Category Archives: North America

Best States for a Motorcycle Vacation

By Sally James

Vacationers on Motorcycles

Vacationers on Motorcycles

The things which make something enjoyable are, of course, subjective. Someone who loves history will wax lyrical about the old cities of Europe, which won’t interest a wilderness-yomper one jot. A ski nut will appreciate mountainous resorts the charms of which will be completely lost upon a beach bum. This subjectivity is as true of motorcycling as anything else. Some love straight, desert roads in which to roar along with the world spread out before you. Others like the challenge of a bendy forest road. Some like it warm, some hate to sweat in their leathers. As such, any ranking of states regarding their general enjoyability for bikers is going to meet with stormy opposition in some quarters. So we won’t attempt to do that. Here instead are the best states for hitting the road on two wheels according to certain criteria – namely: Warm riding weather, dry riding weather, safety, and gasoline prices.

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Honda CX400 1980, Stuart, Florida

Warm Riding Weather – Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana In all fairness, this is a pretty subjective category. After all, some people might prefer the crisp tang of a Wisconsin winter to the hot humidity of a Southern summer. Feel free, therefore, to completely ignore this category and go your own sweet way! To be honest, we’ve mainly chosen these states based upon their hours of daylight and the relative paucity of chill winds. In general, the states of Florida, Arizona, Hawaii and Louisiana are the most likely to give you a good, clear run of days in which the daylight is abundant and the nasty weather keeps away. Texas isn’t far behind, but loses points for just being too damn big to gather non-conflicting data for! Don’t take it as read that these states are automatically going to roll out the climactic carpet for you, however. We all know about Florida and Louisiana’s issue with hurricanes! These states give you your best chance of consistently warm riding weather, but it’s by no means 100% guaranteed!

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Vacationer from Ohio Relaxes by Motorcycle

Dry Riding Weather – Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona Wet roads, snowy roads, and water splattering your visor do not make for a great ride. Some may enjoy the challenge, and some may relish the chance to pit their snow chains against the ice, but those of us who like an easy life would probably prefer to hit the road on a dry day. Working on yearly averages, the driest states are Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. However, it might be worth taking seasonal averages into account as well. In the summer, California just about manages to knock Nevada from its desiccated top-spot, while in winter you’re more likely to find dry conditions in North Dakota (which perhaps helps to account for this state’s exemplary safety record – see below). In general, though Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona are the most consistently dry states all year round, so if you’re not a fan of slippy tires and the scent of soggy weather, it might be an idea to head West!

Safety – North Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi You need not worry about damage (to yourself or you bike!) or theft if you head to one of these states. The roads here are smooth and well-maintained – particularly in North Dakota - which makes for an enjoyable as well as a safe ride. The accident and fatality rates for all vehicles, not just motorcycles, are commendably low in all three states (which will make your mother happy!). North Dakota notably experiences low levels of congestion, and drivers tend to be both considerate and bike-aware. Helmet laws are laxly enforced within Nebraska, which counts against them, but this does not stop Nebraskans from taking the initiative and wearing helmets out in spite of law-enforcement’s unbothered stance on the issue. Mississippi, meanwhile, are both consistent and persistent with their traffic safety laws. Thefts of motorcycles are low in all three of these states.  If you want your bike undamaged and your body unscarred, head on out to North Dakota, Nebraska, or Mississippi.

Gas Prices – Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas Gas prices zip up and down all over the USA on a daily basis, so don’t rely too much on this information in a year’s time! As it currently stands, you’ll get the most miles for your dollar in Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, and Kansas – but it might be worth checking before you book anything, just to make sure!

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A Night in Savannah

Even for One Night Savannah is Enchanting By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Savannah's Ellis Square

Savannah’s Ellis Square

Living in Florida, when heading north out of state, we basically have two choices I-75 through Atlanta or I-95 by Savannah. For us traveling I-95, is especially enjoyable with the numerous cities or islands to stop in along the way from Fernandina to St. Simons Island to Savannah. A favorite stop is Savannah with all its intriguing charm, restaurants, history and activities. Plus it’s just far enough north for a comfortable day of driving. A visit to Savannah can be several nights or just an overnight before heading back on the interstate. Sure, we could stay at a hotel on I-95, but the Southern charm of Savannah beckons us into this enchanting city. Even for just one night, Savannah provides a delightful respite from road travel and Savannah always promises something new in this ever changing southern town. Continue reading

Light up the Night at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

A wonderland of lights at Winter Lights

The NC Arboretum Creates a Magical Wonderland of Lights

 By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

Even the parking lot is decked out in lights.

Beautiful! Colorful! Unique! Arriving at Winter Lights is like driving in to a Wonderland of Lights. Lights of green, orange and blue illuminate the bare trees creating a magical feel in the parking lot. At the Winter Welcome Center, the Mixa family (four adults and 2 children -Lucy age 4 & Louis 5) prepare for an adventure at the Arboretum’s lighted gardens and landscapes. Winter Lights is a three-acre nightly walking tour. The handy Event Map shows 15 areas to explore. Continue reading

Louis & Lucy Explore the Enchanting Grove Park Inn

Join Us for Adventures: The Gingerbread Houses, The Cave, The Fireplace, & More!

