Beto’s Can Am – A Ride in the Desert


Morristown, Arizona.

Can Am-1

It was March 27. My wife, Lynn, my sister, Babe, and our friend Jeep (yup, like the car), got on the road early to head to Phoenix to meet Marty and Beto. From there, we loaded up two vehicles with enough gear for a day in the desert, and enough food to feed a small army. The reason for our trip to the desert was to take up our family friend, Beto’s, offer to come to ride with him in the desert.

We headed toward one of our favorite hiking spots, Lake Pleasant, but we drove past the park entrance on Castle Hot Springs Road to an area north of Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Along the way, we saw many trucks and SUVs with trailers, their owners either unloading their All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or parked with empty trailers, their ATV and driver off wandering in the desert somewhere. Eventually we came to a turn-off on the highway and entered an area where many vehicles, trailers, and ATVs were parked. The group set up our base station and unloaded Beto’s Can Am ATV.

Can Am-3

In the Arizona metro, I’ve seen plenty of these two- and four-passenger ATVs on the highway and on a trailer, and I’ve even seen them driving on desert back roads, but on this day, it would be my first experience riding in the desert. It wasn’t long before everyone was strapped in and ready to go. I sat behind the driver, securely belted in by the four-point seat belt, camera in hand. I was to soon learn that it’s impossible to get a level shot while bouncing around on these desert roads. The road in the image above is the best we were on, but the Can Am’s heavy duty suspension seemed to find every bump and dip.

Can Am-5

It wasn’t long and we reached the northwestern edge of Lake Pleasant. Of course, Beto had to take us into the shallow water for a short distance just because he could. We didn’t go out far enough to get our feet wet when Beto turned around and headed back to shore.

Can Am-6

I found hill climbing and descending to be the most fun, but as you can surmise by the view of the “road” we spent a lot of time moving around, up, and down inside those tightly fitted four-point belts.

Can Am-7

If you climb up a hill, you can expect to go down the other side, (at least according to Captain Obvious.) The Can Am took all of the punishment Beto dished out and gave us a day’s worth of fun exploring the desert. Do you know how hard it is to take a sip of water while bouncing around on a desert back road? Now I do.

Can Am-10

After lunch, we headed out again, this time taking the Castle Hot Springs Road north to drive by the recently reopened luxury resort of the same name. Driving on a nice gravel road is nowhere near as much fun as bouncing around on a desert trail, but the scenery is just as beautiful.

Can Am-14

When we returned, the Can Am was loaded up again, Jeep driving, my sister Babe riding shotgun, Beto behind her and Marty behind Jeep. It was their turn to head up the road to Castle Hot Springs.

Can Am-13

The truth is, unless you are a guest at the resort, you can’t see much of the place, buildings obscured by many desert palm trees, accessible only through a private gate.

Many thanks to Beto for taking us on one of his journeys to the desert. Lake Pleasant is one of his favorite places to explore via his Can Am, and I can certainly see why. Of course, I took more images than I am featuring here. Be sure to check out the complete gallery of images on my Flickr site. Simply click on any of the images above to visit the gallery and see all of the images captured in 2K HD on that warm spring day in the Arizona Desert.

John Steiner


  1. That looks like fun! I’ve had similar rides on desert dunes so I can imagine how the ups and downs felt – and I know how hard it is to take photos under those circumstances!

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