A Noob wonders about Belfair Gravel Pit, Tahuya, Etc....

Hi All :

I have "zero" dirt / off-road experience. I am also new to motorcycling in general, riding since last November. I took the MSF course --no prob -- and I commute to work almost daily, either on the DRZ400, or my '83 Honda 650 Nighthawk. I am 51, have a kid going into college, work for myself (barber) and *cannot* get busted up (or there's no one to pay the bills).

I was at the Belfair (Sand Hill) Gravel Pit today with my new (to me) DRZ400. It was a totally new experience, for sure. I had all my armored stuff on, because, like I said, I don't want to get broken....

I basically tooled around the parking lot -- almost empty on a Monday -- and then went down the "ramp" into the pit, turned around and came back out. I did that a couple more times, but that is about it. I was mostly in first gear, but gassed the bike to get through some loose, large rocks and all that jazz. I didn't focus on the area in front of my tire -- well, most of the time I didn't -- but looked out well ahead, etc. I tried to use what info I have picked up reading about riding in the loose stuff. No dump-er-oos at all... But this area is more challenging than I had in mind. Sorry to be a weenie, but that's the way it is :thumbsup:

My questions are: 1) Are the roads leading back into Tahuya the same as the gravel pit, worse, or easier? and 2) Is the MSF dirt-riding course worth the time?

I just want to be on some fairly unchallenging dirt roads at this point. Am I going to the wrong place? Sorry this is so long. Hope someone with experience out there, and with a bit of sympathy for an old, old beginning rider has some input for me. Thanks in advance

Welcome Dave,

The rocks at the gravel pit can be a little intimidating for a beginner. The key is to get on top and stay on top,(go faster). The main trails like Tahuya River, Mission creek, and the Howell Lake loop are not to hard for a beginner and allot more fun than the Gravel Pit, in my opinion anyway. I would also point out it's not a very good idea to go out riding by yourself, cell service sucks at Tahuya and what happens if you do get hurt with no one around? I'll be out next weekend with some buddies if you want to hook up for some trail riding.

I have not taken the MSF Offroad course, but have the Street rider course. That being said, and remembering how the novice street bike riders progressed thru the course from being scared to even get on a bike and then almost mastering one, I say sign up for it. It doesn't sound like you have an inability, just pure fear of all the what ifs. I think the course is just what you need. I've seen new riders actually imcrease their fears to incapacitation.

Join us here to see the rest of this awesome state in the back country

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/WA_DSR/

Dave, you're the man! How many have the guts to take up off-road motorcycling at age 51? I'm not familiar with the MSF Off-Road course but in my experience, some formal instruction can do you nothing but good, it's likely to cut a lot of time off your learning curve. :thumbsup:

Me and my buddy used to park our trucks at effendahl (i think that is how it spells) staging area where is in the middle of the trails. I would never ever go by myself though. Have fun but be careful. I used to go out there every week with my WR250. Now I have YZ and need a spark arrestor. Have fun out there.

:bonk: thanks guys! :thumbsup:

I think I will do the dirt-ride course, then, since some familiarization will help out, and it will probably be in a less-challenging area.

BTW, my son was along... so I wasn't alone. We trucked the bike over. He took a few laps around the place, and had a blast. Too bad we only have one dirt-capable bike. :thumbsup:

And, oh yes.. faster did seem to be better than slower but it also seemed more like the bike was taking me for a ride instead of the other way around. I think the dirt course could fix that, though. :confused:

Well...if anyone else wants to log in on this, all comments are welcome.

:bonk:

(sorry about all these smilie things...got carried away!) :bonk:

Dave,

Next time you go to belfair, go to the main staging area rather than the gravel pit. There is a section next to the parking lot that is blocked off with logs with the intention of creating a safer place for kids to ride. This terrain is a bit more "stable" with dirt trails. It is fairly wide open so no hidden suprises and you can see where you started. There are also some fairly smooth roads/trails that head out you can follow and come back on. This is all for building that self confidence!

Good to see another ORV'er coming on board!

mx813

Dave,

Next time you go to belfair, go to the main staging area rather than the gravel pit. There is a section next to the parking lot that is blocked off with logs with the intention of creating a safer place for kids to ride. This terrain is a bit more "stable" with dirt trails. It is fairly wide open so no hidden suprises and you can see where you started. There are also some fairly smooth roads/trails that head out you can follow and come back on. This is all for building that self confidence!

Good to see another ORV'er coming on board!

mx813

I couldn't agree with you more! I hate the gravel pit up at sand hill.. The rocks are too big there to really be much fun. (for me) If you do plan to park up there, instead of going into the gravel pit, go to the end of the parking area through the trees (as you enter sand hill turn right) and there is a trail. (mission creek I believe) This will take you over a bridge, up a wide road and just stay on mission creek. It will say to elfandaul staging area. I like this trail. Its a good one to start on. Nothing crazy, fairly quick flow, and just what you might need to get some confidence on your bike. At the top of a hill after the bridge there is a root that sneaks up on ya. That's the only thing on the ENTIRE trail I can think of that will make your heart patter at all. Other than that it is just a fun trail. Good job for getting out there! I am sure We will see you around, since we are up there almost every weekend. Have fun, and be careful! :thumbsup:

You are me, only 11 years older! I just got my first bike YZF 426, and pretty much delt with what you are. Single income family, three kids at home, and I GOTTA work, (paramedic/firefighter), so nothing can be broken or rearanged :thumbsup:. The first few rides were intimidating, not even fun. I have been in the gravel pit where you were, and felt the same way. Big rocks are no fun at all, I knew they were there, did not look at them, yet I seem to have hit about half of them. Them best thing for me was time on the seat. A buddy also gave me a DVD that was about 10 years old that went over the mechanics of riding. Basic, but it helped me an my 8 yo son. I am out to have fun, I am too old for serious air, but I am all about serious fun. Just did the Poker Run in the Capital Forest, and it went great. Fatigue was the biggest factor. As far as a school, heck, I would do it, and may. The more you ride, the easier it gets.

Regards, Craig

go to the efhendal staging area. there are many little play trails

I have yet to break myself trail riding. You contol the bike so it is in your hands so to speak. The worst thing to happen to date was a head on with a KTM at Capitol forest last summer, nothing broken, just sore. You will enjoy trail riding a lot. That gravel pits SUCKS!

Joe.........

:thumbsup: Man, this is awesome input, guys ( and gurl :confused: ) I am so appreciative of all the encouragement and hints about where to go. Thanks!

Any other roads anyone knows about on the east side of the Narrows, closer to where I live(in Lakewood)? I suspect there may be something out past Yelm near the Bald Hills, and plan to do some exploring myself, but hints are always appreciated.

:thumbsup:

Drop 20 miles down I-5 and ride capital forest. With a Dual Sport bike you can ride all of the gravel roads and if you feel like it you could jump off onto a trail or two. Comtact the DNR web site for maps or P.M me and I will send you one.

As the snow starts to melt more riding and exploring will be availible, hundreds of miles within reasonible driving or riding distance. :thumbsup:

Thanks again for all the replies. The reason I had shied away from the Capitol Forest idea (although you couldn't know that) was because a couple of my friends who ride said that's not really a place for beginners ( mud was too deep, etc) but I can see i will have to check it out for myself.

Thanks again for everything.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now