These are all written comments from people in Paul's life. Enjoy them in their lightly edited form here.
Testimonial One -- Washington, Oregon Coast and Northern California
Testimonial Two -- September 2007
Testimonial Three -- I usually ride alone
Washington, Oregon Coast and Northern California trip.
Duration: 6 days
From Ben in Seattle Washington
I have known Paul for years. As a matter of fact we met on the road in 1995 when he was on his 5½ month trip to SA. We hooked up in Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. Since then we have travelled thousands of miles together and shared tons of BS. Like he says, some of it was true or is it the other way?
Having been a rider for almost 45 years, I can say I have seen a lot! I have travelled with many people, and have done many things surrounding this love we share. Motorcycling!
Travelling with Paul has become one of my hobbies. I have always been amazed at how he can make me laugh. At times I could not eat or breathe I was laughing hard. His French Canadian Humour and is “Take it or leave” attitude/personality is to be experienced to be believed.
After he completed his two ridiculously cold and now world renown cross Canada winter trips on his motorcycle, I was one of the many who asked him to write about it.
But what I also asked him was that he should share his unbelievable ability to travel, find his way anywhere and always (And I mean always!), find memorable places to eat and sleep. I know many people who have travelled with him who say the same thing. His success rate at picking the right place has always been 100%. Damn! I still do not know how he does it! I remember going through California with him one day; and it was breakfast time. Paul likes to follow another rider. Not that he is not a good leader; believe me he is. That day he was behind me, and as we went through Greenville California off Hwy 89 I looked in my mirror and he was turning off the road into this little restaurant I had not even noticed even though I had just gone by it. I turned and Paul was excited about this place; saying it had all the makings of a great place. Maybe it was the name! Sunrise restaurant! As a French Canadian and a rider Paul knows good food and eating for him is a pleasure; not a necessity. To make a long story short, I had the most incredible breakfast; and he said they serve the world’s best biscuits and gravy. Next to the Mitchell’s cafe in Mitchell Oregon! How the hell does he know this? I went there too and he is right!
When Paul told me about his travel planning company and asked me if I would try one of his planners; (that is how he calls it), I said I would love to. He put one together for me. 6 days in the PNW! I like back roads, I need good food and none of this corporate crappy grub, I need to sleep in a place where my bike is safe and i hate Slabbing! He tailored one to my preferences after I answered about 25 questions. I was born in Pacific North West and I pride myself in saying to any of my friends that I know my PNW.
From Port Angeles to Long beach, Florence, and then inland and through Northern California on some roads that any motorcyclist should experience, to some more back roads that had me salivating in my helmet; his planner worked flawlessly. The places he highlighted, the roads he pointed to and the accommodations he advised on as well as the restaurant, along with the time/ distance between them made for a trip that was headache and logistical nightmare-free. Some of these roads I had been on before and knew them; but I can only say that if it had been someone that wanted to see this area and had never been there before, and was afraid that bad planning or lack of knowledge about the area would screw up their time/miles schedule; his planner will blow him/her away! It is not a schedule. It is more like a conversation you had with him and put on paper. You do what you want with it; and by no means have to follow it to the letter. He also advised me to write down some more info on the convenient area he has on the planner about other places and roads, so I could share with others and also input it on his site for others to use and know about. His planner which I call my “personal map” is simply the answer to the question we all ask ourselves when we take off on a trip. ‘How can I know...... (Fill the blank)? Not of all us have GPS’s! Thank God! And even a GPS cannot do what he can!
His package would have been about $80-100 if I had paid or it. Worth every damn penny!
I might live near Bill Gates; but I do not have his money. Therefore my time on the road must be spent riding; not cussing! My opinion is that Paul’s stuff does just that and so much more! On a more personal note! Just riding with him is worth the money!
Try it! What do you have to lose? A few days of swearing!
