As the clock winds down on 2017, we would like to take a look back at what may be our best year yet in the business of helping people discover the world by motorcycle. Join us on this three part series as we take a journey back to the beginning of 2017 and share with you some of our favorite memories from the year gone by. (Part 2: Birth of a MotoQuest Tour | Part 3: Growth of an Idea)
2017 was a busy year for MotoQuest guides around the world, who combined to run guided motorcycle tours on five continents. The season began last winter when a private group built a custom trip to explore the majestic coastline and rugged wilderness of South Africa. Straddling the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at the Cape of Good Hope and going on an elephant safari are just a couple of the highlights from our South Africa Backroads Adventure!
Soon after, halfway around the world, two groups of riders escaped the winter weather in favor of sunny Baja, Mexico. Our Best of Baja Southbound trip kicked things off, with riders enjoying a weeklong cruise from our Long Beach headquarters down the Baja peninsula to San Jose del Cabo. Along the way they got a taste of the relaxed Baja lifestyle, with no shortage of cold drinks and fresh fish tacos!
Next it was time for guides Dom Bauer and Ovi Puia to make the return trip home to California with a new group on the Best of Baja Northbound. Like their predecessors, these riders would soak up the warm winter sunshine and local culture, and we can’t forget to mention everyone’s favorite day-trip: whale watching outside San Ignacio! This is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures!
Meanwhile, MotoQuest founder Phil Freeman prepared for the Ecuador Scouting Trip, marking MotoQuest’s first time taking a group to this beautiful country. From scenic coastal riding to hikes through lush rainforests, this extremely biodiverse landscape makes for one of the most visually stunning trips we offer. If this sounds like your kind of trip, check out our 2018 Ecuador Adventure which kicks off on November 5th!
Spring is a beautiful time of year for riding. Temperatures climb, snow melts, and the open road beckons! That’s why we schedule several of our tours for this time of year. The American Southwest Adventure, led by Dom Bauer, was a feast for the senses. We like to call this a “trip back in time” because of the countless geological marvels that await riders at almost every turn. Both our American Southwest and Wonders of the West Adventures are eligible for our end of year booking special (click here for details)!
Phil Freeman embarked on the first of three journeys to Japan for the Three Island Tour. Just in time for cherry blossom season, Phil and company explored the three main islands while taking in the culture and of course feasting regularly on the best sushi in the world!
Spring is also the time of year that we begin to prepare for the summer riding season in Alaska. This year, a group of intrepid road warriors traversed the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and the rugged Yukon Territory on a 2,800-mile trek from Portland to Anchorage on our North to Alaska Tour. MotoQuest Alaska is open for business!
Elsewhere in the world, MotoQuest groups were experiencing trips of a lifetime. Guide Ben Habecker took a group of riders on our Peru Machu Picchu Adventure. Peru is home to some of the best paved riding in the world, and riding the Pan American Highway along the Pacific coast is simply breathtaking. But the big highlight of this adventure is always the trip to explore the Machu Picchu ruins.
On nearly the opposite side of the globe, guides Lynn Brown and Simon Siggs were busy escorting riders on the Isle of Man and Wales Adventure. There is no comparison to witnessing this event in person, and the entire trip is enriched by the colorful locals that we visit year after year on this small isle. Riding the actual race course is always a thrill, but the subsequent ride back through the Welsh countryside is stunning. This trip is eligible for our end of year booking special (click here for details)!
Phil made his return trip to Japan at the beginning of June for the Hokkaido Explore Adventure. Japan’s northern island is largely made up of protected land and is where Japanese people go to ride motorcycles. Combine that with fresh seafood and a soak in some natural hot springs and you’ve got an amazing motorcycle vacation!
Finally, summer arrives and it’s time for all of us here at MotoQuest to do what we do best: show off our home state of Alaska! We run a variety of trips in Alaska, each offering something a little different. One of our most popular is our Best of Alaska trip, an all-paved loop through the heart of the state that mixes stunning natural beauty with some of Alaska’s most popular destinations.
Our Prudhoe Bay Adventure is one of our marquee motorcycle tours, and provides a unique challenge for the more adventurous riders out there. The Dalton Highway is no walk in the park, but the payoff is a chance to dip your toes in the Arctic Ocean at the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. This is as far north as you can ride on the North American continent, and since we are already on the edge of capacity for our June 1, 2018 tour, we have added a second trip departing June 29, 2018.
The 2017 Alaska season also featured several custom tours. These types of trips allow groups of riders big and small to build their own private MotoQuest tour. We supply the bikes, support vehicle, and staff, and also take care of lodging and other arrangements. We can do this for one of our existing tour itineraries, or we can build an all-new tour just for your group! One such custom tour this past summer consisted of a group of women that wanted to see what Alaska had to offer. MotoQuest guide Robyn “RoKo” Kocienski designed a route and took them around the state. The results were spectacular, and from experience this RoKo has redesigned our Alaska Women’s Tour for 2018!
Our Northern Lights Adventure marks the end of the riding season in Alaska. Riders head out into the Alaska wilderness at the end of August, which means it’s not yet too cold and snowy to ride while also getting to see the sun set at night. This is the perfect to try to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, and often our groups get to gaze upon the colors as they dance across the night sky. A magical end to another great summer in Alaska.
Not to be outdone, another group on our India Touch the Sky Adventure joined local guide Anu on a Royal Enfield tour through northern India. Riders traversed the three highest motorable passes in the world, experiencing a variety of ecosystems in the process. Ride camels through sand dunes and ascend the Himalayas on this two week adventure!
In Alaska, fall means winter. Once it starts snowing, there’s not really any riding to be done until spring. That’s not the case in the lower 48 though! Fall marks the start of our Trail of Lewis and Clark Adventure. Riders visit historical sites and retrace part of the route that the Corps of Discovery took as they explored the lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase more than 200 years ago. This trip is eligible for our end of year booking special (click here for details)!
Fall is also when we once again venture into the Southwestern United States, when temperatures are milder and crowds of tourists have subsided. This is a wonderful time of year to explore the National Parks and Monuments along our American Southwest Adventure, or to ride along the best parts of Historic Route 66 on our Wonders of the West Adventure. These trips are eligible for our end of year booking special (click here for details)!
Here’s to another year of amazing adventures, unforgettable experiences, and lifelong friendships!
Continue reading this three part retrospective: