Sunday, 31 January 2016

Baja California, Mexico - In Pictures and Video

The pacific ocean near Ensenada

Mama Espinosa's restaurant in El Rosario.  Baja 1000 memorabilia everywhere.

The pacific ocean near El Rosario

One of the many calm and quiet beaches on the Sea Of Cortez

A group shot on the beach

Breakfast at "The Office" in Cabo San Lucas

The Tropic Of Cancer

A beautiful view overlooking Agua Verde 

The Sea Of Cortez near Santa Rosalia 

One of many "curvy" sections of Federal Highway 1

Desert riding at it's best

One of the pit areas during the Baja 1000

Never a dull moment on the road

Ending the trip by taking in the festivities at the finish line of the Baja 1000

Baja is an dirt road paradise

The paved roads are also nice...

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 25 January 2016

The 2016 Vancouver Motorcycle Show

I'll admit it's taking more to impress me when it comes to new models of motorcycles and the 2016 Vancouver Motorcycle Show confirmed that 2016 will be a "lull" year for the motorcycle industry.  At least when it comes to new products.

The trend for 2016 appears to be focused on refining what's already working, especially in the "Retro Classic" line of motorcycles.

BMW jumped into the small displacement pool with the G310R, a fun looking naked or roadster motorcycle that should appeal to the new rider or someone who wants an affordable and fun "around town" bike.

BMW also announced the R Nine T Scrambler, which will be in dealers later this year.  This is essentially a  R Nine T in Scrambler trim.

Yamaha continues to add models built around it's popular 900 Triple engine with the introduction of the XSR 900.  This motorcycle follows the ongoing trend of naked roadsters that seem to be the "in" style.  Now if Yamaha would come out with a Tenere 900...

Honda is the latest manufacturer to take a swing at the BMW GS line with the introduction of the Africa Twin, a 1000cc parallel twin Adventure style motorcycle that is advertised to be a good option for those who want to ride long distances on dirt roads as well as pavement.  Based on the states performance specs and the base price, this motorcycle will be competing with the BMW GS 800 and Triumph Tiger 800 XC lines then the big BMW.  Time will tell if this long awaited motorcycle with live up to the hype.  I do want to take one for a spin before making any further comments.

The 2016 Honda Africa Twin

Honda also introduced the VFR1200X.  This is an Adventure style motorcycle that'll likely stay on pavement.  It's powered by a 1,237cc V4 engine that's been with honda for a few years and while new to North America, the VFR1200X has been sold in Europe as the Honda Crosstourer since 2012.

Kawasaki appears to the the only one of the Japanese Big 4 that is staying with it's lineup from 2015, with refinements and new paint schemes on most models.

Triumph focused on the reworked Thruxton line.  In the past the Thruxton was based on the 900cc parallel twin that's found in the Bonneville line.  For 2016, the British brand upped their game by putting a 1200cc parallel twin engine in the reworked Thruxton, which should excite those who like the "Retro" style, but want some power too.  The Thruxton is also available in an "R" spec model.

The 2016 Triumph Thruxton R

Triumph has also reworked their 1200 Tiger Explorer and Tiger 800 series of Adventure motorcycles, however chose not to bring the new models to the show.  I was very disappointed about that.

Ducati has made some changes to most of their models, however nothing "earth shattering".  The exception was the introduction of the Multistrada 1200 Enduro.  This is not a Multistrada 1200 in offroad clothing, but a true "BIG" Adventure motorcycle.  It comes with laced spoked wheels, a 19" front wheel, well thought out engine protections (more will be needed of course) and a big two sided swing arm.  If any new motorcycle has a chance to compete against the BMW GS, this will be it.

I Love Italian!

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Outer Banks North Carolina - East Coast Beach Life

The Outer Banks are a string of small, narrow islands that line most of the coast of North Carolina.  Most of the islands are linked together by a series of bridges that also connect the islands to mainland North Carolina.

A view of the Outer Banks

From a historic point of the view, the seas off shore of the Outer Banks are littered with ship wrecks that go back to pre Civil War times and the Wright Brothers used the dunes at Kill Devil Hills (not Kitty Hawk) to launch their "flying machine" and made history on December 17, 1903 when the first powered flight in a fixed wing aircraft was made.

