Dirt Bike Riding at Mattawa

Yesterday, we packed up the new truck with the kid’s Christmas presents and went over to Mattawa to go dirt bike riding with a bunch of family for Mark’s birthday.

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Let’s start with the truck – we took delivery on Thursday.  It is a fully loaded Dodge 3500 Mega Cab with a Cummins turbo diesel in it.  Cool options include remote start, integrate nav/bluetooth, backup camera w/sensor, heated front and rear seats.

Now, back to the trip – even the ride over was a bit of an adventure.  We had the kid’s bikes in the back of the truck and my honda on a two-bike rack on the back.  Almost all of our riding gear fit behind the back seats – the whole reason for getting the mega cab.  I drove to the rest area near Cle Elum where I swapped out with Melissa, who still only has her learners permit.  She hadn’t driven on the freeway w/a 70 mph speed limit yet, so it was a new experience for her.  The truck doesn’t seem that big when you are driving it, so she handled it without any problems.  We stopped at the grocery store in Mattawa to swap drivers again because Melissa didn’t want to drive down the gravel/dirt roads to get to the riding area.  At this point, the bikes were all fine – I mention this because when we got to the riding area, the TT125 had fallen over and SCRATCHED MY NEW TRUCK!  One of the tie down traps had actually snapped and the bike fell to the outside, the brake lever on the bike put a small scratch in the side of the truck – when I first saw it, I thought it would be way worse.

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It took a while to get the bikes unloaded, but once we did, Taylor started riding and really didn’t get off her bike for any extended period of time for the rest of the day – she pretty much rode for 6 hours straight.  Melissa was learning how to use the clutch on this trip.  She started out on her grandmother’s 110, and after she warmed up, she moved over to her bike – the TT125, which fit her much better.  She did awesome.

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I did manage to take off with Mark and Jeremy for about an hour and a half.  We did some hill climbing on a bunch of trails while working our way to the very top.  The rocks seemed to have bred since the last time I was here – or we did a poor job of picking trails, because the rocks were nasty.  On top of that, there were cows everywhere – and they would run in random directions when you spooked them.  The exciting part of the ride happened on the way back to our base camp.  I was cruising along pretty good when I started to notice this huge sagebrush “bush” (more like a small tree) next to the trail…well I looked at it for too long, and sideswiped it.  The trail had a bit of an edge on that side and it caught my shift pedal, which busted off.  So, now I’m stuck in 3rd gear, with a bike that doesn’t like to start while it is in gear.  I catch up with Mark and Jeremy and we pick a trail that we think is going to take us toward the road so I could get back.  Well, it didn’t go back to the road, and we found ourselves pinned between the boundary fence and a big sandy hill that I need to climb.  Climbing a hill like that in 3rd gear was not fun – killed it multiple times – nothing like having to kick start the bike in the middle of the hill and then killing it immediately because I’m trying to start in 3rd gear. Did eventually make it back though, and fortunately it was the end of the day, so I didn’t really miss out on any riding.

The drive home was uneventful, although we didn’t get there till almost 11p, which made for a pretty long day.  The truck worked out great – got 15.9 mpg for the trip, which isn’t too bad for going back and forth over the pass.  Overall it was a great trip – just need to fix my bike now Smile.

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