Since I stared riding a motorcycle I’ve been through 39 different states. Some states I’ve been through numerous of times, others I’ve only been through once or twice. I know how many states I’ve been to on a motorcycle and even when my first ride to each state occurred. Now I’m curious to know which states I’ve been to the most. So in a way, this post is a is ‘Part 2’ of “Visited states on a motorcycle” but now it's not about where and when, it's about how many times.
After seven years of touring, I don't remember all the trips I've done, especially not the shorter trips. I have to look this information up on my blog and website. But before I looked it up I took a guess. I was surprised by the results, since when I thought of the states that I’ve been to the most, I was thinking in terms of ‘destinations’ not states that I’ve ridden through on the way to other places.
I'm not listing Illinois because I live here. Also, I listed only the times that I have “sport-toured” through a state (meaning stayed overnight somewhere else, not at home). I also counted the times I towed my bikes to another state to ride and the times I borrowed a bike to ride in other states. Basically the only rides that are not listed here are day rides I did from my house.
Also, if I passed through the state twice on a particular tour, once going somewhere and once coming back home, I only counted that as "one ride" or "one visit" through that particular state. Since each visit to a state that I was counting is actually a separate new ride.
[Drum roll please] The results: my top 3 states that I have visited to the most are .... Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. The other states that I’ve been through multiple of times are Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas.
Most visited states and number of visits:
So why did I visit these states more than the others? Well, there is a very good reason why Wisconsin is at number one. If you know Chicago, you might have guessed that the best place to ride a motorcycle around here is in Wisconsin, since the roads in Northern Illinois are straight and flat.
Every year I do a bunch of day rides to Wisconsin, but I also do a lot of sport-touring trips since Wisconsin is a big state and the best roads are in the Southwest of Wisconsin, kind of far for a day ride.
Wisconsin: curvy roads and dairy farms and so much more
Iowa is at number two with 19 visits although I've only been to two parts of Iowa. Most of the time I ride the roads near the Mississippi River because they are really curvy and scenic. I have not toured Iowa the way I have toured Wisconsin, the only time I travel west through Iowa is when I’m riding toward the west coast.
Iowa: view of the Mississippi River
Minnesota is at number three with 17 visits but if Minnesota was closer to Chicago it would probably would be at number two, because I really like riding in Minnesota and I’ve been to a few different parts of the state over the last few years.
Minnesota: natural beauty of lakes, rivers and forests
Indiana is at number four with 12 visits and it’s another one of those states that I ride through on my way to other places. I have not seen very much of northern Indiana, since I’m usually on the interstate trying to get away from Chicago as fast as I can. Southern Indiana has some curvy back roads and usually once I get past Indianapolis I exit the interstate and get to enjoy the nice back roads.
Indiana: winding backroads and small towns
Ohio and Pennsylvania are tied at number five with 6 visits. Ohio has some great roads in the southeastern portion of the state, I have not been able to make it out there yet for a tour but I try to hit some good twisty roads when I ride through Ohio to get to other places. Over the years I’ve been to many motorcycle meets in Pennsylvania, but I have not had the pleasure of touring Pennsylvania. Each time I’m there I do ride a bunch of good roads, so I think I’ve actually seen a bit of Pennsylvania by now. Even though I've been through Ohio just as many times, most of the time I take the interstate so I've seen very little of this state.
Pennsylvania: twisty roads and old charming cities
Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas are also tied at number six with 5 visits. Kentucky and Tennessee are great states to ride in, there are many awesome roads there and these states are not that far from Illinois. From Chicago I’ve ridden to Tennessee and to Kentucky in one day, it’s not that long of ride.
Tennessee: it's all about the twisty roads
Kentucky: hills, curves and empty roads
Texas is a different story. To this day, I have not been able to ride from Chicago to Texas. I have always towed my bikes to Texas or near there. It's my favorite place to ride in the winter since the temperatures are so mild. Texas is a really big state, but for motorcycling Texas Hill Country and Southwest Texas, near Big Bend National Park, are the best places. I’ve even been to east Texas on a bike a couple of times, which was also fun and much different from west Texas.
Texas: the beauty of hill country
States that I’ve visited less than 5 times:
North Carolina 3
New York 2
West Virginia 2
New Hampshire 1
New Mexico 1
North Dakota 1
South Carolina 1
South Dakota 1
From the list above the only thing that really amazes me is how little time I’ve spent in Michigan, Missouri and Arkansas considering these states are not that far away from Illinois. I haven’t been to Michigan mostly because the only way to get there is through the city of Chicago and Northwest Indiana using the interstate, that route is very congested with traffic and not fun at all. To get up to the Michigan's Upper Peninsula is easier since you can go through Wisconsin, the only major city that you travel through is Milwaukee, but UP is too far to go just for a weekend. Missouri is another one of those places that requires a lot of interstate riding and going through congested St. Louis. I finally made it to Arkansas last year, I’ve planned many trips there before but bad weather always made me ride somewhere else.
I guess you can say that I would rather ride to destinations, where getting there is not a huge hassle, where there is less traffic and the trip doesn’t require a lot of interstate travel. From Chicago I like to travel North or West, then South, but traveling East is the most time consuming.