Sample tour itinerary for Best of the West and Sturgis, USA
Other tours herd you back onto a mind numbing, over security sensitive domestic flight to a mid western, very hot city after a 13 hour flight from New Zealand and Australia to pick up your hire bike. This ensures you arrive from winter and head out into a 40 degree US summer and high altitudes.
Our user friendly format has you riding up the very scenic Pacific Coast past magnificent redwoods, large rocky seaside cliffs and dining in small fishing towns for 1500 ks adjusting to the climate and altitude gradually.
SANTA MONICA, MALIBU, HOLLYWOOD
We ride out from Los Angeles along the Malibu shoreline passing the multi-million dollar homes perched on stilts over the crashing surf and the bikini clad brown bods.
We stop for lunch at a wonderfully recreated Danish Village where I get into the large variety of marinated raw herrings. Probably not for all tastes but you can have one of the delicious pastries.
Alcatraz, Golden Gate, Fisherman’s Wharf
Two nights in San Francisco, our Hotel very central with a large pool and a easy stroll to Market Street and Union Square. This your chance to visit Alcatraz, ride a cable car or dine out at the famous Fisherman’s Wharf.
Biking North out over the Golden Gate and after the obligatory group photo shot, follow the cliff tops and booming surf into the land of the gigantic Red woods and riding on the wonderful coast into Oregon then heading inland to our first National Park at Crater Lake, overnighting at small towns noted for the seafood and micro breweries. Don’t get carried away playing pool with the locals; the local brews have a sting.
We stay on the Coast for 5 days where the temperature’s not as high as inland, making the ride more pleasurable and giving you time to get used to the increase in heat from a New Zealand winter.
On the ride to Oregon, with more scenic twisty roads along the way, we avoid the bigger towns and traffic lights wherever possible. We ride to the border of Washington and stay in a nice Hotel overlooking the Colombia River. Wait till you experience one of the amazing sunsets, cold drink in hand and sitting on the water front waiting for your New York cut sirloin dinner or large halibut steak.
We catch a ferry over to Seattle a city surrounded by natural beauty and can visit the Boeing Factory or simply stroll down to the famous Pike Fish Market from our nearby Hotel.
Cross into Canada and visit glacier overlooked Lake Louise before two nights in scenic Banff where we dine at the Banff Springs Fairmont Hotel.
THE NUMBER ONE RIDE IN THE US
This is waiting for us as we leave Alberta, clear Customs and ride over the Going to The Sun Highway past glaciers, deep lakes and scruffy looking mountain goats on our way to Cowboy territory, Montana.
We ride down the fast flowing Lochsa River into Idaho. Great night here and we are given friendly hospitality overnighting at a small resort with deer wandering round us while we enjoying a cold beer. Highlight for all here is the chance to fire a range of big and small armaments. Strange last visit was that the ladies out shot the guys even with several struggling to lift the 50 CAL. rifle.
Weather warming up as we proceed South, biking into Big Sky country. Hard to describe the feeling I had as we rode through here for first time. We stopped at a bar in a town with a population of 73. Very isolated and surrounded by blue sky and in the distance on both sides of the road, snow capped pinnacles. Fantastic place! Got to keep eye out for gas stations though, not many up here.
We have breakfast at Old Faithful then ride through Yellowstone enroute to Cody and two fun nights.You can go to the Rodeo or enjoy the beers at the Hotel Buffalo Bill built for his daughter Irma, and in the morning ride the famous Bear Tooth and get the patch.
Sadly , the nightly gunfights at the Irma ceased after blanks were replaced with more lethal projectiles last July. Luckily only one minor injury , one unlucky biker being hit in the arm.
Most of the cowboys been replaced by Harley Davidson riders but still a few around in their 10 gallon hats, fancy boots and big belt buckles.
Very low taxes in Wyoming which is reflected in the amount you pay for drinks and dinner. So tonight do what the cowboys do: get a great giant size steak and wash it down with a Bud.
Will be passing a lot of other motorbike riders all heading towards Sturgis Rally, most taking in Yellow Stone and the next two favourite bike rides in the USA, the not-to-be-forgotten Chief Joseph Scenic Highway and the incredible Bear Tooth Pass, making sure you get the patch “I rode the Beartooth” near the top.
