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Great Roads North Central

Historic and Scenic Routes in Western Nebraska

Riding up the Summit Road with three friends that I met at Scotts Bluff National Monument.

The first transcontinental railroad, first transcontinental automobile highway (the Lincoln Highway), the Oregon Trail, the California and Mormon Trails and the Pony Express riders all made their way through Western Nebraska. Why? The routes originally followed the North Platte River through the prairies, sand hills and grasslands of Nebraska en route to the new lands to the West, skirting the ...

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Motorcycle Riding in Wisconsin's Door County

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The first slice of this three-day tour began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where five intrepid motojournalists landed on a Thursday afternoon at the city’s General Mitchell International Airport. We’d be cruisin’ through the Land of WI, a state known for the Green Bay Packers, as the corporate home of Harley-Davidson and, of course, for its famous cheese. We came at the ...

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Eastern Kansas: Time Traveling in the Sunflower State

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I was about an hour outside of Kansas City heading south on U.S. Route 169, a lightly traveled four-laner, and it was great to finally be on the open road. The big Suzuki V-Strom’s V-twin eased into a rhythmic cadence, sort of like the gallop of a horse, an image that comes to mind whenever I ride lonesome highways west ...

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Meandering Through the Midwest

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The planning session for the ride had been laughable. We were three old farts, card-carrying AARP members, edging into retirement. Gary had suggested a three-day trip to Red Wing, Minnesota. Dick fiddled with a recently acquired GPS. I unrolled a map. “What’s to figure out?” I’d asked. “We head west from Lake Michigan. When we hit the Mississippi, we turn ...

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Riding the Tail of the Newt in Kansas

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Kansas City straddles the border of two states, so if you are from the area, starting in one state and finishing in another is no big deal. I’m not sure how the Tail of the Newt got its name, except that it’s Highway N, and compared to the Tail of the Dragon it is a newt or small salamander of ...

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Exploring Wisconsin State Route 67

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My Dad told me, “Always go home a different way than you went, or you’ll never learn your way around.” I’ve always tried to follow that advice, and as a result, I’ve ridden just about every road in Wisconsin. One day I realized that the road I live on, Wisconsin State Road 67, is one of the most varied and ...

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Motorcycle Ride in Door County, Wisconsin

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Door County, Wisconsin, covers the tip of a narrow peninsula, with Lake Michigan lapping at its eastern beaches and Green Bay gracing its western shores. A popular summer destination, its shoulder-to-shoulder vacationers and bumper-to-bumper traffic in peak season are not necessarily a motorcyclist’s dream. But there is a way for riders to enjoy Door County Coastal Byway, also known as ...

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Following Hemingway: Motorcycle Adventure on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

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Iconic author Ernest Hemingway followed his own path in a distinctively adventurous manner. I’ve compared his approach to life to that of motorcyclists, pursuing adventure on lonely ribbons of asphalt, willingly exposed to difficulties they could have chosen to avoid. There are easier and more comfortable ways to experience life, but Hemingway, and motorcycle riders, wouldn’t have it any other ...

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Pigeon River Country: Sport Touring in Michigan

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Michigan riders looking for sporting back roads with minimal traffic and serious curves in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula need only follow the elk herd. The state of Michigan introduced seven elk to the Wolverine area in 1918, and now a free-ranging herd numbering nearly 1,000 animals roams the Pigeon River State Forest near Gaylord and Wolverine. The ...

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Sidehacking into History

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Many motorcyclists consider freeway speed limits to be a barrier. On a Ural, they’re more like an accomplishment. But the thrill one feels at 75 mph on three wheels fades fast, and not much of life happens at that speed anyway. So less than a hundred miles of our 2,800-mile round-trip to the Niagara Peninsula took place on four-lane roads. ...

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