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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little background on me: I'm on a break from a 40,000 mile (so far) meandering trip across North America and Europe. On a Panigale. in 2012, I was just like any of you here who think, eat and breath motorbikes. I was sick of the world, though. I'd lived a good life, full of hard work and sacrifice and reward. But was still very much unsatisfied. And I grew tired of not being in control of my fate. So I bought one of the first 1199s made and left the following day on an open-ended, no-destination-in-mind trip across North America.

It led to some fairly unreal experiences, one of which was Ducati calling. I'd been writing about it and posting pictures on ADVRider and Ducati.ms without any idea that the CEO of Ducati had been following along. (Talk about a cool f'in company!) In one year I went from my first Ducati to being their guest at the Int'l Press Launch of the 1199R. The lesson is more important than anything that's happened. And that lesson is this: you can live every day of your life doing the things that lead to expected results. But you'll rarely be surprised. It's only when you say '**** it' and do exactly what you love--despite whether or not it makes any sense at all--that all kinds of unexpectedness will happen. Most of this world--and everything in it, from the people you meet to the places you could never dream existed - and even the animals you'll encounter - will blow you away. Day 1 of this trip did just that. And this is how it begins.

The past few days are a Scrambler-spirographed blur of sensory stimuli--sights, sounds, scenery all muddled into a sleepless, smudgy mess that I'm still trying to make sense of, like memories flashing before the eyes of a dying man. Only I'm not dying. I'm living and alive. So f'in alive!

Like a game of word-association, when I first heard "Scrambler" I immediately thought, "Road of Bones!" A part of me said, "Road of Bones--on a Scrambler? Why would you want to do any of that, *******?" (that was my ******* talking). So I sat my ******* down and explained how it is: when you're passionate about something you'll be forced to endure challenges; and these challenges are what makes life meaningful. I had a discussion about this very thing with Miguel Duhamel Saturday night (see what I told you about my mind being a blur from the **** that happened this weekend?). The more difficult the journey, the more profound the reward.

Unfortunately I only have the Scrambler for a week. It's not mine. So no Road of Bones. But the worlds most extreme outdoor amusement park is just fine by me:

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Side note: I'm on break from riding around Europe on my Panigale. She's in Ireland right now, waiting for my return. That ride report is far from over, but this one should be a rather exciting intermission.

Behind the scenes: Ducati's press bikes are for the press. And when it's all said and done, I'm still just an enthusiast. I have written a few articles, though, so I proposed a "Wild West road-trip on a Scrambler' idea to a couple magazine editors who loved the idea of me taking a Scrambler on a wicked little adventure. Wasn't sure if it was going to happen, though, until I got a call on Friday....the fleet of Scramblers were being loaded on a truck at Ducati Newport Beach the following morning. If I wanted one, I had to pick it up ASAP and deliver it myself to Ducati's Cupertino HQ. Urrr...ok, not a problem!

Now, I'm not going to lie to you or try and play it cool. I was excited. **** excited. I'd always dreamed of what it would be like to be blessed with a key to a press vehicle for no other reason than the manufacturer being curious to see what you think of it. My opinion matters? Really? Seriously? I'm sure I'm too modest for my own good, but hey, when **** like this happens modesty just makes reality all the more friggin' incredible.



And they weren't kidding. These bikes were shipping out. Good thing I showed up right at 9am!



Now, in person, I have to say, the Scrambler just looks like it wants to play. Like a 4 month old Labrador Retriever; more of a spirited, intelligent, loyal, athletic companion than motorcycle: sturdily built, but medium sized (unlike the average Mastiff-sized ADV bike). And like a youthful lab, the Scrambler just looks so **** playful. Just look at how happy it is to not get put in the giant red box again!



All of my rides seem to start at Ducati Newport Beach. Big thanks to you, Adrian!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After latching a 10 liter Kriega bag onto the tail of the Scrambler (to carry spare fuel in 3 MSR .8l tanks and a truck-sized can of fix-a-flat - because Death Valley), I headed off to Spring Hill. Sin City Ghost Rider, who I've mentioned before just a few times, was doing a track day. I got a late start, but still managed to get sidetracked a couple times:





Stopped for fuel and H20. When I came out, these tourists were taking pics of the Scrambler.



They then stopped and decided it would be a good idea to climb half way on the Harley parked next to me AND put the owner's helmet on.



Hilarious. Wish I could have understood 'em. Looked like they were having more fun than any American families I'd ever seen on a road trip.

Another detour:







Getting closer:



Disco!

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Would have loved to take the Scrambler out at the Spring Mountain track, but it's my first real press bike and don't want it to be my last. Y'all will have to wait to read about how she does at the track from someone else.

Lots of eye candy, though.





And this, believe it or not, at one point in its history, was the bike I was supposed to do my original Coast to Coast trip on. She might have missed out on a leading role, but is still enjoying life.



Around this point the questions began.



One group of two guys would walk away, then another two guys would stop in and take their place. Everyone was curious what the bike was doing there and at least everyone who came by really dug it. "Much better looking in person" was the #1 comment, but mostly everyone had questions about ride, power, price, etc. I'll post a full review of just the bike when the trip is over on my blog, but as I'm sure most of you are quite curious, here's the cliffs notes version:

Brakes (ABS, which can be switched off): outstanding.
Engine: more power than I thought. Does everything you need it to without making a fuss. Passes cars from 75-90 with much ease (no downshift needed--thank the torque of a Ducati twin). Cruises at 90 with ease, too.
Wind Protection: Way better than I thought. Cruising at 90 requires a little bit of neck muscles, but even through a super insane headwind on the 15 South I averaged at least 80.
Suspension: Firm, but comfortable and handled all lean angles without getting bent out of shape. Only negative is that the front was harsh over harsh bumps. Hi speed compression, I suppose, could use a little softening. But I'll take an abrupt bump as my reminder to pay more attention when I **** up and hit something I should have been watching out for.
Handling: Wow! Steers way faster than my Panigale. Super accurate, easily changes direction at any lean angle. Never got skittish or sketchy, never felt floaty. Very secure. That's saying a lot from someone who rides on in Race Mode on R compound tires most of the time.
Off-road: Stay tuned, my friends:

 

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love that last shot of the bike from behind where you're kicking a few rocks up! Man, jealous like mad! Thought I'd have it by spring break (teacher) but no dice. Just have to live vicariously through you antihero!! Lucky SOB
 

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A little background on me: I'm on a break from a 40,000 mile (so far) meandering trip across North America and Europe. On a Panigale. in 2012, I was just like any of you here who think, eat and breath motorbikes. I was sick of the world, though. I'd lived a good life, full of hard work and sacrifice and reward. But was still very much unsatisfied. And I grew tired of not being in control of my fate. So I bought one of the first 1199s made and left the following day on an open-ended, no-destination-in-mind trip across North America.

It led to some fairly unreal experiences, one of which was Ducati calling. I'd been writing about it and posting pictures on ADVRider and Ducati.ms without any idea that the CEO of Ducati had been following along. (Talk about a cool f'in company!) In one year I went from my first Ducati to being their guest at the Int'l Press Launch of the 1199R. The lesson is more important than anything that's happened. And that lesson is this: you can live every day of your life doing the things that lead to expected results. But you'll rarely be surprised. It's only when you say '**** it' and do exactly what you love--despite whether or not it makes any sense at all--that all kinds of unexpectedness will happen. Most of this world--and everything in it, from the people you meet to the places you could never dream existed - and even the animals you'll encounter - will blow you away.
This is so inspiring it is blowing my f***ing mind. Good on ya. Thanks for sharing your adventures. I'm so excited to read more and of course ride more. I pretty much ride every day and notice I get depressed if I'm away from a motorcycle too long. And for this rider.....all year long California rider, I'm talking 3 or 4 days away from a bike is too much. That length away from a bike for me is usually due to travel or being away from my bike. Weather is not an issue here. I'm so happy for you and your moto adventures! I will be reading your posts and thrilled to hear more. Keep the rubber side down. Cheers!
 

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I've been following your other adventure and am thrilled to see your post here. I'm very much looking forward to reading the updates! It's amazing how deliberately and consciously deciding to live your life in a different way that's more fulfilling tends to cause things to fall into place so well. Good luck and congrats!
 

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On your last photo, I can see your rugsack and kriega 10 bag. The kriega looks a bit wonky. Was wondering did the packing fit fine. Did you have enough space or was it too cramped?

I'm thinking myself of having something like a kriega 20 (as it would be the most convenient) bag and size for 95% of my riding, and unsure if it will fit without being inconvenient.
 

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I've been following your other adventure and am thrilled to see your post here. I'm very much looking forward to reading the updates! It's amazing how deliberately and consciously deciding to live your life in a different way that's more fulfilling tends to cause things to fall into place so well. Good luck and congrats!
I've been following his round the world in a panigale. It was until the third post that I realized its the same guy. Cheers to you mate for sharing such an awesome posts. Such an inspiring piece I think one day i'll have to do the same. Keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all. Happy you're enjoying it thus far. Won't be able to post much today, except on Instagram. It's either ride or write....can't do both!

Mitra: I have a US-20, too. It fits just fine as well. If the US-10 appeared wonky it was because I unhooked it and hooked it back in so many times. (Took it off about half the time for pics). Attachment is easy, though....two of the silver buckled ends get wrapped around seat rails and one 'clip to clip' strap gets secured under the seat. Definitely secure. Zero chance of it sliding off or ejecting.

Posted a couple of short video clips on Instagram, too....just don't know how to embed 'em. IG link is in sig, though.

