Tag Archives: overland offroad adventure

essential off-road equipment

Chasing The Gear Whore

land rover defender 110 camel trophy“He who desires more gear, knows not what he wants from his gear”- unknown source.

Whether you call it car camping, off-road adventures or overlanding, an off-road based adventure requires stuff and as a group, we overlanders do not travel light.  If you search the Interwebs, you would think that in order to start overlanding you must have a Land Rover, preferably a Defender 110 (Camel Trophy insignia optional), capable of carrying months of supplies, sand ladders, roof top tent (RTT), titanium cook sets,  wind sail canvas & teak lounge chairs with matching tables and an engine manifold hot water heater with power shower head.

loaded dual sport motorcycleI have a theory and it holds true for all major activities not just overlanding…  It goes like this:

  1. Looks interesting phase – This (insert activity name here) looks like something you would enjoy.  You have little to no experience but the activity seems interesting so you tag along with a friend or give it a try on a limited basis.
  2. Let me open my wallet phase – You tried it, you like it and you’re hooked.  You surf YouTube videos and hang out on the forums during work taking in everything you can about this life changing activity.  moto vendors nworYou imagine yourself living the dream that allows you to quit your job, take the kids out of school and spend all your days doing “this”.   If the “so called experts” tell you, you need a thing-a-ma-bob, you get a thing-a-ma-bob.  If you see a new whats-it’s that promises to take you to the next level you save up and order a whats-it’s.  You check out whats-you-ma-call-its that others have and compare detailed specs of each new piece of gear to hit the market.  You become a gear whore… and you’re proud of it.  In fact you show off your gear and tell everyone how it makes life much better…  and you are happy.yellow land rover discovery
  3. Attaining Zen phase – If you stick with the activity long enough eventually you know what works for you.  Your gear is not so shinny anymore but it performs well and meets your personal needs. You’ve pared down your gear to the minimum you feel comfortable with.  You use all your equipment regularly and your favorite piece of gear is one of your oldest items.  You have repaired much of your gear yourself.  New guys (those wide eyed newbies entering phase 2) look at you and can’t imagine how you do without the newest most talked about piece of gear they just bought.  You are old school.  off-road trailYou are more interested in experiences than buying your way into the club… and you are at peace.

I have a friend who explores very remote locations in her Forester.  That’s right, a stock Subaru with nothing more than a good set of all terrains.  She sleeps in the back, keeps her creature comforts to a minimum and only brings along the essential gear.  Most of her equipment comes from the backpacking world so it is light and compact.  She eats volvo driving snowy passgranola trail mix, energy bars and PB&J sandwiches.  She is comfortable with her style and she has seen more remote North West destinations than just about anyone else I know.

There is nothing wrong with the gear whore.  In fact it is that willingness to purchase new stuff that fuels the overlanding community.   Gear purchases encourage manufactures to sponsor rallies and shows that bring us all together.  Profitable vendors contribute to the fight for open access to places less known for all of us to explore more.

I84 sunsetWhatever phase you’re in…  don’t let anyone mislead you into feeling that you must have a truck with lockers, 33″ tires, armor or top-of-the-line suspension or other cool stuff before you can start enjoying off-road adventures.  They will of course allow you to go to more difficult locations but  all it takes to start is imagination and a desire to explore. The key to great off-road adventures is that you grab a map, pick a destination and explore the road less traveled.  Over time you will find your own way and discover what gear is right for you.

land rover defender 110 camel trophy

NW Overland Rally 2015

northwest overland rallyThe NW Overland Rally (NWOR) is currently being crushed under the weight of its own success, but don’t let that stop you.

It’s hot. Death Valley, hurts to inhale, no shade to be found, zombie face  melting hot. fj cruiser gauge pod 106 tempAt one point the temp read 106 Fahrenheit.  In the center of a hay field, hundreds of people are shoehorned into 20×20 sqft spaces to park their truck, erect their campsites, arrange their adventure trail and  attempt to manufacture shade. I’ve had more privacy camping in the Walmart parking lot.  The upper 2 fj cruisers nworsection has become tent city where all the dual sport guys are lined up tent to tent with motorcycles stacked one after another.

The NWOR’s premire sponsor is Touratech, a big deal in the dual sport motorcycle world and their marketing budget can be seen in the professionalism of the two wheeled events. nwor dual sport motorcycleThere is an offroad course where PSS Off Road provides hands-on beginner and advanced rider training (for a fee).  Professional led moto sessions addressing everything from bike field repair to readiness inspections.

The four wheeled side of the house is supported by volunteers (we helped with the advanced recovery session).  Outstanding support from the volunteers but hardly comparable to guys who are getting paid to be there and plan out the details.  For example: when 70ish trucks showed up for a morning scenic drive everyone did their toyota fj cruiser voodoo 4x4 trailbest to divide up the convoy into more manageable groups but that is a lot of trucks at once.

The intermediate drive didn’t fair much better.  It took several hours too long when the large group had to be held back while a dozen trucks at a time were lead up andmen in safety vests back down the last half mile.

The campfire MC worked the crowd like an MTV spring break party at Fort Lauderdale. Not the campfire experience we were looking for.

There were numerous interesting sessions packed into two days.  In fact with all the overlap of sessions, it felt like there was too much and no way to see all the sessions I was interested in because of the overlap.dan cronin northwest overland

If you came to wheel or if you came to spread out… you were sorely disappointed. But that is not what NWOR is really all about.

The overlanding world is filled with amazing, friendly, warm, welcoming people and this is why you come to NWOR! NWOR is about community and making connections with those who share a love for exploring the road less toyota fj cruiser cementtraveled.  We reunited with a few old friends we’d not seen in years.  We met several new folks who like us are always looking to see what is around the next bend in the road or over a distant mountain pass.  We shared stories.  We talked travels and exchanged ideas.

We did manage to sneak off on our own to get a little wheeling in.  We escaped the heat, temporarily, down at the river and enjoyed dining out in Levenworth’s air conditioned restaurants.fj cruiser jeep 4x4 trail

In just five years NWOR has gone from dozens of attendees to hundreds.  To say the least they are going through some growing pains and like a case of teenage acne they will get past it.  The event will continue to attract fabulous people who want to spend a long NWOR friendsweekend sharing their stories with others who love the road and can’t wait to explore areas unknown.

We’re already planning to go back next year!

blindfolded driver

Driving While Blind – The Off-Road Spotter

4x4 trail spotter d90 bj60Driving off-road can feel like you have your head on a swivel.  You need to see what’s in front of you, behind you and on both sides.  And when things get really though you wish you had an extra set of eyes.  It’s at this point a trail spotter becomes your best friend.

The job of a spotter is to driver the truck “remotely” through the obstacle.  By seeing what the driver cannot, the spotter instructs the driver which way to turn, how fast to go and when to stop in order to get the truck past a difficult obstacle in the trail.

two men fj cruiserIn order to perform this feat, driver and spotter have to trust each other.  The driver will need to follow the instructions to a tee and the spotter needs to know how the truck will behave as she has the driver put a wheel on a rock or come down a ledge step.

Before the driver and spotter get to the driving part, they need to talk and agree on the line and signals as well as honestly discuss driving skills and concerns.  This is no time for ego.

turn driver spotting signalWhen it comes to spotting signals, bigger is better.  It is incredibly hard to tell what the spotter is trying to communicate if they are simply pointing a finger.  The spotter needs to get into it.   She needs to use big gestures when directing the driver and hand signals should be accompanied with loud vocal commands.

Start with the basics:

  • Come Forward – The driver should drive forward with the wheels as they are.
  • Turn Driver – The driver should turn the wheel to their left.  The spotter’s left and the drivers left are different so get into the habit of using “driver”.man spotting fj cruiser on trail
  • Turn Passenger -The driver should turn the wheel to their right.  The spotter’s right and the drivers right are different so get into the habit of using “passenger”.
  • Stop – The driver should stop the truck and maintain control.  “Wow”  can sound a lot like “go” so avoid it and stay away from ambiguous phases like “hold up”, “that’s good” or “wait”.  Let the driver know to “STOP”.
  • Backup – Drive the truck in reverse with the wheels as they are.

