I’m currently planning a long trip this summer – two weeks through the interior of BC and down into the US, with a final destination of Sturgis, South Dakota. It’s an odd route, and a bit of a new one for me, but I’m planning to hit both the Horizons Unlimited Canwest Rally in Nakusp, BC, and the Revzilla Get On ADV Fest in Sturgis, SD. (Nope, not attending the big H-D Sturgis Rally, which is a few weeks later than the Revzilla GOAF.)
Because my riding buddy is coming with me, but at this stage leaving me to the planning, I get to have a bunch of fun with maps – and even order new ones. When I first started planning this out a bit a few weeks ago, I started with some great maps for BC by an independent publisher doing yeoman’s work – Destination Highways. They have highlighted all the best roads in BC (and Washington and Northern California) with both tough, water-resistant maps, and very detailed map books. The books themselves are truly worth the investment – the folding map is actually the secondary accompaniment. I have both the BC and Washington versions of these, and love them. I can’t say enough about Destination Highways. They use a complex scoring system for roads, outlining not only the best riding routes from point A to point B, but also scenic and exciting roads for a side-trip along the way. The level of detail is truly amazing, and the amount of planning you can do with these is spectacular. The map book outlines places to eat and stay along the way, ferries and other things to be aware of, and other points of interest. They are absolutely worth the investment.
As I was planning on the spot to cross the border, I opened my horde of Butler Maps. I was delighted to find that, to my surprise, I already had maps for the four US states that we are going to head through. I knew I had Washington covered with both Destination Highways and with a Butler, but I also had Idaho, Montana and Wyoming / South Dakota. So I wasn’t going to have to purchase any new ones. If you have never seen a Butler map, they are amazing. Very heavy quality waterproof paper, tear resistant, and bright, beautiful details. They take the time to highlight the best riding in the state each map represents, highlighting them and coding them as G1 (the best), G2 (almost the best), G3 (try not to miss it), then all the rest. Butler maps are a great way to plan a trip through the US and make sure you hit the best roads for motorcyclists.
I came by my first few Butler maps from a friend who had quit riding. They were all of the west coast of the US (Butler unfortunately hasn’t tackled Canada yet), and came in a lovely map bag made for Butler by Wolfman Luggage. This bag is spectacular for holding my entire collection of paper maps, so they’ve all migrated that way over time; it’s made of a denier nylon similar to what they make their tank bags out of, so it will last forever. On top of the non-Butler maps made by Map Art, Back Road Map Books, National Geographic, and others (especially the tourist maps aimed at motorcyclists which are full of local knowledge), about a year ago (Boxing Day, 2021) I bought copies of the Idaho, Montana, and South Dakota maps, along with a couple of BDR maps and a map of Nevada. I’ve accumulated quite a collection, it seems, and now that map bag is feeling a bit full.
I decided it was time to add the Alaska map to the collection, to start planning that one over time, for my upcoming trip sometime in the next few years. While I had been planning the trip to South Dakota, I had already mapped out one of Butler’s G1 roads in Montana – the Going-to-the-Sun Road. I mean, it was right on the way. I was already familiar with Butler’s rating system, and when I got to Butler’s site, I saw that they also had the American Classics Collection – two maps featuring the best riding roads in the Western Us and Eastern US, respectively – with the new Mosko Moto map case. Well, how could I resist that, so I ordered them along with the Alaska map.
All roads have a story to tell. Stories that we believe are best heard from the seat of a motorcycle. The 30 roads selected in this two-map set are unique to America. They stretch into every corner of our great country, crossing snow capped volcanoes, dramatic coastline, golden deserts and towering mountains. These roads are American Classics, brought to you by Butler Maps.Butler Maps’ description of the American Classics Collection
Imagine my surprise when it arrived earlier this week – the maps were exactly as ordered, but the Mosko Moto bag is VERY different from the Wolfman Luggage bag. It’s made from their waterproof pannier material, and when you open it up it isn’t just a pouch – it has a couple of pen / pencil loops, an ID card (These Maps Belong To: ….), a ruler for distance measurement, a table for metric conversion, and a great feel. So, it’s clear that the new one will be the one I take with me on my journeys, with only the maps I need loaded into it. Spectacular.
Looking at the American Classics West, it runs from the Black Hills of South Dakota in the east all the way to the Pacific Ocean, and lists the G1 roads – the best of the best – both on the big map of that half of the US, but also each one in a separate and zoomed-in version of the road. It’s amazing quality, and great for dreaming.
I should also mention that Butler Maps are now owned by the parent company of Revzilla, and are available on Rever as that is also part of the same company. You have to be a Rever Pro subscriber (I caught a Black Friday 50% off sale the last two years) to be able to access them, but if you are one of those people that like to map stuff out on your phone, it’s available for you.
I’m not one of those people. I like the expanse of a large paper map. And I much prefer planning a route on my Garmin Zumo XT, rather than on a phone. I find the focus of the Zumo to be great, and I have all the maps of North America loaded, so as long as I have a satellite signal, I’m able to see where I’m going and what’s next. Then again, I’m old… and I can read a map. I understand it’s a dying skill, but I have hope.