THE HUNT FOR SUPERSTITION

STORY AND PHOTOS BY GARTH MILAN

“Located north of the Plaster City OHV Open Area, Superstition OHV Park presents an array of challenging riding opportunities. Cross-country OHV use is permitted within the boundaries of this area. Limited-use areas and military practice bombing targets are immediately adjacent to the open area. Please observe all posted signs and do not enter the bombing ranges. From County Highway S80, take Huff Road north to Wheeler Road. Follow Wheeler Road to one of several popular primitive camping areas, or to the base of the Superstition Mountains.”

That was it. That was all we had to go on. The above paragraph, pirated directly from the Bureau of Land Management web site, was the only concrete proof we had that the place even existed. The small OHV area located not far from the California/Mexico border, just a hair southwest of the Salton Sea, had been the topic of many conversations between a handful of elite So Cal FMXers. Everyone had heard of it; some even claimed to have been there.

Supposedly known best for its steep, abrupt cliffs and mudhills akin to the infamous hits of the more popular Ocotillo Wells area, Superstition was one of those places that everyone was “going to go to…”

“As soon as I get back from tour.”

“After my last contest. I don’t want to get hurt.”

“I’m waiting for the rainy season and the crip dirt, bro!”

At this point, we’d heard them all. Every excuse in the book has poured from the mouths of our freestyle friends at one point or another at the tail end of Superstition conversations. But you know what? We were going. We didn’t care what it took: Our troop was bound and determined to find and conquer this legendary freeride spot!

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

With cinematographer John Rushton sitting shotgun, we pinned it to pick up the first of our Superstition crew. Wes Burr and Doug Parsons anxiously awaited our arrival in the 909 and in a matter of minutes we were off, our F-150 sailing through the California desert to meet up with the remainder of our search party.

First it was North on Interstate 15, then I-10 East-bound. The time on the clock read just past 11 p.m., and the only thing we wanted more than to lay our heads on the sandpaper pillowcases of the closest $30-a-night fleabag motel we could find was to set our eyes on the place we’ve heard so much about.

To pass the time, we began talking about what we might find in the coming day. In the span of only twenty minutes, Superstition went from having huge, finger-like mountain hits like Beaumont to being flat and lame in the rises and falls of our conversation. We thought of every scenario imaginable, the whole time knowing that the reality was we’d discover exactly what was there and what wasn’t in just a few short hours. Still, the miles flew by with the talk, and before long the only question that remained was, “Where the hell were we?”

CHECKED IN

I handed the cracked-out clerk of the first hole-in-the-wall motel my credit card, and at one in the morning it wasn’t hard to guess what type of illegal substance might have had this motormouth spinning such a yarn.

“Where y’all headed with them dirt cycles?” asked the man with the caved-in face and long brown fingernails.

Just as I was painting mental pictures of lock-and-chaining my camera and motorcycle to miscellaneous body parts while I slept in this desert shithole, I muttered my response.

“A place called Superstition…” was all I managed to spit out before the fast-talking clerk took over the conversation again like a whirling windstorm.

Mr. Meth told us all about what he had heard of the spot and more, but after ten minutes of his rambling not a single person in the lobby retained an ounce of fo regarding our FMX oasis. To be honest, we didn’t want to hear what he had to say about our final destination. We had already heard enough.

PASS THE COMPASS

The six o’clock wake-up call came way sooner than any of us wanted, but the thought of virgin lips and pitchy kickers got our arses out of the sack pronto. A quick trip to the “Continental Breakfast Buffet” revealed what exactly was under those drapes on the table the night before, and with that we passed on the sleepy little desert resort’s idea of “fine dining.” A trip through the nearest drive-thru window, and we were back on our way.

After another hour or two of daybreak driving, our motley crew was seriously beginning to wonder if Superstition was the motocross equivalent to the old “ninth hole at nine” gag. Just as our patience was wearing thinner than yo’ momma’s nylons, a heavenly sound chimed in our ears like the bells on heaven’s pearly gates.

Never was I happier to hear my NexTel’s normally annoying ring tone than right now. Thanks to modern technology (or more likely Divine Intervention), my Motorola was boasting one slightly small but proud bar on its reception gauge, so the first thing I did (after hanging up on the telemarketer who just called about a fabulous timeshare opportunity in beautiful Arizona) was call the rest of the entourage that was planning on meeting us there.

I knew my boy Dane Herron wouldn’t lead us astray. To the best of my knowledge, Dirty Dane was one of the select few who had actually planted a tire on Superstition prior to this day, plus he’s always the “responsible one” in the group.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Dane posed the most dreaded of all road trip questions. After we told him our approximate geographic location, Dane paused and said, “Do you want the good news first, or the bad?”

Being the “glass is half empty” group that we were, our reply to Dane was to give it to us straight–how lost were we?

Dane replied that indeed we were lost (this was the bad news for you slow people out there), but the good news was that we weren’t too far gone in the wrong direction. With a few quick backtracks, sidetracks, and turn-a-bouts, we finally made our way onto Huff Road. Superstition was almost reality.

