Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Is History - Happy New Year!

2014 Is History - Happy New Year

Well, there are only a few hours left in 2014, at least here on the west coast of Canada.  Quite a bit has happened this year, including some significant “downs” and exciting “ups”.  In other words, life has happened.  Actually, I’ve directed my life better this year then at anytime in my life and it’s been fun.

First, the “downs”…  In January I received word that a friend had passed away suddenly from a heart attack, just a few months away from his 50th birthday.  We had a lot of fun during our high school years and into our first year of college.  Imagine a large yellow Ford 4X4 (his) and cruising the streets of Roseville, California, setting off Estes model rocket engines in science class and  “borrowing” his older brothers 67’ Camaro.  In fact his brother’s Kawasaki KZ 900 was responsible for my first 100+ mph experience on a motorcycle.  Erik I will miss you!

In June I received word from another close friend that she had contracted a form of leukemia and that the treatment was going to be a long one.  She’s a fighter and will be going through the most critical time of her treatment in the next two weeks.  My thoughts and prayers are with you Marci.

The last downer of the year came in July when another friend and my business partner passed away from a heart attack while on a 2-week bicycle ride through the Canadian Rockies.  I was in Peru when I received the news.  Frances, you packed more into 56 years then most people will experience in a lifetime.  You taught me a great deal about passion and taking action on my dreams.  The past 12 years were a fun ride.  Thank You!

Now for the good stuff!

About this time last year Paul Opp, a former teacher of mine and friend asked if I wanted to go riding in the Andes of Peru and I said yes.  I’ve always wanted to visit South America and this trip sounded too good to miss.  The trip took place in July and it was even better then I could ever imagine.  The riding was spectacular as was the scenery.  My favorite part was walking across a bridge made of grass and twigs.  Few people find this place and even fewer walk across it.

Q'eswachaka crossing video

 Peru Trip highlight video

A month before the Peru trip, my wife and I took a trip through the Canadian Rockies along the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper Alberta.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking, as words are insufficient when trying to describe this part of the world.

 The final big adventure of the year took place in September when my wife and I flew to Las Vegas and picked up a Honda Gold Wing for a weeklong ride through Nevada, Arizona and Utah.  The US National Park system is a treasure that more people should explore, especially in this part of the country. 

 This past year I made the decision to become more involved in the direction I wanted my life to take.  The death of my friend Erik was a big part of that decision.  I can say without hesitation that taking action and being active in how you want your life is the only way to life.  Taking this action has attracted many new people in my life who’ve made that same choice and what a blessing they’ve been to me.

2015 will be even better and I trust and hope that my readers will make the decision to take action in making their dreams, especially their dream motorcycle ride a reality.

Have fun, ride safe and go exploring.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Dream Your Ride - One Year Later

Dream Your Ride – One Year Later

It’s December 28th and you’re sitting on your couch dreaming of where to ride once the weather gets better.

You’re riding through Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park enjoying the magnificent views and twisting roads.

Or, you’re exploring the wild west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia with a friend, taking detours up one of many dirt roads. 

Dreaming even bigger, you’re jetting off to South America to explore the Andes of Peru or the famed Ruta 40 in Argentina.  There’s also Ecuador, where you can ride along the ocean, into the Andes and have time to visit the Amazon during a 10-day visit.

Your dreams can be a reality and the archives of Dream Your Ride will give you ideas on how to do that.  2015 is almost here and Dream Your Ride will take you on new adventures and offer up tips on getting there and what to take.

Enjoy the remaining days in 2014 and Dream Your Ride will be back on January 1st, 2015.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad From Dream Your Ride

As I write this, many of my friends on the other side of the world are celebrating Christmas and in only a few hours the Big Guy will make his way to the rest of my friends.  This time of year is one of celebration and spending time with family and those you love and in this area I am richly blessed.

2014 has been quite a ride and I've been fortunate to fulfill some of my dreams, visiting and riding in some spectacular parts of the world.  I've been further blessed to have done this with my best friend and wife of 28 years.

The Canadian Rockies

Hanging out with Julie at the Columbia Ice Fields in Alberta

Julie hanging out with the Jasper, Alberta "locals"

July in Peru's Colca Canyon

Playing in the Utah dirt

Cruising in Utah

Beauty close to home on Vancouver Island

Riding above the December fog

I would like to take his opportunity to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and trust that it will be a good one.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Short Days, Adventures Close and Gas A La Burra!

Short Days, Adventures Close and Gas A La Burro!

One of the many viewpoints on Vancouver Island, BC Canada

Today is December 21st and for those of us in the northern hemisphere it’s the shortest day of the year.  Tomorrow we begin the long climb out of darkness and into the longer days of spring and summer.  But before the days get too long (Is that even possible?), Christmas and New Years will have to be dealt with. 

Christmas is a day for family, friends while New Years is the beginning of another year of adventures and like every year before, should be filled with unexpected surprises and the fulfillment of at least one dream.  You will be responsible for your own surprises and fulfilling your own dreams. 

Leading up to the shortest day of the year I was able to get in one more adventure and it was found close to my home on Vancouver Island.  My home is only a few minutes away from a maze of logging roads, both active and inactive, which leads to some amazing country with world-class views.  This allows me to go exploring and find new areas in just a few hours.  While you may live in a different part of the world, I can guarantee that there are adventures and places to explore only a short distance from your house.  You just have to find.

A short adventure, close to home.

 The back side of Mount Arrowsmith, Vancouver Island

Finally, one of my favorite racing events of the year, the Dakar Rally will begin in 14 days.  The rally is the most grueling event on the planet, period.  For motorcyclist it combines speed, the need for off road riding skills, a requirement that the competitor must know their motorcycle inside and out and know how to maintain and repair their bike along the 14 day event.  Oh, they’ll also need to be masters of navigation and in peak physical shape.  These competitors, men and women alike, are truly all around athletes.  The reward for all of the competitors will be to finish the event, all the stages, and the bonus is the spectacular scenery of South America.

As we are quickly approaching the end of 2014 I would like to leave you with an expression that my favorite rally competitor, Marc Coma, signs his blog and facebook entries with.  Gas A La Burra!  In other words give it everything you’ve got.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Horseshoe Nails, People Of Peru and getting Lost For A Reason - It's A "Chaotic" Wonderful Life!

Horseshoe Nails, People Of Peru and getting Lost For A Reason – It’s A “Chaotic” Wonderful Life!

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

It’s A Wonderful Life

In early 1938 a respected civil war historian by the name of Philip Van Doren Stern awoke one morning with an idea of a story in mind.  He didn’t begin working on this story until 1939 and finally in 1943 Stern finished and published the 4,000-word story, “The Greatest Gift”.  Unable to find a publisher, he sent 200 printed copies to friends and family as Christmas cards.  Finally, in December of 1944, the story was published as a booklet and was also sold to Readers Digest and Good Housekeeping.  A small degree of success that was likely forgotten when the next editions of the magazines were published.

One of the original “200” came to the attention of a RKO Productions producer, who showed it to actor Cary Grant.  Grant loved the story and showed an interest in playing the lead roll.  RKO Productions bought the picture rights in 1944 for $10,000 however after several of their screenwriters attempted to adapt the story into a script, RKO decided to sell the picture rights in 1945 to Liberty Films for the same $10,000.  Liberty Films happened to be the production company of Frank Capra who successfully adapted the story into a screenplay, which was released in 1946 as “It's A Wonderful Life” in 1946.  "It's A Wonderful Life" is still played today during the Christmas season and is one of actor James Stewart's best know pictures.

