Dirt Gather III - Phil's Report
May 31 - June 3

Paul and I had talked about going over a day early at end of DG II, so this year we headed east on Thursday. Debb and I rode and Paul drove and trailered his bike, intending to continue to Spokane. HMarc called to say he was joining us also.

Debb hadn't ridden off-road for awhile, so I plotted an easy route for us on Thursday. Easy for me, pretty challenging for her, but she did well and didn't fall once. I decided to retrace the early part of our route over Entiat Summit from last year since I was sure we wouldn't hit any snow. Steve and I both talked to the Forest Service office at Entiat and knew that most of the roads would be clear.

So it was east on US2 to Plain, then south on the Chumstick Highway toward Leavenworth. We turned east on NF-7800 and followed the power lines up to NF-7520 and the top of the hill. This was a bit rougher than Debb was used to but she powered up the hill and across the ruts with no problems at all. After a break at the top on Entiat Summit road, we headed north on NF-5800 toward Ardenvoir. It was our first time on this road and it is very nice ride. Great views from the top, easy gravel and dirt all the way down to Ardenvoir and the Entiat River Road.

Looking north on NF-5800

We continued north on Mud Creek, NF-5300 and Johnson Creek Road all the way to Highway 971 and Lake Chelan State Park. We stopped at the fast food place right across the street from the park and took a nice break for lunch and lots of fluids. It was definitly warming up. Be sure and sit out on the creek side of the outdoor seating. The sounds of the creek are very pleasing and drown out the tinny country radio station blaring from the patio speakers.

We aired up the tires in Chelan and continued north on US97 up the Columbia toward Pateros. The highway is being chip sealed along the river and we got stuck in construction traffic for nearly an hour. Now it was really hot. Finally we got past and turned north on 153 toward Twisp and Winthrop. We arrived at Lake Perrygin State Park promptly at 3PM - er, make that 5PM. Paul and HMarc were waiting for us with ciders in hand!

We had the group camp site reserved for Friday and Saturday nights, but the Rangers said we could move in early since it was not in use. Great, we only have to setup camp once. We headed into town for dinner and when we returned, Gary had arrived and was waiting for us. The end of a good day.

Debb decided to take Friday off from riding, so I led the four of us south and east toward Gold Creek and Cooper Mountain. We made good time and ran into remarkably little traffic. We got to the top of the hill where several roads join, but snow prevented us from getting down either road toward Chelan so we called it good and headed back toward camp. A nice treat heading back was Gary leading us along the west side of the river into Twisp and then the east side into Winthrop. Much more moto friendly routes than the main highway.

Nearly everyone else rolled in that afternoon and early evening so it was Three Finger Jack's for dinner and drinks. While we were eating, Bill and Lucas arrived. Eleven hardy souls ready for the back roads. Unfortunately, only 10 hardy bikes. Bill's KTM had a bad clutch cable so he was out of action for the weekend. At least for riding - his stories were as good as ever! Ask him about being stopped on a WR500 powered SL350 when you get a chance!

Saturday, Debb and Adrian wanted an easy route so I led them on the first half of my route from Friday. This takes us south over the hills toward Gold Creek and brings us out on 153 near Carlton. Nice easy ride with some excellent views of the valley. We got up to about 4200 feet. Perfect riding weather - up there.

Back in the valley it was getting hot! We returned to Winthrop for a bite of lunch and sat resting in the shade and mist of the outdoor cafe. There must have been 200 cruisers in town along with a smattering of everything else on two wheels.

After lunch Adrian headed back to camp and Debb and I rode east on Bear Creek Road, Lester Road and NF-4225 toward the summit of Loup Loup Pass. We turned north on 42 toward Conconully, but after a few miles we decided we'd had enough for the day so we retraced our route to the top of the pass and took the highway back to camp.

Sunday we packed our gear and headed for home. Steve, JC, Lucas, Jim, Debb and I rode west over the North Cascades Highway. Hard to ask for a better day over the mountain. After a break at Rockport, we stopped in Darrington for a burger and fries and went our seperate ways home.

It doesn't get much better. There are countless miles of great riding around Winthrop. If you didn't make it, you messed up.

© Phil Kopp 2007