Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure. ~Irving Wallace
This is a frequently updated page where I am keeping track of things I want to see and do on my epic journey through the Americas – Virginia to Newfoundland to Deadhorse to Ushuaia to Seattle. PLEASE provide a comment below if there is something you think I should add to this list. It is my hope that this list grows and grows and grows and grows. I want to do as much homework before I leave so that I have several options along my journey.
Ruta 40 – Patagonia. Beautifully scenic road stretching from Punta Loyola near Rio Gallegos in Santa Cruz Province in the south to La Quiaca in Jujuy Province in the north, running parallel to the Andes mountains.
Ushuaia – A journey to the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world.
Northwest deserts – Want to get truly off-the-beaten track? Then look no further than Argentina’s Northwest deserts. Remote outposts, challenging dirt roads and epic red-rock scenery. Drive the infamous Ruta 40 from middle-of-nowhere Cachi to the wine-region of Cafayate. The possibilities for driving adventures are endless, just get a map and go!
Buenos Aires & Mendoza – These two cities possess some of Argentina’s best food and drink. Buenos Aires is known for its juicy steaks and fugazzeta (Argentine pizza), not to mention its raucous nightlife. Mendoza is famous for its Malbec red wines, the perfect place to indulge in a wine tour.
Iguazú Falls – the world’s most thunderous waterfalls never cease to amaze despite the hordes of visitors that the falls receive each day. When you peer over the edge at the Devil’s Throat your eyes have trouble fathoming the sheer volume of water rushing over the edge. If you must choose, we think the Argentinian side has superior views.
Fitz Roy range & Perito Moreno Glacier – When you first set eyes onto these two Patagonian marvels, it’s impossible not to be hypnotized by their beauty. El Chaltén’s Fitz Roy Range is quite possibly the most dramatic range in all the Andes with day-treks to Cerro Torre and the Fitz Roy guaranteed to leave you breathless. A few hours further south you can watch in awe as the monstrous Perito Moreno Glacier calves huge 50m blocks of ice into the freezing waters below.
Esteros Del Iberá – this vast wetlands (the world’s largest after Brazil’s Pantanal) is utterly teeming with wildlife – caimans, howler monkeys, capybaras, swamp deer and a multitude of birds. Be sure to camp next to the lake at the municipal campground in Colonia Carlos Pellegrini – it’s an unforgettable experience.
Laguna Route – A beautiful trip through the lagunas in southern Bolivia.
Salar de Uyini – World’s largest salt flats.
Yang’s Road – a road northeast of La Paz in the Yungas region of Bolivia. It is legendary for its extreme danger and in 1995 the Inter-American Development Bank christened it as the “world’s most dangerous road”
Southwest Circuit – Bolivia’s trump card is a region of dizzying altiplano containing the world’s largest salt flats, the Salar de Uyuni, mind-boggling lakes, steaming geysers and stark volcanoes, you’ll feel like you’re on Mars!
Isla Del Sol – simply the most tranquil and awe-inspiring destination on Lake Titicaca. Wake up to grand views of the Illampu massif, go trekking to explore the island’s Incan ruins then drink in the most sublime sunsets over Lake Titicaca
Rurrenabaque – a great place to experience two wildlife hotspots, the Amazon jungle and the Pampas. Swim with river dolphins, spy monkeys in the canopy, ogle over the peculiar capybara and search for the elusive anaconda. It is also one of the cheapest locations to explore the Amazon jungle
Rio de Janeiro – This is South America’s and some say the world’s greatest city and it’s hard to deny with its spectacular mountain setting, energetic people, golden beaches and wild party scene. Don’t miss watching Brazil’s greatest passion, football, at the Maracaña
Amazon river – while cruising along the Brazilian Amazon is not the intrepid jungle experience you would imagine it to be, it’s the human life along this great waterway that makes it so fascinating. The sunsets aren’t bad either
Costa Verde – verdant green mountains drop down to the sea along this superb stretch of Brazilian coast. Laze your days away on one of the Costa Verde’s shimmering beaches, Trindade is our pick of the bunch
Ouro Preto – this former colonial mining town nestled in the Serra do Espinhaço mountains is absolutely picture-perfect with its steep cobblestone streets and baroque cathedrals on every hilltop
Florianopolis – It’s here you’ll find some of Brazil’s best surf, beaches and parties – a local favourite
Banff to Jasper Icefield Parkway – Stretching 144miles through the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, this world-class journey offers access to a vast wilderness of pristine mountain lakes, ancient glaciers and broad sweeping valleys. This special travel route winds its way through two national parks, boasting a unique and irreplaceable landscape rich in history and natural beauty second to none.
Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America. Not far from the capital city of St. John’s. Take a break from the bike and walk around the old part of the city, it has real old world charm. (Thanks Krista! @bikermissus)
Cassiar Highway – The Stewart-Cassiar Highway, also known as the Dease Lake Highway and the Stikine Highway as well as the Terrace-Kitimat Highway from Kitimat to Terrace, is the northwesternmost highway in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Gros Morne on the west coast. Hike it if you can spare the time. It’s a 16km round trip but the view from the top is stunning. (Thanks Krista! @bikermissus)
Hopewell Rocks Bay of Fundy – Largest tides in the world – twice a day, with a tide differential may be anywhere between 30 and 50 feet! Hwy 17 from Sault-Ste Marie to Wawa – Very Scenic Hwy 129 north from Thessalon. It’s often called Ontario’s Tail of the Dragon
Lake Louise – This alpine lake, known for its sparkling blue waters, is situated at the base of impressive glacier-clad peaks that have long been at the heart of Canadian mountaineering. At about 2.5 kilometres long and 90 metres deep, the lake offers a surreal paddling experience in the warm summer months and one of the most scenic skating rinks in the world in winter.
L’Anse Aux Meadows on the Northern Peninsula. Completely out of your way but it’s the first place in the New World that was settled by Europeans…Vikings circa 1000 AD. Very cool place. (Thanks Krista! @bikermissus)
Radium Hot Springs – a village of approximately 800 people situated in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia. The village is named for the hot springs located in the nearby Kootenay National Park
Trans-Labrador Highway – a Canadian highway located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the primary public road in Labrador. Its total length is 774.66 mi (1,246.69 km). Due to the harsh winters and sparse population in most of Labrador, most of the road is a well-packed asphalt/gravel surface that is re-graded annually (usually in mid to late May), and there are no plans to fully pave it (as of 2015).
Watson Lake and Sign Post Forest – in Yukon, Canada located at historical mile 635 on the Alaska Highway close to the British Columbia border. In 1942, while building the Alaska Hwy, it was common practice for the US Army of Engineers to put up a directional post at their camps. It gave directions and mileage to surrounding communities and various parts of the world. Now the signs form a large “forest” with signs from all over the world.
Patagonia – a sparsely populated region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, steppes and grasslands east of this southern portion of the Andes. Patagonia has two coasts; a western one towards the Pacific Ocean and an eastern one towards the Atlantic Ocean.
Carretera Austral – South America’s greatest road runs for over 1200km through some of the most spectacular scenery in all of the continent. This sparsely populated region is filled with lush mountains, hulking glaciers, active volcanoes and pure glacial rivers. For a real adventure, bicycle or motorbike this extraordinary road and try your hand at wild camping next to a glacial river!
San Pedro de Atacama – a tiny town in the middle of the world’s driest desert known for its star-drenched skies and martian landscapes. Go float in the extremely salty Laguna Cejar, cycle to the moonscape of Valle de la Luna and marvel at the world’s darkest skies during a star-gazing tour.
Torres Del Paine – Chile’s number one drawcard is a trekking mecca and rightly so. This national park hosts emerald lakes, knife-like towers, massive glaciers and distinctive fauna including pumas and guanacos. Do the 9-day O-trek to give yourself a greater perspective of the park’s majesty.
