Dual Sport Desert Daze 2011 (Pt 1)

I was super excited about attending Desert Daze again this year. I got to play a bigger part putting on the event, designing the t-shirts/stickers/posters and helping gather raffle goodies (Thanks On Any Moto!)

I had wanted to ride dirt down to Dragoon on Thursday, but school obligations kept me late, so I trailered down with Alan instead. I had a quick beer before the bar closed up and called it a night.

Went for a little walk in the morning. I love the crazy rocks out there.

The neighbors. Continue reading

Howlin’ at the Moon

Please excuse this interruption to my summer storytelling. I hope I don’t confuse anyone with this post, but I just had an awesome weekend in Prescott and wanted to post about it before continuing my summer trip report…

So a few months ago my friend Allyn started hounding me to register for a dual sport ride up in Prescott called Howlin’ at the Moon he insisted last year was the most fun he ever had riding and I -had- to make it to this year’s event. I begged the time off work and registered well in advance. The event totally sold out at 200 riders.

I had a minor panic moment when my bike decided to freak out and fall apart. The starter switch failed, so I was kick starting it all the time. The exhaust was falling off -again- and the subrame nuts that the seat bolts into broke off. Joy. Continue reading

Chickfest! (Pt 2)

I woke up to the smell of two stroke smoke and roar of dual sport engines as riders gathered the next day.

Skip made us a delicious breakfast.

We were very lucky our friends trailered in and brought lots of food. Sean and I were a little tired of protein bars at this point. Everyone who trailered in really helped out those who rode in and there was plenty of food and drink to go around! 🙂

We even had a shower!

The advanced riders went out early and rode some killer single track (I hope I’ll be able to try this stuff after another year of riding!)

These chicks will have you eating their dust!

Megan can take this bike anywhere!


Sean and I went for a nice morning ride, but I didn’t take even a single picture. It was a really great track though. Lots of whoops and curves, a good bit of sand and only a little bit of mud and ruts…yet I managed to slide out in one and launch into the forest…I was fine and drug the bike back out to the road before Sean even realized I was no longer behind him.

Megan and Karen organized the event and taught the beginner clinic. They did an awesome job putting it together and everyone I spoke to learned a lot and had a great time!

Converging for the clinic

I look way too serious in this picture.

Megan demonstrated proper body positioning while standing on the pegs.

Once everyone had that down, we went out to a long easy stretch of dirt road to practive acceleration and braking.

We practiced braking with just the front and just the back. We braked until the tire locked up and skidded, so we would know what that felt like and then practiced using both breaks together.

The road ended at a large dirt pit where we practiced full lock turns and figure eights.

There were chicks on little two strokes and giant dual sports alike.

Then we went up the steep hill!

And then we were finally ready to ride!

Overland Expo 2010

As a member of the staff at the Overland Expo I worked hard…and played harder!

I met so many awesome people and had such a great time, I don’t even know where to begin.

I was working the HQ booth so I started the day off busy, but eventually made it out for a look at some of the vendors and exhibitors.


I thought the Disabled Explorers were a really cool group.

kickass wheelchair!

There were lots and lots of bikes!



Mmmm Super Enduro


tiny bike

Orange juice stand:


This belongs to Gabe. He’s partway through a round the world trip and stayed with us for a bit with his girlfriend. I don’t know why I didn’t manage to grab a picture of Gabe himself, it was great running into him again, but you can check out his website HERE.   He and Charlotte were wonderful guests and really fabulous people!


I wandered around and recognized Nicole from her ride reports on ADVrider (She makes some nice DRZ accessories over at Rugged Rider) and she was really cool to talk to.

rugged rider

This rig belongs to Ara and Spirit

sidecar rig

Sean and Ara got chummy right away when they discovered they were both Armenian!


Spirit got his own VIP badge


We worked the booth a bit more and then jetted over to listen to Austin Vince and Lois Pryce talk about their trip across America in a Ural sidecar rig.

Lois and Vince

It was a really fun presentation and of course made me kinda want one. 😛

After that we ran down to the vehicle recovery area where the guys from RawHyde were teaching techniques for getting your bike out of tough situations. People swear buy their training camp and I see why. All the guys on their staff were very amiable and did a great job demonstrating and explaining techniques. Also, they can manhandle a 1200GS like you wouldn’t believe.

Oh no it’s buried in sand!

Sean to the rescue! He got the bike out easy. 🙂

nice shoes Sean

Next he demonstrated what to do if you dropped your bike halfway up a steep hill. (remember this hill and that sandpit, because they return later in the story…)

You stand on the uphill side, lean the bike towards you and wiggle the handlebars back and forth until you slide the front tire pointing downhill. Then you jump back on and ride off!


I did it on the GS 🙂 I’d like a picture if anyone got one?

We went back to booth working until closing time and then ran off to happy hour and watched Mondo Enduro at the Austin Vince Film Festival. Eventually we wandered back to Aaron’s where we were staying the weekend.

I was really looking forward to the Overlanding from a Woman’s Perspective seminar on Saturday because there were some really cool chicks who did some really cool trips.

awesome chicks

That lady with the hat is Roseann and she put together the whole expo and also runs an awesome organization called Conserventures which is responsible for a number of different conservation projects.

And the lady talking is Lois Pryce, who has ridden a motorcycle from Alaska to South America and also from London to Cape Town.  She is largely responsible for getting my into dual sport bikes. 🙂

During the presentation where they let the audience ask questions and talk about their experiences, this girl Nikki got my attention. I spoke to her afterward and found out she rides with an Indian motorcycle club called 60KPH and has been in a movie called One Crazy Ride, which I had heard of and been meaning to check out. Well, we got to talking and I find out she’s been riding a Bullet for all her adventures and never been on a true dirt bike. I rolled Zeb out for her to take for a spin and once she got used to how incredibly tall he was, she really liked it!


I love finding other chicks really into riding and Nikki truly is. If you think people are shocked by girls riding here, try being from India! She was an awesome chick and now I really want to visit India and go ride with her club haha!

After some more booth work we wandered out to the beginner rider course. It was nice to see Marisa on a bike again, she hasn’t been out on the TW much since Death in the Desert. I think that bike is just not the right fit for her, but she managed to borrow this NX250 and did quite well on the drills.


We broke off into two groups (with Marisa and Sean in a different group than me) and my group practiced bike lifting techniques. If you are going to ride off road, you need to know how to do this. Trust me.

Then we did some cone drills.

Wheee cones!


I was a little advanced for the beginner course, but practice is always good…and if you need to challenge yourself, just do it faster! Brian told me to do it in second gear and I did! Without slipping the clutch. I felt like a badass.

I convinced myself I was more badass than I am I think because I decided to go ride the recovery course (remember the hill and sand pit…), well I sped toward the hill and soared off the top of it!

Chris supposedly got a picture of me in the air and if I manage to get it from him I’ll post it up.

I landed a little sloppy but energized and made the turn, popping over the whoops while fantasizing I was a motocross racer…I got some air of the last one and then realized I was about to land, at speed, in the freaking sand trap. I landed hard, tried to throttle out, but in the end the bike dove and I flew over the handlebars, ass over elbows and somersaulted across the ground a couple times.

I jumped up and someone else came over and turned my fuel tank off because the fuel line had pulled loose and the bike was dumping fuel (remember this for later too). I checked myself over and decided I was okay before riding back over to the onlookers who gave me an applause.  I’m glad I was at least entertaining.

Sean had apparently dumped his bike as well and I went back to the booth to check on him. We were both pretty knackered and decided to ease our pains with some home remedies back at Aaron’s place.

APPLE PIE!  Or is it pancake drink?

I had purchased One Crazy Ride, Riding Solo to the Top of the World and Terra Circa and we put on a little film fest of our own. A few other people came over to hang out and we had a good time. Such a good time that I need to rewatch all those movies and Sean couldn’t get up in the morning.  Those little jars contain a demonic and tasty beverage known as Apple Pie or Pancake Drink.  It’s -evil-.

