A Rider's Journal
image of the Destination Highways WA bookcover

Summary: This series of spiral-bound books and companion maps detail hundreds of great roads in Washington, British Columbia and Northern California.

Critique: These books are, hands down, the most detailed motorcycle tour guides I've seen. Each volume features 75-85 routes (and hundreds of short "twisted edges"), practically guaranteeing you'll find a one worth riding no matter where you start.

Each route is rated on a TIRES ("total integrated road evaluation system") scale that considers road conditions and engineering, scenic beauty and remoteness, twistiness, and "character", that subjective and emotional factor that makes a particular road a rider favorite.

Detailed route narratives (to the point of sometimes describing the houses and the occasional "unattractive gravel pit") ensure you stay on course, and a full-page map notes gas stations, campgrounds, restaurants, motels and other traveler necessities along the way. The route's length, road speed limits and traffic conditions are also noted.

The routes are grouped by region, and within a region in order of TIRES score. Appendices list all routes by individual TIRES factors.

The main fault of the Destination Highways books is all these details. The books are heavy and thick (printed on sturdy glossy stock) and can't be easily referenced while in motion. The new Destination Highways Companion Maps are an attempt to overcome this, by piecing all the individual maps together in a standard state map format.

My only other quibble is that the routes are described in exacting detail, but the points of interest are somewhat overlooked. Some traditional tour guide details would welcomed, even if this resulted in a little less detail about the routes.

The Destination Highways website features video of every route, allowing riders to sample a road without leaving home.

Overall, these books are an excellent addition to a rider's library. I suspect many riders end up removing the plastic spiral binding to make it easier to carry only the routes needed for a particular trip. Since the books are a little pricey, riders planning only an occasional trip to the covered areas would get by with only the Companion Maps.

Note: A Southern California volume is in the works.