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Touring and Travel Articles
Easily negotiated, relaxing route that features interesting historical locations and rural byways across sprawling prairielands. The best time to go is late June through October to avoid potentially severe thunderstorms in spring and especially cold riding conditions in other months.
A great northern escape from Los Angeles is through Ojai and the Los Padres National Forest, which is commonly considered the “better way” of getting to the Pacific Coast Highway from LA (between Cambria and Carmel). Best rides are in the fall when central valley temps drop below 100 degrees.
I’m standing in a fine Japanese garden, and I’m looking at a volcano—an exotic combination. I didn’t have to go too far. This is neither Tokyo nor Mount Fuji. I’m in Portland, OR. Toward the east, the snow capped peak of Mount Hood is clearly visible behind the skyline of the very green city. The mountain is close, but I’m heading a different direction—straight north.
Reportedly searching for the Fountain of Youth, Juan Ponce de León landed on North America’s most prominent peninsula in 1513. He named it La Florida, or the flowery land, as he arrived around Easter. Roughly 500 years later, we’re not here to look for any magical waters; we’re here for the real Florida, and this ain’t no trip to Disney World.
It’s a long flight, whichever way you spin it. Even though I remind myself of the old adage that it’s about the journey as much as the destination, I think that philosophy doesn’t apply here. Yet as I read my travel guide from the constricted comfort of my airplane seat, I get progressively excited about the upcoming two-week tour of South Africa. This destination has always been on top of my wish list, and part of its allure has to do with the remote location. Add into the mix wild animals in their native habitat, landscapes typically only seen in National Geographic, and trusty BMWs, and you have the perfect recipe for an adventurous motorcycle tour combined with cultural, as well as culinary, delights.
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont: American Industrial Revolution
When British immigrant Samuel Slater introduced the first mechanized system of spinning cotton in the 1790s, America was still an agrarian society with a widely dispersed population, but that would soon start changing.
“Ride a motorcycle through Iceland? You’ve got to be kidding me. Isn’t that a frozen, windblown island nation in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean?” Well, I’ve been awakened to the fact that this place of “fire and ice” is one of the most beautiful, diverse, and friendly places I have ever visited. The country is blessed with verdant landscapes, gorgeous seascapes, mountains, waterfalls, geysers, rocky barren plains, and volcanoes. Many of these wondrous sights can be reached in a single day.
Our 2012 Honda Gold Wing purrs as we head south on U.S. 6 through the beautiful Spanish Fork region. It’s Day 2 of our seven-day journey from Eagle, ID, to Golden, CO, where I grew up. I look forward to sharing my home turf with Howard, my intrepid driver and sweetheart. He’s in for some eye candy!
It’s been a long time coming, but Honda has brought back a large six-cylinder cruiser to its lineup—bigger and more powerful than ever.
For a British bike, the Thunderbird LT looks awfully American. Not that that’s a bad thing; it’s beautiful with its two-tone paint, whitewall tires, and abundance of chrome. Unlike the Thunderbird Storm and Commander, the LT ditches the twin headlight setup that’s a dead giveaway for a Triumph in favor of a large single headlight flanked by smaller running lights on either side.
When it comes to touring on the Chieftain, let’s get the worst out of the way immediately. It needs more range. Though my observed fuel economy was a respectable 39mpg, I found myself stopping for gas every 150 miles or so at best. I think this is primarily the result of an overly conservative fuel gauge that turns the low fuel light on way too early.
The spicy flavor of this British-born, massaged sportbike machine delivers tons of passion from each twist of the wrist, but the BMW’s practical and concise demeanor also delivers in predictable and repeatable ways. Many ask the same question, “Which one?” But only your own taste buds know what you like—fancy a cup of tea or a beer? Backed up with a little ride through some of Mother Nature’s deadliest terrain, aka Death Valley National Park, this is how they stack up on paper as well as on the trail.