Desert Rendezvous

This year’s RdV, as usual, was a terrific event. Tacodoc and crew put in many hours behind the scenes to keep us from getting run off by the BLM, and our sponsors made a huge raffle possible. Even with an impressive turnout, (over 100 trucks RSVP’d) I think there were maybe three or four raffle tickets that didn’t get called.

Once I got off the freeway and started heading toward camp, I probably passed half a dozen trucks. The surface was dirt/gravel, fine washboarding, with a bit of sand across the top. The DR happily putted along at about 35 in third. Then came the sand..

The first off- Riding on soft sand, a bike weaves and wobbles like a possessed thing. Usually, if you keep your weight off of the front and use a bit of throttle to keep the front from digging, it stays upright. This particular track was not only sandy, but had already been beaten down and upset by dozens of heavy 4×4′s that afternoon. The first time my front wheel started to plow and a blip on the throttle sent the bars into lock to lock fits, the DR decided to take nap number one. Somehow I landed on my feet after this one… Now to pick it back up. Suzuki claims the thing weighs 335 lbs dry, but no one believes them. With luggage, an extended tank, 14 litres of water, food and camping gear for a three day event, my machine was easily pushing 425-430. I can pick it back up without much trouble unloaded, but that water was the straw that almost broke my back. And those six trucks I passed? Well here they are, other conspirators helping me pick up my machine.

The second off- Now that I realize I’m going to be dabbing/paddling along in first, I wave at the trucks to pass. After a slow half mile or so, the story repeats itself. This time I pin my foot to the ground with my handlebars. A couple toes turned blue that night, but everything was fine by Sunday. Shopping list: Mx boots. With no trucks around, I take off my soft panniers to lighten the load a bit. While doing so, some other offroaders in a built Cherokee stop to help. They ask if I’m with the group down the road, even offering to drive my gear there. I thanked them for the offer, but camp was close, so I kept dabbing along.

Camp Friday was the finest of what makes the Rendezvous Conspiracy events: Friends, drinks, and a bunch of cool rigs. There was even the excitement of a little rattler under a chair, which may have been a bit much excitement for some. Moderate winds tested shade structures and tents all weekend. A few tents ended up collapsing, and a shower tent and awning or two attempted to take flight. Good thing we didn’t have a real windstorm! The Saturday night potluck was excellent, and there was more food than anyone knew what to do with. I’ll have to come up with something clever next time I make it to one of these things on four wheels, my gravlax got decimated at the mountain event in ’11..

Sunday morning, I packed up my gear and walked over to the designated range area. A big thanks to Rocket-scientist for bringing out the targetry and coordinating the shoot! As expected, I got showed up by the whirlygig, and didn’t manage to complete the course of fire with two magazines. Oh well, hopefully there’s a next time. The showing was remarkably small, considering around 40 people said they wanted to shoot on the forum. It seems a weekend without hot running water plus the wind was enough to make people want to head home. Hopefully next time, a few more shooters stay around to help clean up their brass! While we tread lightly and leave no trace, repeating arms tend to litter and we have to pick up after them.

The ride out was about the same story as the ride in, sans the DR thinking its naptime. Dabbing through a bunch of sand, stopping to air up at the hardball, and parting ways with the last of the ExPo crew at the highway.

No photos at this time due to an unresolved technical difficulty. The Canon CR2 raw images from the EOS-M seem to be a newer standard that those from my EOS 30D, and my Linux applications won’t handle them correctly. Photos when I resolve this, add Windows as a dual boot, and/or get permission to post other’s photos from the event.

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