The Desert 100
in Odessa WA (2008)
Michael and I have read about the Desert 100 race in Odessa Washington and decided we wanted to be a part of it, it sounded like fun and should not be too difficult for us, boy were we wrong.

The trip started with Michael and I loading our Dads camper onto my truck, getting it loaded up with 3 days worth of food, the bikes, lots of gas, and finally headed to Odessa on Friday.

Its a 2+ hour drive from Waitsburg, but we finally saw the sign for Odessa and headed out of town to the camp site and the site of the race. Unfortunitely, we were greeted with rain on and off on the way there.
Finally we arrived at the Desert 100 campsite, WOW! I have never seen so many differn't kinds of RV's, tents, trailers, in such a small area. Honestly, imagine driving to the middle of no where and stumbling upon a camp like this:

As we have read, the Desert 100 is a very popular event, so we had to wait inline with a bunch of other campers and RV's to get into the campsite.

Finally we got through the line and paid our $5 entry/camping fee and were told to go find a camping spot, anywhere. No direction, no right/wrong way, just don't camp in the roads. They really leave the camping and parking completely up to you. We finally found a spot and got everything unloaded and setup

and quickly started wandering around. I quickly found a kids 50 cc motorcycle with training wheels, never seen this before.

Norma (My Mom) and myself rigged up some flags before we left, and I used some of my old DJ light stands and Michael put it on top of our camper, this helped ALOT to locate our camp in the sea of RV's. We were the only ones with a blue flag labeld "Team Bessey" Originally thought to be a corney idea but overall, very helpfull. You could find our camp from the county road!
It rained most of Friday afternoon, pretty miserable and cold but that did not stop Michael and I from exploring the place.

This is what most of the trails around camp look like. There was 1 or 2 motorcross tracks the kids were riding around.
Saturday morning we awoke to sunshine ... and frost on the bikes.

When we arrived it rained and was pretty miserable, now we awaken to frost and fairly cool temperatures, we both thought we were in for a rough and miserable ride. We went to the riders meeting for the dual sport and family poker runs. And then we realized we were in the desert, cold nights, warm days. It got warm enough that we didn't have to wear face masks, gloves, bibs, and the rest of our winter gear.

I took this picture on our way back from the riders meeting, dead ahead you can see our blue flag on top of our camper. You may notice the family and party camp areas, Stump Jumpers set the camp up, about 1/3 is family and 2/3 is party. We were just on the Party side, which didn't turn to be too bad. They had lots of porta-potteys, apparently there was not enough of these last year.
Several Vendors show up for the event

Accessories, energy drinks, and several tire changers. Flat tires are a very common problem at this event, and they had plenty of customers. I think it was $30 to fix a flat.
I saw these bikes wondering around camp and could not resist to take a picture

two twin KLR bikes, pretty new looking and no dirt on them!
Michael and I started our poker runs. Michael did the Ironman on his YZ 426 and I did the Dual Sport on my KLR 650. There is also the Family run, to summarize all of the runs use the same track, with some minor exceptions. The family run is a fairly amature ride, nothing real technical, most amatures can tackle the course with no problem. The ironman does the Family loop, but goes off course a couple areas to more technical and difficult terrain. The Ironman and Family loops do the loop twice, the dual sport does the loop once, and then heads out to several county roads around Odessa.
Michael and I started riding together and met up at the safety checkpoints

Several points along the course are safety check points with medics and quads ready to respond in the case of someone getting hurt, and we were both glad they are there. We saw a couple injuries on the poker run with EMT's tending to them.

Due to the rain the previous day, the dust was not real bad until later Saturday. And there was a watercrossing on the course

Michael used his helmet cam and got some video crossing the creek, you can see it here (13 megs)
Michael and I finished up our first lap, and split up. He headed off to do his 2nd lap of the ironman and I hit the county roads for the rest of the dual sport ride.
Michael finished his ride before I did (by about 2 hours) does he look tired?

Here is Michaels bike with his trophy shirt

And finally my bike after the ride

Overall, we did pretty good. We both survived and completed the entire ride, but not without some battle wounds. I dumped my bike on one of the creek crossings, and my left side panel fell off. Michaels GPS fell out of his holder. But we both survived and were able to ride back to camp, thats always a good ride in our book (No tow ropes needed!)
Sunday is the day of the Race, originally Michael was planning on doing the race but chickened out (We were both really sore) Michael and I were both really impressed by the average skill level of the other riders. We both thought we were intermediate skilled riders, after going to this event both Michael and I learned we are more begginner skilled riders.
Although Michael and I were not doing the race, we attended the riders meeting

They went over all the rules and how the course was layed out, at the end of the meeting everyone fired there bikes up and headed to to the starting line of the course. I was near the starting line and caught a video of the line of bikes, check it out here

I had my camera in my hand, heard the cannon, and turned the camera on as quickly as possible, The video is here
To start the race they used a cannon, and all the sudden 500+ dirt bikes came to life and took off. An awesome event to watch! This year they seperate the group into two seperate waves, the 1st group was the 100 milers doing 2 laps, the second wave was the 50 milers doing 1 lap.
Finally Michael and I loaded up the camper, the bikes, and the trailer and headed for home.

Overall it was a fun event, and reccomend it to anyone who owns a dirt bike and is up for a good ride. After the event I read several stories from riders that did the race, stitches, concussions, broken back, flat tires, lots of broken bikes. There was a rumor a guy riding a KTM ran into a barb wire fence at 40 MPH, but he was able to walk away. Honestly, the race is for the hard core riders and I will leave the abuse to them.
I assure you Michael and I will be doing this again next year. We had so much fun and highly reccomend the event to anyone that owns a dirt bike. You will want to bring a camper, you can tent it, and several campers did at the event, but it was cold. Our Dads camper does not have a furnace, and it was a cold morning! Also the last couple of years it has rained during the event. So beg, borrow, or steal a camper, you will be glad you did!
You can read other peoples stories here: