Has this been the longest ever 45 days or what?
Last week seems a month ago, a month ago feels like a year and Happy New Year 2020 seems, well… like a childhood dream, foggy and faded.
For many, especially those new to the desert, the vastness and solitude can feel overwhelming and lonely. When you spend time here though – get to know it as I have and my young family is learning, the warmth isn’t just the desert heat (God knows it can get cold here). The warmth comes from the peace and calm of it all. The way the light cuts through crystal blue skies, shifts, and shimmers from the stone walls and red sands. The colors, bright and vibrant in one direction, diffused and soft in another. In each direction a completely unique beauty and perspective.
I’ve spoken and written about, videoed and photographed, driven and ridden to “Endless” a LOT. It’s easy to see I am completely infatuated with this spot. Over time I’ve realized it’s incredibleness is lost in translation. Lindsay sees my videos, photos and hears my stories and says, “Looks pretty stark.” “What’s that mountain in the background, you can’t really see?” “Is that cow poop there in the foreground?”
My infatuation has deepened to the point that I started to second guess my feelings. Oscillating back and forth from it’s a tired relic in the desert to it’s so cool I’m afraid to tell anyone where it is… So much so that I haven’t shared it with a living soul in person. Until now. In an effort to find something special to do with my most immediate family for Easter (we historically gather our larger extended family in Moab each Easter) and honor social distancing rules, I took my “girls” Lindsay, little Quinn and Vega and introduced them to Endless.
To my great relief, they couldn’t believe it. The La Sal mountains really are right there! Quinn couldn’t get enough of the cow poop and loved rolling her wheels through it. Vega thought the sticks strewn about were super cool, and everyone loved the incredibly unique paint jobs that adorn each side of this rustic Icon. As I gushed, and we all took it in – breathing the crisp, dry, incredibly clean desert air, we hugged, thanked God we are all healthy, and for the first time in a 45 day, eternity agreed that everything is going to be alright. The end is in sight.
I cannot wait to launch C02uT and introduce Endless to the gravel world. And, to hear what each of you that get the honor of riding so far to see her think about this magical spot in the desert.
Gravel on –
It began with a simple question.
What is out there? Thousands of miles later (and I’ve only scuffed the surface) I have an answer.
Gravel like no other on Earth. Narrow, dusty, slick and twisty. Wide, pristine and straight off the horizon’s edge. STEEP 30% grades, rolling, switchbacks, and plunges. A maze, a labyrinth, a puzzle of prime gravel that dead-ends after miles at a blank spot in the desert. A tiny rugged strip that turns a corner and opens for miles onto wide, groomed, flowing, beautiful gravel. In a word – “Endless”.
The question became an obsession. How to solve the maze, map the labyrinth, complete the puzzle, put an S on a start, a period on a finish. How to put a frame around endless?
Like a puzzle of the desert sky, a piece at a time the vastness was coming together. The clusters of sections mapped on my GPS constellations one by one coming into view as the sky fades from dusk to dark. Eventually filling the emptiness, stretching a 100 miles east to west across the desert.
Pushing far to the west, emptiness, vastness, obscure tracks unfolding before me. Sun low, dusty haze from the days desert breeze, fuel gauge blinking and no idea how to get out, I felt the need to push on. My phone was dead, no google map to ping my position. I knew somewhere, eventually, I-70 was ahead but no idea where or how I would get on. I pushed. The winding road, a fence, a cattle guard, a cluster of surprised antelope with a collective “what the hell are you doing here?” look behind their 1,000-yard stare and then a structure. A hard left around the remote oil field relic. I stopped. I stared. I shook the dusty fog from my road-weary head. I got out of the car – “Are you kidding me?” “What the +*#@?”. And just like that after months and months and miles upon miles upon miles of the pieces coming together with one click at a time, the keystone, the masterlink, the final “tick” of the combo lock all happened at once. It was this one singular moment, this remote desert relic, chipped, rusted, dirty and alone, settled deep in deserts floor when I knew, standing there taking in “Endless” Desert Gravel – was like no other on Earth. A race was born – Morgan Murri