Riding into Devils Tower National Park in the morning before we get to the world’s most fun-filled Bike Rally, Sturgis Rally, for four amazing days, enjoying all that goes on and riding The Black Hills of Dakota with thousands of motorbike riders from throughout the world.
We used to stay in tents but the changeable weather put a stop to that. Can expect wind, rain, lightning, mud and nearly forget, the bloody great hailstones. Definitely not the best for tenting! Now stay in an old Historic Hotel. Far more popular with the partners and the memory of the longdrops on a South Dakota hot day at last receding.
Vast prairies and Colorado Mountains
Riding out of Sturgis Rally, we head into the great grasslands of Nebraska – not a lot to see, vast expanses of flatness but one of my favourite rides. Only traffic is motorbikes either heading to Sturgis or some like us, heading on. Wonderful blue sky with the occasional thunderhead appearing up front and hoping like hell we’re not riding into it.
The flatness soon disappears as we arrive in Colorado, home of 40 peaks over 14,000 feet and where we motorbike through stunning mountain passes and visiting towns like Leadville, old Victoriana where Wild Bill Hickock and others of his ilk used to frequent the bars which appear not to have changed since.
Durango next where we can wander to the old Strater Hotel. May get the garter-wearing saloon lady to play the Honkytonk for you.
Several breathtaking motorbike rides there: Million Dollar Highway, Independence Pass, Rockies National Park and others. Amazing getting into Utah and seeing the sun drenched deserts. The disappearance of greenery appears quite sudden, round a comer and there goes trees, rivers and bushes and up pops sand, towering red sunbaked rocks and heat you wouldn’t believe.
Two great nights in Moab, adventure capital of the States.You can ride the slicks, swapping your motorbike for a mountain bike, go for a Hummer ride or even go to a ranch and ride horses. Several National Parks here. Arches is awe-inspiring or you can ride out a few miles and see where Thelma and Louise left us in their T-Bird in a spectacular mile high plummet at Dead Horse Point.
ARIZONA, GRAND CANYON
The heat there for a while as we make our way South through Utah and into Arizona for both sides of the Grand Canyon where we stay near the Rim so you can see the sunset and sunrise over the Canyon. From the Grand Canyon we ride out to Williams.
Tour Route 66
Williams is our first town on Route 66. Have breakfast at one of the old diners then head off via Flagstaff to a small town in the mountains. Wonderful up here, temperature lower, some great bars and locals.
Motorbiking out in the morning towards Prescott Arizona, we turn off to ride the best of Route 66 through Seligman, where you may meet Angelo who played a leading role in getting Route 66 reinstated as a Historical Road and just not left to return to tumbleweeds.
The hirstute in our midst may be persuaded to let Angelo have a go at them with his cutthroat razor. Makes for a good photo, big biker squirming under Angelo’s shaking hands.
We stay on Route 66 riding over Sitgreves Pass to Oatman, almost a ghost town but being resurrected with tourist dollars with the interest now in riding Route 66. While you’re feeding the ever hungry burros a carrot, I will be seeking the shade and a cold drink.
Las Vegas looming up for three nights fun. We stay in a small Hotel so can park bikes near rooms and not have to walk for 20 minutes carrying helmets, bags etc to your room. Did I mention the complimentary cocktails each evening and cooked to order breakfast? Also complimentary.
How about catching a famous show like “Love” or “The Jersey Boys” or lounging round the pool? Check out the world’s largest Harley Davidson Shop, maybe buy a new tyre, be getting a little thin by now.
Early start as we ride to the lowest point in the USA and into Death Valley. An exciting ride through through the sunbaked salt flats and sand dunes which astounds all. This is just one of the many amazing National Parks we ride into.
Leaving Death valley, we enjoy the hot homemade chill and gas up at Lone Pine on our way North passing the Sierra Nevadas heading to Bishop for a great night bowling with the locals. North to Virginia City and a excellent ride round Lake Tahoe and a buffet breakfast at a Casino before riding over several narrow , tight, extremely exciting Passes back into California.
Overnighting at a ex goldmining town with it’s fortune been resurrected by the many wineries in the area. Another great night as we visit as many as possible of the wine tastings available.
A great ride through the vast agricultural valleys of California heading towards the best coastal ride in the States, the Big Sur.
Very little Interstate or Freeway riding. Means no large trucks sharing road and no bum-numbing long tedious roads. Riding into and out of Los Angeles and San Francisco we avoid freeways. Far more pleasant and a lot safer.