Chasing Mirages On HWY 62
"I heard a rumor that a group of friends were planning a ride up HWY 62 for a short weekend adventure."
"Here it is. HWY 62. Deadliest highway in America they say..."
I heard a rumor that a group of friends were planning a ride up HWY 62 for a short weekend adventure. I made some calls and confirmed there was indeed a plan but had yet to hear any of the details. I did not even know yet who of my friends exactly was going on this ride. I took the news to my buddy Eric who lives right down the street and he immediately asked “what’s the plan”? I told Eric not to worry because the group had a plan and all we had to do was find them… I did not mention that HWY 62 is over 100 miles between fuel stations and no cell service – I figured we would find them easily because there is only one road in and out. Eric and I speculated several responsible strategies that might help find our friends and lead us to “the plan” but soon became overwhelmed with excitement and just left. Based on our best calculations, we were ahead of the group for the first half of the day so we thought it might be a good idea to slow our pace and close the gap between us. There was a large dry lakebed fairly close on the horizon so we detour to investigate the landscape. It was probably 3 times further than our visual estimate but we did eventually arrive. After some spirited burnouts we realized we had spent far more time and fuel then anticipated… It was very likely at this point that we were behind them… so we throttle down HWY 62 thinking we were now chasing our friends (which friends exactly, we still did not know).
"The forced perspective of HWY 62 had us chasing a mirage of bikers on the horizon all day."
The desert floor, once an ocean, has a misleading curvature, which can (when traveling uphill) burn fuel much faster then expected. Eric ran out twice just as we (in our imaginations) were about to catch the group. Little did we know we were actually still ahead. Both setbacks caused us to push faster and consequently widen the gap between us. We road till sundown through a migration of suicidal butterflies and stopped at a roadside café to investigate our options and shake off the bug guts. We were certain we had fallen too far behind so we started researching campsites in the area. Just as we had composed our own plan we got a message from the group who said they had just arrived at a campsite nearby. We then realized the forced perspective of HWY 62 had us chasing a mirage of bikers on the horizon all day.
"Don’t bother with a plan… just go. The desert has its own."
We all laughed about it that night and when I finally asked why no one would tell me the actual plan – I found that none of them ever really had one either. By the end of our short trip we had – sailed with a pirate in the desert, got our bikes blessed by a preacher, slept comfortably in condemned places, got feverishly ill from laughter and bad Mexican food, ran out of gas ten times, lost and found 12 volts of electricity, ran out of gas one more time and somehow made it home by noon on Sunday. So if you are looking for a weekend like this, don’t bother with a plan… just go. The desert has its own.
Todd Blubaugh was born and raised in McPherson, Kansas. His earliest interests were in art and motorbikes and since the age of 12, Todd has been pursuing these two passions. He currently works in film, writes, shoots, and pursues collaborations with his roommates at The Chun, a motorcycle warehouse and art space in Los Angeles. The free-spirit artist shares his passion for open roads through aspirational imagery and poetic travel notes that resonate with Serengeti’s DNA.