Motorcycle.com

EagleRider, a purveyor of motorcycle tours and rentals both here and abroad, is successful for good reason – because the cups of their customers runneth over with fun and adventure while riding motorcycles as well as when the bikes are stationary. A recent three-day jaunt with the tour company was but a taste of their longer escapades, and we left hungry for more. Aboard the motorcycles, we twisted our way over mountains and pounded out miles of straight, horizon-reaching desert vastness. When off the bikes we ate and drank with gluttonous zeal, gambled, got massaged, and when the riding continued, it included not just motorcycles but also a boat as well as a helicopter.

As much as the idea of riding a BMW over the Alps or attending the Isle of Man races is a dream vacation for many American motorcyclists, so too is the notion for Europeans of piloting a Harley-Davidson across the USA following the most famous of American roads, Route 66. EagleRider claims more than 80% of motorcyclists participating in the company’s Route 66 guided tour from Chicago to Los Angeles are foreign-born bikers. Euros are as good as greenbacks when it comes to the bottom line, but I get the notion EagleRider would like to see more participation from locals. The idea may be derived from EagleRider’s recent press junket where Motorcycle.com was in attendance with a handful of non-endemic media including the likes of Playboy, Men’s Health and Marie Claire magazines, or it could be coincidence, but I think not. And I’m inclined to agree that spending thousands of dollars extra traveling to far-flung places is oftentimes unnecessary if you haven’t explored your own backyard, especially when there’s likely to be an EagleRider location close by.

To truly appreciate the American Southwest, is should be experienced aboard a motorcycle (except for in July and August).

From full-blown guided tours to simply renting a motorcycle for your own purposes, EagleRider boasts a variety of ways in which to tour the country aboard two wheels, each with its own accompaniment of benefits. Ours was of the guided tour variety which includes guides, preplanned routes, a support van, bike rental and moto-friendly places to bunk for the night. It’s easy getting used to the kind of pampering EagleRider’s guided tours provide, especially when on vacation, because the onus is on EagleRider to shoulder the burden of traveling details, leaving its participants with nothing more to do than ride motorcycles, eat, drink, and be merry.

In addition to boat tours of the Colorado River, Pirate Cove Resort offers beachfront cabins, boat rentals, off-road riding, a zipline, and other extra-curricular activities. From what I could tell, it seems like a fun place to spend a weekend.

Our truncated route was meant to highlight the best aspects of EagleRider’s longer guided tours and included these SoCal highlights: Riding through the mountain town of Idyllwild via the Palms-to-Pines Scenic Byway on our way to the desert oasis of Palm Springs on day one; The arid, high desert of Joshua Tree State Park en route to Laughlin, Nevada, with a stop along the way at Pirate Cove Resort and Marina for a boat tour of the Colorado River on day two; Traversing a section of The Mother Road, stopping in touristy Oatman, Arizona, then on to Hoover Dam and ending in Las Vegas – but not before a Papillon Helicopter ride for a bird’s-eye view of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the west end of the Grand Canyon – on day three.

Ever see Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon from a helicopter? On many of EagleRider’s guided Southwestern tours, this optional view from above is on the menu. Anything involving a helicopter ride is worth the price of admission and ticket prices for Papillon begin at a very reasonable $224.

At the end of each day’s ride, arriving at our hotel we’re greeted by our luggage – removing from the traveling equation the daily chore of re-packing the bike other than what is needed for changes in weather. As previously mentioned, the white-glove treatment may feel somewhat foreign to the independent, do-it-yourself, rugged motorcyclist, but in less than a day, you’ll appreciate the service. And EagleRider’s professionalism is never more apparent than with its tour guides.

Steve Feather (pictured giving Playboy Jr. Editor Cole Sadler a free ride) is a retired firefighter, EagleRider tour guide and all-around good guy emblematic of the personable treatment you can expect to receive from all the EagleRider folk.

All of EagleRider’s tour guides are accomplished, skilled motorcyclists, but, more importantly, they’re affable people who obviously enjoy the job. They’re knowledgable too, able to answer most questions you throw their way about the area you’re in or the road you’re on. They are tasked with maintaining a schedule, and allow ample time during scenic rest stops to absorb the experience, but don’t dawdle when it’s time to saddle-up or you may incur a hurry-up tone of voice. Safety is, undoubtedly, a concern and the tour guides maintain safe riding practices. However, motorcycling is dangerous by nature and there’s no fixing stupid, so be courteous, play by their rules, and your tour experience will be one to remember.

At Guy Fieri’s El Burro Burracho (drunken donkey) inside Harrah’s in Laughlin, NV, Trash Can Nachos are an appetizer favorite. Gigantic, two-hands-necessary Pineapple Habanero Margarita is an excellent pairing. If not obvious, this is an homage to the eat, drink, be merry part of the EagleRider experience.

Which leads us to the people you’ll meet while on tour. We’ve already established that a lot of foreigners travel a long way to take an even longer motorcycle ride. So, chances are good you’ll meet a nice German couple or some residents from other parts of the world. Regardless of where people call home, after your time together on the road, everyone returns home with a few new friends for life. From what I was told, many groups get together on an annual basis to partake in another EagleRider tour, oftentimes including the same tour guide.

In 1987 my best high school buddy broke the eject button off my car stereo. Until I could afford a new one, I either listened to The Cult’s seminal album Electric, which was stuck inside, or nothing at all. Thirty years later the band’s guitarist, Billy Duffy, was along for the ride with EagleRider.

EagleRider offers a variety of motorcycles from which to choose including sport-tourers, adventure-tourers, nakeds, dirtbikes, scooters, and for those with the desire or inability to pilot a two-wheeler, EagleRider has Can-Am Spyders and Polaris Slingshots. To make things interesting (and because I was forced by my boss) a Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide was my steed, and considering the mostly legal rate of speed we traveled, as well as the miles spent going s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t, I was content with the traditional trike.

The Harley Tri-Glide was a comfortable mount when traversing long stretches of desert straightness, and proved to be a fun and unfamiliar challenge when muscling it through the curvy stuff. Other three-wheelers offered from EagleRider include Can-Am Spyder, Polaris Slingshot (in the background), and Campagna T-Rex.

Considering the unnecessity of packing on the bike everything you brought frees riders to choose any motorcycle model EagleRider has available. Full-dress Harleys and Indians seem to be quintessential choices, but a tour, whether guided or not, or maybe just a bike rental for a day is an excellent way to experience a motorcycle that’s different from what you might be used to.

So if you’re looking for an exceptional motorcycling experience within the country you reside (there are EagleRider locations abroad) look no further than EagleRider. With a dizzying amount of U.S. destinations (as well as Mexico and Canada), a trip duration to match the amount of time you can spend away from the real world, and whether it’s a guided tour or a custom trip of your own design, EagleRider is capable of fulfilling your two-wheel vacation needs. Check out everything EagleRider has to offer at the company’s website EagleRider.com.

Some of Oatman’s residents are real jackasses.