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Pacific Northwest/BC Trip -- September 2007
I was going to Victoria for work. Hey, why not arrange a bike trip with Paul at the same time. He mentioned this quite a few times: get you’re a… here, I will get you a bike and we will go together somewhere. I jumped on the occasion. I called him maybe 2 weeks earlier; let him know that I would get there on the 9 Sept (his birthday) and that I would take a week off work. In no time, Paul had arranged to get me a bike. Melanie’s son was kind and generous enough to lend me his BMW 650 Dakar. Perfect, Paul and I would have the exact same bike. This way, no winning, no jealousy, no “I ride this one today, no it’s my turn, no it is mine, no you had it yesterday……`
So, I flew to Victoria on a Sunday, did my job, took a cab to Paul and Melanie’s, did some talking with them. It was sooooo nice to meet them again. Paul got me a suit, helmet, gloves, boots (2 different boots. He noticed it on the 6th day…, at least I had one left and one right). Comes Monday morning, we leave at 0730 hrs. One thing I learned with Paul is how to travel light. There is no need to take two sets of pants, 3 t-shirts, etc. The bare minimum. He had me fully equipped. He even offered me a set of used ear plugs, wax included that I immediately turned down. How generous of you Bocco. How lucky I was, he found a new pair in his garage. So, we took the first ferry to Port Angeles. The weather was just beautiful. Not a single cloud, approx +10C.
We headed south, went through Washington. First night in Oregon. Can’t remember were we slept but it was a nice little motel where he and Melanie went before. The next morning, Paul took me to a small restaurant where he introduced me to Biscuit and Gravy, his favorite breakfast, and I truly understand why. The first 2 hours of riding was through thick fog, but it was still beautiful. When we crossed the …..river that leads to Oregon, the top of the bridge was in the clouds. It was like going to heaven. At mid afternoon, as we were going east, Paul was riding first, I quickly saw a small road on my right. We passed it and thought to myself: too bad, I would have loved to see where it went. This is something I love to do, taking a small road and see what is at the end. I guess it comes from our Dad. When we were young, Dad used to take us for a ride, somewhere, to explore the back country. Driving just for the fun of driving. We would ride for hours…..and, there was always something beautiful to see. Anyway, here we are, we pass the road. Suddenly, Paul pulls over, stops. I stop by him and he says: how about we go and see where it goes. Hey, perfect. Anyway, there is nobody waiting for us….We turedn around, took that small road which ended up being the most beautiful road I had ever taken. It went up the mountain, up and up and up…what was surprising is that it was one lane wide, full of switch backs and paved. We rode for at least an hour. It went over the mountain and then went down. We saw only one guy riding a bike. It looks like he was way more surprised to see somebody than we were, specially when he realized that he was on our side of the road. We ended up in some kind of national Park camping, followed a river and drove by a huge dam. It was just gorgeous. Later on, we found a small motel, went to a car wash to clean our bikes. How could we sleep without washing the bikes. For Paul, it doesn’t make sense. The following morning, we had breakfast at Twin Sisters. Guess what we ate: Biscuit and Gravy. Then, we headed north. Paul had been there before. Sometimes, I wonder if there is a place where Paul has not been yet. Another day of riding on secondary roads, with beautiful sceneries in a perfect weather, sunny sky with not a single cloud….
We crossed the border at ….in the Okanagan Valley. We went north again and back south on a road where things could have gone very very very bad. I made 3 mistakes in may be a 20 km stretch. First, at one point, we were following what we call in French some ‘’teteux’’. Teteux are slow driving people who should not be on the road. So, Paul decides to pass some of them. He accelerates and drives in between 2 cars with me not knowing what the road is like ahead. Just as he swings on the left lane to keep passing the rest of the teteux, I fly just by him. He said later on: never ever do that again. When we ride together, if I pass, you pass. If I ride between cars, you ride between the same cars… don’t ever pass me like this again….OK.. I got it. Second mistakes: We were on a very curvy road. The adrenaline was going through my veins… I was almost laughing in my helmet. I was first, Paul followed me. We took the curves with graciousness. ( I love to think so). What I didn’t know, is that there was quite a curve coming up. I was going too fast to take it properly. I moved on the left lane. There was an angel flying over me because fortunately, there was no truck or car coming the opposite way. My hearth was pumping blood at may be 1200 gallons a minute. I signed Paul with my left hand meaning to drive beside me. His smile meant everything, like: that was a really close one…. I flipped my visor up and shouted to him. Shit, you know the road, move ahead. I will follow you. I have to mention here that Paul admitted that the same thing happened to him on this same curve 2 years before. We slowed down for may be 2-3 km and then the adrenalin pumped back in….we were going from curves to curves…and then, the mother of all curves (to my not very experienced bike riding standards) appeared right before my own eyes. Paul took it perfectly….I didn:t…. I was going way too fast to take it. (Anyway, that’s what I like to believe) or may be it was just my lack of experience. So here I am AGAIN. With all my power (or the little ability) that I had, I leaned my bike as much as I could. There was no way in the world that I could take this curve. I moved slowly to the left, hit the gravel, the bikes slid, my foot sliding on the ground, I kept turning but that damn concrete wall got closer and closer to me a little bit too fast. Both tires hit the bottom of the wall and I (with the army of angels hovering over me) managed to keep the rubbers on the ground. Paul told me that all he saw was a cloud of dust in his mirror. I stopped the bike, put it on the stand and walked towards Paul who had turned around to see what had happened. I was shaking. We walked the curve and noticed that somebody had written on the wall ``Mike got his ass spanked here``. As we kept walking, we noticed that I had not been the first one who had taken the curve a little bit too fast. There were pieces of bikes all over the place. Mirrors, spokes, pieces of fiberglass every where. Any way, after laughing our guts out, we kept going, took a ferry, came back the same way because the road was closed ahead. We slept in Kelowna, got up early, had Biscuit and Gravy (again). We drove south on the Duffy lake highway, passed by Whistler, took the ferry to Nanaimo and went back home through the Malahat. Seven days of riding in perfect weather, sunny all the time, not a cloud. Beautiful roads that we see only in movies, sceneries that I will never forget, lots and lots of curves. No mechanical problems. We laughed so much. Paul showed me what it was to ride a bike. The freedom that I felt, the peace that I had while riding with my brother was unbelievable. Too bad Dad wasn’t there. Actually, I am sure he was there with us, specially on that curvy road…..I understood why Paul loves it so much. We got home at around 20:00 hrs that evening.
The following morning, Paul, Melanie and I rode to Port renfrew to have breakfast. It was pouring rain….When we came back to Victoria, Paul and Melanie went home and I kept riding all day in the rain. When I got home, Melanie had prepared salmon on the BBQ. The best salmon I had ever had. In a few words, that was a perfect week, spent riding a BMW but most importantly, spent riding a bike with my brother.
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I Usually Ride Alone
I usually ride alone; whether I am going in to the interior of BC or north to Inuvik, NWT I prefer to ride alone. Riding alone tends to highlight the adventure on a road trip. Late last summer Paul suggested that we take a trip into the interior for three or four days. I would normally respond to such an invitation by saying, I’ll see you there, and arrange a meeting place. That way I get to ride alone.
Through my conversations with Paul prior to his invite, it had become obvious that he was a very experienced rider. The downside of riding alone is that we are not exposed to the many riding styles that are out there. We do learn from observing each other. Therefore, I decided to take him up on his invitation, who knows, I might learn something! After all, Paul has ridden across Canada numerous times, the last two times being in the dead of winter. That is INTENSE! I think he gets a little bored during the winter months!
This jaunt took us on to highway 6, Vernon to Nelson. This road must be one of the best in BC for any motorcyclist. Following Paul on my 2008 R1200GS was a challenge. When we finally stopped to take in the scenery I initiated an intense volley of questions as to how he was able to navigate the many twists and turns so efficiently on his 2004 R1150. Always eager to help, Paul passed along his experiences and riding technique.
Motorcycle riding is all about having good judgment. Taking Paul up on his invite was good judgment, good experience and a good laugh!
Chemainus, British Columbia
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