July/August 2006
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Touring and Travel Articles

Moab to Los Angeles: Mother Lode of the Mother Road

Moab to Los Angeles: Mother Lode of the Mother Road

Monument Valley, that dreamy, spiritual, red-rock vista so lovingly exploited by automobile ad directors must indeed be an impressive sight at sunrise or sunset, when the warm light and strong shadows etch its soaring spires and buttes against the sky. But under the cover of high clouds on a hazy, humid October afternoon, with a blustery wind kicking up dust devils, the shadows and the magic are missing. Especially so after the outrageous spectacles of the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks observed near Moab. Perhaps I'm suffering from visual overload.
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Shamrock Tour® - Grand Rapids, Minnesota

Shamrock Tour® - Grand Rapids, Minnesota

My first view of Mille Lacs Lake is an impressive one indeed. The bright midmorning sun is laying a shimmer across the wind-blown surface, creating a near blinding electric caper of refracted light that, even in broad daylight, puts the Vegas strip to shame. Another half-mile of asphalt passes beneath the Victory Kingpin Deluxe and the light show disappears, giving way to an endless cobalt blanket stretching as far as the eye can see. In an instant, a minor tweak in the sun's angle completely changes Mother Nature's stage, one of countless transformations seen daily in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."
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Canada: Call of the Yukon - Part One

Canada: Call of the Yukon - Part One

One of three roads in the world to penetrate the Arctic Circle, the daunting Dempster Highway runs from Dawson City to Inuvik. On its scenic way, the road skirts the Tombstone Range, travels through First Nation towns, and traverses the Peel and Mackenzie Rivers on ice bridges (ferries in summer) before ending near the shores of Beaufort Sea.
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Roundtrip Tour: Circling Pittsburgh

Roundtrip Tour: Circling Pittsburgh

The bar in the sports-crazy college town of Morgantown, home to West Virginia University, had one of their televisions tuned, oddly enough, to the Weather Channel. Gnawing away at the wing of some unlucky flightless fowl and sipping from a stein of suds, I found myself paying more attention to a wind-battered reporter trying to relay a firsthand account of the summer's latest hurricane. I had hoped it would turn west, but she was heading north and, like it or not, it looked like I was going to be spending some quality time with Katrina.
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Northern Chile and Argentina: High and Dry

Northern Chile and Argentina: High and Dry

Summer was running out of gas. Yellow leaves fell gently, and autumn nipped at the air when we left behind the vineyards and fruit plantations north of Santiago on our trip to Mendoza, in Argentina. Like ghost riders, it felt as if we were heading straight into the sky.
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New Hampshire's White Mountains

New Hampshire's White Mountains

Leaf-peeping in New England is serious business. Each autumn, as the days and nights shift from warm to cool and memories of days spent lazing on the beach in light summer outfits become as fuzzy as sweaters pulled out of storage, people from across the country and around the world make the pilgrimage to this cozy little northeastern corner of the United States to view the fiery transformation of verdant hillsides.
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Florida Scooter Tour

Florida Scooter Tour

In the grand scheme of things, February in North Carolina is not all that bad. We could ride year round, but few of us choose to do so. Our long, hot summers condition us to opt for the extra two wheels once the leaves take leave. Sure, the daytime highs usually crack 40 degrees, but like many, I use those 12 or so weeks of winter to get reacquainted with my truck. I know what you're thinking, and you're right: I am a wimp.
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Motorcycle Reviews

Yamaha Stratoliner XV1900

Yamaha Stratoliner XV1900

Recently released to the American motorcycle marketplace, the all new Roadliner embraces an era of significant change for the tuning fork company. Yamaha has placed their whole cruiser range of motorcycles under the new Star banner, and the top dog in this exciting lineup for 2006 is the Stratoliner. Basically an accessorized Roadliner, it's appearing in dealer showrooms as a complete model, featuring a removable windshield, a backrest and leather-bound hard bags.
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Buell Ulysses XB12X Adventure Sportbike

Buell Ulysses XB12X Adventure Sportbike

Buell promotes the XB12X as an "adventure sportbike," and that's a pretty fair description. The big twin offers speed and handling approaching that of a sport bike, and it doesn't sniff at getting its paws dirty either. The Ulysses also approximates the comfort and carrying capacity (with optional luggage system) of a sport-tourer and the frisky attitude of a naked bike. Best of all, it's one of those rare machines that seems to possess a personality distinct from its technical attributes.
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Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad - Long-Term Evaluation

Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Nomad - Long-Term Evaluation

Oddly enough, it's on a four-lane highway somewhere outside of Danville, Virginia, that it dawns on me. This bike's moniker really fits. A nomad is one who doesn't stay in the same place very long, a wanderer if you will. And while the bike wears that peripatetic badge, whoever obtains the keys to one of these machines may want to adopt the nomadic lifestyle as well.
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1981 Laverda 1000 Jota

1981 Laverda 1000 Jota

"Any color as long as it's black." Not surprisingly, it was in the psychedelic seventies when motorcycle manufacturers first broke with the tradition of black-painted frames. First came BSA's "dove grey," intended, it's said, to reprise the company's titanium-tubed, motocross bike frames. Then came Ducati's teal-framed silver 750SS. But perhaps the most successful color combo was Laverda's pairing of the company's racing orange with the sleek silver tubes of its mighty muscle bike, the Jota.
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Also in this issue ...

  • Time to Re-tire? [Read]
  • Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club National Meet [Read]
  • Beautiful Views, Dangerous Distractions [Read]