There is a common problem that can creep up, when there are several bystanders around the truck as it is being spotted.  A number of folks may start to give suggestions to the driver, distracting her with “turn left, your other left”, “watch out for the rock”, or a dozen of other misguided directions.  They are trying to help but it only makes things worse.  This is where the spotter needs to step in, take control and tell everyone to stop helping.  There can be only one spotter. man 4x4 trail spotter

ADVANCED: The spotter may ask another observer to step in and perform one function for her.  That function is to yell “STOP”.  This is helpful when the spotter is backing the driver up or trying to have the driver make very minor adjustments.  The observer does not provide any directions or advise to the driver, she only shouts out the command “stop” based on what the spotter requested.  The spotter will relay the “stop” voice command with a stop hand signal when she hears the observer shout “stop”.

A good spotter can help a driver get through obstacles  unscathed  that they never could have driven on their own.  Like any valuable skill,  spotting takes practice in order for you to guide the blind down the trail.

2007 Toyota FJ cruiser

3 Quick Off-Road Adventure Tips

These off-road adventure tips have served us well and we hope they help you.

  1.  If you have read “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande you know how valuable checklist can be to jog your memory and prevent you from forgetting an important step.  We laminate our checklists in clear plastic to protect and keep them clean when using them on an adventure. Make your own personalized checklist or download and use our off-road adventure checklists so that you don’t forget something important on your next big adventure.
  2. Every time you wash your truck or at least once a month exercise your winch. Spool ten or 15 feet of rope out and back in about a dozen times.  This will make sure the gears stay lubed and any moisture that finds it’s way in is evaporated off of the drum and winch motor.  By regularly using your winch you can ensure it is operationally ready if needed on your next off-road adventure.
  3. Look inside of your engine compartment.  You will certainly find a few nooks and crannies perfect for stowing a few quarts of engine oil and gear lube.   Make sure oil bottles are kept snug and avoid any sharp edged areas. This trick will keep a spare quart or two handy where and when you need it.

Do you have a tip that you find extremely useful when exploring the road less traveled?  Let us know.

camp fire cooking

Camp Cook Out

cooking over open fireEveryone we know loves cooking out on the trail when camping on an off-road adventure.  And as you know the stove you have on hand will have a big influence on what you cook and how it turns out.

We love cooking over an open fire.  Grilled burgers, chicken, fish, boiling water for coffee you can do it all.  But you have to get the fire down to a good pile of hot coals, avoid hot spots and constantly regulate the fire. It can be tricky.  For us everything tastes better cooked over a fire, even a simple quesadilla.

The down side is that many times you will find a fire ban or heavy rains have dampened your chance of cooking over open fire.  In that case you need to turn your attention to a stove.

msr backpacking stoveBackpacking stoves are compact, light weight and put out a lot of BTUs for their size.  They are extremely efficient at bringing liquids to a boil and making one pot meals (boil in bag) for one or two people.  They are not so good at simmering or cooking on anything but full blast.  Charred eggs, scorched sauces and pieces of bacon that are both burnt and under cooked at the same time are the norm if you’re not extremely careful.

cook partner camp stoveMoving up to camp kitchen stoves allows you to rock your inner Wolfgang Puck.  Typically, these are propane based with multiple burners. Camp kitchen stoves provide enough surface area and heat to throw down a griddle to easily fry up bacon and eggs while allowing you to dial back the heat to gently simmer the most delicate sauces.  If you can cook it at home on your stove top, you can cook it on one of these camp kitchen stoves.

Camp kitchens do get bulky and depending on your choice may take up a significant amount of room when you add in all the pots, pans and fuel canisters you’ll need to create your gourmet meal.

men cooking camping breakfastFuel is another choice to consider.  Propane is the driving force behind most camp kitchens and many backpacking stoves.  Propane is versatile, readily available (in the USA) and clean burning but you can’t reuse the small bottles and extreme cold temperatures can cause problems.  However for most situations propane is a good choice.

egg shells camp stoveLiquid fuel such as white gas provides a lot of BTUs, performs well in all weather and is readily available (in the USA).  Care needs to be taken not to spill the fuel during stove setup and tear down.  Many stoves that run on liquid fuel are capable of running on more than one type of fuel including kerosene or unleaded gas (available worldwide) making the stove an extremely good choice for global travelers.

Depending on the location your traveling, size of your team and the meals you plan to prepare, the right cook stove option may be different for each trip.  Knowing the pluses and minuses of each cooking option will help you make the right choice.  Or you could just go out to eat.

man yelling in kitchen

The Grocery Getter – Telling A Better Off-Road Story

Take an idea, flip it on it’s ear and tell a story.   After all we have to do something with the hundreds of hours of off-road adventure video we have in vault.

