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Old 08-15-2010, 02:09 PM   #1

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Default Winter at El Mirage

Its wintertime, 2010, and El Mirage dry lake is closed up tight as a pickle barrel.

The BLM rangers have the place locked down like a prison. But unknown to the BLM bulls is a dirt road I use to sneak into El Mirage from the East side of the lake.

So I bump the handivan over the rough neglected desert road for about fifteen miles, and there I am again, parked by the “swimming pool” at the north-east end of the dry lake. This is where our clan of dirt bikers met every weekend for the last thirty years, until the BLM fenced it off, and made it a “do not trespass, federal land.” zone.

Ah, El Mirage, the place I lost my dirt bike virginity at. As I sit in my van, and pop a cold one, the memories become almost overwhelming. I can see the first trail I ever rode on, and it’s still there, untouched by time. The wind is blowing, and if I listen close enough, I can hear the open stinger of a four hundred Husky, or the lumpy idle of a hopped up Triumph twin, the snap of a removable pop-top from a tall can of Coors. The laughter of people long gone.

It’s all there, just like 1970, except for the fence. It seems not a rock or bush has moved, and in the eerie glow of an overcast afternoon, if I squint real hard, old ghosts come back to haunt me. Faces appear out of the dust, as I close my eyes and look back.

See, in this crazy life we live, I’d like to think somewhere in time we’re all still there, on that last ride to Hi Vista to get a pitcher or two. In my minds eye I see the triple clamps of my ’73 CR250M, the master link on the clutch cable, the plug wrench duct taped to the cross brace of the handlebars. I can see the vista before me of an open fenceless desert, and the feeling of being free, on powerful machine, not touched by time, or mortality.

But all too soon that fades back into reality, and I realize I’m behind the fence now, in the forbidden zone the BLM has deemed untouchable by tax payers like me. And sure enough, in my peripheral vision I see a green Ford SUV with enough antennae to contact Venus making its way towards me at high speed. Now had this been a few years ago, the BLM would be in for a real chase, across terrain that would doom an SUV of any type. BLM ditching was fun and profitable since the tickets they write now run about six hundred bucks each, for defiling the desert flora and fauna.

As I hide my beer the green BLM SUV slides up next to me, and some hatchet faced lady BLM type rolls down her window and in the most damning way possible tells me I’m in the “off-limits” zone of Federal land, and to please stay put while they run my license plate number. From the passenger side another BLM level four ranger (level four means they can carry a sidearm) saunters over to my van and peers inside...”You don’t have any drugs, firearms or any other illicit material in your van, do you sir?”

Of course I answer “No”, and by that time the ranger has noticed my wheelchair, and asks if he can search my van. So I agree and he goes through every nook and cranny of the Chrysler Towne & Country, and finds my beer half empty stuffed in the drivers door storage bin.

His face lights up like he’s found a kilo of heroin or something, and he’s quick on the ticket book…”Sir, I’m going to have to write you for an open container in a vehicle on Federal Land, in a closed area. We’re not going to arrest you, or tow your van, but you will have to appear before a magistrate in Victorville at the time and date the courtesy notice gives you when it arrives in the mail.”

“Now Sir we would like you to follow us to the exit, and for your information we’ve got your plate number and personal information in case of any future problems, have a nice day.”

So I drop the Chrysler in gear and follow them out of El Mirage at about fifteen miles an hour, down the dirt road that started so many rides long ago, out to the dry lake, past the entrance security gate/toll booth to El Mirage road, and home.

One of these days that same scenario will be played out, but with different results, as the BLM rangers run for cover under the hail of bullets from some pi$$ed off civilians AR15.

Ah, winter at El Mirage. Don’t think I’ll be back soon.
A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.

Last edited by mscuddy; 08-15-2010 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:51 AM   #2
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its a nice story
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:26 AM   #3
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Great read, Cuddy!

[email protected] if the Federales can't muck it up for the rest of us in the name of safety!
"Aid to the helpless indigent is civilized. Aid to the irresponsible is socially corrosive." ----- Schizuki (c. 2011)
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