In 2000 a personal friend of mine, Paul Opp, founded the People Of Peru Project after making a trip to the city of Iquitos, Peru on a mission trip with his daughter and seeing a need to help the significantly less fortunate.  The People Of Peru Project, fueled by Paul’s passion to help the people of Peru and the city of Iquitos, along with volunteers has grown and there are people who are alive today, children receiving educations and abandoned and abused girls who are now safe, loved and on the way to a promising future as a result.

I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady who came through the People Of Peru Project’s Youth Services House (POPPYS House) and is now a living and working in Lima, Peru.  She has a chance for a full life as a result of the People Of Peru Project.

I first heard of Lost For A Reason through Adventure Motorcycle Magazine.  While I’ve never met founder Ron Grace, we share a love of riding motorcycles and the riding territory that comprise the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. 

The following video best describes Lost For A Reason and Ron’s passion for helping those who live in an area he loves to spend time in.

There Is Order In Chaos!

The poem of the Horseshoe Nail and the story of its A Wonderful Life show what can happen (or not happen) as a result of something that may appear insignificant or chaotic.  The People Of Peru Project and Lost For A Reason are small organizations that have been born from the passion and compassion of Paul Opp and Ron Grace towards people who’ve found a place in their hearts. 

In this season of giving, I would like to ask you to consider giving to one or both of these organizations and be a part of a story that’s still being written.  Even more, consider giving of your time and making a trip to personally help.  I can guarantee your life will be changed forever if you do!

People Of Peru Project
Lost For A Reason

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Travel Porn - Its Different In Real Life

Travel Porn – Its Different In Real Life

In September my wife and I took a ride through Nevada, Arizona and Utah.  My wife had seen pictures of the Valley Of Fire State Park and wanted to ride through the park to take pictures of her own.  I’d been through that area before and knew what the temperatures would be like and did my best to express that to my wife, as she’s uncomfortable in high heat.  When we actually rode into the park, she was shocked at how hot and uncomfortable it was and it didn’t take long for her to forget about the beauty of the area and was ready to get to a cooler place as fast as possible.  

Travel Porn strikes again!

Valley Of Fire - 115 deg. F (46 deg. C)

I love looking at pictures of places I’ve never been and dream of what it would be like to be there.  With few exceptions, the actual experience is quite different then what you’d imagine from a photograph.

St. Lucia - Beautiful, Hot, Humid and Musty Smelling

With pictures, you’re likely viewing them in the comfort of your home where the smells are familiar and the temperature is comfortable.  You’ll likely imagine being where the photograph was taken as being comfortable too.  Beautiful visuals, familiar smells and comfortable temperatures are what you’ll expect.  Unless the picture is of snow and ice and even then you’ll likely be surprised.

Isla Tiquile, Lake Titicaca, Peru - 13,100 ft (4,000 meters) in elevation and 60 deg. F (15 deg. C)

The reality is the visual is only part of the “picture” as the actual smells, sounds and temperatures will be very different then what you’d expect from a picture.  When you're physically present where a picture was taken, your other senses and to your experience in ways that will be unexpected.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona - 100 deg. F (37 deg. C) outside and 80 deg. F (27 deg. C) inside.  Musty and damp too.

Travel Porn is fun and will wet you're appetite for travel, however travel with an open mind.  Your experience will likely be very different from what you imagine from a picture or even a story.  That's part of the fun and the experience.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Kawasaki KLR 650 - Join The KLR Kult!

The Kawasaki KLR 650 – Join The KLR Kult!

On road or Off road the KLR 650 will take you where you want to go

Kawasaki began selling the KLR 650 in1987 and changed the bike very little until 2008.  The second generation KLR 650, while not earth shattering, did bring some much-needed upgrades.  Better wind protection and suspension being the biggest changes.  Even with the changes made in 2008, the KLR 650 is a “dinosaur” in the motorcycle world and yet it's still one of Kawasaki’s best selling motorcycles.

Why has the KLR 650 lasted so long and why has it reached cult like status among the thousands of KLR 650 riders worldwide?

It’s an affordable adventure motorcycle:  With the price of most adventure motorcycles well north of $12,000, the KLR is a bargain with a price tag under $7,000 for a new one.  Then again with so many KLR’s out there, a low mileage used one can be found for even less.  Add to the price, a 6.1-gallon (23 liter) gas tank and a manageable weight, the KLR 650 has a great range and is easy to take down most dirt and gravel roads.

My friend Paul camping with his 2007 KLR

It’s simple and reliable:  With a near bullet proof, single cylinder engine, basic electronics and a design that most back yard mechanics can work on easily with a few tools and a shop manual, you can travel with confidence on your KLR.  If it does break down, parts are readily available just about anywhere in the world and if you are unable to fix it yourself, there’s a good chance someone close by will.

Aftermarket Upgrades:  I’ll be so bold as to say that the mighty KLR has more aftermarket part available for it then are available for Harley Davidson’s.  Outside of a dealer showroom, you’ll have a difficult time finding two KLR’s that are alike.  Owners have done everything from building supermotos, daily commuters, street trackers and full on Around The World touring machines out of the KLR.

Well placed aftermarket parts with more to come.

The Horsepower Paradox:  The KLR has a whopping 35 hp – 38 hp depending on whose numbers you go by.  With some modifications to the air box, the addition of an aftermarket exhaust pipe, engine upgrades and carburetor modification, it’s possible to get a few more ponies out of the engine package.  With all of that, the KLR will still fall short of the more expensive motorcycles and yet it uses all of its power wisely and is fun.  I own two other motorcycles with over 100 hp and torque enough to roast the rear tires and my KLR still makes me smile.

The Kawasaki KLR Kult has a strong following and will likely keep Kawasaki building the motorcycle for a few more years, at least.  Join us!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Be Careful Out There!

So I'm riding home from work this evening, riding down the main street in town and one that I ride everyday.  I'm following two other cars through an intersection, keeping my distance and positioned on the road to maximize my ability to see vehicles coming head on and to give those vehicles a good view of me.  A large 1 Ton pickup was waiting to turn left and sure enough turned in front of me.  Thankfully the speed of traffic was slow and I was able to lock up the brakes and avoid an ugly and likely painful collision.  If I'd hit that impatient and unobservant driver (my words at the time were way more "colorful") he would have been at fault and I'd be hurting or worse.

With this little incident as inspiration please read a post from earlier this year called Take Responsibility For Yourself because when it comes to Vehicle vs. Motorcycle interactions the motorcycle and it's rider will always lose regardless of who is at fault.  Observation and avoidance is the only way to stay healthy and safe on the road.

Stay safe and learn to avoid collisions with other vehicles.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Adventure Touring is all about the adventure. The bike is simply the vehicle.

I'm trolling Facebook and on one of the adventure touring pages I see photos from a couple from the UK who are riding from Alaska to Argentina on Honda C90's.  Most riders would consider anything smaller then a 650 cc machine to be too small for this type of trip, but not this couple.  Currently they are in British Columbia Canada and are experiencing some snowy conditions and yet they are pushing onward.

Check out their blog at Wonder On A Honda or on Facebook at Facebook Wonder On A Honda.

Proof that any motorcycle / scooter can be used for adventure.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 10 November 2014

Pacific Marine Circle Route, Dirt Modified

The Pacific Marine Circle Route is a favorite of Vancouver Island motorcyclists and visitors alike.  The scenery along the route is a great mix of mountains, the southern West Coast and East Coast of Vancouver Island and Lake Cowichan.  Throw in wildlife, rivers and some great twisting roads and it's easy to see the popularity of this route.

The traditional route along Pacific Marine Road is paved, although rough in sections between Lake Cowichan and Port Renfrew.  For those who crave dirt roads, there is another way.  Instead of turning onto Pacific Marine Road at Mesachie Lake, continue along South Shore Road to Honeymoon Bay and take Gordon River Road.  This road is a great 60 km (36 mile) logging road that passes through mountains and along rivers.

