Stumpjumpers Odessa Desert 100

Some background and a big “Thank-you Kathi”

About a year ago, Kathi found this local group/club that maintains trails in the Jones Creek OHV area. We started going to their business meetings and met some interesting new friends. I'm not that good at meeting people and making new friends, so I really appreciate Kathi finding this group and getting us involved. We've had fun participating in a few of work parties and going to a few business meetings, but the real higlight is finding that this group goes on fun adventures and camping trips.

Last year, JCTRA did a couple of big events that I was interested in, but perhaps not quite ready to jump into with both feet. One was a 24hr endurance race out in Maryhill on Halloween. JCTRA fields two teams that ride a 20 mile course day and night. Pretty hard core, and I didn't know the guys well enough to say, "Hey, I'd be interested in joining your team." JCTRA also coordinates a big race at the Washougal MX Park called the Hangover Scrambles. It's a MX race on Jan 1 in the mud, snow, and ice! Very hard core for someone who has never raced and can hardly imagine getting up early on New Year's day. We didn't participate.

Kathi and I joined the JCTRA for their end-of-year dinner party at Say Ciao! Columbia River Tap Room and Eatery. There we met Ed and had a good time talking about riding, club history, and some of the events the club does like their China Hat OHV camping trip in June, and the Odessa Desert 100 race.

Then I joined the JCTRA for a work party where we fixed up their 6x6 trucks that the club uses for trail maintenance. That work party was at Steve's shop and I met Steve, Jeff, Erin, and Ed again. I was starting to know the club members. I learned more about the Desert 100.

Recently, Kathi and I particpated in a JCTRA work party where we refurbished the kid's riding area at Jones Creek. There, Kathi learned more about the Desert 100 and started to think that maybe she'd be interested in going. We read a bit on the StumpJumper's website about the event and decided to sign up. Initially Kathi thought she would do the Ladies' ride and cheer me on the 50 mile race. But talking to Barb and Ed and Jeff, we began to think that Kathi and Chris could do the Family Poker Run and even possibly enter (and finish) the D50 race. Barb and Jeff were very encouraging. They made it sound (or maybe my wishful thinking made me hear) that the course was like riding dirt roads across the desert. Kathi and I did a bit of practice riding dirt roads near Dougan Falls, so I felt Kathi was ready to ride the Poker Run and maybe even finish the D50. After our time near Dougan, I thought we could finish in about 4 or 5 hours. Boy was I mistaken!

Kathi was such a trouper. She was nervous about the trip, but she helped get the RV packed and came along for the 300 mile drive to Odessa and several days of camping. Getting to the event, we were both super excited. What a zoo! The number of people there was just amazing. It was looking like an incredible event. We checked in, got our T-shirts, and read the program. We rode our motorcycles around the camp and started feeling really good about joining the Family Poker Run the next morning.

In retrospect, we should have signed Kathi up for the Ladies' Race, but Chris didn't understand the format or when the race would be held and that it was possible to do both the Family Poker Run AND the Ladie's Race --- they did not in fact conflict.

The Poker Run started with a ride across the desert. The trails were narrow tracks, rutted and dusty, with lots of rocks. Not like the dirt roads around Dougan Falls. Then we came to a small hill (Kathi to the left and Barb ahead of Jeff) with hundreds of riders taking different lines through the rocks. It was quite initimidating for Kathi. I was hoping she would push through it, but what I didn't understand was how difficult riding the taller CRF150f was for her. On dirt roads, she can ride that bike just fine. But on rocky climbs and descents, not being able to put both feet down solidly damaged her already shakey confidence. Kathi fell several times and one of those times hit her chest really hard making it difficult for her to breathe. At about the 4.5 mile point, we came to a checkpoint with a dirt road route back to camp. Jeff and Chris escorted Kathi back to camp, then went back to rejoin Barb to complete the run. I was very happy that Kathi had made an effort beyond her comfort zone to ride the Poker Run, but also sad that she had to quit and wasn't having a good time. I finished the 20 mile Poker Run and went back to camp where I waited for Kathi. She had bought souveniers, shirts, stickers, etc., and was super excited to give me presents. I was elated that Kathi seemed to be having a good time.

As the pain of hitting her chest built up and the disappointment of not being able to do the Family Poker Run sunk in and the realization that the 50 mile race tomorrow was realistically out of reach solidified, Kathi got sad. But she hid it well and enthusiastically cheered me on the next day. Kathi did a great job of getting much of the pictures and video you'll see in these pages. It was really great having such an enthusiastic and supportive partner for this amazing event. I had a MUCH better time with Kathi's participation than if she had stayed home. I hope that next year, with some more practice and better skills and better knowledge of the actual course conditions, she can do the Ladies' Ride and perhaps manage the Family Poker Run on a smaller bike (XR100R or even CRF80) where we walk the bike though the more difficult sections and pace ourselves.

All that said, I'm super grateful to Kathi for making this possible by introducing me to this group and joining me on this extreme (for us) adventure. It would not have happened without you!


The Jones Creek Trail Riders met up to go to the biggest dirt bike weekend in the world, the Stumpjumpers / Odessa Desert 100. The weekend attracted about 10,000 people, maybe 3000 RVs and 5000 bikes. Attending from our group were:

0) Mar 31 Thu John and Cody arrived about 10am Thursday to stake out a claim on an awesome campsite
1) Apr 1 Fri Drive the RV 300 miles to Odessa and find the other folks
2) Apr 2 Sat Kathi, Barb, Chris and Jeff ran the Family Poker Run
3) Apr 3 Sun Chris, Ed, and Jeff ran the Desert 50
4) Apr 4 Mon Hobble back to Vancouver

click a calendar day to see daily details

Note: calendar days are clickable to see each day of the trip
day 1 day 2 day 3 day 4

Where we stayed

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