The first thing that comes to mind for me when I hear the word camping is a quiet outdoor setting deep in nature. I picture sitting in a beach chair on a breezy coastline or staring at a campfire high in the mountains. The smell of salty air or a thick forest fills my head. I can almost hear the crashing of the waves or the cackling of the fire. The thoughts of these sights, smells, and sounds can bring an instant feeling of euphoria.
But I also enjoy a different kind of camping. Every year come fall, I look at the calendar and two words always jump out. DESERT TRIP! This camping trip offers a host of different sounds, sights, and smells than a typical camping trip and that euphoric feel turns to adrenaline and excitement. The sound of the dirt bike and OHV motors gets my blood pumping. The smell of the two stroke oil and exhaust fills the air and the sun lights up a vast landscape full of trails and adventure. It’s time for a ride!
“We’re going on a ride” someone will holler. That is the signal to get your gear on, fuel up, and fire up the moto or side by side. We will pick a ghost town or an old mining area or maybe some interesting rock formations to visit. However the destination is hardly the attraction…it is the “ride.” Sometimes the experienced riders go out and hit some challenging trails. Other times it will be a family affair with a young grom setting off on their first long ride on a dirt bike. No matter the challenge, the ride allows you to feel totally free. In the desert there are few traffic laws to follow beyond the basic safety and courtesy practices I was taught growing up. It is wide open and beautiful. Taking in the fresh air and gorgeous surroundings is only rivaled by the feeling of riding. Learning the turns, suspension capabilities, and overall handling of the OHV is challenging and exhilarating. Becoming one with the machine and appreciating the engineering and performance capabilities is something special.
“They’re baaaaaack!” Upon returning to camp there is always a big reception from those who stayed behind. The little ones come running out and the stories of who almost crashed, or what a great trail we hit are flowing immediately. It is time to fire up the grill, crack a beverage and get dusted off. As the sun goes down we stare at the colors changing across the sky. It then gets dark, the temperature immediately drops and the biggest display of stars light up the night sky. One by one people start heading to bed and the campfire begins to die down. It is time to climb into the warm van and get ready to do it all again in the morning.