Some of the beautiful scenery along Gordon River Road

Port Renfrew

An amazing Fall day at Jordan River, BC - Part of the Pacific Marine Circle Route

I'd like to thank my riding partner for the day, Darren La Vigne, for showing me the Gordon River Road route and for his company.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Dream Your Ride - Riding In The Rain

Riding In The Rain

Wet roads will happen

Riding in the rain / wet road conditions is as much of a mindset as a skill and becoming comfortable riding in these conditions is important.  Rain can occur at any time and you will encounter these conditions at some point while touring.
Rain can occur on any ride

Rain and wet roads will reduce the available traction your motorcycle has and how you ride must be adjusted to compensate.  Oil dropped by vehicles will mix with rain, further decreasing traction.  When the roads become wet, the following tips will help.
*Roads will be most slick within an hour of a rainstorm.
*Slow down.  This is the best advice for riding in rain and wet conditions.
*Smooth use of the throttle will help maintain rear wheel traction.
*Smooth brake application.  This is especially important for non-ABS motorcycles.
*Allow extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
*Stay in the right or left portion of the road.  There is less oil in these sections.
*Be prepared.  Wear or carry rainproof riding gear.
*Make sure your tires are in good condition and designed for wet conditions.
Stopping in the rain is different then in dry conditions due to reduced traction.  Many new motorcycles have optional or standard ABS systems.  This will help keep your wheels from sliding when stopping, however extra space for stopping will still be required.
Cornering in rain and wet conditions will also be different then in dry conditions.  Set up the corner by slowing down before beginning your turn.  Staying off the brakes in the corner and smooth application of the throttle when exiting the corner will help maintain traction throughout the turn.  There are a few motorcycles on the market that come with traction control systems that are designed to help keep the rear wheel from spinning, especially when in a corner.  These systems can be found on many sport bikes and most of the new Adventure Touring motorcycles.
The scenery can be spectacular when it rains

Riding with waterproof luggage keeps your things dry

Weather is unpredictable and you’ll likely encounter rain or wet road conditions at some point in your riding journeys.  Becoming comfortable riding in these conditions, you might enjoy it.  At the very least, you’ll be safer.
Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Utah State Route 12

Utah State Route 12 is a road that runs between US 89 to the west and Utah State Route 24 to the east and covers 122 miles.  This road has a lot to offer a motorcyclist and is one of the best overall sections of blacktop that I've ridden.  If you like straight roads with the same scenery for mile after mile, stay away from Route 12.  If you like corners, elevations changes, national monuments and parks with little traffic, you'll love this road.

We rode from east to west on Utah State Route 12, just outside of Capitol Reef National Park

The "Hogback" is one unique section of road

Route 12 is great for corner carving

The view from 9,600 ft is great

Bryce Canyon National Park is near Route 12

Before leaving on this trip and during our journey, fellow motorcyclists raved about Utah State Route 12 and that it was a "must" to ride.  They were right!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Friday, 17 October 2014

Utah Route 261 and an encounter with the Moki Dugway

Utah Route 261 and an encounter with the Moki Dugway

Utah route 261 is a 34-mile stretch of road that connects US 163 to the south and Utah route 95 (Bicentennial Highway) to the north.  That’s the dull details.  Here are the reasons to explore this short, but scenic road.

The Upside down Mexican Hat.

OK, this is 3 miles south of 261 however you’ve got to see it.

The Valley Of The Gods.

Monument Valley is better known and yet The Valley Of The Gods is equally spectacular.

Cedar Mesa.

Overlooking the Valley of The Gods.

The Moki Dugway.

This awesome and challenging 3 mile, 1,500 ft elevation changing, hairpin corner laden gravel road is the real reason to take Utah 261. 

Yes, we took a Honda Gold Wing up this road.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride