Ace Nilson - Owner / Guide
My first experience with motorcycles was on the tank of my Dad's 1972 Honda 175L motorcycle. I was only 3 years old at the time, but with the help of pictures over the years, that first thrill ride has been with me ever since.
I got my first motorcycle when I was 12. My brother Mike bought me a 1978 Suzuki RM 80. Metal tank, dual shocks and drum brakes, it wasn't as fast or trick as the new 83 Honda CR 80 that my buddy had, but it was mine and I loved it! I rode that bike everywhere. See, I grew up in the Southern California desert in a town called Lancaster. After a short push out of my neighborhood, I would ride for miles and miles up into the surrounding hills. After out-growing the 80, I didn't get another bike until I was 19. I rode a Varner prepared 1992 YZ 250. Man that bike was fast. I raced my first motocross race on that bike at LACR in 1994. School/college took precedence, and the bike ended up sitting until I graduated. My first job opportunity took me to the mid west and there simply wasn't time to ride.
I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999 and began riding again. I loved the mix of terrain from the coast range to the high desert in central Oregon. I began racing in the Oregon Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA) series in 2000. Like most, I started in the beginner class, moved up to the amateur class and in 2007 the expert class. In 2007 I met Greg Munn and I joined him for one of HDA's first Wild West Tours on my 2007 990S. I had a great time riding sweep for him and was bit by the adventure bug!
In the spring of 2008, I went to Baja with HDA for the first time to assist Greg with the first HDA Baja tour "Ride 1000 to watch the 1000". I was completely awestruck with the landscape, people, culture and THE RIDING! We watched the race come through on the sandy roads near San Felipe. It was very similar to the terrain that I grew up riding in Lancaster. I felt at home. NO pesky trees getting in the way and the speeds were fast! We all had a great time and I immediately began searching for a way to return.
Later that year, I was asked to serve as an "alternate rider" for the infamous Baja 1000. As luck would have it, for me anyway, one of the riders on the team was injured during pre-running and I got the call to fly down and fill his spot. It was an amazing experience and our Snortn' Boar race team finished the 835 mile trek. I returned to race the Baja 1000 again with a 2 man team in 2009, a 6 man team in 2010 and rode for Pro Caliber on their "B" team in 2011. That was a special race for me as we drew the #1 starting position and I was gifted the opportunity to start the 45th running of the Baja 1000.
Riding in central Oregon and Baja is my absolute passion and I've spent 10's of thousands of miles in these various deserts. What I realized is that I loved showing others around just as much as I did racing in those environments.
I became a Co-owner of High Desert Adventures in January of 2014 and absolutely love leading others on the various tours in Central Oregon and Baja.
I hope that you will join us on one of our upcoming tours!
Brian Bellamy - Owner / Guide
I have a fever and the only cure is "More time dirt bike riding"! I love motorcycles and all things related. I go to work but mainly think about motorcycles, I have a family but love to slip out to the garage to prepare my bike for an upcoming race or long ride in the Central Oregon desert. I could go on with many examples of what a crappy employee and husband I am due to my love for dirt bikes but I do not want to bore you. In short, I am addicted to the feeling I get when I throw a leg over my dirt bike and take on whatever lies ahead.
From a very early age, I loved motorcycles but unfortunately was not able to really start riding until my twenties. Since then I have been immersed in the culture from poker runs, GP racing, adventure riding and many miles as a street rider. Anything with two wheels makes me happy and as any avid rider knows, you can never have too many motorcycles! My stable consists of several dirt/dual sport bikes an adventure bike and a Harley Davidson.
I met Greg Munn the founder of High Desert Adventures during a sporting tournament in Las Vegas. I saw he was wearing a KTM hat and I knew he had to be cool and we struck up a "Moto-Romance". Several months after meeting Greg, he invited me to do a 3 day ride from Prineville to Christmas Valley to Paisley and then back to Prineville with 6 other crazy guys. This ride literally changed my life! I did not have much exposure to the dual sport world but fell in love with it once the journey started. I really enjoyed the thought of being gone for an extended weekend on my dirt bike. Riding in the desert was different than riding single track or racing as I was able to focus on my riding and not just react. I was able to slow down and enjoy the beautiful scenery and my mind was able to escape the day to day pressures of life. Also, during this ride is when I heard Greg Munn mention that he was going to take on new partners and that is when the life changing happened! In 2016, I became part owner and feel honored to be apart of High Desert Adventures. I enjoy being able to share my experiences with others and love to keep company with other fellow motorcycle fanatics.
