Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 Is Over - Bring On 2016!

My Dream Your Ride blog began 2 years ago and my goal is the same as it was in the beginning, to provide information and encouragement for others to get out and make their dream trip a reality.

In the past two years the number of "hits" has grown and I would like to thank those who've taken the time to read and comment on my posts.  This keeps me going more then you'd ever know.  Thank you!

2015 was a great riding year for me and I trust you, my readers had a great one as well.

This year I had the pleasure of riding a lot near my home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, one of the best on and off road places to ride.  Vancouver Island has beautiful scenery and the road system would take years to full explore.

South Vancouver Island, near Victoria, British Columbia

Off-road and up high

Overlooking where I live

Enjoying the east coast of Vancouver Island

I also had the pleasure of riding again in Southwest Utah and Northwest Arizona with Great Southwest Moto Adventures.  I was shown some spectacular dirt roads and even more spectacular view by a group that knows this area very well.

Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim

Bryce Canyon National Park

The view from 10,000 feet

Adventure happens when the plan falls apart

In 2015 I was able to scratch off a couple of "bucket list" items.

Riding the Tail Of The Dragon in North Carolina / Tennessee.

Cruising the Tail Of The Dragon

The end of the run

The Dragon

North Carolina is beautiful

Attending the Baja 1000 off road race.  I also got to ride a section of the course.

On the road in Baja

San Cosme / Agua Verde Baja

Getting ready to watch the Baja 1000

The Red Bull trophy truck of Bryce Menzies

2016 also brought on a completely new adventure for me.  Being a Grandpa!

The challenge I'm making for  2016 is have more adventures then make 2015.  Game On!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Friday, 4 December 2015

Baja California, Mexico - A land of contrast, desolation and beauty

What would you do if a friend invited you to spend 2 weeks riding in Baja California, Mexico?

I trust you'd say "yes", which is what I did when a good friend invited me.

Many of my friends thought I was crazy for venturing into Mexico thanks to the news reports that paint Mexico as a dangerous place to visit, let alone explore Mexico on a motorcycle.  Fortunately a few friends had spend a lot of time in Baja and told me I would love it and that I'd feel safe.  They were right!

The Baja peninsula is separated from Mainland Mexico by the Sea of Cortez and while it's very much Mexico, Baja remains a sparsely populated land.  In the Baja you'll find desert, farm land, beaches and oasis like areas in the middle of the desert.  You'll also find the largest rock pile with rocks the size of houses.

Baja is also filled with some of the friendliest people I've encountered in my travels and they made the trip memorable.

Highway 1 runs the full length of the Baja and is 1,063 miles in length.  It is filled with fun corners and long straights.  The pavement is well maintained and perfect for road trips.

The oasis town of MulegĂ© Baja

The beach in the town of Loreto, Baja

The Sea Of Cortez near Santa RosalĂ­a, Baja

One of the best off road rides is into the small village of San Cosme.  The area is also known as Aqua Verde.  The road steep in sections and the views on the way to the beach are amazing.

The Baja 1000 is one of the best known off-road races

Taking a ride on the Baja 1000 course

Take a ride through The Baja, you'll enjoy it!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 9 November 2015

Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim

You're riding along a beautiful two-lane road that winds through meadows filled with buffalo and elk.  There are few cars on this road and the horizon appears to climb to the clouds.

This is what you'll experience when riding along Highway 67 into the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

The North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is the lesser know section of the park because it's "out of the way" and the road into this section of the park is only open from May through October due to snow.  The elevations in this section of the park can be over 8'000 ft.

 Point Imperial

The North Rim offers view of the canyon that are spectacular and different from the more visited South Rim.  There is a lodge and cabins available in the park that are a throw back to earlier times and they provide "out the front door" access to the canyon.

Views from the North Rim near the lodge

One of the best riding roads in this section of Arizona is Cape Royal Road which winds along the canyon rim and provides many scenic overlooks and hiking trails, if you want to get of your motorcycle and stretch your legs.  The drive is 34 miles round trip and it's well worth the side tour.

The rock outcropping with the hole in it that's in the left part of the above photo has a trail that goes to the edge of the outcropping and provides a stunning view of the valley below.  

Heading north on Cape Royal Road.

If you're riding in Northern Arizona, take the trip into the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and enjoy the solitude and the great riding.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Skyline Drive - Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Skyline Drive is a beautiful 109 mile road that begins near the town of Front Royal, Virginia and runs along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northern Virginia.  The drive covers the entire length of the Shenandoah National Park and was built between 1931 and 1939.  The drive ends near Waynesboro, Virginia and becomes the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

With a speed limit of 35 mph, plan to spend at least 4 hours to complete the full length of Skyline Drive.  There are plenty of scenic overlooks that will add more time to your experience.

The road is kept in amazing condition and the sights and smells of the forest add to the experience that are only available with a motorcycle (or convertible car).

If you get tired of the scenery, there are a few exits off Skyline drive that will take you off the mountain crest and into other areas of Shenandoah National Park.

This is what you can expect the full length of Skyline Drive

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited - A Modern Classic Touring Motorcycle

For the record, I'm a long time fan of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and for complete disclosure, I'm also a stock holder of Harley-Davidson in large part due to the power of the Harley-Davidson brand.

For years, perhaps decades, critics have predicted the demise of Harley-Davidson because the motorcycles are "old" technology and have failed to keep pace with the Japanese and European motorcycles.  Harley-Davidson has chosen to ignore the critics and listen to those who ride their motorcycles and as a result sells more motorcycles over 650 cc's then any other manufacturer.

We took the Ultra Limited back to it's "Birth" place in York, Pennsylvania

In 2014 Harley- Davidson introduced their Rushmore Project line of touring motorcycles, motorcycles that were designed with significant input of owners.  The goal was to make a more refined touring motorcycle that keeps the Harley-Davidson "charm".  A goal that was met and then some.

The motorcycle that I took out for 7 days, with the help of Liberty Harley Davidson in Rahway, New Jersey, was a 2015 Ultra Limited with less then 6,000 miles on the clock.  On the surface the motorcycle looks similar to the Electra Glide / Electra Glide Ultra  model that first hit the showroom floors in the 1960's and close to identical to the 2013 model.  That's only on the surface, which to say the least is iconic and very popular among V-Twin enthusiasts.

Digging a little deeper there are a number of changes (improvements) to the outside package.

First, there's a lot more storage capacity.  The saddlebags deeper, wider and a little longer.  They also open much easier with a single lever that's hidden between the saddlebag and the motorcycle.  The Tour-Pak or trunk is also larger without looking out of place on the motorcycle.  It's also raged to carry more weight.

Second, the nerf bar (crash bar) that's in place to protect the saddlebags is closer to the bags and doesn't hit the passenger in the back of the legs.  This may seem minor until you get a passenger with shorter legs on the motorcycle.

The final change to the outside package is the Batwing faring.  It looks the same, however there were subtle changes made based on wind tunnel testing which has made the motorcycle much easier to handle, especially in windy conditions.  There has been a vent added between the windshield and the faring that takes away much of the buffeting and "suction" that's common with large touring motorcycles.  All this makes the ride more pleasant for both rider and passenger.

Getting under the skin of the big Harley you'll find more changes which make huge improvements in the handling and performance on the road.

The chassis was changed to improve stability and enhance cornering and the front fork was beefed up by increasing the diameter to 49mm from 42mm.  The steering head was stiffened up and the damping of the forks tuned to improve cornering while keeping the ride smooth and comfortable.

The Ultra is powered by a high output 103 cubic inch twin cam engine. Yes, this is still an air cooled (with a new water "twist"), overhead valve, pushrod engine that shakes like an out of balance washing machine at idle.  Old technology by engine standards and yet a key ingredient to the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  The new engine has been tuned to kick out 105 foot pounds of torque and is married to a 6-speed overdrive transmission that gets every ounce of power from the engine to the rear wheel.  The new Rushmore project motorcycles have added a water cooling system, however this cools the exhaust ports only.  This lowers the heat that the rider would feel on the older models and improves overall performance of the engine.

After putting over 2,000 miles on the 2015 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited in 7 days, complete with my wife on the back and the luggage filled I can say this is the best Harley-Davidson touring motorcycle I've ridden to date.  It's comfortable, handles very well for a large motorcycle and is equally happy on the highway as it is carving up curvy mountain roads.

Our test / trip covered 8 states and took us down the famous Tail Of The Dragon in North Carolina / Tennessee along with the little known North Carolina state route 151, otherwise known as the Devils Drop.  This road drops (literally) off the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Asheville, NC.  In the first 4 miles of tight corners you'll drop 1,700 feet in elevation.  That's an average 8% grade and I can tell you there are sections that are much steeper than that.  The big Harley-Davidson was easy to maneuver down both roads.

Playing on The Tail Of The Dragon

One of the "perks" of the new Ultra Limited, and the other touring Harley-Davison's as well, is the Infotainment system.  This is a combination radio / satellite radio / sound system that also includes an easy to use and read GPS system.  I've always avoided guidance system electronics in favor of a real map, however after playing around with this system I became hooked.  I found it easy to program and when it was programmed to take the scenic route (other modes include shortest, fastest, curves and toll avoidance) we found places that were "scenic".  This included crossing one of six remaining covered bridges in Maryland.  The system also made navigating the New York / Newark highways easy and allowed me concentrate on traffic.

Loys Station Covered Bridge in Fredrick County Maryland

The Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited is a large touring motorcycle that appeals to the senses of the rider who appreciates the classic Harley-Davison look, sound and engine vibration but wants a motorcycle that handles well and is comfortable.  In short it works.

