You usually hear them first. The roar of engines, the changing of gears. Then you see them. Helmets. Flashy and colorful or black and antique. Motorcycles. Sleek and foreign or the strong, boxy American kind. The riders are often burly, sometimes sexy. Doesn't matter if they're man or woman, they're always smiling.
Bikers are everywhere, especially in the summertime. Whether they're out on their own or part of a caravan swarming the highways and country roads in swarms like buzzing bees, there are plenty of road trips and vacation packages available for the biker in you. Whether you own a bike or rent one, motorcycle trips are yet another way to enjoy the world.
The grand-daddy of motorcycle road tripping is, not surprisingly, Harley Davidson (tel. 888/224-BIKE; www.harley-davidson.com). America's most infamous manufacturer of classic road and street bikes has a travel service, bike shipping department, a custom road trip planner for do-it-yourself planners, and a Great Roads section of the site that gives directions, routes, rates the trips, and provides detailed information on types of roads and scenery. In the Great Roads department, the number one rated trip is the recently reopened Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming with over 20 peaks at 12,000 feet of elevation. To give you an idea of the information listed for each road, Beartooth has few stops for gas (so fill up), is very hilly, experiences moderate traffic, has several bathroom stops for both men and women, is very twisty and best seen in the summertime. Expect to see mountains, forests, monuments, lakes, valleys, and leaves falling in the fall. Harley Davidson even lists hotels along the route and locations of Harley dealers in case you need to a service check. This Great Road which is only 68 miles long gets five out of five stars. Other top-rated roads include the Bradentown Beach Scenic Highway in Florida and the Connecticut State Route 169 which takes you through 32 miles of colonial towns, churches, pie stands and artist's estates. So what do these trips cost? Whatever you decide to spend.
For tours through Colorado and Mexico, Turkey Creek Motorcycle Tours (tel. 888/763-6185; www.turkeycreektours.com) specializes in trips through those regions. All Turkey Creek tours include small group sizes, pre-tour information including route details, a welcoming dinner, daily breakfast, knowledgeable guides, luxury accommodations, fuel for your motorcycle, a farewell dinner, dinners nightly, all entrance fees, support vehicles who tag along during your trip, and airport pick-up and assistance with any necessary motorcycle rentals. For 2007 tours, Turtle Creek is having an early booking special where if you book by November 2006 you can lock in 2006 prices. Check out www.turkeycreektours.com/2007_sched.shtml for the 2007 schedule. If you're itching to go now, there's a seven-night trip through the Rio Sonora in Mexico leaving from the town of Bisbee, Arizona that crosses the border at Naco before heading south to the Sonora River Valley. Departing on October 15 or October 22, 2006, the trip costs $1,400 per person with double occupancy hotel accommodations. Lodging in Mexico is at the La Posada del Rio Sonora, a renovated 18th century Hacienda. Other Turkey Creek tours include a special July nine-day for women-only "Gritz to Glitz" trip through the mountains of Colorado.
For this tour and other motorcycle trips into Mexico, you'll need a passport, of course, and also Mexican motorcycle insurance, something easy to acquire by talking to your insurance agent who insures you in America or any other country.
For overseas bikers or Americans looking to ride Europe, Motocadia (tel. +01237 423275; www.motocadia.com/tours.html) specializes in motorcycle trips through the Portuguese countryside and parts of Spain. With Motocadia, don't worry about transporting your bike all the way to Europe. The tour provider includes the use of a Triumph Sprint RS bike in its prices for some tours. A seven-day trip called the "Spirit of Portugal" costs approximately $1,480 per person with double occupancy lodging. The trip includes the use of the motorcycle, all accommodations and extras such as daily breakfast. Departing every Saturday from April 15 to October 15, 2006, the trip covers about 930 miles starting in Lisbon before visiting Obidos, Estrela Mountains, the Douro Valley, the wine regions of Porto, and Nazare. Good for riders of all ages and abilities, this package promises a chance to see the "real" Portugal and the "old country." Motocadia offers track tours for those wanting serious speed and some racing practice.
For local and national motorcycle events held on weekends throughout the country, American Iron Magazine (www.aimag.com), one of the leading motorcycle magazines across the globe, has an events page (www.aimag.com/events.php) where enthusiasts posts their own events big and small on a monthly basis. You can find bike rallies, charity events, motorcycle shows and swapmeets from Maryland to Montana. American Iron's website also has a "Travel" forum where avid motorcyclists exchange information on routes, road trips, and other travel details. Look for posts by the magazine's editorial staff who often organize outings and lengthy trips to great motorcycle roads and regions.
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