The trail constantly varied from hardpack dirt to gravel or sand - though it was always dry. The dust was so bad we spaced far apart, Shawn sometimes at least a mile back. I led here and because of the many turns we doubled back a few times. Sometimes I couldn't see on the map well enough, others I was just having too much fun and missed a turn. Did I mention it was dry?
We made a good pace and covered quite a few miles quickly. Ascending was a lot more fun than descending - each of us had a few close call moments coming into a corner too hot downhill. We had been pushing hard, an doing it for days on end now.
Now in open range country I was constantly on the lookout for livestock roaming around. Mostly they got out of the road for us but if you come across an ornery bull ya just never know.
An ocean of pine, and just a little dust.
A nice, fast descent brought us down to into the pine forest below. I zipped along as the road transitioned from hardpack to light sand, keeping on the throttle to keep things...LOG! I pulled the clutch, stomped the rear brake and concentrated on keeping the front from locking up as I came skidding to a stop just a foot from a downed tree entirely blocking the road.
I figured being sideways in the dust would be enough warning for Bernie as I got the bike turned around to negotiate a little off-trail excursion around the tree. He skidded to a stop in much the same fashion and we waited a piece for Shawn who was nowhere to be seen, so we decided to carry on down the trail.
Shawn caught up at an intersection, then a short bit of road saw us riding an excellent stretch of trail up Loup Loup Canyon.
Despite the heat the canyon was a nice break from the dust and the road had significantly more grip. A large number of livestock further up the canyon kept the pace under control. I also saw something we hadn't seen in miles... potholes!
Emerging from the canyon onto a ridge for a bit, the trail quickly began to descend towards Conconully.
Nothing technical, but it was fun and being so narrow added to the excitement.
A few switchbacks
Then I gave chase
A little pavement brought us to the small town of Conconully where it's perfectly legal to drive your quad or side-by-side down the road. They roared all over town while we stopped in for gas and some much needed ice cream. We sat outside for a bit watching the local color. The town was kind of a free-for-all with people riding around in the back of pickup trucks drinking beer, and kids on quads everywhere.
And a even more important swim in the lake just outside of town.
Refreshed, refueled, and rejuvenated, we climbed back up into the mountains.