Thirsty for Dunes? Welcome to ODNRA

The other week we asked our fans about their favorite dune ride this year, and Lance Rowland’s response really made us curious about the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on the Oregon coast. We caught up with Lance to find out more – and we’re sure glad we did. Lance lives with his wife, Barbara, in Florence, Oregon, and oversees a local garden center’s daily functions. For a couple of decades, Lance and Barbara’s “playtime” has included the sand, participating in sanctioned drag racing, car cruises and car shows.

Can-am Off-Road: What are some of your favorite things to do?

Lance: Barb and I enjoy all forms of motorsports and are both total motorheads. We do virtually all of our own vehicle builds, engine work and modifications as opposed to farming out the work to others. Along with riding most weekends year-round in the Oregon Dunes (ODNRA), we also spend much of our time promoting Save The Riders Dunes (STRD) on Facebook to enhance OHV riding rights on our public lands.

Can-Am Off Road: You consider yourselves motorheads. Can you tell us about any projects?

Lance: The Commander is Barbara’s pride and joy (which I enjoy working on and modifying). There are many great attributes to the Commander: ride comfort, the aftermarket exhaust note, well over 1,000 miles of trouble-free dune riding and just the plain old shock and awe of it! Right now, it has the stock factory suspension that I’m getting dialed in better at each outing.

I’ve added some aesthetics, including a simple factory two-piece top and half-windshield. I’ve added a few power enhancers, including race exhaust (in which I was able to retain most of the lower trunk area rather than cut it out) and adjustable, on-the-fly Digi-Tune Pro wired closed-loop to the Wego III. On a side note, our Commander is actually in the Muzzy’s shop (a long time manufacturer and supplier for aftermart performance equipment for high-performance and extreme vehicles located in Bend, Oregon) right now with plans to research and develop a cable-operated throttle body with an additional ECU for the timing and fuel delivery. This system will then need to be divorced from the factory ECU, and we all know what a “secured ECU” this is! This mod should really excite the racers a lot!

Can-Am Off Road: Sounds great! Barb’s one lucky gal. Tell us a little bit about your ride and the plans for R&D.

Lance: I bought a new Rhino 660 in 2006, which rekindled my love of the sand. While I liked the Rhino platform, it was missing something…a second cylinder. I proceeded to locate a 2006 Outlander and installed the Rotax 800 in my Rhino. Afterwards, I took it to Muzzy’s, who used it for research and development work to develop the Rhino/Rotax production exhaust for their jig. We have enjoyed the Rhintax for over three years now with that awesome engine! This was the main factor that emphasized a BRP side-by-side product to us, so the patient wait for the Commander began – and continued until last fall:  enter the Can-Am Commander 1000 X!

Can-Am Off-Road: You mentioned that your favorite dune ride is in the Oregon coast area at Horsfall ODNRA. Can you tell us a little bit more about what riders can expect?

Lance: The ODNRA is comprised of three distinct sand dunes that are all within a 50-mile stretch, and will probably rival any areas for the variety of duneing. The northern area is Florence, the middle is Winchester Bay/Reedsport, and the southern area, North Bend/Coos Bay, has a lot of names, including Horsfall, BoxCar, Bull Run, Hauser and Spinreel. All three have similar views, beach riding and beachcombing, but each has different forms of camping and their individual ambience.

First, Florence has gorgeous views of the Pacific with flat, rolling and steep dunes with shrouded trail riding; beach riding is allowed here. There is a great, unique ride along the foredune/seawall among the mature beach grass that has great beach and ocean views for about five miles.

Next is Winchester Bay. It has some very aggressive-sized dunes with incredible views of the ocean to the west and Clear Lake to the east, with dunes all around. The world-renowned Banshee Hill resides here and is unique with its steep climb and an “S” to maneuver through at the top. You will not enjoy the beach ride here because there is none: it is off-limits to OHVs! However, Dunefest is held here and it is so fun to watch. We love watching the events, especially the kids racing!

Here is a link to check it out for yourself:

Can-Am Off Road: Tell us a little more about your involvement with Dunefest and Sandfest.

Lance: Barbara and I help others at Sandfest and Dunefest do Db sound checks at both events for the poker runs, and all three of our dunes are set at 93Db, but the LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) do give some grace to that number. Sandfest is more of a party atmosphere. Dunefest is much more of a family-friendly event, however. Just for the record, Dunefest has been voted as the No. 1 sporting event in Oregon in the past!

Can-Am Off Road: Wow! There is certainly a lot of variety. Where is your favorite place to ride?

Lance: Florence is my favorite because it’s only five minutes away from work; you know what they say, location, location, location! My second favorite place is Winchester Bay because I like climbing the large dunes and the ample camping availability to ride directly onto the dunes.

Can-am Off-Road: Are you in touch with a rider community? Do you ride with a group, or do you prefer to go solo?

Lance: I prefer to ride with as many side-by-sides  as possible, and most of my acquaintances are from the many different forums I view daily. The most challenging terrain I’ve been in is probably tight and narrow off-camber hillsides that afford you one shot and one shot only at succeeding to safety – or failure and slipping into a lake, against an embankment or flopping over! Like all forms of sports, you are always looking for the next adrenaline rush.

The third area, North Bend/Coos Bay/Horsfall/BoxCar/Bull Run/Hauser/Spinreel, is more flat and comprised of rolling dunes. This area has excellent trail riding and offers a couple of days’ worth of exploration to see it all. Beach riding is allowed and there is another Sandfest that is held here as well. Here is another link:  You’ve got to check out these links because it’s just too much to explain everything!

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