Our weather in Oregon has been a bit on the cool and slightly wet side this spring. But today temperatures jumped to nearly 80 degrees and it was too good to pass up. I did ride the bicycle a bit to try and get back on that horse, but the ride on the Ducati was sadly only the third ride of the year.
Paul and I are planning to hit Laguna Seca for MotoGP and do a proper vacation on motorcycles. But I’m a bit out of practice to say the least. He may be taking his BMW R75/5, but he’s damn proficient on it in the corners and I really do have to work to keep up with him. I need to attend one of Roger’s MotorcyclExcitement schools in the near future! (I maintain his current website and hope to make a new site for him soon!)
The good news is that Paul did such a stellar job dialing in this bike for Sears Point last year that she’s ready to hit the road again with nearly no adjustments.
The last time Paul and I made this trip was over 15 years ago. Shame on me for letting this fantastic trip from being relived for so long. But we more than made up for it in the end. This trip will serve my memory for the rest of my life!
I’m keeping this post simple in the form of a photo journal of our trip to Sonoma via Highway 101, Highway 1, enjoying the West Coast MotoJam AMA Races of 2011, and returning on I-5.
According to Google, the back way takes only 6 more hours than just shooting up and down I-5. 6 hours well spent if you ask me!
And here’s a video of us on Highway 1 in the Redwoods. There are faster clips on YouTube, but it was our first time and the wide angle of the GoPro doesn’t do the pace justice. That said, it was a lot of fun and the scenery doesn’t get any better — until you hit the coast of course! I’ll come back to this segment in a few weeks and provide an edited version so we don’t have to wait for the good parts. The fun part starts at 1:45 in this one 😉
and here is part two. Skip to 11 minutes for the trek out of the forest and on to the coast. The next 6 hours would be all be about the same; as in awesome!
On to the pics, starting from the beginning:
I’ll likely add more to this post in the next few weeks as I gather all the pictures. Enjoy!
I had tried earlier this year to sell my Ducati 750SS, but admittedly it’s a slow market and I was asking a premium. Fast-forward to June and the weather has finally turned to summer. Time to take the bike off the market and ride! Paul suggested the following route for this Sunday:
I’ve been meaning to attend the DesmoNorthwest BBQ for at least two years in a row and this year I had no excuse not to. Naturally I hit my buddy Paul up to join me; he can’t say no to rides over 100 miles, let alone nearly 650 miles. In two days total! Yep, we decided to ride up and back on Saturday and Sunday.
But the leg up on Saturday was the real meat of the trip. We rode back roads from Corvallis to Edgefield in Troutdale for a late breakfast. We both had the bacon scramble with fresh baby red tomatoes and smothered in freshly grated Parmesan. Delicious!
From there we hit I-84 for a quick blast to Hood River, where we took the bridge across the Columbia to Washington, and headed North for Mt. St. Helens. Turns out this area is a meca for sportbike riders as we must have seen nearly 100 riders in this area. Most of the roads are fantastic and the vistas are even more amazing.
We continued on past Randle through the Mt. Rainier area, past Mt. Adams, through Enumclaw, and then on to Issaquah. All in all, I think we were on the freeway less than an hour and half all day. Here is our route:
Unfortunately when you’re behind on your day long back roads trip, you don’t stop for pictures. But luckily lots of other Flickr users have. Here is what you can expect from the area:
After riding some of the best, and some of the worst, that SW Washington had to offer, we were beat. Ten and a half hours later, we were hurting to say the least! Paul being the saint he is, and having water-tight hard bags on the VFR, went and got us some refreshments to unwind with after our journey:
The next day we cleaned up the bikes and headed for the BBQ. After supporting the Ducati website for nearly 2 years, I was able to connect names and faces. I already knew the club was full of great people and it was a really nice gathering of like minded enthusiasts. Here are some pics of the rides that showed up:
The worst part of the trip was definitely the last leg, from Issaquah to home via I-5. A record heat wave started that afternoon and we rode home in some seriously hot air on the blacktop for over 5 hours. It was like being blasted from all angles with heat guns no matter how fast or slow we managed. So we ended up stopping about every hour to rehydrate and recharge. Not much choice as we both had to be at work on time the next day.
All that said, I’m really glad we did this trip. Not only did I finally get to meet some great Ducatisti, I proved to myself I’m still capable of a big trip. I can’t wait to go again!
