Whether it's vacation time, the weekend or a random Tuesday, we've got some scenic rides for you from a number of great sources.
For an in-depth list of the Top 100 Motorcycle Routes from MotorcycleRoads.com, complete with maps, ratings, points of interest, roadside amenities (or lack of), etc., go to: http://www.motorcycleroads.com/best/?s=75
Here are a few other rides we think are worth checking out:
You can smell the crustaceans on the wind as you ride the coastal section of Maine’s U.S. Route 1 from Brunswick to Machias—a quintessential New England experience. The 167-mile stretch of two-lane asphalt leads through quaint seaside villages and past dozens of historic lighthouses. Scenic detours are the name of the game as you dawdle through towns along the way, although the road does have some open sections with high-speed, sweeping curves. Keep two fingers on the brake lever in case a moose appears around the bend. Planning: Avoid summer, when the road can be lined bumper to bumper, and plan on stopping at one of the route's many lobster shacks.
Enduro riders will love the 17-mile off-road loop through the Valley of the Gods—a highlight of the otherwise smooth pavement of Highway 170 between Candelaria and Presidio, Texas. Known as the River Road, it follows the Rio Grande on a snaking 115-mile trail past soaring cliffs in a spectrum of ochers, reds, and purples. Other highlights include ancient lava flows and the Fort Leaton State Historic Site (an adobe fortress dating from 1848). A side trip from Lajitas leads to the old Contrabando Movie Set in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Planning: Avoid the heat of summer.
The Road: Two-lane highway that meanders from the Mojave Desert to the California coast.
The Ride: An eclectic mix of desert, mountain, and canyon riding that covers some of California’s most diverse landscapes.
When To Go: Summer months can be hot and arid, so bring plenty of water when the weather heats up.
The Road: A two-lane highway that connects suburban La Cañada, Flintridge, to the California high desert.
The Ride: A roller-coaster-like ride nestled within the Angeles National Forest, characterized by an undulating sequence of high-speed sweepers and gradual elevation changes.
When To Go: Angeles Crest Highway includes a 7,903-foot summit, which can translate to surprising ice and snow at those higher elevations in winter months.
The Road: Though U.S. Highway 23 runs from Jacksonville, Florida, to Mackinaw City, Michigan, the stretch between Greenup and Letcher Counties in Tennessee is known as the Country Music Highway.
The Ride: The winding expanse along the eastern side of Tennessee is a National Scenic Byway that darts through the Appalachian hills. Watch the mile markers that indicate the places where stars like Loretta Lynn, The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Dwight Yoakam were born.
When To Go: Country music fans should allow time for a visit to the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum in Painstville, Tennessee.