Enchanting Grove Park Inn

Enchanting Grove Park Inn

By Charlene & Richard Mixa    

“Hello”, my name is Louis. I am almost 6 years old (just two months shy) and my little sister, Lucy, is 4 years old. At first we asked our Mimi and Papa (writers of this article): “Why do we have to go to a hotel?” It was awesome! Now my sister Lucy and I are excited to share our recent visit to the enchanting and fun Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. We hope other kids will find exciting adventures at the Inn, too.    

It's a huge tree outside!

It’s a huge tree outside!

It’s a castle! Look at all the rocks! It’ like a fairy tale! Is Rapunzel hiding here? Does the wicked witch live here? Outside on the porch is a gigantic Christmas tree. Papa takes us in the Great Hall. It is ginormous!   The fireplace is SO BIG. I could stand in it with my hands up and not touch the top. Whoa! I see the biggest Gingerbread House ever. Hurrah, they sell Hot Chocolate, too. Up close, I confirm it is really gingerbread. Okay, I didn’t take a bite. Mommy reads a sign that the outside is all gingerbread.

We drop off our backpacks in our room. It has lots of space with two big beds, chairs, desk and even a baby refrigerator. “Lucy, look out the window. Lots of steps and a golf course.” Hurrah! We’re off with Papa to explore. Goodness! There are Christmas trees everywhere. Lucy loves the beautiful decorations. Ooh! Behind the huge fireplace is a 102 year old elevator. A lady operates the elevator and takes us up. We hop off and look around then jump back on the elevator. Wow, Papa shows us a 102 year old car! That is OLD! Continue reading

The Grandeur of the Omni Grove Park Inn

An Enchanting Escape

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

Omni Grove Park Inn & Sunset Terrace

Omni Grove Park Inn & Sunset Terrace

Memories! A fall mountain vacation 20 years ago is my first memory of visiting the renowned Grove Park Inn.   One morning we hike Chimney Rock Park followed by an afternoon at the Biltmore Estate. Before sunset, we arrive at the Grove Park Inn. A massive unique stone structure on Sunset Mountain, the Inn exudes an enchantment with an aura of being in a Fairy Tale.  Continue reading

San Jose, CA- It’s not just high tech!

 

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Hotel Valencia at Santana Row

Exciting Silicon Valley 

By: Charlene S. Mixa

Sunshine 300 days a year, the San Jose skyline surrounded by mountains, steep hillside vineyards, tree-lined streets, sidewalk cafes, sports venues, and quaint yet bustling small towns are all found in Silicon Valley. San Jose, the tenth largest city in the nation is exciting and trendy while still having a small town charm. The city in this wide valley creates a warm welcome. Continue reading

Tee It Up & Rejuvenate!

A Day of Fun & Relaxation at the Omni Grove Park Inn  

By Charlene & Richard Mixa 

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

The Omni Grove Park Inn Golf Course

Choices – teeing it up or pampering oneself? Today we get a wonderful blend of golf on a historic championship course and rejuvenate our spirit at a world-class spa. The Omni Grove Park Inn offers all we desire at one of the American South’s oldest and most famous grand resorts. Visiting for the day we work our way from tee to tee knowing that the Resort’s spa awaits for an afternoon of pampering. Continue reading

The Taste & Sights of Louisville

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

From Luscious Eats to One-of-a-kind Attractions  

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Barbaro Statue at entrance of Churchill Downs

Boarding a white van decorated with plastic flowers and a plastic horse’s head on the hood, it’s a hearty “Welcome to Louisville’s City Taste Tour!” With one hand on the wheel and the other on the microphone, Leslie, our guide-owner, begins our excursion of the tastes and sights of Louisville, Kentucky. Continue reading

Asheville: Beer City USA!

The Beer City Festival is a Barrel of Fun!

By Charlene & Richard Mixa  

Roll out a barrel of fun at the Beer City Festival

Roll out a barrel of fun at the Beer City Festival

Roll out the barrel for a Beer Extravaganza! Asheville’s 2015 Beer City Festival! Celebrating a growing craft-brewing industry this mountain town cheerfully claims being the Examiner’s “Beer City, USA” poll four years running. Hailing more breweries per capita than any U.S. City! With our commemorative beer mugs it’s time for ample samplings of over 30 craft-breweries, all members of Asheville Brewers Alliance. Continue reading

Find a Plethora of Activities in Western North Carolina

Experience an Abundance of Adventures

By Charlene & Richard Mixa

 Craggy Gardens Trail leads to spectacular views

Craggy Gardens Trail leads to spectacular views

Plethora an abundance or excess of something. Yep, Western North Carolina boasts an abundance of eclectic activities. “What to do?” is asked not for lack of things to do but deciding from an array of adventures. The world’s oldest mountains easily brag on its diverse outdoor activities, inviting towns, historic attractions, cultural venues, and its own uniqueness. In the past we’ve roamed the Biltmore, relaxed in a salt cave, wined and dined at the 100 year old Grove Park Inn, seen Asheville on traditional to wacky bus tours, hiked to tops of mountains, sipped local microbrews on beer tours, and sampled culinary delights on food excursions. Now we’re off to seek new and different, plus tried and true exploits in the Western North Carolina Mountains. Continue reading