For us telling a story with video is harder than it looks.  We’ve had a You Tube and Vimeo LGRT channel for six plus years and put out 90 some videos.  In  our own opinion our off-road adventure videos seem to lack entertainment value.   But there is hope.

“The Grocery Getty” was two years in the making.  Watching tutorials, reading scripts, taking notes and considering how to apply their story telling lessons.

For a long time I thought a better camera, better technique or better software would help.  Unfortunately no amount of “better” could make up for the lack of a story.  And while The Grocery Getty is only 36 seconds (not including all the credits and disclaimers) it has a beginning, middle and end along with tension and a twist.

It’s not going to win any awards but it gives us hope that we can start to break the mold and tell better off-road adventure stories.

Last Great Road Trip window decal

A Utah Backcountry Discovery Route Photo Retrospective

storm clouds over endless highway utah

Shortly following a rain storm, somewhere east of Le Grande, Oregon.

Back in July 2012, I (Other Paul) took a ten-day off-road adventure through the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (UTBDR) with my friend Paul (LGRT) and (then) new friend Brad.  (Paul and Brad had gone to college together and yet somehow remained friends. This is perhaps more surprising given that the two had shared a vehicle the previous year retracing the route of a recent Baja 1000.  Another of their collegiate friends, it turns out, is married to a woman who, at the time of the UTBDR off-road adventure, was my manager at work, which made for some interesting conversations in the office — and on the trail.  But I digress. Paul and Brad later rejoined forces in 2013 for the 25th-annual TLCA Rubithon on California’s famed Rubicon Trail. Against many odds — or perhaps because of them — they remain friends.)

Paul was driving his well-equipped, smurf-blue FJ Cruiser (a.k.a. the Blue Bunny), with Brad doing his herculean best as navigator to keep Paul on route. (By ‘well-equipped’ I mean that in addition to the usual camping, recovery and field repair kit, Paul’s rig was stuffed to the gills with video, photo and computer gear, leaving Brad the space nearly the size of a small shaving kit in which to stow his things.) For myself, I spent the better part of two weeks sucking FJ Cruiser dust in an old 1995 Rover Defender 90, with an occasional intermission courtesy of the rain or sleet or hail that found its way under the 90’s surrey top.

The trip itself is extensively chronicled through the Utah Backcountry Discovery Route off-road adventure.  One of my assignments on the off-road adventure was determining where to make camp each night. This was a job at which I fared poorly. Fortunately, there was plenty of dispersed camping along the nearly 900-mile route, which we ran “backwards”, north to south, departing from Bear Lake at the Idaho/Utah border. I had set another goal for myself, however: to make friends with a new camera, the wonderful (and sometimes maddening) fixed-lens Fuji x100. Some of the results of those halting first efforts appear below. No doubt I would do many things differently now, but shooting with the x100 isn’t one of them. And although I’ve recently sold it, the x100 (now in its third iteration) is perhaps my favorite digital camera.

sunlight through storm clouds utah

The promise of good weather to come.

pop-n-pins bowling alley building

My route to Bear Lake to meetup with Paul and Brad went through Preston, ID, in which the film Napolean Dynamite was both set and filmed. Preston is home to the Cuttin Curral (Napolean: “I already get my hair cut at the Cuttin Curral”) and the Pop’n Pins Lanes.

gas can fj cruiser roof rack

Fueling up in Bear Lake. Somehow distracted, I left the fill cap to the D90 on top of a pump, which I didn’t discover until after we finished the first leg. Fortunately, the Rover part for the NAS 90 is a rebranded Stant cap, which made replacement a snap.

UTBDR gravel road toyota fj cruiser

No winter maintenance. Just into Utah on the north end of the UTBDR.