Please PM me with any Scrambler-specific requests. I've only got the bike for a few more days and would be happy to do my best to take close-ups of things, do measurements, etc. if anyone is curious about anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After fighting off Scrambler gawkers with a stick, I followed my bud Michael back to Las Vegas and then we went to his buddies house for dinner. His friend is a pro-golfer who's friends with, drumroll please....Miguel Duhamel and Jason Pridmore.



For 95% of my life, I seriously dreaded social situations. I had my reasons. But during my Coast to Coast ride I had a rule: accept any invitation someone throws your way. Sometimes it meant riding through a hurricane in the freezing rain to spend the night at a stranger's house I'd never before met, sometimes it meant showing up at a harbor to search for keys hidden on a dark 'boat' wondering if I was going to get shot. But I always ended up having an incredible time. And that feeling of discomfort most of us get at a stranger's house has forever vanished. However....showing up for dinner with not one, but two motorcycle racing legends....well, yeah, made me pause for a second and reflect on how I got there: Let's see....Ducati called Friday night. I picked up a bike Sat. morning. I ride all day, then end up eating a viciously good steak with four super cool dudes, two of which entertained the rest of us all night with the most insane behind-the-scenes stories of racing at all levels all across the world. The fact that they knew a bit about my travels and were asking me questions....well, it's a crazy world is all I can say and I have a backstage pass.

Ended up having an unexpectedly refreshing philosophical conversation with Duhamel that covered a good 2000 years of religion, science and philosophy. Here's a guy I saw wheeling up the back straight at Laguna Seca with my mouth wide open years ago....and now we're pouring wine, watching motocross and debating amicably.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Next morning I went to my first ever Ducati club meeting. (Come to think of it, my first any club meeting since being traumatized by a 4H club in Idaho when I was 11.)





Then a little riding around town:



And then we rode a couple other bikes....



Insane. The HP4 is mental--the whole time on it I felt like an escaped mental patient. And it seemed as though the HP4 was an escaped mental patient, too. Unlike me who was smiling silently, it just screamed all the time.

The ride on the Superleggera has me at a loss for superlatives. Demonic.



Hopping back on the Scrambler gave me a very clear idea of what it's all about. Every bike has a personality. And riding one infects you with it. On the SL I felt evil. On the HP4, insane. But the Scrambler: joy. Just like their advertisements purport. Now, I'm not by general disposition cheerful. Ask any of my ex coworkers to describe me and you'll get a list of hostile synonyms. So to just be able to flick a switch and twist a throttle and feel so upbeat and animated....odd how something like a bike can completely change your biochemistry. Kind of like just how impossible it is to be depressed or angry when a friggin overgrown puppy is jumping all over you.

Anyhow....I still had to make it to Death Valley in time to find a place to camp out for the night. We took a few more shots of the bikes before I headed back to pack.





The man who filled 24 hours with unforgettable memories, the hero of this episode who made it all possible, my friend Michael:

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
And then....back on the road:





On the way to Titus Canyon in Death Valley, I stopped by Rhyolite.





Oooh la la...perky!


As you can see, the sun was setting and the 'entrance' to Titus Canyon is easy to miss, esp. in the dark.



The 'entrance' is also 7 miles long and it's fairly gravely. And I'm on a bike that's not mine and I don't want to crash. I wasn't as worried about injury / having to crawl my way out of a ravine with a femur sticking out of my thigh (Miguel Duhamel's stories are still fresh in my mind)--I was worried about having to tell Ducati I wrecked one of their bikes riding offroad in the dark.



But I got on quite well...except for the fact that riding in the dark (with a pukka LED headlight) is far safer than riding DIRECTLY INTO THE BLAZING SUN.



Couldn't see a f'in thing. Braille navigation at its finest. Did I mention the Scrambler's front end has great feedback?
 

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Anti -

Thanks for the great ride report and other stories.

Btw, your artwork is amazing!

What is your real first name? Did I miss it?

I also love Death Valley; have been many times.
Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks, Ed! Name is Dennis.

I'll be on the road again all day today and most of tomorrow. Will try to get a post in before I leave, though. That's the problem with ride reports--every 1 day of pictures and experiences can take 3 days to edit/upload/write about!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
After surviving riding into the Chasm of Fire, I found a good place to set up camp and watched Venus and the Moon rise to the sound of spy plane afterburners (there's a lot of military activity around Death Valley).



Temps dipped immediately. Though it was forecast for high 50s in DV, that was at sea-level. I was up at 6,000 feet. Windy and cold....and I'd packed pretty lightly...lightly enough to have left the wind/rain tarp for my Sprocket 67 Tent (designed by a fellow ADVer to scrunch into a ball the size of a grapefruit)--at home.



Fueled up with a nutritious dinner:



...then hit the dirt (using my DV map as the only insulator between my lightweight sleeping bag (which also scrunches into a grapefruit-sized ball)).

By 7am it was 44, so it wasn't too bad at night. All things considered, slept really well.



I was fine with a rather slow start, but someone was rushing me to go go go!



 
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