I was racing down SR-62 in 29 Palms as the sun sank deeper and deeper in the sky. Ahead of me was a perfect desert sunset; the horizon orange tinged with violet, pink, and yellow. The beauty of it filled my heart and all I wanted was to stop and take a picture to just stand still to truly appreciate it. I told myself no, I was on a mission, I needed to reach Joshua Tree Lake campground and set up camp before dark. It was the first day of Babes Ride Out, and my riding companion, Ang. and I had traveled over 600 miles; and I really didn’t want to set up a tent in the dark. Thankfully, we were almost there and our friends had arrived earlier in the day and were saving us a spot.
The road to this point had been long, but at least today had treated us well. We had ridden down to Mesquite separately, each meeting our own obstacles. I rode down after work and didn’t arrive until midnight. On the way I had run into traffic from 2 accidents and temperatures as low as 35. Just before dropping down into Mesquite, I was having trouble keeping the bike on course because I was so cold that if I slowed to less than 50MPH I began to violently shiver. I pushed and pushed knowing that once I hit Mesquite it would be plenty warm. Ang and I met up rather haphazardly, as she was supposed to ride to Primm with a group of our friends, but due to mechanical issues had to ride down on her own. (But don’t feel too bad… it was on a BRAND NEW Softtail.)
We left Mesquite around 10AM, and had taken our time taking time along the way since the ride to Joshua Tree was short compared to our ride the day before. At each gas stop we stretched our legs, and took videos and photos for Snapchat and Instagram to document our journey. We made ample use of the #ProgressiveMC so that our images would be printed and available for us once we arrived. We wandered into a Tiki Bar in Vegas, and “learned” about Mining in Cima, and stopped at the infamous Roy’s even though we didn’t need gas. Our final stop had been for dinner at Subway in Joshua Tree, our first non-gas-station-snack meal of the day. We ate fast and were quickly back on the road to Babes.
We arrived shortly, the sun was just sinking below the horizon as we were given our wristbands, and headed towards the moto-camping area. It took a few minutes but we found our group and were greeted with cheers, smiles, and most importantly, ice cold beer, 805 tallboys to be exact. I was thrilled to have made it, and be surrounded by so many friends, but impatient to get my tent set up. I grabbed my gear and started searching for a place to set up. I was almost immediately interrupted by more friends’ hugs and happy greetings. Once the excitement subsided, it was dark. My initial irritation at the idea this had dissipated. I had arrived and was surrounded by strong women who loved me and I couldn’t have been happier. For the second year in a row, I was at Babes Ride Out.
After I assembled my tent, I wandered down to the Karaoke Party that was in full swing. Disappointingly, the 805 tent was already closed, but the Progressive tent was still open so I headed over to pick up the pictures we’d posted of our trip down. I wandered the tent looking at all the photos, and reading the cards women had filled out expressing what riding meant to them. It was a unique experience, like a live Instagram; it was so inspiring to see all the different journeys and how riding had impacted their lives. After walking the tent I went around and grabbed mine, Ang’s and few other friends photos down and then headed over to pick up my early registrant gift bag before finding my friends again.
We spent sometime dancing and singing along to the Karaoke Party. A few other girls from Salt Lake got up and sang, and I headed up to say hello to Ashmore, one of the masterminds/divas behind Babes. I met her a last year when she and her friend Corrine came through Salt Lake and ridden a few canyons with some of us. She always remembers me and is always so excited to see me. Knowing how many women she must meet, I am always surprised that she does remember me, it is one of the things that makes her so amazing. We summarized our year, I was sure to ask her about meeting Norman Reedus and being featured on his show. We didn’t talk long as she was busy ensuring everything ran smoothly, so soon I was back celebrating and dancing with our group but soon the miles we had ridden set in and we were all exhausted. We headed back to our tents took some shots, and talked until one by one we retired to our tents, dreaming of what tomorrow would bring.
I was awakened by the sound of one lone bike rolling through the campsite just after 6AM. It was quiet, likely with stock pipes, but my tent was right next to the road. I fell back asleep, but not for long. I heard one bike fire up and then a few more, they began moving right away, and rolled slowly through the campsite. They were loud but they seemed to be moving in an attempt to make the least amount of disturbance. That is until they stopped and waited at the edge of tent camping. They waited there for at least 2 minutes, The longer they sat the more awake I became. Soon I could hear those around me stirring and some even yelling for the bikes to move on. Eventually I heard 2 more bikes fire up and head towards us. Finally the whole group roared out of camp but the damage had been done, half the camp was now wide awake.
I lay there hoping that I could fall back asleep, begging for just a little longer, knowing I had a very long day ahead of me. Unfortunately the sun was rising, my tent was growing warmer, and my friends were whispering and rustling around on their tents, and I knew I wasn’t going to sleep again until that night. The handful of us that had accepted our early morning stumbled down to the main area still in our PJs to purchase coffee and some breakfast.