November/December 2003
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Touring and Travel Articles

Shamrock Tour® - West Virginia Shamrock

Shamrock Tour® - West Virginia Shamrock

Arriving in the most northern of "southern" cities - Charleston, the capital of West Virginia - we feel right at home. It's just the right size (the population is only 58,000) with more than enough entertainments to satisfy the aimless weekend visitor: great bars and restaurants, striking nineteenth-century architecture, and impressive bridges to stroll over the Kanawha River downtown. Casting a benevolent sheen over the entire assemblage, the tall golden dome of the State Capitol (designed by Cass Gilbert, the architect behind the US Supreme Court and US Treasury buildings) shines in the last rays of sunlight.
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From New Orleans to Lake Charles: Bikin' in the Bayou

From New Orleans to Lake Charles: Bikin' in the Bayou

"Bienvenue!" the festive signs proclaim from the town limits. Only when one rolls closer does the translation "Welcome" appear in its tiny font. A preference for French isn't the only thing unique about this road connection. Traveling from New Orleans to Lake Charles on the swampiest routes in southern Louisiana, I've found out that the roads in Bayou Country are often the only dry spots of land around. That's life in the southernmost parishes. And although my Gold Wing 1800 has touring amenities enough that it practically drives itself, it couldn't possibly blend in here unless it had a rear prop or paddles.
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Oregon

Oregon

A rite of passage for aspiring long-distance hikers, the Pacific Crest Trail is a pristine wilderness path skimming the ridges of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges from Mexico to Canada. Its 2,638 miles overlook some of the continent's most spectacular scenery, from the purple deserts of Southern California to the snowy wilderness of the Okanogan National Forest. In between, the trail jockeys round Oregon's train of volcanoes: Hood, Jefferson, Three Sisters, and Crater Lake. You can hike, horseback ride and maybe even mountain bike it. But you can't ride a motorcycle on it. Not legally, anyway...
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Up North Michigan

Up North Michigan

The dark, narrow pavement defined by nothing more than white stripes at the edges winds through the deep shade of the forest canopy. Occasionally I catch glimpses of water far below. Impossibly blue, it stretches to the horizon and sparkles in the late afternoon sun. Homes are tucked away, nestled in the woods, which only enhances the visual treat of riding this route. With little to detract from the view, "The Tunnel of Trees" has almost everything I look for in a scenic touring road. Like the saying goes, I'd saved the best for last.
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New Mexico Carlsbad Caverns

New Mexico Carlsbad Caverns

It's early. The sun begins to peek over the horizon of a cloudless sky. Although it looks as though it will be a bright, beautiful day, it doesn't matter much whether it rains or shines because I'm going to descend nearly 1,000 feet into the earth's crust for a subterranean sojourn in a realm of gigantic crystalline rock formations never touched by the rays of the sun.
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England: Dales, Peaks, and Moors

England: Dales, Peaks, and Moors

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!!

- Robert Browning

It is April in England. But William Blake's lines about "dark, satanic mills," written fifty years before Browning's ode, ring more accurately as we climb a clouded hill and scan the Calder Valley. The banks of the greasy Rochdale Canal are chockablock with bleak woolen mills, grimy brick-built factories, and row houses impossibly crowded together. Mr. Browning may be forgiven, however. After all, he penned this flowery effusion in sunny Italy, where memories often surface draped in rose-tinted hues.
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Motorcycle Reviews

Honda VTX1800C & Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

Honda VTX1800C & Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

Cruisers are getting bigger, longer, lower and heavier. A distinctly American style of riding, cruising is the manifestation of a major market both here and abroad. And two Japanese companies seem to have learned their lessons very well with the VTX1800 and Vulcan 1600 Classic proving they can convey and deliver that feeling of freedom and relaxed riding.
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Honda VTX1800C and Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

Honda VTX1800C and Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Classic

Cruisers are getting bigger, longer, lower and heavier. A distinctly American style of riding, cruising is the manifestation of a major market both here and abroad. And two Japanese companies seem to have learned their lessons very well with the VTX1800 and Vulcan 1600 Classic proving they can convey and deliver that feeling of freedom and relaxed riding.
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YAMAHA ROAD STAR

YAMAHA ROAD STAR

Looking out of the window I can only see a grey curtain hanging over Morro Bay, CA. There is only one bright spot on the horizon today - the prospect of riding one of the 15 brand-new 2004 Yamaha Road Stars that Brad Banister's Yamaha Team presents to the traveling press.
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Also in this issue ...

  • City Portrait: Sacramento Shining [Read]
  • HSTA (Honda Sport Touring Association) [Read]
  • Kevin Schwantz Suzuki School - Back to School [Read]