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USA Tour Companies 2013/2014

Rider Magazine
January 2, 2014
Filed under Guided Motorcycle Tour Reviews, Motorcycle Features: Bikes, Blokes, Culture and Beyond

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Why go on a guided tour? Because motorcycles are meant to be fun, not hard work. You can enjoy the solitary freedom of the open road if you choose, or the camaraderie of the group ride. You don’t have to spend all afternoon worrying about where you will sleep that night. You may meet new friends out on the road, and you will certainly have a whole group of friends with whom to enjoy dinner every evening.

This is a listing of companies who run scheduled, guided street-only motorcycle tours in the United States, either with their own rental fleet or rental agency motorcycles (using your own bike is also an option for many). Most also offer a chase van and a variety of options for luggage and gear. The information is provided by the companies, and not guaranteed by Rider.

If you want to ride another brand, there’s no shortage of offerings, and you’ll probably be able to reserve your dream bike. Just remember, flexibility is good when you’re on vacation. Sometimes a bike is out for service or repair, and you’ll have just as much fun on a second choice (and may even find you like that motorcycle more).

Given the nature of the business—small groups, high up-front costs for the company—you may find that stiff cancellation charges apply if you decide not to go, for any reason. Another reason for trip cancellation insurance. Policies vary between companies—if you have to cancel and face losing your deposit, it’s good to check if it can be credited to a later tour or even another person.

What happens if there’s too much adventure? Always check the small print of your medical insurance policy to make sure it covers you for a motorcycle riding vacation. And for your peace of mind, a medical evacuation policy is also a good idea. It can pay the extra costs needed to helicopter you out of a sticky situation.

To avoid sticky situations in the first place, ask about the tour before you book. Who will be your companions? How experienced are the guides? Do they carry satellite phones in remote locations? What languages will be spoken on the tour? How much of a deposit will you have to put on your credit card, in case of an accident? If you want to take your spouse or partner on the tour, can they ride in the chase van if they are tired of the passenger seat? What guarantees are there about which bike you will get? Are there any spare bikes, in case one stops running? And one more tip: book the tour early. It’s not unusual for popular tours to sell out, sometimes a year in advance!

What else will you need? Make sure that you bring a camera to capture the memories!

Sabula, Iowa

The Mighty Miss is almost at flood stage and that long bridge will carry us from Savanna, Illinois, to Sabula, Iowa. Eighty years ago we’d be waiting for a ferry.

AdMo-Tours

Tours: Golden California Summer, Golden California Winter
Accommodations: 3- and 4-star hotels
Length of Tours: 11 days
Rental Options: BMW, Harley-Davidson, Honda
Equipment: Support vehicle
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: From $4,610 (double occupancy, rider on Honda Shadow)
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: AdMo-Tours, P.O. Box 1803, Wrightwood, CA 92397; (760) 249-1105; admo-tours.com
• California offers great riding summer or winter, says AdMo-Tours. Go for a winter tour, and you will spend time in warm desert locations. Summer is the time for curvy roads and beaches, and anytime is good for the pre-ride Hollywood Tour.

Ayres Adventures

Tours: Alaska/Yukon Adventure, Prudhoe Bay Excursion
Accommodations: Lodges, hotels
Length of Tours: 9, 13 days
Rental Options: Select BMW models
Equipment: Support vehicle
Dates: July-August
Typical Cost: 9-day tour from $5,950, 13-day from $7,495
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: P.O. Box 864018, Plano, Texas 75086-4018; (877) 275-8238 or (972) 635-5210; ayresadventures.com
• Ayres Adventures offers premium tours of the North Country, and says its tours are like a wonderful adventure with a small group of friends, with dinners always in the best local restaurants. The service includes a pre-trip booklet, The Plan Ahead, so you can start salivating in advance.

California Motorcycle Tours

Tours: California Contrasts, Deserts & Parks, Northwest Lodges, Northwest Adventure, Peaks & Passes, Beach & Mountain, Best of California, Day Tripper
Accommodations: Bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, lodges
Length of Tours: 3, 7, 10, 13 days
Rental Options: Rental-agency Harley-Davidson
Equipment: Saddlebag, windscreen, maps, gas paid (no chase van—pack light)
Dates: April-October
Typical Cost: 7-day tour $3,990, 10-day tour $4,675, 13-day tour $6,350 (passengers less)
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: 5838 Agee St., San Diego, CA 92122; (888) 408-7631 or (858) 677-9892;
ca-motorcycletours.com
• With nine different tours, ranging from 3-13 days, and with routes covering the Western USA, California Motorcycle Tours has something for everyone on two wheels. What else could you ask
for? The best restaurants on the road!

