Posted by: Brendan | March 23, 2008

Dessert in the Desert

Smooth. Sweet. Gratifying.

Well, we forgot the milk chocolate easter bunny in the kitchen, but the ride we embarked on late Saturday afternoon was treat enough. Mary & I enjoyed 26 hours of two-wheeled adventure & natural decadence.

Mary of course is preparing for her great adventure this June (border to border, maybe more?) and it was high time for me to get a good ride in; the kind that pushes the comfort zones a bit.

We loaded the bikes up; Mary carried everything of her own, plus anything that both of us might use; with a double benefit of good training for her and a bit of reassurance that maybe I could keep up. 😉

Coyote Canyon, in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was the end goal. To start, we rode off & hit the familiar, thrill-a-minute trails we love in May Valley… just like a good 3 hour fun ride, but with added weight on the bike as an ominous reminder of the mission at hand. Soon, we were on that proverbial land where the sidewalk ends; asphalt & dirt roads stretching out to the horizon. Ironically, the sun was low on the horizon as well.

“Stop; I think I saw that road on my map!” Mary says. We hauled on the brakes & pulled off the road. We were in a tuck, twisting down the mountain road and passed the last intersection in a blur. After reviewing the map, we backtracked 300 yards or so to the turnoff to what we’d determined must’ve been a “shortcut.”

Well it wasn’t. We enjoyed, in retrospect, a perfectly splendid misadventure in washboarded dirt roads, horses, dogs (lots of ’em) and an appallingly large antennae array. Once a sufficient time had passed & we both gave in to to the reality of the situation, we settled on what turned out to be a “medium cut,” for lack of a better term. We were riding in the dark at this point, with a couple hours to go before we’d arrive at camp.

More washboard. And sand. And dogs.

“I think we need to turn here, past those dogs.” Mary says.

“F-that!” I say. “I’m not getting shot out here. And it doesn’t even look like a road”

20 minutes later we’re back & riding past the nice doggies. One of them pooped and I may have ridden over it. Smelled pretty bad. Five minutes later we were in Coyote Canyon. The moon rose up & greeted us.

We headed downcanyon & shut off our tiny LED headlamps for some Full Moon Ninja Training. Once we were solidly out of range (cell phones, trucks, bullets) we started looking for a campsite. We settled down in a boulder field on a hillside, with a warm breeze & a view of a valley nearby.

Dinner time.

860 calories per person later (plus dessert, of course) it was time for bed.

“Coffee makes me smile” Mary says, cowboying up the morning brew in the Jetboil.

I was slow to wake up.

but the view helped.

Soon, we were packed up and headed south. Just a bit though, far enough to get to to the next canyon & a spring for more water.

We made our way out of the canyons & proceeded to Anza, where we refueled at a gas station on Chex Mix & other snacks.

Soon, we were climbing out of the Chaparral, into the pines, and our familiar singletrack. We had a great time, honed some design ideas (more on that later) and learned more about gear, ourselves, and each other. What a great weekend!



  1. So by my estimation, you’ve now been wearing the World Bicycle Relief jersey for 24 straight days (or something like that) … or at least every time you get out to ride!

  2. Nice adventure!

    Overnighters are way to much fun!

  3. looks like another great weekend. When do you guys want to ride up here?

    Mary is going to kill it on the GDR!

  4. THanks for the great adventure and beautiful pictures!

  5. Darned fun times indeed. Chris, you’re right. I pretty much rotate 3 jerseys around now. Most of my cycling wardrobe could find a home in a museum!

    Scott- May/June is when the good times roll for me…

  6. Tell Mary to shave her head for the GDR….all that hair will drive her nuts.

  7. Matt: I’ll leave that one for you to suggest. You can speak with experience & maybe she’ll consider it… or not.

  8. A Siren with rack mounts, ehh? Backroad/off road loaded toouring, (not so far from GDR type stuff) is next on my list of things to explore. 🙂

  9. Well, GT… rack mounts are child’s play compared to what we’ve been thinkering up. We’ll have something in metal soon.
    (yeah, I know always the tease, but I think you’ll agree it can be worth the wait sometimes!)

  10. That’s my kinda ride! Nicely done.

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