Facebook and Travel

April 15 2014 by Bryson Forbes

facebook and travel.jpgFor years, the travel industry has been dealing with tremendous and rapid change. When I started in retail travel in 2002, clients would come to an agency and say, "Send me somewhere warm!" Okay, I am over-simplifying it just a bit, but they certainly relied on the expertise of the Agent and had little to no access to information. Fast-forward twelve years and the dynamic is certainly much different.

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Late Spring and Summer Outlook

April 14 2014 by Chris McGinnis

summer travel outlook.jpgA long, cold winter in much of the U.S., combined with an improving economy and increasing consumer confidence mean that the upcoming summer travel season will be busy, crowded and more expensive than last summer.

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Four Great Motorcycle Modifications Under $100

April 7 2014 by Jason Fogelson

motorcycle modifications.jpgWinter is over, spring is here, and there's just enough time to make a few minor tweaks and modifications to our bikes before we start riding again. I'm cheap, but even I will try a few of these modifications under $100:

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Motorcycle Buyer Mistakes

March 26 2014 by Jason Fogelson

motorcycle buying tips.jpgI love my bike. I really do. But I think it might be time for a new ride, and I'm torn with indecision. You see, I've had my current ride, a 1993 Harley-Davidson Sportster named "Manny," since 1994 - and 20 years is a long time. In the course of my job, I get to ride a lot of new bikes. Jumping on Manny after a week on a 2014 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited brings a lot of things into focus.

Technology has moved ahead in leaps and bounds since the last century, and I immediately miss some of the new cool features that I can get on a 2014 bike that weren't even a glimmer of possibility on the 1993 Harley. Everything's better, smoother and safer than it used to be, and that elemental connection that I feel on my old bike starts to feel less charming and more annoying. My old bike has gotten to the point where every time I take a long ride, I discover something else that has worn out and needs to be repaired. New bikes will get to that point eventually - my bike is there now. So it's time for a change.

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6 Tips to Lighten your Luggage Load

March 24 2014 by Claudia Kunkel

travel packing tips.jpgTraveling for work is just part of the job for many of us. We may go on overnights to see clients around the state or region. Other times we are away from home for a week while at a convention or visiting the company's headquarters. Wherever we are headed and for whatever length of time, there are ways to make the traveling part efficient and thus as enjoyable as possible.

Having a successful business trip takes advance planning as well as being flexible with inevitable schedule changes. To assist our planning, we will outline some ABC's of packing.

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The Fabric of Our Riding Lives

March 20 2014 by Jason Fogelson
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harley davidson leather jacket.jpgAs riding season rapidly approaches, it's time to take a look into that gear closet and see what's what. This week, I decided to look over my riding jackets, and I realized that I needed to make a few changes to suit my riding. I decided to do a little more research before moving forward.

The idea of specialized riding gear evolved with the motorcycle. Initially, the primary purpose of a motorcycle jacket was weather protection. Early motorcyclists probably wore the same clothing that they wore when bicycling or horseback riding. In many cases, the early jackets were made of canvas or waxed cotton, which did a pretty good job of repelling moisture and cutting the wind.

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7 Tips for Planning a Kid-Friendly Summer Family Vacation

March 13 2014 by Manny Ruiz
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kid friendly summer vacation.jpgI don't know about you, but whenever I have to spring my watch forward for daylight savings, it instantly serves as my annual reminder that my wife and I need to start planning our family's summer vacation.

There are many advantages to plotting your summer travel early starting with the fact that you can get better deals on airfare and hotels and that you can even score tickets to attractions that usually get reserved months in advance (Alcatraz comes to mind).

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"Kids' on a Plane!"

March 10 2014 by Mike Mason
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kids on a plane.jpgIf your kids are anything like mine, they lack two important pieces of airplane etiquette; inside voices and a sense of personal space. For most parents, this means that most flights end with scowls from all sides as they walk down the terminal dragging a screaming child. Here are a few things I've learned along the way for keeping your kids feet off the seat in front of them and turning loud whining into quiet smiles.

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Five Pieces of Gear No Traveling Motorcyclist Should Be Without

February 28 2014 by Jason Fogelson

motorcycle gear (2).jpgOne of my big challenges when traveling by motorcycle is over packing. I'm constantly paring down my gear and equipment, trying to get it down to the essentials. The thought recently occurred to me - why not reverse engineer the packing process? Instead of figuring out what I don't need and getting rid of the extras, let's figure out what I absolutely do need, and build up from there. Here's my list of five pieces of gear that no traveling motorcyclist should be without.

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Have you recovered?

February 26 2014 by Chris McGinnis

travel jobs.jpgNearly everyone would agree that the economy has improved a lot since the dark days of 2008-2009. But the recovery has been spotty‒strong for some industries, while others continue to struggle.

One good sign for the economy is that business and leisure travelers are back on the roads and in the skies, and the travel industry has recovered 99 percent of the jobs lost back then, according to the US Travel Association.

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Making the Best of a Messy Winter

February 24 2014 by Chris McGinnis
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driving in a snow storm.jpgEven if you don't live in the eastern half of the US, which as been battered by a series of winter storms this year, it's likely that you travel there on business.

Whether you are driving your own car or renting one, keep these tips in mind before hitting the road.

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Find a Good Motorcycle Mechanic

February 19 2014 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle mechanic.jpgSome day, your motorcycle is going to break down. You're going to try to start your bike, and it's not going to work. You'll try everything you know how to do, starting with the simple and obvious steps and progressing to the more complicated, and it's still not going to work. You need a motorcycle mechanic.

The easiest thing to do is to call the dealer where you bought the bike in the first place. But that's not always practical, nor is it the only option. Before you blindly hand your pride and joy over to a dealership wrench, take some time to discover whether or not it's the best way to go.

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Personalize Your Helmet

February 12 2014 by Jason Fogelson
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personalize your motorcycle helmet.jpgI bought a new helmet this winter. To save money, I bought a plain, solid colored lid. While shopping for my helmet, I noticed that race replica or decorated helmets of the same helmet were 20%, 30%, even 50% more expensive than a solid, single color version. They may have been way cooler than my boring new helmet, but the more expensive versions offered zero improvement in safety, comfort or functionality. I decided to go for the best helmet with the least expensive cosmetic treatment. I will personalize it and make it cool ‒ and I'll still save money over the fancy factory versions.

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Seniors, Be Aware of Scams

February 10 2014 by Sam Lowe

senior travel scams.jpgSeveral news reports have warned that travel scams are increasing and, even worse, people our age (read that "seniors") are primary targets. The reason: We are more trusting and therefore are often easy prey for scammers.

These crooks are clever and adaptable. If one scam is exposed for what it is, several others will replace them. So the best advice anyone can give is to be cautious. If it looks suspicious, don't bite.

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Personal Watercraft

February 6 2014 by Jason Fogelson

jet ski vacation.jpgLast week, I had my first encounter with personal watercraft when I traveled to Duck Key, Florida to ride the new Kawasaki Jet Ski Ultra 310LX.

I'm fascinated by anything that has wheels and a motor, but I've never been much of a watersports guy. My father had a small powerboat when I was a kid, but switched to sailboats soon after. I was always welcome to ride along on his boat, but it was always work to ride on a sailboat is to crew, and I never found it all that relaxing or fun.

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Spring Travel Outlook

February 3 2014 by Chris McGinnis
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spring travel tips.jpgRecord cold temperatures, snow and ice may be slowing down travelers right now, but as cabin fever sets in, get ready: Cold, dark winters nearly always lead to very busy, crowded and expensive spring breaks. Already, advance bookings for March and April at Best Western's 2,100+ hotels in North America are up 10.4% compared to this time last year.

To avoid the highest prices and the possibility of sold out flights, hotels or rental cars, those planning March trips should make reservations as soon as possible ‒ especially if headed to popular spring break destinations such as Florida, the Gulf Coast, Rocky Mountain ski resorts and Mexican beach resort area.

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Super Bowl Travel Tips

January 31 2014 by James West

Super Bowl XLVIII Travel Tips.jpgSuper Bowl XLVIII marks the first time that the championship game has ever been played in a cold weather stadium. This has kept players and fans on the edge of their seat trying to plan for snow, ice or rain. Here are a few tips for Super Bowl travelers that will keep your over-packing to a minimum.

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Flying Etiquette 101

January 31 2014 by Mike Mason

flying etiquette.jpgWelcome to Flying Etiquette 101. You have been invited to this course either because you're a caring and curious person, or perhaps you are the complete opposite. Today you will learn what it takes to make every flight painless for everyone, including yourself.

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Tracking my every move

January 20 2014 by Bryson Forbes

canadian passport.jpgUsually checking the mailbox in January is nowhere near as rewarding as it is in December. Bill after bill start arriving but this year I received to my delight a late Christmas present. I had almost forgotten that I had applied for my ten-year passport; new option Canada has just launched and I received mine this week! I don't have to renew until 2024! I'll be..... Oh never mind!

My new passport will be used for the first time next week when the girls hockey team I coach head into the United States around Lake Erie to a hockey tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania!

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Calling all Travelers: Fashion Tips for the Road

January 20 2014 by Claudia Kunkel

travel fashion tips.jpgPlanning and forethought are key when packing for a business trip. You must consider where you are going. How long will you be staying? What activities will you be doing? What is the weather going to be like? You've got to think this through to prevent the stress of being caught off guard.

But lest we forget the most important consideration, what are the latest fashion items you want to take with you?

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Ride Like the Pope

January 14 2014 by Jason Fogelson

pope francis and motorcycles.jpgIf you've ever wanted to own a motorcycle fit for the Pope, your opportunity approaches. On February 6, 2014, Bonhams will handle the sale of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with Papal provenance at auction at their event at the Grand Palais in Paris.

After Pope Francis blessed a gathering of 800 motorcycles as part of the celebration of the Motor Company's 110th Anniversary in St. Peter's Square on June 16, 2013, Harley-Davidson presented the Pope with a motorcycle jacket and a pair of its motorcycles. One of those bikes, a 2013 FXDC Dyna Super Glide Custom 110th Anniversary Edition, will be auctioned off to benefit the charity Caritas Roma. According to the listing in the Bonhams auction online catalog, "the funds raised by the sale will go to Caritas' Don Luigi di Liegro hostel and soup kitchen at Rome's Temini railway station."

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More Free Travel Apps for Motorcyclists

January 10 2014 by Jason Fogelson

Free motorcycle travel apps.jpgWinter is planning time for motorcyclists. We spend time working on our bikes, reliving past adventures, and planning future trips. I've spent some time searching around for smartphone apps that I'll actually use when I travel on my motorcycle. Actually, they would come in handy for car travel, too, if I ever do any. Here are a few I'll be trying out this year:

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Homework: Let's Explore the World

January 3 2014 by Bryson Forbes

Exploring the world.jpgI came home from work a few weeks ago and before I had my shoes off my daughter asked to come quickly to help with her homework. I really wanted to put my feet up and have a glass of wine but duty called and plus she said it was "travel related" and thought I could really help. As opposed to math homework, which ends with me having to read the entire grade six textbook. Have you had this experience?

As it turns out her assignment was to log on to "Geo Guesser" - the link is actually http://geoguessr.com (without the third "e") and try to determine where an image from Google maps was in the world. It is awesome! I NEVER had home work like this.

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Finding the Perfect Tree

December 17 2013 by James West
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cut down your christmas tree.jpgAre you looking for a fun Christmas tradition to start with the family? Do you walk into your friend's house, sniff the air and scoff at the lack of pine smell from their plastic Christmas tree? We have just the tradition for you. Try cutting down your own Christmas tree this year!

There comes a point when caroling to neighbors, delivering cookies, and watching holiday movies just doesn't do the trick anymore. You need to add some magic to your holiday and give the kids an experience they'll never forget. So grab your jackets and flannel shirts and head over to one of these great tree chopping destinations.

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Your Home for the Holidays

December 16 2013 by Mike Mason
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staying home for the holidays.jpgSkim through your holiday wish list and you'll find new clothes, an iphone, a few gift cards, a book, and relatives covering every square inch of your house, waiting to be fed and taken care of. What's that you say? That last one isn't on your list? I didn't think so.

Don't get me wrong, many of us love to spend this joyful season with our closest family members. It's a time of giving and strengthening relationships. But that doesn't mean we have to make the occasion stressful. There's a simple solution: Get a hotel. Here are some reasons for you to consider before planning your upcoming holiday vacation.

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#bagspacked for the Holidays

December 13 2013 by Mike Mason

Holiday Packing Tips.jpgWith many important holidays and events right around the corner, December and January are heavy traveling seasons as people flock to the road and the airport to make the journey to see loved ones.

As you begin packing for your winter or holiday trip you may begin to notice that your bags feel a little bit heavier this time of year - jam packed with sweaters, heavy coats and plenty of layers. Unless you are heading to a tropical climate this holiday season (lucky you!), you will be stretching the limits of your suitcase with warm clothes. How can you make everything fit in your bag without creating a wrinkled mess?

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Wintertime Blues

December 12 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle winter storage.jpgThis is the article I dread writing every year, because it means that riding season is nearly over for the year in most of the country.

That's right – it's time to prepare your bike for its winter rest.

Spend an afternoon doing this correctly, and you'll be able to avoid an even worse dread – the springtime ritual of trying to get your bike started again, and correcting all of the flaws that neglect caused over the winter months.

Here's a step-by-step guide for preparing your bike for winter storage.

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Championship Weekend

December 11 2013 by Bryson Forbes

hockey tournament travel tips.jpgThere really is nothing that brings a sports team together like hitting the road for an away tournament. It might sound cliché but this past weekend, our eleven and twelve year old girls hockey team, The Bengals, came together over the weekend and it culminated with the gold medal victory 1-0 on Sunday evening. The weekend was a huge success on and off the ice!

Here are my tips for a successful sports team weekend away:

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Don't make these 6 holiday travel mistakes!

December 9 2013 by Chris McGinnis
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Holiday Travel Mistakes.jpgAh, the holiday season! It can be the best of times and the worst of times for frequent travelers. For those aiming for the positive, here are six mistakes to avoid as you hit the roads and the skies in coming weeks.

MISTAKE #1: Shorting yourself on travel time to the airport.
Many fliers test the limits of time needed to travel to the airport, which is risky at this time of year. So be sure to leave enough time to arrive to the airport stress-free. Airlines have reduced fleet size in recent years, but demand is rising. This means nearly every plane will be full if not sold out during the upcoming peak Holiday season. If you miss your flight, the likelihood of getting on the "next flight out" is very small. You could end up waiting a day or two, which could spoil your entire trip. (Especially important for families traveling together! It's one thing to re-accommodate a single traveler on a later flight....but it's a different story for a family of four.)

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More Senior Packing Tips

December 5 2013 by Sam Lowe

senior travel packing tips.jpgAs we grow closer to maturity (whenever that is), we also get smarter. Aware of that, here are some pre-travel packing and anti-hacking tips that might save you some distress on your next journey.

Pack a fake wallet in addition to your regular one and consider it a throwaway. Put a few small bills and some old plastic cards, like hotel key cards, into it. Then, if accosted by a thief, hand over the spare. By the very nature of their profession, thieves are always in a hurry so they won't stop to examine the contents and notice the fakery until you're a safe distance away.

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Happy Howlidays! Pet Travel this Holiday Season

December 4 2013 by Mike Mason

Did your dog make the naughty list this year? No? Then why leave him behind on your holiday vacation? 'Tis the season to spend time with the whole family. But that isn't always easy. Traveling during this time of year can be hard enough as it is. That's why we've put together a list of 5 tips that will make it possible to bring your pet along on your next trip.

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All The Gear, All The Time put to the test

December 2 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle gear.jpgAs I tumbled down the freeway behind my sliding motorcycle, my helmet banged against the cement. My jacket skidded, my gloves slid. My pants and my boots skimmed the surface. When I was able to glimpse the bike ahead of me, I saw showers of sparks and tufts of flame. I was in serious trouble, but I was surprisingly calm.

Finally, I came to a rest in the number two lane. I jumped to my feet, adrenaline pumping through my system. "Get out of traffic," my brain said to my body. I looked to my left, made sure I was clear, and ran to the median to assess the damage. Nothing seemed seriously hurt -- yet. My left ankle was a little wonky, and my left thigh was going to be sore. But as I looked up and down my body, I was relieved to discover that there was no blood, and as far as I could tell, no broken bones. I had just survived a motorcycle accident on a Los Angeles freeway at over 50 miles per hour.

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Don't leave home without it

November 26 2013 by Bryson Forbes

Family Travel Items.jpgIt's Sunday night and you have just finished dinner. The kids are getting ready for bed and you finally start to think about "next week". You are up at the crack of dawn Monday and on the road all week. You know the routine all too well; you are, after all, a road warrior and have done this countless times.

I can certainly relate! Here are the five things that drive me bananas if I leave home without them (and trust me I have forgotten each one more than once)! To qualify for the "bananas" list, it has to be something significant that I can't easily pick up for less than ten bucks, like contact lens solution, deodorant or a toothbrush.

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Travel Trends to watch in 2014 for Canadians

November 18 2013 by Bryson Forbes

travel trends 2014.jpgIs it just me or is time just flying by? It hit me like a truck this week, my neighbour put up his Christmas lights, Sunday was the Santa Claus parade, and I heard my first of many holiday songs on the radio. I guess I better comes to grips with the fact it's almost December, and I better start shopping. Although if you read my recent blog about cashing in points for gifts, then you know what my first step needs to be!

It also struck me that this is the time of the year that I like to write a blog highlighting some of the travel trends that I am both reading about and observing. So, without further ado, here are my top five trends to watch in 2014:

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The Latest and Greatest Travel Gadgets

November 15 2013 by James West

new travel gadgets.jpgGone are the days of roughin' it on the trails. Bulky maps and compasses have become trinkets of the past. With new innovations comes added comfort and convenience to our travel. So why not take advantage of it? Every year, new travel gadgets are released in hopes of becoming the next must have travel companion. We have put together some of this year's best candidates.

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Best Family Friendly Airports with Kid Activities: Part 2

November 8 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

family friendly airports.jpgYesterday we looked at some family friendly airports that included play areas, free WiFi and video arcades - all sure to keep kids entertained while traveling. We continue our list with a profile of some truly unique airports that are sure to please every member of your family!

Read Part 1 - http://www.youmustbetrippin.com/home/best_family_friendly_airports.html

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Best Family Friendly Airports with Kid Activities: Part 1

November 7 2013 by Claudia Kunkel
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kid friendly airports.jpgMoms and Dads are becoming savvy planners when it comes to traveling with children. They know about the basics, such as check in online and print boarding passes from home if possible. Plan to arrive at the airport early. Waiting in lines and checking baggage can take longer than you think. Save hassle time when traveling with kids and lots of luggage by using curbside check-in. The convenience is worth the money you pay to baggage handlers.

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Be a Travel Chameleon!

November 5 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

travel tips.jpgLooking like a tourist can be embarrassing and sometimes it can even be dangerous. But, if you follow these pro tips, even shutterbugs and hawaiian shirt collectors can blend in with the locals.

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Happy Holiday Travels

November 4 2013 by Mike Mason

holiday travel tips.jpgIt's just about that time for sweatshirts, tons of food, and endless broadcasts of It's a Wonderful Life. Yes, I'm talking about the holidays. It is a time of celebration - that is unless your holiday involves you camping out at the airport for hours. If you're like most of us, not even that fake Christmas tree in the terminal is enough to brighten your spirits. Here are a few travel tips to keep you from becoming a Scrooge this season.

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Traveling Green

November 1 2013 by James West

Green Travel.jpgThere's a new wave in today's travel world that is quickly becoming the standard when making vacation and recreation plans -- Traveling Green. It's about making the effort to be ecologically responsible and mindful that we want our destinations just as beautiful for the next traveler.

