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Desert Rats' Xmas in Big Bend

Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
I can still hear the coyotes yipping, feel the cold wind and dust on my face and hands, pick the sand out of my nose, eyes and swipe it off my goggles, see the glittering stars overhead, and feel the growl and clicking of two wheels on the sand, rocks and dirt.

I knew this would happen: sitting here back in 'this place' wishing I was 'back there'. Wanting to bear the harshness, timelessness, freedom, sun, sand, dust, dryness, dirtiness, coldness, nothingness. Willing to walk away from, give up, hand it all over, chuck it all here, to go back to riding on those sandy rocky trails, crashing on the way up the rocky inclines, standing on the pegs riding the crest of the hill when you are suddenly engulfed by everything that lays out before you, swallowed by the desert whale; where you feel so minuscule that you find your heart beating in your ears with maniacal laughter echoing because you realize you are so stinking small and don't mean a thing to anything else out there.... and don't care because you are there. Being it. A part of it. It..... you feel alive.

And that's all that matters.

I had the best time of decades out there in the Big Bend Desert. With roads, trails, riding buddies, food, sun, wheels, mountains, cactus, everything. I can't thank enough of all of you that were there with me, that made this possible. And I hope we all do it again.

But............
.... the double secret trails.
Are OURS!!!!

It began with a full moon, Odie and us howling at the moon. He's a very good guard coyote.

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There's a place, a secret place, we call.....Moon Valley.

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The not so secret Lodge at the Basin with rewarding delicious cobbler and ice cream. Necessary fodder for hungry dust riders that walk in amidst Clint Eastwood harmonica and a lone guitar, our boot cleats clicking on the flagstone.... Beware and hold your children close.......

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Base camp was a mixture or trailers, trucks, tents, bikes, chairs, logs, bikes, rocks, and hammocks. We Desert Rats live where ever we find a way to plop or hunker down. And we tend to gnaw a lot on various food stuffs.

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And when night falls over the desert the light of the campfire makes our beady little faces glow while we titter and giggle, sharing stories and tales, legends of our own making, or others, memories to share, some growing in size fed by desert antifreeze.

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The white globe that makes our blood run, we find ourselves sometimes crawling on all fours, whiskers swishing, tales wagging, howling with the coyotes at night, fattening the quail by day with chicken scratch, just like Hansel and Gretel.

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We, the Desert Rats, led by our fearless leader Roger Rat (he ate Roger Rabbit), explored many secret, some double secret trails: the DSDST. (aka Double Secret Dual Sport Trails). Our tires ate dirt, sand, dust, rock, water, more than asphalt. We would return covered in gray, blowing gray sand from our noses, wiping gray sand and dust from our eyes and faces. Gray to the bone, we were.

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We rode flat trails, creeks, rocks, hillsides, down banks....

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We dared ride where no rat has gone before......

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over and over.

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We had fine, fine food...

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sometimes sat and contemplated in Posthenge or other places....

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and saw what others never see.

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Sometimes we gave ourselves to the asphalt and ran where the wild things run.

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To be continued....
 

Tourmeister

Keeper of the Asylum
Admin
Joined
Feb 28, 2003
Messages
46,753
Location
Huntsville
First Name
Scott
Last Name
Friday
I love the Moon Valley shot... just enough gray to make you stop and wonder... :ponder:
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
There
I am.
Here
I'm not.

I have to clear space on my mac's hard drive before I can even download the rest of my photos. So it will be a day or so before Part Two.

Meanwhile, this Desert Rat wants to follow the crumbs back 'there'.
After I stop blowing my nose........
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Messages
906
Location
Sumter, SC
First Name
Russ
Last Name
Thomas
Looks like you had a heck of a time, Elzi. Can't wait to be able to see the pics!:mrgreen:
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
1,293
Location
Humble
First Name
tim
Fantastic Pics!!! Someday I'll get to ride there, but then I'll hafta deal with not wanting to leave:trust:

Looking forward to the rest:clap:
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
1,467
Location
Sulphur Springs
Elsi. Great pictures.
It was nice meeting you and all the guys. The Desert is a great place!
I plan to attend more TWT functions in 08 . I may start with Uncles ride in Feb.
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Why do we do it?

The only way to experience anything is to become immersed in it. You can't do that in a vehicle with four sides; it is a cage. Nor on a bike screaming on the asphalt whizzing by. You can glance at it, maybe smell it, but not experience it.

On the roads less traveled, the trails covered with leaves, dirt, sand and rock, your speed is limited by your degree of death wish. A dirt bike, a dual sport bike, tires that bite and grab, kick up stones, splatter water, push or hover over sand, you are out there. Dust and sand covers your gear, helmet, goggles or shield; it crusts inside your nose and the outside of your lips. Odors, sun, water, sand and dust entomb you and your machine; rocks, boulders, sand and creek water chain you and your machine to the back of the terrain and take you for a ride as if you were tethered to Moby Dick. You can go down and under, the elements are unforgiving.

You rely on your nerves, judgment and skill. Adrenaline feeds your brain and steadies your hands while you snort and grin inside crusted sweaty gear. Pure determination keeps your legs from buckling under you after hours on the pegs. You fall, you get up, pick it up and try it again.

