Dumont Dunes 97

The two Roughwheelers left in force around 2:00PM Friday afternoon. They arrived at Dumont Dunes about 5:30 after a short stop in Baker to get something to cook for dinner. None of the stores have a meat department. They go to Barstow or Vegas for their food. Entering the dunes we found the Amargosa River dry and the temperature around 112 deg.. We were also the only fools in the place. Undaunted, we continued into the dunes. No wimpy seaside dunes these. Easily 300 feet high, these were steep slopes on both sides and so dry as to seem like fine powder. We couldn't resist making an immediate inspection of the area and trying some dunerunning Unlike the other dunes I had seen, these were freestanding and random. The floor was flat and firm, so it was easy to get a running start at the tallest of the dunes. Many could not be scaled even with a full head of steam. The bowls were huge, so when you entered them, you got a sensation of white-out. You couldn't tell which way you were going or at what angle. You just nail it and hope you chose a good line. What a thrill.

All the vegetation leaned toward the campsite. It sucked. Maybe Pismo wasn't such a bad idea after all. Since there was only the two of us, we took a vote and unanimously decided to have a poker run and make camp at the nearest casino. That would be Buffalo Bill's at State Line. We built a small campfire at a blackjack table and sat down for some serious BS. We were up until 3:30AM. When the Roughwheelers have a poker run, we don't use any sissy pebbles in cans. We use cash! I shared accommodations with the Rooster. (OK, no bad jokes here) His nephew comp'ed us with a free room. We arose late the next morning and had a drivers meeting over breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, donuts, fruit, OJ, coffee, home fries, etc. We took a vote and decided to go to Johnson Valley and do one of the trails there. Arriving in JV at about 3:00PM, the first trail we found was the Sunbonnet, one of the "hammer" group. Finding the trail was not without incident. It took some looking around, during which time Rooster tried to tell me that I didn't know where I was. Of course I did. California. The trail begins where a canyon is totally blocked by boulders. Just go over and between the two biggest. No weenie trail this. Well actually, we both whined and snotted about how hard it was going to be and the fact that we might get scratches, but we were determined to carry the spirit of the Roughwheelers to the top. Two hours in, (and about 200 yards), we made camp where I rolled a tire off the bead. I learned not to do big rocks with less than about 14 pounds in my 32" tires. We worried about whether another club might come through and ask us to move the tents. Fat chance. Camp was in the middle of the trail.

There was no wind down here. After a good campfire and sleep, we hit the trail at 8:00AM. The obstacles were awesome. Each (and there were many) required thought and planning (and sometimes a winch). It was a good thing we had walked it the evening before. Knowing the length of the trail gave us hope that we would finish today. All kidding aside, the obstacles bordered on undoable for anyone other than certain Roughwheelers and flatfenders. Big rocks, loose rocks. As a matter of fact, the trail was so hard, we are still there, broken down, so come get us! We came to the top of Sunbonnet Pass just after noon. Spectacular view of the valley. Another typical run under our belts, we headed for home. 'Twas Brillig."