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5.0 out of 5 stars cross-country
This is a fantastic book! I wanted to take a cross-country tour and this was the only book I found that covered more than one region. Second, the humor is prevalent but it never gets in the way of describing some killer back roads and great historic towns I might have missed. Third, I never felt the lodgings he recommended were that expensive because A) I am a solo...
Published on July 17 2001

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1.0 out of 5 stars Great Ways to Avoid Motorcycling
The foreword of the book is written by Peter Fonda. I personally fail to make the connection why the endorsement of a Hollywood actor who happened to shoot a motorcycling movie should prove the value of a touring guide. But as I tried out some of the journeys, I started to see how the whole experience, which these suggested trips cater to, is concentrated around the image...
Published on April 12 2002 by zar1969


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1.0 out of 5 stars Great Ways to Avoid Motorcycling, April 12 2002
By 
zar1969 (New York, NY) - See all my reviews
The foreword of the book is written by Peter Fonda. I personally fail to make the connection why the endorsement of a Hollywood actor who happened to shoot a motorcycling movie should prove the value of a touring guide. But as I tried out some of the journeys, I started to see how the whole experience, which these suggested trips cater to, is concentrated around the image of motorcycling rather than the actual experience of riding. I wasted a couple of weekends diligently following directions through Pennsylvania and up the Hudson. The book led me through numerous towns and it reserved a lot of pages for information on all the things, which you could do to avoid riding your bike - you could find listings on every thrift store, restaurant, rafting company, and even bicycle tour! available on your way. Another interesting (and related) point was the fact that the author estimated coverage of about 50 miles per day i.e. if the suggested trip was 200 miles total, you were supposed to need 4 to 5 days to cover the distance. While very concentrated on all the entertainment that could be bought along the trip, the book was not especially concerned with the quality of the selected riding. Gorgeous scenic ways were followed by long stretches of banal suburban motifs and while stuck in the stop-and-go traffic I was wondering what part of the motorcycling experience I was supposed to be exercising at the time.
This is my rendering of the qualities, which the reader needs to possess in order to enjoy the recommendations in the book: 1. Your name must be Peter Fonda 2. You must be independently wealthy since you can't both hold a job and go to all these 4-5 days trips. 3. You must be versatile in the outdoors' activities to take full advantage of all the fun that awaits you out there. 4. You need friends who would like to hear about stuff like " When I flew in that helicopter over the Grand Canyon...", and "Here is a picture of me next to an Amish farmer..." 5. You only need basic riding skills and moderate motorcycling enthusiasm.
My advice is - get a map, look for the small roads, use your common sense, and explore. Good luck out there, maybe we'll meet on the road.
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5.0 out of 5 stars cross-country, July 17 2001
By A Customer
This is a fantastic book! I wanted to take a cross-country tour and this was the only book I found that covered more than one region. Second, the humor is prevalent but it never gets in the way of describing some killer back roads and great historic towns I might have missed. Third, I never felt the lodgings he recommended were that expensive because A) I am a solo rider so the rates are lower for me anyway, and B) if I don't want to stay at a place he lists, I have the option of finding a chain hotel. That's another thing -- at the end of each chapter he lists campgrounds and state parks (for even cheaper camping). Finally, the reason I like this book and would strongly recommend it is for its great references. There are listings for state tourism boards where I can get free detailed maps, a listing of motorcycle shops within a few miles of each place he visits, and websites for motorcycle corporations, rentals, and tours. This is a solid, essential, and ultimately extremely valuable source of information for ALL riders. Buy it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ivan, June 25 2001
By A Customer
The foreword of the book is written by Peter Fonda. I personally fail to make the connection why the endorsement of a Hollywood actor who happened to shoot a motorcycling movie should prove the value of a touring guide. But as I tried out some of the journeys, I started to see how the whole experience, which these suggested trips cater to, is concentrated around the image of motorcycling rather than the actual experience of riding. I wasted a couple of weekends diligently following directions through Pennsylvania and up the Hudson. The book led me through numerous towns and it reserved a lot of pages for information on all the things, which you could do to avoid riding your bike - you could find listings on every thrift store, restaurant, rafting company, and even bicycle tour! available on your way. Another interesting (and related) point was the fact that the author estimated coverage of about 50 miles per day i.e. if the suggested trip was 200 miles total, you were supposed to need 4 to 5 days to cover the distance. While very concentrated on all the entertainment that could be bought along the trip, the book was not especially concerned with the quality of the selected riding. Gorgeous scenic ways were followed by long stretches of banal suburban motifs and while stuck in the stop-and-go traffic I was wondering what part of the motorcycling experience I was supposed to be exercising at the time.
This is my rendering of the qualities, which the reader needs to possess in order to enjoy the recommendations in the book: 1. Your name must be Peter Fonda 2. You must be independently wealthy since you can't both hold a job and go to all these 4-5 days trips. 3. You must be versatile in the outdoors' activities to take full advantage of all the fun that awaits you out there. 4. You need friends who would like to hear about stuff like " When I flew in that helicopter over the Grand Canyon...", and "Here is a picture of me next to an Amish farmer..." 5. You only need basic riding skills and moderate motorcycling enthusiasm.
My advice is - get a map, look for the small roads, use your common sense, and explore. Good luck out there, maybe we'll meet on the road.
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5.0 out of 5 stars kuralt lives, Sept. 8 2000
I'm not a motorcycle rider, but ever since I read Robert Pirskin's Zen and the Art of..., I have envied the unbridled freedom that the motorcycle provides for the human spirit. And watching Charles Kuralt hit the highways, I longed to ditch it all live a nomdaic existence in roadside diners and far-flung climes.
Now, Gary McKechnie's hearty and humorous insights into the roads best and less travelled has instilled me with yet another level of excitement and longing. He captures the essence of life on the move and at rest, taking my imagination on a real journey (20 of them, actually) to places I've bipassed and flown over a hundred times. Even in my enclosed car, I can find and appreciate these American places and ideals anew.
McKechnie cares about the people and places he visits, respects his surroundings and his fellow travelers, and seems to throughly enjoy these ghostly pursuits. In McKechnie's work I can hear the echoes of Pirskin, Kuralt, even Robert Frost. I eargerly await the next installment.
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1.0 out of 5 stars How not to see America., Aug. 2 2000
By 
B. Bates (Santa Fe, NM USA) - See all my reviews
This would be a good book for those new to motorcycle touring, but for those of us who have "been there, done that", it is a waste of money. Motorcyle touring doesn't take five days to go 210 miles. Maybe bicycle touring? The book should have been subtitled "...Tours, For the Wealthy". Is that why Peter Fonda wrote the forward? Only the wealthy can stay at the places and do what is suggested. Two examples; the ride from Taos to Santa Fe, and the one through Death Valley. I have done both, numerous times. The author's directions will get you lost and miss some of the best roads. His places to stay and eat in Santa Fe are for the wealthy tourists. The locals know where there is better food and the "real" Santa Fe. The book also contains numerous typos and inaccuracies. Example: highway 84/285 entering Santa Fe, NM from the north is not an interstate (designated by the author as I-84/285), although the amount of traffic will make you think it is one. Such inaccuracies make me afraid to follow the author's directions in areas that I have not been to. Other reviewers have suggested that the author forewarns about the book's shortcomings, but that does not release him from writing a bad book. I cannot recommend this book to anyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars No dud--laughs, info, and hogs, July 19 2000
By 
The Reader (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
I cannot disagree more with the narrow-minded review of Jim Shaver. He obviously doesn't understand the demands the author faced to write a book that covers the entire nation. While Shaver complains about short runs that take several days, McKechnie states in the introduction that we should use his book "as a guide, not the Gospel." In fact, he encourages readers to make their own discoveries. As far as I can tell, his timelines were designed to accommodate several days in one area, and he even suggests sidetrips after each run to offer riders additional time for exploration. With a little creativity, Shaver may have seen he could combine two trips to make one long run. Likewise, his criticism of room rates is also addressed in the introduction: McKechnie says that depending on the tone and tempo of the area, he'd just as soon suggest an ordinary motel or elegant resort. I own a copy of the book and what I've seen is that McKechnie is breaking the links
with chains. Whether it's restaurants, hotels, or stores, he never suggests patronizing the businesses that are homogenizing America. I think all riders should take a closer look at this book. For the author to have traveled the entire nation and point out hundreds of great backroads discoveries, complaints about room rates are ridiculous. In fact, if Shaver had checked further, he'd have noticed at the close of each chapter, the author lists contacts for state parks and campground associations as well. Shaver can stay in a chain hotel if he's watching his wallet. As for me, I'm perfectly content to have McKechnie as my tour guide.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Beginnings, Oct. 24 2002
By 
Paul M. Covert (Massillion, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
I recently purchased Gary's book in the Spring of '02 for my trips to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Sturgis. It provided an excellent primer for stopping points of interest and quality local eateries. I wasn't hung up on his allowing four days to cover 200 miles, however, I looked at is a buffet in which you can pick and choose the events of interest to you. His advice on packing warmer clothing in the dead of Summer for the elevation changes was dead on. Some may call it 'common sense', but if you see reported temperatures in Asheville at 90 degrees, you may not realize you'll need a jacket and light gloves by the time you hit Mt. Mitchell. I appreciated his advice and considered it money well spent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wide variety of suggested motorcycle tours, Dec 10 2002
This review is from: Great American Motorcycle Tours (Paperback)
Now in an updated and expanded second edition, Great American Motorcycle Tours by Gary McKechnie offers the reader a wide variety of suggested motorcycle tours ideal for vacationers and cyclists looking for history, excitement, and the joy of the open road. Different tours appeal to different tastes, such an Amish Country Run stretching from New Hope to Intercourse, Pennsylvania, or a Wild West Run from Livingston, Montana to Jackson, Wyoming. Each individual tour has numerous historic stops, and any attraction can be easily looked up in the index for "user friendly" cross-referencing. Overall, Great American Motorcycle Tours is an enjoyable, practical, and very highly recommended guide.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Yuppie Yuck, July 5 2000
What a dud. When I read the section Mighty Montana Run and saw the distance of the leg 335 miles...alow five days with stops I knew this wasn't the book I hoped for. The author's style is entertaining and humorous, but his recomendations of places to stay and see is strictly for the bored rich. Most places were WAY above $120 a night. If your idea of a road trip is camping and out of the way places with an occasional night in a modest local hotel pass on this yuppie guide. If your trip is to an unfamiliar area of the country there are a few good tips that save this book from one or two star oblivion. I'm not a high milage junkie, but this book sputters along until you're glad it stops.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Research Tool for X-country motorcyclists., Aug. 1 2000
By 
Dave Hoven (Sorrento, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
Gary's book is crammed with excellent destinations and insights into tour motorcycling. I speak with some authority as the producer of the video series "Motorcycle Tours of America." I find a strong parallel to the research revealed in his book and the planning that goes into the our video productions. In fact, we'll be using GREAT AMERICAN MOTORCYCLE TOURS as a powerful research suppliment for future productions. Well written, humorous and easy to read. A "must" in any motorcyclist's library of books. VIDEOS BY DAVE
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Great American Motorcycle Tours
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