My Photo of the Year. Tx

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

“Everywhere man blames nature and fate, yet his fate is mostly but the echo of his character and passions, his mistakes and weaknesses” [Democritus]

Photo of the Year  

Thousands of photos later, day in and day out, sunsets and sunrises, valleys, deserts, mountains, every single emoticon Mother Nature could confront us with, yet, it is “this photo” that moves me the most. I can say “you had to be there to understand, to feel, to have your hair risen on your skin…”, yes, but from others I have also heard this is the one that moves many. I don’t often photograph “people”, but as Chris started saying “Grace” with the many “Thanks” and the “Welcomes” he always is so ready to pronounce, I knew this was a stage I would want to go back to and feel over and over. It talked to me in a different voice, with a different tone way deep down my Soul. My camera was outside on a bench, it is a small room, I went out breaking the flow of what perhaps I should have not, I ran to the outside window and faith developed this presence ever felt. This photo summarizes our Journey, it says it all as it has brought us amongst these Friends and many others unknown just such a short while ago. 

Old Faithful  

This is our fourth year on the road I noticed the other day going back to my Archives. It did not surprise me. But I did start asking questions to myself as it is always interesting to dig deep into one’s self. Who have I become? How is Spirit really doing? How am I really doing? Will I be able to maintain the “Point of my Balance”?… and as if the scales tilted one way or another, how am I going to get back on top again of it all? I also asked myself some funny questions, one being how is my language? I know it has not “gotten” better! I smile about it because I so often mix two languages together as I feel as long as the meaning is there, well, that is what  matters.


The big change has been “Friends”, others near by either on line or as we meet a few of them. “People”. We all need each other more than ever and as so many land a hand I started thinking what in return could I myself do? But I have realized that one does not have to give back to “Paul” what “Paul” has given. I find such beauty within that path that it has opened up my reach to others as I instead land a hand before they even can reach us. The little I can do, I do. Providing giving away photo~videos to their sites for their businesses, photos also. It is not much, but besides Friendship it has provided some joy and hopefully some increased exposure for them. Just trying to find the ways.

  Old Faithful
Big Bend  

I worked on the bike yesterday under Paul’s directives, many changes, cutting this and that to make everything more accessible due to a crash bar that has been in the way since day one. Changed a tire, sliced three fingers, Old Faithful today ran like a brand new Soul down again Maverick Rd, this time going the other way and a bit faster than the cage I was driving the other day. The road is washboard more than ever, speed was a must to float the hack. I wrote this while on a break… It is about getting ready and riding in the cold.

Big Bend  
Big Bend Big Bend
Big Bend Big Bend

“It is 24 outside, I know it will warm up, but after my first cup of home roasted and freshly ground coffee made with water personally hauled from 60 miles away, in itself a Spiritual Adventure, I now need to get ready for the ride… Bottom thermo wears come on with regular pants layered on top, thick socks as then the lace up boots are double tied. One long sleeve poly something T shirt and on my electric heated Gerbing liner. No, liner comes off because I forgot another pair of pants, the windproof ones with the zipper on the sides all the way up and down with also suspenders. Now is the heated liner. I have to open those little sleeve pockets that are containing the wires for the also heated gloves I will be wearing. The collar has fleece but I still like to have around my neck a regular buff to tamper the friction of the collar. I have to hook up the two wires of the dual heat controller to the inside of the liner before zipping up. The dual controller is now dangling freely bouncing of my knees with each step taken. It is now the turn for another liner, this one belongs to the riding jacket. I have to hold the wires that will hook up to the gloves in the palm of my hands while I put the liner on. Success. Zip it up, carefully as to not catch my winter beard. It is then the riding jacket, still holding the glove wires protruding off the liner sleeves. Success. I hook up the gloves right away, right for right and left for left. Amazing success again. Now I have to insert my ear plugs or my ear buds for Music. I choose Music as I have a little ways to go to Terlingua. Success. In and wires over the ears it’s main wire joins the dangling dual controller and also gloves. I now move carefully to hook the I Phone and already turn it on, then place it in my inner jacket pocket. I zip up carefully again avoiding the beard and now also the ear buds wire. I have to take my glasses off, make sure the wind does not blow them away, put my helmet liner on, helmet, and now my glasses fog up. I still don’t have my gloves on, they are dangling, as I am trying to gently fan the fog away and breathing slowly through my mouth instead of my nose. Spirit! He gets into his car, I cannot find his helmet, his goggles I do as I put them on him with my gloves still dangling and now getting caught in the spokes of the sidecar wheel. Finally untangled I turn a frozen SPOT on, I cannot see the idiot lights covered with ice as I don’t want to wet my hands as then my gloves will never fit. Then the GPS with also ice on it’s screen. I have no clue if it is on or off. I get on the saddle, start the engine, turn on and secure the dual controller in the tank bag and fit the gloves on my hands which today have three sliced open fingers from some maintenance done yesterday. The band aids I feel are slipping away from the wounds, I know it is not going to be a pretty sight, but maybe the heat will heal it all up quickly and dry out any blood that might have started to a bit flow. While trying to change a valve stem my hands ungloved slipped toward some sharp Galfer disc brake rotors. We are now rolling.. a great tune that takes me back to the Lakota Reservation in Montana. It is not cold anymore, I am not feeling a thing, the wheels and the tunes carry me, they fly me away, there is a smile, my daily medicine.
We arrived. 45 minutes later all came off… Is this crazy or what???”

