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Touring and Travel Articles
Dual sport Colorado in a day! The twisty paved roads of Jarre Canyon connect to the sandy forest of Rampart Range and return you to pavement among the stunning rock formations of the Garden of the Gods before soaring 14,115 paved feet of elevation on Pikes Peak. Ride June through October, barring freak storms!
Panoramas, mountains, history, geography, and gastronomy are along this route. Venture on Avenue Royale (Route de la Nouvelle-France), one of the oldest roads in Canada. Take the side roads to quaint villages on the shores of the St. Lawrence and enjoy bakeries and local cheeses.
This is not the best way to start our trip—but what shall we do? Today is one of those many days when the fog from the cold Pacific rules San Francisco’s weather. We had planned to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge and then cut east. But in these conditions, it doesn’t make sense. Instead, we head eastward across the Bay Bridge for a fast escape.
It’s the fourth day of our adventure in Utah. We skip breakfast to get an early start as meteorologists are calling for thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highway 40 takes us out of Midway past Heber City and Daniels Summit Lodge toward Strawberry Reservoir. The low sun provides warm light. The water, along with the mountainous background, offers a perfect photo op. I turn on my right signal, get in the turning lane, and shift down into … wait a minute, why don’t I feel my shifter? I glance down and see a demoralized shifter barely hanging on by its last aluminum thread. It finally gave up.
Known as “The Little Switzerland of America,” Eureka Springs, AR, offers the perfect escape for couples looking for a romantic getaway to another time. The town gets its name, and much of its history, from a nearby spring that was reputed to hold special healing powers. When word spread about the water’s mysterious attributes, people came from all over, and Eureka Springs rapidly became a booming resort town. Today, old Victorian houses still line the town’s steep and winding streets while the Ozark Mountains provide a stunning backdrop. But for those on two wheels, the mountains offer more than just a good view, and Eureka Springs becomes the ideal home base for enjoying the area’s fantastic riding.
When you head on tour with your special someone, you aren’t just looking for nice roads and pretty views; you’re on the hunt for a place where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy some quality time together. That’s just what you’ll find in Paso Robles, CA. Conveniently located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s stunning coastline, the town offers a quiet escape and an introduction to the area’s famous vineyards, which specialize in Zinfandels, Syrah, and Viognier grapes. The town is also home to hot springs, almond orchards, and local olive oil production.
Nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, Staunton, VA, is a cultural crossroads offering a weekend of art, history, and motorcycling. The city is home to the American Shakespeare Center, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, and the Museum of American Frontier Culture. Staunton’s quaint downtown features many buildings dating to the turn of the 20th century, plenty of unique shops and restaurants, and a quiet, small-town vibe. The area is also home to several vineyards perfect for an afternoon enjoying the outdoors while sampling the local varietals. Other attractions include apple orchards, local farms, and several Civil War historic sites. The surrounding Appalachian Mountains provide motorcyclists with the perfect riding playground that includes the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, which passes close by. With so much to do in this quiet southern town, couples are sure to have a fantastic time together both on and off the bike.
We came here seeking doughnuts. No, not the dunkin’ kind; calling those toroids doughnuts is like calling Chef Boyardee Italian food. No, we’re here for the real deal. And we’re willing to ride to find them. Thoroughbred From the rolling waves of Kentucky Blue Grass come some of the finest thoroughbreds in the world bred on picturesque horse farms in the Bluegrass region.
Best road in the world or communist tyrant’s power trip? Only one way to find out! It was on a bus tour in the early 1970s that I discovered Romania. I remember little but the awful food and how our nervous guide evaded political questions, pointing instead to distant smokestacks and telling us, “Here is chemistry factory!” Much of the country seemed unremarkable until we got to Transylvania. That’s where I fell in love with Romania’s historic Saxon towns; graceful Sibiu, mysterious Brasov, and the ancient citadel of Sighisoara. I vowed to return in more enlightened times—and without a guide!
I step back from the Tree of Shame—a tall sweetgum decorated with cracked fairings, shattered mirrors, and a hundred other brightly colored pieces of motorcycles that fell, tumbled, and broke apart on the 11-mile stretch I’m about to ride.
Just as the number of sport touring riders in the last decade or so has risen, a similar growth spurt is currently happening in the dual-sport market. Gone are the days of overnighting a CB400 to the local woodlands or piling the camping kit on your dirt bike. Currently in vogue are bikes three times the size with triple the range and built for adventures in any state you can twist a throttle toward. These liter-plus-sized dirt bikes have grown into the sport tourers of the trail, avengers of the afterworld, and are the bikes to ride the world on, paved or not.