Derek was born and raised in the Southern Appalachian region of Virginia where opportunities were hard to come by. In 2015, he decided to take a chance and move cross country for work. He landed a job close to his small apartment and decided a motorcycle would be better than a car for commuting in the beautiful Southern California sun, so he signed up for a motorcycle safety course and bought an old rusty Honda Shadow with leaky forks and bald tires.
It wasn’t long before the commutes weren’t enough and the yearning to go further kicked in. On a long ride to Yosemite National Park, Derek started wondering where those little dirt side roads led. When he got home he started researching and came across a picture of an old Kawasaki KLR650 loaded with camping gear parked in the woods and decided that this was his ticket to explore those roads less traveled.
Ever since Derek’s first backcountry trip on a motorcycle to Death Valley National Park, he has been addicted to that feeling of freedom that is gained from riding into the unknown with nothing but a tent, a sleeping bag, and a couple buddies.
Before landing in Washington, Derek and his partner were on an extended trip meandering around the country hiking, backpacking, and riding. By chance, they decided to drive into the Pacific Northwest for a few days, where Derek received an invitation to ride the Washington BDR with a friend. He quickly bought a Suzuki DR650 off craigslist and spent a couple days sorting it out before spending nearly a week camping and riding off road through the state. It was on this trip that he fell in love with Washington and decided he and his partner would settle there.
Only two days after his trip, he was forwarded a job posting for Backcountry Discovery Routes and decided this was his dream job and went for it. The stars aligned and now Derek is eager to inspire and share his passion for riding in the backcountry with others through his work with the organization.