1st Annual Robert Rosas Memorial Ride Update and Recon Report

Border update 4-6SEP09

 I departed the C1 compound at 1800 on Thursday, 4SEP09 and arrived at Camp Vigilance at 2050.  After speaking with the caretaker I found Godzilla and unloaded my scooter.
About 2130 I decided to walk down the road a ways to Sacred Rocks, a beautiful campground and RV park where the bulk of the riders for the 1st Annual Robert Rosas Memorial were staying.  I visit with the owner of the campground for a while.  The man is a foreign born, legal immigrant with a love of this country and it’s constitution that I only wish more native born Americans had.  We listened to Ronald Reagan’s 1961 speech on the dangers of socialized medicine.  Then I strolled through the woods back to Camp Vigilance and climbed in the back of Godzilla for a good nights rest.
0600- Woke up to the sound of double gobbles….

0700- Registered for the Memorial Ride and made a donation to the family of the murdered Agent.

By the way, for those of you who want to donate to the wife and kids of the late Agent Robert Rosas you can do so easily:
Donations for the Rosas family should be sent to Rosie Rosas, C/O: Sheriff Jay, P.O. Box 2115, La Mesa, CA , 91943 . Also checks should be made out directly to Rosie Rosas
And you are also invited to attend this:

The ride was supposed to begin at 0800 but I could tell they were going to get a late start so I headed off to the entrance to the border road in Tierra Del Sol.

I checked in with the BP Agents on the scene and informed them of my intent.  As I headed west I was please to see they are finally chopping down the big trees, some of which grew right over the fence and provided easy access and thick cover for would be invaders.

By 0810 I was at the scene of the murder and the Memorial Cross.

Then I headed west to the nearest shade shed at the end of Shockey Truck trail, where the riders would enter the border road. While I waited I was in radio contact with Bravo2 at Patriot Point, several miles to the west. Shortly thereafter Ken L., an Independent Minuteman arrived in “Redzilla”, a vehicle nearly identical to Godzilla, except that it’s red and it actually runs….
0930- The riders arrive and head for the monument.

 I receive a radio transmission from Yellow Hornet, a Patriot Point Posse Pilot who was over flying the area to the west and guided him east to the Memorial Sight where he took the photo below.

I met a lot of good people at the Cross including Mrs. Rosas.

 I had a good visit with her, though it was hard to speak with her while I was choking back tears.  She expressed her gratitude for all who came that day, all the help she was receiving and even said she wanted to thank all the civilian border observers.

I left the area in advance of the crowd and headed west.  On the east side of Smith canyon I stopped at the hilltop where I was shot at several years ago.

1045- Patriot Point.  I just missed Big Bob who had been on the line three days and had only just headed home.  Bravo 2 was on hand and Horsepuckies showed up shortly after that.

 By about 1145 the riders past the Point

They headed to Bell Valley where the group rested again.  I stopped briefly then pressed on. 

I am very familiar with the border area from Tierra Del Sol to the east side of Tecate, CA, but had never ventured further west.  The objective was to reach the top of Tecate Peak.

  Before that, however, I decided to investigate the border road on the west side and the adjoining trails.

 Parts of the border road on the west side look like when the people in Mexico need to take out the trash they just throw it over the fence into America. The picture below is actually one of the cleaner sections.

Then I headed up Mission Road, the way to the peak.

By 1345 I was on top and visiting with an Agent there who pointed out the landmarks.  I left the peak at 1430 with the riders only then coming into view in the distance to the east.

 I was about to leave the area via the pavement when Ronbo and 36 turned in beside me.  They had been in a Red Cross training and had missed the first part of the ride.  I guided them to the base of the road up and visited with them there and also with some of the other riders.  Then, I decided to go ahead and return down the border road.  At Cap Rock I caught up with a group of returning riders who had evidently decided not to make the trip up Tecate Peak.  At Zuellners we passed Shorty and passed Wildcard who was at Patriot Point.  I exited the border area at Forrest Gate and went to the Circle K in Campo to replenish my hydration bladder and take a rest. I had ridded about 75 miles by that point. Though weary, I was still not ready to quit riding and decided to head for the Valley of the Moon, and area we were to recon in depth the next day.
1715- I arrived and made the ascent up the road to the towers in search of the “Fire Ring” area Bravo 2 had told me about earlier in the day. 

I found it but had no idea how close or how far I actually was to the border.  I hiked around on foot a bit, but decided I had better leave. 

I was alone, had no cell phone coverage, the sun was setting and a big thunderstorm was bearing down on me.

 I stopped at the base by old Highway 80 to visit with and agent there but had to cut our chat short to out run the sandstorm that was fast approaching ahead of the rain.

1830- I was back at Camp V having ridden a total of 124 miles.  After visiting with the camp caretaker and FN9 I headed over to Sacred Rocks to talk with the riders and gorge myself on hot dogs and burgers.  I spoke with Infidel on the phone, who confirmed he and beast would be at Horsepuckies in the morning for the recon.  Red Army and Golf 1 both called and confirmed attendance as well
0930- I climbed in the back of Godzilla and fell asleep.
On this day in 1989 Border Patrol Anti-Smuggling Agent Keith Connelly died

0600- Got up, performed meditative motorcycle maintenance and headed for Horsepuckies where the group met at 0800.  By 0845 we were making our way up to the communication towers overlooking the Valley of the Moon area.

