Friday, January 24, 2014
If you’re the type of person who is looking for a complicated route or technical challenge to prove your advanced riding skills, this route is not for you. However, if you love warm breezes, lazy afternoons, gorgeous scenery, and unparalleled wildlife, get ready for the weekend escape of your life!
Start your journey at either the Monument Lake or Midway Campgrounds in Ochopee, FL. It’s easy to get to from Miami or Naples. Due to its perfect location in the middle of the Big Cypress National Preserve, combined with easy access via the Tamiami Trail, you will never be far from civilization… while finding it easy to forget it even exists!
Head east for about 50 miles until you get to the town of Tamiami itself. You might want to get gas around this area, if you didn’t already before leaving Big Cypress National Preserve. Hang a right and take the ramp onto the South Florida Turnpike. Once you’re on the highway, you’ll go about two miles before you come through the tollbooth, which charges $1.00 for bikes.
Once through, it’s a straight shot -- or rather, a long and meandering ride -- until you reach South Dixie Highway, a.k.a. US-1 South. Take the left exit marked “Key West” and start working your way south. Nearby, you’ll also find the Everglades National Park, a must-see icon of American culture.
From there, it’s a leisurely half hour ride to Key Largo, where you bear right to stay on US-1 South as it turns into Overseas Highway. This is the halfway point of your one-way trip, 2 hours and 100 miles from your starting point and 2 hours and 100 miles from your destination.
After that, enjoy the different bridges and keys as you cruise at a leisurely pace over the waters until you reach Key West itself. Keep an eye out for seabirds, alligators, turtles, dolphins, and more.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Start off at Santa Rosa Plateau on Clinton Keith Road, just north of the junction between Interstates 5 and 15. Follow Clinton Keith until you reach a T-junction, turn right to stay on Tenaja Road which becomes Vía Volcan. Turn left onto Avocado Mesa Road which turns into Los Gatos Road after you bear right around the bend.
Then you will descend very steep grade to Carancho Rd, where you will make a left and then a right onto Camaron Road. Hang a left when you get to De Anza Road, then turn right on Sandia Creek Drive, turn right again to stay on Sandia Creek and it will take you into Fallbrook where it joins De Luz Road. Enjoy the view of ranches and orchards along the way.
Turn right at Mission Rd and continue through the outskirts of Fallbrook until you reach Olive Hill Road which becomes Burma Road after a right bend. Turn left on Sleeping Indian Road and follow it to the T-stop at North River Rd. Turn right onto North River Road, left onto Vandegrift/River and then left again at College Boulevard. The ride may get windy in some spots around there.
Take College Blvd up through the low hills to Carlsbad Village Drive where you take a right to head down to the Pacific Coast Highway. When you get to Carlsbad Boulevard, take a left and simply cruise south along the coast down to Pacific Beach through La Jolla via South Coast Highway 101.
While the start of the ride takes you through forest, wilderness, and grassy hills, the latter half takes you past quirky cafés, beach shacks, restaurants, bike shops, and some of the top classic Southern Californian seaside towns.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Before you embark on your journey, be sure to refuel in the quaint town of Cloudcroft. While the roads in Lincoln National Forest are excellent, there are no gas stations. Once you’re ready to go, head south from Cloudcroft onto Cox Canyon Highway. (Before you leave town, check out the Mexican Canyon Railroad Trestle Recreation Area, just one street west.)
Starting on James Canyon Highway (US-82) in Cloudcroft, take a left and start heading south on Cox Canyon Highway (State Road 6563). After a little over a mile and a half, bear right to stay on SR-6563, which turns into Sunspot Scenic Byway.
Sunspot boasts some of the best riding road around. There are plenty of twists along this well-paved highway, along with some fun up-and-down hill country. Plus, stunning vistas from this forest oasis can’t be beat. You can even catch a glimpse of the famous White Sands at Alamogordo to the northwest.
About 15 miles in, you will see signs for the National Solar Observatory. You can choose to wander around and stretch your legs on your own or opt to take the guided tour and learn all about this neat astronomy center.