I do remember though that Sean would yell “Hi Joe!” at the TV every time Joe was onscreen in Terra Circa. We were absolutely stunned to see him there. You see, we weren’t working the booth alone. Joe and Lara were our awesome boothmates and we spent a lot of time joking and poking fun at each other. Joe would often ask me for riding tips and I would share what I knew and then make fun of him for riding a Rokon (there’s nothing wrong with them, I kinda want to ride one but my joke was that you can’t be ‘good’ at riding a Rokon, it just plows over everything like a tank) so then we’re watching Terra Circa and Joe pops on the screen riding a DR350 on part of a round the world trip! What a punkass! Joe and Lara are also featured in Lois Pryce’s book Lois on the Loose…Lara is the chick who curses like a sailor. I got them to sign my book and Lara put some expletives in to make up for how well behaved she was at the booth.

Here’s Joe looking studious


And Lara modeling her kickass hoodie!


These two really made booth work a blast and were honestly two of the sweetest and most fun people I have had the pleasure of spending time with. I can’t wait to run into them again.

The other cool part about booth work was that Lois Pryce, Ted Simon and Austin Vince were set up right next door so we could chat with them when they weren’t busy. They were all really super folks.

I managed to snag a bunch of my heroes together for a picture. 🙂

Lorraine Chittock, Lois Pryce, Austin Vince, Me, Ted Simon & Gaurav Jani

My knee had turned funny colors from the previous days accident, but with coaxing from Joe, I decided to go out for the advanced ride and I’m really glad I did. It was a beautiful day and a nice trail I hadn’t ridden before.

This off camber curve was absolutely awesome!

There were a ton of wildflowers

We had a good mix of bikes

Cool people

Beautiful weather and a beautiful view!

Sean finally stumbled up around 4pm and we had some delicious barbecue, said our goodbyes and headed home. Sean took off on the ride to Aaron’s to pack up our stuff and I ran out of gas. I flicked it to reserve and continued on. My leg was starting to feel wet all the sudden. I pulled into the gas station to find my fuel line had popped off again and I was positively bathing in gasoline. I popped it back on, refueled and went over to Aaron’s to get myself. I grabbed my stuff apologized for smelling up his place and rode home for a nice shower. All in all a great weekend in spite of minor injuries and fuel leaks!

Full photo album HERE

Dual Sport Desert Daze 2010 (Part 3)


We had stayed up pretty late roasting hot dogs and chatting the night before, but when we ducked into the tent the sky was a clear blanket of stars. We had heard a winter storm was coming in our way, but thought maybe we had lucked out and it blew over.

I awoke in the middle of the night after dreaming our tent had flooded. In reality, the air mattress had just partially deflated to feel like a waterbed and I could hear the rain coming down hard.

I went back to sleep and when I reawakened it had calmed to a relaxed sprinkle. Sean and I packed all our stuff up in the tent and went for another awesome breakfast.

The rain ceased as we finished up and we ran out to take down the tent and throw our stuff in Raven’s truck before the rain started up again. (Big thanks to Raven for carrying that stuff for us, planning and promoting the whole event, getting stuff to raffle, doing everything and just generally being awesome!)

Wet bikes all packed up.

Just as we were finishing gearing up, it began to snow!

We wanted to say goodbye, but opted to get out while the getting was good and booked it to the freeway.

I don’t know why I didn’t pack my waterproofs, but I will not make that mistake again.

Riding down the freeway in the freezing rain, in dirt gear was among the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. It was more or less waterproof for about 20 minutes and then I was soaked to the bone. I had pulled my Buff bandanna thing over my nose and mouth and I was thinking it was nice I had that or the rain hitting my face would probably hurt.

Then it fell down off my mouth and the rain felt like needles.

It took us about an hour and half to get to Vail. By that time I was shivering violently, my fingers were frozen to the bars and I was alternating cursing and whimpering pathetically in my helmet. I was truly misearable and on the verge or tears, but as they say “There’s no crying in dirt bikes.”

I ran into the gas station in Vail and worshiped the hand dryer in the bathroom for an eternity. Eventually I dried out enough to crawl back on the bike for another 20 minutes of cold, wet riding home.

A long, hot bath later I was feeling about normal.

But geez, what a day.