Enjoyable Motorcycle Day Trips in California

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Motorcycle day trips on the Road King are so much fun, and if you are looking for a great ride while the weather is still nice enough to enjoy, check out some of our picks for California. I’m choosing California because I grew up there and really miss it at times.

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California was nicknamed the Golden State back in 1968, which I find appropriate considering its gold mining heritage, golden poppies, also the state flower, and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.

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California motorcycle day trips can often turn into an overnight stay, especially if you take into consideration the 1,100 miles of shoreline on the Pacific Coast, endless miles of twisted mountain and arid canyon cruising and vast amounts of mountain roads.

The Mojave National Preserve

If you are aiming for desert motorcycle day trips, spring is definitely the time to take advantage, as the summer months can be much too hot to enjoy the scenery. The Mojave National Preserve II is a great ride that takes you from Kelso Depot, California to the Mojave park entrance in Baker.

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All there aren’t any roadside amenities until you get to Baker, there is plenty of desert scenery to see along the way. Once you get into Baker drop by the Mad Greek restaurant that has been featured on the Food Networks, “Diners, Drive-in’s, and Dives.” This California institution has a great selection of authentic Greek food, including America’s best Gyro and authentic spanakopita.

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Motorcycle day trips like the Sausalito-Leggit tour are spectacular. Heading out on the Pacific Highway you will enjoy the Golden Gate as you head north to Stinson Beach. The road is really fun, especially on the way to Tomales, and although Highway 1 doesn’t offer much in the way of scenery until you get to Bodega Bay, it is still a prime example of why California is one of the best places for motorcycle day trips.

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The best part of the trip is just past Mendocino and Fort Bragg where you will find some great places to eat including the Mendo Bistro and Silvers at the Wharf.

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Jim and I have had the pleasure of riding through the California redwoods on one of your motorcycle day trips, and if you are looking for a great ride, try the Sebastopol-Jenner trip. If you want to avoid the congestion, take some of the nearby alternative routes like the Bohemian Highway via Coleman Valley Road or the King Ridge road where you will find little traffic, but plenty of narrow and challenging twists and turns for motorcycle day trips.

Stumptown Brewery

Stop by for a quick nibble at the Stumptown Brewery and Smokehouse in Guerneville and you may not make it home. This delicious brewpub is famous for its Slow Pulled Pork sandwiches and of course, the smoked St. Louis BBQ pork ribs.

California is a great place to enjoy motorcycle day trips and I’m certainly looking forward to enjoying a few more with Jim on our Travels with Harley.

Motorcycle Road Trips Myths and Legends

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Last week I really enjoyed sharing the ride to Hannibal Missouri. Jim and I have great memories when it comes to our Motorcycle Road Trips and can’t wait to create new ones this year. We hope to get to the Myths and Legends Tour, October 21st to the 27th and the 175th Anniversary in Sturgis, in the Black Hills from August 3rd to the 9th. We have talked about Sturgis in a previous blog and would love to make it one of our Motorcycle Road Trips this summer.

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Speaking of Myths and Legends, there are quite a few surrounding Harley Davidson and motorcycles in general. Below are three of my personal favorites.

Stereotyping

Most people who don’t know anything about Motorcycle Road Trips tend to class a group of riders together labeling them as, “Hells Angels,” and although we certainly aren’t being disrespectful, most of the groups that you see together on Motorcycle Road Trips are actually Harley Davidson Owners Groups. If you follow our blog, you will know that Jim and I belong to the Bourbeuse Valley Chapter here in Missouri.

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Lay it Down for Safety

Thirty years ago most folks participating in Motorcycle Road Trips, or any ride on a bike for that matter, recommended that you lay your motorcycle down if a crash was in front of you or impending. Maybe that was because the tires weren’t as sticky as they are today and the brakes were less than trustworthy. Helmets back then weren’t that great either. The motorcycles of today are faster with some being equipped with ABS braking systems. Most riders have practiced good techniques when it comes to braking, know how to swerve or make a quick turn to avoid a potential accident, and would never lay their bike down. Doing so may slow you down, but it could also make things worse and throw you into oncoming traffic.

