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Touring and Travel Articles
The low-lying coastal region surrounding Florida’s largest city isn’t home to lots of curves that many motorcyclists crave. However, what a rider will find along this day ride from the city are lovely little seaside towns, southern swamps, and quiet rural communities to give one a much-needed break from city life. Best travel times are spring and fall; summers here are very hot and humid.
Santa Clarita lies just north of Los Angeles along the West Coast’s main north-south corridor, Interstate 5, so it’s easy to get to from many surrounding areas. Just north of town is Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, with fantastic roller coasters, and Castaic Lake, which offers aquatic fun. These could be visited before or after riding this loop to make it an entertaining long weekend!
More sweepers than tight curves—explore the countryside southwest of Austin, which will appeal to every type of motorcyclist. From President LBJ’s ranch to German culinary delights, this route has it all. To include all stops along the way, plan ahead and hit the road early in the morning. Don’t forget swimwear in the summer! The best times to travel are in the spring and fall for the milder climate, but this City Escape is fair game practically year round.
More than any other stretch of pavement, Route 66 imprinted the open road into the American psyche and helped shape the cultural fabric of the nation as the automobile came of age. The historic route can trace its origins back to 1857 when the Army Corps of Engineers began work on a wagon trail following the 35th parallel.
Today, when people think about Route 66, they see visions of dramatic expanses of southwestern desert and the adventure of exploring the wide-open country. At its peak, the stretch of 66 through New Mexico, Arizona, and California was a bustling highway as Americans moved west to seek their fortunes.
On the northern tip of the Door County peninsula, the waters of Green Bay meet those of Lake Michigan creating a particularly dangerous stretch of water known to the region’s first French explorers as Porte des Morts Passage or the “Way to the Door of the Dead” (aka Death’s Door). The bottom is littered with hundreds of shipwrecks dating back centuries. Native American tales of canoes disappearing here go back millennia. Thankfully, I’ll be exploring the area by land.
It’s early October in central Pennsylvania as days grow shorter, temperatures decline, the air is crisp, and fall foliage blooms. I’m reminded that it’s been 11 years to the month from when I did my first tour here for RoadRUNNER under the tutelage of magazine founder, Christian Neuhauser. Although this Shamrock Tour® explores many new roads, from those taken years ago, fond memories persist of that earlier time.
As if on cue, my new riding partner, Luke Swab, rolls into Fairplay, CO, on a Yamaha WR250R, where I am waiting to meet him by the side of the road. I’m relieved, yet I’m apprehensive to have a riding partner. The first half of the journey had no rules, no boundaries, and no committee decisions. I’m concerned about losing that on the second half, but prior conversations with Luke have put me mostly at ease. He has worldwide riding experience and a real sense of adventure.
In my impetuous youth, I felt the kickstand was my sworn enemy. I was one of those guys who wore continuous hours of saddle time as a badge of honor and total miles for the day like the crown jewel on my riding tiara.
Attempting to recreate the success of the 2010 model year Multistrada, Ducati once again chose to reveal its latest and greatest on the Spanish Canary Island of Lanzarote. One of seven island retreats off the coast of the African continent and often the escape for Europeans on holiday, Lanzarote is hardly big enough to house the people inhabiting the dormant volcano, let alone testing a touring motorcycle, but we gave it a shot.
The Caponord (English translation is the North Cape) is the northernmost point in Europe that can be reached by motorcycle (or car if you have to). It is situated in Norway at 71 degrees north latitude, similar to Prudhoe Bay, AK. The North Cape is basically a barren, storm chased rock at the edge of the Atlantic. The name and details make it sound like the most adventurous destination on the continent, but in fact, there is an asphalt road all the way up.
Major manufacturers build motorcycles for one reason—to sell them. Lots of market research goes into determining a manufacturer’s product portfolio, and Yamaha recognized their lineup had a hole in it. The sub-500cc motorcycle class has been growing of late. Prior to the introduction of the all-new R3, Yamaha didn’t have a modern bike in that class, ceding ground to rivals Honda and Kawasaki. Sometimes, however, it pays to be fashionably late.