September/October 2004
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Touring and Travel Articles

Eastern Ohio

Eastern Ohio

Why did the black snake cross the road? I don't know either. Maybe he's fleeing to higher ground from the floodwaters that have recently plagued the Eastern Ohio countryside. Maybe the critters on his menu are just a bit more succulent on the other side. Either way, he doesn't have far to go to reach safety. Traffic is light and the day is beautiful. Mr. Blacksnake need not be concerned with the speedy wheels of a certain Aprilia Falco. The Falco is hunting all right, but with bigger snakes in mind. Its prey has been found and we're bearing down on the twisting, undulating, serpentine beast known as the Eastern Ohio back road.
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Shamrock Tour® - Williamsburg, Kentucky

Shamrock Tour® - Williamsburg, Kentucky

Two-lane asphalt snakes its way through steep mountain gorges sculpted over millions of years by rushing streams. Lush vegetation presses in from all sides, often overarching the road and blotting out the sun. My feet and hands move with practiced precision, downshifting, tapping the brakes, leaning deeply into the curves, rolling on the throttle and up-shifting through the gears as the motorcycle gathers speed. My complete attention is focused on the constantly curving yellow line threading its way through a tunnel of green.
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Norway: Wild, Scenic Fjord Country

Norway: Wild, Scenic Fjord Country

Want to explore Europe's wild North? Then traveling western Norway between the historic city of Bergen and Geiranger, along the secluded coast and over the central mountains with its demanding rides around Dalsnibba and Trollstigen, is your best bet.
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In search of Washington's Coastal Mountains

In search of Washington's Coastal Mountains

At a Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group meeting the president looks over and says, "Robert's just back from an interesting trip."And perhaps a bit too smugly I begin to sketch the details of my recent tour of Washington's Olympic Peninsula; 700 miles in three days on my 1970 Bonneville. Other members begin to pipe up scornfully: Dan rode his 1952 Vincent to Tierra del Fuego; Ron completed the Vancouver-Daytona-Vancouver circuit on a '47 Knucklehead; and Steve piled up 12,000 miles round trip to Newfoundland on a 1974 Commando...Sheepishly, I reclaim my seat.
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Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona

I awake in Flagstaff to a dusting of snow on the trees and bushes. More of the same is heaped upon the naked rock that crowns Humphrey's Peak, the highest point in Arizona. This sharp summit, stretching 12,633 feet above this old railroad town, tears holes in the fast-moving storm clouds, and I'll come to use it like the North Star to navigate in Northern Arizona.
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Missouri Rhineland

Missouri Rhineland

Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet left the first written account of the land that became Missouri after descending the Mississippi River in 1673. Today, Father ChristianNeuhauser, his wife Christa, and their sonsManuel and Florian are on the road withAprilias and Piaggios to follow their trail.
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Motorcycle Reviews

Yamaha R1

Yamaha R1

No doubt about it, Michelangelo was one of the greatest artists ever and a free spirit the like of few others before or since. Trendsetters in architecture, music, fashion, cars, and bikes, Italians seem born with an eye for design. And when I first saw the original YZF-R1 in 1998, I had my suspicions there existed a pact between the Italians and the Japanese. The new model confirms it: Michelangelo had to be the inspiration behind the design, and, as for engineering and road performance, none other than Sir Isaac Newton could have lent a hand.
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Victory Vegas / Triumph Speedmaster Comparison

Victory Vegas / Triumph Speedmaster Comparison

Parallel twin versus V-twin in a no-holds-barred contest of cruisers. We grabbed two contemporary powerhouses in the muscle bike market to see which one holds the edge: Is it the parallel Brit style or American know-how in the tangent?
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BMW R1200GS

BMW R1200GS

Airborne at 50mph isn't the time to tell myself I should have slowed down. I have to keep the throttle open and brace. Landing cleanly and gracefully, I'm surprised to find I'm still in business, so I twist the throttle. The rear end spins up, launching dust, gravel, and a loud "Yee-haa!" before I grab another gear. Somebody forgot to tell BMW you can't go dirt riding on a 496-pound motorcycle.
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The Vespa 200 GT

The Vespa 200 GT

Few other popular creations - maybe a piping hot Neapolitan pizza - convey the life-loving verve of the Italian people than a Vespa. As our city planners and legislators grapple more with the effects of traffic congestion and dwindling resources, it wouldn't surprise me some 20 years down the line to find that the Vespa has become as common in the USA as the drive-through window in neighborhood burger joints. In cinematic terms, the "wasp" is already an American icon. Hollywood studios churned out 60 movies that featured the peppy import in 1962 alone, and leading lights John Steinbeck, William Holden, George Lucas, Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn all enjoyed the Vespa ride. You can always pop in a copy of Roman Holiday when you need a vicarious reminder of what it's like.
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Aprilia Atlantic 500

Aprilia Atlantic 500

It took some doing to find out where Salina is. Now I know. It's in the middle of Kansas, and after a 14-hour drive, we finally arrived at Salina Powersport. Robert Bohm, the owner, welcomed us heartily and set about explaining the operation of two Italian scooters, Aprilia's Scarabeo and the luxury liner I'm scheduled to cruise upon, the Atlantic 500.
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Also in this issue ...

  • De Soto National Forest [Read]
  • Shake, Rattle & Roll [Read]
  • Never too old [Read]
  • City Portrait: Australia [Read]
  • Packing a Bike [Read]