It's not a sport. It's not touring. It's real riding and being immersed in the terrain. A compromise between the engine and wheels under you and your perseverance on how far you want to, how far you can, push it. It's being there. It's being alive.

You stop at the top or bottom, turn off the engine and look around; and breathe deeply. Grinning. Knowing you're alive.

This is why we ride dirt.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2007
Messages
891
Location
Central Texas
Glad y'all made it back. I worried that it might be too cold there to have fun, but I see from your pictures it wasn't.:popcorn:

How did the DS tires fair? Were you comfortable with them?
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
Messages
5,173
Location
Terlingua Tx
First Name
Ed
Last Name
Hegarty
Jerry, my Kenda 761s fared alright. I would call them a true 50/50 tire as the street performance is outstanding, yet they bite the dirt better than they look like they would. They were half worn out having racked up around 4,000 miles on the XR before this trip. There was only one stretch where I would have really liked having a toothier[sic] rear tire, and will have one on before the February return trip. When I get my film back along with the digital disks I will write a detailed report with pics.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
1,690
Location
DFW, TX
I have never been to that part of Texas. I am apparently missing a LOT. Any chance of sharing the double secret trails? Also, I saw there was a KTM 950. I wonder if I could've done that on my DL650?
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
4,003
Location
Austin
First Name
Richard
Last Name
Gibbens
But............
.... the double secret trails.
Are OURS!!!!
Elsi,

The double secret trail is, by far, the best dual sport road in Texas but you really shouldn't be teasing the audience about it. After all, you did swear an oath of secrecy as a member of the DSTRC (double secret trail riders club) not to reveal the location of the double secret trail.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Messages
1,690
Location
DFW, TX
Elsi,

The double secret trail is, by far, the best dual sport road in Texas but you really shouldn't be teasing the audience about it. After all, you did swear an oath of secrecy as a member of the DSTRC (double secret trail riders club) not to reveal the location of the double secret trail.
I'll bribe her with ice cream. :)
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Where is this road and what is it's name:trust:
I. Must. Not. Reveal........... :trust:

The double secret trail is, by far, the best dual sport road in Texas but you really shouldn't be teasing the audience about it. After all, you did swear an oath of secrecy as a member of the DSTRC (double secret trail riders club) not to reveal the location of the double secret trail.
Ah, but they don't know which one(s) of the 1140 miles of dusty roads and trails it is, or the others. It once was lost but now its found. Amazing how that happens......... and how sweet the ride*.

*Uh oh, I foresee a song in the making..... Amazing Roads to the tune of Amazing Grace. Our DSTRC song. ;)
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
Elsi. Great pictures.
It was nice meeting you and all the guys. The Desert is a great place!
I plan to attend more TWT functions in 08 . I may start with Uncles ride in Feb.
Yes, please do!
Don, it was great meeting you, Tom, David, Hardy, Steve, Joel, Richard, Aaron, and all the others, and best of all: riding, eating, sharing stories, all of it with y'all. Kudos and a big bow to Roger, our fearless desert rat leader.:clap:

Although, I could easily pass up the stereo snoring between four of ya....

(thank you, David, for the ear plugs!)
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
I have never been to that part of Texas. I am apparently missing a LOT. Any chance of sharing the double secret trails? Also, I saw there was a KTM 950. I wonder if I could've done that on my DL650?
Maybe, but sections may be more than challenging for a Wee-strom.

David rode his KTM 950 most of the rides, but he also had a KTM 450. Hardy rode that a few times and David rode it once or twice out on the desert trails. I'll let him chime in about that, but I can vouch that David rides that 950 amazingly and deftly on those trails. I was always impressed how he maneuvered many tricky spots (by that I mean, rocky, uphill, loose, downhill, sandy, etc). Where sometimes I was holding my breath and counting how many lives I had left.
 
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
1,293
Location
Humble
First Name
tim
I. Must. Not. Reveal........... :trust:
That would be "dirty pool":brainsnap I have certainly "never" posted a pic w/o willing to give up it's location [not that I've ever had that fine of a pic].:giveup:

So in all fairness, I'll ask again....Where is this road and what's it's name?:trust:
 
Joined
Jun 7, 2006
Messages
5,846
Location
Exit. Stage West.
So in all fairness, I'll ask again....Where is this road and what's it's name?:trust:
Dude, I'm just teasing.

In all honesty, I haven't a clue what it is called or which road it is. Truly. We rode so many trails and roads out there, and there are hundreds of miles of trails/roads. The maps show some of them, but not all. I've been trying to locate a piece of that desert on the maps and I'm still scratching my head on where it is (I only know the general area based on a few landmarks).

I'm not sure it has a name, and if it does, it probably has several names. Like most other roads out there.
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
3,870
Location
Santa Fe, TX
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Lowry
I have never been to that part of Texas. I am apparently missing a LOT. Any chance of sharing the double secret trails? Also, I saw there was a KTM 950. I wonder if I could've done that on my DL650?
Your Wee should do fine, I didn't have much trouble with my GS and yes, you are missing a great part of Texas.

David and Uncle chillin' at the Hilton.
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Hi Elsi, :wave:see you decided to come back after all. Although My trip was short, twas an epic ride from the Gulf coast out to Big Bend and back.
 
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