July/August 2005
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Touring and Travel Articles

Arkansas

Arkansas

Farm tractors churning earth on either side of I-40 west of Memphis have created finely powdered clouds the prairie gusts tumble over the featureless landscape. Target: Gold Wing. Thanks to the conspiratorial workings of Mother Nature and John Deere, the grit slowly building on my sunscreen-slathered face has inspired images of a new super hero - Sandpaper Man!
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Shamrock Tour® - Ashland, Wisconsin

Shamrock Tour® - Ashland, Wisconsin

Nightfall, and after a long tiring ride we turn into the drive of The Inn at Timber Cove, our tour base camp. Hidden behind old, massive trees, this romantic Bed and Breakfast lies in a lush green meadow. The owners Tina and Brian Miller escort us to our cottage and light the fire. As the wood crackles cozily in the fireplace, we dive in on their welcoming gift, soon devouring two thick, delicious pieces of homemade raspberry cake.
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Rhode Island

Rhode Island

An hour out of the Big Apple on my 2004 BMW Rl150R, I spy surly, fat, gray clouds rushing belly-up behind me in the mirrors. I, in turn, rush east on the super-slab of I-95 through Connecticut. I'm on my way to begin my tour of the biggest lil' state in the Union, Rhode Island
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South Africa: Between Cape and Kingdom

South Africa: Between Cape and Kingdom

Braai (equivalent to an American barbecue) is the first word in Afrikaans that many travelers learn simply because they're invited to them so often. Having a braai involves grilling something over a fire, from huge succulent steaks to whole fresh fish. And it always tastes very lekker. In South Africa there is an abundance of lekker beaches, lekker mountains, and lekker girls. All beautiful things are lekker here.
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Medford, Oregon

Medford, Oregon

Commitment isn't what it used to be. Each New Year's Day millions commit to lifestyle changes that last, on average, two weeks. Couples vow " 'til death do us part," yet divorce is commonplace. True commitment - a parachute jump, for example - offers no escape. Like the rockslide I'm stuck in near Galice, Oregon. A narrow, rock-strewn path squirms past huge boulders, hanging over a 10-foot drop to the creek below. I thought I'd be able to squeeze by on the DL650 - but now the bike is wedged against a boulder the size of a Mini Cooper. One false move and I'll be in the creek with the bike on top of me. There's nowhere to turn around or even back up. I'm truly committed...
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Motorcycle Reviews

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad

As so often happens, I'm sitting in this huge plane getting ready to fly between Charlotte and L.A., and I'm wondering: When did they build the first of these Jumbos? More then 30 years ago. It's 2005 and this bird looks the same. Well, of course, there are the more modern electronics and the seats have been changed a few times, but if it had developed along the lines of the computer, say, this steel bird would probably look more like "Star Trek" Voyager or at least have a delta shape utilizing
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Suzuki SV650s / Triumph Speed Four / Yamaha FZ6

Suzuki SV650s / Triumph Speed Four / Yamaha FZ6

Here in the good old US of A, it's no secret we like things big. Need an example? Just look at the recent spate of big honkin' pavement-churning machines on display at your local bike shop - 1600, 1800, 2000cc and more. Is this really necessary? Is bigger really better?
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Just right: Suzuki's Practical Classic

Just right: Suzuki's Practical Classic

Once upon a time (and this is no fairytale), a motorcycle was just a motorcycle. It came from the factory in one flavor - plain vanilla. What you did with it after that was up to you. To go touring, you could add a rack and a pair of panniers; for off-road jaunts, a set of knobby tires; for sportier riding or some track time, clip-on handlebars and rear-set foot controls.
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998cc Black Shadow - A fine motorbike

998cc Black Shadow - A fine motorbike

In our motorcycle-besotted, pre-license teen years, my buddies and I traded hyperbole like marbles. A Gold Star would do 90 miles per hour in first gear; a 650 Panther revved so slowly, it only fired once every streetlight; a 500 Velocette would pitch you over the handlebars if it backfired while you were kick-starting it. We knew these things to be true because "real" bikers told us so. But there was one machine no one lied about; they didn't have to. From 1948 until the Vincent Engineering Company produced its last motorcycle in 1955, the 998cc Black Shadow was the fastest production two-wheeler you could buy. Period.
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Also in this issue ...

  • Touratech Portrait [Read]
  • Transalp Rally in Red Rock Country [Read]
  • Road Bites [Read]
  • Unlimited Horizons [Read]
  • Exploring the Lincoln Highway on a Vintage Honda [Read]