Touring Tip: Spring Forward

Apr 11, 2014 View Comments by

Touring Tip: Spring ForwardAlthough it’s still snowing in some parts of the U.S., it’s technically spring, we’re on daylight savings time, and we need to get serious about planning our 2014 riding season. Last month I talked about using the digital cache of tours on RoadRUNNER’s website (www.roadrunner.travel) to plan a trip. Once a touring destination has been selected, this is probably the most valuable resource riders can access. But, assuming you don’t already know your desired destination, let’s talk about how to figure that out. Here are some thoughts on how to set your touring objectives:

 

  1. It’s All About the Curves: Each rider has his or her own special pleasures derived from motorcycling. If your focus is more on the twists and turns of the tarmac, there are numerous websites that can guide you to both familiar (e.g., The Tail of the Dragon) and less familiar (e.g., Back of the Dragon) serpentine roadways.
  2. National & State Parks: Some of America’s best touring options are in, and around, its incomparable network of National and State Parks (www.nps.gov and www.americasstateparks.org).
  3. Guided Tours: Motorcyclists being guided on multi-day tours has become something of a cottage industry in America and in many other countries around the globe. There is a riding venue for virtually every taste. And, by having a tour company make logistical arrangements and lead the tour, riders experience a hassle-free way of touring—they just have to show up. As your number one touring resource, RoadRUNNER recently launched its separately branded Blue Rim Tours, which offers eight guided tours in North America, Europe, and South America. Check it out at: www.bluerimtours.com.
  4. Motorcycle Rallies: There seems to be more and more motorcycle rallies available to attend every year, and there’s something for every motorcyclist. RoadRUNNER’s Touring Weekend has been gaining riders every year since it began in 2006. An artful combination of great roads and rider camaraderie has been this event’s formula for success. Our 2014 rally will be July 17-20 at the lovely Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia (www.touring-weekend.com). Don’t miss this one!
  5. Iconic Destinations: There’s no shortage of iconic places to visit and, in fact, entire tours can be planned around them. They can range from commonly known destinations, like Pikes Peak and the Royal Gorge to lesser-known ones off the beaten path, like the Serpent Mounds in Ohio and Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon.
  6. History: For history buffs, exploring historical destinations on two wheels is a fabulous way to explore. RoadRUNNER magazine has featured tours focused on a diverse menu of historic topics, such as the American Civil War, prehistoric Native American culture in the Four Corners area, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
  7. A Change of Scenery: There’s nothing quite so refreshing as riding in a different part of the U.S. or in a different country altogether. Living and riding mostly east of the Mississippi River, I’m always excited about riding in a more arid or mountainous environment. Not knowing what’s around the next curve or over the next hill is one of the most thrilling aspects of motorcycle touring. Plan a trip outside of your geographical comfort zone to liven up your touring experience.
  8. Food: For foodies, orienting a trip around their favorite cuisine can be a rewarding way to spend time on the road. For example, a number of states have their Bar-B-Que trails, including South Carolina, Texas, North Carolina, Kentucky, and others. The RoadRUNNER digital archives also have food-oriented tours in Kansas and Massachusetts, just to name a couple of states.
  9. On Pavement or Off? Adventure riders need not travel to Africa or South America for an exciting off-road excursion. The RoadRUNNER digital archives have a considerable number of exciting adventure trips catalogued. In addition, there are a number of other resources for researching off-pavement adventures in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, California, Arizona, and other western states. And there are cross-country routes like the Trans-America Trail (www.transamtrail.com), the Continental Divide Trail (www.continentaldividetrail.org), and the Mexico to Canada Trail (www.mex2can.com).
  10. Historic Highways: Do you have a long unrequited desire to ride from Chicago to Los Angeles (or vice versa) along historic Route 66? There’s no time like the present to get your motor running along a nostalgic byway. To promote two-lane tourism, many historic highway associations and towns have restored their roadside icons. Some of the more prominent historic roads, besides Route 66, include: the Lincoln Highway, the National Road, the Pacific Coast Highway, U.S. Route 6, and many others.

 

Of course, riders don’t have to settle for accomplishing just one of the 10 objectives, many tours can combine several of them in one trip. Next month we’ll explore detailed trip-planning considerations once the touring destination has been identified.

 

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