The VFR750 and 750SS attack the Willamette Valley again, but this time the VFR is being piloted by Blake in a very generous loaner agreement with Paul. What can I say, the man is the shit for extending such an offer!
We took the back roads on Thursday for a killer ride up to Portland to visit with our SEO and PPC Vendor, Anvil Media Inc., on official OSU business. The weather on the way up was spectacular and we were treated to the best the valley has to offer while passing up all the various crops Oregon is known for: grass seed, wheat, filberts, strawberries, hops, grapes, green beans, corn, and many other types of organic produce. A ride like this reminds me why we live where we do!
Here are a couple pics from the Wheatland Ferry where we crossed the Willamette, and the current Anvil Media headquarters:
Here is the Google Map of our route up and pictures from the trip:
To follow up our trip, we assaulted Mary’s Peak on Saturday morning via back roads again of course! Highway 20 leading to the peak has recently been repaved at the base of the mountain and the road to the summit is still one of the best hillclimbs out there in terms of corners per mile and scenic views. Here are the pics from the Peak:
Many thanks to Paul for loaning out the bike to Blake, the best in SEO and Social Media for hosting us: Anvil Media, and rural Oregon for best and most scenic roads anywhere!
Do you ever pull out the map just to find long stretches of twisting road that you’ve never ridden on before? So do we! Paul and I were planning a day of motorcycling from Eugene to Bandon via some back roads, and then back up the coast via 101. But the weather forecasters suddenly warned of an incoming front that could drop rain as early as 11am at the coast. We decided to go east instead to seek out warmer temperatures and avoid the rain until the last minute on the way back.
Nothing really that special about this route except that I had never been on Highway 242, which is actually the old pass highway to and from Eugene. The road isn’t really maintained anymore and is actually closed most of the wet season. It starts out very inviting, similar to Highway 199 from Grants Pass into the Redwoods, or Highway 1 in NorCal: a thin strip of asphalt draped in the middle of a dense forest with corners ranging from 15 to 35 for at least 10 miles. It would’ve been pure bliss but nearly every corner had the gravel marbles dragged into the roadway by the oversized RV’s littering our beautiful road. Nonetheless, the scenery was incredible!
After tap dancing through these tight and sometimes treacherous corners, we left the forest and ascended to the 5000ft summit where the road opened up a bit. Suddenly the vegetation was becoming non-existent as we crossed through the lava field. The landscape changes so quickly and completely, it was like being on another planet. Here’s a picture I found on Flickr:
Highway 242 conveniently links right up to Sisters, where we would’ve ended up anyway had we taken 126 to 20. We pushed through the annoyingly crowded main drag (no choice) and headed onto Bend. And gosh, as long as we’re in Bend, we better hit the Deschutes Brewery for lunch. I had the Ham wrapped Halibut, and washed it down with their Sagebrush Classic Pils. A really tasty lunch to say the least!
Not the Pils, but a shot I took of a Deschutes bottle a while back:
Then back to business as we headed home. Except the business of enjoying the 30+ miles of tight corners through the Santiam Pass that was practically ruined by the endless stream of RV’s, dawdling sedans, and small trucks towing boats. It’s a public road and all, but please use the turn-outs folks!
All and all though, another great day trip through western Oregon covering nearly 300 miles. And we beat the storm back home. It’s been raining ever since I got home. Perfect timing!
I didn’t PS these very much, though the first one did get a blatent gradient overlay applied to the sky. But my intention was to make an 80’s bedroom wall poster effect, and I think I got pretty close for a first effort. Please feel free to leave comments for suggestions and improvements. Enjoy!
Paul and I did the Ducati Demo Day at MotoCorsa in Portland this past Saturday. It was completely awesome! Their facility is a very cool place to hang out anyway, but getting to sample their brand new bikes was really amazing. It’s a guided group ride with a dozen or so brand new bikes that riders can preview at no cost. Sharp marketing too because if I had a spare $12-15k for a new bike, I would’ve signed immediately upon our return. Later that night, Paul and I were still trying to convince ourselves it might be doable!
