Calling all motorcyclists….put on your gear, hop on your bike and let’s go on a road trip through Sweet Home Alabama. For some, there’s nothing better than travelling the world on a motorcycle, and if you’re one of those people, this Alabama road trip is for you.
When you start the engine you begin to feel that sense of freedom, and being on a motorcycle allows you to form a connection with the world around you through an uninterrupted view that you just don’t get in a car. Whether you’re looking to turn back the pages of history or take in breathtakingly-beautiful views, there’s a place for everyone.
Your journey will begin in Birmingham, Alabama, at the Barber Vintage Motorsports. The five-story museum houses over 1,600 bikes ranging from Harley-Davidsons to Ducatis to Hondas and it holds the Guinness World Record as the “Largest Motorcycle Museum” in the world. In addition to a plethora of motorcycles, the museum also houses the largest collection of Lotus race cars in the world. As soon as you step inside, you are surrounded by a beautiful display of bikes and cars. Some of the automobiles are displayed on the floor of the museum, others are displayed on shelves located throughout the museum, and yes, even some are even hanging from the ceiling.
Your next stop is 50 miles east of Birmingham to the town of Talladega, home of the world-famous Talladega Superspeedway. Talladega is a great place for lunch, try Fincher’s Real Delight, known for its fried catfish, shrimp and barbecue. Plus its vintage decor makes it feel as though time has stood still for over 50 years.
After lunch, take a trip to DeSoto Caverns, featured on the Alabama Tourism Department’s 20 for 20 Natural Wonders list. This attraction has one of the world’s largest continuing accumulations of onyx-marble stalagmites and stalactites. It is also home to a Native American burial ground and Civil War mines.
After exploring the caverns, head on over to your last attraction of the day, Cheaha State Park. Here, you can park your bike at the highest point in Alabama and encounter panoramic views of the Talladega National Forest. This beautiful point offers one of Alabama’s most beautiful view of the sunset and will truly make you feel as though you are on top of the world.
End the day at the historic Peerless in Anniston, Alabama. The saloon opened its doors in 1899 giving it the title of Alabama’s oldest saloon.
Day two of this road trip heads towards North Alabama, an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Here you can enjoy a 22 mile ride through the scenic Little River Canyon Parkway. Towering rock bluffs that look over the rushing river below and make Little River Canyon a place of solitude.
As you continue to ride, the forest will turn into fields and you will pass the beautifully-maintained farms and houses that are truly an epitome of Southern culture. Keep on riding until you reach Rocket City USA, Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is home to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, a centre that plays a large role in the development of the space program and the Apollo 11 rocket. The museum houses a space shuttle, an Apollo 16 capsule, a Saturn V and various films about space travel.
Once you hit Decatur, you will experience some of the best BBQ in the state at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, home of its famous Bar-B-Q chicken and white sauce. This delicious dish will give you just the right amount of energy to kick-start your next adventure to Muscle Shoals, home of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and FAME Studios. A music lover's dream, where you will learn the history of some of the greats that performed here including Rick Hall and "The Swampers." While Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is now a museum, musicians are still producing music at FAME.
Once you’ve finished touring Muscle Shoals, head back to Birmingham. On your way back to the Magic City, be sure to get some fresh air and sunshine at the beautiful Bankhead National Forest, also known as the Land of 1000 Waterfalls.
In Birmingham, end your trip by visiting the civil rights landmarks located throughout the city. Begin with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a state-of-the-art, multi-media facility that houses exhibitions of historical events from post-World War I racial segregation to present-day civil rights progress. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is located in the Civil Rights District, which also includes Kelly Ingram Park and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.