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Great Roads West

Riding to the Grand Canyon During National Park Week

Standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, trying to take it all in.

In Northern Arizona, mid-April spells the beginning of the thaw of the snowpack in mountains, and the corresponding bloom of the hardiest of wild flowers below. It is also the time when early-season motorcyclists begin taking to the open road. This year, my first extended ride of the season is a spectacular roll along the South Rim of the Grand ...

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Back to Alaska—A 40th Anniversary Ride

Subject David Anderson's Indian Collection 11.13.2011.No Usage Rights Of Any Kind Granted Without Written Authorization from John R. Boehm

Mosquito hordes clustered around me as I sat on my Suzuki Water Buffalo contemplating how to extricate myself from the damnable predicament I found myself in. I’d committed the cardinal sin of removing my eyes from the gravel roadway boring through the Yukon wilderness. The front wheel had entered a rut and pulled me down a broken embankment into a ...

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Circling the Sierra: A Three-State Ride Around Snow-Covered Mountains

Circling the Sierra: A Three-State Ride Around Snow-Covered Mountains

Itching for a Northern California adventure, my longtime riding partner, Patrick, and I mull over the possibilities. It’s too early in the season for the Sierra Nevada, which are still covered in serious white stuff. How about skirting serious elevation by heading east into Nevada, then north into Southern Oregon and taking a coastal path home? We leave Los Angeles ...

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Las Vegas Moto Vacation: Beyond the Neon and Slot Machines

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We all know about Las Vegas, either from our own visits or from movies and television; a constant barrage of lights, dinging slot machines, erupting volcanoes, gargantuan fountains, big name shows and sleepless nights. But after the convention is over and your head clears, the Las Vegas area also has some great riding and awesome sights, whether you rent or ...

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The Salton Sea: The Strange Beauty of the Post-Apocalypse

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“Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation.” That was how astronaut Buzz Aldrin described what he saw as he left his famous boot prints on the moon’s surface. I am compelled to repeat those sparse, succinct words as I leave my decidedly un-famous Sidi boot prints on the beach of the Salton Sea. I have always enjoyed exploring places that combine raw, natural ...

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A Short History of California's Cuesta Pass on U.S. 101

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I imagine we all have a lot of favorite roads. One of mine is very short. About three miles long, ascending, or descending, a thousand feet along the west side of Cuesta Canyon, just north of San Luis Obispo, California. It’s dirt, one-lane, built in the 1870s and minimally maintained. The alternative is a six-lane highway, U.S. Route 101, on ...

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The Grand Canyon—Rim-to-Rim on Two Wheels

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It would be one of the world’s greatest loop rides…except for that big crevasse that gets in the way. You’ll just have to settle for a fantastic ride that comes up about 12 miles short of a full circle. Yes, those 12 miles that are impassible on a motorcycle are what make the ride so spectac­ular. A rim-to-rim trek around ...

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Savoring Summer Along California Route 1

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Where exactly do the summers go? As I get older and older the summers seem to get shorter and shorter. When I was a kid summer seemed to last an eternity; from that final school bell of the year until classes resumed in the fall, summer was an endless string of days filled with play, with fun. For motorcyclists, summer ...

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