Here are some specific "Green Travel Tips" for you to consider.

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Eating Healthy on the Go

October 29 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

Eating Healthy.jpgSome say preparation meeting opportunity is the definition of luck. Well if you want to be lucky with eating healthy foods while traveling, planning is a must. This is especially true because some travelers have the mindset, "I'm traveling! I can eat whatever I want." Savvy travelers though know that what goes around, comes around. While those French fries sure looked good on the menu, they will leave you feeling lethargic and aren't helpful with digestion.

But first, key in this discussion is hydration. Drink water even before going for that first cup a' joe. For those of us caffeine lovers, remember it is dehydrating, which can lead to headaches and low energy. So, start pumping water into your body from the get go and try to keep it up all day. The more fluids in the body the better digestion will be and the better you will feel.

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Hotel Room Workouts - Exercising on the Go

October 22 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

hotel room workout.jpgWhen you are on the go for business travel, the best way to make the most of your journey is to take the time to plan ahead. Whether traveling via car or plane - you have an agenda, checklist and expectations of mind of what your trip will bring. We always expect or plan to work out and eat healthy, but the reality of making that happen always fades as you get busy and the time on the road slips you into a different state of mind than your best work out intentions. To ensure you feel good and are productive on your trip, here are a few tips to stay motivated and get the most of your health while traveling.

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Time to get your car winter ready

October 11 2013 by Bryson Forbes
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Car in winter.jpgThanksgiving in Canada is just about the right time to start thinking about what you need to do to get your car ready for winter weather. It's hard to predict exactly when the "fun" weather will start but I guarantee the worst day to go get yourself prepared is the first day it snows. So beat the rush and here are five things you can do to stay safe on the roads:

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Looking Toward the Holidays

October 8 2013 by Chris McGinnis

Holiday Travel.jpgThat change in the slant of the sun's rays and that ruddy tinge on the trees means now's the time to start planning for the holiday travel season, which includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Just like the recent peak summer travel season, travelers should expect crowds, lines and higher prices. Some advice:

If you are planning to fly home or away on the peak travel days around Thanksgiving, now is the time to book your flights. High demand means that deals will be few and far between, so booking early this year is all about getting the most convenient flights at the best times, as well as the best seat assignments. Putting off booking Thanksgiving flights until after October 15 means you'll likely get stuck paying a high price for an inconvenient or uncomfortable flight.

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More Travel Tips for Seniors

September 30 2013 by Sam Lowe

travel tips for seniors.jpgHere are a couple of pre-trip alerts that I found out about the hard way.

First, stop your mail. Easy enough. Most of us do it without a reminder. But here's the problem: Make certain that you and the Post Office are on the right page when it comes to picking up your accumulated letters, packages and junk mail.


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Winter Olympic Alternatives

September 24 2013 by Mike Mason

2014 winter x games.jpgWith the Winter Olympics coming up in February 2014, there is a lot of hype around winter sports. But flights to Sochi, Russia aren't cheap and tickets to the Olympic events aren't either. So, what alternatives do winter sports fans have? Here are a few reasons why traveling to the Winter X-Games might satisfy your urge for winter sports and end up being the best bang for your buck.

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Tips to get the most out of your hotel stay

September 17 2013 by Bryson Forbes

Hotel's Great ServiceOften when people learn about what I do the first question they ask is if I can "hook them up with free travel". Once I explain that it doesn't quite work that way, the questions change slightly to how to get the best deal, the best room, extra amenities, so to paraphrase; "How do I get the most out of a hotel stay?"

My first piece of advice to everyone is to start with the overall experience in mind. Anytime you are booking any trip or vacation or hotel stay start with what you want then focus on budget. Now, it has to be realistic you can't expect to stay in a castle and pay camping rates. But I urge you to think of the big picture. My best example is a trip I made to Calgary a few years ago and my colleague and I arranged our travel separately. He got a better "rate" but it was not inclusive of Wi-Fi and didn't include parking. It was also twenty kilometers further from where our meetings were being held. Once we got back and submitted our expenses, mine, although initially thought to be higher because of the room rate, was in fact significantly lower because my Best Western experience included parking, high speed internet and was closer to my destination which saved me money, time and fuel.

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Project RUSHMORE: 2014 Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

September 5 2013 by Jason Fogelson

HarleyDavidson2014.jpgIn all of the excitement of the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary, it was almost possible to miss the really big news from the Motor Company. The 2014 Harley-Davidson lineup has been announced, and eight of the new bikes benefit from an initiative that has been named "Project RUSHMORE."

Project RUSHMORE is the largest scale new model launch in H-D's history. The project "encompasses eight new motorcycles that feature improved and braking performance, enhanced rider ergonomics, and dramatic styling updates that completely redefine and fundamentally transform the touring motorcyclist's experience," according to the company.

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Family Reunions can be Fun (to plan!)

August 16 2013 by Mike Mason

FamilyReunion.jpgAugust has been known for generations to be a perfect time at the end of the summer, before the kids go back to school to bring the family together to reminisce, reconnect and get know long lost relatives. If you've been thinking your family needs a reunion but worried it would be too monumental of a task, it's much easier than you think.

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Embracing Technology to Plan my Next Multi-Generational Family Vacation

August 15 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

multi generational family travel.jpg
As careers, marriages and other life events have taken my tight-knit family and spread us out across the US and Canada, I am always looking for vacation ideas so my husband, kids and I can get together with our siblings, parents and grandparents.

Since we are at the mercy of work, school and volunteer-job schedules, we are used to having a small window of time where all calendars align. What I seemed to be ill prepared for, however, was finding vacation options that appeal to my multi-generational clan.

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Looking vs. Seeing

August 13 2013 by Jason Fogelson

motorcycle mirror.jpgSafety is the topic this week. Motorcycle touring is a great activity. It's a fantastic way to see the world while really experiencing the environment. But it is also an activity that is full of risk. By continually thinking about safety, and honing our skills, we can help to mitigate our risk. When the rewards outweigh the risks, it's time to ride.

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Traveling Smart With Mobile: Top Travel Apps

August 5 2013 by Mike Mason

BestWesternToGo.jpgThanks to mobile devices, traveling has become much easier for the average consumer. Gone are the days of printed agendas and heavy travel guides, replaced with the convenience of everything you need in the palm of your hand (granted you have a good service plan or Wi-Fi). We love how technology is simplifying our travel experiences, so we went on a search to see what great apps were out there for travel...search no longer, we have the answers here.

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Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

July 18 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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sturgis motorcycle rally 2013.jpgHave you made your plans for Sturgis yet? It's not too late.

The 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally takes place from August 5 - 11 this year, in and around historic Sturgis, South Dakota. If you've never been, there's no better time than right now to make your plans.

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Hotel Hygiene Tips

July 15 2013 by Chris McGinnis
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I care clean.jpgTo help celebrate the one-year anniversary of Best Western's pioneering I Care Clean program, I worked with travel expert John DiScala (aka JohnnyJet) on a Twitter chat devoted to the subject of Hotel Hygiene.

The popular chat drew thousands of tweets (and retweets!) and resulted in some great tips from experts and frequent travelers for staying clean when staying at hotels.

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Tread & Travel Lightly

July 11 2013 by Claudia Kunkel

packing.jpgSo, you've decided to go on vacation, awesome! Well, nothing will get your trip off on the wrong foot than the stress of packing.

Remember, whether you'll be hauling your luggage in and out of your car, or through the airport on and off the plane - we've all been there. So here are a few tips so you will thoroughly enjoy your vacation - without throwing your back out.

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Another Option for Your Seat and Your Motorcycle

July 1 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle seat airhawk.jpgLast week, I discussed how you can replace your motorcycle seat in order to improve comfort and ergonomics. The only problem with that option is that it costs a few hundred bucks to start, and that could be more money than you're willing (or able) to spend.

Luckily, there are other, less expensive options.

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Kid Friendly Destinations

June 27 2013 by Mike Mason
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iStock_000013037442Small.jpgFamily vacations are when some of the best memories are created, the types of memories we keep forever and look back on with fondness. Whether you are going to bask in the sun at a beach or visit a museum, there's no feeling quite like giving those wonderful memories to your kids. We've listed a few kid-friendly destinations that are sure to please and create memories that the whole family will treasure. Let's make the summer of 2013 one to remember!

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Travel Insurance for Canadians

June 26 2013 by Bryson Forbes
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travel insurance.jpgOver the years I have heard so many horror stories about Canadians travelling abroad without adequate travel insurance. The one that sticks out in my mind as the most difficult involved a couple who were honeymooning in South Florida. With so many things to organize for the wedding the couple forgot to get travel insurance, but they were young and healthy and didn't think too much about it. Day two of the honeymoon, the groom broke his ankle jogging on the beach and it was a pretty good (or bad) break as far as ankles go, it required surgery and a pin to keep the ankle set. The bill for the two day hospital visit with surgery was just over $25,000. Not a great start to married life.

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Scams, Scams and More Scams

June 25 2013 by Sam Lowe

pickpocket.jpgAs we grow older, we senior travelers get smarter in many ways. We're more likely to spend time looking for such bargains as reduced air fares and senior discounts for meals and lodging. But, according to some travel experts, we still need educating in one particular area - travel scams.

We, the white of hair and (sometimes) pot of belly, are the targets for more scams than young people and the main reason is that we are more trusting. (And, although it's never actually stated, we're not as fast afoot as we used to be so the pickpockets and street hustlers can easily outrun us.) So to avert having a vacation ruined by a scam, here are a few to watch for.

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Ways To Save On Your Summer Vacation

June 24 2013 by Mike Mason

iStock_000018088148Small.jpgSummer is here and with it comes the annual rise in vacations, barbeques and long overdue trips. Countless summertime revelers take to the roads and air in search of that summer escape. Though travel costs remain high, consumers are always looking for a way to save money and get the most from their vacation.

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Comfort Accessories: Seats for Your Motorcycle

June 24 2013 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle seat.jpgThere are three places where your body is anchored to your bike, and all three can be adjusted. We've discussed handlebars in the past. You can swap them out for wider, taller, shorter or narrower bars, with an almost infinite variety of styles and bends. Your foot controls can also be changed and relocated fore and aft, up and down. Before any of those changes take place, though, I would start with the third anchor: The seat. Once you find a seat that is comfortable and that works for you, handlebar and foot control decisions will fall into place.

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Travel Tips for Seniors

May 23 2013 by Sam Lowe
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senior travel tips.jpgIn an effort to make life on the road a bit easier, here are a few more senior-related travel tips that I have found useful while pursuing life's hithers and yons.

If traveling to an area frequented by those city-sized cruise ships, try to find out beforehand when and where they'll be docking, and then avoid those areas. The ships carry up to 4,000 passengers and when they drop anchor, most of those passengers are disgorged onto dry land where they storm into shops and eateries, causing human traffic jams and long lines at the checkout counters in the souvenir shops. They're all nice folks, of course, but they tend to be in a hurry because their off-boat time is usually limited.

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Trip Planning Tools

May 17 2013 by BW Innsider
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iStock_000013025819XSmall.jpgLet's say you want to take a vacation. You aren't exactly sure where yet, you just know that you need a trip. Best Western offers numerous tools for travelers to not only find the best deals on hotels to stay at, but also to help decide where to travel to. Check out some of these extremely useful tools that can help make planning your next trip easy and fun!

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Summer Travel Q&A (Part 2)

May 16 2013 by Chris McGinnis

Airport concourse.jpgSummer is just around the corner, and it's time to start making plans for business trips and vacations. Here's Part Two of my advice:

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Slow Down to Go Fast

October 17 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle mountain.jpgSometimes, my best insights about how to improve my motorcycle riding occur when I'm not even riding my bike.

This week, I was playing the guitar, practicing a particularly difficult solo with the help of a video lesson on my computer. Onscreen, the instructor gave some potent advice about how to conquer a passage that had a flurry of notes. He said, quite simply, "Slow down to go fast."

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Biketoberfest

October 17 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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biketober.jpgIf you haven't left for Biketoberfest 2012 yet, you're probably going to miss it. The last big motorcycle rally of the year takes place from October 18 to October 21 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

You've missed the opportunity to ride the 2013 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The HD Demo Ride Event will be making a stop at Bruce Rossmeyer's Harley-Davidson in Ormond Beach from October 18 - 20. If you're a H.O.G. member, you've also missed a Pin Stop at the Demo Truck.

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Motorcycle Rodeo

October 9 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Bike2.jpgSomewhere near you, a police officer is practicing his riding skills, preparing for a motorcycle rodeo.

Motorcycle rodeo competitors weave in and around a short course of cones in a parking lot, striving for the quickest laps with the fewest cones displaced. The courses emphasize maneuverability, cornering and changes of direction. In police competitions, the bikes are 1000 ccs or bigger, usually a Kawasaki, BMW or Harley-Davidson police model.

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How to Test Ride a Bike

October 4 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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HD2.jpgYou're ready to buy your next bike. You've narrowed down your choices, and you've decided to buy a used motorcycle -- the economy is in tough shape, which means prices are down a little, making this a good time to buy if you can afford it. You've got the cash, you find the bike, and it's time to buy. What do you do next?

Before you close a deal on any used motorcycle, you've got to take it for a test drive.

I've got a few tips that will make that test drive safer and more effective, helping you evaluate a motorcycle before you buy.

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Protect Your Eyes While Riding Your Bike

September 28 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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goggles.jpgThe wind rushes at your face, carrying dust, dirt and debris. The pickup truck in front of you kicks up gravel as its wheels spin from a start. A bug splatters against your headlight, spraying legs, guts and antennae in your face as you speed through the night. If you're wearing proper eye protection, these are all minor inconveniences. If your eyes are bare, your sight might be impaired, either temporarily or permanently.

Many states require proper eye protection every time you ride on the road. You can check the specific laws in your state and states where you plan to ride on the American Motorcyclist Association website. Even if your state doesn't require eye protection (my state, California, doesn't), I strongly advise you to wear some every time you ride.

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Riding Western Washington

September 28 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Helmet Video

September 26 2012 by Jason Fogelson

helmet.jpgAfter I go away for a motorcycle trip, I always want to tell my friends and family all about what I saw. I take a lot of photos, which helps me to share my stories. But it doesn't convey the sense of motion that makes a motorcycle ride so invigorating. In the past, I tried a lot of different ways of mounting my video cameras to my bike, and all I wound up with was a lot of duct tape messing up my paintjob, and some very shaky video (and more than one camera shaken to death).

All that has changed with the latest generation of miniature HD video cameras.

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Western Washington, Day Seven: Bainbridge Island to Seattle and Home Again

September 24 2012 by Jason Fogelson

WA7 158.jpgIt's the last day of my trip, and I've got the day to explore Bainbridge Island before I cross the Puget Sound and head for home. I wake up in the BEST WESTERN PLUS Bainbridge Island Suites, pack up my gear and go down to the lobby for a good free hot breakfast. I picked up a bunch of brochures from the rack last night, and I study them while I drink some coffee. Bainbridge Island is home to 23,000 residents, living on 27.6 square miles of land -- it's about five miles wide by ten miles long. There are over a dozen sizable parks on the island, and numerous bays and coves. There's one bridge to the Olympic Peninsula on the west side of the island (the Agate Pass Bridge), and one ferry stop to the mainland on the east side of island.

I hate to ask for directions, but I love to ask for advice. I stop by the front desk, and ask the front desk clerk a leading question. "If you had just one day on Bainbridge Island, where would you go?" "Oh, that's easy. I'd go everywhere. You're on a motorcycle, right? You can go everywhere."

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Western Washington, Day Six: Ocean Shores to Bainbridge Island

September 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson

WA6 152.jpgLast night's fog still hovers over Ocean Shores when I wake up this morning. I've had some interesting riding experiences in heavy fog. This fog won't be a challenge to my riding, but it is a bummer that I can't get a good look at the beach before I ride off, leaving the BEST WESTERN PLUS Lighthouse Suites Inn in my rearview mirrors. I had a wonderful night's sleep last night, with the sound of the ocean wafting across the room from my balcony. One night was not enough in this vacation spot.

I will follow the coastline as much as possible today, in hopes that the fog lifts and I can get some good ocean views. I've got a long ride today, as I'm tracing the outline of the Olympic Peninsula, the largest such body of land in the state of Washington. Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the lower 48 states, is on the Olympic; so is Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point. A good portion of the Peninsula is still wilderness, including Olympic National Park, over 900,000 aces of land that belongs to you and me. The Park includes some coastline, temperate rain forest and glaciated mountains within its borders. A little bit of something for everyone.

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Western Washington, Day Five: Chehalis to Ocean Shores

September 18 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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WA5 131.jpgThe BEST WESTERN PLUS Park Place Inn and Suites went up another notch on my personal ranking system this morning, when I discovered that they have an omelet station in their breakfast room every morning. In addition to the regular hot breakfast selection, there's an actual chef there to make you an omelet to order. All included in the price of a night's stay. Excellent.

You know those racks of brochures that you walk past in just about every hotel lobby? They promote local activities and attractions, and I'll bet you walk right by in a hurry, luggage in hand as you rush to check in to your room. Not me. I stop. I look. I pluck a handful from the rack, and bring a bouquet of brochures to my room. Because I always make discoveries, no matter how carefully I have planned my trip.

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Western Washington, Day Four: Washougal to Chehalis

September 14 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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WA4 126.jpgThere's the easy way, and there's the fun way. I try to pick the fun way when I can. My destination today is Chehalis, about 91 miles away as the crow flies up the Interstate. That's the easy way. I'm going to take a big detour, riding a loop that will take me all the way to the Pacific Ocean before I swing back inland to Chehalis, tripling my riding distance in the process. I'm eager to see the Washington Coast, and I will put my feet in the sand today.

We're supposed to be seeing the peak of the heat wave today, so I eat a light breakfast in the lobby of the BEST WESTERN PLUS Parkersville Inn & Suites. I double down on the water, and I make sure that I have some water in my TourPak when I load up the Road Glide for the road. Hydration is everything in the heat.

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Western Washington, Day Three: Prosser to Washougal

September 13 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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WA3 104.jpgWhen it's going to be hot, get on the road early. I keep moving my alarm clock earlier and earlier this week, as I am caught in the middle of a heat wave that threatens to break records. It's very tempting to shed the gear in the heat -- lose the heavy jacket, lose the Kevlar riding pants, swap out the full-face helmet for a shorty. Don't do it. Not only is it risky, leaving you unprepared for a crash, it also makes you more vulnerable to the heat. You get hot, you sweat, and the hot wind speeds evaporation. You get dehydrated more quickly, and your body never gets cooled off the way it's supposed to with perspiration. Before you know it, you're looking at a case of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, a very dangerous condition made even more dangerous by the fact that you're operating a motorcycle. Gear up. All The Gear All The Time. End of sermon.

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Western Washington, Day Two: Puyallup to Prosser

September 12 2012 by Jason Fogelson

WA2 094.jpgSome days, you throw out the playbook and call an audible at the line. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. The fun is making it up as you go along. Today is going to be one of those days.

The weather report calls for extreme temperatures today, especially at my destination. We're talking triple digits extreme. So, I get an early start this morning. I usually hit the trail by 8:30 am. This morning, I'm down in the lobby breakfast area of the BEST WESTERN PREMIERE Plaza Hotel & Conference Center at 7:00 am, wolfing down the hot food and drinking a few extra glasses of water. I'm going to need to stay hydrated.

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Western Washington, Day One: Home to Seattle to Puyallup, Washington

September 10 2012 by Jason Fogelson

WA1 085.jpgI'm a creature of habit. I know this about myself. I try to find opportunities to escape my routines, and that's one of the reasons I travel by motorcycle. But even within my adventures, there's still a healthy dose of habit involved.

For instance, packing for the trip. I have honed packing down to a system, and I have checks and double-checks built in to my system along the way. I make lists, I check them, and then I second guess myself and check them again. I still forget things at home sometimes, but it's pretty rare.

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Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Models Hit the Road

September 7 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Harley.jpgHarley-Davidson is a company that marks its anniversaries with pride. 2013 represents the 110th anniversary of H-D production, and the Motor Company will not let the milestone go unrecognized.

Ten Harley-Davidson models will be available as 110th Anniversary Editions, with unique serial number plates, Anniversary Vintage Bronze/Anniversary Vintage Black paint (CVO models get Diamond Dust/Obsidian paint), solid bronze commemorative fuel tank badges and anniversary badging and trim. The Anniversary Editions will each be loaded with all available factory-installed options as standard equipment with a premium price of between $665 and $2,495 over the corresponding non-Anniversary models.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip: Tour Highlights

August 27 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Favorite Rides: Seattle, Washington

August 22 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Seattle_Trip.jpgI'm pretty sure that folks who live in Seattle exaggerate about the rain just to keep the rest of us away. In reality, Seattle receives less precipitation than New York City, Atlanta, Boston and Baltimore, and doesn't even rank in the Top Ten in the US. Seattle's rainfall tends to be more misty and drizzly. It's also seasonal -- summers are mostly dry, winters are mostly wet, spring and fall are mostly grey.

A little bit of rain doesn't keep a serious motorcyclist down. Seattle motorcyclists can keep their bikes on the road year-round, with very few freezing days and rare days of snow.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day Six/Seven: Grants Pass to LaPine, Bend and Home Again

August 21 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Jason_LaPine8.jpgI know that it seems like I've been complaining about the heat a lot on this particular trip, but it has been scorching hot all week, easily over 90 degrees and approaching 100 degrees on most days. The forecast calls for more of the same today, so I'm getting an early start.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day Five: Medford to Grants Pass

August 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Jason_Grants Pass 2.jpgI don't have far to ride today, but I've got plenty to do along the way, so I stoke the boiler with a good hot (free) breakfast at the BEST WESTERN Horizon Inn in Medford, Oregon. I'll be leaving here after staying for two nights, which is one more than my usual on a motorcycle trip. I haven't lost the knack for packing, and I'm ready to ride.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day Four: Medford

August 16 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Jason_MedfordOR.jpgI'm up and at 'em. I'm spending a second night here at the BEST WESTERN Horizon Inn in Medford, and that means that I don't have to pack up all of my gear and load the bike. I can leave my luggage in my room, and travel light, just carrying what I need for the day. I enjoy the hot breakfast in the hotel's lounge, using the time to study my maps and plan my ride. It's funny -- when I'm at home, I'm addicted to the daily newspaper. I feel like I can't really start my day until I've digested the news of the day. When I'm on the road, I couldn't care less. I completely disconnect from the rest of the world, and immerse myself in my travels.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day Three: Lakeview to Medford

August 15 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Jason_Medford.jpgOne thing that I love about the High Desert climate is that no matter how hot the day is, once the sun goes down, it's nice and cool. Yesterday was a scorcher, touching triple digits. Today promises to be just as hot. Last night, I was able to turn off the air conditioning in my room in the BEST WESTERN Skyline Motor Lodge. I opened the windows and enjoyed the cool desert air, and I slept like a desert log. This morning, I feel great. I wolf down some of the free hot food in the breakfast room, and I study my maps.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day Two: Bend to Lakeview

August 13 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Jason_Bend 4.jpgI wake up early, and head to the breakfast room in the BEST WESTERN Inn & Suites of Bend. I have my iPhone with me, as I do on most trips. While I eat breakfast, I read a series of emails that promise to put a bit of a crimp in my trip. Someone has hacked my American Express account, and has tried to buy a bunch of software downloads from a major retailer. Both Amex and the retailer flagged the attempted purchase as fraudulent, which is good. What's bad is that Amex has frozen my card. I spend the next hour on the phone cancelling my card, confirming some charges and figuring out what to do next. Luckily, I always travel with a backup card -- in this case, a Visa -- so I'll be able to continue my trip without interruption. I'll have to deal with other consequences and inconveniences of this fraud when I get home, but for now, it's handled. Thanks to a good, free internet connection at the BEST WESTERN Inn & Suites of Bend, I'm able to resolve some issues and get on the road again.

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Central Oregon Motorcycle Trip, Day One: Home to Bend, Oregon

August 7 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Jason update.jpgI'm returning to Oregon again, and I couldn't be more excited. Last year, I explored Western Oregon, and I had a great time riding along the beautiful coast. The year before that, I rode through the Northeastern part of the state. This time, I'm starting out in Bend, and riding in Central Oregon. I'll see high desert, deep forest and beautiful lakes. I can't wait.

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It's Sturgis Time Again

August 6 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Sturgis.jpgIf I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.

Every year in early August, every serious biker feels a rumbling in their blood. It's the urge to ride, the siren call of the biggest, baddest biker rally of them all: Sturgis.

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American Motorcyclist Association

July 25 2012 by Jason Fogelson

AMA.jpgIf you ride a motorcycle, any kind of motorcycle, you should join the American Motorcyclist Association.

The AMA was founded in 1924, and has spent the past 88 years lobbying for the rights of motorcyclists and promoting the motorcycle lifestyle. The organization advocates for riders' rights with local, state and federal government offices, and also sanctions motorcycle races and recreational events. Motorcycling is subject to plenty of regulation, and there are those who would have our favorite activity banned outright. It's too noisy, too dangerous, too threatening for many people, and they'd be a lot more comfortable if we weren't out there having fun on two wheels. The AMA is a sane, responsible voice for the rights of all riders.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Seven: Pittsfield, MA to New York City and Home Again

July 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson

A10.jpgToday is the last day of the trip. I've got to ride from Pittsfield, Massachusetts all the way to Queens Village, New York before 3:00 pm to return the Electra Glide and catch my flight home.

Over eggs and sausage in the breakfast room at the BEST WESTERN Berkshire Hills Inn & Suites, I study my maps and brochures. I flip through the local newspaper, and notice that there are numerous local attractions to consider.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Six: Hanover, NH to Pittsfield, MA

July 18 2012 by Jason Fogelson

A6.jpgI amaze even myself sometimes when I'm on a motorcycle trip. After that belly bomb of fried seafood that I ate at Al's Seafood last night, I can hardly believe that I wake up hungry this morning. Must be all that fresh ocean air. Lucky for me, a good hot breakfast is included with my stay at the BEST WESTERN PLUS The Inn at Hampton.

I load the Electra Glide, thumb the engine to life and snick the gear selector into first. Soon, I'm cruising along Interstate 495 -- just for a few miles -- and I cross into Massachusetts for the first time on this trip. In case you're keeping track, that's the sixth state in six days. Cheating a little in this part of the country, but it still counts.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Five: Portland, ME to Hanover, NH

July 16 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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A3.jpgThe cool ocean air makes for a great night of sleep. I wake up totally refreshed in my Maine Lodge room at the BEST WESTERN Merry Manor Inn. I'm a creature of habit -- I always pack up my gear before heading down for breakfast, then make a final inspection for anything I missed when I return to my room after eating. I've always found that having a system keeps me from leaving important things behind. I stay in so many different hotel rooms that if I left one item behind in each room, I'd have to replenish my travel supplies before every trip. So, I have a system.

Breakfast is served in the Merry Manor's restaurant, and is included with my night's stay. It's nice to get table service instead of buffet every once in a while -- it gives me more time to relax and plan my day.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Four: Manchester, NH to Portland, ME

July 2 2012 by Jason Fogelson

A4.jpgDo you stop at those "Welcome" centers at the state line? I do, almost always. First of all, they usually have clean bathrooms and water fountains, so that's a plus. Second, they are almost always staffed by friendly, knowledgeable people who can point you toward interesting sights and routes. They're always up to date on current road conditions, and they'll highlight a map that leaves little to the imagination.

I had a filling and delicious breakfast in the dining room at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Executive Court Inn & Conference Center this morning before I checked out and got on the bike to ride. I looked around for the bullfrogs who entertained me with their songs last night, but alas, they seem not to be early risers.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Three: Lake George, NY to Manchester, NH

June 28 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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A.jpgMy internal clock would have me sleeping until noon every day if I let it. When I'm on a motorcycle trip, I set an alarm every morning, and I always find myself waking up before the buzzer. I do love to ride.

This morning, I peek out the window to see grey skies, as I expected -- but no rain! That's very good news. I dress quickly, then head to the lobby for some free hot grub. Will I ever get tired of the breakfast that's included with my stay at the BEST WESTERN? I don't think so. Especially not when it's free.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day Two: New York City to Lake George, NY

June 27 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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A.jpgAs if riding a motorcycle isn't enough of an adrenaline rush, waking up in Times Square ready to ride a motorcycle is enough to get the blood pumping quickly. I slept like a rock in my comfortable room at BEST WESTERN PLUS President Hotel at Times Square, Jack and Jackie Kennedy keeping watch over me all night long. I was concerned that the street noise from busy 48th Street below my fourth floor window might keep me awake, but the room was as quiet and serene as a room in the country, a true haven in the middle of the most populous city in the United States.

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New England By Motorcycle, Day One: Home to New York City

June 25 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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A.jpgNew York City is not for the timid, especially when traveling on two wheels. I'm reminded of this as I weave my way through traffic on the Cross Island Parkway at rush hour on Monday afternoon.

I have just flown across the country from my home in California to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. I lined up for a taxi to Queens Village to pick up a Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Classic at EagleRider Rentals. Vinnie from EagleRider sped me through the signup process, and together we inspected the 2011 Touring motorcycle. A few bumps and scrapes and 20,000+ miles on the odometer, but the Electra Glide looked good and ready to go. I moved my gear from my suitcase to the saddlebags and TourPak, and paid attention as Vinnie ran through a checklist of operating instructions for the bike. I've put a lot of miles on Electra Glides in the past, but I still listened intently as Vinnie ticked off the items on the list. I used the time to focus on riding, as the most challenging part of the whole ride was probably these first few miles.

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Rally Time in the Northeast

June 4 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000003702345XSmall.jpgIt's not too late to catch the fever if you're in the Northeastern United States. Two big weeks of motorcycling are coming up, and you don't want to miss them.

Americade, June 5 - 9

Billed as "the world's largest motorcycle touring rally," Americade is an all-brands, family-friendly event set along the shores Lake George in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York.

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Best Western Introduces New Cleaning Technologies For Hotels

June 1 2012 by BW Innsider
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Maid.JPGYesterday marked a special occasion For Best Western, as our new program - I Care Clean - was launched via an exclusive in USA Today. Best Western continues its dedication to lead the hospitality industry in customer care with advanced cleaning technologies throughout 2012 in the more than 2,100 Best Western hotels in North America!

The new program empowers Best Western's Housekeeping to set a new standard for customer care with the use of UV Wands, Black Lights and Clean Remotes.

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Five State Motorcycle Marathon: Day Five, Tulsa, OK to Dallas, TX and Home Again

May 30 2012 by Jason Fogelson

D5 5.jpgI wake up early in Tulsa. I want to get on the road before the heat of the day hits, because I've got some miles to cover before I reach my hotel in Denton, Texas tonight.

The staff at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Tulsa Inn & Suites impresses me as a very cheerful, friendly group. Everyone I encounter, from housekeeping to front desk to the gardening crew out front, shoots me a big hello and a sincere smile. Is that the way people behave in Oklahoma, or just here at the BEST WESTERN?

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Five State Motorcycle Marathon: Day Four, Kansas City, KS to Tulsa, OK

May 29 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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D4 4.jpgI wake up fully rested this morning in my room at the BEST WESTERN PREMIUM Speedway Inn & Suites. There's nothing like a touch of luxury to add to a pleasant night's sleep. After a filling hot breakfast in the hotel's modern lobby bar, I'm ready to load up the Road Glide and ride off.

My first stop today is not far away, but it is back over the river on the Missouri side of Kansas City -- a slight bit of backtracking. I don't mind. I'm headed for a tour of Harley-Davidson's Vehicle and Powertrain Operations factory in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Five State Motorcycle Marathon: Day Three, Branson, MO to Kansas City, KS

May 24 2012 by Jason Fogelson

D3 2.jpgI wake up at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Landing View Inn & Suites still thinking about meeting Jim Stafford last night, and seeing his show. I never would have believed that riding a Harley-Davidson would lead me here, but that's part of the magic of motorcycling. You never know what might be around the next bend.

I pick up a bunch of brochures in the lobby of the hotel before loading up my plate with hot eggs, sausage and toast. While I drink my coffee, I plot a route through Branson that will take me past some more of the theaters and attractions.

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Five State Motorcycle Marathon: Day Two, Hot Springs, AR to Branson, MO

May 23 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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D2 12.jpgToday, I get to cross off two destinations on my travel bucket list: Hot Springs, Arkansas and Branson, Missouri.

I'm already in Hot Springs, after a long ride yesterday from Dallas. After a good night's rest at the BEST WESTERN Winners Circle Inn, I stroll across to the hotel's breakfast room for a good hot breakfast. As I shovel in some eggs, sausage and toast, I study my maps and try to plan my day. It's going to be another hot one, but that's okay. I don't have a very long ride today, and I'm getting an early start.

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Five State Motorcycle Marathon: Day One, Home to Dallas, TX to Hot Springs, AR

May 17 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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A1.jpgTime for another ride.

It seems like this time of year, everything collides, and this trip sneaks up on me quite quickly. I get a late jump on my planning, and an even later jump on packing. I hope I didn't forget anything important.

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Using Spy Technology to Create Your Routes

April 30 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000019615274XSmall.jpgI love a good spy story. I love to read John Le Carre, Ian Fleming and even Donald Hamilton novels. But I'm not interested in the heroes, like George Smiley or James Bond or Matt Helm. Don't get me wrong; those guys are great. But I read spy stories for the gadgets. Give me a whole book about MI6's Q Branch (they're the ones who make all the gadgets), and I'd be very happy.

When I travel on a motorcycle, getting ready for each trip starts to feel like I'm preparing for a super secret mission. I'm always in the process of testing a new piece of gear, or a newly miniaturized gadget that is designed to make my riding safer, easier and more fun.

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All About Motorcycle Batteries

April 26 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000016116465XSmall.jpgIt's spring, so you might be thinking about getting a new battery for your motorcycle. If you didn't take the time to put your battery on a smart charger for the winter, you're definitely going to have to do more than just think about it. Motorcycle batteries are much smaller than car batteries, which is one of the factors that contribute to their shorter lifespan (and warranties). I've had good luck with my batteries over the years, mostly because I'm kind of obsessive about keeping them hooked up to a Battery Tender smart charger in between rides, even during good weather. My most recent battery lasted almost ten years, thanks to careful maintenance, and the fact that I live in a very moderate climate.

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Think Like a Pilot

April 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000011601960XSmall.jpgThis is an article about motorcycle safety, but it could be an article about automotive safety, or bicycle safety, or just leaving your house safety. It's an article built around a simple concept: Think like a pilot.

Pilots approach every flight with a clear agenda -- take off safely, fly safely, arrive safely. The very first thing a pilot does, before ever flying the plane, is to complete a safety checklist. Every important system and backup is inspected, every setting noted, every detail attended to. All before the engine is started, long before takeoff occurs. A pilot who does not complete a safety checklist will not be a pilot for long.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Ride Video

April 19 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Harley-Davidson's Willie G. To Retire

April 18 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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WillieGDavidson.jpgThe man who has led the direction of Harley-Davidson's styling for the past 49 years is retiring on April 30, 2012. Willie G. Davidson, the dashing 78 year-old Senior Vice President and Chief Styling Officer for the Motor Company, will segue to a lesser role as Chief Styling Officer Emeritus, and will remain involved with Harley-Davidson as a Brand Ambassador.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Day Five: Cambria to Santa Barbara

April 11 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Day 5 066.jpgThe sound of seals barking on the rocks greets me when I step out onto the patio of my room at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Fireside Inn this morning. Seals are particularly vocal animals, and they have no problem expressing themselves at full volume. They're hilarious to watch, as they spend many of their waking hours telling each other who's boss. Moonstone Beach's seals look very well-fed and healthy, and seem to enjoy having an audience.

I pop into the breakfast room at the hotel for a quick breakfast -- scrambled eggs and sausage from the free buffet, and a few cups of coffee to shake off the morning fog.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Day Four: Lone Pine to Cambria

April 9 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Day 4 04.jpgFor such a small town, Lone Pine really is in the center of a lot of special locations. Death Valley National Park is to the east. Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are to the west. The portal to Mount Whitney is right outside of town. A few miles north of Lone Pine is Manzanar National Historic Site, where Japanese nationals and Americans of Japanese descent were interned during World War II. The BEST WESTERN PLUS Frontier Motel is a great base camp for exploration to any of these remarkable places.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Day Three: Palm Springs to Lone Pine

April 6 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Day 3 01.jpgPalm Springs is a sleepy town in the morning. I like that. The Club Room at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Las Brisas Hotel is bustling, however. Breakfast is served, and it's included in the price of the room. A chef is on duty to prepare omelets to order. She's an artist with a pan. I linger over my ham and cheese creation, and study my maps. I want to make sure that I don't hit any snow today. I check the weather and elevations on my route until I'm confident that I'll be safe. No problems manifest themselves on the maps or on the internet.

I pack up the bike and check out of the hotel. In a town full of hotels, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Las Brisas Hotel is a discovery, with a very intimate, friendly feel. I wish I could stay longer. It's a great place to relax.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Day Two: San Diego to Palm Springs

April 4 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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Day 2 08.jpgRain. It's still raining when I wake up and peek through the shutters. A heavy fog sits over the bay, obscuring any view of the San Diego skyline. I get packed and dressed, and dodge the raindrops over to the Blue Wave Restaurant & Lodge off of lobby of the BEST WESTERN PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina. I study the weather app on my iPhone as I eat my ham and cheese omelet. It looks like most of the storm has passed, and I'm just dealing with the lingering effects. It's time to ride.

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California Sea and Desert Trip: Day One: Home to San Diego

April 2 2012 by Jason Fogelson

Day 1 01.jpg"Seems it never rains in Southern California..." The lyrics of Albert Hammond's 1972 hit echo in my head as I load my gear on the 2012 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra that sits in my garage. I'm about to head out on a six-day ride that will take me on a tour of Southern and Central California, and the ground outside is still wet from last night's downpour. The forecast calls for thunderstorms today, though the skies show signs of clearing right now. Rain won't stop me from riding, but it does force me to adjust my plans a bit.

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What is a Touring Motorcycle?

March 20 2012 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000013254748Small.jpgIf you've ever visited the Harley-Davidson website, you've probably noticed that the motorcycles on the site are divided into groups or families, including Sportster, Dyna, Softail, V-Rod and Touring. Each category is pretty much defined by its frame and engine, with plenty of variation within the category.

The family that I'm most interested in (most of the time) is Touring. The H-D Touring family includes the Road King, Electra Glide/Street Glide and Road Glide motorcycles, in all of their trim levels. Each bike is built around the same basic Touring frame, the latest version of which was introduced in 2009. Each bike is powered by a fuel-injected 45-degree V-Twin engine, displacing either 103 or 110 cubic inches, depending on model.

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Book Review: The Big Roads by Earl Swift

March 9 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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bigroads_cmb.pngI just finished reading The Big Roads by Earl Swift, and I couldn't wait to write about it here. The book's subtitle is "The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways," and as a denizen of the road, it filled in many blanks, corrected misconceptions and entertained me at the same time. If you've ever wondered about those wild interchanges, long stretches of straightaway and gentle curves and the people behind them, The Big Roads will help unravel the mystery for you.

