Finding Scenic Motorcycle Routes

Motorcycle trip and route planningIn part 1 of this article, I discussed how to plan a motorcycle route across the United States and Canada. In this segment, I’ll discuss some books on scenic motorcycle routes that  I used in planning my scenic routes.

There were three books I used the most for my route planning. The Reader’s Digest book, The Most Scenic Drives in America: 120 Spectacular Road Trips was an excellent source. It provides great graphics, maps and pictures to help you decide if a specific scenic route is right for your trip. It describes many of the towns and landmarks along the route. This is very helpful in planning where to go, and in getting a sense for how much time you may need sightseeing.

The National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, 3d Ed. (National Geographic’s Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways) was another key resource for me. I found it more difficult to read than the Reader’s Digest book, but it provided a lot more scenic rides. It also provides a lot of detail on destinations and landmarks along the route, but then again, not quite as reader friendly as the Reader’s Digest book.

The last major source for me was Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways
by Jamie Jensen. By the pound, this book probably provides the greatest wealth of information. It provides excellent descriptions, including background and history, of many of the destinations and landmarks along a route. While the Reader’s Digest and National Geographic books where the most useful in planning my actual route, the Road Trip USA book provide some fun facts and information well beyond that of the other two books.

I also used two books published by the American Motorcyclist Association. AMA Ride Guide to America: Favorite Motorcycle Tours in the USA (American Motorcyclist Association Ride Guide S.) and AMA Ride Guide to America Volume 2: More Favorite Motorcycle Tours in the USA (Motorcycle Journeys Series) both provided useful information in trip planning. The advantage of these books is that they are written specifically for motorcycle riders. The trip descriptions are very specific to the experience a motorcyclist will have on the route, including potential issues like poor weather and gravel road warnings. These books didn’t provide the breadth of routes in the other books, they provided the best description of how the route would be experience by a motorcycle rider.

One last book that I found useful was the NORTH AMERICAN ROAD ATLAS 2011 (Atlas (Michelin)). During my meetings with friends to discuss my trip, it was easiest to have paper maps rather than lugging around my laptop with Microsoft Streets & Trips.

In the last part of this trip planning article, I cover the Microsoft Streets & Trips software.

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