Great American Motorcycle Tours

( 4 )


You’re a rider…an independent spirit who’s reluctant to follow someone else’s road map. But there are thousands of miles of road out there, and you could spend months searching for the best ones.

Gary McKechnie has spent years exploring the nation by bike, and these are his top rides, from the rocky New England coast to the wide-open West. McKechnie covers popular rides through Hudson River Valley, Amish Country, the Smoky Mountains and Georgia...

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You’re a rider…an independent spirit who’s reluctant to follow someone else’s road map. But there are thousands of miles of road out there, and you could spend months searching for the best ones.

Gary McKechnie has spent years exploring the nation by bike, and these are his top rides, from the rocky New England coast to the wide-open West. McKechnie covers popular rides through Hudson River Valley, Amish Country, the Smoky Mountains and Georgia Hills, Washington State, the Pacific Coast, and everything in-between.

In this fifth edition of his best-selling guide, McKechnie includes:

Exciting new photographs of rides like the Hudson River Ralley Run, the Pacific Coast Run, and the Red Rocks Run
New tips on the best food, shopping, and nightlife you'll experience along the way

Don’t waste your valuable two-wheeled vacation. Instead, let Great American Motorcycle Tours be your guide.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612385419
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Series: Great American Motorcycle Tours
  • Edition description: Fifth Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 424
  • Sales rank: 206,787
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

People buy motorcycles because of the dream—the dream of cutting ties with routine and embarking on an epic motorcycle journey, one highlighted by an exploration of America’s most beautiful back roads, charming towns, historic sites, intriguing attractions, and cool diners and dives. This is the dream moto-journalist Gary McKechnie has shared with more than 100,000 readers and riders in his best-selling book Great American Motorcycle Tours, winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award and now in its fifth edition.

Bored with his 9-to-5 job, McKechnie sold his house and set out to write America’s first nationwide motorcycle touring guidebook, embarking on an 18-month journey across the United States. From the rocky coasts of Maine to the deep forests of Washington, from the awe-inspiring bluffs of the Pacific Coast Highway to the end of the road in Key West, he traveled tens of thousands of miles to recapture a feeling of freedom and live a lifestyle millions of riders ache to achieve. His journey was featured by national newspapers, radio, and television. It inspired him to undertake a second trans-American expedition to chronicle 101 uniquely American places, events, and festivals for his second book, National Geographic’s USA 101.

A former stand-up comedian and commercial actor, McKechnie shares a unique combination of travelogue and motivational storytelling at corporate events, trade shows, and panel discussions, as well as at sea aboard the ships of the Cunard, Seabourn, Silversea, and Princess cruise lines.

Gary McKechnie lives the dream. His mission is to inspire others to live theirs. For more about Gary McKechnie and Great American Motorcycle Tours, visit and

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Read an Excerpt

People ride motorcycles because of the dream—the dream of escaping routine and embarking on an epic journey across the country. Since 2000, Gary McKechnie has helped more than 100,000 readers and riders live this dream and experience the freedom of the open road with his book, Great American Motorcycle Tours. Below, he offers eight great motorcycle rides for anyone planning to tour the country on two wheels:

1) Berkshires – Central Vermont
The ride from Lenox, MA, to Stowe, VT, compresses a nation’s worth of ideal motorcycling roads into a relatively small area and meets the benchmarks for a perfect run: culture, history, and scenery. Best of all, this short but sensational tour whips you through the Green Mountains on stunning Highway 100.

2) Lake Michigan Shore
Follow a waterfront route along magnificent Lake Michigan from Ludington to Mackinaw City on a portion of the historic West Michigan Pike. What worked for travelers in 1913 still works in 2013 as the blacktop snakes through some of America’s most pristine scenery, found in waterfront villages, lakeside log cabins, wispy sand dunes, fruitful orchards, and omnipresent Lake Michigan.

3) Northwest Arkansas
The mineral baths and historic spas of Hot Springs now comprise an unusual downtown national park. From here, take Scenic 7 north through the 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest for S-curves and incredible views. The end point? The thriving town of Eureka Springs (pop. 2,073), which offers more than 50 B&Bs, three historic hotels, a steam railroad, a Native American site, nearly 100 spas/massage studios, a preserve for orphaned tigers and bears, and the famous Thornecrown Chapel.

4) Kansas and Nebraska
There are no switchbacks, rivers, or seas on a round-trip ride from Omaha—across northern Kansas and back across Nebraska’s Sand Hills—but this epic trek goes through some of the loneliest land in the Midwest. Riding between small northern Kansas towns and across the Nebraska prairie, the tour reflects the mindset of a solo rider with a landscape as remote and independent as any you can imagine.

5) Montana – Wyoming
Ride through the Great Plains from Livingston, MT, to Jackson Hole, WY, via Yellowstone National Park. On the way, encounter characters from Western novels, fantastic views of mountain ranges and glacier lakes, the bracing feel of cool winds, and enough photo ops to make a full-length film. Pure, undiluted freedom.

6) Northern Arizona – Southern Utah
Gliding past Sedona’s red rocks is like riding on Mars. Heading north, thread the needle through Oak Creek Canyon before drifting into a super-sized forest on Highway 180 (north of Flagstaff). Many empty miles ahead, iconic Grand Canyon National Park precedes Highway 89, which unveils a larger-than-life landscape. North in Page, AZ, explore the sinuous beauty of Lake Powell, then ride through the Vermilion Cliffs to Utah’s Zion National Park.

7) Oregon Coast
A 150-mile stretch of US 101 links Cannon Beach with Florence, starting near dramatic Haystack Rock, a towering 235-foot coastal monolith. Heading south, the unbelievable two-lane hugs the coastal road while endless waves fly past rocks and onto the curving beach. When the road swings swiftly and quietly inland, riders pass marshes, estuaries, farms, valleys, and hills, with lighthouses lining up along the coastline near beaches and bays. Wrap up the ride with a hair-raising dune buggy adventure on the towering sand dunes of Florence.

8) California’s Pacific Coast
In Napa Valley, the roads around Calistoga lead motorcyclists to believe they’re riding through the Greek Peloponnese, Swiss Alps, and Italian Dolomites on one fantastic run. Head west to reach one of America’s greatest roads, the Pacific Coast Highway, then south to Mediterranean-style Sausalito and its drop-dead gorgeous view of neighboring San Francisco. The PCH continues past farmland and shorelines to the fantasy village of Carmel, followed by dramatic views and cool stops from Big Sur all the way to San Simeon.

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Table of Contents

Why I Ride vii
Introduction 1
White Mountains--Blue Seas Run: Littleton, New Hampshire to Camden, Maine 6
Berkshires--Central Vermont Run: Lenox, Massachusetts to Stowe, Vermont 28
Related Side Trips: Vermont
Hudson River Valley Run: Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow to Saratoga Springs, New York 52
Cape Cod Run: Sandwich to Provincetown, Massachusetts 78
Amish Country Run: New Hope to Intercourse, Pennsylvania 94
Related Side Trips: Maryland
Civil War Run: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Fredricksburg, Virginia 110
Related Side Trips: Virginia; West Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway Run: Mount Airy to Hendersonville, North Carolina 130
Related Side Trips: North Carolina
Southern Comfort Run: St. Augustine, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina 150
Related Side Trips: Georgia
Tropical Paradise Run: Miami Beach to Key West, Florida 174
Blues Cruise: Memphis, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana 194
Related Side Trips: Arkansas; Louisiana; Mississippi; Tennessee
Wisconsin Thumb Run: Milwaukee to Door County, Wisconsin 218
Related Side Trips: Wisconsin; Michigan
Black Hills Run: Deadwood to Custer State Park, South Dakota 236
Related Side Trips: Minnesota; Nebraska
Wild West Run: Livingston, Montana to Jackson, Wyoming 250
Mighty Montana Run: Missoula to Bozeman, Montana 268
Related Side Trips: Idaho
Wild Colorado Run: Durango to Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado 286
Land of Enchantment Run: Taos to Santa Fe, New Mexico 306
Red Rocks Run: Sedona, Arizona to Zion National Park, Utah 320
Las Vegas--Yosemite Run: Las Vegas, Nevada to Yosemite National Park, California 344
Washington State Run: Seattle to Port Townsend, Washington 364
Related Side Trips: Oregon
Pacific Coast Run: Calistoga to Carmel, California 378
Appendix 400
Helpful Information 404
Chain Hotel Guide 405
General Index 406
Accommodations Index 414
Restaurant Index 417
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Not for me

    I couldn't read this book. I tried, because I am interested in motorcycle touring recommendations, but the author's corny jokes and over the top folksiness made my skin crawl. I honestly couldn't read it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2010

    Best for Bikers

    He covers a lot of ground and includes some places I'll never get to, but you have to admire the fact that there are detailed rides and suggestions for motorcycle-ready back roads, attractions, lodging, and food that should keep any rider satisfied. Even if you only follow his lead on just ONE of these rides, at only $22 this book will save you at least that much in trying to figure out where to go. But there are 25 tours in here... Do the math.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2007

    Good for riding in unfamiliar areas

    I have enjoyed reading Great American Motorcycle Tours. I was a little disappointed that it did not have any rides in Texas, as that is where I live. However, it will be very helpful when I ride to areas I am unfamilar with and will help me to find the great motorcycle roads that I would otherwise miss. Gary McKechnie has a rider's point of view and that makes me think that I will enjoy my future tours as much as he enjoyed his. Between his and Daniel Meyer's books (Life is a Road series), you can enjoy motorcycle riding from the comfort of your own living room.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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