Next, turn right onto Sacramento Canyon Highway and continue heading south. From there, either head 14 miles straight to Timberon, a sleepy camping village nestled on the southern slopes of the Sacramento Mountains, or turn left onto Scott Able Road and continue winding your way around.
After 3 miles, turn right onto Agua Chiquita Road and enjoy the twisties! Continue on through the town of Weed and turn left onto Route 24. After 5 miles, turn left onto Rio Pensaco road and head back toward Cloudcroft on Cox Canyon Highway.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Now that our nation’s parks are finally reopening, CycleTrader believes that now is the perfect time to get out and appreciate as many of these national treasures as possible!
The Trace begins in Dover, Tennessee, about 1.5 hours northwest of Nashville. Start off heading south on Highway 79. From there, look for signs for Land Between the Lakes (LBL). Follow those signs, they will direct you to a road called "The Trace." Simply take this road north all the way up to the end in Grand Rivers, KY.
The Trace is full of things to stop and see, so take it slow and enjoy the ride. You could easily spend an entire day on this 48 mile stretch of heaven. Starting at the southern end of beautiful Land Between the Lakes, this ride offers plenty of places along the way to stop, stretch your legs, and appreciate the scenery. Overall the ride offers equal parts of views of wooded stretches and open vistas. The road through the trace is a well-maintained two-lane, blacktop with nice curves and gently rolling hills.
There’s also The Homeplace, a real working 1850’s settlement that you can tour for only $5, as well as free-roaming elk and bison ranges, fresh springs, clear lakes views and more. There’s even a planetarium, so be sure to check the schedule before your ride and you might get to feast your eyes on even more than you originally hoped for! And don’t forget all the campgrounds! There’s Piney Campground, Ginger Bay, Colson Hollow and Brandon Springs, just to name a few.
Be sure to see Fort Donelson Civil War battlefield in Dover before or after your ride. There’s also a Dover Cycle & ATV right in Dover, just in case you need to gear up before your trip.
Once you arrive in Grand Rivers,, be sure to look for Patti's 1880's Settlement, a great place to eat lunch or dinner before your return ride south!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Here are some of the most beautiful, serene, and gently twisting lanes in the country. Fall is the perfect time to enjoy Skyline Drive, as the leaves change color all along your route.
Your scenic ride through history starts in Front Royal, Virginia, just 1.5 hours west of our nation’s capital. Once you’re done scoping out the Skyline Caverns, hop off Stonewall Jackson Highway, take the north entrance to Skyline Drive and head south.
Remember to be safe; the speed limit on most of Skyline Drive is 35mph. You will be tempted/able to reach speeds up to 50mph, but be careful. Skyline Drive is known for its abundant wildlife!
After about 5 miles, you’ll reach the Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, where you will find plenty of parking and the perfect opportunity to take some breathtaking photos. There will be scenic overlooks around many of the bends in this long and beautiful road.
In about another 10 minutes, you will cross paths with the Appalachian Trail, a marked hiking trail over 2,200 miles long that begins in Maine, winds along the Appalachian Mountain Range, and finally ends in Georgia.
Keep heading south and you’ll pass the Matthews Arm Campground in Rileyville. Continue south until you reach Route 211. From there you can take a right, ride 10 miles west and explore the famous Luray Caverns. Take a guided tour and hear about its haunting history!
If you’d rather keep on cruising, head past Lake Arrowhead and continue winding your way south. Cross over Spotswood Trail and ride through the beautiful Shenandoah National Park in Stanley.
You will pass the Grand Caverns and keep going until you get to Waynesboro. From there, you’ll reach Swift Run Gap where Skyline Drive ends, but you can choose to continue riding down the Blue Ridge Parkway to destinations such as the Natural Bridge.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Whether you’re moving to a new home or planning a cross-country trip, a professional motorcycle transporter can make life easier and save a classic bike from thousands of miles of wear. Motorcycle owners on vacation often pay for hauling services on one leg of a longer trip— to a big run like Sturgis, for example— then ride back. Whatever the occasion, if you’re hiring someone to haul your baby, it’s important to find the best possible transporter.
