Did you ride yet another circle in the bay? Ray Valladares didn’t. Last year, the 45-year-old New Jersey native racked up more than 800 miles on his PWC, with some of the most memorable miles passing below his hull during organized, long-distance touring rides. “The trips are the ultimate adventure travel experience,” Valladares says. “You’re not trapped in a tour bus or waiting in lines. You’re not a spectator; you’re a participant.”
In fact, Valladares loves organized touring so much he’s started his own business, WaterCraft adventure tours, scheduled to launch this spring in the northeast.
“Nothing washes away the stress and long hours of the workday like being on the open water,” Valladares says. “For me, it’s the ultimate Zen experience!” watercraftadventuretours.com
Let Me Be Your Guide
Setting off solo in search of the horizon may sound romantic, but putting together a well-executed touring ride is often best left to the professionals. Here are two trips already on our radar for 2011.
Bimini Road Rally
Having organized Sea-Doo media trips for years, Watertop Unlimited’s Tim McKercher now offers similar all-inclusive adventures. The Bimini Road Rally, however, is no ordinary touring ride. It involves a crossing of the Gulf Stream, with considerable time spent in the infamous Bermuda Triangle.
The rewards in Bimini include day trips to the Sapona shipwreck, a sunken DC-3 and the mysterious Bimini Road. Spooked? Relax. The Atlantic crossing is chaperoned by a fleet of escorts from Formula Boats. watertopevents.com
“Hoochicola” River Adventure
Boating’s David Seidman called Discovery River Tours’ trips “gentleman’s waterbike cruising.” For 2011, the 500-mile Hoochicola River Adventure promises to be a favorite. The journey starts on Georgia’s Chattahoochee River and ends on Florida’s Apalachicola and covers four rivers, three locks and two lakes, as well as some narrow passages tailor-made for PWC.
Says DRT’s Vicki Thomas: “This trip really has it all. A great destination, luxury waterfront lodging, terrific meals, unbeatable scenery...and real satisfaction for those who like a lot of seat time.” pwctours.com