Cochamó Valley – One of South America’s best-kept secrets, the colossal granite mountains of the Cochamó valley rival North America’s Yosemite National Park in grandeur. Except Cochamó is far greener and lacks the maddening crowds of Yosemite due to the gruelling 4-hour muddy hike to enter the valley. Once you are there, it’s absolutely magic!
Tayrona National Park – jungle meets the Caribbean at this gorgeous national park with some of Colombia’s most magnificent beaches
Salento – Deep within ‘La Zona Cafetera’, this quiet little town is a great spot to check out some of Colombia’s finest coffee plantations and the intriguing Cocora Valley
Cartagena – a lively Caribbean city with arguably the most beautiful old town in South America
Avenue of the volcanoes – this is where mainland Ecuador truly shines! This 300km volcanic corridor contains 8 of Ecuador’s highest peaks including several active volcanoes and the world’s tallest mountain from the earth’s centre, Chimborazo
Tena – fabulous jungle town lying at the foothills of the Andes with heart-pounding whitewater rivers, Amazon wildlife and pristine waterfalls. Do a side-trip to Ecuador’s highest cascade, San Rafael Waterfall, you’ll likely have it to yourself
Quilotoa Loop – a region of lofty indigenous villages highlighted by a magnificent crater lake sitting just shy of 4000m
Cuenca – Ecuador’s most gorgeous colonial city exudes laid-back charm and is surrounded by lush green valleys
Lake Atitlan – Lake Atitlán is a lake in the Guatemalan Highlands of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is in the Sololá Department of northern Guatemala. “Atitlan” means “at the water” in Nahuatl.
Tikal – ruins of an ancient city found in a rainforest in Guatemala (thanks Chris!).
Acapulco – Acapulco is the original Mexican resort town which came into prominence by the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires.
Guanajuato – Nestled in the mountains of the Sierra de Guanajuato lies the beautiful colonial city of Guanajuato. The city was founded in 1554 next to one of the richest silver mining areas of Mexico.
Dias des los Muertos, Oaxaca – The city of Oaxaca is well-known for having one of the best Dia de Los Muertos festivals in Mexico, a holiday celebrated in many parts of Latin America. In Mexico the festival can be traced back thousands of years ago to indigenous cultures such as the Zapotec and Aztec.
Cozumel – Located just off the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is a popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling. The underwater world around Cozumel was discovered by Jacques Cousteau in 1959 who called it one of the best diving areas in the world.
Los Cabos – Los Cabos is a lively 20 mile beach area at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. The white sandy beaches backed by sophisticated resorts, restaurants, bars and other attractions run from spring break destination Cabo San Lucas down to the quieter San José del Cabo.
Palenque – Palenque is an archaeological site that was located on the western edge of the Maya empire in the present-day state of Chiapas, Mexico.
Copper Canyon – The Copper Canyon is in fact a network of canyons which together are several times larger than the Grand Canyon.
Tulum – Tulum is situated on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It once served as the major port of the Mayan city of Coba.
Chichen Itza – Chichen Itza is the largest of the Maya cities in the Yucatan Peninsula. Teotihuacan – In the 2nd century BC a new civilization arose in the valley of Mexico. This civilization built the flourishing metropolis of Teotihuacán and it’s huge pyramids.
Oaxaca – Oaxaca (pronounced wa-hah-kah), a city located about 300 miles south of Mexico City, is the capital of the state of the same name. Oaxaca city’s pleasantly mild climate, due to its altitude of 5000 feet above sea level, is but one many reasons to visit. Rich in history and culture, Oaxaca is a fascinating destination where you can appreciate ancient civilizations, colonial art and architecture and vibrant cultural traditions. You needn’t be concerned about safety here; Oaxaca is one of the safest Mexican tourist destinations you could choose.
Ometepe Island – Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome and tepetl, meaning two mountains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua.
Huaraz & surrounds – undoubtedly Peru’s most epic region with two giant, glaciated mountain ranges, the Cordillera Blanca & Cordillera Huayhuash, rising steeply towards the heavens. This is Peru’s adventure capital – mountaineering, rock climbing, mountain biking, trekking, it’s all here and it’s all phenomenal! For a unique experience head to the stone forest of Hatun Machay and stay at the fantastic climber’s refuge
Cuzco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu – This was the epicentre of the Incan empire and it’s here you’ll find the exquisite Incan ruins of Saksaywaman, Ollantaytambo and of course Machu Picchu. You’ll also encounter the Quechua peoples with their distinctive language, colourful textiles and iconic llamas and alpacas. Miss out on your Inca trail ticket? Why not try the Salkantay or Choquequirao treks instead, less crowds and better vistas
Northern Peru surfing – Peru’s desert coast delivers some of South America’s best waves including Mancora, Lobitos and Chicama
Los Roques Archipelago – a Caribbean dream of 350 islands, cays and islets. Relax on heavenly beaches, swim in the crystal clear Caribbean waters, snorkel and dive the unspoiled coral reefs or learn to SUP or kitesurf off one of the stunning cays. Welcome to paradise!
Angel Falls & La Gran Sabana – this region in southeast Venezuela is littered with over 100 bizarre flat-topped mountains known as tepuis from which spawn many spectacular waterfalls including the precipitous Angel Falls, which plunges for almost a kilometer. To get a closer look at this eerie world with its unique plants and animals, take the arduous trek to Roraima and spend the night on its summit.
Merida – Set amidst lush green mountains, Venezuela’s adventure capital is a great place to go paragliding, canyoning or mountain biking
Grand Canyon – a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River, 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters). Nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted.
Toroweap Overlook – a viewpoint within the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, United States. It is located in a remote area on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, 55 miles west of the North Rim Headquarters (but 148 miles by road). The overlook is the only viewpoint in the National Park from where the Colorado River can be seen vertically below. The overlook stands 3,000 feet above the river.
Lost Coast (thanks @!)- The Lost Coast is a mostly natural and development-free area of the California North Coast in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, which includes the King Range. It was named the “Lost Coast” after the area experienced depopulation in the 1930s. In addition, the steepness and related geo-technical challenges of the coastal mountains made this stretch of coastline too costly for state highway or county road builders to establish routes through the area, leaving it the most undeveloped and remote portion of the California coast.
Pacific Coast Highway, Carmel to Morro Bay. A scenic roadway like no other, the Big Sur section of California’s coastal highway offers a smorgasbord of treats: crashing surf, towering redwood forests, seal-dotted beaches, and enough curves to keep you contented end to end. This cliff-hugging ribbon stretches 120 miles and has frequent turnouts for enjoying the stellar views. It’s enough to whet your appetite for more, and that’s no problem. It’s part of the longer Pacific Coast Highway, which extends along pretty much the entire California coast, from Malibu to the Oregon border and beyond. Planning: Avoid summer weekends, and be sure to book a visit to Hearst Castle well in advance. And dress warm: Big Sur is famously fogbound, especially in summer months.
Monument Valley – A region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300 m) above the valley floor. It is located on the Arizona–Utah state line.
Peak to Peak Highway. Sure, it’s barely 60 miles long, but this ride combines sensational twisties with some of the finest scenery that Mother Nature can offer. You’ll marvel at dazzling Rocky Mountain vistas as you crest the Continental Divide through the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park. The road scythes into glacier-cut valleys and switchbacks up through thick forests to reach alpine meadows—gloriously ablaze in Monet colors in springtime. From Golden take Highway 6 through Clear Lake Canyon Park to reach Highway 119, the beginning of the Peak to Peak, which extends north along Highways 72 and 7 before dropping to Estes Park. Moose and elk are often seen here; keep to a safe speed, as hitting one could seriously ruin your day. Planning: Pack your hiking boots and take a break to walk a scenic trail, or pack camping gear for overnight.