Here are 5 essential tips for choosing a top-notch motorcycle hauler:
1. Know the type of trailer you need to protect your motorcycle.
If you’re sending your bike to Timbuktu, you need to consider the duration of the journey, the weather conditions along the way, and how they might affect your bike. If you’ve invested a significant amount of time, energy, love or cash in a motorcycle, you should consider hiring a transporter with an enclosed trailer. Quotes for enclosed trailer transport might run a bit higher, but your cargo won’t be exposed to the elements.
2. Search for verified, unedited reviews of transporters.
Once you’ve determined how your bike should be transported, look for reviews online. uShip, the Better Business Bureau and Google are all excellent resources for locating feedback from past customers about any business. It’s easy to tell when reviews come from actual customers, particularly on sites like uShip where verified customers are encouraged to leave feedback.
3. Confirm the operating authority and insurance coverage of the transporter.
If your transporter is crossing state lines with your motorcycle, ask to verify their operating authority, which usually consists of a federally provisioned MC (Motor Carrier) number and DOT number. You should also ask for proof of your hauler’s cargo insurance in writing, which they should readily provide. Your personal motorcycle insurance will likely not cover any damage incurred in transit, so cargo insurance is essential.
4. Ask for the terms of payment upfront, before accepting a quote.
In working with a professional motorcycle carrier, you should know right away when and how payment will take place. The method of payment should be easily understood. That said, this step makes it easy to identify potential fraudsters: if a company requests cash payment via wire transfer, take your business elsewhere. Pro transporters might request a deposit, followed by the remainder upon delivery. On uShip, however, your credit card will be charged upfront, and the transporter won’t receive your payment until you release it upon delivery. Keep in mind that in all scenarios, carriers can legally refuse to unload your motorcycle until you’ve paid in full (or electronically ‘released payment’).
5. Be flexible on the timing of pickup and delivery.
Since the safety of your motorcycle and its transporter are the number one priority, determine a reasonable timetable for delivery ahead of time. Last we checked, motorcycles can’t be teleported, so look out for companies that claim to make a coast-to-coast journey in a few days flat. Once you’ve found a quality, well-reviewed transporter, work with them to establish a flexible schedule for pickup and delivery – it’ll also help to lower your quote.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
If you’re looking for the perfect late summer weekend escape, this Pacific Northwest gem is for you! Note: as with any mountainous motorcycle route, take special care to avoid late spring or early fall snow and flood conditions.
Start at Bonney Lake, just 16 miles southeast of Tacoma, Washington and hop on Hwy 410 East. Bear left when you get to Buckley to stay on 410 or, if you’d like to take a scenic detour, take a right onto Highway 165 south. There’s a saloon in Carbonado and old logging towns along the Carbon River.
If you keep heading south, 165 turns into Mowich Lake Road, which is closed during the winter. It rides along a ridge overlooking Voight Creek until it splits, offering you the option of heading right toward Mowich Lake or left to Evans Creek Campground if you’re looking for a little R&R.
Once you retrace your tire treads, make your way back north to Buckley, swing through Enumclaw, and head southeast until you get to Federation Forest State Park along Chinook Pass Highway. Keep in mind this road may be closed until March.
Keep following Hwy 410 along the White River as it winds south toward majestic Mt. Rainier. You can bear right onto Sunrise Park Road to enjoy the winding switchbacks past the White River Campground and up the mountain toward the breathtaking vistas of Sunrise Lake, the highest point accessible to motorcyclists. This is the halfway mark of your journey and there are campgrounds, vacation rentals, even a top-rated resort along the way if you’d like to rest up.
Once you’re back on Mather Memorial Parkway (Hwy 410 East) keep cruising until you take a slight right to get onto Hwy 123 South. Turn right on Stevens Canyon and wind your way through Paradise, the most visited spot in the park, along Paradise River Road, and past Narada Falls, until you get to Cougar Rock Campground.
Paradise Road turns into National Park Highway, which takes you out of Mt. Rainier National Park through the Nisqually gate. Cruise on down your destination: the town of Elbe. If you’re looking for a different mode of transportation, Elbe is home of the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad, an open-air steam-powered locomotive.