Home base for the DirtDaze Rally is on a beautiful ranch at Lake Luzurne, NY. The Painted Pony Rodeo is a perfect venue to accommodate hundreds of rally attendees. Campers can find a comfy spot to pitch up a tent in a rolling field, not far from the farm’s stables. If you’re not one for wildlife, you may not enjoy the cattle conversing with each other all night, but earplugs will help you get sound sleep. Those who decided to stay for most or the entire rally will appreciate the private showers, which were constructed right before last year’s DirtDaze event. June in Lake Luzerne offers warm days and cool nights - a camper’s dream. Two large pavilions provided more than enough shade to keep out of the sun. The ranch also features a saloon that serves food (and beer) all day. It also worked as a staging area for presentations, including ADVMoto’s own Movie Night, where we showcased Backcountry Discovery Routes' latest film, featuring Nevada.
If you want to get better at riding your motorcycle, you might as well learn from one of the best. Off-road racing legend, Jimmy Lewis and his wife, Heather, taught two schools each day. The Introductory Adventure Bike class took place in the morning, teaching students the basics of body positions and bike control, while the afternoon Intermediate Adventure Bike training had students practicing more advanced drills. Even though Jimmy has an extensive racing background, his schools focused on safely executing slow, technical maneuvers. Because, of course, in order to be good going fast, you must first master going slow.
Christian Dutcher and his team of organizers had their plates full, filling up a schedule that lasts for five days (normal dual sport rallies last a weekend). Fortunately Christian started planning this year’s itinerary at the end of last year’s event to create a program that was packed with presentations, workshops, and contests. Hosting a rally is no easy feat. Fortunately, the organizers of Americade know how to put together an excellent event.
Brigitte Lacombe’s - My Conquest of the Desert, was one of our favorite presentations of the event. The "single-mother-gone-rally-racer" shared her enlightening and humorous story of competing in the Roses de Sables, an African navigation rally. Other attractions that night included Twisted Throttle’s lighting seminar and contest, where the looser of the event won a set of fresh Denali auxiliary lighting. Over the years, we've seen some bad lighting on motorcycles, but some of the bikes in this competition didn't do much better than candle light. Props to Erik and Jessica for putting on a fun and "light-hearted" contest!
Off-road test rides took place right on the premises. You could roll out of your tent, slap on your riding boots, go for a quick BRAAP through the woods on a fancy new Beta, then catch a presentation on Adventure Biking Through Africa. Attendees would have a difficult time being bored at DirtDaze, especially on Saturday when Teach McNeil put on a killer stunt show, then raced Jimmy Lewis through the on-site obstacle course. If you're attending next year, be sure to stick around for the prize ceremonies, which gave out over $7,000 in parts, gear, and swag this year.
Whether you showed up on a sport tourer or a barely street-legal enduro, Northern NY has riding for everybody, from hilly sweepers to single-track snowmobile trails. Ten total routes were mapped out for this year’s DirtDaze Rally, four of which were guided tours. One of the east coast’s premier adventure touring and rental companies, MotoVermont, lead riders everyday on their Green Mountain Tour. Last year, ADVMoto called the Green Mountain Tour, “the perfect dual-sport ride”, and this year’s ride reaffirmed our thoughts. Eric and his team are fantastic guides and are just generally fun to hang out with. MotoVermont even hosted their own Beer Tasting, (after the riding was done of course). If you prefer solo riding, maps and GPS routes were available at the check-in booth. Heck, you didn’t even need to show up with a bike to go for a ride, since Suzuki, AJP, Beta, Ducati, Zero, and Christini brought their own fleets to test ride. If that's not enough to keep you busy, several other manufacturers had their bikes up for demos at Americade.
Based on the size of our market, DirtDaze will probably never be as massive as Americade, but it could easily become the biggest adventure motorcycle rally on the East Coast. That excites the heck out of us! In its second year, DirtDaze is already a great event and only has room to grow. We’ve already marked our calendars for next year’s rally, June 6th-9th, 2018, and hope to see you there!
ADVMoto would like to express a special thanks to Christian and his team, the staff at Painted Pony Rodeo, and all of the vendors who made it out to DirtDaze. We appreciate everyone who visited our booth, signed up for subscriptions, or just dropped by to tell us how much they like the mag. We expect DirtDaze to explode in the next couple of years because the bikes are fun, the event is great, but most of all, the dual-sport/ADV community are the best people around. DirtDazeRally.com
Did you attend this year's DirtDaze Rally? Let us know about your experience in the comments section below!