To say that I am inexperienced at off road riding would be a gross understatement. I also go with very experienced guys, so I'm always in the back or holding up the people in the back. I have approximately 99.99% to learn about this new sport.
I now have 11 rides under my belt, and one got cancelled while learning...this time that my buddies quad couldn't run on service roads. I also found ot that with this law, many of my dirtbike only (not dual sport) buds can't join me. I coudl join them at dirt only facilites, but that is the opposite exerience from what I want.
While a lot transfers from "normal" riding, there's so much new, and the ability to control a bike that nearly always has one or both ends sliding to some degree. I'm after some inexpensive off season fun and scenery. Many like single track, but I want none of that. Just car+ wide unpaved roads at any pace I like and stopping any time I like.
The amount of pavement depends on where you park. You can park right at the edge of it, but I like to warm up a bit, so I park ~13 miles from the start. The paved roads to the service road entrance are superb (and a mix of paved with small unpaved shortcuts), and I'd prefer to not miss them.
Our last trip found me on the side of a paved road just 7 miles in, with a broken throttle cable. We got it sorted in ~45 minutes by the side of the road...but it was better near peeps/civilization than in the middle of nowhere on gravel and wet leaves on the edge of very steep drops.
Probably worth noting that I've been joined by friends on all kinds of bikes with all kinds of tires. It can be done. One has a loaded down Royal Enfield, others have full dirt setup. We're just not going that fast. A full day is generally 45-65 miles...it is exhausting.