Storm clouds over utah mountain rest stop parkin lot

An empty parking lot at a turnout overlooking Kletting Peak along Utah State Highway 150 (near Hayden Pass).

utah canyons fj cruiser land rover defender 90

Strawberry Road forever. Near Strawberry Pinnacles, Duchesne County, Utah.

utah forest meadow

Reservation Ridge was littered with burn piles of (presumably diseased) trees.

mountain aspin trees

Aspens bore the unfortunate marks of previous travelers.

utah church camp fire map

On Argyle Canyon Road, skirting along one edge of the Church Camp Fire, shortly after the area was reopened.

muddy land rover bumper decal

Along Nine Mile Canyon.

utah petroglyphs

Petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon.

toyota fj cruiser gravel road construction

Unexpected traffic exiting Nine Mile Canyon on Soldier Creek Road, heading towards Wellington.

fj cruiser utbdr canyons dirt road

The Blue Bunny posing outside of Green River.

utah bone dry mud land rover defender

Ice cold in the north, burning hot in the south end.

no access to moab sign dirt road

Damned lies. There is access to Moab this way, if you know the way.

setting up camp in moab

Paul and Brad setting up camp in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, just outside of Moab.

prayer flags against cloudy sky

Prayer flags flying over the rigs in Sand Flats.

laundry drying on posts moab utah

Hung out to dry. Camp laundry in Sand Flats.

moab desert videographer

Paul setting up for an early morning video shoot in Sand Flats.

men talking fj cruiser

Paul making a new friend outside a hotel in Idaho.

walking past hazardous conditions sign

Hazardous conditions have never stopped Paul before. Stopping for a swim on the way home.

land rover defender 90 off-road

Cline Buttes Off-Road Trails

kamp karma voodoo alterCentral Oregon is a stark contrast to the wet, muddy, forested off-road areas of the western coastal side of the state.  High plains, filled with sage, juniper and scattered Ponderosa  pines growing in reddish brown pumas sand, from not so extinct volcanoes, fill the landscape.  Cold in the winter, hot in the summer. Clear dry skies most of the year.  Central Oregon is a great option for off-road adventures.

Searching for an alternative to Oregon’s Tillamook Forest off-road area, we set out to explore Cline Buttes’ new(ish) 4×4 trails.  The 32,000 acre Cline Buttes  recreational area has been established to serve all types of outdoor adventurers.  Large chunks of land have been carved out for motorizes and non-motorized trail use as well as blocks for those who prefer to travel on two feet or even four hooves .

fj cruiser interior driverFive miles east of Sisters, nine miles north of Bend and a short drive west of Redmond Oregon, Cline Buttes is easily accessible from just about any direction (Cline Buttes recreation area).  Its proximity to these iconic western towns allows those who’s idea of roughing it involves room service to find all levels of lodging and meal options.  When it comes to sitting around a camp fire and looking up at the stars, Cline Buttes offers plenty of dispersed camping options.  (The area does get dry so be sure to check the fire restrictions before you go).

cline buttes recreational area mapA staging area in the north east corner provides plenty of parking and an outhouse.  Everything else will need to be packed in, and packed back out.  From here an easy 4×4 off-road trail takes you out into the heart of the off-road area connecting to several options.

camp fire cookingThe 4×4 off-road trails are categorized as easiest, more difficult and most difficult.  Most stock, high clearance 4x4s are more than a match for the easiest and more difficult trails. Drivers would be well served to have a lift, taller tires and rock rails before traversing the most difficult trails.  Additionally there is a “play area” where cross country travel is permitted.

We explored the Cline Buttes OHV area in late November following a week of warm torrential rains.  What we found amazed us.  The lava sand and rock trails were well drained with only a few scattered puddles on Barr Road.  No mud or slippery rocks that can take the entertainment value out of navigating tail obstacles with open diffs.fj cruiser cluster gages

The down side of wheeling under clear blue skies this time of year in central Oregon is that it gets cold, really cold.  The mercury barely topped 24 degrees Fahrenheit at lunch time and dropped into the teens as we climbed into our sleeping bags.  The upside of the cold weather…  We never saw another truck on the 4×4 off-road trails and we covered a good chunk of most of them over two days.snowy mountain pass road

Maybe it was the outstanding weather, maybe the great trail conditions or just that it had been awhile since we’d explored something new, but Cline Buttes has definitely moved into the top 10 list of great off-road adventure locations.

blue sky sunrise through the trees

Exploring the Olympic Mountains

man in front of FJ Cruiser with prayer flagsSay western Washington and most people think Seattle, Mt. Rainer and the Cascade Mountains.  All worth exploring but if you want to find a little small town ruralness that offers more seclusion and unlimited exploring than keep heading west until you run into the Olympic National Forest.  The forest buffers the Olympic National Park and remains vehicle friendly.

