Exploring Castle Hot Springs on the 950
About halfway through the ride, it hits you – there is no better place to be than out here. On the trail, in the middle of the desert, exploring new areas. I’m a happy guy. The old adage, “it’s not the destination; it’s the journey” certainly rings true. This was one of those days.
I love the process – you look at a map, find a new area to explore, create a route in your GPS, and hope that the nice little dotted line on the screen actually matches up to an actual trial (in many cases, it doesn’t). But that’s what makes this so much fun. Getting out there and finding your way through the dead ends and broken trails. This was one of those days.
It was literally ideal riding weather – low 70s with a good breeze. Gotta love Arizona. The trails varied from fun hardpack to sandy washes. (There was more than one instance when I had delusions of riding in Dakar.) After a few dead end trials, I finally found the right trail that would take me on the less traveled path from Lake Pleasant to Wickenburg. That’s a great feeling, when you realize that it finally clicked. It was a great trail: breathtaking scenery, a deserted structure or two and the occasional critter crossing the trail. It was also typical in that there were very few vehicles out there with me. As with many rides, there was at least one moment when I realized that riding out here alone in the middle of the desert probably isn’t the brightest thing to do. If something were to happen to me or the bike, it could get ugly. I try not to venture out too far when riding alone, but the sense of adventure can be quite seductive.
At one point, the trail turned into a deep sandy wash. A quick check of the GPS showed that I had strayed from the main trail, but before I could get turned around, I went down on the right side. No damage to me or the bike, but I finally got that dreaded first scratch out of the way on the 950. (Now I can stop worrying about that.) After all, a bike without scratches has no soul.
Interesting side story – on the way home, I pulled up to a stop light with four Harley riders in front of me. Apparently, they wanted to show off their marvels of engineering, so they took off hard when the light changed. (Made a lot noise, but they didn’t seem to be moving that fast.) Before they made it into 3rd gear, one of the bikes started billowing smoke from the engine; so much so that visibility instantly dropped to zero. As the Harleys pulled to the side of the road, I couldn’t help but snicker (and hope that the gods of motorcycle irony were looking the other direction).