September/October 2005
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Touring and Travel Articles

Central Alabama

Central Alabama

Where is it? I know it's around here somewhere. After all the pictures and movies, it shouldn't be that hard to spot, yet for some reason it seems to be eluding me in the early stages of the tour. Oh well, they say patience is a virtue and I know Alabama is as good a location as any, so I won't waver in my quest. I've journeyed here to find the South, and I'm going to ride until I do.
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Shamrock Tour® - Eugene, Oregon

Shamrock Tour® - Eugene, Oregon

"Skinner's Mud Hole" is hardly a name civic boosters would use to attract settlers to a new city. But in 1852 that's what everyone called the township Eugene Franklin Skinner established on the banks of the Willamette. Following his first spring there, when the swollen river had turned the area into a boot-sucking quagmire, Skinner sensibly redrew the town's layout and moved it to higher ground in 1853.
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Australia: An Outback Excursion

Australia: An Outback Excursion

I don't know what came over me. What on earth was I thinking? After one year spent traveling across Africa and its numerous border crossings, I had become an utterly cynical creature of habit, all too used to victimization at the hands of frontier officials. Those hands, I must add, had never once reached toward ours in greeting. Instead, with palms out, they gestured impatiently time after time for the payment of bribe after bribe. An accepted component of everyday life there, corruption seems as natural as eating or sleeping. After twelve months of this, one might be excused for thinking that's the way the rest of the world works - at and around the edges where no one ever bothers to inscribe the rules.
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Carving Canyons in Utah

Carving Canyons in Utah

Torrey would be an unremarkable small town in Utah but for two things: the soaring crimson cliffs of the Capitol Reef National Monument that overlook it, and Highway 12, which ends there. Arguably the most exciting motorcycling road in the state, it's a 100-mile continuum of fast, open bends, head-spinning switchbacks and wriggling canyon curves. So, I'm not surprised to see the town's general store surrounded by motorcycles. More than usual as I learn because it just so happens I've stumbled upon a relatively new Torrey tradition, the biannual BMW Sport Touring event known as the "un-rally."
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Scranton, Pennsylvania

Scranton, Pennsylvania

What is it about riding the back roads that creates such an intimacy with the surroundings? Maybe it's the heightened sense of awareness that's required for this type of riding. The mind is wide open, processing not only the sights, but the rhythms and even the smells of the terrain. In the midst of it all, buildings become architecture, people become folks, and behind everything, a story lurks.
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Portugal: Curves, Culture, Cuisine

Portugal: Curves, Culture, Cuisine

Either the flight to Portugal took more out of me than I thought or my normally nutty dream pattern has been kicked up a notch. Somewhere within the jet-lagged haze of a nap, a distant cuckoo clock chimed fifteen, paused, and began another rhythmic announcement of an hour well past twelve. Rising to locate and silence the malfunctioning clock, following the birdcall into the bathroom, I looked out over the garden of the Casa d' Obidos manor. There's no clock in sight. It's a real cuckoo!
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Northwest Washington

Northwest Washington

Shelly Harper, owner of the "destination shop" Scooter Stuff, tells me "Business is great." I've stopped by her solitary store on a quiet country road close to Whatcom Lake in Northwest Washington to see what it's all about. Oddly, though, there are no other scooters parked outside with my TN'G Verona 150, just a couple of vee-twin cruisers. And Shelly's merchandise consists mostly of leather and chrome items, bandannas and dark glasses. There's obviously some other meaning of "scooter" I'm not familiar with.
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Motorcycle Reviews

2006 Harley-Davidson VRSCR

2006 Harley-Davidson VRSCR

The whispers began almost immediately. No sooner had the motojournalists finished wiping their lips after their first taste of the V-Rod at its introduction in 2001, than they began licking their chops at the prospect of a Revolution-powered, pure performance bike.
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The World of the Triumph Thruxton 900

The World of the Triumph Thruxton 900

The Thruxton 900 is a tribute to the days when a motorcycle was about rebellion and freedom, instead of a fat wallet. Welcome to an England of a bygone era.ThruxtonRace CircuitThe first race was held at a former air base in Hampshire in 1952. In 1968, it took its present form as a 2 1/3 mile circuit, and is considered the fastest in Great Britain.
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Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R vs. Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-12R vs. Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R

I felt an adrenaline rush simply from reading Christian's e-mail message, "Eric, could you do a test ride for us as soon as you return from Thailand? Hayabusa vs. ZX-12R. Please let me know." Talk about an offer I couldn't refuse!
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Honda VTX1800R

Honda VTX1800R

All right, all of you cruiser guys can line up to give me a moto-wedgie for what I'm about to say, but I'll say it anyway. Seven-hundred-and-fifty pounds of dry mass on a two-wheeled chassis is heavy. Yeah, yeah, sure...I can hear all you big he-man types laughing at little Chrissy all the while the waistband of my riding pants is increasing in upward velocity...
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Yamaha Majesty

Yamaha Majesty

Webster's definition of 'majesty' begins many sage enumerations with "sovereign power, authority, or dignity." Lofty implications, those. But Yamaha appears not at all concerned. Appropriated, these terms laud a lithe arrival in the Court of Maxi-Scooters. And even though it's ceding a 50 to 250cc advantage, this noble company still has the temerity to send this royal upstart out to lead the charge against the fearsome hordes laying siege to their battlements.
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Also in this issue ...

  • Bill Mayer Saddles [Read]
  • Left Side Story [Read]