toyota fj cruiser and toyota fj60 off roadOver the years I’ve spent a little time exploring the Olympics on foot tackling trails,  summitting a few peaks and  glacading down Elenore.  Now I can add driving the back roads to that list.

olympic peninsula trail mapImproved campgrounds dot the hood canal and state forest, offering family camping right along the pavement.  But venture down the numerous forest roads exploring the two-track spurs and you will find endless possibilities for primitive, dispersed camping.  No outhouses or running water.  This is camping in the dirt.men cooking camping breakfast

In the summer months you don’t need massive tires, lockers or 4WD to explore the back-roads.  In fact you’re more likely to come across a Subaru forester or VW micro-bus than built up 4×4 as you pass the countless hiking trails drawing backpackers deep into the Olympic Forest from the north and east.

man checking cameraThe hardest part of exploring the forest roads that encircle the Olympic National Park is consistently finding fuel.  While the northern section brings you close to many larger communities, the little towns along the rest are just as likely as not to have “out of order” signs hanging from their pumps.  Although fuel may be scarce, local color is everywhere.  Stop at any of the little general stores and start up a conversation.

The eastern side is popular with tprayer flags tarp tent campinghe day hikers, backpackers and mountaineers.  The west side offers an opportunity to explore rain forest, light houses, Indian culture or the sea caves of Cape Flattery, the most northwest point in the continental U.S.

Along the north the you find more choices to explore.  A drive to Obstruction Peak is the one road that puts you into the heart of the Olympic National Park. The Dungeness Spit is a birders dream.  Deer Park camp ground is perfect for those who hope to catch a glimpse of deer, bear or even cougar.toyota fj40 and toyota bj60

Cooking on trail, sleeping under the stars, exploring unlimited forest roads is hard to beat.  It is also hard to beat ending an off-road adventure with  a cold drink, good burger,  fries and funky 50’s style.  The  Hiway101 Diner in Sequim, is our go to joint for milk shakes and great food anytime we’re close.fj cruiser prayer flags camping

Need a day, a week or a month away and want to explore an area that few people know?  Pack your bags, load your truck and head to the Olympic Peninsula.  You wont be disappointed.

willys jeep

Oregon’s 4-Wheeling Gem

red toyota bj60 cedar treeOregon’s Tillamook Forest  Off Highway Vehicle area offers off-road adventurers one of the best 4×4 areas in the west.  250 miles of trails that range in difficulty from easy forest roads to sever, you’re going to have to trailer your rig right to the shop and everything in between.  While the 4×4 trails are open to all, there are several trails designated for motorcycle and quad use only allowing everyone to find the off-road experience they are looking for.voodoo blue toyota fj cruiser woods

The off-road trails are well marked and the Oregon Department of Forestry puts out  the Tillamook Forest OHV area map clearly identifying all the trails, their difficulty level and vehicle usage. This area is a working forest and occasionally sections will be closed for logging.  Trail closures are posted on the OHV trail report along with lots of other useful information.  To help ensure this area remains cared for and open for recreational 4×4 use a permit sticker is required for each vehicle using the OHV area and can be purchased at many of the local stores along the highway in route.prayer flag tent camping

The Tillamook Forest OHV area is very family oriented with day use and large improved camping areas such as Browns Camp or Jordan Creek.  If you enjoy a little more rustic experience, you will find numerous secluded dry camp areas throughout the OHV area.  As you would expect camp sites fill up quickly on the weekends while you will have your choice of sites during the work week.

red toyota bj60With so many trail options, the Tillamook Forest OHV area is the perfect location to build up your driving skills, and there is nothing that can replace seat time behind the wheel when it comes to off-road adventures.  Because of the hours we’ve spent driving trails like “Firebrake 5”, “Hog’s Back” or “Cedar Tree”, when we came to a washout that had completely destroyed the route, on our Baja off-road adventure, dropping into a boulder filled dry river bed felt comfortable and allowed us to keep going.  In fact many of the situations we run into on our more secluded, solo overland style off-road adventures, present little worry because of the hours of practice we’ve put in drifrench press camp coffeeving all levels of 4×4 trails in OHV areas like the Tillamook Forest.

Only a couple of hours from Portland, Oregon and even less from the Oregon coast this area provides endless opportunities to wheel hard all day and still enjoy the many other sights and sounds of the pacific northwest.  The Tillamook Forest Off Highway Vehicle area is truly Oregon’s 4-wheeling gem.