Monday, December 11, 2017

Avoid the risks of wildland trip planning: We do the work ... and you have the fun!

Having difficulty planning your wildland adventure? At Backcountry Byways LLC, we do the work ... so you can live the dream!

Explore wild California ... in your SUV!
Tap into our expertise, earned through decades of experience chronicling the unpaved and often historic wildland roads of the American West. Since 1993, we've been actively documenting wildland roads for our Backcountry Byways guidebook series, as well as National Geographic Adventure, Road & Track Specials and other magazines and publications, and corporate and individual clients.

Each adventure-motoring season, we take the work and worry out of planning long-distance wildland routes -- thoroughly, accurately and professionally -- for individuals, couples, travel groups, even families. We can do it for you, too!

This could be you ... in Utah!
Continual field research, the latest maps and GPS-based resources, consultations with public-lands agencies ... we apply these tools to all of our work. And on-the-ground verification helps assure that the routes and trips we develop are appropriate and accurate.

Whether the objective is a total-immersion wildland-travel experience for a family in an SUV, a vagabonding couple, or riders of dual-sport and adventure-class motorcycles, we build routes tailored to our clients' vision. Deserts, mountains, canyons or coast ... We'll get you there!

Scale the Rockies!
A non-transferable and proprietary GPX track file for use in a dedicated GPS unit, smartphone or tablet is at the core of our service. As your primary navigational tool, it will guide you along every mile of your route. Our self-paced routes typically include waypoints (point-of-interest icons) for lodgings, campsites, campgrounds, fuel sources and more.

For travelers who enjoy camping, we continually document "cowboy-style" dispersed campsites on public lands as well as developed campgrounds.

For those who prefer lodgings, we're always looking for authentically Western lodges, guest ranches and such that embody the spirit of wild-West travel. Logistical support (e.g., fuel delivery, vehicle shuttles) is available*.

*Additional fee

What adventure motorists say

Read about our Heart of the West Adventure Route to see what people say about that affordable and accessible roundabout of wildland routes, and about our success-focused services.

"I  am very happy with the depth and quality of the resources as well as excellent input and customer service from byways, it will be hard to go back to my usual personal planning from scratch in the future." -- Somber

"In my opinion should go down as one of the great Overland Adventures in North America." -- Tragic Overlander

"Tony's constant attention to detail, updates, emails, and obvious true desire to insure the client has the experience of a lifetime is just tremendous." -- Sir Dave

"The man knows his Western routes and has a knack for knowing what types of roads adv bikes need to be on for the rider to enjoy the breathtaking scenery he routes you through. He doesn't just choose a dirt road for the sake of being a dirt road. Just about every one of them has something special to offer the rider. Vacation time is too limited and these trips cost too much to haphazardly pick out dirt roads and say to yourself "I got a good route." -- Dockingpilot 

Trailside camping or backcountry lodges!

"Tony Huegel (ADV-byways) literally wrote the books on backcountry travel in the West. ... Best part is, he's an adventure rider just like us." -- MotoAdventureGal

"For people who have one shot at it, this service is great." -- Pantah 

"Any part of the route is fantastic. You will love it." -- johnpitts01

Regions we cover

Our expertise is in the U.S.A, particularly the states of:
  • Idaho
  • Utah
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Washington 

What is personalized wildland-travel planning?

Wildland-travel planning is a premium solution to the challenges of planning and completing a long-distance journey focused on backcountry roads. Backcountry Byways LLC is the leader in the genre. Why? Because we've been documenting the wildland roads of the American West for more than 25 years!

A personalized trip blends many of the assurances of an outfitter-guided trip with the qualities of a self-paced adventure tailored to one's own vision and budget.

Do it your way!
It eliminates the need to research and plan a detailed route yourself, but does not eliminate the rewarding challenges of wandering the wild. We make it easy to find your way, while providing an experience that still demands self-reliance and resourcefulness to overcome the challenges -- and yes, risks -- inherent in wandering the wildlands of the American West.

It is more affordable than guided trips that cost thousands of dollars. Yet we can still include amenities of modern travel. It can be an amalgam of hiking, driving, riding, camping and lodgings. That adaptability makes our personalized service suitable to a wide range of travel styles.

We accept only a handful of commissions each season. This limitation is due to the time (often months) and resources required to develop and deliver accurate and appropriate routing and other services.

It also is rooted in our commitment to remaining of service as you travel. We're not done until you're done.

Our client roster is deliberately limited, comprised of select yet diverse travelers. Most have experience with the often-primitive nature of immersive wildland travel, e.g., hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain biking, jeeping, etc. Often, we share previous experience with our clients, such as through our Heart of the West Adventure Route.

All share a passion for long-distance, immersive wildland travel, and unique circumstances that require unique solutions.

How much does personalized routing cost?

Our minimum fee is $1,050. For comparison, a guided adventure-motorcycle tour for one person is priced at about $3,600, using your bike.

