Skidoo” Rd and the few others we were lost on. Since exchanging thoughts with others having also experienced “Death Valley” I have been pleased to know that I have not been the only one a bit “intimidated” by such vastness. It has a been what I call a “Life changing experience”. It has reinforced how strongly is the need for “getting lost”, how fully such isolation avoiding the “tourist traps” can keep us afloat days on end. We are now back at “The Oasis” where the skies on the first night welcomed us as never before with a Sunset of epic proportion. The photo above is only one of them, all taken within less than a two hour span. We did drop south through Mojave National Preserve, finding more primitive camping by the Kelso Dunes, and then on “Belle” campground in Joshua National Park, this time around a bit quick for our taste but we needed to get back here and apply myself to some logistical issues. A few days, some serious maintenance and on again...
The route back from Death Valley took us through Mojave and Joshua Tree. We just could not make it a straight line to "The Oasis", this space awaiting for us "again", right now a bit hotter than what we would like to be, yet, with not much of a choice considering "Old Faithful" will be soon in a few days going through some major overhauling. Patience. Death Valley was as kicking us out or sucking us right back in. A ride report! It is never a physical ride report. The stages we are on play too much of their own feelings toward my senses, my Soul, my mind... It has become endless, it has become my own "World" as I discovered for the first time not long ago, just a few days past, it is "OK" to be in our own "World". It is fine even if so not agreable by many for the only reason of it being so different with the lack of switches and a comfort seeked. The "comfort" is within, the dimmers have too often a mind of their own moved around by so many tangents I can only be ahead of them all or too often behind.
So we are here, Spirit with his own freedom to run around as the forever Clown he is and myself these first days being lazy as never before! The word "summer" is sharpening daily. Where will we be? How far can our fuel loosing it's value will take us? Are we going to give in? We cannot. Colorado sounds enticing. The back roads of the many Forest service trails will see us parked and enjoying the coolness of such summer.
In the meantime we are also getting ready for a sharing of the Journey in Albuquerque on April 11th at Sandia BMW Motorcycle Dealer. How to share the so many years within such a short time? A slide show, tid bits on how to move on as we do while writing, photography, meeting new Friends on the shoulders of the roads, the ones paved and unpaved, cooking, all positive aspects of this road taken... The same path will take us to Overland Expo on May 18~19~20ht in Flagstaff. There will be more... Sharing is what it is all about.
Standing still. We are. The triple digit on the heat index is not. "That" keeps jumping. We are just so much not used to any kind of heat. The kind that drains, takes away thoughts and any desire to accomplish anything of worth. A couple more days, "Old Faithful" will be taken apart, we will be headed North. Yet, everything happens seemingly for a reason as I seat here and read a Book that is enlightening me. Yes, it is about the struggle of Life when loosing someone Close and Dear. It is as the pages have been written for me, it is about the path we have taken, it is telling me of an approval as never heard or read before. It is liberating to know as such, that once a while back, my decision for these past years and today has been the right one as difficult it can at times be, as challenging the simple aspect of surviving on all aspects month after month can be.
The Journey when we leave will take a turn, I can feel it and know it. So many spaces are awaiting, the ones not many have heard of, the ones one can blend in and be part of it's creation in contemplative aspects so too often ignored by many.
In the meantime, here, evening storms have made for some photos depicting always the beauty of Big Bend Flats which might not be the proper name of this area, but that is what some of us call it. All this is about some rides in the neighborhood.
I write a bit every day. It is part of my breathing it seems like. Breath out to allow breathing in. The heat index should have been proud of reaching the three digits for days on end while having us as a must to remain here. Of course now, this evening, a large storm moved in with much rain, wind and cold air. So my Journal is only true for the past days and not today. Does it really matter? It was then those days past a must to go on riding, hot or not, part of Life's Therapy to ride, a familiar loop to Terlingua, and on River Road to Presidio, Marfa, Alpine and back here. From “inside my helmet” I should often call the pages created. That is when it happens, the voices express themselves. An “Art Show” in Presidio lured us in. The most important aspect of the week however was “Old Faithful” going, not under the knife, but the wrenches. New rear engine main seal, clutch and a variety of maintenance aspects which will allow us to once again get rolling. Was it my doing? Of course not. My ability does not go that far and my good fortune to have a Friend such as Paul in charge of it all, well, there are no words for my gratitude toward him as not only he is the best “mechanic” around, but also an incredible “Human Being” when truly experiencing the Man one on one for a few days. It is all done, finished, rolling... 3 days it took, 3 days of Spirit being unhappy seeing his car away and apart on one wheel! This body is a bit sore from pulling, lifting, aspects uncommon throughout our “regular” days. On to Albuquerque... should be a good ride.
I know it is a Monday. The Dealership is closed. “Old Faithful” is sitting 600 miles from here, should I say “a blown engine”? That is basically what it is! Yes, after spending days changing a clutch and a rear main engine seal. Different department! Till this morning, as the expression says, I did not know if I was coming or going. Trying to regroup. Yet, our good fortune tagged right along with us. We limped right into Sandia's BMW Motorcycle Service door! Our Presentation was the next day. They bend backwards and so quickly determined what was wrong. Everything. “Old Faithful” gave it her last breath to take us there. That in itself was amazing. More good Karma as within a couple days a Friend living near by gave us a drive back here to “The Oasis” where we are waiting, unpacking what has been thrown in the car, repacking to hopefully go back soon and continue our Journey. A new engine has been found, 2 years younger and with only 30,000 miles! Will this give us another 250,000 miles to go? Hoping and projecting. It was bound to finally happen, Nothing lasts forever and I am so thankful all is falling nicely together even though my emotions are at their highest. The Presentation went very well to a full packed house... More on that the next time. The backroads to Albuquerque... Enjoy this new entry.
I have to be so glad all this is happening now and not within a hot and dry Desert while isolated and miles away from civilization. “Old Faithful” awaits in Albuquerque. She is in good hands at Sandia BMW Motorcycles, she has the best mechanic taking care of her while a replacement engine is on it's way. 2 years newer, with only 30,000 miles on her, it is as a new heart is being transplanted without loosing her Soul. Yet, it has been strange, specially the first few days. Amazing how a “machine” can develop such a Soul which when not together leaves an empty daily space.
Regardless, our “Presentation” went on real well, the slide show mixed in with a couple of “Spirit's Videos” of course!, narration of a few close to my Heart destinations, mixing in a bit with tips also throughout the Tech Session that followed, all I must say was entertaining as we also made some new Friends. Standing room only, the hour went by fast as “Old Faithful” was rolled in into the room. I think she also enjoyed the time present with so many.
We should be rolling a week from today... should be as the new engine is being dropped off on Monday. Packing and on our way tomorrow on a slow pace this time exploring more of those back roads around Albuquerque. 55 being one of them.