Mission San Antonio

Mission San Antonio is the most out-of-the-way mission and the most beautiful in California.

California Sunriders

Tours: California Sunbreeze, Cowboys & Indians, Great Pacific Coast Highway, Mountains & Beaches, Rocky Mountain High, Sturgis, Wild Wild West.
Accommodations: 3- and 4-star hotels
Length of Tours: 4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 16 days
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson
Equipment: Support vehicle with spare motorcycle
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: 4-day Mountains & Beaches from $2,120, 14-day Great Pacific Coast Highway Tour from $9,012
Age Limits: Min. 21, 1-year heavyweight motorcycle riding experience
Contact: 355 South Grand Ave., Suite 2450, Los Angeles, CA 90071; (310) 359-2353; california-sunriders.com
• Ready for a lot of fun and the authentic Western experience? That, says California Sunriders, is what you’ll get on its tours of the West, which include unlimited mileage motorcycle rental, all entrance fees to state and national parks, and even a road book!

EagleRider

Tours: Easy Rider, Route 66, Sturgis, H-D Museum, Canada and Yellowstone, Wild West, Florida Keys, Gulf Coast and Gumbo, South Florida, Pacific Coast, Pacific Coast North, Pacific Coast South, No Boys Allowed, High Seas Rally
Accommodations: Hotels
Length of Tours: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16 days
Rental Options: Varies by tour: fleet includes BMW, Harley-Davidson and Honda cruisers, tourers, trikes
Equipment: Support van with spare bike, free fuel and oil, helmet, locks
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: 3-day tour starting at $979, 15-day tour from $4,201
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: 11860 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90250; (877) 557-3541; eaglerider.com
• EagleRider is the go-to company for many of the other tour companies listed here. It provides rental bikes all over the country, and a number of guided tours also—including an all-women tour and a cruise ship tour. Can you say variety?

Edelweiss Bike Travel

Tours: Wild West Tour, Ultimate USA, Highway Number 1, Grand Canyon Tour, Southern California Backroads, Adventure Top of the World, Viva Las Vegas
Accommodations: Comfortable middle-class hotels and motels
Length of Tours: From 6-20 days of riding
Rental Options: BMW, Harley-Davidson and Honda
Equipment: A second tour guide driving chase vehicle and taking care of repair and luggage
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: Ranging from $2,970–$11,170
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: Sportplatzweg 14, 6414 Mieming, Austria; 011.43.5264.5690; edelweissbike.com
• Edelweiss Bike Travel is the biggest guided motorcycle touring company in the world, since 1980—that’s more than 30 years of experience! Enough said?

Freedom Tours

Tours: Colorado Rockies, Land of Enchantment, Canyon Roads
Accommodations: Bed-and-breakfasts, inns, lodges, hotels
Length of Tours: 8, 9, 12 days
Rental Options: From local rental agency
Equipment: Chase vehicle
Dates: June-September
Typical Cost: From $3,195 (9-day tour, single occupancy, not including motorcycle rental)
Age Limits: Riding experience required
Contact: Mike Adams, 7474 East Arkansas #1506, Denver, CO 80231; (720) 480-0381 or (303) 823-5731; twisty-roads.com
• Which one is for you—high alpine meadows, Rocky Mountains, warm desert breezes or high plains drifting? Whatever your choice, Freedom Tours has a route for you, traversing unforgettable roads through Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Great American Touring

Tours: Daytona Bike Week, Escape to Key West, Pacific Coast North, Pacific Coast South, Sturgis, Yellowstone, Sunshine Highways, Sea to Shining Sea, 16-day Route 66
Accommodations: “Consistently unique”
Length of Tours: 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, 24 days
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson, other motorcycles
Equipment: Luggage, chase van
Dates: March-October
Typical Cost: $1,450 (4-day), $5,450 (16-day), per person for 1 bike, 2 people, including motorcycle rental
Age Limits: 21 to rent motorcycle, no limit for own bike
Contact: 1873 Cromwell Dr., Akron, OH 44313; (800) 727 3390; greatamericantouring.com
• How does Great American stand out? When the company says, “eight day tour,” that’s eight riding days. Other companies’ eight-day tours may be only six, or even just five riding days. It makes a difference.

