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

Monday, 13 October 2014

Navajo National Monument & Monument Valley

 Navajo National Monument & Monument Valley

Our quest of the day was to ride from Page, AZ to Monument Valley and spend some time at the Navajo Tribal Park in Northeast Arizona.  The route from Page, southeast on Arizona Route 98 is relaxing.  The road winds through some beautiful landscapes and surreal sandstone formations.  At the end of the road we took a left on US 160 and headed east toward Kayenta, AZ.

The plan was to ride to Kayenta, AZ and have lunch before riding into Monument Valley, and then we saw the sign to Navajo National Monument.  The best part of adventure riding is being able to take detours to places or down roads that were unforeseen in the planning and so we turned off on a 22-mile detour along Arizona 564, which was well worth the extra time. 

Navajo National Monument is a great place to learn about the history of the area and if you’re into hiking, there are some easy trails that will take you to different parts of the canyon, including a viewpoint where you can see remains of cave dwellings.  Be sure to make the visitor center your first stop.  The ranger will help you plan your visit.

Navajo National Monument, Arizona

Returning to US 160, we rode to Kayenta, which is the southern gateway to Monument Valley and it’s located at the junction of US 160 and US 163.  Kayenta is a great place to stop for gas and food and more history of the Navajo Nation.  One of the most interesting places to stop is the local Burger King.  That’s right Burger King.  During WWII a group of Navajo known as the Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental in developing a code that was virtually unbreakable and was a key element to the success of the US military in the South Pacific.  A historical display is set up in the Kayenta Burger King and it’s well worth visiting, hungry or not.

Heading north on US 163 is breath taking.  The rock formations of Monument Valley are out of this world and can be very distracting.  Just past the Arizona – Utah border is the entrance to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and this location offers the best views of the valley and is well worth the price of admission.  Take your time and enjoy the views!

Riding through Monument Valley, Arizona

On this trip I was riding a Honda Gold Wing, which kept us on the pavement, I will be returning to ride and explore the dirt roads of the area around Kayenta and Monument Valley.  The area is an off road playground and must be explored.

The area around Kayenta and Monument Valley is beautiful and yet many in the region live in less then ideal conditions.  There is a group, Lost For A Reason, that is made up of motorcycle riders and enthusiasts and their goal is to help make life a little better for the people in the region.  Give their website,, a view.  This short video explains what they goal of the group is.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Fear - Use It!

Fear – Use it!

The talk around the water cooler last week was how people have become afraid of just about everything.  It’s easy to see where this is coming from as all you have to do is read the headlines.  Ebola, ISIS, shootings in the work place and schools…  This is often the lead-in to the news.  One crises ends (or becomes “old” news) and a new crises surfaces.  People who are hooked on the news of the day and who fail to investigate further, take the position that the world is a dangerous place, become afraid and look for safety.  Fear has become big business and people are willing to pay for the illusion of safety in the form of money, votes, avoiding unknowns and giving up freedoms in exchange for the “promise” of security.

Fear is a part of our emotional make-up and you can let it control you or you can use fear as an advantage.  Those who have mastered the art of using fear to their advantage will appear to have no fear at all and are often viewed as reckless or crazy.  Some will consider them dangerous and attempt to “control” them, while others admire them and envy their fearlessness.  In reality those who have mastered fear still have fears and are afraid.   They have learned to evaluate why they are afraid, calculate the worst possible outcome and if the reward trumps the worst possible outcome they prepare for the worst and move forward with confidence and experience life to it’s fullest.  If you can do this for yourself in small things, the better you'll get at using fear as an advantage. 

When it comes to travel and exploring new places, many will stay home because they fear the unknown and possible dangers that lurk in that unknown.  My wish is that you will be bold, turn off the news, learn about where they want to go, plan accordingly and then go.  I will guarantee you that your life will be better in so many ways and you will thank yourself for pushing your limits and moving past fear.  

Fear almost kept me from crossing this Peruvian bridge made of plants and sticks.  Watching the local "guardian" of the bridge make the crossing, along with his encouragement, gave me the confidence to do it myself.  It's a memory I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

My GoPro video of the Q'eswachaka crossing

Be bold, Dream Your Ride and GO!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 6 October 2014

Dream Your Ride - Page, AZ and Antelope Canyon

The ride from Mt. Carmel, Utah to Page, AZ is a short one and for our adventure, the shortest ride of the trip.  The goal going through Page was to take a tour of Antelope Canyon, which is a narrow "slot" canyon located about 20 minutes from town.  The draw of the canyon is the beautiful colors of the canyon walls, especially when the sun shines through the top of the canyon.  It's one of the most photographed canyon and yet only became popular 20 years ago.

We chose Antelope Canyon Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie and we were very happy with the quality of the tour and our guide.  He was informative of the area and knowledgeable about camera settings to get the most out of the canyon.  Getting to the canyon by way of 4X4 was an added bonus.

On the mesa overlooking Page

Glen Canyon Dam.

Glen Canyon Dam Bridge.  As awesome to look at as it is to ride over.

Off-Road at it's best.

 The colors are impressive.

My friend "Bear".

If you're in the Grand Canyon area, take the detour to Page and visit Antelope Canyon.  You'll be glad you did.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Zion National Park

Zion - Mount Carmel Highway, Utah

Zion National Park is located in the south west corner of Utah.  You can get there from the west by taking Utah Route 9 from I-15 at Washington, Utah.

Zion is relatively small National Park, however the scenery is beautiful and well worth the entry fee.   The park is known for it's hiking trails and is a favorite of rock climbers, if you're into that activity.  Zion is also one of the busiest national parks so in order to keep the traffic to a minimum, you'll need to take a shuttle that runs every 15 minutes to have access to much of the park.

For the motorcyclist, the gem of Zion National Park is the ride along Route 9 / Zion - Mt. Carmel Parkway heading east out of the park.  The first part is a winding, climbing road that leads to a tunnel that's carved into the mountain and is almost a mile long.  The tunnel has great visibility with stunning vies of the valley below.  Exiting the tunnel, the remaining route descends to Mt. Carmel and from there you have the option to head north to Bryce National Park or south into Arizona.

Zion National Park was well worth the visit and the ride.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride