IT’S A DESERT OUT THERE
The southwestern desert is one of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes on earth. You can be riding in rim deep sand, teeth chattering rocks, smooth rolling trails, and hills that would challenge a mountain goat. And all in less than a mile.
We’ve put together a few suggestions that we hope will make your riding more enjoyable.
One of the biggest mistakes new riders to the desert make is underestimating their hydration needs. A bottle of water might be fine for a day ride in Michigan, but it won’t work here. We recommend a hydration pack [like a CamelBak] in addition to a spare bottle of water.
Helmet: We recommend an MX or Adventure style full coverage helmet and goggles. A modular helmet is another option.
Boots: We recommend MX or Adventure style boots with plenty of shin protection.
Pants: There are lots of things in the desert that will try to stick you. We recommend heavy duty MX style pants. You’ll need a vented pair for warm weather.
Gloves: As we said, there a lots of things out there that will stick you [Google La Cholla cactus] We recommend gloves with finger and knuckle protection.
Jersey: We recommend a long-sleeve jersey.
Protective Gear: We recommend a chest protector [MX roost style] at the very least. Full coverage chest, elbow, shoulder and knee protection is a plus.
LICENSING AND PERMISSIONS
All vehicles, including off-road vehicles, need to be registered and plated in Arizona. You will receive either an “MC” or “RV” designation on your plate. You will also need an OHV Decal is a sticker which must be purchased annually to allow your OHV to be operated within Arizona.
Arizona Trust Land is land managed by the State Land Department. Trust Land is not public land. A recreation permit is required to camp, hike or travel on Trust Land that is designated as open for recreation.
PUBLIC VERSUS PRIVATE LAND
In a single ride you will likely pass through Arizona Trust Land, Bureau of Land Management areas, and Private Property. It’s important to recognize and respect whichever property you are on. If you come across a gate, make sure you leave it in the position you found it. Closed, or open.
PROTECTING THE CRITTERS
The desert is an ocean with it’s life underground, so the song goes. We want to be good stewards of the land and it’s occupants.
Much of the desert is open range. Use caution when cresting hills and rounding blind corners. You don’t want to meet a 1,500 pound cow or worse yet, and angry bull.