Earl Swift is an experienced journalist based in Norfolk, Virginia. The Big Roads is his third non-fiction book. In addition, his newspaper and magazine columns have been collected in a volume called "The Tangierman's Lament." I heard Swift interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered last summer, and I immediately placed an order for his book. Time being the fluid instrument that it is, The Big Roads took its place in my cue, and I just got around to reading it this winter. It was worth the wait.

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Motorcycle GPS

March 2 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000016459721XSmall.jpgI'm getting ready for my next motorcycle trip. When I'm planning a trip, I'm generally a paper map kind of guy. I like the maps from MadMaps when I can get them; they're great for discovering motorcycle roads. I've installed the Harley-Davidson MadMaps App on my iPhone, and that's great, too. But I have found that having a good handheld GPS unit with me on my ride is a great safety net.

A smartphone with a GPS application can work fine, but it's not a dedicated GPS unit. Dedicated GPS units generally have bigger screens, more useful integrated functions and quicker response times.

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How Your Motorcycle's Clutch Works

February 29 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000017360225XSmall.jpgI'm no mechanic. That's been proven to me many times, in most unpleasant ways. But, I still think that it's important to understand how my motorcycle works. That way, I can recognize small problems before they become catastrophes, and I can work with my mechanic to make things work properly. This week, I decided to look deeply into my motorcycle's clutch to unravel its mysteries.

The job of the clutch is to temporarily disconnect the engine from the transmission. This disconnection is essential to safe operation of a modern motorcycle. Otherwise, you'd have to turn off the engine at every stop, and you'd never be able to change gears. Your car has a clutch (or more), even if it has an automatic transmission. Even your electric drill probably has a clutch. On a motorcycle, we pull in the clutch lever in order to disengage the transmission, then slowly let the clutch lever out in order to engage the transmission gears with the engine -- and the bike moves under power. But what's happening inside the clutch when we pull and release that lever?

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Daytona Beach Bike Week 2012

February 16 2012 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000003119442XSmall.jpgGentlemen, start your engines! Even though this winter has been very mild throughout much of the United States, it's always great to see the first signs of spring. For me, spring means Daytona Beach Bike Week, and this year that's March 9 to 18. Actually, that's more than a week -- it's 10 days. But who's counting?

Every year since 1937 (that's 75 years), Bike Week has been held in Daytona Beach, Florida, coinciding with the Daytona 200 motorcycle race. The race was suspended for a few years during World War II, but the party continued. The Daytona 200 is held at Daytona International Speedway on March 17, and is the first race of the AMA Pro Racing season. Tickets for the race start at $30, a bargain for a great day of racing.

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Desert Adventure Video

February 13 2012 by Jason Fogelson

More New Harley-Davidson Models for 2012

February 10 2012 by Jason Fogelson

HD1.jpgNever a company to rest on its laurels, Harley-Davidson has announced two additional motorcycle models that will join the lineup for 2012: The Softail Slim and the Harley-Davidson Seventy-Two.

Based on the Softail platform that includes the Fatboy, Blackline and Heritage Softail Classic, the new Softail Slim is a back-to-basics stripped-down old school motorcycle. "It's time to make the engine the focal point of the motorcycle," says Harley-Davidson Senior Designer Casey Ketterhagen, "so we put a Softail on a diet to get the proportions back in check. Scale down the rear with a narrow tire and chopped fender and the heart of the bike, the motor, once again becomes the focus."

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Desert Adventure, Day Six: San Diego, CA to Los Angeles, CA

February 7 2012 by Jason Fogelson

_MG_8621.jpgToday's our last day on the road. We linger over breakfast at the Acapulco Restaurant, adjacent to the BEST WESTERN PLUS Hacienda Hotel Old Town. The hot breakfast buffet is included with our stay, and it's a really great start to the day. The views from the dining room across Old Town and to modern San Diego beyond are quite spectacular, and it's a perfect Southern California day today. San Diego may have the best weather in the United States. It's never too hot, never too cold, with less than 12 inches of rain per year. It has only snowed in San Diego five times in the past 125 years, so it's pretty safe to bet that you'll get good weather here if you hang around for a few days. We've hit a sweet spot in January, an absolutely clear, beautiful morning.

After breakfast, I go back to Old Town to look around before the crowds arrive. I get a chance to read the plaques, explore the buildings and soak up the vibe without bumping into people. Because it's San Diego, runners and dog walkers power through while I stroll with my camera. Fitness is like a religion here.

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Desert Adventure, Day Five: Yuma, AZ to San Diego, CA

February 3 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_8547.jpgWe eat a quick breakfast in PJ's Cafe and Bar at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Inn Suites Yuma Mall Hotel & Suites. A hot buffet with eggs and sausage - yum. We're going to explore Yuma a little bit before we ride back into California.

I'm not sure why prisons are such an attraction. I hope never to be incarcerated, but I love visiting old jails and prisons, and hearing the stories about the men and women who lived in them. Back in the day, working at a prison was almost as bad as being a convict. Guards and inmates shared conditions, and an isolated jail was as much of a hardship on the employees as it was on the prisoners.

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Desert Adventure, Day Four: Tucson, AZ to Yuma, AZ

February 1 2012 by Jason Fogelson

_MG_8507.jpgOur stay at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Royal Sun Inn & Suites includes breakfast at the adjoining Royal Sun Restaurant & Lounge. We have a nice hot breakfast, and spend some time planning our day's ride. We have some distance to travel, and plenty of things to see along the way.

Looking at the map, I'm continually surprised to realize just how close we are to the U.S./Mexico border. Nogales, Mexico is just 70 miles south on Interstate 19. We're not going to cross the border on this trip, but it is possible to cross into and out of Mexico with ease. You and your passengers (including children) need to bring your U.S. Passports, and it's a good idea to purchase Mexico vehicle insurance before entering the country -- your U.S. policy will probably not cover you in a foreign country. It is also advisable to check the U.S. Department of State's website for up-to-the-minute information about travel to Mexico. Mexico is a beautiful, amazing country, but there are some definite dangers for tourists. Forewarned is forearmed.

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Desert Adventure, Day Three: Phoenix, AZ to Tucson, AZ

January 31 2012 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

_MG_8480.jpgAt some point in the middle of a motorcycle trip I always begin to feel like I've been on the road forever, and that the ride will never end. It's a great feeling, and it means that I'm getting into my groove and really living in the moment. Today feels like that.

The BEST WESTERN PLUS InnSuites Phoenix Hotel & Suites has a big, bright breakfast room right off of the lobby, and we take advantage of the hot food buffet. I don't eat a lot of eggs at home, but for some reason there's nothing better on the road.

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Desert Adventure, Day Two: Needles, CA to Phoenix, AZ

January 30 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_8463.jpgBreakfast is my thing. There's nothing better than waking up in the morning and knowing that a good breakfast is on the agenda. Breakfast at Juicy's River Cafe is included with our night's stay at the BEST WESTERN Colorado River Inn. Good, stick-to-your-ribs eggs and bacon starts our day the right way.

We check out of the hotel, load up the bike and get back on the Mother Road. We'll be tracking along a short section of the original Route 66 today, and we're excited to explore a piece of travel history.

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Desert Adventure, Day One: Los Angeles to Needles, CA

January 27 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_8426.jpgI'm always excited to go on a motorcycle trip. When my wife Robin can get the time off of work to join me as a passenger, I'm over the moon. She's great company, and the best pillion rider I've ever met. A ride with Robin is the best.

We're starting out from home this time, which is great. While I enjoy exploring the country on a bike, eliminating the travel days to and from a remote starting point gives us more time actually riding, and less time in airports.

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Product Review: Scala Rider G4 PowerSet

January 26 2012 by Jason Fogelson

scala.JPGI just got back from a week-long ride from Southern California into Arizona and back, which you'll be reading about here very soon. Luckily, my wife Robin was able to take time off from work to ride along as my passenger. We took the opportunity to test a new Bluetooth communication system, instead of using the onboard intercom system on the 2012 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic that we rode. We've used the H-D system in the past, and it works like a charm. The only downside to the H-D system, if there is one, is that it is not wireless. Bluetooth wireless systems have spoiled me. I use a Bluetooth stereo headset every day when I'm not on my bike, so I figured it would be fun to try one on this trip.

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Make A Spectacle Of Yourself And Your Bike

January 10 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000017220061XSmall.jpgMost of the time, I like to pass through life without attracting attention. When I'm riding my motorcycle, though, I do my best to make sure that other motorists notice me. I don't clown around or make funny faces: I use HiViz.

In 1933, Bob Switzer sustained a head injury and was forced to spend months recovering in a darkened basement room. Bob and his younger brother Joe used the recovery time to experiment with paint that would glow in the dark under fluorescent light. In 1935, they accidently discovered a combination of pigments that seemed to glow under ordinary light. They named the color "Fire Orange," and it was the first "Day-Glo" paint color. Subsequent colors included "Saturn Yellow" and "Signal Green."

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Happy New Year

January 3 2012 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000017065865XSmall.jpgI just looked back over my blog entries for the past year. One thing jumped out at me immediately: No matter how much you plan, life has a way of taking its own course.

Last year I asked, "Did you ride as much as you meant to in 2010? Me, either. Do you plan to do something about it in 2011? Me, too."

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Your Motorcycle In Winter

December 27 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (5)

iStock_000018584330XSmall.jpgEven though I live in Southern California, I find myself contemplating how to keep my motorcycling jones fulfilled during the winter. I can only imagine the depths of despair that my motorcycling friends in the Upper Midwest are enduring right now. So I decided to collect a few random thoughts about your motorcycle in winter to help keep hope alive.

As long as the roads are dry and the skies are clear, you can conquer the cold and keep on riding.

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International Motorcycle Show

December 16 2011 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000017201836XSmall.jpgNothing warms me up like a visit to the International Motorcycle Show (IMS), which tours the United States every winter. In past years, it has been sponsored by Cycle World Magazine, but this year Progressive Insurance has taken the reins -- so the show is officially known as the Progressive International Motorcycle Show.

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Favorite Rides: Miami Beach, Florida

December 13 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000015249611XSmall.jpgWinter is about to tighten its grip on the Northern Hemisphere. What better time than to scoot down to South Beach to bask in the sunshine?

I found myself in Miami Beach on business, and decided to extend my stay for a few days. I went online to the Harley-Davidson site and booked a 2011 Softail Deluxe from Peterson's Harley-Davidson of Miami. In just a few minutes, I was out of my rental car, and back on two wheels, ready to explore the city.

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Gifts For Bikers

December 5 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000010423134XSmall.jpgIs it Christmas time again already? Then it must be time to shop for the biker on your list. Lucky for you, there are plenty of cool, affordable gifts that will put a smile on the face of your favorite motorcyclist.

Here are a few cool gift suggestions:

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Book Review: The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing by Melissa Holbrook Pierson

November 17 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000013809182XSmall.jpgYou will probably never ride a thousand mile day on a motorcycle. Neither will I. But if you're eager to understand why some people ride a thousand miles a day and more -- indeed, if you're eager to understand why people ride motorcycles at all, The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing by Melissa Holbrook Pierson gives valuable insight into the practice of long-distance motorcycling.

Ms. Pierson is an essayist and non-fiction writer. I have recommended a previous book of hers, The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles (1998), many times.

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Rider Training

November 11 2011 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000012539948XSmall.jpgI'm a big advocate of motorcycle rider training. I took my first motorcycle training class, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced RiderCourse, after I had already been riding for a decade. When the one-day class was over, my head was spinning. I realized how little I actually knew about riding a motorcycle, and how lucky I was to have survived without proper training. I decided then and there to devote myself to being a better, safer rider, and to make sure that I kept on top of my skills at all times. I view each and every ride as a training session, and I pay constant attention to my riding while I'm in the saddle. Between rides, I read articles and books about motorcycle safety, and I seek out new inspiration for safe riding.

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The History Of The Chopper

November 8 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000009374256XSmall.jpgThe latest Chopper craze has waxed and waned, but that doesn't mean that the Chopper is dead and gone. In fact, the 2012 Harley-Davidson lineup includes several bikes that I would consider "Factory Choppers": The Nightster, Iron 883 and Forty-Eight from the Sportster family, the Street Bob from the Dyna family and the Blackline from the Softail family.

But where did this whole Chopper thing come from? And what is a "Chopper" exactly?

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Buying A Used Motorcycle

October 25 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (6)

iStock_000016724777XSmall.jpgAs far as I'm concerned, the best time to buy a used motorcycle is right now -- at the end of the riding season, when owners are considering winter storage. The holidays are right around the corner, and that used bike looks a little like an ATM sitting in the garage. The weather hasn't turned so much that you can't get in a good test drive, and if you buy now, you'll have the whole winter to make any alterations that you have in mind before spring rolls around.

Doing some homework before you start shopping for a used bike will help make the experience better. First, examine your finances, and figure out how much you want to spend on a bike. If you're planning to finance your purchase, go to your lender and get preapproved for a loan amount. Talk to your insurance agent, and find out what factors you should consider in order to make sure that you can afford proper motorcycle insurance. Engine size, motorcycle style and other factors can greatly affect your insurance bill -- so find this out before you buy.

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Save Gas While Riding Your Motorcycle

October 21 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000004322888XSmall.jpgMotorcycles can be incredibly fuel efficient, especially compared to cars. Still, even the most efficient bikes (and riders) can stand some improvement to make sure that they are getting the most out of every drop of fossil fuel.

Get to Know the Enemy

You won't know if you're improving your gas mileage unless you track your fuel usage. Start keeping a log of fuel purchased and miles driven. Keep notes of driving conditions, special situations and other information that will help you interpret your data. Make a habit of recording data with every fill up, and continue to record data as you make changes to your bike and your riding habits so that you can figure out what works and what doesn't.

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Motorcycle Financing

October 17 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000003759566XSmall.jpgBuying a motorcycle can be a significant investment. While generally less expensive than cars, the tab for a new, fully featured bike can easily approach figures that eclipse the price of a mid-size sedan. In the best of all possible worlds, you've got enough cash put aside so that you can buy your next bike outright. In the real world, that's not always the case. Does that mean that you have to put your dreams on hold? No, it does not. There are sensible ways to finance the purchase of a motorcycle.

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Should You Buy a Classic Bike?

October 14 2011 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000002591373XSmall.jpgI've always dreamed of owning a classic motorcycle. Not just any classic: I've always dreamed of owning a 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide. It was the first Harley with a genuine rear suspension, so it was the first H-D that I would consider "touring-ready." It is supremely comfortable, and remarkably smooth in operation. The Duo-Glide is a gorgeous bike, with elegant lines and striking details, the kind of bike you can spend as much time admiring as you can riding it.

But I've never bought a Duo-Glide, even though I've come across many affordable, well-maintained examples over the years.

Why not?

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Washington State Road Trip: Video

October 12 2011 by Jason Fogelson

Check out the video footage of Best Western's Travel Blog writer Jason Fogelson and his trip through Washington state!

Washington State DAY SIX: EDMONDS TO SEATTLE

October 11 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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IMG_2212.jpgAfter a good night's rest, I wake up for a quick breakfast in the BEST WESTERN PLUS Harbor Inn's dining room. They have a cool, build-your-own egg sandwich system that everyone is trying, and I can't resist, either. An egg fried in the round, a sausage patty, a slice of cheese and an English muffin, assembled and tossed in the microwave for a minute, and you've got a breakfast that McDonald's can only dream about.

I check out of the hotel and load up the Electra Glide for the last time. I'm pretty proud of my packing this time. I have worn every item of clothing that I packed. The only way to get more efficient is to start wearing clothing twice, or a mid-trip wash. For a six-day ride, I'll stick with the "just enough" system. Next, I'll need to hone the other junk I carry.

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Washington State DAY FIVE: LEAVENWORTH TO EDMONDS

October 10 2011 by Jason Fogelson

IMG_2181.jpgThe BEST WESTERN PLUS Icicle Inn sets out a great breakfast buffet in J.J. Hills Fresh Grill, and the great model train runs the whole time. By the way, Jerome James "J.J." Hill was the head of the Great Northern Railroad, and pressed for its route to pass through Leavenworth. So there's some logic to the restaurant's name and railroad theme -- not that it needs logic, anymore than Leavenworth itself needs logic. It's just fun and cool, that's all.

I load up the Electra Glide under the big hand-painted sign that bids me "Auf Wiedersehen," then bid farewell to the BEST WESTERN PLUS Icicle Inn. If I were a snow skier, I'd be marking this location on my map. I'll bet it is stunning in the wintertime.

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Washington State DAY FOUR: OTHELLO TO LEAVENWORTH

October 7 2011 by Jason Fogelson
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IMG_2159.jpgThe heat wave seems to have broken when I wake up this morning at the BEST WESTERN Othello Inn. I share the hotel's breakfast room with a group of power company linemen, and we all compliment the morning's fare. Excellent biscuits and gravy, just the kind of stick-to-your-ribs food to keep you going as you climb poles all day -- or ride a motorcycle through beautiful countryside.

I load up the Electra Glide, and depart town in the direction of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is a 30,000-acre area administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge was established in 1944, and much of its land is that unique canyon and eroded hillside that was formed by the great floods that created the Columbia River Basin. The area is an important stopover for migratory waterfowl, and is famous for its population of Sand Hill Cranes. I didn't see much wildlife during my ride through the Refuge, but I did see great, unspoiled natural beauty in every direction, miles and miles of land untouched by human habitation. It's a fascinating place, a desert terrain that seems to have abundant water at the same time. I've never seen any other place like it.

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Washington State DAY THREE: OMAK TO OTHELLO

October 6 2011 by Jason Fogelson

IMG_2146.jpgIt's already hot in Omak when I wake up this morning. The weather lady is calling for temperatures in the upper 90s. I hope she's wrong, but I'll be fine either way. I just have to remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

After a fortifying breakfast in the elegant breakfast room/library of the BEST WESTERN PLUS Pepper Tree Inn at Omak, I'm ready to move on. I'm getting an early start today, on account of the heat. I kind of wish I could hang out in Omak for another day, and swim in that great pool while I wait for the heat to pass. Oh, well.

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Washington State DAY TWO: BELLINGHAM TO OMAK

October 5 2011 by Jason Fogelson

_MG_7375.jpgToday is a big day on my Washington State ride. I'm meeting up with a group of riders at Mt. Baker Harley-Davidson, and they're escorting me on a ride and joining me for lunch along my route.

First, I fuel up with a delicious breakfast in the Oboe Cafe at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Lakeway Inn. A choice of several breakfast meals is included with my stay, and it's a luxurious change over the usual buffet. Sometimes it's nice to relax and let someone take care of you.

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Washington State DAY ONE: SEATTLE TO BELLINGHAM

October 4 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (4)

_MG_7342.jpgI pack my gear carefully for this trip, as always. I'm honing my gear down with each trip, trying to do more with less. Everything must have a purpose, and anything that didn't get used on the last trip gets left at home on the next one. I have this down to a science now.

I used to carry a tool roll on every trip, an old habit from the days when motorcycles were much less reliable. This time, I'm only packing a small flashlight, a Leatherman multi-tool, a roll of duct tape and the universal tool - my iPhone. I probably won't ever use the first three.

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Secrets Of The Long Distance Riders

September 29 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000016979093XSmall.jpgI've been on a few long rides in the past few months. I've been all by myself on most of them, but I've been part of a group on others. When they are not riding, riders talk about riding. Where they've ridden, what they've ridden, how they've ridden. Who they've ridden with.

And frequently, riders talk about how far they've ridden.

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Harley Davidson Road Trip Through Canada

September 19 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

Check out the video of the latest Harley Davidson Canada Road Trip!

Canadian Border Trip Day Four/Five: Coeur d'Alene, ID to Kelowna, BC and Home Again

September 16 2011 by Jason Fogelson

BBB.jpegOkay, so this morning I don't have fruit for breakfast. I break down and have some eggs, bacon and toast. So shoot me. The breakfast at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Coeur d'Alene Inn just looks too good.

I check out of my room, noticing again just how friendly and efficient the staff at the hotel is. This is a very well run establishment, and I will definitely be back again for a third visit in the future. I'm a little bummed that we won't get a chance to explore downtown Coeur d'Alene, which is so charming and interesting. I really enjoyed wandering around there on my last visit -- it's like an unspoiled Spokane, hip and cool without the attitude. Oh, well -- next time.

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Canadian Border Trip Day Three: Kalispell, MT To Coeur d'Alene, ID

September 14 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (3)

_MG_7312.jpgWe've got some serious riding to do today, so we have all agreed to get up an hour earlier than usual, and meet at 7:00 am in the breakfast room of the BEST WESTERN White Oak Grand. I stoke the fires with fresh fruit and some yogurt, knowing that I'll need long-lasting energy for the road ahead. We check out of our hotel rooms, and meet in the parking lot.

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Canadian Border Trip Day Two: Trail, BC To Kalispell, MT

September 13 2011 by Jason Fogelson

IMG_2075.jpgBreakfast at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Columbia River Hotel is served in the dining room, and it is delicious. I'm feeling good this morning, and I also feel virtuous, because all I have for breakfast is a big bowl of fruit, while my Canadian friends all seem to be carbing up with eggs, pancakes and other heavy foods. I'll wait for lunch and dinner before I fill up.

The sun is shining as we saddle up to ride, and the skies are clear and blue. We're going to be crossing the border into the United States today, and I'm kind of curious how that will work on a group of motorcycles. I suddenly realize that I've never crossed an international border on a bike, so this day will mark a significant occasion.

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Canadian Border Trip Day One: Kelowna, BC To Trail, BC

September 12 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (5)

_MG_7261.jpgThis is going to be a different kind of road trip for me. I'm going on a group ride with Deeley Harley-Davidson of Canada and a group of Canadian journalists. We're going to be riding a collection of 2012 Harleys, starting off in Kelowna, British Columbia and dipping down below the border into my home country of the United States. We'll be staying at BEST WESTERN hotels along the way, both in Canada and in the U.S.

I'm looking forward to the ride. We'll be riding through some beautiful areas, including one of my favorite spots on Earth, Montana's Glacier National Park. I'm very excited to return there, as it was the highlight of one of my trips last year.

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Favorite Ride: Santa Barbara, CA

August 30 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (10)

iStock_000015875408XSmall.jpgI've been using Santa Barbara as an escape from Los Angeles ever since I was in college in the 1980s. The rich and famous have been drawn to Santa Barbara since the 1920s, as the area is uncommonly beautiful and temperate. Santa Barbara County has been called "The American Riviera," and looking at the way that the shore communities are carved into the hilly coastline, it's easy to see why. Santa Barbara is heaven for motorcyclists, with great roads in every direction, and fantastic attractions in town when the riding day is done.

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Motorcycle Photography Tips

August 25 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000003246289XSmall.jpgEvery biker has a pile of these pictures. "Here's my bike in Sturgis.... Here's my bike in front of Mt. St. Helens... Here's my bike in front of my family..." If you're going to take pictures of your bike (you know you are), here are a few tips to help make your motorcycle photographs even better.

Consider the background.

One of the toughest things about photographing a motorcycle is all of the negative space. Even on a fully-faired bike, you can still see plenty of the background through the body, through the wheels, and through the basic outline of your motorcycle. A black motorcycle can virtually disappear in front of a dark background. Pay attention to what is behind and around your bike, and arrange your photo so that your bike stands out.

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Western Oregon Day Seven & Eight - Forest Grove to Seattle and Home

August 24 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000009769780XSmall.jpgI got up early this morning. I wanted to have time to enjoy my last full day of riding. So, I rushed through a quick hot breakfast at the BEST WESTERN University Inn & Suites, then hurried back up to my room to gather my belongings and get onto the bike. I'm still amazed at how close Forest Grove is to Portland. Just 30 miles up the road, the big city seems worlds away. Forest Grove may be at commuting distance, but it doesn't feel like a suburb. It is a community in itself, and the BEST WESTERN University Inn & Suites is a great vantage point from which to explore.

Oregonians take their summers seriously. Whenever the sun is out, so are they. Today, they're out on two wheels -- mostly of the bicycle variety. They're also very fond of Farmers' Markets. I pass several during my journey today, and they're bursting with produce and people. It's a beautiful day for riding.

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Western Oregon Day Six -Forest Grove

August 23 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (140)

BW University inn and suites.jpgWhile I eat a hot meal today in the breakfast room at the BEST WESTERN University Inn & Suites, I do a bit of research. I don't know much about Forest Grove, but what I have seen so far intrigues me.

I discover that the school that inspired the name of the BEST WESTERN University Inn & Suites is Pacific University, a prestigious liberal arts school. Its main campus is downtown in Forest Grove. Pacific University is the oldest university in Oregon, having been founded in 1849 -- ten years before Oregon became a state. The beautiful little campus educates over 3,200 students per year in undergraduate and graduate studies. It would be a very nice place to go to school, especially with its close proximity to Portland.

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Western Oregon Day Five -Corvallis to Forest Grove

August 22 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (40)

corvallis.jpgI wake up refreshed from a great night's sleep at the BEST WESTERN Grand Manor Inn. On my way to the lobby for a hot free breakfast, I stop and chat with Ivy at the front desk. This is my first-ever visit to Corvallis, and I don't need to rush away so quickly. Ivy gives me a map of the city, and points out some highlights. I study the map while I drink some coffee and nibble daintily on a toasted bagel.

I load up the Electra Glide and set out to tool around the city. 50,000 people call Corvallis home, and another 100,000 folks live in the surrounding area. Still, Corvallis retains a small town feel, with a real sense of the natural environment and a respect for history.

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Western Oregon Day Four -Bandon to Corvallis

August 19 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

A bike.jpgI jump out of bed at the BEST WESTERN Inn at Face Rock, get dressed and get packed up. I've got an appointment to ride this morning. "Bandon Bill" Clark has promised to take me to a place that every biker must visit.

I make time for a hot breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuit and gravy in the breakfast room at Bandon Bill's Grill on the hotel grounds. I remember the great meal I had in the dining room here last night - I wonder if I could extend my stay, just one more night? No - I've got places to go, promises to keep. You know the story.

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Western Oregon Day Three - Lincoln City to Bandon

August 18 2011 by Jason Fogelson

depoe bay.jpgI'm up early this morning. I pore over my map while I eat my hot breakfast at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Landmark Inn. I really like Lincoln City, and this hotel. I could see the ocean from my balcony, and I slept with the balcony door open so that I could enjoy the sea breeze and the sounds of the surf. I slept very well, and I'm raring to go. I've got a lot to see today.

First up, I ride back into town to see the town's namesake. Lincoln City was born in 1965, when the towns of Cutler City, Taft,Nelscott, Delake, and Oceanlake merged and incorporated. At about the same time, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876 - 1973) was looking for a home for "Abraham Lincoln on Horseback," a big bronze that depicted youthful Abe astride a steed, reading a book (Lincoln's reading - not the horse). The statue now sits on the corner of NW 22nd Street and Quay in Lincoln City, outside of the Lincoln City Community Center.

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Western Oregon Day Two - Astoria to Lincoln City

August 17 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (103)

cape mears.jpgI'm greeted by light rain as I pack up to ride today. There was a big thunderstorm last night, but I slept right through it in my comfortable bed.

Rain is a fact of life in Oregon, and the locals welcome it as a treasure. Lawns are lush here, flowers grow in abundance and vegetable gardens burst with bounty. None of this would be possible without the rain. Everything looks clean, fresh and healthy. I'll take a little rain early in the day in exchange for such beauty.

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Western Oregon Day One - Home To Astoria

August 16 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (4)

bike.jpgLogistics have determined that my ride through Western Oregon has to begin in Seattle, Washington. Not Oregon. That's okay - I love Seattle. It's a good starting point for any excursion, especially during the summer.

I land in Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, and take a car service to Bellevue's Eastside Harley-Davidson. I've located an Electra Glide Ultra Limited for rent through Harley-Davidson Authorized Rentals. In the past, I've used the Harley Owners Group Fly and Ride, but the Motor Company has merged the two programs. Everything works out fine. I'm in and out of the dealership in 45 minutes, saddled up on a fully-loaded 2011 bike. The bike is beautifully detailed, black in color, and has a few extra features, like heated handgrips and a 12-volt outlet in the Tour Pak. That may come in handy.

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Riding Solo

July 15 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

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When I got my first Harley-Davidson back in the early 1990s, I brought it out to Dover, New Jersey to show to my cousin David. Dave is a lifelong biker, and he was my inspiration to ride in the first place.

After Dave gave my Sportster the once over ("Pretty cool -- for a Sporty."), I pulled him aside for some words of wisdom. Dave thought for a minute, then emitted two words: "Ride solo."

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How to Make Your Bike Fit You

July 6 2011 by Jason Fogelson

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I got a call from the dealership's service manager, Tom. I had left my Sportster, Manny,with Tom that morning to get a new set of tires spooned on, and had ordered up some routine maintenance at the same time.

"I've got some bad news." You never want to hear that from your service manager. "I've only ever had to make this call one time before, and I had hoped never to have to make it again." My heart was racing. What had they discovered? What was wrong with my beloved Manny? "We dropped your bike off the lift. Your bike was up on the lift, and it fell off."

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All About Frames

June 30 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

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I'm going to encourage you to think about a part of your motorcycle that you've probably never given much attention: the frame.

When a designer conceives a bike, the frame has to be one of the first elements to consider. The frame determines a bike's structure, and every decision about frame design will determine function down the line. So, if you look at your own bike's frame, you can reverse-engineer your bike, and figure out how and why it is built the way it is. Once you understand that, you'll be able to evaluate any possible repairs and/or modifications that you might consider in the future, and you'll know whether or not they are compatible with your bike's very essence: its frame.

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Synthetic Oil

June 24 2011 by Jason Fogelson

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A few years ago, when my Sportster was in for service at my local Harley-Davidson dealership, Tom the service manager asked me if I had considered changing over to synthetic oil.

"Synthetic oil? Isn't that for new high-tech engines?" I asked. "Doesn't my old-fashioned air-cooled V-twin need thick, sludgy 40-weight?"

Tom took the time to explain why synthetic oil was a better choice for my Sportster and my riding style, and I decided to change over. I have never regretted my choice.

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School's Out for Summer

June 20 2011 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000006617802XSmall.jpgWe are seemingly minutes away from the official start of summer as kids everywhere are set to put another school year in the books. Overall, as we recently heard at the Leisure Travel Summit held in Toronto, leisure travel and optimism is back in a big way this year. The result is an action packed summer full of fun, adventure and new experiences.

Here are my top 5 things to do with the kids this summer:

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All About Traction

June 17 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

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Riding a motorcycle is all about managing traction, so it's important to understand what traction is and how your riding style, choices and your motorcycle itself affect the traction that you have available.

First, some basics. As it relates to motorcycles, traction is the resistance between your tires and the ground. Traction results from friction (surface resistance) combined with your tires' footprint combined with your bike's (and your) weight. If the available traction is less than the torque that you apply to your wheel, the tire will spin. When your wheels spin without traction, handling can be unpredictable, and very bad things can happen.

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Win Big Rewards with Your Motorcycle Photos

June 13 2011 by Jason Fogelson

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Two of my favorite hobbies, motorcycling and photography, go together beautifully. And now, Best Western has created a contest that promises to reward both hobbies.

Motorcyclists who visit a Best Western Hotel and upload a photo of their bike in front of a Best Western sign will be entered to win prizes, including Best Western Rewards points and Best Western Travel Cards. Photos must be uploaded to Best Western's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/BestWestern) between now and July 15, 2011 in order to be eligible.

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Transporting Your Motorcycle

June 3 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (3)

_MG_2271.jpgI love riding my motorcycle. But sometimes I want to ride at some distant location, and it's just not practical to ride there. That's when I start to think about transporting my motorcycle.

Often, the simplest solution is the best one. If you own a pickup truck, you already own a great motorcycle transporter. A 2011 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Limited is 98.6" long (just over 8') and weighs 901 lbs. A compact pickup, like a Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma or Nissan Frontier is capable of hauling a big bike, but you'd be better off with a full-size pickup like a Ford F150, Chevy Silverado or Toyota Tundra, equipped with a long bed.

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Tools You Can Use

May 23 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (6)

iStock_000001604711XSmall.jpgEven the most passive motorcycle owner will need to use a tool on their bike eventually. By their very nature, motorcycles need more attention than cars. Things vibrate, shake loose and need to be tightened all the time. Using the right tools can help avoid major problems. You don't have to sell the farm to fill your tool chest - just a few carefully selected tools will help keep your bike in tip-top shape.

Tools for the Garage

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Avoid Deep-Vein Thrombosis

May 19 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (5)

iStock_000005887982XSmall.jpgI'm going to go off-topic a little bit here, but not really. This warning is about motorcycle travel, and travel in general. It's a cautionary tale that unfortunately emerges from my personal experience.

I was just diagnosed with Deep-Vein Thrombosis, or DVT. Following a cross-country flight, I noticed some pain in my lower leg. I ignored it, figuring it was just another sign of aging. I have been traveling a lot in the past few weeks, and by coincidence, getting booked in middle seats on crowded flights.

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Favorite Ride: Chicago, Illinois

May 9 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (17)

iStock_000001501612XSmall.jpgI love a good ride through the countryside, a blast through the wide-open spaces that make America great.

But there's something to be said for the urban crawl. And one of the best places to ride, with some of the best destinations, is Chicago, Illinois.

Two things make Chicago a great riding destination: Architecture and Culture.

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The Old Man and the Harley

April 28 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000014904837XSmall.jpgA few months ago, I made a promise to myself to read more books. The piles of magazines that arrive at my house, along with the distraction of television, movies and other entertainment, kept me from reading as many books as I once enjoyed. I was determined to make a change. A book in the saddlebag is always a good thing on a motorcycle trip. You never know when you're going to find yourself holed up in a diner, waiting for the rain to stop so you can continue on your journey. A book can be a great companion.

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Motorcycle Security

April 23 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000006412426XSmall.jpgI live in mortal fear of having my motorcycle stolen. Sure, I've got insurance, but I would never be able to recover the time and energy, blood, sweat and tears that I have invested in my ride. Not to mention the hassle, and the feeling of violation that accompanies a theft. I just don't need it. So, I've been looking into different forms of motorcycle security.

The best security for your bike is parking it indoors in a secure garage or parking lot. If you can park indoors rather than on the street while you are on your motorcycle trip, do it. It's hard to steal a bike that you can't see.

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Women and Motorcycling

April 18 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000004772899XSmall.jpgFor motorcycling's first century, men have dominated the field. In recent years, women have discovered that the joys of riding don't have to be limited to the pillion, and more female motorcyclists have taken to the road.

The Internet has become a great gathering place and resource for women riders.

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GPS for Motorcycles

April 11 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (3)

iStock_000014486480XSmall.jpgMotorcycle travel used to be simple. Load up the bike with a tarp and a sleeping bag, get out the map and ride. Simplicity has given way to technology, as there are now GPS solutions designed specifically for bikes.

"GPS" stands for "Global Positioning System," shorthand for the satellite-based navigation system that forms the basis for live mapping. A network of 24 NavStar satellites was completed in 1993, and became operational in 1994. Four satellites signals are needed at any given moment to calculate a user's position. Until 2000, non-military users only had access to a degraded signal, which limited GPS's accuracy. Since 2000, GPS accuracy has been greatly improved for consumers. The U.S. Department of Defense is responsible by law for maintaining GPS as a national resource, under the direction of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee.

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Favorite Rides: San Diego, California

April 7 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (35)

iStock_000013947084XSmall.jpgLiving in Southern California, I've got plenty of great riding options. One of the very best places to ride in the area is also a fantastic destination for business or pleasure: San Diego.

San Diego has a rich history that stretches back into the 1700's, and a living history that still stands in the form of Old Town, which dates back to 1821 -- antiquity in California terms, where homes from the Twentieth Century are considered significant landmarks.

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Motorcycle Industry Lines Up for Japan

April 5 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000016063829XSmall.jpgThe Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the Motorcycle Industry Council and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America are collectively donating $10,000 to the Japan America Society's 2011 Japan Relief Fund, and each organization is encouraging its members to make their own donations. The MSF, MIC and SVIA have each added links to their websites in order to make it easier for members and the general riding public to help out in this time of great need.

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How to Buy a Motorcycle Helmet

April 1 2011 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000003537300XSmall.jpgAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motorcycle helmet is "by far the most critical piece of safety gear a motorcyclist can use."

Twenty states and Washington, DC require that all motorcycle riders wear a helmet. Twenty-seven states have some helmet laws, usually requiring riders under a certain age to don helmets. Three states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) have no laws requiring helmet use.

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Motorcycle Camping

March 29 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (4)

iStock_000006093013XSmall.jpgMy cousin Adam and his wife have a favorite vacation. They load up Adam's Harley-Davidson Road King, and go motorcycle camping. Last year, they went for a two-week tour of Nova Scotia, pitching a tent and cooking on a campfire all the way.

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A Book for Your Saddlebag

March 24 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000015268295XSmall.jpgA few months ago, I wrote about a few new books about motorcycling that I was planning to read. When I got back from my recent trip to the Gulf Coast, I finally got a chance to sit down and read one of the books on the top of my list, and I just had to tell you about it.

Big Sid's Vincati by Matthew Biberman is subtitled "The Story of a Father, a Son and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime." It's the true story of how motorcycling helped to bring a family together, and how the love of a motorcycle can help to heal old wounds.

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Custom Paint for Your Bike

March 17 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (3)

iStock_000001776673XSmall.jpgA motorcycle is not just a form of transportation. It can also be a form of expression, an extension of your personality and a way to let the world know who you are.

After you have bolted on all of the handy accessories and cosmetic add-ons to your scoot, after you've tweaked the ergonomics and made your bike as comfortable as your La-Z-Boy recliner, you may still be looking for a way to make your bike stand out from the crowd.

It's time to explore the world of custom paint.

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Five States in Six Days: Day Six: Fort Walton Beach, FL to New Orleans, LA and Home Again

March 14 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

38_FortWaltonBeach.jpgI wake up bright and early, the sound of the Gulf waters drifting gently into my sixth floor room. It's a bittersweet day - the last day of my six-day ride through the South. I'll be glad to get home, but I'll miss my time on the road.

I make time for breakfast in the BEST WESTERN Fort Walton Beachfront Hotel lobby. Hey, it's free, after all. It's also hot and delicious. The lobby is very cool, with terrazzo floors and mod furniture. It has a great beach feel, with nautical accents, and kind of a Miami vibe with pastel colors and interesting geometry.

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Five States in Six Days: Day Five: Midway, FL to Fort Walton Beach, FL

March 10 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

37_PompanoJoeDestinFL.jpgI manage to avoid the waffles this morning at breakfast. I do not manage to avoid the biscuits and sausage gravy that the BEST WESTERN Capital Inn & Suites provide, however. Delicious, and quite filling. I'm ready to ride.

