Today Phil Freeman, MotoQuest Founder & Lead Guide, shares fresh memories of two contrasting yet complimentary itineraries you might want to consider riding back to back.
We always try to make it easy for riders to extend their ride. Why not, if the road is calling, and time is nodding its head? This is why we designed our Wonders of the West and our American Southwest adventures to start and end within days of each other at the same location. Some of our riders have opted to take both of these trips, and see two distinct and beautiful parts of our vast and scenic country, the good ‘ol US of A.
When riders ask me the difference between the two rides, I must first take pause.
I led our Wonders of the West last fall, and returned from the road after staffing our American Southwest ride, so all those images flood through my mind. Endless miles, curves, vistas, smells and contours… it takes a minute for the old brain to calibrate just to bring the answer into words.
Both rides are exceptional, but for different reasons. The two excursions share the same start and end point in Las Vegas, and cruise along just a few miles on Route 66, but then diverge significantly.
Wonders of the West
October 16 – 23, 2021
March 26 – April 2, 2022
October 15 – 22, 2022
When leading the Wonders of the West, I was impressed by the diversity of landscapes we passed through.
The Wonders of the West heads boldly westward, and features Lake Havasu and the Colorado River, then cuts cross country through the Mojave Desert and takes you through that precious morsel of real estate known as Joshua Tree National Park.
From there, the awesome twisty California roads arrive as you gain altitude through pine trees along the Sierras. It’s a juxtaposed situation, being so close, yet so far from the L.A. basin: you are riding incredibly scenic and fun roads bare of metropolitan traffic just miles from the city. The backroads near Big Bear Lake, continuing on to the Angeles Crest Highway area are amazing, and a must for any motorcyclist. A day spent on byways to Kernville via the thrilling Caliente-Bodfish Road is yet another true highlight.
But, for me, ending the ride in Death Valley was the defining moment of the trip. I just get a tingle thinking about sleeping below sea level at Furnace Creek, and it’s evening tranquility, before returning to the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas. If you like curves, diversity and backroads, then the Wonders of the West is for you.
October 24 – November 2, 2021
April 3 – 12, 2022
October 23 – November 1, 2022
Turning the page, our American Southwest Adventure is a stand alone gem. Painted desert solitaire scenery is the order of the day. Highlights for this trip are so numerous, that I can only sum it up as one guest said: “Each day builds upon itself, and you think that this was the best day of your life riding, then the next day happens.”
We handpicked the best roads that meander through Nevada, northern Arizona, eastern Colorado and Utah. It’s a National Park, National Monument and National Forest smorgasbord: Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Canyons of the Ancients, Bryce, Canyonland, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Capitol Reef, Zion… not to mention everything else in between. Just click into 6th gear, feather the throttle, and let your jaw stay dropped.
Our two-night stay in Moab, Utah is the pivotal point of the trip. You realize you are in the middle of one of the best rides in your life.
So, if you are ever teetering on participating in one of these trips or the other, be sure you are in for an unforgettable ride. And, if life throws you a hall pass, just do both, and be ready to reflect like I just did. Good luck trying to keep it under 4 sentences!
I hope to see you out there.