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Black is Cool

One of my favorite Myths and Legends when it comes to Motorcycle Road Trips is “Riders wear black to look cool.” Black leather pants, black boots, black gloves, black leather jackets and black chaps do look great, and although some may wear it to look cool, we call them, “Wannabes and posers,” Jim and I wear it because it is the best protection you can get when you are participating in Motorcycle Road Trips.

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These days there are some colors that have been added to the mix. With that being said, I love my white, orange and black jacket and matching chaps. Today, gear is made from other materials and colors that have built in protection on the back, shoulders and elbows, but black is still the favorite when it comes to Motorcycle Road Trips.

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However, black isn’t the best color to wear if you are participating in Motorcycle Road Trips after dark. Some of the newer jackets come with reflective patches making it much easier to see us at night. I love the one that Jim bought me because it is highly visible.

Hannibal Missouri Motorcycle Road Trip

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Last week when I was doing research for rides in Missouri, I couldn’t believe how many there were that Jim and I haven’t been on yet. I would say we have been on about 1/3 of the rides including the Highway 100 west of Washington, the Mark Twain National Forest Circle, and the Missouri Wine Country. There were others, but I have to say that one of my favorites was the Hannibal Missouri to Louisiana ride. The ride itself is only 35 miles, but it sure is beautiful.

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We decided to go down the Illinois side of the river, which took us through the bald eagle nesting ground. These beautiful birds spend their winters alongside the Mississippi, Illinois, and Rock Rivers while nesting in Southern Illinois.

Hannibal Missouri is a very cool little town with a rich history. Located next to the grand Mississippi River in the northeast part of Missouri it is about 100 miles north of St. Louis.

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Hannibal was founded by Moses D. Bates in 1819 and soon began to flourish when it became the main docking port for packet steamers, flatboats, and steamboats. It became a city in 1845 with the population doubling by 1860. This made it the third biggest commercial center and the second largest city in the state. Nicknamed, “America’s Hometown,” Hannibal Missouri was also known for candle and soap making, pork packing, lumber milling and coopering.

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Hannibal is probably best known as the home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain. Clemens family relocated to Hannibal after moving from Florida, Missouri when he was just four years old. Florida is located about thirty miles away to the southwest.

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You can visit quite a few historical sites in Hannibal Missouri as Mark Twain based many of his characters from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Adventures of Tom Sawyer on people that he grew up with in Hannibal.

Travels with HarleyToday you can still tour Mark Twain’s home, the Becky Thatcher House, and the Mark Twain Cave. Mark Twain’s boyhood Home and Museum actually had its 100th anniversary back in 2012.

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For those of you who don’t know, Becky Thatcher was the fictional character that was immortalized in the Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Becky’s real name was Laura Hawkins. She went to school with the young Sam Clemens and was his boyhood sweetheart during the 1840’s.

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Other places of interest in Hannibal include The John M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office, the Huckleberry Finn House, which was reconstructed, and the Pilaster House, also known as Grant’s Drug Store.

Motorcycle Day Trips in Missouri

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It has started to warm up a bit, but that isn’t expected to last with the cooler weather and rain returning in a few days. Jim and I are hoping to get a ride in sooner rather than later so I have been checking out some Motorcycle Day Trips in Missouri that we would like to enjoy once Mother Nature decides to play fair.

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Missouri is full of outstanding Motorcycle Day Trips, as our beautiful state has been blessed with unspoiled scenery that is filled with rolling hills, country roads, and quaint villages. As you know, I like to eat, and Missouri certainly doesn’t disappoint with delicious eateries that range from diners and restaurants to roadside dive bars. Some of the bigger cities such as St. Louis, Branson, and Kansas City offer excellent hotels and restaurants that are perfect for Motorcycle Day Trips. The show me state also has several wineries that could show Napa a thing or two.

