First half: Southern California, Nevada and Arizona:
The Pacific Coast Highway motorcycle tour is a once in a lifetime trip along the West Coast of the United States. Forget Route 66, this is riding in the States at its best. Starting in Portland Oregon you’ll ride the famed Pacific Coast Highway all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Explore the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the famed Avenue of the Giants featuring old-growth redwoods. South of San Francisco, go inland and tour through world famous Yosemite National Park and Sequioa National Park then across to Las Vegas for a trip out to the Grand Canyon. On your way back to Long Beach California cruise through Joshua Tree National Park and soak up the atmosphere of the South West in all its glory.
We have hand-selected gorgeous mountain, desert and coastal roads all the way from Portland, Oregon to Long Beach, California for you to ride on your choice of top specced rented motorcycles. Each night you stay in style in great hotels and local lodges and you are looked after the whole way by a Magellan guide as well as a support vehicle and driver.
The price you see is the price you pay. Unlike many other tour companies there are no additional costs for bike choice or levels of insurance, we include top tier CDW insurance to limit any liability to $1000, SLI third party cover of $1,000,000 and enrol all riders in a Global Rescue cover policy for the duration of the tour as part of the trip cost.
This was a great intro and took us nicely into the smoother ride into Joshua Tree national park, which takes its name from the Joshua trees that cover the alien terrain. These trees are only found in a select few places around the world, and are most highly concentrated in this part of California. They were named as such by the region’s mormon settlers over a hundred years ago, because, reaching heights of up to 40ft, they seemed to be reaching to the heavens themselves. Although the speed limits stay low, you don’t feel like you’re missing out because you can truly kick back and enjoy the mind blowing scenery. The desert scenery seems to be straight out of a Star Trek episode, with enormous trees and spectacular rock formations that seem almost superimposed over a backdrop of bright ochre sandscapes.
We then rode down up Laughlin, which is an old school gambling town 90 miles south of Las Vegas, and the route was out of this world. The approach was beautifully scenic, with tight twisty roads through low hills. Laughlin is a popular biker spot, as it hosts the annual ‘Laughlin River run’ which is a motorcycle rally that hosts 70,000 in the last weekend of April each year. Thankfully, we missed the crowds and instead were treated to some amazing burgers and beers and a peaceful night watching the locals losing their cash!
The next stop on our incredible recce tour was old route 66, oft dubbed the ‘Main Street of America’. The first thing we noticed on this incredible road were the historic gas stations that had been restored into cafes or gift shops- they gave the place an amazing vibe and made you feel like you were in the wild west (until you looked a little closer, and then it felt a tiny bit like Disney). The real ‘route 66’ is long gone, having been re-aligned several times over the last hundred years, but the route we took sticks to the original as closely as possible. The route is littered with amazing old school diners and some incredible food. This ride was a once in a lifetime ride, not only because of the roads, but also the culture and feeling of the whole ride.
From here we went to visit the amazing Grand Canyon skywalk. Its a huge 10ft wide horseshoe shaped bridge that extends 70ft out over the canyon. Certainly not the place for you if you’re iffy about heights because the bridge has a glass floor which gives you a perfect view 4000ft (almost a mile) down to the floor of the canyon. The views were absolutely immense!
On our way to Las Vegas, our destination for the next two nights we stopped at the magnificent Hoover dam. Built in the 1930s the dam stores enough water to irrigate two million acres of land- fairly useful when the climate in Nevada is so unbelievably dry! When you’re on two wheels, one of the highlights of a visit to this dam is the Hoover dam bypass, a bridge which is is 270m tall and 579m long which joins Arizona and Nevada.
It took us a couple of hours to ride from Vegas onwards to Death valley, where we visited the national park. Death valley national park, despite its name, is host to all sorts of beautiful flora and fauna. It is idyllic from the wildflowers brought by occasional rain to the snowcapped peaks despite being the hottest, driest and lowest national park in the USA.