Big Bend Big Bend
Big Bend Big Bend

Big Bend 

I forget sometimes about my own backyard, Big Bend National Park. So of course we cannot hike the trails together, but just by simply park on the shoulders there is still an incredible array of beauty I suddenly feel as I have overlooked. It reminds me when living and working in Naples, Fl, never going to the beautiful beaches surrounding us, even while living on a sailboat. I intend to correct all this as suddenly the many destinations are present on the map and in my mind such as above, a small area passed Sotol Look Out which I had never seen, really seen and experienced.

Big Bend  

Till next time, you all be well, always, it is our best choice.

Ara & Spirit

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7 Responses to “My Photo of the Year. Tx”

  1. Froggi Donna Says:

    Ara, looks like we will be stopping over in Marathon and hoping for decent weather to take some day rides down to Terlingua and Big Bend. Drop me an email with how we find you! Happy New Year, my friend…..

  2. chessie Says:

    Breath taking, once again Ara….

  3. texascindy Says:

    Ara! That is so funny! Talk about layering! We really enjoyed visiting with you and Spirit yesterday (yesterday?? WOW! What a difference a day makes…) After a long, 12 hour trip, we are back home . Missing the Bend already…Take care and scratch Spirit for me,

  4. Mitch Says:

    great photos as usual Ara.
    The description of getting ready to ride is so good. Its almost a poem or maybe an @Ode to the Winter Rider’

    im always asked why i ride all year round, even though it rarely gets below freezing were i live. “i just need to ride” is the simple answer.

  5. Louise Says:

    All the zipping and plugging in reminds me of our days of riding in the cold. I well remember that feeling of being the Michelan Man afterwards: rolls of layers, waddling around. Sometimes, so many layers that swinging the leg over the saddle takes both hands to help! Laughing at the looks we got in restaurants as we started to strip down each layer, unzip the zippers, rip the velcro, helmet finally comes off and hey, wow! It’s a girl! No way to tell race, age, gender under all that leather and cordura.

    Is it worth it for 45 mintues? Of course! Worth every second. Because once you’re on the bike, you can fly. The Michelan Man becomes Super Man (or Woman).

    Stay warm and dry. It went well below freezing last night here in Florida, too. Crazy weather!

  6. john Says:

    Ara and Spirit, hello in 2010. lets keep moving ahead with great friendships and travel stories looking forward to meeting you both soon , john.

  7. caleb Says:

    Pleasure to meet you at Cottonwood store, I was the guy in an arm sling with two mutts. You asked me why I left Big Bend, and I told you because change was good. But I really left because Big Bend is stuck in a time where things are not real – things are often too good to be true. It would have been completely selfish to stay because everything was too easy for me in Big Bend. El Paso brings many more challenges and opportunities to help truly disadvantaged peoples. Heck, I ride my motorbike along a wall dividing two countries every morning (not now because my arm is in a sling). Sometimes I think all the people in south brewster county are a bit selfish and won’t care about the rest of the world until it comes knocking at the door. Many of them refer to it as “the real world” and speak of it with disdain, wondering why anyone would want to deal with all those problems. Some of them are legitimetly incapable of dealing with “the real world.” Now I am just rambling.
    That is more of the truth behind why I left Big Bend. But someday, I would love to tell the real world to go to hell and return to the Big Bend. For now, I can use my time to help other people rather than watch the desert live.
    I have enjoyed this blog for several years now.

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