Sunday, November 1, 2009

DESERT & Halloween..... Deadly Combination...

Everyone of you would have felt this duel feeling.. On one hand you have a feeling of ecstasy that you are doing something you have always Dreamed off.. on the other hand.. You are shit scared that you can't find your way back as you are lost in your tracks..

This blog is just to relive the experience which I had yesterday on Halloween.. Never thought that my halloween would be so amazing & scary at the same time.. I was on a Bike after nearly 2 yrs.. little did i know that I would be on it for almost 4 hrs riding alone trying to find my way back..

It all started with a simple plan of going into the Mohavi desert near California city.. I was invited by my colleague & her husband to join the action of Dirt biking in desert. I was all excited & charged up.. I started off at 5 AM to avoid the traffic on I-5 .. It was a long journey (159 miles) to Borax Bill park.. but i was loaded with smashing music hits from our nations's cinema..

Then i caught the first glimpse of the desert.. The dry land with shrubs & cacti were around you as far as you can see.. The nearest city with the camp site we were in was around 10 miles.. mind you these 10 can turn into a 100 if you dont know your way back.. But i had my GPS.. thanks to my colleague Adil who had asked me to buy one of them earlier this year..

So all hyped, I met with my Colleague Lisa & Randy. They had come along with a group of people.. Beleive it or not... there was a 70 yr old Tom dirt biking along with us.. Morning session went on well with a little training on how to ride in the vast desert.. I was particularly happy that I could ride the 4-stroke engine after a long time.. But once i was on it, it was a smooth ride.. Everything just came back as if i was driving the bike all along.. I had impressed everyone around with the ease with which i had taken Dirt biking under my wings.. but I had my share of fall when i didnt respect the nature & tried to climb up a steep hill pretty soon.

Then we headed to the nearby Motocross Range.. Gosh.. breathtaking jumps .. doubles.. triples. whoops.. u name it.. u got it all.. They were jumping all over..

At Lunch. .. we had a party crasher... A Mohavi Green rattle snake was all set to strike on one of the pet dogs.. The dog was on it walk when it faced off with the snake.. Next 3 min of my life was with shock, calmness, Gunshots and a snaps of dead snake.. Kim alerted all that there was a snake.. we hadn't realized that it was the deadliest of all in the desert.. randy just ran towards the dog.. He threw some sand on the snake to divert it.. That rattled up the snake big time.. All we heard at that time was HISSSSS & Rattlessss... The out of nowhere Robert showed up with his 30 mm pistol & shot it .. Boomm.. booom... boom... 4 times & the snake was still advancing.. Then came the final blow.. The head shot.. lucky me.. by this time i had camera with me & shot the final shot.. Normally i am against killing animals.. but this was just a pure act of self-preservation.. Else we would have had randy or Diane in serious condition..

The final act:

Since others were heading off to a cycling experience, I stayed back to have one more stint at the desert.. I headed off with to a nearby hill at 2:45 PM .. once i reached it, turned around.. looked at our trailer. Then saw a far off water tank.. Rode to the tank for a good 25 min.. & then it struck me.. The shrubs were tall & hills were huge.. I WAS LOST.. I think.. i think.. I started off in the reverse direction of the trail.. After riding for an hour, I met with a trailer.. the owners were with a family celebrating the Halloween.. He guided me to north of the spot.. " Around 4 miles" he said .. Thanked him & started off..

After riding for around 15 min, it was no where near the camp site which we were on.. I looked all around.. Its just hills & dry land.. with cactii plants.. I saw a huge Galileo hill & passed it along.. by this time it was almost 4 PM. No sign off humans anywhere.. then came a little panic.. I had no water.. Desert is not safe for a First timer during the nights.. The winter was here.. The chilly breeze started to blow across my face.. the thought of rattle snake didn't help either.. Thought of getting lost & spending the night alone was Scary to say the least..

As they say.. When the going gets Tough.. The tough get going... Out of desperation.. I rode on top of a hill.. mind you that this was a much steeper hill compared to the failed attempt which i made in the morning.. On the top of the hill My eyes were moist.. my lips were dry.. face was covered with dirt.. Sat down & it all came back to me.. The bike ride with Vinay in the middle of the night into the forest.. The Savanadurga hike with my college buddies.. Those were as treacherous as this as we were in similar situation.. No idea of the terrain.. we had just found our way & made it back.. Then the words of Lisa & Randy were ringing... We had spoken on seeing the desert sunset.. & the full moon ..

Common sense, which i had not used till that point.. came into effect.. I stood up & looked around.. I saw few Electric Poles at a far off distance.. Maybe 7-8 miles.. i remembered that the highway was along these poles.. but i had one more thing to ponder about.. I had climbed up the hill, but i hadn't had much exp in climbing down.. it was steep like a 20 ft slide.. with baby rocks & slippery mud along the way.. but i had no choice.. I just prayed for a moment and headed down... I didnt leave my front or Rear breaks for a moment.. The slide was so steep that the bike had automatically started to go down.. within 30 sec which felt like an eternity.. i was on level ground again...

I rode off the hill & into the shrubs.. I didnt care about the trail.. I just headed off to the direction of the poles.. I rode through whoops.. sand.. trenches.. hills.. everything possible.. for almost an Hour.. As soon as I hit the highway.. I started heading west knowing that we were in that direction based on the chat.. I met with a family.. these were the genuine Good American people who had a huge RV.. They gave me a little liquid power & gave me a sense of direction.. i was way off.. around 9 miles away from my camp site.. The god sent Samaritan filled by bike with gas.. I rushed off as the Sun was setting down..

5:15 pm.. I rode through the desert but always kept an eye on the poles so that i was close by the highway.. after an hour.. i was close to the same hill which i first aimed for.. or at least it looked like it.. I was there with sun almost closing his day at the office.. I had no choice but to just climb up & see around.. again.. lucky me .. i saw the beautiful sunset & a Car parked up next to a semblance of a store.. When i went close by.. It was the sheriff... I was never so happy to see a policeman.. Took a deep breath & a sigh of relief.. I was back .. Borax Bill park..

Then i called Lisa & took some directions.. 2 miles away.. I drove back at full speed.. ya.. almost at 50 miles/hr.. I was a Pro... :) Then it was a long sessions of me telling this awesome experience to everyone..

Needless to say ... the best wake up call to the power of nature.. & an awesome Halloween to remember.. my new favourite .. HONDA #29

PS : ever get a chance to visit the desert.. stay overnight.. You will not believe the amazing night sky.. full of stars & for us to top it off.. a Full moon...