The 1999 Beaverton Honda/Yamaha Rat Dog Dualsport Ride

By Tom "Wolf Pup" Niemela


                Northwest Tour & Trail wanted to host another dualsport ride to further promote the art of dualsporting.  The big question was where?  There are so many scenic and epic areas in the Northwest, but the final nod was given to offering one in the famous Tillamook State Forest just West of Portland.  For something completely different and remote, the start/finish location would be at the quaint Tillamook County Park, which was located up the Trask River a dozen or so miles inland from Tillamook. 

                With the success of the world-famous Black Dog National Dualsport, the same menu items for the riders would be used, such as: historical value, hysterical value, scenery, vistas, wildlife, advanced trails, easy trails, pavement kept to a minimum, tasty lunches, incredibly accurate roll charts, t-shirts, add infinitum.  I know the area pretty well, since I’ve ridden the legendary Trask ISDE for many years, but enticing a few local trailgods such as “Wild” Bill Rush and Dan “Hatchetman” Hatcher was the icing on this beautiful cake.  After spending the mandatory weeks and weeks of preriding the area to create a course to die for, the final product was complete.  In fact, preriding the course is some of the most fun.  Since this event was co-sponsored by Beaverton Honda/Yamaha, I also enlisted the help of the BHY Dualsport Group of Walt Koch and Frank Noe.  Preriding had us eating breakfast with Bryce and Barbara Mitchell of the famous Flying M Ranch in the morning and smelling the morning air once underway.  At the end of the day, a cold beverage and dinner was a welcomed topping for a great day of riding.

                The day of the event had blue skies and occasional light mist.  Tasty.  Per NWT&T protocol, riders were up early and the coffee and donuts were fresh in the air.  Riders had arrived from all over the Northwest.  Some riders were having a harder time than others trying to roll out of their warm slumber.  After the obligatory rider’s meeting, they started to trickle off onto the course.  Per NWT&T design, the B or Easy course is traversable by a Jeep, so the bigger bikes can also partake.  A few big BMW GS’s and Honda Transalps were perfect for the B course.  The A or Advanced course paralleled the B course, but was mostly single track.  Much of it was old Trask ISDE National Qualifier trail from years past.  Consequently the A riders worked up a tumultuous sweat, but were rewarded with pristine trails.  Both courses snaked the riders over the Old Toll Road and eventually worked its way to the rustic Flying M Ranch, where lunch was provided for the hungry crew. 

                With full stomachs and more epic riding ahead, they continued onward from Flying M Ranch, up the Old Nestucca River Highway to the next trail sections.  Many of these historic trails have familiar names from the Trask ISDE such as Audobon, and Special Test Hill.  Along the way, the riders were able to view elk, deer and a variety of other critters, including llamas, long-horn steer, pygmy horses and ostriches, all not indigenous to the area!  Kind of like going to the zoo, without the crowds. 

                The weather continued to be stellar as the riders worked their way to the town of Beaver, which was the last gas stop.  A short pavement scratch by the historic WWII Tillamook blimp hangars, by Munson waterfalls, over a tall ridge, down a steep, cheek-squeezing road, by the fish hatchery, the Old Trask Site stagecoach stop and the riders were back again at the finish.  Along the way riders played games of chance to win trophies, prizes and a $100 cash prize. 

                Mike Poe said, “It was a great ride!  I had to ride with some spodes though. (laughs)  One of my buddies came over a hill, stalled it and ended up in the blackberries.  We were on one trail that was impassable, but that was because we missed a turn.  It was a humongous hill! The guy running the roll chart was off.”

                John Rothlesburger said, “It was neat! I haven’t ridden that section around Flying M since the days I was in the Trask Club, so I can’t even find my way around!  And it’s all grown up since the time I rode it.  We came down Special Test Hill and I’ve got a picture of me coming up that and the trees were lower than my head.  Now it’s like going through a park.  I was riding a 650 and momentum is your friend with one of those.  It’s like a 747, it’s the takeoffs and landings you gotta worry about!”

                Washington State AA Enduro Champ, Al Fetterly commented, “Ha ha, I had a nice fall!  I hit the brakes to turn off onto a trail and the front end washed out immediately and slammed me down on the ground.  It was real slick red clay, with no rocks at all.  It was quick!  It was a good course and had a lot of fun stuff.  The roll charts were real good.  Was a killer brunch at Flying M too!”  Let it go on record that Big Al actually fell down!

                On his first dualsport ride, Ron Currier said, “I’d never been on a dualsport ride before and it was awesome!  New trails that I hadn’t seen before and I’ve ridden this area for 10 years.  Beautiful run, good ripping trails, and the ostriches were funny!  We were just rolling along and one came out and scared the $%&# out of us!  Animals out of their element is unreal.  Saw the llamas too.  Didn’t see the longhorn though.  We saw Margaret (the farm owner) and said ‘Hi!’.“  

                NWT&T would like to thank Beaverton Honda/Yamaha (namely Jerry and Sherry), Oregon Department of Forestry (specifically Clyde Zeller and Ian Caldwell), Bryce and Barbara Mitchell of Flying M Ranch, Willamette Industries, BLM, Bill Rush, Dan Hatcher, Randy Beadle, Tami and crew, Walt Koch, Frank Noe, Jim Dukes, and Ron Rice of Affordable Trophies.  If you would like more information about Northwest Tour & Trail, point your internet browser over to:  Black Dog Dual Sport. You can also check out Beaverton Honda/Yamaha’s dualsport.

                Be sure to ride the “Y2K9” dualsport events this year!  Think you’re missing out by not dualsporting?  You’re right!