  Horsepuckies brought his Yamaha 230 in the back of his truck.

 We unloaded it and Infidel and I set out to explore the area.  Golf1 left his truck at the towers and he and Red Army rode in the back of Horspuckies big 4WD diesel Dodge power wagon while Beast, FN9 and Shorty rode in relative comfort in the cab with Horspuckies.  They took off in a different direction and apparently found Elliot Mine.

Infidel and I lost radio contact with them at some point as we found the derelict, rusty broken, barbed wire fence that passes as a border barrier in that area.  There were places where it was evidence vehicles had passed through as well as foot traffic.  Infidel pressed on heading down further into a hole in hopes of finding a way out to the east. 

We found no such exit.  We did, however, find ourselves in a bit of a dilemma.  The way we rode in was steep and punctuated with brutal rock washes and steep jagged stair steps.  Going down them was treacherous enough but going up them would have been even more perilous.  Past the point of no return we ended up at the bottom of a curvy and steep heinous hill. 

Seeing our plight I did not hesitate to use what little momentum I had to power my up the steep incline.  Less than half the way up I lost traction and control and crashed. I regret not having my video on at the time.

Infidel helped me lift the heavily laden dual sport XR400 off the side of the steep hill as gas dripped dangerously near the exhaust manifold.  I envisioned a scene from the classic motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday” where a desert riders’s bike goes up in flames providing a thick black smoke signal as to his whereabouts.  I was also reminded of the hillclimb scene in that movie, a hill called the widowmaker, a name which we quickly dubbed our own heinous upward obstacle.
Infidel made it almost halfway up but, opting to divert around a rock abutment, he ended up stuck in the silt. 
I apologize for my language in the two videos below.  I was extremely frustrated. Be advised there is profanity  not suited for civilized viewers and/or young children.

Had the hill been straight and hard packed it would not have been as much of a problem.  But close to the base it was curved and soft with alternating soft and rocky places about half of the way, which ate up the momentum needed to power up the rest of the way.  After walking up the hill to help extricate infidel he made it to the top.

 I walked up there with him and did a radio check.  Still no contact.  Then I checked my cell and was able to reach Red Army at the Elliot Mine and inform him of my plight.  I had wiped out once and my bike was at the bottom of the “widowmaker”.  There was nothing to do but adapt, improvise and overcome.  Infidel rooted me on and caught my next three attempts on camera:

Having finally made it up I rested at the top and phoned Red Army that I had made it.  Then Infidel and I ventured down another steep incline (we had no choice at that point) and came to a  T in the road.  One way appeared to go up a rocky slope and the other down to the east.  I still wanted to find and alternative way in and out from the east side but suggested to infidel that, in true trials bike fashion, and in light of what we had just encountered, we walk the trail first.  Infidel would have no part of this and he took off riding down the eastbound trail.  I watched as he came to a stop.  All I could see was his head vigorously shaking back and forth as he hollered, “NO, Go back!".  I never saw what he saw, but apparently the trail abruptly became a steep, stepped, downward death trap.  By bike was pointed the wrong way and, again, Infidel had to help me hoss my heavy ride to the right direction. We made it out and the trail we too converged with the trail we had taken in.
 We headed back to the towers where we met the crew in the truck.  They wanted to see the border and followed us back down the “road we had taken in.
Of course, we stopped before the “point of no return” this time. 

The group marveled at the “fence” and the debris left from incursions, including tire shreds and truck parts from explorers not as lucky as we were. 

In the distance in Mexico we saw an SUV but could not determine if it was occupied or abandoned.

Having seen what we had set out to see, and then some we headed back to the towers and then out of the area.  We all went back to Horsepuckies for debriefing then I replenish my hydration supplies and by 1600 I was back at Camp V, having ridden in excess of 200 miles in a weekend, most of which on bad road or no road at all.
Before leaving I performed some routine maintenance on Godzilla.  The day before I had tried to start it but the battery was dead, which was unusual.  After jumping it the engine sputtered and coughed which was also unusual.  
I toyed with the battery and found a loose connection.  After tightening that up she fired right up but still ran real rough.  I killed the motor and found that a pack rat had built a nest in the carb!

I cleaned it out and put a wing nut on the air filter which apparently had been missing allowing the rodent easy access.  Then I went ahead an rigged up a solar battery tender just for the hell of it.

By 1800 I was on the way home.

I returned to the C1 compound by 2045.
It was a great weekend.
I’ll be back.
Semper Vigilans,
7SEP09– Labor Day- On this day in 1941 Border Patrol Inspector Robert J. Heibler died

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2 responses

  1. J J

    Charlie, This is definitely one of your best updates….ever! The videos really help to "take us there"! Great biking/exploratory videos and report. Reminds me of many many years ago on hunting/exploratory trips I took, getting stuck, having to winch out of bad spots, penetrating country on old logging roads that hadn't been used in decades, etc. Yep Charlie, you definitely stirred up some of my oldest, and fondest memory banks on this one!Keep up the good work,J J

    September 9, 2009 at 06:26

  2. Thanks JJ! I'm gettin' too old for that hill climbin' crap though!

    September 14, 2009 at 22:52

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