The Peach Float Cruise

Some of the more popular Motorcycle Day Trips include Branson to Table Rock Loop, the Mark Twain National Park Circle, the Missouri Highway V and T from Union Missouri to Wildwood Missouri, the Bagnell Dam Loop and the Missouri Route 86-Ride the Eagle. The Peach Float Cruise and the Rolla-Salem Loop also sound pretty cool if you want to take Motorcycle Day Trips in Missouri

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Brian’s Quick Fun Ride is another example of one of the great Motorcycle Day Trips that you will find in Missouri. Taking you through sweeping curves and a few hills you will find yourself smack dab in the middle of Missouri farmland with lots of hills and some challenging curves. If you have been following our blog, you will know that Jim loves the curves. Located near Sedalia this short and fun ride is a favorite route among the locals and visitors for Motorcycle Day Trips.

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Even if you take your time, the trip only takes about an hour and a half. Eateries along the way include El Tapatio and Goodies Steakburgers. Best fuel up in Sedalia though as you won’t find any gas along the way unless you take Highway 135 south just past Highway M to Highway 52 where you will travel east to Stover.

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The Old School House on the Hill Ride takes you through Ozark Hill Country and features left and right rollercoaster hills with rhythmic curves. Follow the signs and you will get an awesome view of the Missouri River just before you hit the bridge on your way into Chamois. Although the ride isn’t fast or particularly long, it is quite beautiful. This is another example of Motorcycle Day Trips in Missouri that you will not want to miss.

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Stop for the night at the Old School on the Hill Bed and Breakfast, which is located at the end of Main St. on the highest point in Chamois. The historical property looks over the beautiful Missouri River Valley and is very clean and comfortable. Although Chamois is a small town, you can fill up at the convenience store and wander across the street to Dandi’s. The full service local bar serves awesome pub fare and hosts live bands on the weekends.

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Of course, I could go on and on, but I’m getting cabin fever just thinking about it as I can’t wait to head out for some awesome Motorcycle Day Trips with Jim this spring.

Things You Might Not Know About Harley Davidson

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Harley Davidson is a name known all over the world, but what even the most enthusiastic motorcycle fans may not know is how unique that history actually is.

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In 1901, William S. Harley created a blueprint for a motorized bicycle. In 1903, William and Arthur Davidson built the first bike that was made available to the public. A short time later, Arthur’s brothers, Walter and William joined the pair. William quit his job with the railroad in Milwaukee to become part of the Harley Davidson motor company.

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The very first Harley Davidson was built in a small wooden factory, 10 x 15 to be exact. The name was crudely carved into the front door.

The first buyer of a Harley Davidson was a friend of Arthur and William, Henry Meyer. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was the first person ever recorded to purchase a new Harley Davidson from the small wood factory in 1903.

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C.H. Lang in Chicago, Illinois set up the first Harley Davidson dealership in 1904, the same year that the first motorcycle was built.

Not one to rest on its Laurels, the company entered its first race a year later in 1905 winning first place.

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In 1906, Harley Davidson moved shop and opened its new plant hiring six employees. That same year the company released its first catalog. In 1910, Harley hired its first full time worker.

In 1910, Harley Davidson placed first in every race including speed, endurance and the hill climb.

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Janet Davidson was the first woman to sit on and ride a Harley Davidson. She was the Davidson brothers Aunt who helped with the pin striping and writing the name Harley Davidson on the bike.

Harley Davidson earned the nickname, “Hogs,” in 1920 because the race team used a pig as a mascot. After every win, the driver would lift a real pig on the tank and drive his victory lap. The Bar and Shield Harley Davidson logo was painted in 1911.

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Always a cult classic, Malcolm Forbes, founder of the magazine, loved the motorcycles so much that he owned fifty Harley Davidson’s and gave just as many away as gifts.

In 1998, Brazil became the first country outside of the United States to open a Harley Davidson factory.

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The most expensive Harley Davidson motorcycle, the CVO Ultra Classic Electra Glide, will set you back $40,000.