The plan we had formulated overnight for maximizing our time in the dunes was to load our bikes in the truck and drive down to the ORV parking area, and start from there. This would put us a lot closer to the dunes, requiring only about a 3 mile ride down the beach and into the dunes. The plan was duly executed, and the result was a fantastical day of riding big boy dunes. It was a totally new cycling, as well as life, experience for me. I will try to just shut my pie hole now, for the most part, and largely let the photos tell the story of our ride.
|More and more blue sky was breaking through as we started down the beach.|
|This is a good shot of the dense green belt between the shoreline and the dunes.|
From here, the dunes go up and up to the far edge. (Photo: Ward)
|Ward in his natural element. Pretty sure he has sand flowing in his veins.|
|Harumphg!!! (Photo: Ward)|
|Ward, picking his way through the scrub brush. Which is really fun, actually.|
|Nothing's flat, in the dunes. You're either going up, or down. (Photo: Ward)|
|Gourmet Spam sandwich (made with Miracle Whip, as is right and just) lunch break. Pow.|
|My new-ish computer was lost in a crash, unbeknownst to me, at the time.|
It lives in the Davy Jones Dunes Locker now.
(It was a disappointing computer, to be honest, so I shed not a tear.)
|Highest point of the day. Yep, that's the ocean out there.|
|Super badass me on a ridge. Obviously. (Photo: Ward)|
|These guys were all over, in the middle of the big sandy areas, with no vegetation around at all.|
Not sure what they eat. Sand, I guess.
Those runner tracks to the right had us pretty much in awe and maybe even a little spooked.
Just look at the stride. That's amazon jungle shit. (Photo: Ward)
|One of two lakes at the upper edge of the dunes. The sand drops sharply from here down to a small section of beach at the lake. Ward says this is one of the places where cutting edge dudes and chicas sandboard.|
|Super badass me, riding the piss out of the dunes. Obviously. (Photo: Ward)|
|The sand man. Killing it.|
|One of the cornering techniques Ward has developed over years of riding sand. There's not much lateral grip when riding on sand, so keeping the bike more upright is a way to carry more speed through the corners.|
|Ten Mile Creek.|
|Return trip. (Photo: Ward)|
|Ward. Future sand riding hall of fame inductee.|
|And just across the road, the "have nots". What has become of the middle class? (Photo: Ward)|
|Winchester Bay, in all its glory. (Photo: Ward)|
|The other side of the floating seafood restaurant. That's the kitchen, far right, and the main dining room just behind it.|
The slightly tilted structure on the left is the satellite dining room. Word, word, WORD. (Photo: Ward)
Those little suckers somehow opened our cooler (I shit you not), and got into this package of sausage. Devils.
More drama ensued that evening and into the night, as the white trash family from hell arrived in our campground and set up camp a few doors away. Screamed profanity, out-of-control drunkeness, and full-on relationship disfunctionality were the order of the night. I chose to put earplugs in and go to bed. Ward stayed up, unable to take his eyes off the the car wreck.
We were up at five the next morning, packing our sopping wet gear in the dark, and were on the road shortly after six. More drama ensued, when at the first gas stop, some dumbass realized his wallet was missing. I won't mention his name, but his initials are Pat S. After some frantic searching through the likely places it could be hiding in his gear and coming up empty, it was presumed that it had fallen out during the previous day's ride and was therefore lost in the dunes forever. It wasn't until some 12 hours later that he would find that it had been irresponsibly left in his food bag. What a supreme dork.
Two exhausted guys somehow made their way home, sometimes tracking anything but a straight line on the interstate, as the driver's eyelids got heavy, and it became apparent that it was time to trade responsibilities. Through it all, we were both trying desperately to process the images that had been burned into our brains on that previous day, as if there was somehow a way to make sense of it all, when I'm not sure there was/is.
And in a way that we couldn't quite verbalize, but that was already starting to gnaw on us, we began to experience the very kid-like emotion of scheming about how/when to make our next excursion to the dunes . . .