Craters of the Moon National Monument – Craters of the Moon is a vast ocean of lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush.
Coastal Route 1. You can smell the crustaceans on the wind as you ride the coastal section of Maine’s U.S. Route 1 from Brunswick to Machias—a quintessential New England experience. The 167-mile stretch of two-lane asphalt leads through quaint seaside villages and past dozens of historic lighthouses. Scenic detours, not twisties, are the name of the game as you dawdle through towns along the way, although the road does have some open sections with high-speed, sweeping curves. Keep two fingers on the brake lever in case a moose appears around the bend. Planning:Avoid summer, when the road can be lined bumper to bumper, and plan on stopping at one of the route’s many lobster shacks.
Beartooth Highway and Pass – a National Scenic Byways All-American Road. This 68 mile byway winds its way through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming and leads into Yellowstone National Park at its Northeast Entrance. Goes from Montana into Wyoming.
Going to the Sun Road – Montana, Glacier National Park. This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the park’s wild interior, winding around mountainsides and treating visitors to some of the best sights in northwest Montana.
Trail Ridge Road – Montana, Rocky Mountain National Park. Covering the 48 miles between Estes Park on the park’s east side and Grand Lake on the west, Trail Ridge Road more than lives up to its advanced billing. Eleven miles of this high highway travel above tree line, the elevation near 11,500 feet where the park’s evergreen forests come to a halt.
Yellowstone National Park – This park actually spans across Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, but I listed it here just once. It’s a Wonderland. Old Faithful and the majority of the world’s geysers are preserved here. They are the main reason the park was established in 1872 as America’s first national park—an idea that spread worldwide. A mountain wildland, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.
Blue Ridge Parkway. This iconic mountain route is on almost every serious motorcyclist’s must-do list. The northern section, in Virginia, passes Civil War battle sites as it ambles through bucolic countryside. Farther south you climb into the Great Smoky Mountains, where the smooth, well-maintained Blue Ridge Parkway is renowned for its sweeping curves and arresting scenery. A compulsory 45-mile-per-hour speed limit means that you have time to savor the views, which reach a crescendo south of Asheville, North Carolina. For a longer ride, take the 105-mile Skyline Drivethrough Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park; the drive links to the parkway. Planning: Allow at least two days for this 469-mile ride.
Tail of the Dragon – I have been down this road before and it’s awesome, but I want to go back now that I have more experience. Plus, there is more to this area that just the “Tail.” Designated US 129, the road is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Mount Rushmore – In the Black Hills of South Dakota, a rather famous carving in the side of a mountain and beautiful roads all around.
Arches National Park – a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
Bryce Canyon – Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the archetypal “hoodoo-iferous” terrain. Descriptions fail. Cave without a roof? Forest of stone? Even photographs strain credulity. When you visit maybe you’ll come up with a better name. In the meantime “Bryce” will have to suffice.
Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument Ride. Geologists will delight in Scenic Byway 12, which offers 124 miles of sensational eroded scenery as it snakes through Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks and the Petrified Forest State Park. Fantastical multicolored formations—buttes, canyons, cliffs, and mesas—are visible all along this ever writhing route. Plus, the region has been home to Native American peoples since ancient times. Begin in Panguitch and follow U.S. 89 south to reach Route 12, then head east to Torrey. Planning: Allow two days for this drive, including an overnight in the region to savor the mind-blowing colors of sunrise and sunset.
Zion National Park – Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.
Chief Joseph Scenic Byway – The route crosses the Shoshone National Forest through the Absaroka Mountains to the Clarks Fork Valley. The 47 paved miles of the Scenic Byway run from the junction with U.S. 120, 17 miles north of Cody, northwest to their connection with U.S. 212, the Beartooth Highway.
Devil’s Tower – An astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the rolling prairie surrounding the Black Hills. This site is considered Sacred to the Lakota and other tribes that have a connection to the area. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest traditional crack climbing areas in North America.
Yellowstone National Park – Perhaps one of the best parks in the U.S.