After weeks of anticipation, it was finally here, I was leaving work to go get ready for the PNW Dual Sport Riders Summer Opener event held May 5 -7t, . I made arrangements to meet up with my buddy Max, Saturday morning and head out to Skokomish Park at Lake Cushman, where the event was taking place. With around 150 people pre-registered I was a little concerned we would have trouble finding room, but everything was spread out quite nicely and finding a spot to park in the campground was a breeze. After unloading, Max and I headed over to the staging area where everything was being organized. A few vendors had displays set up, answering questions and demonstrating gear; such as Mosko Moto, MOESOF, and Veterans Back 40 Adventure
Three ride groups were set to go out at one hour intervals, which worked out great to keep things from becoming too chaotic. I choose to ride out with the intermediate group which consisted of around 45 riders on all makes and models of dual sports. I have to say I was surprised to see only one other DRZ400 rider besides myself and the supposedly hard to find Africa Twin seemed to be everywhere!
Jimmy Lee from High Desert Adventures led us on a 5+ hour tour of forest service roads in the Olympic Peninsula back country. We encountered all kinds of weather, from sun, to rain and snow, and back to sunshine again. The riding was pretty basic gravel roads with great views in the beautiful PNW back country. Everyone in our group seemed to be experienced riders so we ripped along at a decent pace. There was even one couple riding two up on a big BMW R1200GS!
When we arrived at the last gas stop everyone was casually bs’ing and sharing stories. Somehow I must have gotten distracted looking at all the bikes and didn’t realize when everyone in my group started tearing out and heading back. As I reached for my gear I saw the last drops of water pouring from my Camel Bak that I had left open. Shit!! I wasn’t sure how much longer we were going to be out on the road, so I ran back into the store and grabbed a water bottle. With only one person in front of me in line this should go quick….then I quickly realized people in this small town move at a different pace….
“So Ed I heard your water heater went out?” asked the store clerk.
“Yeah, it’s been givin’ us trouble fer some time now, so we’d been runnin’ water through the radiator on the Plymouth to take showers….That seems to work pretty darn good but the dang ani-freeze is hard to worsh off yer hair.”
As interesting as this conversation was, I had to get going. I threw down some cash and ran for the door, but it was too late… my group was gone.
I knew the direction they were headed, so I grabbed a fist full throttle and rolled it on! As soon as I left I noticed I was being followed by a KTM rider. I waved him ahead hoping he knew where to go and as he came along side me and yelled “I’M THE SWEEP!!” Ok great, he must know where to go…right?
So I waved him ahead of me again,
“I DONT KNOW WHERE I’M GOING” I said, yelling over my excessively loud MRD pipe.
“EITHER DO I”….
…This isn’t good.
Then he sped past me and another KTM rider in front of me, and we all pulled over together. Apparently none of us knew the way the group had planned to get back. We made the decision to ride the road back and skip the dirt sections to keep from getting lost. So we headed off again with our sweep rider leading the way. After about 2 miles we met up with another rider on a Honda Transalp who was sitting at an intersection looking as lost as we were. We discussed our dilemma and choose to continue on the road. Soon after we got started the “sweep rider” made a hard right onto a FS road,
“I THINK THIS IS IT…YEAH PRETTY SURE THIS IS IT”.
Good enough for me… This is when things really started to picked up.
I could tell this guy could ride and he opened it up. We both ended up having a killer dirt track session and left the guys on the big bikes way behind. I couldn’t help myself, I’m not used to pacing with big groups and I’d been holding back all day, when the opportunity came, it was time to roll it on. Leaning over hard in corners and pushing the limits of traction gets my blood pumping. WOOHOO! Hell yeah!!
After a few miles of blasting dirt we came to an intersection where we needed to wait for the big bikes behind us. This gave us a little down time and I quickly found out that the guy I had been riding with was Jackson Carpenter, a really cool cat and the hired gun for all the camera work during the event. So we pasted the time with me trying to wheelie while Jackson snapped a few shots. He ended up with an amazing collection of shots from the event.
After the big bikes caught up we were back on our way. I rode straight to my truck to unload some gear to make room in my Nelson Rigg RG-020 soft bags for a few beers. Then it was back to the staging area where they now had some killer items out on display for the raffle. These weren’t the usual oddball raffle items, like the pink pair of Malcom Smith gloves in size XXL that you won at your last poker run, no- this stuff was legit. Sena Bluetooth systems ,Mosko Moto bags, and, a top of the line helmet, just to name a few. Oh, did I mention there was also a 2017 Husqvarna FE250 Dual Sport being raffled off too!? Bringing that baby home would be like winning the lottery.
The drawings weren’t set to start until 8 and since I wasn’t planning on staying the night and the beers were going down pretty quick, I decided to hand my tickets off to my new moto friend Ed, and head out.
We all had a kick ass time riding and meeting new friends. Congratulations to the volunteers who helped put this event together.