I'm growing quite attached to this Electra Glide Classic. A fellow guest buttonholes me in the parking lot while I'm gearing up to ride, and we have a great conversation about his work for Harley-Davidson, as a supplier for electrical parts. We both stand and admire the bike in the morning sun. "I bet that'll do just about anything you want it to," he says. He's right. I feel like I could ride around the globe on this bike, just in time to start another loop around again.

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Five States in Six Days: Day Four: Columbus, GA to Midway, FL

March 9 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (17)

28_RiverWalkColumbus.jpgI wake up, get ready and load the Electra Glide for the day, then head to the lobby of the BEST WESTERN Columbus for breakfast. I decide to make myself a waffle this morning. I probably haven't had a waffle in 10 years, and I can't figure out why. Delicious and filling. I'm ready to ride.

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Five States in Six Days: Day Three: Demopolis, AL to Columbus, GA

March 8 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (8)

22_RosaParksMuseum.jpgI wake up an hour before the alarm this morning. I can't go back to sleep - too eager to ride. So I get up, get showered and dressed, and pack my gear. I load the Electra Glide, and then go back in to the BEST WESTERN PLUS Two Rivers Hotel & Suites for the free breakfast. Fried eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, all on tap. A real Southern breakfast, and it's included with my night's stay. Now that's BEST WESTERN PLUS.

While I check out, I ask the manager, Jay, for advice about what I should see before I leave Demopolis. Jay is a virtual Chamber of Commerce, whipping out a sheet of paper and drawing a map to several highlights in town. I asked the right guy!

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Five States in Six Days: Day Two: Jackson, MS to Demopolis, AL

March 7 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (53)

21_MontgomeryAL.jpgThere is frost on the Electra Glide while I load the saddlebags with my gear. The poor bike has sat outside the BEST WESTERN Executive Inn in Jackson while I slept inside, nestled in a very comfortable bed. I feel a little guilty.

Even though the BEST WESTERN Executive Inn serves up a very nice free continental breakfast, I heed the siren call of the Waffle House across the street for a freshly cooked omelet. We don't have Waffle House at home, and I passed at least a dozen of them on my ride yesterday. I can't resist the greasy goodness, and I'm not alone. There are over 1,500 Waffle House locations in 25 states. There's even a Waffle House Museum in Avondale Estates, Georgia, where the chain was born. The Jackson Waffle House is packed with a mixture of locals and cowboys this morning, relics of the Dixie National Rodeo from last night.

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Five States in Six Days: Day One: New Orleans, LA to Jackson, MS

March 4 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (5)

07_Mississippi.jpgThe good news: Clear skies, not a cloud in sight.

The bad news: The temperature is 27 degrees Fahrenheit outside when I wake up at 7:00 am in my room at the BEST WESTERN PLUS St. Christopher Hotel in New Orleans.

I can't pick up my motorcycle until 9:00 am this morning, so I get ready, pack my things, and head down to the lobby for breakfast. I keep it light, just a bagel and some coffee (okay, and a muffin). The lobby cafe is abuzz with activity, a nice mix of young and old, tourists all sharing stories of their nights on the town, making plans for the coming day.

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Five States in Six Days: Travel Day, Home to New Orleans

March 3 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (10)

01_NewOrleans.jpgI've spent the last week watching the weather. I don't mind cold; I don't mind rain. I've got good gear, and I can stay warm and dry. But combine cold and rain, and it spells trouble for a motorcycle trip.

I have installed a couple of weather apps on my iPhone - WeatherBug and the Weather Channel. I check them obsessively over the past few days, and it appears that the cold front that has been moving through the South is on its way out. Hope it keeps moving.

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Bike Week Preview

February 4 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000007739370XSmall.jpgIt has been a particularly harsh winter across much of the country. Record snow storms, frigid temperatures, frog-drowning rainfall. There have been times when it seemed like we'd never get to ride again.

Hope is on the horizon. Bike Week runs from March 4 to March 13 this year in Daytona Beach, Florida.

This year is the 70th Annual Bike Week in Daytona, and they're pulling out all the stops for a great celebration. Here are just a few of the events to look forward to:

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Harley-Davidson Collectibles

January 27 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (5)

HD catchall.jpgDrop by any Harley-Davidson owner's home, and chances are, you're going to see at least a few decorative items featuring the Harley Bar & Shield logo. I'm not embarrassed to admit that there's at least one H-D item in each room of my house, not to mention my garage and tool room.

The Harley-Davidson Bar & Shield logo first appeared in 1910, and it hasn't changed much since. 1910 was early in the Art Deco period of art and design, and the Bar & Shield fits in perfectly. It has aged particularly well, in my opinion. The logo looks both modern and classic. Everything looks better with the Bar & Shield on it.

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H.O.G. Fly & Ride Merges with H-D Authorized Rentals

January 21 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (33)

HD logo.jpgMost of my motorcycle touring is done on rented Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

I don't own a touring bike, for one thing. My personal ride is a 1993 Harley-Davidson Sportster Deluxe named "Manny." Manny is a great bike, but he's just not designed for touring. A 200-mile day is about the limit, and back-to-back long days are unthinkable. When I want to go for a week-long ride, I want to be on an Electra Glide, Road Glide or Road King.

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Planning a Trip to the Gulf Coast

January 19 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (17)

iStock_000008527225XSmall.jpgI'm very excited. The airplane tickets have been purchased, the bike has been reserved, the BEST WESTERN Hotel reservations have been confirmed. I'm getting ready to ride.

This time, I'm a little bit ahead of schedule, for a change. I usually feel rushed when I'm planning a motorcycle trip, because things take a long time to come together. A motorcycle trip is a little bit like a Rubik's Cube, with a lot of moving pieces that have to align properly before the trip clicks together. This particular trip has been clicking, which leaves me more time than usual to research routes, things to see and do, and pre-trip preparation.

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Motorcycle Events 2011

January 14 2011 by Jason Fogelson

MainStreet Sturgis.jpgIt's never too early to start planning a trip.

Here are a few of the major motorcycle events scheduled for 2011. Take a look at your calendar, and see if you've got room for a trip! Even though there are BEST WESTERN Hotels near each of these events, rooms often book up well in advance, so plan early!

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Where Year-Round Riding Rules

January 6 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (4)

iStock_000000787311XSmall.jpgThe East Coast is buried under a ton of snow. The Upper Midwest is lost under a drift. There's only one thing to do -- go for a motorcycle ride.

I'm lucky -- I live in Southern California. We ride here during the whole year. I actually moved to California in order to extend my riding season. I was living in New York City with my trusty Sportster, Manny, and my work situation changed. I became a freelancer, and my clients were as likely to be in Chicago or Los Angeles or Dallas as they were in New York. I realized that I could live anywhere -- so I chose the part of the country where I could ride all year long. I have never regretted that decision, even when I miss some of the cultural and business advantages of living in Manhattan. I love to ride, and just knowing that I can jump on my bike in the middle of January makes every day feel full of possibility.

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Happy New Year -- Let's Ride!

January 3 2011 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (6)

iStock_000013254748XSmall.jpgWho can believe that it's 2011 already? Not me.

Did you ride as much as you meant to in 2010? Me, either.

Do you plan to do something about it in 2011? Me, too.

First of all, I really love planning. So, I'm going to start a "To Do" list for my motorcycle, so that all of those fleeting ideas about where and when to ride don't slip away.

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Motorcycle Rider Training

December 20 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000012535518XSmall.jpgRiding a motorcycle is not like riding a bicycle.

Once you have learned how to ride a bicycle, your body doesn't forget. It remembers, and it just takes a few moments to regain your ability to ride after a long layoff.

Don't make the same mistake with a motorcycle. Riding a motorcycle is much more complex, and much riskier, than riding a bicycle, and if you haven't ridden for a while, you should consider taking a training course before you attempt to ride on public roads again.

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More Motorcycle Books

December 15 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000014904837XSmall.jpgI love reading almost as much as I love riding. So, during the winter months when riding is a little less fun, I hunker down with books about motorcycles and motorcycling.

This winter, I'm going to revisit Bill Hayes's history of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, The Original Wild Ones. Hayes is a great storyteller, and his book really brings the atmosphere of the post-WWII biker club to life, dispelling rumors and misconceptions in the process.

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Travel Wish List

December 14 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000014436698XSmall.jpgIt's starting to look and feel a lot like Christmas. As I write this blog, I'm without my car because it's off getting winterized. Between that and putting up our tree this past weekend, I think it's time to write my Travel Wish List for 2011.

  • My first wish is for travel statistics to continue their rebound. This can be labelled a selfish wish since I make my living through travel, but honestly that's only partly true. The overall economy and travel numbers are correlated, and since travel is usually one of the first things both people and corporations cut when times get tough, their rebound is a very good signal for economists.
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Winter Motorcycle Projects

December 9 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000001604711XSmall.jpgThe truly mechanically inclined motorcyclists relish the winter, because that's when they can attack major projects. Top-end rebuilds, carburetor jet swaps, transmission overhauls, or even engine blueprinting might be on the agenda for December through March.

Not at my house. My mechanical abilities have been generously described as "basic," but I still find time for simple bike projects over the winter.

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The Top Five Must-Attend Canadian Sporting Events

December 7 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000011700180XSmall.jpgThe top five must-attend Canadian sporting events

About a year ago, my good friend Bruce announced that he and his wife had officially created their "bucket list". Ever since the movie by the same name came out, people everywhere seem to be taking note of the things they must do before they die. Lucky for me, I see Bruce once a week for our old-timers hockey and rarely a week goes by without some mention of the list. Last week, however, it led to a great discussion about the top five must-attend sporting events in Canada. Here is what we came up with:

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Put Your Bike Away for Winter

December 6 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000003401422XSmall.jpgUgh. Cold weather. It's bad for cars, worse for motorcycles. Every year, I write to remind you that putting your bike away for the winter is an essential part of motorcycle care. This year is no different. I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but if you don't care for your bike, your bike won't be there for you when the weather turns nice again.

There are two basic aspects to long-term motorcycle storage: cosmetic protection and mechanical protection.

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International Motorcycle Show

November 24 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000002263132XSmall.jpgWhen it's time to think about putting your bike away for the winter, it's time to start thinking about projects for the spring. I'm always considering my next bike purchase, and I'm always thinking about what parts and accessories I might need to add to my current ride. So, every winter, I make sure to attend the International Motorcycle Show.

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Holiday Gifts for Motorcyclists

November 16 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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jason_vest.jpgIt's that time again. Hard to believe it. The holidays are upon us.

If there's a motorcyclist on your holiday list, you're probably starting to think about a bike-related gift. If there isn't a motorcyclist on your holiday list - feel free to add me.

I'm going to suggest a few gifts for the traveling motorcyclist, for the biker who really enjoys putting on the miles.

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The Gift of Free Wi-Fi

November 12 2010 by Chris McGinnis
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iStock_000012747885XSmall.jpgGoogle announced this week that it's sponsoring FREE in-flight Wi-Fi on Virgin America, Delta and AirTran from Nov. 20 through Jan. 2. This is a major expansion of a similar holiday season Wi-Fi freebie offered by the company last year, which then only included Virgin America. Delta is currently the largest airline in the world and has more than 500 jets outfitted for in-flight Wi-Fi.

The promotion is hoping to draw more attention to Google Chrome and encourages--but does not require--users to download the browser in order to receive Wi-Fi gratis.

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Smooth vs. Fast

November 11 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000001759990Large.jpgIf you ride a motorcycle, you probably like going fast. Even the most laid-back cruiser goes from zero to 60 faster than most sports cars, so your need for speed can be fed at every stoplight. But in most situations, smooth trumps fast. In fact, smooth comes before fast in the list of skills you should be concentrating on in improving your riding. And, best of all, smooth leads to fast, so you don't even have to choose between the two.

I'm not a fast rider by nature. I actually kind of enjoy tooling along at the speed limit, relishing the ride and taking in the sights and sounds of the road. I firmly believe that the best place for speed is on a track or closed course, not on a public road. Safety first.

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What To Do If (When) Your Motorcycle Gets a Flat Tire

November 2 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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iStock_000010354201XSmall.jpgFew things are as reliable as bad luck. Put enough miles on your motorcycle, and no matter how careful you are, no matter how diligent you are about maintenance, eventually you are going to get a flat tire. If your bad luck is good, your tire will go flat while your bike is parked. If your bad luck is not so good, you'll get a flat while you're riding.

It's actually a little bit tricky to tell if your tire has gone flat while you're in motion. Usually, you'll notice a bit of a wobble at first, and you may hear a humming sound at speed. If your rear tire is the one affected, it might feel like your bike is losing power. If you notice any of these conditions, it's time to slow your bike down and get it to the side of the road safely.

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Motorcycles on Television

October 28 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000012469312XSmall.jpgMotorcycles and motorcyclists used to have an image problem. A leather-clad biker symbolized danger, lawlessness and anti-social impulses. Television shied away from using motorcycles, except as shorthand for "bad."

There were the rare television characters who rode bike in the '60s and '70s -- I'm thinking of Jim Bronson on his Sportster in Then Came Bronson; Dr. Steven Kiley on his Bonneville in Marcus Welby, M.D.; Fonzie on his Triumph in Happy Days; and Ponch and John on their KZ-900P Police Specials on CHiPs. B.J. Hunnicut rode into the sunset on an Indian Scout in the final episode of MASH. If there's any unifying theme there, it's about characters marching to their own beat, individualists who don't care what others think about them. They were all riding against the tide.

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Why I Started Riding

October 22 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000000787311XSmall.jpgI know that you haven't been counting, but I have: This blog entry is my hundred and first about motorcycle travel for You Must Be Trippin'. A milestone like that puts me into a reflective mood, and right now I'm thinking about why I ride.

I can look back at three significant moments in my childhood that pushed me toward motorcycling.

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Day Six: Morro Bay to Los Angeles, CA

October 18 2010 by Jason Fogelson

_MG_2420.jpgWe woke early on Tuesday morning. We had a full day of riding ahead, and I had planned a new route home, through a different part of the state than we usually traveled.

The ocean air was cool and moist. We had slept with our window open last night at the BEST WESTERN San Marcos Inn, and the soothing sounds of the surf mingled with the barks of the seals to produce a relaxing night of rest. Robin and I were both eager to get home, but bittersweet to end a ride that had been so rewarding. We had a quick cup of coffee at the hotel's breakfast buffet, skipping over the pastries and dairy products this time. We had a brunch destination in mind 160 miles away in Ojai, so we were saving our appetites.

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Day Five: Monterey to Morro Bay, CA

October 15 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_2379.jpgWe ate a quick breakfast in the lobby of the BEST WESTERN Monterey Inn. After a nice night's stay, we were off for the ride of a lifetime.

We loaded up the bike, and rode out in the direction of the Pacific Coast Highway, California's Route 1. Due south of the Monterey Peninsula, PCH traces the coast along a stretch known as Big Sur.

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Day Four: Sonora to Monterey, CA

October 14 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_2356.jpgWe woke to a beautiful crisp morning. Breakfast at the BEST WESTERN Sonora Oaks Hotel's Pine Tree Restaurant was included with our stay, so of course, we filled up our tanks before heading out on the road.

This day's ride was the most urban of our six days on the road. We headed west on Route 120, down a very pleasant stretch of undulating road through several small towns and farm villages. After 50 miles or so, the houses started piling up beside the roads, and we were riding through suburbs instead of countryside. Soon, we jumped into the broad spaghetti dish of freeways that lead toward San Francisco, and our urban adventure commenced.

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Day Three: South Lake Tahoe to Sonora, CA

October 13 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_2307.jpgGorgeous day.

We ate breakfast in LewMarNel's Steak and Spirits, on the grounds of the BEST WESTERN Station House Inn. The staff has been there for years, and they really pull out all the stops for hotel guests. Instead of the usual breakfast buffet, the restaurant features a real menu, cloth tablecloths, daily specials and great ambiance -- all included with the price of a night's stay at the hotel. The place is charming and comfortable, with lots of personal touches, like signed wine bottles lined up along the dining room's rafters. According to Jimmy, our waiter, guests who order a bottle of wine with dinner are invited to sign their empty bottles and add them to the room's decor. Some guests return year after year to visit their bottles, and to add to the collection. LewMarNel's Steak and Spirits also serves lunch and dinner.

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Rich, Beautiful and Fun! I Think I'm in Love...With Alberta

October 13 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000001729772XSmall.jpgThe most populated of the three Canadian Prairie Provinces, Alberta has become a poster child success story with its per capita GDP at an astounding 61%, the highest in country and higher than the national average. (CDN $74,865 according to recent Stats Can data).

The majority of the wealth can be traced to oil and natural gas. These assets continue to attract people and the population has risen steadily to almost four million residents. Alberta is often compared to Texas; they are almost identical in land mass and share a can-do, wild-west culture, though Texas has six times more people.

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Day Two: Mammoth Lakes to South Lake Tahoe, CA

October 12 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_2250.jpgThere's nothing like a 300-mile motorcycle ride through the desert to assure a good night's sleep. A nice, clean elegant room at the BEST WESTERN High Sierra Hotel doesn't hurt much, either. We packed up our gear, then went down to the hotel's adjacent Cafe 203 for eggs cooked to order, bacon, sausage, coffee and juice -- all included with our night's stay. We ran into Gary and his girlfriend as we were loading the bike for the road. They were going to dip into Yosemite National Park through the Tioga Pass on their way to Lake Tahoe, a detour that we had considered. We had other plans, so we wished each other well, keep the rubber side down, and went our separate ways.

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Day One: Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes, CA

October 11 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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_MG_2215.jpgI rolled the 2011 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide out of the garage, and out onto the street in front of our house. The two-tone Root Beer paint sparkled in the morning sun. I loaded our jam-packed liners in the hard saddlebags on each side of the bike, and carefully placed a third liner in the Tour Pak at the back of the motorcycle. We were packed, and ready to begin our six-day ride through the heart of the Golden State.

My wife, Robin, took some time off work to join me on this ride. I planned a counter-clockwise loop up the eastern side of California, from Los Angeles up to Mammoth Lakes, to South Lake Tahoe, to Sonora, across to Monterey, down the coast to Morro Bay, and then back to Los Angeles. Though we have lived in California for ten years, we have never explored this part of the state. We're very excited. We'll be staying in BEST WESTERN Hotels all along the way, and making as many interesting stops as time will allow.

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H-D CVO Motorcycles for 2011

September 21 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000002046234XSmall.jpgEver since the 1999 model year, Harley-Davidson has produced a limited number of very special, premium motorcycles out of their Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) unit. More than just mules for bolt-on accessories, the CVO bikes are showcases for the talents and abilities of Harley designers and engineers. They feature unique paintjobs, hopped-up powertrains and acres of chrome. Each CVO bike has become an instant collectible.

The first CVO bikes were the 1999 FXR2 and FXR3. Two CVO models followed each year until 2005, when the program expanded to three models. In 2007, the number of CVO models increased to its current level, four models.

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Free Newspaper? Nah. Free Wi-Fi? Yeah!

September 20 2010 by Chris McGinnis

iStock_000013025819XSmall.jpgSlowly but surely delivery of the morning newspaper to your hotel room door is going the way of the dodo bird.

Though Best Westerns in the U.S. provide complimentary USA Today's in the lobby (in Canada, though the newspaper choice varies, one is always available), more and more business travelers are getting their news online from laptops and/or mobile devices. And according to a recent article from the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. people are increasingly likely to bypass those hard copies as they head out to begin their day.

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Harley-Davidson Announces 2011 Motorcycles

September 16 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000013488091XSmall.jpgFor some of us, the riding season is coming to an end, as nights grow longer, days grow shorter and temperatures drop. When real riding season ends, bench-riding season begins. That's when I start looking at brochures and websites, planning out which new motorcycle I'm going to add to my stable in the spring. Never mind that I make the same plans every bench-riding season, and I still have the same 1993 Sportster in my garage.