Sharon Springs, New York

Back in 1847, the town of Sharon Springs, New York was a noted resort and the American Hotel was built—and completely refurbished a few years ago.

Harley-Davidson Authorized Tours

Categories Include: Once in a Lifetime, Events, Short Breaks, Luxury, Beautiful Planet
Tours: Harley-Davidson Authorized Tours offers nearly 300 tours around the world, with 200 in the U.S. Some of the most popular include: National Parks, Best of the West, Pony Express, California Highway 1, Riding the Canyons, Anasazi Tour, Route 66, On the Trails of the Far West, Florida Coast, Canadian Rockies & Yellowstone, Riding on Heaven’s Road (Arizona), Music and Bikes (Memphis-New Orleans)
Accommodations: Custom to route, preplanned assortment of mid-star rated hotels in stop cities
Length of Tours: From 5-15 days
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals/own motorcycle
Equipment: Harley-Davidson Authorized Rental motorcycle (if needed) and an Escort Vehicle along with a variety of Tour Essentials such as route maps, itineraries and region guides
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: Varies—a 14-day Sturgis tour including a rental is approximately $7,000
Age Limits: Varies according to tour and location
Contact: Reservations can be made through the Harley-Davidson tours website. Reservations will be taken on a first come, first served basis. http://authorizedtours.harley-davidson.com
• Harley-Davidson has re-entered the tour business, and the company now offers several types of Harley-Davidson Authorized Tours, all using Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals or your own motorcycle. Tour operators may be based abroad, and other languages may be spoken on the tour, but tour guides will be fluent English speakers.

Leod Escapes

Tours: Northern California (Hella NorCal, 2 Up Fling, California Curvin, NorCal to Flat Track Racing, Dr. Gonzo’s Ride), Southwest (Spirit of the West) and custom tours
Accommodations: 3-star or higher hotels, lodges
Length of Tours: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14 days
Rental Options: Select BMW, Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha models, own bike
Equipment: Chase van, 1 guide for every 5 bikes, maps and route sheets
Dates: May-October
Typical Cost: $4,000 average
Age Limits: Min. 25, curvy backroads suited for intermediate to advanced riders
Contact: 55 Aspen Ct., El Sobrante, CA 94803; (866) 562-6126; leodescapes.com
• Tour master Cat MacLeod says his company’s sport/adventure tours are authentic, twisty and tasty, with an emphasis on epic hidden roads, great food and plush pillows, delivered with passionate service. Couples are very welcome.

MotoJourneys

Tours: Best of the West, The Big Wow, Coast to Redwoods
Accommodations: Hotels, lodges
Length of Tours: 8, 10, 15 days
Rental Options: Rental motorcycle from local agency
Equipment: Chase vehicle with trailer
Dates: June-September
Typical Cost: $150 per person per day, excluding motorcycle rental
Age Limits: 21 to rent motorcycles, no upper limit
Contact: P.O. Box 158, Ellensburg, WA 98926-1911; (509) 856-6572; motojourneys.com
• Based in Washington State, MotoJourneys offers tours of the West and Northwest. MotoJourneys owner Bob Crowe leads every tour, which he says focuses on unique local restaurants and hotels that showcase the charm and character of the American West.

MotoQuest

Tours: Wonders of the West, Pacific Coast Highway Southbound, Pacific Coast Highway Northbound, American Southwest, Ride the Best of Alaska, Alaska Harley Tour, Alaska All Ladies Ride, Prudhoe Bay Adventure, Dawson City Gold Rush Adventure, Alaska Kenai Peninsula, North to Alaska, North to Alaska Extended
Accommodations: Lodges, hotels
Length of Tours: 7, 11, 22 days
Rental Options: BMW range, Kawasaki KLR
Equipment: Luggage, chase van
Dates: Year round (West), May-September (Alaska)
Typical Cost: $5,100, 11-day tour, rider sharing double room, including motorcycle rental
Age Limits: Min. 21
Contact: 4346 Spenard Rd., Anchorage, AK 99587; (800) 756-1990 or (907) 272-2777 or (562) 997-7368; motoquest.com
• Go North! MotoQuest offers a number of tours of the last frontier, Alaska, a great option if you don’t have the time to ride there during its short riding season. At other times of the year, tours of the West and Southwest are offered.

U.S. 30 Iowa

U.S. 30 used to be one of the main east/west roads in Iowa, but when Interstate 80 opened up some 40 years ago, traffic dropped drastically and gas stations had to close.

Northeastern Motorcycle Tours

Tours: New England, Best of Vermont, Maine Maritime, Adirondacks
Accommodations: Inns and hotels
Length of Tours: 3-14 days
Rental Options: BMW or Harley-Davidson from local suppliers
Equipment: None
Dates: August-October
Typical Cost: $2,295 for 6-day tour, excluding motorcycle rental
Age Limits: Min. 18
Contact: P.O. Box 574, Saxtons River, VT 05154; (802) 463-9853; motorcycletours.com
• Northeastern’s Sean Reid has spent nearly two decades in the touring business—and after an enforced medical break this year, he aims to offer a full touring calendar in 2014, helping riders discover the best destinations and most spectacular scenery in the Atlantic Northeast.

Open Road Motorcycle Adventures

Tours: Grand Circle, Great Southern Tour, Beartooth Highway and Yellowstone National Park Tour, Great Northern Tour, Grand Loop Tour
Accommodations: Rider-friendly unique establishments
Length of Tours: 7, 8, 13, 14, 16 days,
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson, BMW, Triumph from local dealers
Equipment: Helmets, support vehicle
Dates: May-October
Typical Cost: 7-day tour, $3,275 rider sharing room, including motorcycle rental; 16-day tour, $9,225 rider and passenger, including rental
Age Limits: Min. 19, valid MC license, experience
Contact: P.O. Box 9062, Salt Lake City, UT 84109; (801) 824-6762; openroadmotorcycleadventures.com
• Want scenic roads with that tour? Open Road Motorcycle Adventures offers tours of the West and Western Rockies that are heavy on scenery, light on traffic and offer stops at fascinating destinations along the way.

Pashnit Motorcycle Tours

Tours: Death Valley, Nor-Cal, Central California, Northern Sierra, Crater Lake, Coast Range, Iron Butt 1,000 Mile Rally
Accommodations: Hotels, motels
Length of Tours: 3, 4 days
Rental Options: BMW, Honda, Triumph, Harley and others from local rental agencies
Equipment: Lead rider, sweep rider
Dates: March-October
Typical Cost: $425 3-day tour, excludes motorcycle rental
Age Limits: Min. 21, riding experience
Contact: 2999 Bridlewood Dr., El Dorado Hills, CA 95762; (530) 391-1356; pashnittours.com
• It’s 10 years on the road now for Pashnit Motorcycle Tours (pashnit=passionate, get it?) and the company that started out as a “best roads” computer list now offers a full menu of California-based tours. These guys know every inch of the roads they travel, and it shows.

Retro Tours

Tours: Bill’s Old Bike Barn; Local Loops; Redneck Gyro; Central PA: A Relaxed Pace Ride; Five by Five by Two; Susquehanna River Cruisin; Finding Lost River, West Virginia; The Blues at Hot Springs, VA
Accommodations: Hotels, motels, rustic cabins
Length of Tours: 1, 2, 3, 4 days
Rental Options: Fleet of 25 motorcycles from the 1970s
Equipment: Toolkits
Dates: April-November
Typical Cost: $75 per day for motorcycle rental, extra cost for hotel and food
Age Limits: Motorcycle experience
Contact: 101 Fox Fell Drive, Kennett Square, PA 19348; (610) 444-1596; retrotours.com
• Don’t look for chocolates on the pillow or late morning brunch on retro tours. Instead, you’ll be turning a wrench, helping maintain your mount, as the company discovers glorious Southern roads aboard a fleet of stubborn survivors from the ’70s.

Ride Free Motorcycle Tours

Tours: Route 66 Grand Canyon; Route 66 Chicago to LA; Sturgis, Yellowstone and Colorado; California Coastline and San Francisco; California Dreaming; American Music Tour; Route 66 Grand Canyon; LA to SF; Vegas to SF; Daytona Bike Week; Yellowstone/Colorado; Alaska; Hawaii
Accommodations: Hotels, resort hotels, motels
Length of Tours: 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 days
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson or other
Equipment: Chase vehicle
Dates: Year-round
Typical Cost: 4-day tour $2,490 including motorcycle rental and insurance; 15-day tour $7,980 including motorcycle rental and insurance
Age Limits: Min. 21, riding experience
Contact: 11014 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90304; (310) 978-9558; ridefree.com
• Classic routes with classy motorcycles (and classic cars, but we won’t mention them here) is what Ride Free does. Based in Los Angeles, the company offers tours throughout the West, and is expanding to Alaska and Hawaii.

Scenic Motorcycle Tours

Tours: Head for the Mountains, The Best of New England Loops Tour, The Northernmost Vermont Tour, Fall Foliage Loops Tour, Fall Foliage Mountains Tour
Accommodations: Resort hotels
Length of Tours: 4 days
Rental Options: From local agency (103 miles away)
Equipment: Chase van
Dates: June-October
Typical Cost: $1,575 double occupancy, including motorcycle rental
Age Limits: None
Contact: 150 Pompton Plains Crossroads, Suite 4902, Wayne, NJ 07470; (973) 291-6152;
scenicmctours.com
• Scenic Motorcycle Tours promises lodging at a different luxury resort hotel every night of the trip (they even have a “stay and play” option for family members), a great dinner every night, wonderful breakfast every morning, and you get to ride motorcycles and see the sights too!

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is very large and has a number of marinas; this one is not far from the Hoover Dam.

Tour on Two

Tours: Arizona Bike Week, Texas Hill Country, Southwest Parks, The Mother Road Route 66, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Door County Wisconsin, Sturgis, Yellowstone and Glacier, Blue Ridge Parkway, Fall Colors
Accommodations: Motorcycle-friendly, clean and comfortable hotels, motels
Length of Tours: 3, 8, 16 days
Rental Options: Local rental agency
Equipment: Chase vehicle
Dates: March-October
Typical Cost: $3,300 for 8-day tour, including rental and fuel
Age Limits: Min. 21 for rental motorcycles
Contact: P.O. Box 278, Yorkville, IL 60560; (630) 660-4733; tourontwo.net
• Tour guide Bill Gade offers a progression of tours, starting in the spring in the Southwest, following the seasons north to Sturgis in midsummer, then heading south for a classic road trip and east for fall colors.

Turkey Creek Motorcycle Tours

Tours: Colorado Ultimate Mountain Adventure Tour, Grand Arizona Tour, The American Southwest
Accommodations: Bed-and-breakfasts, historic hotels and lodges
Length of Tours: 8, 14, 15, 16 days
Rental Options: From local agencies
Equipment: Support vehicle and trailer
Dates: February-November
Typical Cost: From $2,280 double occupancy
Age Limits: Min. 21, riding experience
Contact: 2160 E. Fry Blvd. Ste. 505, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635; (888) 763-6185 or (303) 838-6505; turkeycreektours.com
• Concentrate on the ride, say Tom and Lynn Matthews, proprietors of Turkey Creek Tours, which offers luxurious lodging, fine dining and professional tour guides who will show you the roads of your dreams.

Twisted Trailz Motorcycle Tours

Tours: Cowboy Country, Grand Canyon & Red Rocks, Canyons & National Parks, Awesome Arizona, Monuments & Million $ Highways
Accommodations: Hotels of character, lodges, motels
Length of Tours: 3, 6, 7 days
Rental Options: Harley-Davidson and other brands from local agency, own bike
Equipment: Chase van and trailer
Dates: February-November
Typical Cost: 3-day tour $1,295 including rental, 7-day tour $4,295 with rental bike
Age Limits: Min. 25 for rental bikes, experienced rider
Contact: 3331 E. Escuda Rd. #111, Phoenix, AZ 85050; (602) 795-8888; twistedtrailz.com
• Forget about the hassles of planning your tour, says Twisted Trailz, just sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Southwest on one of its once-in-a-lifetime tours.

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