January/February 2006
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Touring and Travel Articles

Southwest New Mexico

Southwest New Mexico

Silver City - Las Cruces (186 miles) Our morning ride begins in Silver City on 15, an extremely scenic, single-lane road that heads to the Gila Hot Springs. Backtracking some to 35, meandering south along a green valley, we take a left on 152 to race over one of the best 26-mile stretches of road in America.
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Shamrock Tour® - Moab, Utah

Shamrock Tour® - Moab, Utah

"Ya gotta see the petroglyphs on the road to Potash," says my new best friend, as he hands me a bottle of Black Butte Porter. The affable Floridian, also staying at the Adventure Inn, is making his annual trek to the Canyonlands. Next morning, I'm standing by the rock face trying to decode the primitive etchings when a car pulls up. One of its occupants surveys the chicken scratch and says, "Neat!" Not the word I'd have used. If I'd turned in anything as untidy in Mrs. White's art class at my English primary school, she'd have given my knuckles a good rap with her ruler.
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New Zealand: The Land of The Long White Cloud

New Zealand: The Land of The Long White Cloud

In a state of complete mental exhaustion at the airport in Auckland, I refuse to believe what the voice at the other end of the telephone line is saying: "You wanna collect two motorbikes from us? Shipped from Australia, you say?" An ominous, long silence follows. "I'm afraid that there's no such thing here." Putting the phone down, I take a desperate look at the heap of luggage in front of me. There are four aluminum panniers, a heavy backpack, scattered spares including a brand-new exhaust pipe, two helmets and four used knobbies, which Jason, an Australian motocross enthusiast, had given to us as a present.
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Charleston to Cincinnati

Charleston to Cincinnati

Well mama said, "Son before you goThere's something I want you to doPromise me that you won't go wrongAs you travel down Highway 52."With a map spread across our table at a rooftop bar in Charleston, South Carolina, we began calculating the daily distances of the upcoming tour. More than 2,000 miles of fascinating terrain lay ahead of us along Highway 52, the historic route that will take us from the Carolina coast into the American heartland and the prairies of North Dakota.
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Eastern Arkansas

Eastern Arkansas

The light slanting through the slit in the blackout curtains seems to indicate the day has dawned bright and sunny. Slowly, like a tortoise, my dream-fogged head extrudes from the dark shell of the motel room at the door and swivels in the outside world. Yes, it's a beautiful morning to begin a tour. A familiar grin tugs on the corners of my mouth and suddenly I'm ready for that first cup of bad coffee.
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Oman and a Woman

Oman and a Woman

Arabia, the home of Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor, has always intrigued me, and I eagerly signed up when friends began planning a motorcycle trip to Oman. As dual-sport bike riders, we especially wanted to get off the pavement and see Oman's backcountry. So there I was, flying to the Middle East on a 747 with a burqa in one hand and a motorcycle helmet in the other, while trying to cram more than a millennium of history into my brain before two-wheeling it in the land of "a thousand and one nights." I would be exploring mysterious souks (bazaars), funny-looking dhows (boats), and cool wadis (deep gorges). The locals would be wearing dishdashas and kufi hats and bowing to Mecca. Cool.
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Old Salem to Williamsburg via Virginia Highway 40

Old Salem to Williamsburg via Virginia Highway 40

Ah, vintage motorcycles - No matter how well you plan and prepare, nothing seems to quell the mischievous nature of the little gremlin that seems to reside in all things carbureted. An irksome imp whom I oh-so fondly call #*@%^$ occasionally visits my 1978 Kawasaki KZ650C. Unfortunately, the little rat decided to check in just two days before Kathy and I were to leave on our long-awaited tour to historic Williamsburg, Virginia.
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Motorcycle Reviews

Honda CBR100RR / Kawasaki ZX-10R / Suzuki GSX-R1000 / Yamaha YFR-R1

Honda CBR100RR / Kawasaki ZX-10R / Suzuki GSX-R1000 / Yamaha YFR-R1

The best of the best, cream of the crop, and pick of the litter are all phrases used to denote the outstanding single example of a collective. And when surveying the four 1000cc supersport models parked in the hotel parking lot, it quickly becomes apparent that picking the "Best of Show" isn't going to be an easy task. Each model arguably represents the pinnacle of its respective manufacturer's technological bloodlines. Will determining a winner be easy? Highly doubtful. Will determining a winner be fun? Oh hell yeah.
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2005 Triumph Sprint 1050ST

2005 Triumph Sprint 1050ST

I'm stuck behind a line of cars following a dawdling farm tractor along the winding A259 road between Rye and Hastings in East Sussex, England. A gap appears in the oncoming flow: time to test the new 1050 Sprint ST's acceleration. Staying in third gear, I signal, crank the throttle and pull out. In seconds, the speedometer is nudging three figures, the tractor is rapidly disappearing in the mirror, and a tight right-hander looms. I set up for the turn and cover the brakes but the new ST simply glides through like - well, like the previous 955 ST didn't.
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Honda GL1800A Gold Wing (ABS) - Long-term Evaluation

Honda GL1800A Gold Wing (ABS) - Long-term Evaluation

I've never liked Gold Wings. For years they were objects of derision. The characterizations I'd hurl in their direction included too big, too clumsy, too heavy, and the ever popular "it's nothing but a car on two wheels." On top of everything else, they seemed most often bedecked with teddy bears, flags, and identically dressed riders and passengers. A Gold Wing in my garage? Yeah, right.
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Who You Callin' Scooter?

Who You Callin' Scooter?

In America, more is more. Size matters. We like things big - upsized, super-sized. From Jumbo Jets to Jumbotrons, we're Dumbo for humongo. We relish taking everything to the next level. Did you ever think the Big Gulp® would get bigger? Me neither. Well, now you can get something called the Super Big Gulp®, a plastic monstrosity that ought to come with a harness to help you lug it out the door. They're thinking big and bigger elsewhere, too. And I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn there's a 7-11 near Suzuki's design headquarters, because one of their scooter engineers obviously started doodling with a giant soda in his hand.
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Also in this issue ...

  • At the Sign of the Wolf [Read]
  • If octane is good, is more better? [Read]
  • Not Your Typical BMW Emporium [Read]
  • The Benefits of Becoming a Scooter Commuter [Read]