First introduced to motorcycles in the mid 1970s, my appetite for adventure motorcycling was whetted by an old Yamaha 100 enduro and five wooded acres. We didn’t have fancy gear or GPS units back then. In fact, we had nearly no gear at all. But there were enough valleys and mud holes and obstacles that made the almost line-of-site distance back to the house seem much more remote, slightly dangerous and definitely explore-worthy. Just the elixir to create a life-long emotional response to the smell of turned dirt, two-stroke exhaust and a map of places I have yet to ride.
Life happens as it does and years go by with very little physical connection to the transport method of the two-wheeled kind but I keep my motorcycle endorsement for that day when preparedness and opportunity come together. And in the early 2000s that day happened when I found myself with a slightly used WR250F. Riding again was exhilarating but it became limited by borders in terms of time and space. I wanted to go longer and farther. I didn’t want to just ride a dirt bike, I wanted to travel on a dirt bike.
There were rumors about this mysterious route between the Washington and California borders across Eastern Oregon that could be traveled almost entirely off-road. Could that really be possible? I had to know more. Intrigued,
I searched the internet and found one of only a few (at the time) posts that referenced the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route. Just reading Tom Meyers and Zander Nosler’s story of their OBDR adventure created a Pavlovian response that reminded me of those first riding days so many years before.
For the next several years I logged thousands of miles exploring the OBDR and other routes in Central and Eastern Oregon and Baja, Mexico. In 2007 I blended the love of off-road motorcycle travel with the interest in sharing the experience with others and created High Desert Adventures Backcountry Motorcycle Tours. With the help of an incredible team we share an indescribable motorcycle travel experience with riders from all over the world.
My latest venture is Explore The West. ETW brings together motorcycle travel industry partners and experts to teach riders the “how-tos” of all-road motorcycle travel. Our camp curriculum includes in-class instruction on mapping, GPS operation, bike maintenance and trail repair, tools, gear and clothing, luggage and camp gear options, a day-in-the-dirt off road skill building class, and a two-day overnight adventure trip to practice new skills. Vendor discounts available and camaraderie with new motorcycle travel friends included! Come along and enjoy the ride!