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Into the wilds by dirt roads

By on March 29, 2018 in Columnist with 0 Comments

Mike CassidyBy Mike Cassidy

People are always up to something.

That’s our unofficial motto here at The Good Life, and we’re glad they are because their happenings creates stories for us.

However, not all “somethings” make stories.

For example, when Jaana Hatton suggested doing a story on backcountry Jeep adventurers, I shook my head, as I’ve seen mud-splattered four-wheelers and damage such vehicles have done to the pristine countryside many of us town dwellers get out in the wilderness to enjoy.

It didn’t take long for Jaana — and Guy Miner, the Jeep adventurer she interviewed — to set me straight. (See Jaana’s story on page 7.)

In the process of reading the story, I ran across another fact I didn’t know, which is there exists a mostly off-pavement route between Oregon and Canada through Washington… sort of a Pacific Crest Trail for the motorized.


I asked Guy if he had done the route, and he replied, “Yes, I’ve made the trip several times now. Did the whole thing in pieces in 2014. Did it twice in a month, summer of 2015.

“There might be 100 miles or so of pavement all told. Probably not that much. The rest of it is on old logging roads, Forest Service roads, etc…

“Some interesting historical sites along the way. The roads have existed a long time, but now the route is popularly known as the WABDR.”

I asked Guy to write a short piece about the WABDR, in which he points out a benefit to Jeep adventuring vs. hiking in: It’s more comfortable to the body.

The trip is not fast, though. “The whole thing, all 600 miles at 10 – 20 mph in a Jeep, takes nearly a week,” said Guy. “Honestly I like to linger at some of the beautiful lakes and meadows along the way. Do a little fly fishing, some hiking, even mountain-biking.”

When I was kid, my dad was a dump truck driver and he helped build logging roads in the middle and western part of the state. On summers, I would occasionally ride with him, and when I got bored of bouncing over the dusty roads, would go exploring on my own by foot.

I grew up in rural Washington, but it was truly those dirt road trips with my dad where I learned to appreciate the magnitude of the forests and mountains of Washington.

We have started a new column: A bird in the lens, by Bruce McCammon.

“I was motivated to do this series of bird articles by the simple desire to alert people to the beauty of birds that they can see in eastern Washington,” said Bruce, whom we also did a story on in the February issue.

“Some of the birds I’ll show are common but beautiful when one is able to study them for minutes instead of seconds or less. The images may also introduce some new birds to people.”

Zoom in on Bruce’s photo and column on page 6.

Open your mind, discard groundless notions, and enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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