The Makings of a Friendship, Tx

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I want to “Thank You” for all of your support contained within your words these past days. They have helped as also a new Friend has, send in a timely fashion. The days will slowly become brighter as I will keep reading the wisdom of so many that have written on these pages and also through e mails and Forum replies. I am touched, I am very touched and my own path will turn to help others as I want to so much. Thank You. It is after all a good “World” we live in.

 Kristi's trailer

The weeks go by, we go on meeting many travelers on our daily roads, we both do. Sometimes when the cards are turned down, when least expected, a breath of fresh air in a sudden burst manages to turn one over and show a face unseen and a welcome smile within this colorful environment we live in. So it was a few days ago, Kristi’s visit, also a long time reader of the Blog, after a phone call from another reader letting me know of her wishes to ride, photograph and experience the off the beaten path alleys that surrounds us. Most coming through here have only one destination in mind, quantity versus the quality of the moments spend here, quite often not open minded enough to understand that beauty does not need to necessarily have a name. Not a fancy one anyhow, not one belonging to a goggle search, but one with character and texture unlike many others, maybe just a name locals have given away.

spirit and wendell

What is Love at first sight?… Spirit has not talked about it yet…

And yet, in three days, when one photographs and rides and chats, specially at this time of the year with shorter days still upon us, time becomes of essence even if the irony of us here is to have forgotten to keep that time or even have been left without any notion of it. You add a bit of cold and frisk temperatures in the early mornings and the days become even shorter. We cannot sacrifice food, a bit of rest, vocalized meditation and the frame of mind it takes to absorb the views, the feel of it all enabling us to photograph what we would like to keep within our own memory.


With two motorcycles at her disposition, on road and off road, the rides where wide open with too many choices. But the first space that always comes to mind, one of the most beautiful array of smoothed out rocks from years of flash floods, is the “swimming hole”. It has become a weekly destination, always seeing new curves, new colors and experiencing a new feel. Always with a new seat available, a new discovered photo and an excitement within, hardly contained when foreign eyes such as my Friend’s Kristi’s discovers the same path I have been on these past years. There are few I can ride with, an outing is such a personal experience. This past summer such an experience was put to test when my Friend Michael and I embarked ourselves for a few days in Toroweap. We both shared the same notions and we discovered how to ride together but alone.

Kristi shooting

Kristi shooting c  

So was the case with Kristi. It is actually a simple matter when two share the same passion for the roads, the sights, the experience at a higher level, when riding at times takes a back seat to the actual Journey. Photographing also requires a freedom of the mind never subjected to a time limit by another. The roads not being loops most of the time, I lead with my own many stops. When there, at times comparing shots, and at times not even being aware of each other’s presence besides often of course Spirit wanting to be in the shots! There are many rocks familiar to me now, I like to point them out, angles and views that have become familiar I like to observe loudly at times, but the best thrill of it all is seeing the shots of an accomplished photographer through their own vision different than mine. I am always so happy when someone else takes a great photo. I am happy because they experience those few seconds of contentment given to them by their own self. Quite a joy.

Kristi bb

Kristi shooting a  

Joy, much joy when a Friend can taste the same flavors as I do and talk about it. Not the thrill of speed, not the rooster tail left behind, it is the moment lived, the now of the past present we experience always leading us to the now present. Indian Trail was the next day another destination of ours. Another space so few adventure themselves within. It is a nice ride on a mild dirt road, washed away a bit by the recent past heavy rains from September, but very doable. It is, as I have written about it earlier, a totally different landscape than one will find on the mainstream. The big red rocks fallen off the cliffs, cracked as eggs dropped from to high off the ground, colors in metallic reds, limestone yellows as was the vegetation enduring these cold months.

Kristi c 

Kristi a  

It was cold that day, cloudy with only a bit of blues showing at times and again we did not make it all the way to the Petroglyphs. It is a short hike, and yet the strong icy winds made me uncomfortable, probably should have been  dressed with a couple extra layers. No matter, we had opened the door to a future longer hike, a glimpse of what the Comanche trail is, still enjoying the time spend even if a bit shorter than planned. I offered to return with Spirit, but Kristi as a good sport also turned around and we both came back to our vehicle.

P & V

What would a visit to Big Bend be without meeting Paul and Voni?… and of course sign their refrigerator.

We did River Rd for some more serious riding. Again lead the way and returning, Kristi disappeared quickly leading herself, being on two wheels and a great rider. I think that is what it is all about. So nice to have the company and at the same time enjoy the freedom of one’s own feel of the day. The pack mentality is only probe to accidents as I have seen it so often. We stopped at the Movie set on the way, many of the cardboard like building have been damaged also by the previous floods, and yet, it was much fun to see it all and photograph through windows and odd shaped structures.

from truck

A bit of Terlingua, always have to taste the great food at the pink KKKK, fulfill my addiction to the BBQ pulled pork and also for Kathy to meet Kristi. KKKK is always another “meeting” place where one is never alone in the conversations either with the locals or the out of towners taking in the sunshine or warming up by the fire ring when cold. It concluded her time spend here, we are so far from any major city that the round trip itself takes sometimes a few days. Spirit remains here, my faithful buddy with himself just the slight emotions of not having me alone at all times as he always does. A bit of socializing is good for the both of us. They were great times, great company, conversations. Thank you Kristi.

Movie set Ara

Photo courtesy of “Kristi”

It is quiet here again at “The Oasis”. Still waiting for a tire and a couple tubes. They were not shipped properly and now it is a daily wait not able to wander too far without a spare. Seems to be the norm around here…

River Rd Ara 

Photo courtesy of “Kristi”

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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2 Responses to “The Makings of a Friendship, Tx”

  1. Will Says:

    I really admire your whole trip and can appreciate why you do it with just you and your dog. I only ride woods but I like to go on long rides by myself the best, and I never really know where I’m going to end up exactly, but thats the best part. I love just getting out there in the summer, finding a nice secluded spot with a great view and just sit there taking it all in. All the places you go look great. I also love how you bring your dog with you. I feel like a dog is the perfect kind of companion for the trip. They never complain or slow you down, but they still keep you great company. Great luck on all your rides, I’ll be checking back for updates.

  2. Debbie Says:

    What could only be said as perfect timing for Kristi’s visit. Glad you had such a good time.

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