Motorcycle Maps, Atlases, Gazetteers and Guides

Probably the best-known map company is Rand McNally.  Founded in 1856, they actually started their own road naming system and put up signs on highways with their Blazed Trails program so they could sell more maps.  That was back before congress passed uniform highway numbering legislation in the 1920s.

DeLorme sells an atlas for every state.  I must confess, I got my start searching for twisty back roads with the DeLorme Texas Atlas & Gazetteer.  Texas is such a large state it is impossible for the official state highway map to show much detail.  TexDot really needs to make some regional maps.

Mad Maps publishes adventure destination road trip maps for weekend escapes, rally rides and tour packs.  At Daytona Bike Week, I scored a Motorcycle Madness USA map that is really cool.  You can't buy them.  They publish different ones every year and give them away at rallies and the locations of sponsors.

Official state highway maps are usually available for free at tourist information centers when you cross state lines.  For more detailed maps, county maps can often be had for free from the local chamber of commerce or county offices.  Of course, there is always the maps sold in service stations, but not all the time.  When I was riding out west years ago, I asked the man behind the counter at a gas station in Utah for a map of the state.  He looked at me strangely and said, "Why would you want a map of Utah?  There is only one road."

Texas maps and guides

Mapsco has a really excellent Roads of Texas Atlas that I like much better than DeLorme.  It has more roads, road names and differentiates between paved and unpaved roads.  They also make an Atlas for Louisiana and Colorado.

Lone Star Loops has some maps with good motorcycle routes for the region above Houston and for the Hill Country.  The maps include tips about places to eat and visit.  Order on line or stop by the store on the square in Madisonville.

Ride Texas has a web site, magazine and guidebook for Texas motorcyclists.  Most of the trails are for the Texas Hill Country west of Austin and San Antonio.

Finally, there are tons of maps on the Internet using MapQuest, Google Maps and more.  You can even use aerial photos to preview your route.  Save your maps, though, because it will not be long before they are collector's items.  I have seen the future and it is GPS.

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