The List

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  • Gizmo
    started a blog post The List

    The List

    The List

    I was once asked what my favorite motorcycle tour has been and the reasons why? A lifetime of wonderful riding experiences flashed through my mind.

    Picking one tour over all the others was not so easy because there are a lot of variables involved in motorcycle travel. Weather, road conditions and the good and bad experiences of the road can change one’s views of a place. Also, it is unfair to rate a trip until the experience has had some time to marinate within the brain. Almost every trip I have taken has spawned several “I’d love to come back here again” moments as they were occurring. It wasn’t until some time later that, after seeing more places and experiencing a lot more of what the world has to offer, I either demoted or raised the trip rating.

    I am now at the point where I have ridden almost everywhere I have wanted to go in North America. I have been fortunate to have visited some of the most iconic places more than once….proof that they are, indeed, worthy of my high ranking. At the risk of being too long-winded, I’ll give you my top ten tours and an abbreviated explanation of why they made the list.

    10. California: California is a big, diverse state terrain wise so it is somewhat unfair to lump it all into one category. There are beautiful coastal views, awesome national parks, curvy roads galore and….40 million residents and, apparently, an equal number of tourists! I tend to go where people aren’t so that personal peculiarity causes me to drop California down a few spots.

    9. The Appalachian region: This is an area that is severely underrated by many western motorcyclists who have never ventured that far east. The entire region is so full of history, charming towns and awesome curves that there is not enough time to see and experience it all. There are areas of too many people, however, and the summer heat and humidity can be oppressive.

    8. The Northeast: I’m talking north of Boston's mayhem. Acadia National Park is truly one of the most scenic places on earth. The coastal towns are just simply charming and how about the lobstah? Inland, in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, rural Pennsylvania and upstate New York, there are great motorcycling roads, beautiful countryside and bucolic small towns. Niagara Falls is a must see.

    7. Eastern Montana (and Wyoming): What? Yes, that is that vast area EAST of the Rocky Mountains. I have ridden through this region many times and it never bores me. I suppose that puts me in an extreme minority of motorcyclists but since this is my list…..LOL! From the endless wheat fields of The Highline to the Yellowstone breaks and the limitless Big Sky in between, this is as unaffected as rural America gets. The towns are tiny and far between. Cell service is spotty and if a thunderstorm pops up you may be out in the middle of nowhere with no place to hide. What is not to love about this place?

    6. Southern Utah: Home of five spectacular national parks, southern Utah is a scenic wonderland that is unparalleled in few, if any, places on Earth. The parks can get crowded, which takes away from the joy, but thoughtful strategic planning and timing of your visit should mitigate those issues. The hot desert climate can also be a factor but…it’s a dry heat!

    5. Yellowstone National Park and area: By “area”, I include Grand Teton, the Big Horn mountains, Beartooth Pass and the Chief Joseph Highway. I have lost count of the number of times I have been in the Yellowstone area. It has become familiar but never boring. The only downside are the crowds in Yellowstone so wise planning is necessary.

    4. Oregon: I can’t think of any part of Oregon that is not beautiful. Even Portland, with all of its traffic, is a lovely city. There is probably no more stunning place in the world than Crater Lake.

    3. Washington: The Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River and Gorge, the Cascades, the Palouse….all spectacular!

    2. Colorado: Widely regarded as the premier destination for touring motorcyclists, the Colorado Rockies do not disappoint. With 12,000’ passes and 14,000’ peaks galore, all connected with fine curvy highways, Colorado is something to behold over and over.
    1. Alaska: Ok, this very long, extensive and expensive trip does not just include the biggest state but also the roads that get you there across northwestern Canada as well because they are an integral part of the experience. I have motorcycled to Alaska four times and, although there are really only two routes that can get you there, it seems as if the experience is different each time. Perhaps it is the unpredictable nature of weather and roads that makes this trip into something unexpected and challenging every time. Of course, the scenery is great but the overwhelming things about going to Alaska and touring that immense place are the vast distances and wildness of the countryside. The isolation can be intimidating at times so it’s best to not dwell on things that can go wrong. Just be prepared and do it!

    So, there you have it. The List is not really in any definite order and if I rewrote it next week it could be different. I know some will disagree with my rankings or wonder why I have left off certain popular spots (Grand Canyon, Black Hills, Pacific Coast Highway) but remember, I like eastern Montana better so I see things a bit differently than most. Lol!

    Ride safe!

    • Gizmo
      #1
      Gizmo commented
      Editing a comment
      That is ok. Do your own thing. Not everybody has the time or desire to do what I do on a motorcycle. This is not a contest.

    • kwthom
      #2
      kwthom commented
      Editing a comment
      Good list...I'd shuffle a few of them around, but not by a lot.

      Let's see - I've been east of the Mississippi on two wheels only four times now. Your #9 is described very succinctly - and accurately. I know know putting my mind to it, I can be east of Big Muddy in two days'. :D

      Nice post, Gizmo!
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