OK... that was a weird ride.
Carl and I were planning on taking some jeep
trails from Cave Creek to Strawberry, AZ. But we encountered a
little road block -- a man who had been wondering through the desert for a
day and a half with no food or water. Here's the full story...
We started the day by opening up the little bikes on Seven Springs road.
There was absolutely no traffic, so we were able to really have some fun up
that road. Carl had the XR pinned in 5th a couple of times...
We made it up to Bloody Basin Road, and cut off on the jeep trail that takes
you over to the Childs power plant. About four miles north of Bloody Basin,
I came around a corner to find two guys stopped on the trail. One was on a
little Chinese-made 125cc bike, the other had no shirt and looked like he
was about to collapse. When I stopped to find out what was going on, Dan
(the guy on the 125) said he came across this shirtless guy just walking
(limping) down the road. Dan tried to feed him a peanut butter sandwich, but
he couldn't keep it down. The shirtless guy (Alex) asked if I had any water,
so I found an empty water bottle and filled it up from my Camelbak. While he
finished that off, Dan and I talked about what to do next. Since he had
passenger pegs and I didn't, he volunteered to throw Alex on the back of his
bike while I followed behind. The problem was, Alex was in pretty bad shape
both physically and mentally, and was highly dilusional. We couldn't go 100
yards before Alex would start screaming and squirming. On top of this, Dan's
little 125 was really struggling two-up. Finally, Dan stopped and said he
was done -- that he couldn't take Alex any further. So I thew Alex on the
back of the EXC and continued on.
This was rough. Alex was constantly screaming to get off, to the point where
we couldn't make it 100 feet before stopping. I had to get a little abrupt
with him and told him to tough it out and hang on. About this time, Carl
showed up on the scene, and the two of us took turns carrying Alex. (By this
time, Dan had said adios and took off.)
Carl and I rode like this for a few miles, then decided on a new plan. We
found a place with some nice shady bushes and stopped. After creating a
waypoint, Carl rode ahead to find a place with cell phone service while I
waited at the waypoint with Alex. It took nearly two hours for Carl to find
service, call the sheriff and return to the waypoint. That was a long couple
of hours. At one point, Alex started trying to crawl INTO the bush. When I
asked what he was doing, he said, "They normally charge to do this. But they
didn't charge me." Obviously, he was still out of his gourd. I refilled his
water bottle every 20 minutes or so and fed him a Powerbar. That, in
combination with resting in the shade, helped a lot. I finally learned that
Alex's car had gotten stuck in some sand somewhere in the desert, and he
just started walking.
After Carl returned, we waited another couple of
hours for the sheriff to arrive. Nothing. Carl said the Verde river was too
high to cross, so we figured the sheriff would have to come up Bloody Basin
road. So we loaded Alex up and started heading there. This time around, Alex
was a much better passenger, and we started to make good time. It turns out,
sheriff deputy Roy was waiting for us at Bloody Basin road. He couldn't get his
truck across a muddy section of the trail, and was about to call for a
helicopter when we arrived. The deputy informed us that Alex had indeed
been out there for a day and a half.
Getting him to safety
Verde was too high to cross
Finding Deputy Roy
Large bird of prey by the
Right after we met the deputy, it started to rain, so Carl and I
high-tailed up back up Seven Springs road. After all of the waiting and
putting around with Alex on the back, we were eager to open the bikes up, so
we hauled-ass back up. That was a great way to relieve some stress!
What a bizarre, surreal adventure that was!