9 Epic Motorcycle Road Trips

From domestic routes to far-flung locales, none trips to satisfy wanderlust.

July 5, 2014, 6:21 AM
PHOTO: On Safari Atacamas
On Safari Atacamas
Courtesy On Safari Atacamas

July 5, 2014— -- intro: What’s the appeal of motorcycle travel that leads some people to leave their everyday lives behind in the 24/7 pursuit of it? Everything about the open road can be pushed to the extreme – and enjoyed that much more.

With help from the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Expedition Portal, here are nine incredible motorcycle road trips, from domestic routes to the farthest-flung corners of the earth.

quicklist: 1title: Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland Celtictext: Recommended by the president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the Wild Atlantic Way wins the distinction of “World’s longest coastal drive.” It runs from Donegal to West Cork. Celtic Rider Motorcycle Rental offers a 13-day self-guided luxury itinerary that includes 4-star accommodations every night and a full sightseeing itinerary of castles, gardens, distilleries and historic villages.media: 24428194

quicklist: 2title: Central/Western Tour of Namibia with Off-Road Motorcycle Adventurestext: Also recommended by the Adventure Travel Trade Association is this escorted camping tour of Central and Western Namibia. The most popular itinerary lasts for eight days, with the first two overnights in a comfortable lodge, and the rest spent out in the Namibian bush. This is a medium-difficulty itinerary that requires riders to have had minimum 3-4 years motorcycle riding experience, at least 1 year of that being on gravel. Guests can either bring their own wheels (as long as they’re fit for the road conditions) or rent one of the outfitter’s several dual-purpose BMWs. media: 24428241

quicklist: 3title: Atacama Nomad Safaris with On Safari Atacamatext: For would-be adventurers who haven’t yet made it to South America’s vast, otherworldly-looking Atacama Desert, here’s proof that it is one heck of an amazing motorcycle safari destination. Certain regions are more in keeping with the terrain on Mars than on Earth, so it’s definitely advisable only to go in the company of experienced and fully prepared professional guides. On Safari Atacama offers a variety of medium-difficulty “Nomad Safaris” running anywhere from 2 days/1 overnight to 5 days/4 overnights.media: 24428327

quicklist: 4title: Gold King Mine, Jerome, Arizonatext: Desert adventures can also happen close to home, with Arizona placing at the top of the list of favorite road trip states. Most of the state gets too baking-hot in summer for motorcycle travel, but the winding mountain roads from Jerome to Flagstaff are much cooler due to the high elevation – and the sightseeing is historic, weird and epic. Pictured: a few of the vintage rebuilds in progress at Gold King Mine, ghost town and old car museum at the edge of Jerome.media: 24428373

quicklist: 5title: Matanushka Glacier with Ayres Adventurestext: Dubbed America’s Last Frontier, the far-north terrain of the Yukon Territory and Alaska calls to long-distance riders who want to get as close as possible to the ends of the earth. Ayres Adventures specializes in these itineraries and caters to small groups only. Its Yukon/Alaska tour travels to the northernmost point in North America and then, for those who can handle it, onward along the Top of the World Highway. The choice is 9 days or 13 days – always with premium-level meals and accommodations, so you’re not roughing it once you’re off the bike. media: 24428424

quicklist: 6title: Baja, Mexico Off-road Tours with Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventurestext: While it’s a good deal more rugged and thought to be more risky than California to the north, Baja, Mexico is described as an odyssey, trail rider’s heaven, and the “trip of a lifetime.” Specifically, these rave reviews belong to Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventure Company, the premier off-road adventure tour operator in the region. Owned and operated by the 14-time title winner (in motorcycle class) of the legendary Baja 1000, this company is synonymous with Baja off-road tours – and conveniently owns the URL as well. media: 24428469

quicklist: 7title: Mojave Desert Wild West Tours with Baja Off-road Tourstext: Happily for Chris Haines’ multitude of clients, the company’s currently expanding its group tour itineraries, and a popular new one is the 4-day “Wild West” tour of the Mojave Desert. A great itinerary for the winter season, this tour will trek for 2 ½ days through the most remote and surreal-looking land in the Southwest before arriving on the last night in noisy, neon-lit Vegas. media: 24428525

quicklist: 8title: Cape Town Wine Land with Cape Sidecar Adventures text: The area outside Cape Town is perfect for day trips, with wine country (or “Wineland” as they call it there) and South Coast scenic points easily accessible. The company’s fleet is comprised of 25 gorgeous World War II-era vintage sidecars. Even entry-level riders find the half-day chauffeured sidecar rental for two to be an awesome way to sightsee. If you want more time to explore, full-packages are available.media: 24428575

quicklist: 9title: Morocco with IMTBiketext: One of the oldest, largest and expert-recommended motorcycle tour companies in Europe, IMTBike has locations all over Spain and Portugal. Its group tour offerings range all over Morocco and Southern Europe, from the Pyrenees to the Alps to Valencia. Self-guided tours and unguided rental situations are also available. The IMTBike fleet is comprised of new-model BMWs that are replaced every 12 months to ensure low mileage and minimal wear and tear.media: 24428089