The official start of bench-riding season is when Harley-Davidson announces their new model lineup. Including CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models, there are 32 bikes to choose from for 2011, and I'd be pretty happy with pretty much any one of them.

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Niagara Falls - Day 3

September 14 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000004727069XSmall.jpgThis is the third in a three-part series on my recent trip to Niagara Falls. Click here to read parts one and two.

The plan for Sunday--the final day of our Niagara Falls adventure--was to wake up, have a big breakfast at the hotel, then head across the border to check out the back-to-school deals. (You may recall how much I love the vacation breakfast and fortunately, many Best Western locations offer it for free.)

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How to Change Your Motorcycle Oil -- Sort Of

September 9 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

iStock_000001323158XSmall.jpgI have to be honest -- most times, changing my oil is a two-step process. First, I call the dealer. Second, I drop my bike off and slap down my Amex. I'll bet most of you use the same simple technique.

But I actually believe that it's important to know how to change your own oil, even if you choose to pay a professional to do the job for you. Then, you will be able to make sure that your mechanic is actually performing the service properly; and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to change your own oil, you'll be able to.

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Niagara Falls - Day 2

September 8 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000011697473XSmall.jpgWhy is it when you are on vacation you absolutely have to have breakfast in the morning? When I'm at home I can go without, although there are some mornings when I need to be reminded to eat before darting out the door. I'm interested in hearing whether this happens to any of you.

We started our day--day two of our mini vacation in Niagara Falls (read about day one here)--with a great breakfast at the Best Western Fallsview's Boulevard Bistro. If you're looking for a great family activity, check out the water park in the falls. There are lots of different slides to choose from--for toddlers to thrill seekers--as well as hot tubs, a wave pool and an outdoor section if you want to catch some sun. Since the weather was overcast and rainy, this was a fantastic option for the day and our kids absolutely loved it.

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Riding a Motorcycle Can Save You Money

August 31 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

motorcycle-cheaper.jpgTimes are tough all over. Everybody's looking for ways to make their dollars go further (or farther, depending on your grammatical bent). I have a suggestion: Get a motorcycle, and ride the wheels off it.

Motorcycles are less expensive to buy, less expensive to insure, less expensive to operate than cars. You don't believe me? Let's examine a few scenarios.

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Niagara Falls - Day 1

August 30 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000000881634XSmall.jpgI've travelled a lot in my life and have been fortunate to see some pretty amazing things, but one place that gets me every time is Niagara Falls. As I stand in awe of its sheer beauty and power, I have this recurring thought: Who was the first person was to stumble upon it? (My second thought is usually that I hope they weren't in a boat!)

This past weekend was a mini vacation for our family and we had three things on the agenda; see the Falls (my son Ethan's first time), take in all that is Niagara Falls (minus the gambling) and pop across the border to check out some of the back-to-school deals.

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Canada Eh! Some Fun Facts

August 25 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000001729772XSmall.jpg"From Sea to Sea" is our country's official motto and it fits. At nearly ten million square kilometres in size, Canada is the second largest country on the planet. Its land stretches from the Pacific Ocean in the west across to the Atlantic Ocean in the east and all the way up north to the Arctic Circle. In between, there's certainly no shortage of interesting things to do and see.

In previous blogs, I've highlighted many of those specifics. Today, I'd like to share several fun facts about our home that you may not have known:

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Labor Day Rides

August 23 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000000787311XSmall.jpgWhere did the summer go? I know that the official end of summer isn't until the autumnal equinox, September 23 at 3:09 am here in the Northern Hemisphere this year. But Labor Day is the emotional end of summer, when we put away our white shoes and belts and get back to the grindstone. Labor Day Weekend is also a great time for a motorcycle ride, a final getaway before the days get shorter, temperatures drop and the rush toward the end of the year fills our face shields.

As motorcyclists, we have a great advantage over other travelers. We don't need airline schedules, or freeways, or tons of planning in order to have a successful trip. All we need are a few back roads, some good road food and a change of scenery to have a great trip. The journey is the point, not the destination. Still, may I suggest a way to find unexpected destinations for this Labor Day?

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Canada's East Coast

August 17 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000004250740XSmall.jpgLooking for a great last minute summer vacation? Just head east!

The four smallest provinces--New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island--comprise the backbone of Canada's East Coast. This region, which is also referred to as Atlantic Canada, is home to just under 2.5 million people or approximately eight percent of our country's population. In this case, however, the adage that "good things come in small packages" is definitely appropriate.

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Hamilton Airport - The Small"er" Airport Experience

August 12 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000007346883XSmall.jpgI live in Oakville, Ontario, a town 40 kilometres from Canada's biggest and busiest airport, Lester B. Pearson International (YYZ). A gateway to every corner of the globe, Pearson has three separate terminals and is centrally located in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

Like any world-class airport though, its strengths end up being among its weaknesses. The time spent on parking, making your way through security and retrieving your bags upon arrival is unpredictable at best--and generally a frustrating and time-consuming exercise.

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All About Brakes

August 10 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000010942165XSmall.jpgAfter tires and wheels, I would have to say that brakes are the most critical component on your motorcycle. So, we should spend a little bit of time understanding brakes so that we can get the most out of them.

Most modern motorcycles, in fact all current Harley-Davidson models, arrive from the factory equipped with disc brakes front and back. A few entry-level bikes and scooters still have drum brakes in the rear, but disc brakes are pretty ubiquitous. You may have a single disc up front, or you may have dual discs. It's a matter of function, design and cost. You'll get more stopping power from dual discs, but you get a clearer view of the front wheel (on one side, anyway) with a single disc. And a single disc brake is a less-expensive setup, obviously.

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Early Harley-Davidson History

August 4 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (3)

HD logo.jpgHave you ever wondered who Harley was? And just who was Davidson, anyway?

William Sylvester Harley and Arthur Davidson sold their first motorcycle out of a shed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle grew out of Harley's efforts to fit an engine into a bicycle frame, and indeed, the first Harleys looked a lot like motorized bicycles. The first examples were single-cylinder models, with the first production V-Twins turning up around 1909.

(A neat piece of trivia: Henry Meyer, a childhood friend of William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson, was the first customer for the fledgling company, buying a 1903 model.)

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Best of Canada = Banff

August 3 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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iStock_000006940836XSmall.jpgFor the third consecutive year, Banff National Park in Alberta has been selected as the favourite domestic attraction by travel agents across Canada. The Travel Agents Choice Awards, which began in 1999 by the Baxter Media Group via Travel Press and Travel Courier, received feedback from more than 4,000 travel professionals to come up with this year's winner.

Banff, named for the Scottish birthplace (Banffshire) of two original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway, is a relatively small resort town population-wise with only 7,500 people who call it home. However, the park itself is massive, covering more than 6,600 square kilometres. More than four million people have visited Banff every year since 1996.

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Online Travel Bookings in Canada Continue to Rise - What Will This Mean For You?

July 28 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000008866286XSmall.jpgAccording to a recent PhoCusWright study that looks at Canadian online travel trends, the number of trips booked online continues to rise. In fact, the penetration level for online travel bookings jumped by more than one third in 2009 amid a global recession. Although the total travel spend for Canada was down by 7 percent, the actual number of online transactions rose.

Here are three things to expect as more Canadian travelers not only look--but book--trips online:

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Tips for Long Rides

July 27 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000012469312XSmall.jpgI love a nice long ride on my motorcycle. Over the years, I have gotten smarter about how far I go on any given day. I'm also in better touch with my body and my motorcycle, which really helps. If you're interested in taking long rides on your bike, I've got a few tips that may help make your riding more enjoyable, safe and fulfilling.

You're a good rider. I'm going to skip over the obvious stuff, like wearing the right gear, making sure that your motorcycle is in top condition, and getting enough rest before your rides.

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Beat the Heat

July 23 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (1)

iStock_000009226366XSmall.jpgAs I write this blog entry, the mercury has just hit triple digits outside for the first time this summer. In this kind of weather, automobile air conditioning systems struggle to keep up, as temperatures inside vehicles can hit 140 degrees or higher in direct sunlight. On a motorcycle, you don't have to deal with the greenhouse effect of a car cabin, but you do have to contend with direct sunlight and radiated heat from the road surface, as well as heat rising from your own engine. Ignore the heat at your own peril.

So, what is a rider to do?

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Gearing Up For Sturgis

July 20 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000000787311XSmall.jpgThe biggest party of the year for bikers is the Black Hills Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the rally that everyone knows as "Sturgis." I wrote some tips for riders headed to the rally last year on this blog, and most, if not all, still apply. In rereading last year's tips, the only thing I might change is more of an emphasis on safety. The atmosphere at the Sturgis rally can be very seductive. You'll see many riders who feel that a tank top, shorts and flip-flops represent proper riding gear. You'll see novelty helmets that wouldn't protect you in a chair tip-over, let alone a highway speed get-off. You'll see outrageous burnouts and impaired riding. I hope you'll maintain the safe gear and riding habits that you practice at home, and not be swayed by the crowd. Some behavior makes a better spectator sport than a participant's event. 'Nuff said.

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Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

July 16 2010 by Bryson Forbes

iStock_000005582243XSmall.jpgWell from April through November, he may just be at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario. The festival is a great Canadian story--one that demonstrates the power of an idea and an example of how local ingenuity and pride can revive a city.

Tom Patterson, a local journalist, wanted to revitalize the town's economy and so he founded the Stratford Shakespearean Festival of Canada. Tom's idea was to create a theatre festival dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare, as the town shares the name of Shakespeare's birthplace.

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Drive, Fly, or Take the Train?

July 16 2010 by Amy Graff
Comments (1)

airfare-comparison.jpgEveryone in the travel industry is talking about it. Airlines are up this summer. If you didn't book weeks ago, you're going to be hard pressed to find any deals for July, or August.

So if you're traveling on a budget, does that mean you should opt for a road trip or train travel? Are these options cheaper?

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Basic Maintenance Tips for Your Motorcycle

July 14 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (9)

iStock_000001604711XSmall.jpgThe "good old days" of roadside repairs and home engine rebuilds are behind most of us nowadays. Motorcycles are better, more reliable, and more complicated than ever before. Guys out on old Knuckleheads used to ride with tool kits, spare parts and mechanic's wire in their saddlebags. Today, I'm more likely to head out on the road with just my cellphone.

Despite increased reliability and robust build quality, modern motorcycles still require maintenance and attention in order to remain trouble free. I've put together a few tips to help you organize your maintenance, and keep you on the road more than beside it.

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Riding in the Rain

July 8 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000005261614XSmall.jpgThere's an old maxim about motorcycling: "If you don't ride in the rain, you don't really ride."

If you're going to travel by motorcycle, eventually you're going to have to ride through the rain. It's not the end of the world. It's not even the end of the fun. If you take precautions, prepare properly and practice, riding in the rain will just become part of the story.

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Summertime Workouts - Four Quirky Routines

July 7 2010 by Casey Bower
Comments (1)

chair-handstand.jpgWhere I live, the summer time is hot, real hot, so hot that it drains the motivation right out of you and all that you want to do is hide in a dark room with the AC on high...

Summer time for me is always a last ditch effort to get back into shape so that when I don the board shorts at the pool and on my vacations not everyone will run away. So, my conundrum right now is how do I stay in shape during this 110 degree weather...

I've decided to share with you 4 items from my secret plan to retreat into my air conditioned lair for the next couple weeks and then emerge pumped up and ready to flex. (or something like that)

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Day Five: Cascade Locks, Oregon to Prineville, Oregon and home again

July 1 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (15)

OregonDayFive6.jpgI looked out of my window at the Best Western Columbia River Inn this morning, and you'll never guess what I saw: Rain. How'd you guess? I huddled in the breakfast room over my coffee and maps, trying to figure out what my best alternatives would be. I had to be in Bend, Oregon by 3:00 pm to return the Electra Glide, so I didn't have time to linger too long waiting for the weather to clear. My trusty iPhone app, WeatherBug, didn't hold out too much hope, anyway. So, I resigned myself to a wet, foggy ride.

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Day Four: Pendleton, Oregon to Cascade Locks, Oregon

June 29 2010 by Jason Fogelson
Comments (2)

OregonDayFour1.jpgNever take a beautiful day for granted. I finally got one, from start to finish today. Temperatures ranging from the low 60s up to the low 80s, clear skies and a light breeze. Perfect motorcycling weather.

I wolfed down a quick breakfast at the Best Western Pendleton Inn, loaded up the Electra Glide and checked out of the hotel. Did I need those biscuits and gravy? Well, at least I skipped the waffles this time.

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Day Three: John Day, Oregon to Pendleton, Oregon

June 28 2010 by Jason Fogelson

OregonDayThree01.jpgAccording to everyone I talk to, I've hit unseasonable weather during this trip to Eastern Oregon. What that means is, more rain today.

When I woke up this morning, the rain was falling so heavily that it obscured the view out of my window at the Best Western John Day Inn. I went to the breakfast room for a cup of coffee to consider my options. The fresh hot coffee went down well with a bowl of cereal and a muffin, and I began to feel better about my day right away. Nothing like a free breakfast to lighten your mood.

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Day Two: Sisters, Oregon to John Day, Oregon

June 25 2010 by Jason Fogelson

OregonDayTwo1.jpgBright rays of sunshine and clear blue skies greeted me when I awoke this morning at the Best Western Ponderosa Lodge. I packed up my gear quickly, and headed for the breakfast room for a quick bite and a cup of hot coffee. And of course I had to make one last visit to my friends the llamas with a bowl of llama treats. General Manager Paul Haggerty greeted me to talk about the Sisters area, and I made him tell me all about the llamas. They live on about 4 acres of the 14-acre property. Several of the animals were actually born and raised right on site. The Lodge has even taken in an abused llama, and nursed him back to health. The herd has slowly accepted the new guy, though he is low man on the totem pole for now. The llamas have a big mound of dirt in their enclosure, and Haggerty told me that they often play "King of the Hill" on it, having great fun pushing each other off of the high point. I'll have to return to see that.

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Day One: Bend, Oregon to Sisters, Oregon

June 23 2010 by Jason Fogelson

OregonDayOne1.jpgOkay, that's a little bit of a cheat. Bend and Sisters, Oregon are only about 20 miles apart. But I flew in to Redmond Field Airport today to begin my motorcycle tour around eastern Oregon. Rather than riding off into the distance, I stayed around Bend for the day.

Bend, Oregon was incorporated in 1905, and spent most of the 20th century as a logging town. Something happened in the 1990s. Logging died out, and Bend was discovered by a whole new group of people. Blessed with a mild climate and easy proximity to great skiing, fishing, camping, hiking and rock climbing, Bend became a magnet for a dual-pronged influx of young outdoorsy folk, along with refugees from the California real estate market.

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Bound for Bend

June 21 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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It's time for another motorcycle trip -- finally! It's been months since I've done any significant motorcycle travel, and I'm raring to go. I'm heading to Oregon, where I'll explore the central and northeastern corner of the state.

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A Big Twin History

June 19 2010 by Jason Fogelson

iStock_000001501612XSmall.jpgA few weeks ago, we explored the history of the Harley-Davidson Sportster. Now, it's time to dive into the deep end. We're going to explore the Big Twin.

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High-Flying Loonie Means You Need to Act Now!

June 18 2010 by Bryson Forbes

high-flying-money.jpgLet's face it; in general we Canadians are a pretty frugal bunch! We're always looking to get the best possible deal. People regularly ask me when the best time is to book travel in order to get the best deal; it's always a difficult question to answer with so many variables to consider--including those unpredictable things like volcanic ash!

Today, though, my crystal ball seems about as clear as it's ever going to be. I'm convinced that if you're planning a trip in the next six months, especially internationally, you'd be well served to book and pay for it now.

Three major factors support my prediction:

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Things I Don't Like to Pay For

June 14 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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extra-fee.jpgHave you ever stopped dead in your tracks because you realize you're becoming more like your parents? Well, it's happening to me and yes it's a bit scary. Don't get me wrong, I love my folks and they are wonderful people...but it still scares me.

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High Hopes for BWR After the First 13 Races

June 11 2010 by Mark Deyer

BWR.jpgBest Western sponsored NASCAR driver, David Reutimann had high hopes for himself and the #00 team in 2010. In 2009, Reutimann saw many career firsts. He picked up a career high ten Top-10 finishes and was even able to squeak out his first ever trip to victory lane in a rain-soaked Charlotte Motor Speedway. Confidence was riding high at the close of the 2009 season, but it's been a mixed bag for the #00 early in 2010.

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All About Saddlebags

June 10 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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saddle-bag.jpgOne of the big issues for motorcycle travelers is cargo. What do you bring, and what do you leave home? And, even more importantly, if you're going to bring it with you, where are you going to put it?

For many of us, the best solution to cargo hauling on a bike is a pair of saddlebags.

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Don't Forget to Sign Your Kids Up for Frequent-Flier Programs

June 8 2010 by Amy Graff

frequent-flyer-miles.jpgIt's a huge mistake so many parents make--they sign themselves up for the airline frequent flier program but they never take the time to fill out the forms for their kids.

Yes, it's a hassle, but you should take the time because you don't want to throw miles out the window.

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Top 10 Steps To Plan the Perfect Summer Road Trip

June 7 2010 by Bryson Forbes

summer-road-trip.jpgNow that the May 2 - 4 weekend is behind us, my family is ready to plan our summer road trip. As you also think about your summer travel plans, consider the following 10 steps to ensure you get the most out of your family vacation this year.

10 - Plan now. Industry experts agree that last-minute deals are not going to be as abundant this year as they were last. If you want to save costs, start planning and book now.

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Canada Travel Experts are Optimistic

June 2 2010 by Bryson Forbes

travel-optimism.jpgRecently, Best Western orchestrated their annual Leisure Travel Summit at the University Club in Toronto. The event brought together leading executives from the travel industry to discuss the state of affairs regarding the Canadian leisure travel market.

Participating this year were Chris Jones from TIAC, Alison Hermansen from CAA and Dorothy Dowling from Best Western. Chris Robinson, the famous Canadian travel radio personality, moderated the discussion.

The panel covered many topics, but three key topics took centre stage:

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Summer Activities

May 27 2010 by Cesar Millan

2-dogs.jpgCourtesy Cesar Millan.

Summer is the perfect time of year to focus on the "Exercise" part of the fulfillment formula! Try new activities, visit a new location, and enjoy the sunshine and your dog's companionship.

No matter what physical activity you engage in, it is important to watch for signs of dehydration: lethargy, sunken or bloodshot eyes, dry gums, increased heart rate, paleness, and loss of skin elasticity. Make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times!

Here are just a few activities to try with your dog:

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Harley-Davidson Dealerships Around the World

May 24 2010 by Jason Fogelson

toubkal-best-western.jpgHarley-Davidson is the iconic American motorcycle brand. But it is also an international icon, with dealerships around the world. In my fantasy of world travel by motorcycle, I'm always on a Harley, and I drop in at the Harley-Davidson dealership for some maintenance, along with some friendly conversation about a shared interest -- motorcycles, of course.

Maybe I'll stop in at the fabulous facility at Casablanca Harley-Davidson in Morocco. After all, I've always wanted to hear my exhaust note echoing off of the Moorish architecture, and I'm eager to park outside of Rick's Café American. I think I'll stay at the Best Western Hotel Toubkal while I'm in Casablanca. Good thing Best Western is a global company as well.

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A Good Time to Escape the GTA

May 21 2010 by Bryson Forbes
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promo.jpgA lot of people in and around Toronto will tell you that we have two seasons here: winter and construction! This is essentially the punch line anytime we complain about traffic getting in and out and especially moving within the city.

If you are someone who can't stand delays and congestion than you need to start planning your escape from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) now for the week of June 21-28, 2010.

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Make Your Seat More Comfortable

May 12 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle-seat.jpgI like long motorcycle rides. Really long motorcycle rides, measured in days, not in miles. The limiting factor on my rides is not fuel. It's not distance. It's not money.

The limiting factor on my rides is comfort.

If I'm comfortable, I can ride forever. If I'm uncomfortable, I'm ready to quit before my garage disappears from my mirrors.

The single most important feature that controls comfort on a motorcycle is the seat.

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Traveling for College Graduation

May 9 2010 by Claudia Kunkel
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graduation.jpgAs Alice Cooper sings it "School's out for summer, School's out forever". Literally music to the ears for thousands of young adults graduating from college this May. However, the most enthusiastic people singing this song may be the parents of those graduates. However, my lines to the song might be more of "School's out for summer, School's out forever, no more tuition payments"!

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Volcanic Ash

May 7 2010 by Bryson Forbes

volcanic-ash.jpgIt's certainly been yet another interesting period for the travel industry with the disruptions caused by Iceland's Eyjafjallajoumlkull volcano. (I can't pronounce it either.) Just when you think you've dealt with every type of scenario, a new issue seems always to be just around the corner. This isn't the first time, however, that volcanoes have wreaked havoc: in 1902, a much worse volcanic cloud hit Martinique, killing 29,000 people. Two more recent examples occurred in 1982 over Indonesia and in Alaska just seven years later, and both of these resulted in airline engine seizure.. Fortunately, the two jumbo jets affected by these volcanoes were able to restart their engines, but not before losing 25,000 feet of altitude at a frightening rate.

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A Sportster History

May 6 2010 by Jason Fogelson

Harley-Davidson owners are divided into two camps: Those who love and respect the Sportster, and those who deride and dismiss the Sportster. I own a 1993 Sportster Deluxe, and I am definitely a Sportster lover. If you're a hater, I hope that you'll read on so that I convert you.

The Sportster, or XL in Harley alpha-parlance, traces its roots back to the 1950s. Harley introduced the Model K in 1952, and it was the most technologically sophisticated bike the company had built to date. Capable of 16-second quarter miles and with a top speed over 100 miles per hour, the Model K was the best-performing Harley of its day, and quickly became the bike of choice for adventurous young riders. The bike evolved over the next few years, and in 1957, the Sportster name and XL designation was attached to the line.

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Revisiting Destinations

May 5 2010 by Amy Graff

liberty-bell.jpgI like going to new places. Exploring an unfamiliar city gives me a rush.

But I'm learning that my kids are quite happy going to the same places again and again. They'd be happy going to Tahoe every summer, and my son would be quite content returning to Philadelphia again and again.

My son and I visited Philadelphia over a year ago. We spent a long weekend seeing all the sights, from the Liberty Bell to Betsy Ross's house. We had a fun time, but I never expected the excitement he expressed for the city when we revisited over spring break.

"When are we going to Philadelphia?" he asked repeatedly during our time in New York and Boston.

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Decorate Your Garage

April 26 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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organized-garage.jpgYou've spent a lot of time setting up your garage. You've cleared out the clutter. You've arranged your tools. You've stowed your gear in a convenient, secure spot. You've made space for your motorcycle(s). Everything's perfectly functional.

Now it's time to have some fun. It's time to decorate your garage.

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CAA - Still Relevant to Canadians

April 22 2010 by Bryson Forbes

road-trip-canada.jpgThe Canadian Automobile Association (or CAA as many of us fondly refer to it) was founded in 1913 as a non-profit federation. Today it remains relevant and continues to thrive with more than five million members, nine clubs and 148 offices throughout Canada.

But how has it remained so strong?

The answer is simple. It achieves its mandate of providing exceptional value to members every day.

Here are 10 things you might not know about CAA:

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What to Pack, What to Pack!

April 20 2010 by Claudia Kunkel

packing-suitcase.jpgIf you've traveled at all recently, then you must know the challenges we all face trying to pack your suitcase to: a. avoid paying baggage fees, b. stay under the 50 lb. weight limit, c. not pack anything that causes you to be pulled aside and have your personal belongings rifled through (yes, it is sometimes embarrassing). I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea. Traveling has become more and more difficult with the increased security measures that are well intentioned and put in place to keep us all safe. I should add that my goal when traveling is to only pack what I can carry on the plane with me. Easy on, easy off.

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Six iPhone Travel Apps That I Love

April 16 2010 by Casey Bower

best-western-to-go.jpgI am addicted to my iPhone. I got it about 6 months ago and I was sure that the initial awe would where off by now but it hasn't...I use it for everything; it has become my go to device. No more laptop, no more iPod, no more digital camera, just the iPhone...When I cook, I Google the recipe, when I hear a song I like, I point at it and download it, when I run, I track my speed, distance and route.

So, you can imagine that when I travel, my iPhone is involved. I was thinking today about how "smart phones" are changing the way we travel. There are GPS apps with turn by turn directions, Apps for flight details, apps to handle entire travel itineraries and apps for just about anything else you can imagine. Below are a few apps that I marvel at every time I hit the road, hope you like them.

6 iPhone apps that I love when I'm on the move:

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NASCAR: Going Local

April 15 2010 by Mark Deyer

nascar-racing-track.jpg"..but you've gotta see a race in person!"

Like many NASCAR fans, I was a casual observer until I took the advice of a friend and decided to ditch the tube one Sunday and made my way to a NASCAR Sprint Cup race in person. From then on I went from casual observer to total race junkie.

The thrill and excitement of travelling to a race and experiencing "the scene" is what keeps me coming back to races time after time. It wasn't until recently, however, that I realized that I could still get my racing fix without waiting months for NASCAR to come within a few hundred miles of me, or dropping the big bucks to fly to Bristol and Martinsville for a weekend.

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We Love the Bus!

April 14 2010 by Amy Graff

bus-travel.jpgLast spring break, my kids and I took the Amtrak train between Oakland, Calif., and San Diego. We had a great trip and you can read about it in this past blog post.

This year over the kids' vacation we decided to try out a different mode of transportation -- the bus. We traveled between Boston, New York, Philadelphia and D.C. via Greyhound.

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Wake Up, Sleeping Bike

April 13 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle-awake.jpgLast season, we talked about "Putting Your Bike Up for the Winter." Hopefully, you were a good student, and you took some time to make sure that your bike has a safe, uneventful hibernation. Now that the weather is turning pleasant again, it's finally time to bring that sleeping beauty back to life. It will take more than a kiss, but not much more.

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Eco Vacations

April 12 2010 by Julie Drossos
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green-travel.jpgIt's cool to be green, no doubt about it. From cars to homes to schools, we're all making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. That said, most of still like to enjoy a vacation once or twice a year, and with the green movement gaining more and more momentum by the day, there has been a marked increase in options for vacations that are a little more socially responsible. Here are a few eco-vacation ideas worth checking out.

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Staying in Shape on the Road

April 8 2010 by Bryson Forbes

hotel-exercising.jpgIt's not easy to have the discipline to stay in shape if you're an on-the-go business traveller. For a lot of us, eating well and working out are part of our routine, and traveling challenges that routine at every turn.

Here are a few pitfalls to avoid so you can in shape while on the road.

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Personalize Your Helmet

April 7 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle-helmet.jpgWhether you live in a state with a helmet law, or in one where helmet use is optional, I advise you to wear a helmet every time you ride. And if you're going to follow my advice, take it one step further, and wear a full-face helmet. You will never regret it.

A full-face helmet doesn't have to be plain and boring. By adding some simple, inexpensive enhancements to your helmet, you can create a piece of equipment that not only protects your noggin, but also expresses your personality. And some of the changes and additions you can make will have the added bonus of making you safer on the road.

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Wickedly Cheap Tickets

April 5 2010 by Amy Graff

wicked.jpgA night at the theater is not part of the typical bargain trip to New York City. And when my kids and I visit the Big Apple next week over spring break, we'll be on a tight budget of about $200 to $250 a night.

Can we afford to catch a show?

Maybe if we get lucky.

Lottery Rush tickets for $26.50 are sold on the day of the performance for Wicked.

Here's how it works: Each day, two hours prior to show time (11:30 AM for 2 PM matinees; 12:30 PM for 3 PM matinees; 4:30 PM for 7 PM performances; 5:30 PM for 8 PM performances), people who present themselves at the Gershwin Theatre box office will have their names placed in a hat. Thirty minutes later, names will be drawn for 28 front-row seats at $26.50 each. This lottery is available only in-person at the box office, with a limit of 2 tickets per person, cash only. Photo-ID.

I think we might give it a try...

Scribbles Deciphered From a Wander's Notebook

April 2 2010 by Sam Lowe
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scribbles-notebook.jpgFOR OLD SEA DOGS -- The Erie Maritime Museum in Erie, Pa., is not only a great destination for history buffs and seniors, it's also a classic example of what to do with an old building that no longer serves its original purpose.

The museum presents the story of Oliver Hazard Perry's warship, the U.S. Brig Niagara that won the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The exhibits explain the area's role in the war and the origin of Perry's infamous declaration, "Don't give up the ship!" A reconstruction of Perry's flagship is berthed at the museum and offers public daysails, guided tours and seamanship training programs.

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Newest Trend in Hoteling: To the Moon!

April 1 2010 by Mike Mason
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view-from-moon.jpgFuture predictors of space travel have the hotel industry gearing up for a future of space tourism.

"And where there is tourism, there is going to be hotels", says Jackson Porterlie, head of the Space and Moon Hotel Exploration Association (SMHEA).

The association represents a number of forward thinking industry experts, mapping out what could be coming faster than most people think -- hotels on the moon. With the news of NASA planning fresh moon missions and with China, India and Russia each upping their entries into the space race, the next 10 years will see real developments for many hotels in their race for the next prime lunar hotel locations.

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Take Good Care of Your Leather

March 30 2010 by Jason Fogelson

leather-biker-jacket.jpgMotorcycles and leather go together like -- well, they go together really well. Leather seats, leather saddlebags, leather jackets, leather pants, leather boots... a lot of cows have given their lives to make your riding accessories. We owe it to those noble animals to take proper care of their hides, and to get the longest possible useful life out of them. Properly maintained leather can last for a lifetime.

Leather maintenance consists of four stages: Cleaning, conditioning, polishing and protecting.

Before we start, a few general statements about leather care. Leather is an organic product, and even though it can be tough and rugged, it is also very easy to damage with chemicals and moisture. Before you jump in with any leather treatment method, test it out on a small, inconspicuous area of your leather. You don't want to discolor your leather, or accidentally change its texture or feel. Be very gentle.

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All About Wheels

March 26 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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wheels.jpgI have to warn you in advance -- this article might get a little technical. Don't be afraid, though. I promise to keep it to a minimum.

The subject is motorcycle wheels.

There are several good reasons to think about your wheels. On a purely cosmetic level, the look of your wheels can radically change the stance, appearance and attitude of your ride. Changing the style, diameter and width of your wheels can turn an ordinary-looking bike into a hot rod.

Performance is an important consideration when selecting wheels, as well. Adding some width to your wheels can improve straight-line stability. Choosing narrower wheels can affect turn in and handling. Altering wheel diameter and width can have a dramatic effect on your motorcycle's performance, both for good and for bad. You have to really know what you're doing to ensure proper fit and calibration of your instruments.

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How to Survive a Red Eye Flight

March 25 2010 by Amy Graff
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red-eye-flight.jpgNext week I'll be taking a red eye flight to New York from San Francisco. I'm traveling without my kids so I wanted to spend as little amount of time away from my kids as possible and so the red eye seemed like the best option. But red eyes are brutal, especially when you have to attend an event, which I do, the morning you arrive.

For some advice on how to survive my flight, I pulled some tips from various articles:

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Car Safety Tips: What to Check Before You Hit the Road

March 24 2010 by Claudia Kunkel

family-travel-in-car.jpgIt seems that every day a new recall is hitting the news. It's been a tough couple of years for automakers, but Toyota has been hit particularly hard. Understandably it makes everyone rethink car safety and wonder just how safe the car is that you're driving.

I thought it might be a good time to go over some general car safety tips and who better to give out advice on car safety than AAA. We have been members of AAA for many years and have signed up our three daughters for coverage. It's inexpensive and invaluable when your car breaks down on the freeway, you have a flat tire with no spare or when you're planning a vacation and need some great discounts. Not to mention the peace of mind when your teenagers or young adults are out driving around at all hours!

Here are some great tips and advice from the AAA experts themselves:

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A Few of My Favorite Mags

March 23 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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magazines.jpgI love reading motorcycle magazines almost as much as I love riding a motorcycle. Some years, I discover that I've subscribed to a dozen or more bike magazines at the same time. Then, I cut back, let some expire, and vow to keep my subscriptions more manageable. Lo and behold, a few years later, I'm back up to a dozen again, and I have to do the hard cull. That's where I'm at right now -- evaluating the motorcycle magazines, and trying to decide where to put my money and time.

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My Top 5 Travel Gadgets for 2010

March 21 2010 by Bryson Forbes

travel-technology.jpgThis year's list of my top five travel must-haves is the best one yet. An overarching theme is tough to determine but hopefully there's something for everyone.

  • For the couch potato .who's away from his or her stead, I give you Slingbox This little gem allows you to basically bring your TV on the road with you. All you need is internet access and you can literally watch your TV and your local channels--including the ability to watch and record PVR! They've also recently launched Sling Player for your iPhone! I remember travelling through the U.S. during the NHL playoffs and it was easier to find coverage of the Horseshoe Championship of the World. Could have really used Slingbox!
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Counter-intuitive Countersteering

March 16 2010 by Jason Fogelson
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motorcycle-handlebars.jpgSpring is just about here. And motorcycle-riding season is not far behind. Now is a good time to think about your riding skills. One of the most important aspects of riding, and one of the least understood, is countersteering.

According to David Hough's great book, Proficient Motorcycling , countersteering is "a method of controlling and balancing a bike as it initiates a turn in which the handlebars are momentarily turned in the opposite direction the rider intends to go."

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It's Madness I Tell You, Madness!

March 13 2010 by Mike Mason

Basketball.jpg'Tis the season for bracketing. As I write this, we are still a few days away from knowing the final field of 64 college basketball teams that will compete in the NCAA basketball tournament. But there is something in the spring air that is causing many to do their 'googling' best and search for projected brackets online anyway. Even if you don't really follow college basketball, you still feel that general office peer pressure building to get in on the action. I mean, what exactly are you going to do that week to join in the office coffee break conversation if you don't have some commentary to share on WhoKnew State's upset over SureFire University?

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St. Patrick's Day All About the Beer and Green Stuff? "No, Nay, Never!"

March 12 2010 by Bridget Daly

IrishDrummer-wr.jpgAh, St. Patrick's Day...

Second to Halloween, my favorite holiday - and the one I hold very dear to my heart. Why? The green beer? Yuck! No. The ridiculous green top hats? Um, no. The shamrock bead necklaces? Cool, but no. Celebrating the patron saint of Ireland? Sorry, not really. For me, nothing says St. Paddy's Day like the music.

Just thinking of March 17, I get excited for the yearly ritual that is sure to come. My Irish relatives and friends (and my friends unfortunately not lucky enough to have ancestors from the Emerald Isle) take a holiday from our careers and map out the day according to where the best music will be, at which Irish pub and at what time. The fun begins around 10:00 a.m. I know what you're thinking. This is an excuse to start drinking in the morning. No. Surprise, surprise...To me, St. Paddy's Day doesn't have much to do with drinking at all. Instead, it's about sitting in an old Irish pub with my loved ones, slamming our glasses on the wooden table, screaming the words to every traditional folk song from the homeland that we've heard over and over and over, but somehow never gets old.

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Big Cities, Big Savings, Big Fun

March 12 2010 by Amy Graff
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family-travel.jpgWhy America's cities are great bargains for traveling families.

Known for their art museums, fancy restaurants, and sophisticated denizens, big cities seem to offer the ingredients for an expensive vacation. But actually, they provide the exact opposite. An urban escape can be an unbelievable bargain, especially for families. Here's why:

Cheap, yummy food is plentiful. It's easy to spend only $5 to $7 per person on dinner when you can choose from ethnic eateries, street vendors, and hole-in-the-walls. In Boston you can nosh on a sausage from Speed's Famous Hot Dog Wagon in Newmarket Square; in San Francisco and Los Angeles you can track down a taco truck; in Portland look for one of the waffle wagons; and in Philadelphia you can fill up with a cheese steak at Campos Deli or Geno's or Pat's Steaks.

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Ice Fishing

March 9 2010 by Claudia Kunkel

ice-fishing-wr.jpgI do like to fish, really. My parents loved to fish and many a Sunday we'd pack up the fishing pole and find a creek, pond, stream or lake to throw in a line. I didn't particularly care for the cleaning part (too many eyes and guts), but I did enjoy the eating part. Then I married a guy whose passion is fly fishing, so I transitioned from simply trolling for fish to becoming actively engaged in the sport of catch and release. My dad took me ice fishing - once - and I have to say it was a very different experience. I learned you have to be prepared.

Basics of Ice Fishing

For those new to the idea of ice fishing, here is a brief summary from Wikipedia:"Ice fishing is the activity of catching fish with lines and fish hooks through an opening in the ice on a frozen body of water. Ice anglers may sit on the stool in the open on a frozen lake, or in a heated cabin on the ice, some with bunks and amenities".

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Always Book When You Find a Deal

March 8 2010 by Amy Graff

virgin-atlantic-plane.jpgMy father was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure. How did he deal with the news? Well, he has changed his diet dramatically but he also decided to take the entire family to London around the holidays. He rented a house near Piccadilly Circus, and now he has put me on booking plane tickets for everyone.

The No. 1 rule when booking in December is buy early for the best deals. And so about two weeks ago, I couldn't sleep one night and I found myself searching Kayak, Fly.com, Travelocity, and all the popular sites for flights between San Francisco and London.

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How to Get Tickets to TV Shows

March 5 2010 by Claudia Kunkel
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on-air-wr.jpgDo you ever wonder how all those people get on your favorite television shows? You know, the ones that get picked to be on a game show, provide the laughter for the sitcoms or get to see Leno, Conan, Ellen or Letterman in person?

I know I did. I'd watch those shows and say to myself - I know I could answer all those questions and win a million dollars or provide a good laugh track for that sitcom or even be in the front row to shake Leno's hand or to dance with Ellen. A few years ago, I knew I was going to be in the Los Angeles area, so I requested tickets for "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and I was fortunate to be able to get them in the time period that I would be visiting. You do have to arrive early, stand in a long line, go through security and then find a seat - but it was well worth it. It was pretty exciting to be in on the taping and see what goes on behind the scenes. I also tried in vain to get tickets to "The Oprah Winfrey Show", but it was a last minute thought while in Chicago.

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March Break Ideas on a Budget

March 4 2010 by Bryson Forbes

march-calendar-wr.jpgI woke up this morning to an official Olympic hangover. Symptoms included a raspy voice from chanting "Crosby, Crosby..." for hours (his mother's maiden is Forbes, btw..) and, for us on the east side of country, fatigue from lack of sleep. I also can still hear Brian Williams' voice if I try hard enough. Anyway, the hangover will soon pass and only thing left will be the enormous surge of patriotism and pride. Well done, Canada!

Aside from the hangover, the most troubling part of my morning was the realization that it is March. February was a blur and we're now scrambling to coordinate schedules for March Break, which for us starts at 3 p.m. next Friday the 12th and concludes on Monday the 22nd when life will go back to "normal".

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Find Your Motorcycle Adventure with the H-D Motorcycle Maps iPhone App

March 4 2010 by Jason Fogelson