This Journey Turned into an Adventure - the Off Road Kind
May 2, 2014
Last Friday morning, riders from every direction descended on the pavement to Laughlin for the annual motorcycle event known as the “Laughlin River Run”. There were Tens of Thousands of bikes; almost exclusively Harley’s, and all rode into Laughlin on the asphalt. In my case it was a real Adventure.
Friday, after dropping off a fresh Marie Calendars pie at the office for everyone to enjoy, I was off to Laughlin on my GS. The first stop, the Techatticup Mine to play tourist and look around. When I parked the bike there were 2 bus loads of Italian tourists that wanted to see the BMW more than the tour. It was fun to meet them and the language barrier didn’t really seem to get in the way. After getting past the group of Italian Tourists the most amazing part of visiting this destination was a surprise; I went to High School with the big burly hermit looking guy in the store. We talked about our school experiences and off I went, again, to the Colorado River where the pavement ended.
At this point the fun really began.
I rode within 5 miles of Laughlin entirely by dirt back roads and trails for roughly 100 miles. The only stop along the way was into the backside of Searchlight for a little gas, a conversation with a few of the street bike riders and then I hit the dirt to finish the journey. It was during this section of the ride that I was able to experience the excitement of flying the big adventure bike through the air by hitting an abrupt hill at only 40 after slowing down from around 60.
The 1200GS sailed like a kite and landed like a good handling dirt bike.
My wife, Debbie, drove down that evening and we spend several days taking in the life style of the Harley Davidson crowd with Tens of housands of bikes creating a very unique experience. Every bike enthusiast should attend the Laughlin River Run at least once. It was a fun weekend.
Sunday, it was time to pack up and head back to Las Vegas. The original plan: hit the highway to dead-head back to Vegas. That just seemed too boring riding back on the street like everyone else. To take the boring out of getting home I got on the iPad and GPS. After about 20 minutes a new, never before tried route from the Avi Resort via off-road to Oatman, Arizona was on the menu. It was a new Adventure. The ride was a hoot and within less than 2 hours I made it to Main Street Oatman. Main Street was busy with Harley riders and the always present resident burro population. After making a pass up and down the main drag the magnetism of the twisty-windy road heading east from Oatman was the most fun way to get to Kingman. After getting gas and airing up the tires at a Kingman gas station; about 30 Harley riders were wondering what the hell I was riding. I called the GS my dirt bike.
They made it clear they thought I was “Crazy”.
Like usual, staying on the asphalt was no fun so after about 15 miles of highway it was time to peel off the asphalt. It didn’t take long to pick another route through the desert to Vegas – an indirect route. Since there was a cellular signal, for safety, I emailing the new route to Debbie so there would be a backup plan – a smart thing to do when going solo.
Again, I was off on another back road Adventure. The journey was AMAZING. More than 100 additional miles of dirt was covered in about 4 hours. I took extra time to look at a few spots that were new experiences like Salt Springs.
The ride into Salt Springs was tough with 4 miles of really soft and unstable arroyo and sand on the big 600 pound machine. Once I got there, as I was admiring the GS sitting there against the backdrop of the barren desert, it was obvious the bike looked totally out of place.
I had to ask myself “How the hell did I ever get a machine like this back here – It looks INSANE?”
Salt Springs is an oasis in the desert so I spend several hours exploring the area. Coyotes, rabbits, quail, buzzards, burros and a gray fox were around the area and there were signs of Desert Big Horn but none were there to be seen. Next came the challenge of the trip out of the 4 mile canyon to the main trail. I jumped on the GS and rode it like the wind. The bike is amazing but it does help to have some skills. Although the ride was a challenge it was a piece-of-cake.
I feel fairly certain this Adventure Rider was the only person that got to and from the Laughlin River run by dirt, riding solo. The total round trip was about 380 miles with roughly 220 miles in the dirt. The journey was a real Adventure and it was done entirely, right here, in our own back yard. I am going back next year but would like to take a group of thrill seeking Adventurer’s to enjoy the ultimate form of off-road adventure.
What an amazing journey it turned out to be.
Stay tuned; you will want to ride the 2015 Laughlin River Run Adventure Ride.