Wright Brothers Memorial

Having lived on the west coast all my life, living in Southern California and now in British Columbia, the east coast beaches were quite different and I liked them.  I quite enjoyed walking on the baby powder sand, feeling the warm breeze and watching the squadrons of pelicans cruising the coastline.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, North Carolina

Riding the Outer Banks is more of a beach cruising experience, which was a nice change of pace after playing in the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains.  This is where the Infotainment system on the big Harley Davidson was put to good use.  Beach cruising at it's best!

Sunset on the Outer Banks

I'll be back to the Outer Banks for an extended visit very soon.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Tail Of The Dragon - North Carolina and Tennessee

The "Tail Of The Dragon" is the name for a section of US 129 that is one of the "holy grail" roads for motorcyclists.  The road can be found in southwest North Carolina and runs over the Smoky Mountains into Tennessee.  The appeal is 318 beautiful corners over 11 miles.

Riding The Tail Of The Dragon on a 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited

So popular it has it's own poster

The corners on the Tail Of the Dragon are well built and smooth.  The real challenge is navigating all the traffic, usually motorcycles, and paying attention to what you're doing instead of watching the beautiful scenery.  We happened to be in the area during the Thunder In The Smokies Fall Rally and there were motorcycles everywhere.  It was great!

Along the road you'll see a few professional photographers and more then a few "other" photographers.  The professionals are taking your picture and hope that you'll check out their website and buy a few of yourself.  The photos are very good and reasonably priced, for me at least.  Now the "other" photographers are set up hoping to catch someone crash, which is common apparently, and gain notoriety that way.  

On of many Dragon sculptures

Cockpit view

The Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains are a motorcyclists dream playground and The Tail Of The Dragon is but one of hundreds of sections of curvy, challenging and scenic roads in the area.  If you like corners, this is the place to ride.

Enjoy the video of The Tail Of The Dragon

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride

Monday, 4 January 2016

Dream Your Ride 2016

As we enter the first full week of 2016, plans for 2016 are in the works.

First up will be my annual trip to the Vancouver Motorcycle Show on January 23rd.  There are a few motorcycles I want to see and "ogle" over.

1.  The Ducati Multistrada Enduro:  A Superbike powered bike that has off-road suspension and was designed to actually go in the dirt.  I like that!

2.  The Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200 XCX:  I've been a fan of the Triumph inline triple engine for a long time (I own a 1999 Triumph Sprint ST 955) and enjoyed the 6 days I spent on a 2014 model in 2015.  The new Explorer comes with semi-active suspension, programable ride settings and cornering ABS.  There are a few other new "bells and whistles" as well.  On paper this points to a motorcycle that should be significantly better then 2015 model.

3.  The Honda Africa Twin:  There has been a lot of hype about this motorcycle and I'd like to see what that's all about.

4.  The Triumph Thruxton R:  I love the cafe racer style, however in years past most of them were wimpy and handled poorly.  On paper this motorcycle has the looks and an engine that should be "entertaining".

There will be others that I'll discover once I'm there, however the above are the four that I'll be looking at the most.

In the Dream Ride department there are more then a few rides planned and several that are currently in the "possibility" stage.

"For sure" rides:

1.  Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island, BC Canada:  This is in my "back yard" and I've never ridden into the park.

2.  The Cascade Loop in Northwest Washington:  3 days of beautiful mountains and mountain roads.

3.  Crows Nest Highway British Columbia / Idaho Panhandle / Columbia River:  This will be a 7 day (or more) cruise through the Northwest.

Possible rides:

1.  Maui or Kauai, Hawaii:  Small islands with beautiful roads and scenery.

2.  Northern Italy:  A big bucket list ride to be sure.

3.  Baja California, Mexico Off-Road:  After getting a taste of Baja off-road the idea of doing more is very appealing.

4.  Southwest Utah / Northwest Arizona:  I've ridden in this area 3 years in a row and there are many roads left to explore.  May as well make it an annual tradition.

I would love to have you share your plans for 2016 by adding a comment in the blog.

Gerald Trees
Dream Your Ride