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