Let's go make dust,
Keith Cayton - Owner / Guide
My love of motor cycles started the same way as a lot of people of my generation- Evel Knievel! As a youngster, I had the posters and the toys. My actual getting a motorcycle came about when my Mom wanted my Dad to go to a Marriage Encounter weekend, which was a program through our church. He would only go if I could get a dirt bike. My 11th birthday was the best ever!
Luck has always played a role in my riding. I was lucky to have a dirt bike loving Dad. I was lucky to live on 5 acres when I had my first bike. Another stroke of luck happened when we moved to McMinnville, OR. At the time, Mac had the nation’s only 4-H motocross club with our own track at the county fairgrounds. It also had a very good big track named Mulkey Park but most important to me, it was located right on the edge of the coast range, which had millions of acres of trails and gravel roads to ride. I was also lucky to have riders better than me to mentor me and just spend time riding with me.
I started racing in 4-H at age 15, moved to bigger MX tracks a little later, and switched to more offroad a few years later. Racing became my passion and I was fortunate to become successful in it. By the time I was done, I had won 10 Oregon state championships, raced the Baja 1000 and raced the Silver State Series in Nevada. Probably my best racing accomplishment came in 2011 racing the OMRA Endurance Series in the Ironman class, where I won the 6 hour, 12 hour and 24 hour races.
These days, I enjoy just riding. Being involved with High Desert Adventures allows me to ride a lot, allows me to help others ride, just as I was helped, and best of all, it allows be to hang out with like- minded motorcycle enthusiasts, which has been the best part of my lifelong love of this sport!
Jimmy Lee - Owner / Guide
I'm not one of those guys that grew up riding, had a track in his backyard, and parents that were supportive of (or open to) the idea of me having a bike. I was just a kid that wanted to ride but had few opportunities to do so.
I was 18 when I finally started owning bikes. Back then it was RDs and Kawi Triples. I didn't get into dirt bikes until much later in life, but I've been riding the trails in the NW or 15 years now. I've done a little competing, mostly enduro races and some GPs, but also a few local trials events. I love the challenge involved with off road riding and the enjoyment of being in the woods, up in the mountains, or out in the desert.
One thing about trail riding that I never liked was ending up at the end of the day back at the truck where I started. I always felt that there was a lack of adventure in that. I have always liked the outdoors (backpacking, climbing, canoeing, etc), and longed to do a multi-day dual sport trip. One year I finally put together a 5 day trip on the OBCDR. I didn't have a dual sport bike, so I bought and freshened up a 1982 XL500R for the ride.
The trip turned out to be everything I wanted. First there's the anticipation that comes with the trip planning, gear collecting, and bike prepping. That's followed by the excitement and nerves as you ride away from home not quite knowing what you're getting into and then the magic of the moment where you're immersed in the adventure, enjoying the riding, the beauty of the landscape, and the company of friends. That trip wasn't perfect. The highway miles were a bit much, and the XL had an oil leak that required a detour to do an oil change. I also recall pulling the carb to clean out the jets in the corner of a gas station. But the trip was memorable, and any issues we had made for good stories later, and as soon as I got home, I was thinking about the next one.
When I was presented the opportunity to join HDA, I jumped at the chance. The decision was purely emotional. It was about the opportunity to spend more hours exploring on motorcycles and meeting more people that share this passion. It was an opportunity to share something I love with others and to introduce new people to the sport. and it was an opportunity to spend more time on the bike. Because Deep inside, I'm still just that kid that wants to ride.
I hope you'll come and ride with us.
Greg Munn - Guide
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. 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 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 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. Is that really 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.
From this High Desert Adventures was born; the perfect combination of the love of motorcycle travel and desire for adventure! Since then we have logged thousands of miles on the OBDR and other routes in Central and Eastern Oregon and Baja, Mexico. Our team is made up of a group of fabulous people whose goal is to share that indescribable experience with you. It is one of those things that words and pictures can only partially describe. To fully experience the Oregon backcountry you just have to ride it!