Once our cost is calculated and an advance quote provided, the final fee can be significantly higher than our minimum. Much depends on the client's requirements and vision.

If this option
is right for you, we will provide a quote in advance once we know ...

-- the details of your vision;

-- the number of travelers and modes of travel;

-- how much on-the-ground research will be necessary (advance inspection of proposed routing is almost always mandatory due to the ever-changing condition of wildland roads);

-- the resources required to complete our research; and

-- any supplementary services you may request.

If you decide to move forward, a 30-percent non-refundable (if you cancel) deposit is required for us to begin work. The fee is non-refundable (unless we are unable to deliver) because our expenditure of resources cannot be recovered if you cancel. 

The balance of our fee is due when the route is deemed by us to be complete, and deliverables are ready to be sent to you. Completion can require several months.

A key component of our service is the mandatory, on-the-ground pre-trip inspection and verification of every route we provide.

Avoid this!
Long experience has made clear that, no matter how much advance research is done, there is no substitute for direct inspection of a route. Field inspection often turns up unanticipated obstacles (landslides, wildfires, washouts, road closures, inadequate lodgings, etc.).

What we deliver

Backcountry Byways LLC will deliver a GPS-based track file in the widely compatible .gpx format format. The file typically is loaded onto a purpose-built and suitable GPS unit, or smartphone loaded with a suitable .gpx file-reading app.

We do not provide route files for GPS units. This is due to compatibility and navigation problems that often arise with routes, but which are avoided with tracks.

The file will contain tracks denoting the route you will follow, broken down by day, daily lodging stops, daily mileages, or another useful itinerary.

It also will contain waypoints for campgrounds, primitive campsites, fuel stops, lodgings, rest stops, viewpoints, toilets, and other points of interest.

We provide paper maps when we can source suitable products for this purpose. Typically that means a readily available, folded map with your tracks highlighted. We also provide written documentation explaining elements of the trip, such as a description of each track.

Expect frequent communications during development of your route. We will go over what we've developed with you, present drafts, link you to proposed lodgings, and report on what we've found during field inspection of your route.

As you travel, we will do our best to assist with rerouting when weather, road closures, wildfires and other unforeseen events and circumstances force a change in the route.

GPS requirements

Clients must have, and must know how to use, a contemporary GPS unit suitable to long-distance motorized wildland travel.

Older handheld units that were designed for hiking, geocaching, trail riding and other activities of limited length can be inadequate for long-distance travel on complex motor-vehicle trips.

More and more of our clients are using smartphones, which have built-in GPS sensors. Once loaded with a .gpx viewing app (whether for iPhones or Android devices), these apps can function offline, relying on the GPS satellite system, the track and perhaps downloaded maps to monitor your location and progress.

Mode of travel

The routing we produce is for motorized wildland travel on public roads and right of ways.

Your vehicle must be street legal. Importantly, it must be equipped to travel dirt roads that can include everything from primitive forest, mountain and desert two-tracks to maintained county roads. It also must be able to travel 250 miles or possibly even longer distances between fuel stops, depending on where you will be routed.

We do not work with single-track motorcycle trails.

Risk and liability

Like all backcountry travel, adventure motoring poses risks to life and limb, to your vehicle, even to your ability to complete the trip. You are responsibile for being properly prepared, and for safe and appropriate execution of the trip.

You must accept full responsibility for all environmental and mechanical risks and dangers, including the risk that weather, wildfires, accidents, breakdowns or other events and circumstances may force you to terminate your trip.

To this end, each traveler or traveler's guardian is required to sign a liability waiver holding Backcountry Byways LLC and its principals entirely harmless for the risks and dangers you are likely to encounter.

When to contact us

Completing a commission to our high standards requires substantial effort over a period of months, from first contact through completion of your trip.

March 1 typically is the deadline to commission a custom route for the subsequent wildland-travel season (usually mid-July through September).

It's best to contact us as far in advance of your travel period as possible. Due to the complexity, time and resource commitment these projects typically involve, we can accept only a few each season.

How to contact us

Please use the contact form provided in this blog's front page. We respond promptly.

When you contact us, tell us where you'd like to travel, your mode and approximate dates of travel, the number of travelers, the travelers' level of skill and experience, whether you wish to camp or take advantage of accommodations, your interests, and what kind of experience you'd like to have. Please include your name, location, some information about your travel background and objectives, and contact information.

Explore the High Sierra -- without a backpack!

Share with us your vision for a "trip of a lifetime." As we say: We do the work ... So you can live the dream.

Happy Trails!

Images © Tony Huegel/Backcountry Byways LLC

California's Sierra Nevada
Death Valley National Park
Mojave Desert
Oregon Trail
Yellowstone country


johnpitts01 said...

Tony does a fantastic job creating custom routes. Tony has put together routes for us in Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Montana that were fantastic. We could not possibly have done the work ourselves. If you want to maximize your enjoyment of the off road experience in the west use Tony's service.

Tony Huegel said...

Thanks, John! That's a valuable endorsement indeed ...