Motorists aren’t fully experiencing the scenic vistas of the world behind a pane of glass. To fully enjoy the idiosyncratic terrain and climates of earth, one must ride by motorcycle. You’d be doing a disservice to the following routes by driving on any more than two wheels.
To launch any motorcycle road trip, your bike must be in supreme condition. Follow the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s safety acronym: T-CLOCS.
Tires & Wheels – Check your tire’s air pressure and treads. If the treads are worn down past what’s safe, consider a frugal replacement with discount Michelin tires to guarantee a safe journey. Inspect the spokes, bearings and brakes as well.
Controls – Check levers, switches, cables, hoses and throttle.
Lights & Electronics – Ensure that headlights, brake lights and electrical switches are fully functional.
Oil & Other Fluids – Inspect the oil, coolant and hydraulic fluid. Look for any fuel leaks.
Chassis – Consult the operator’s manual for suspension settings. Check the suspension and drive components and adjust for your load’s weight.
Sidestand – Check the tension spring and replace if need be.
Trail of Tears – Tennessee to Alabama
To honor and remember the Cherokee people, ride on this historic trail on Highway 72 from Chattanooga, TN, to Florence, AL. Every September, motorcyclists congregate to Chattanooga to participate in the only official Trail of Tears Motorcycle Remembrance Ride and honor the Native Americans who were extricated from their homeland after the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Trail of Tears extends well beyond Florence and through several states terminating in Oklahoma. There are several museums, parks, cemeteries and forts to visit for a lesson in history while traversing the Trail of Tears. This year (2013) will mark the 20th anniversary of the ride. http://www.trailoftears-remembrance.org/
Patagonia Tour – Argentina & Chile
Retrace the 1952 motorcycle journey of Che Guevara as depicted in his book and the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries.” The famed revolutionary began this great South American trip in Buenos Aires atop a 1939 Norton 500cc motorcycle. Once in Chile, head to Chuquicamata copper mine, the world’s largest open-pit mine. Onto Peru, you can view the remnants of the Inca Empire and the Amazon rainforest as Che did. Cross the Amazon river to eventually reach Bogota, Colombia and onto the finale: Caracas, Venezuela.
“Easy Rider” – California to Louisiana
In the iconic 1960s film “Easy Rider,” Wyatt and Billy take a journey across the American Southwest and South on the backs of their motorized steeds. Your first destination on this journey from L.A. to New Orleans is on the outskirts of Death Valley: Ballarat, California. Over the Colorado River and to Needles, Kingman and Flagstaff, you’ll encounter long stretches of arid desert, sandstone formations at Arizona and Utah’s border, mountains and vast American frontier. If you time the trip to coincide with the film’s timeline, you’ll make it to Louisiana just in time for Mardi Gras.