The USA Tours
Colorado and Utah tour 2019
Day 1 - Colorado Motorcycle Adventures Denver to Gunnison
After a direct flight from Frankfurt with Lufthansa, arrived in Denver and the next morning a short taxi ride to Colorado Adventure Motorcycles for bike pick up. They had 2 GS' waiting for us both 2018 models but clearly had already seen quite a bit of heavy on and off road use. Anyway, we packed up and headed west along I 470 and then after 20km we headed south west and towards Gunnison along the 285. Straight into the pine hills and great winding roads.
Through small towns one called Grant and then over onto the famous highway 50 and over the Monarch pass at 11,000 ft. winding down on into Gunnison for our first overnight stop. Gunnison is a small town with quaint boutique shops and surprisingly a University. Can highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express and a steak at the ''ol miners''!
Day 2 - Gunnison to Durango
Day 2 and after a coffee stop at the local coffeeshop we headed west along the highway 50. A worthwhile detour onto the 92 takes you along some very narrow gorges and winds. Suggest to travel as far as Pine Ridge which is about 35 km up the 92 but is well worth while. Views are spectacular. Returning to the 50 and onward to Montrose. Thunderstorms were in the area so we stopped in Montrose to wait for them to clear. From Montrose its onto the famous highway 550 or the ''million dollar highway'' and I can fully understand why they call it this. Spectacular scenery and roads. Into the San Juan National forest and over the pass at over 11,000 ft. A stop at the top with view back down the valley and of the high peaks. We did get caught in a rain shower along some pretty hairy roads but the roads are all in excellent condition and the bikes coped well. Arrival Durango and the sun had come out. Overnight was in the Double Tree hotel. Durango itself is quite a sizable town with lots of choices for food and lodging.
Day 3 - Durango to Monument Valley
Early start from Durango and the weather was great. West along the 160 through some pretty barren landscapes onto the the 495 and then back onto the 160 heading west. The roads are fantastic. Riding along the river basin with great roads and very little traffic. At the 160 / 41 head north east across the State border into Utah. The road numbering gets a bit complicated as you cross state lines but follow the road to Bluff. Here you get the first impressions of the spectacular scenery to come. Heading south west onto the ancient valley floor and soon in the distance appear the ''Monuments''. Its easy to be overwhelmed by it all and stop along the way but best just to ride onto until you get to the Navajo reservation and then you can really appreciate what you are in amoungst. Recommend to stop at Mexican Hat which is a strange rock formation worth seeing. Arrival into the park note it is not a State Park but part of the Navajo Nation reservation and so is run by the native Americans. We were lucky to be able to stay at The View Hotel. the picture below will explain why. Sitting on our room balcony watching the sun set over the monuments is an amazing experience!
Day 4 - Monument Valley to Moab.
After Monument Valley there is little higher expectations of what's to come but anyway off north towards Moab we headed. Following the 163 north turn off the road onto a smaller road onto the 261. The warning signs are clearly marked; tarmac ends in 8 miles. We travelled on and saw what was ahead! The road is very windy, extremely steep in parts as it traverses the steep cliffs and indeed metaled with remnants of tarmac in the bends. We stopped a 4x4 coming down who advised it was tricky but not impossible. We also were passed by a group of 30 Harley riders from Eagle Riders who headed up the pass. We followed and although tricky was not difficult. I highly recommend not getting cold feet and turning back but to plough on up the pass. The switch backs are really tight and the road absolutely incredible. Once you get the top, stop for a look back at where you have come from. Incredible! The pictures don't do it justice. After the pass the roads widen out into beautiful black tarmac. Road is quite straight towards Moab and we passed through the thundershowers again before reaching Moab early afternoon.
Day 5 - Moab Parks Tour
Day 5 was the opportunity to explore the famous Arches National Park and the Dead Horse Canyon view. Start early as you really will need the time especially in the Arches park as there is so much to see. Take time to stop at the view points and enjoy. The pictures below will give you an idea of what to see!
Day 6 - Moab to Grand Junction.
After the spectacular sights of Moab it was back down the 191 to the junction with the 46. This road heads south east then switches back north west. Road is amazing especially after Naturita. Desolate and in parts about 30 miles in a straight line. Be aware, there are no filling stations until Naturita and we were almost caught short with only 20 miles in the tank!. After Naturita the roads climb along the high sided valley of the Colorado river and then down towards Grand Junction. Stop and enjoy the total peace and tranquility and also look out for the old road with its abandoned bridges crisis crossing the canyon and river basin.
Another Eagle Riders tour passing us along the Highway 141
Day 7 - Grand Junction to Aspen
Leaving Grand Junction and a short freeway hop to the 92 heading East. Then onto the 133 and finally 82 to Aspen. The 133 is a great road to ride with brilliant bends and terrific road surface. Here its worth stopping occasionally to admire the views. There is a bit of traffic but roads are big enough for easy and safe overtaking. Once you hit the 82 it becomes quite a big highway taking you into Aspen. Aspen itself is an amazing manicured little ski town. House prices are the highest in USA with a 6 bed house costing around 50 million US!
Be careful even in summer you might run into a Hollywood ''A'' lister in one of the high end eateries but then who really cares! Aspen is worth exploring and finding a bar to enjoy a few drinks but beware its about double what it costs elsewhere in the US!
Day 8 - Aspen to Denver
Last day of the tour. Leaving Aspen around 9 am, heading west over the Independence pass. This is quite a road to ride. Very windy and in places extremely narrow so be careful. Once you get to the top, stop and take in the views. This pass is the highest in USA and it will make you short of breath - literally ! Temperatures at the top were around 5 degrees centigrade. After the pass the road widens and heads east towards Denver. Unfortunately like in any big US city once you get close its difficult to avoid the freeways. As we were in a hurry to get our bikes dropped off and flights to catch we took the I70 back to our drop point. All in all an extremely successful tour!
Northern California 2018
Day 1 - SFO to Oakdale
After a long flight from Amsterdam I arrived at 1130 on Saturday morning and took a taxi to the Dubbelju motorcycle rental shop. Small set up in a side street of SFO downtown; all very helpful and after the usual US paperwork pile we had our 2 x 2017 GS motorcycles and as requested with Nav V cradle. Must say they did
do exactly what was requested so hats off and a big plus over their rivals Eagle riders who I am not a big fan of.
We headed out east along the freeways 580, 205 and finally 120 to get some miles behind us and have as much time as possible in the scenic areas. Day 2 was to be a long day in Yosemite so we needed to get as far east as possible. We had pre-booked all the hotels en route so our first stop was the small town of Oakdale and the Holiday Inn Express. Although the hotel doesn't have much in the way of facilities or food there are lots of options within easy walking distance.
Day 2 - Oakdale to Yosemite
After an early start due to jet lag and time difference we headed out east again towards Yosemite. Great weather and just like to day before hot, 34 degrees by mid morning. The roads were pretty empty in the morning so riding was easy going. We got to the park entrance around 1030 and despite warning of queuing traffic all was fine. As we headed in the scenery changed for the more spectacular with the Yosemite landmarks coming into view. Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridal Veil to name but a few. Traffic was well managed on the one way system with many opportunities to stop and take photos. Second leg of the tour took us up to Glacier Point and the look down into the valley. Again amazing views along the way. For our overnight stay we had chosen to head just outside the Park at Fish Village and the Tenaya Lodge. Not for the faint-hearted when it comes to rates but this place is absolutely amazing! Great rooms, a real oasis just outside Yosemite. Luckily we had arrived early to be able to enjoy the surroundings and facilities. Early night and ready for day 3.
Day 3 Yosemite to Lake Tahoe
Probably the longest ride on the trip at just under 400 km. Early start again and heading back into the Yosemite Park but just at the entrance to the main area we took a left back and headed north on the 41 to the 120 and over the mountains towards the wast. This part of the park is as spectacular as where the main scenery is. Great views but most important absolutely amazing roads, great asphalt, newly laid, wide and very little traffic. At the 395 we took a left and headed north as far as the 89 and then we headed north east on the 89 right up to Tahoe City. The scenery begins to change en route going from open landscape to more forestal. Weather remained fantastic with great roads and bends! Probably the best riding day of the trip.
We arrived at the Granlibaken Lodge in Tahoe City around 5. Nice lodgings although getting a bit tired looking. Apparently the oldest lodging hotel in the area and catering very much for the ski season. Anyhow a great overnight stay in a comfortable room. Dinner was in the town close by the lake. There are many places to get food so just take your pick.
Day 4 - Lake Tahoe to Quincy
We decided on the shorter route to Quincy so a bit of a late start was on the cards. After a hearty breakfast at the Old Lodge in Tahoe View the next town up the road on highway 89, we headed north again along the 89 as far as the left turn at the highway 49. At this point we decided that we would follow the original route as time and weather were on our side and the roads were simply amazing. Long windy roads through forested areas and simply amazing riding. Just before Orroville we decide to head north towards Quincy on the Feather Falls road only to find halfway up to Quincy the road was closed. We tried to find the bypass which was a gnarly off road 4 mile trek only to get lost and have to return. Deciding it wasn't worth trying to find the right detour we headed down into Orroville and then up on the 70 to Quincy. Regrettably we were so tired by the end of the day we didn't have a chance to enjoy the spectacular riding through great canyons and wild scenery. Overnight stay was in the beautiful manicured town of Quincy and the Feather Bed Inn. What an absolute gem of a place, a large old country house in the center of town with 6 B&B rooms. Absolutely amazing and a welcome rest after a lot of unnecessary extra miles of detour.
Day 5 Quincy to Redding
Another beautiful day and after a great American breakfast in Quincy we headed back down the 70 for about 25 km's to the 89 again and headed north. Again spectacular forest roads with little or no traffic but with the occasional logging truck on their way down south. After passing through some towns with great names such as Indian Falls and Moccasin we arrived to the entrance to the Lassen National Park. Quite a modern park and newly established by the looks of it. We stopped by the thermal mud pools and drove high into the mountains along some of the windiest roads so far on the trip. Whilst the sun was out, crossing the park the temperature dropped to only 5 degrees C so it was pretty cold.
Continuing north through the park we eventually dropped down into the valley and the junction with the 44. Left turn towards Redding and we arrived around 3.30 pm at our overnight stop the Hampton Inn. Around Redding there was still clear evidence of the recent fires with much work still going on to restore the roads. We decided on a steakhouse in town for our dinner but there are plenty places to chose from.
My brother Scott taking the bends in California .
Day 6 Redding to Eureka
Leaving Redding heading west along the very windy and spectacular 36 there was clear evidence of the recent fires. The authorities were doing their best to fix the damaged roads and we were mostly on new asphalt the whole trip. The road heads west up through the mountains and forests with again spectacular riding and great bends. At one point the road had completely gone due to fire and was closed for most of the day. By sheer luck we arrived at the closed section for the 1 hour that they opened per day. If we hadn't made it we would have had a 200 km detour to Eureka. Eureka itself is a rather tired seaside town that has seen better days. Accommodation was at the Best Western Plus Humbolt which is fine and within walking distance of the old town where the restaurants all are. Great dinner at the 5-1 local restaurant.
Day 7 Eureka to Point Arena
Slight deviation from the planned route as we wanted to drive down the ''Avenue of Giants'' - the Redwood park which was well worth the detour. Again great roads, winding and fast. Not sure how many times I can say it but without
an exaggeration all the roads so far have been amazing. Following the 101 all the way to the coast and then down the coast to Point Arena. The vistas at the coast are spectacular with often sea mist rolling in and obscuring the coastline. Take a jacket or your riding inners as it gets quite cold here during the day. Passing through many fishing villages we arrived at Point Arena around 1600. The overnight stay was at the Wharfmaster Inn in Point Arena., Another absolute gem of a place right on the coast next to the sea. The harbour has a pizzeria and a seafood restaurant for dinner and a complementary breakfast is provided as part of your overnight stay. Just as well as this place really is in the middle of nowhere.
Day 8 Point Arena to San Francisco
Final day of what has been a spectacular tour! Leaving Point Arena heading south on the 101 the weather had turned quite cold. Sun was not getting through the mist so an extra layer was required. The 101 hugs the coast right up until the end before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Be sure to take in the spectacular Bay views which can be done by exiting the freeway just before the bridge. Across the Golden Gate bridge and back to Dubbelju to return the bikes.
Conclusion, probably the most spectacular riding I have ever done or ever will do. Thanks to my brother Scott for riding with me and sharing that special experience. Enjoy the photos in the pictures section and if you want the GPX files drop me a line and I will send them.
Southern California 2017
Day 2 through Joshua Tree National Park, the Mojave National Preserve and a great deal of the old Route 66 onto Kingman Arizona.
Day 4 & 5 down through Vegas and north East to Parhup and on down into Death Valley. We were so impressed with Death Valley that we decided to tag an extra day on and explore. Temperatures in the morning were around 25 but quickly rose to mid 30's and well beyond by mid afternoon but the roads and landscape were incredible!
Day 6 took us West back over the mountains through the Sierra National Forrest to the lakes surrounding Kernville. We just happened across a biker camp out (annual event) which was an eyeopener to say the least.
Final day took us south west down through the centre of LA back to the Eagle Riders drop point.
If you're interested in the routes we rode please see below. There is 1 exception and that day 5 where we had planned to ride from Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes. The route is listed but we skipped this part and stayed the extra day in Death Valley.
Next year will be a trip to Northern Cal!