Friday, October 05, 2007

 

Lucerne Valley - Sept. '07 - Part Two

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, I got to go to the D.O.M. ride alone. Now let me list the advantages about that: I get to listen to whatever music I want to, as loud as I want to, all the way there and all the way home. I get to hang out with whomever I want to once I get there. I get to drink as much beer as I want to without hearing any flack from a certain someone. I get to ride as much as I want to on whatever trails I want to. (That means no easy trails at a deathly slow speed). I don’t have to cook for anyone other than myself. (Did I mention that Laura, Brady and Nina are finicky eaters, and rarely eat at normal meal times, and that I usually have to stop what I’m doing to feed Nina?). I don’t have to clean up after anyone other than myself. I don’t have to waste propane because someone is cold and wants the heater on. (There are things called extra layers of clothing and/or blankets that address that challenge). I don’t have to waste gasoline and the extra wear-and-tear on the generator by playing movies or video games for hours at a time. (There’s a thing called a campfire where socializing is done to pass the time in the evening to address that challenge).

Now for the disadvantages: For me, this ride is only from Saturday at 6:00 p.m. until Sunday at Noon.

When I finally got to Cougar Buttes in Lucerne Valley, I was greeted by friend and former D.O.M. club King, Kenny. I immediately asked about the potluck, which is usually held about 6:00 p.m. It turns out there was no potluck. Those who attended Happy Hour (at 3:00 p.m.) brought enough finger foods to adequately feed the small turn out that was there. So the potluck was scrapped. No problem. The lasagna that I labored over (over a cold grocery store freezer) went immediately into my microwave oven, and shortly thereafter into my stomach. Dinner done.

I then mingled with fellow club members, non-club members, and guests at the camp fire while drinking beer. I hadn’t seen any of these people since the D.O.M. Annual in May. There was actually one former member there whom I hadn’t seen in several years. It was great to visit with everyone, even if it was only for a short time. While we were talking and enjoying our campfire, we were treated to a beautiful fireworks display from a neighboring camp. Bad people! Fireworks are illegal and dangerous.

After some of our own pyros started messing with our campfire, I broke away to hang out with my friend Joe at his campfire. Joe got me into the D.O.M. club, and the quad I now ride was one that he owned years ago. Joe had his son David with him, and David’s friend Daniel. We hung out at their small campfire by his trailer for a couple more beers before calling it a night.

The next morning, as previously agreed upon the night before, some of us met up for an early morning ride. 7:30 a.m. was the departing time. Cole led the small group of quad riders, which included me, Kenny, King Dan, John, and a lone motorcycle rider whose name escapes me. (I think he’s a friend of John’s). Anyway, we hit the trails. Cole took us towards the large rock formations to the south, heading eastward from there to circle them in a counter-clockwise manner. It wasn’t long before I questioned whether we were even on a quad trail. I think I would have done better if I was a goat trekking across a rocky mountain pass. We later discovered that due to this killer trail, damage occurred to the motorcycle’s tires.

One of the neat things about Cougar Buttes are the rock formations. There are a lot of trails going in many directions, but there are also trails that hug the base of these formations that reek havoc. (Later in the day Joe and I saw a 4X4 truck being righted – it had over-turned. The truck fell victim to these rocky trails).

So more than halfway through this morning ride Kenny had a mishap. We were on a trail that made kind-of a hairpin turn. Kenny had already gone through it, and I was about to. So if you can picture it – we were going in opposite directions. A little after I went through the turn, the trail took a hard right going up a steep hill. I though Kenny missed the turn and saw that he went straight. I got up to the top of the hill where there was another hairpin turn bringing you back down the hill. That’s when I saw that Kenny had T-boned a rock. Not just any rock; a rock that was about 5 feet high, 2 feet around, and probably weighed 1,000 lbs. Kenny hit this rock so hard it actually moved. He’s lucky he didn’t launch over the top of his quad and T-boned it with his head. Damage to Kenny’s quad was a dented bumper on the front end, and a lost cooler rack on the back end. We think the cooler rack actually broke first and caused a distraction for Kenny, which caused him to miss that hard right turn to begin with.

We limped home from there and ate breakfast. I took Laura’s quad on that first ride, which turned out to be the longest one for me of the day. Next up was Brady’s quad. I took that for a little spin after breakfast. Then it was my quad’s turn. I took that for a shorter spin – just to keep it running. Nina’s quad wouldn’t even start, and I wasn’t going to waste time messing with it.

I started packing up my stuff, as I wanted to leave by Noon. After I got everything done, and saw that some of the members were starting to leave. Joe invited me to go with him in his sand rail for a ride with his son and friend. We took long ride that was very fun. We had a great time. On the way back is when we saw the 4X4 truck mishap. Joe also spotted a boy on a motorcycle in distress. I don’t know why this kid thought he could traverse the trail he was on, but he could have hurt himself and wrecked his bike. I got out of the sand rail and helped him push his bike back up a rocky hill to where we could turn it around and head him towards an easier trail.

Shortly thereafter I left our camp for home, where I was treated to a drive without traffic, and with my favorite music, NO distractions from fighting kids or a nagging wife, and no tire blowouts. Two and a half hours later I was reunited with my loving family. Nina had several pictures that she had drawn for me, and a sign that still hangs in our hallway that says “Welcome back from the ride and your alone time”. I got hugs and kisses from Laura, and the usual indifferent greeting from Brady.

All in all I had a great time, even if I only rode quads for about two hours. My next trip will be better. I hope you visit back to read about it.

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Comments:
Great post, Dan. I am totally jealous. The concept of a guy trip, one that involves drinking beer and riding a quad in the desert is awesome!!
 
Thanks Flix,
I had a really good time despite the short time I was there. Thanks for stopping by.
 
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