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Motorcycling with your grandchildren

Hit the road with your grandchild

Miles revs his dirt bike's whiny engine to life and whizzes by patches of verdant trees. Joel rides a safe distance behind, giving his grandson room to experiment and gain confidence in his abilities. 'To us, it's like heaven,' says Joel, of what it's like to blaze through trails alongside his 15-year-old grandson, Miles. Like many granddads, Joel, 55, isn't satisfied taking the grandkids to amusement parks or shopping for toys. For him, zipping around on dirt bikes is the best way to spend an afternoon or weekend with his grandson.

 

Top 5 US Motorcycle Rides

Pacific Coast Highway, California
This California classic skirts dizzying bluffs and affords beautiful evening views as the sun melts into the Pacific. (Avoid the city craze by starting north of L.A. and you'll quickly slip into a Kerouac-inspired Zen zone as you trace the windy curves to up San Francisco.)

Wyoming to Sturgis, South Dakota
The annual Sturgis summer rally, which takes place August 6-12, 2007, might not be the best party for the grandkids, but the ride to what's known as the motorcyclist's Mecca cuts through Wyoming's Thunder Basin and glides through South Dakota's Black Hills. On the way, stop off for a presidential rest at Mount Rushmore and add some living history to the adventure.

Green Mountain National Forest Area, Vermont

Described as Vermont's "Little Switzerland," the Green Mountain National Forest Area's switchback roads hug lush mountainsides and interconnect into a big loop, which makes planning a cinch. And while it might not be Swiss, there's no better way to top off the day than with a cone of Vermont's finest -- Ben & Jerry's chocolate ice cream.

Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Rise early for this ride through the scenic Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains and see the sun burn away a veil of mist, and the leaves grow brilliant in its glow. In the fall, trees ignite in a kaleidoscope of colors -- red, orange, gold -- that's sure to inspire ear-to-ear smiles.

The Hatfield McCoy Trail System, West Virginia

Just like Joel and Miles did, you can ramble on these 500-plus miles of dirt trails that crisscross the West Virginia backcountry in this dirt biker's paradise. Trails for all skill levels connect to small biker-friendly towns that offer an unfiltered glimpse of Appalachia.

Tip: If you're eager to hop on a hog alongside your grandchild, but you don't have a hog -- no sweat. Check out L.A.-based EagleRider Motorcycle Rental. The company rents motorcycles (Harleys, Hondas, BMWs), ATVs, dirt bikes and scooters. Among the guided tours offered (from six to 16 days) is the eight-day Wild West Tour (cost for two riders, one bike, one room: $4,145) covering ground from San Francisco to Monument Valley and Las Vegas. Feeling extra adventurous? Sample a self-drive tour like the Live Free or Die Run that traverses New England, from mountains to ocean.

More adventure-seeking tips and inspirational stories

Exploring America's byways
Quito's ageless allure
Cancun can-do water sports

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