One of the best parts about owning a motorcycle is having a front-row view to all things nature. There’s nothing standing in between you and all the colors of the natural world. Fall is one of the best times to go cruising through the wilderness. Leaf peepers are known for chasing bright yellows, reds, and oranges all over the country as autumn sets in. Chances are there’s a great leaf-oriented stretch of road near you.
Get Your Bike Ready for the Trip
Before you head out on your trip, make sure you have everything you need to explore the open road. Some of these routes can be quite remote, so you need to have a plan in case things take a turn for the worst.
Above all else, use helmet communication to keep in touch with your loved ones on your trip, especially if you stray far from home. You should be able to call for help or check your GPS without taking your eyes off the road. You drove all this way to look at the leaves, after all.
Looking down at your phone can be a recipe for disaster. You also need to keep your hands on the handlebars at all times to stay in control. Use a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet to use your electronic devices hands-free for more peace of mind behind the wheel.
Find a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet with speakers that produces clear audio. You need to balance the sound of your music, call, or GPS with the sounds of the road in case another driver needs to get your attention.
Your phone may not be there to rescue if you get lost or get into a wreck. Consider bringing along paper maps of your destination and a backup communication system, such as two-way radio, in case you don’t have access to cell service.
Inspect your motorcycle to make sure it’s ready for the trip at hand. Add air to the tires, if needed. You should know the approximate distance of your trip. Check the mileage and consider visiting your local mechanic if it’s been over a year or 6,000 miles since your last tune-up.
Tunnel of Trees – Michigan
The country’s “third coast” is known for its rich forestry and sprawling coastlines and Michigan’s Tunnel of Trees is perhaps the best example of both. The branches of the trees extend over the road, creating what looks like a tunnel.
Most of the action takes place on M-119. You can catch it at the north end of Petosky. The tunnel official starts in Harbor Springs. Follow the route for another 20 miles around the edge of Lake Michigan. The bluff, which runs around 140 feet above sea level, keeps you up high for a panoramic view of the coast. Be sure to slow down or stop when taking in the sights. The state road narrows at several points, including the infamous Devil’s Ridge. Lots of drivers will probably have their eyes on the trees, so don’t be surprised if they make a mistake.
Coastal Route One – Maine
Route One has a reputation across the East Coast. It makes for a stunning drive, whether you’re coming from Key West, Florida or New York City. We suggest taking it all the way north to Maine, where you’ll see some of the most picturesque roads of your life. New England is full of many charms, including open farmland, quaint towns full of history, and weaving coastlines, and Route One lets you see the best of everything.
You’ll need to take I-95 about 90 minutes north of Boston to the Maine border. From there, hop on Route One to cruise through small towns like towns as Kennebunkport and Ogunquit, both of which are teeming with lush forestry. The road takes you along the coast, which gives you the chance to explore the area’s many islands, nooks, and peninsulas. You’re bound to pass a lighthouse or three.
There’s a certain humble charm to the remote towns of Northern Vermont. Turn down the noise of your engine to enjoy the peace and quiet as the water laps against the rocky shore. Wildlife can get pretty bold in the more rural parts of the state. Don’t be surprised if you run into a moose as soon as you get out of the city.
San Juan Mountain Skyway – Colorado
If you love the mountains, head out west to Colorado to experience the thrill of the San Juan Mountain Skyway. The road gets its name for its steep incline and sharp turns. The road goes from 6,200 feet above sea level near the city of Cortez to over 11,000 feet near what’s known as the Red Mountain Pass.
It gives you the ultimate mountain experience, complete with expansive river valleys, peaks over 14,000 feet tall, and trees that feel larger than life. The arching road gives you a cascading view of the trees during the fall. You can see several miles into the distance in some parts.
The road starts in Durango, CO, the largest city on the path. This is the time to stock up on supplies. Your choices start to thin out from here. Follow the road north via U.S. 160 to Mancos. Consider stopping by Rocky Mountain National Park and Mesa Verde National Park while you’re in the area if you feel like seeing more of what this iconic state has to offer. It continues for a total 235 miles, or 7 hours, going all the way up to Telluride and Silverton.
It’s best to start your trip in the early fall, as some roads turn icy early in the season. The mountains have a climate all their own, so be prepared to encounter some snow along the way. Bring along a few extra layers to stay warm on your motorcycle as temperatures fluctuate.
Nothing beats the gorgeous palette of fall foliage. Chart a course for one of these autumn destinations to enjoy the ride of your life.