Before heading up, I checked the Ducati website for the current offerings and to make my pick. I wanted to try something vaguely similar to my 750SS, but in a brand new flavor. And the Sport Classic was my pick. I was very excited to find out they had not one, but two openings for Sport Classics for Paul and I to sample at 2 o’clock. His was the up rated S model with Ohlin’s forks, full fairing, and full Termignoni pipes. Mine had the stock pipes, which were way too quiet. When Paul cracked the throttle on his, everyone noticed immediately and sounded much more the business. They really should come this way stock.
While we waited for our turn, the reality started setting in. If I scratched this thing, I would own a second Ducati, costing 4x as much as mine and with a big scratch to fix LOL! That’d be fun explaining to Mrs. Rubley! The butterflies started to swim around in my stomach… I was briefly comforted watching the earlier group leave with a couple of noticeably novice riders who came back unscathed.
Once underway it was a total breeze. There were many similarities to my own bike, and I was at home right away. Riders were guided at a very smart pace and given a great 20 mile tour of the Portland hills. Tour guides front and back made sure we stayed together and stopped traffic at intersections to keep us together. Fantastic route and great planning. By the time we got back, I was grinning ear to ear like it was Christmas morning. I won’t miss it again!
My 20 minute review of the Ducati Sport 1000:
Pro’s – Classic minimalist styling with a comfortable seat, spoked rims, cafe racer clip on’s, and retro decals. Nice modern amenities like fuel injection, 6 speed gearbox, and the refinements that are now found in modern Ducati’s.
Con’s – Not so great on/off throttle response, a gas tank that’s a tad uncomfortable to sit against, and those stock pipes are obviously engineered to be lame so you can upgrade to the Termi’s. But other than that, she was a wonderful ride with very approachable power and controls.
A huge thank you to Ducati MotoCorsa for hosting and Ducati NA for generously loaning me a beautiful new bike that absolutely made my day!
After a recent visit to the Portland Ducati dealership, Motocorsa, I was cautioned not to even start the Ducati until I had replaced the belts. This is because they are rated at only 2 years, 12k miles, and I had no evidence that the belts were within those parameters. If the belts were to break, the cost of the head rebuilds would easily exceed the value of the bike. After some quick math, I took their advice and waited to tickle the 750 until today, when Paul replaced the belts. And we’ve had some damn nice weather here in Western Oregon that has been making me absolutely stir crazy for a ride on the bike!!!
Luckily I was able to satisfy my fix in a couple of ways. 1st was to turn my garage into a ghetto studio by gathering what I had in the house to make a backdrop and some strong overhead lighting to take some dramatic photographs. I ended up with this:
(Click above image for link to full size wallpaper!)
This was the result of a relative photography amateur taking about 4 hours of trial and error shots, and some moderate Photoshop work. For a first effort, I’m thrilled. Here’s the original. If you’re a Photoshop wizard, or just want to take a crack, give the original the business and post a link of your interpretation. Or email me.
Update 3.12.08 – Here’s our first submission from Eric:
A few weeks after that photo was taken, Paul and his wife met at our house for an evening of dinner and drinks, arriving separately. When they left the next morning, they took their car home and Paul left his bike in the garage. For nearly 2 weeks 😀 Naturally I made the most of it. Nearly every sunny late afternoon was spent on the VFR. (Paul, you are the man. Thank you so much!) While it sucked to leave the Duc in the garage on such perfect days, the VFR was a total blast! I mean:
It has a choke and starts on the first try.
It has fantastic creature comforts and modern conveniences like a full fairing, high mounted rear-view mirrors, comfortable seat, and even heated grips (!)
A clock and temperature gauge. And even a fuel gauge! You mean you can ride between tanks knowing how much fuel you have? Stupore!
It’s Red. bello!
It has a motor that is a relative of the RC45, and sounds totally fantastic with the Two Brothers carbon fiber exhaust.
And it was in my garage with a ‘ride anytime’ ticket provided by Paul.
Hell Ya, I rode her as much as I could! Here’s a short clip of my blipping the throttle before a ride:
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I hate YouTube bike exhaust clips that don’t rev the bike up that much!” To that I say: This bike is on loan from a close friend. A friend I respect. Naturally I waited to rev the piss out of her until the camera was off 😉 And she’s a screamer for sure. Once the needle swings past 8k RPM, hold on! She’ll walk the 750SS like it’s only running on one cylinder! Thanks for holding the needle for me when I needed my fix Paul!