FINAL DESTINATION

With mudhills in sight and a sunny, bluebird sky above our Ford, we spotted the boys. The rest of the crew, including Herron, Jed Herring, Brandon Roberts, and cinematographer Adam Barker, were already in their riding gear, wearing plastered grins on their faces. Apparently the spot was epic, and it looked as though our trip to the almost mythical Superstition Mountain had paid off big.

The boys wasted no time in gearing up and getting on their bikes, and the first hit of the day was found in plain sight of the truck! Punk Rock Parsons was getting’ some in his freshly spray-painted WASP gear, with fat past-flat whips over a smallish, natural hip extension.

Over the clicking of my camera’s motor drive, I heard Dane Herron and Wes Burr clicking into fourth and out of the atmosphere on the second jump of the day, a huge step-up-to-flats hit residing literally a stone’s throw away from Parsons’ spot. After a couple more flatties off the hip, we made our way over to their jump for a session.

From there we headed to Dane’s next spot, a gnarly, peaked out step-up with an even gnarlier kicker just before it. Still, with reckless abandon Dane showed us all what time it was with big whips off the sketchy runway.

Now it was Herring’s turn. Like most of us on the trip, Jed was a Superstition rookie. Still, Jedro managed to discover an insane natural-terrain triple mound jump thingie (technically speaking, of course). Herring owned the jump, and floated tabletop after tabletop off of the naturally left-turning jump.

By now we were more than glad that we had made the trip to the middle of nowhere, but the reality of the triple-digit temperatures began to set in. After a lengthy “Jed’s Jump” session, we started making our way back to the truck for some water. Just when we thought our day of Superstition couldn’t get any better, what do you know?

While heading back, we haphazardly stumbled on two more insane jumps. The first one was all Doug Parsons’: This time it was a large step-down with almost no real landing. Punk Rock obviously wasn’t scared, though, as he was throwing smooth double cans and whips off the 90-foot monster, with each touchdown to the ground so hard it hurt just watching.

Last, but certainly not least, Wes Burr came through with perhaps the sketchiest but sickest step-up double of the day that was simply gigantic. Burr and his monster gap topped off what was perhaps the ultimate day of freeriding ever had in Imperial County. Everyone present had claimed a jump or two throughout the course of the morning, no one was on his way to a sketchy Tijuana emergency room, and we had finally put to rest what was in our minds an eternal mystery. Not much more than 24 hours after we had made the final decision to begin our hunt, we had discovered the freeride mecca that we had heard so much about. With smiles on our faces and memories in our heads, the dripping sweat on my forehead forced my brutal interruption of the touching moment at hand. My question was simple yet powerful. “Great! We found Superstition; now how in the hell do we get home?!”

 

CAPTIONS:

SUP05: NO CAPTION; LEAD SPREAD

SUP003: Not more than a few feet from the truck, Doug Parsons hits the first of many.

SUP01: I crawled out of my hole in the ground just in time to snap this shot of Jed Herring and his RM getting sideways off of a burly “triple mound jump thingie.”

SUP02: All these cracks are nothing compared to what was going on with Dougie “Punk Rock” Parsons’ marbles when he hit this 90-foot step-down with an arsenal of tricks.

SUP 04: Our tour guide and savior from utter road trip disaster was Dane Herron. Here Dane shows his “locals only” style off the most technically challenging jump of the day.

 

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tabletop off of the naturally left-turning jump.

By now we were more than glad that we had made the trip to the middle of nowhere, but the reality of the triple-digit temperatures began to set in. After a lengthy “Jed’s Jump” session, we started making our way back to the truck for some water. Just when we thought our day of Superstition couldn’t get any better, what do you know?

While heading back, we haphazardly stumbled on two more insane jumps. The first one was all Doug Parsons’: This time it was a large step-down with almost no real landing. Punk Rock obviously wasn’t scared, though, as he was throwing smooth double cans and whips off the 90-foot monster, with each touchdown to the ground so hard it hurt just watching.

Last, but certainly not least, Wes Burr came through with perhaps the sketchiest but sickest step-up double of the day that was simply gigantic. Burr and his monster gap topped off what was perhaps the ultimate day of freeriding ever had in Imperial County. Everyone present had claimed a jump or two throughout the course of the morning, no one was on his way to a sketchy Tijuana emergency room, and we had finally put to rest what was in our minds an eternal mystery. Not much more than 24 hours after we had made the final decision to begin our hunt, we had discovered the freeride mecca that we had heard so much about. With smiles on our faces and memories in our heads, the dripping sweat on my forehead forced my brutal interruption of the touching moment at hand. My question was simple yet powerful. “Great! We found Superstition; now how in the hell do we get home?!”

 

CAPTIONS:

SUP05: NO CAPTION; LEAD SPREAD

SUP003: Not more than a few feet from the truck, Doug Parsons hits the first of many.

SUP01: I crawled out of my hole in the ground just in time to snap this shot of Jed Herring and his RM getting sideways off of a burly “triple mound jump thingie.”

SUP02: All these cracks are nothing compared to what was going on with Dougie “Punk Rock” Parsons’ marbles when he hit this 90-foot step-down with an arsenal of tricks.

SUP 04: Our tour guide and savior from utter road trip disaster was Dane Herron. Here Dane shows his “locals only” style off the most technically challenging jump of the day.

 

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