We the Moto-People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect network of roads less traveled, to enjoy ourselves for mile after mile, to savor the majesty of purple mountains, waves of grain and the fruited plain, owe a debt of gratitude to our forebears, those who explored, trail-blazed and cleared the paths we hold so dear, be they smoothly paved Blue Ridge Parkway, Pacific Coast Highway and Going-to-the-Sun Road, or the roughly hewn Trans-America Trail, Mojave Road and Alaska’s Dalton Highway.
Thanks to the ambitious efforts of off-road enthusiasts Bryce Stevens and Andrew Cull, the Washington Backcountry Discovery Route (WABDR), a 600-mile, north-south route from Oregon to Canada through the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State, can now be added to the list of Truly Great Dual-Sport Roads. Cull and Stevens shared their vision of scouting and mapping the WABDR with the Overland Society, an organization “founded in 2007 by a group of friends who are passionate about both conservation and exploring the world by four-wheel-drive and adventure motorcycle.” Their ambitious idea earned them the honor of carrying the Overland Expedition Flag for 2010, having met the following criteria: “A unique trip or expedition, the aim of which was to undertake a philanthropic, conservation, or humanitarian project; it could be large or small-scale; and it had to be do-able.”
Having studied detailed maps to link together unpaved public roads with as few paved sections as possible, Cull and Stevens scouted the WABDR in two Toyota 4×4 trucks, a classic Land Cruiser and a newer FJ Cruiser. Having determined the feasibility of the route, they organized the seven-day WABDR Overland Flag Expedition, teaming up with Tom Myers and Paul Guillien from Touratech-USA, Helge Pedersen from GlobeRiders and Sterling Noren from Noren Films. They rode BMW and KTM adventure bikes kitted out with more Touratech goodies than you can imagine, and were followed by a support driver in a 4×4 truck.
The one-hour documentary DVD brings the WABDR to life. It is professionally photographed and edited, with an enjoyable mix of scenic shots, riding footage, interviews and helpful advice for those who might consider undertaking the 600-mile journey on their own. The DVD also includes an hour of bonus footage and complete GPS tracks. After watching the documentary last Sunday, I was ready to head out to the garage, strap a tent to my KLR650 and head north. The route is generally snow-free from July to September, and can be completed in four or five days. In a fantasy world where deadlines and meager bank accounts do not exist, I’d explore as many dual-sport roads as possible between Southern California and Oregon (Lost Coast, anyone?), traverse a few sections of the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route, ride the WABDR south to north, tag Canada, then turn around and ride it all over again in the other direction.
To help you plan your own WABDR expedition, Butler Maps offers a waterproof, tear resistant map of the entire route. The route is broken down into six segments, with narrative descriptions, photographs and useful information.
The Washington Backcountry Discovery Route website (www.wabdr.com) offers free GPS tracks, the route on Google Earth, descriptions of each section and a great photo gallery.
The documentary DVD ($24.95) and map ($14.95) are available through Touratech-USA (www.touratech-usa.com):
Watch a trailer for the DVD: