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Motorcycle Touring in the Pacific Northwest: The Region's Best Rides (Motorcycle Touring) by Christy Karras
Motorcycle Touring in the Pacific Northwest: The Region's Best Rides (Motorcycle Touring)

max.white, October 25, 2010

Billed as a “motorcycle touring” book, this is much more. It is a great road trip book about the Northwest.

Recently I was on a week-long motorcycle ride up the north side of the Columbia River to the Canadian border. In Kennewick Washington I accidentally left the taillight of my Triumph cruiser on overnight, and the battery was dead the next morning. A young woman offered to jump-start my bike, and introduced herself as “a travel writer.” She said she and a co-author had just published a book about touring the NW. OK. I’ll check it out – she did me a favor.

I bought a copy at Powell’s in Beaverton expecting, frankly, not much. I’ve ridden all over the US – and I do mean all over -- and the only time I carried a tour book it was the excellent “Road Trip USA.” Most motorcycle-oriented touring stuff is pretty flat, writing-dull. Therefore I am surprised – maybe dazzled – by this book. I already bought copies for a few friends and am looking forward to riding (or DRIVING!) some of the routes suggested by Karras and Zusy.

Most important, the writing is way above average. The sure voice of the writers is that of friends sharing places they like over coffee at a rural cafe. The many sidebars are useful – I especially related to a note by Steve about “crazy drivers of the four-wheel variety” and his sane observation about paying attention to speed limits in small towns.

Routes the writers define are unique and draw me. I thought – as an Oregonian -- I knew the most interesting Oregon roads (the book covers Washington and even British Columbia). However I never knew about the “Secret Road in the Woods” near a place I pass often pass – Oakridge. I intend to ride it. There a lot of such routes. Frankly, I like to do my own discovering but the tone of this guide is respectful of that.

All in all, this is a great guide to off-freeway joys, and I recommend it even if you go on four wheels. (Though the superb index of motorcycle dealerships will be lost on you. Not on me!)

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