DirtGather III Photos

by H Marc Lewis (XR650L)

These photos partially document our 3rd spring time "Dirt Gather" which was founded by Steve Powers in 2005, and coordinated by him the last 3 years. They have all been held at Pearrygin Lake State Park, just north of Winthrop, Washington, USA. One of the draws of this event is the easy availablity of fine food and drink in nearby Winthrop (a 10 minute ride away). This year we had perfect dry sunny weather, though a bit warm at times, and thus also quite dusty.

Friday, June 1st, 2007

The "parking lot" at our campsite. At one point, we had 12 bikes parked here.

Yes, the campsite really looked like this.

The campsite is at the base of the hill behind Paul, approximately in front of his face in the photo above.
This is the road to the campsite. Only one marmot was killed in the filming of this story (that I know of).

On Friday, Phil lead myself, Paul and Gary on a very nice ride south towards Lake Chelan.
The very pretty little Blackpine Lake where Gary had camped before.
We got there just a bit too late to help the young lady out of the water who had been skinny dipping.

Damn! A large snowbank near Cooper Mt. thwarted our attempts to reach Chelan for lunch.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

The photo op we missed was heading down the hill Saturday AM. First we noticed a lot of cow "droppings" on the road, making the phrase "hold your line" even more critical in the corners. Then an oncoming LEO in an SUV w/lightbar motioned for us to SLOW DOWN. Around the next bend we encountered a large herd of (200 or so) cattle being "cowboy'd" down the 2-lane road.

We shut the bikes off and coasted slowly through the herd until we ran out of momentum, then out of pure lazyness we fired 'em up. That really got the cow's attention, and a minute later we were through them safely. Unfortunately, nobody got a photo.

Roughing it at breakfast — espressos and pastry in the early morning sunshine.
[Steve Powers photo]

Technically, the above photo documents our 2nd "breakfast", as just about everyone had coffee at the campground. Most of us had some sort of high-zoot water boiling gizmos and drip-filter or French-press type coffee makers. The bench-racing centered around which propane or multi-fuel stoves heated the water fastest, and what MSR was coming out with next. Not only is the typical Dirt Gatherer a beer and liquor snob, but also a coffee snob. "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!" — or maybe it's "Life is too short to drink bad coffee."

On Saturday, Steve lead a group of us north, towards Oroville for lunch.
This was our first photo op, just a 1/2 dozen miles from the campsite.

This staged shot of Jim on his F650 doesn't show how dusty it really was, and it really was dusty.
Most of the time off-pavement we were in the trees, or within potato gun range of some trees.

We had views like this all day!
[Steve Powers photo]

A couple of observations: 1) 650cc singles seemed to be the bike-of-choice, with Honda, Kawasaki, BMW and KTM represented. In fact, everyone but Steve (who rode an R1200GS) was 650 mounted. 2) Just about everyone carried a water supply with bite-hose so they could drink while riding. This is a Good Thing™ and highly recommended for long hot days on a bike. 3) Regarding tires, most were on "dual-sport" tires, which are biased 80-90% towards pavement. A couple of us used street-legal knobbies. The knobbies weren't necessary, though they made the rough stuff easier and the pavement a lot noiser...

Early June of 2007 was the perfect time for this ride.
We reached 6515' at one point on Saturday.

Roughing it at dinner — Buffalo Roulade, mashed potatoes and asparagus with a nice Pino Gris...
[Steve Powers photo]

The only bit of drama for me was running out of gas about 5 miles from camp at the end of the day. My Clarke tank doesn't have a reserve, so I did a dozen violent weaves to slosh fuel over the hump onto the left side with the only petcock. Had to do it again a minute later, then the engine quit as we reached our turn-off road.

Laid the bike over on it's left side and was able to restart and make it to the Park Ranger's station above the lake, where I let it die and coasted down the hill to the main campground. One final laying of the bike on its left side got it restarted, and it ran the last mile or so sputtering off just as we reached our campsite. 174.9 miles on 4.7 gallons. Now I know.

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Sunday morning, Gary lead Paul and myself on a very nice short ride on some excellent jeep trails
from Hwy 20 up towards Loup Loup pass. Gary & Paul are giving the traditional AdvRider "salute".
Our bikes: XR650R (w/WA plate), '05 XR650L (much tricked out), '93 XR650L (minimalist).

Quite a few of our friends had signed up to come, but bailed out at the last moment. This, unfortunately, is fairly typical human behavior. We missed them. Most of us have jobs, and families, and various other things competing for our time. We talked about this around the campfire the last night. Consensus was that years from now, we'd clearly remember this weekend, whereas if we hadn't gone, we would likely not remember what we did do instead.

Life really is short, and is definitely uncertain. Enjoy it while you can...

Copyright © 2007, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.