More information about this motorcycle can be found at

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 21 September 2015

Southwest Utah - Adventure Riding Playground

Southwest Utah is a riding paradise for on and off road enthusiasts.  The scenery is stunning and it would take years to explore the paved and unpaved roads that twist and turn through the hills, mountains and valleys in the region.

Southwest Utah is best known for Bryce and Zion National Parks and both are beautiful and should be visited.

Zion National Park

Bryce National Park

Outside of the National Parks, Southwest Utah has a lot to offer if you're willing to explore.

My guides to this region were Curtis Cummings and Jeff Anderson of Great Southwest Moto Adventures who led our group of 5 through 3 days and 625 miles of rural paved and dirt roads. 

I usually like to explore on my own and shy away from tour groups, however Curtis generously donated a 3 day tour to one of my chosen charities (Lost For A Reason) for a silent auction.  I won!  

My first meeting with the group was a bit delayed as I managed to get stuck in the infamous Utah mud while exploring a couple of days on my own and I arrived at the meeting place in Cedar City, Utah 7 hours late.  

Utah mud is nasty, slick and heavy!

I met the group the morning of the ride and was reassured by the relaxed attitude and impressed with how well they were prepared, which would come in handy during the trip.

The first day was spent riding the back roads of the Dixie National Forest between Cedar City and Bryce Canyon, where we stopped for lunch.  The afternoon was spent off road, including a little more mud, and some stunning sights.  

10,000+ feet provides a great viewing platform.

On the dirt

We finished the day riding into our "base" for the next two days, Panguitch, Utah.

If you like fresh cinnamon buns, then a trip to the Flying W in Panguitch is in order.  Make sure you bring a few hungry friends to help.

Large and tasty!

On day 2 we rode a section of the Paiute ATV Trail system, which involves over 2,000 miles of trails that range from easy to extremely challenging.  The day started out with a slight "glitch" as one of the bikes experienced a flat tire.  Fortunately all the necessary tools and materials required to fix a flat were packed and the group was off in no time.

The trail system is on both private and public lands and is open to all forms of motorcycles, ATV's, side-by-sides and 4 legged creatures (horses).  We even hit a "traffic" jam while on the ride.
Mutton traffic jam

We also rode over the Tushar Mountains, hitting an elevation of 11,500 ft.

Rare air at 11,500 Ft.

On day three we were back in the mountains.  Boulder Mountain to be exact.

The first stop was at Posey Lake.  A beautiful place that's loaded with trout.

Posey Lake

Next we rode over a section of road called the Hells Backbone.  This is a narrow dirt road that follows the crest of a ridge, including a short bridge that spans a gap in the ridge and offers great views of the canyon below.

Hells Backbone Bridge

Returning to the pavement, we rode Utah Highway 12 into the Grand Staircase National Monument and across a section called Hogsback where the highway runs on top of a narrow spine in the landscape.

Riding across The Hogsback

If you're into riding pavement and scenery, plan a trip that includes Utah Highway 12.  I guarantee you'll love it!

Returning to the dirt, we worked our way to Hatch, Utah and then up to the Bryan Head recreation area for a stunning view of Cedar Brakes National Monument.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

After 3 amazing days of riding with equally amazing scenery, it was time to return to reality.  At least for a couple of weeks.

Southwest Utah is an amazing place to ride and Great Southwest Moto Adventures can guide you and your friends through an adventure that you'll remember for a long time.  Please check them out.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride!

Monday, 7 September 2015

I Love New York!

The New York skyline from the Staten Island Ferry.

If I can get even one person to get out and take a Dream Ride or even take a trip to somewhere they've always wanted to visit then I've fulfilled my goal with Dream Your Ride.

New York is a city that's been on my Dream list for a while and now I've been there.  What a stimulating place!

Photos and movies simply are not enough to experience this city.  You need to walk the streets, hear the sounds and be immersed completely in the New York experience.

Time Square at dusk.

Subway "Surfing"

The most sobering experience of my visit was being at Ground Zero, especially with the 14th anniversary of 9/11 only a few days away.  Seeing the memorial fountains and the engraved names of those who died on that day hit me hard.

The fountain where the South Tower of the World Trade Center stood.

Also seeing the One World Trade Center towering over the memorial struck me as a symbol of hope and a testament to human resilience.

One World Trade Center

And when in New York a visit to the Statue Of Liberty is in order.

This is a blog about riding and so I paid a visit to New York City Harley Davidson in Manhattan, a beautiful full service dealer in the heart of the city.  I wanted to take home a beautiful Road Glide Ultra CV, however I settled for a shirt.

Paying homage to the famous NYC Yellow Cab.

Next up a 7 day cruise on a 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited through 7 eastern U.S. states.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride