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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In 2012, exactly one day after I picked my S up from Newport Beach Ducati, I left on a Coast-to-Coast trip across North America. I did a full ride report of the trip, documenting my experiences over the course of six months and 16,000 miles. At the time I remarked that leaving was a 'suicide', because I knew when I returned I'd be a different person. How right I was.

Selling everything you own to explore the world from the seat of a motorbike is an experience that changes you forever--so much so that I found it impossible to return to a 'normal' life. As a result, only days after my original trip officially 'ended', I set off again, and again, and again. I became addicted to the 'experiential anarchy' of travel, of randomness, of the unexpected. The best example of this? After my first trip, Ducati called with an invitation to meet their CEO and hang out with Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies for the launch of the 1199 R at the Circuit of the Americas.


(Some of you may have followed along on a different forum, but I think it's only right that I post on Ducati.org and share my story here, too.)

Two years and 30,000 miles after my original trip began, I replaced my original S with a 2014 model (a very sad day) and shipped it to Milan so the journey could continue.







Unlike my first trip (which permitted me to work remotely as I traveled), the trip to Europe required I quit my job (software sales). It will either be the best decision I’ve ever made or one of the worst.

But when it comes down to it, being sensible and rational are good at one thing and one thing only: getting you to where you want to go. That worked well for my first 40-odd years of life--and it led to some great things. But prudence rarely ever leads to discovering places and people (and things about yourself) you never knew existed. To reach a point in life beyond the periphery of what you know demands that decisions be made based on passion. (Which kind of explains the bike I chose for a RTW trip.)



To reckless adventures and fearless success. Hope you enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Though I made it to Milan just fine, a customs delay meant I'd be showing up to World Ducati Week at Misano in a rented Audi and not on my bike. I have to confess it's hard to even miss your own bike when there are so many others to gawk at.















 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Having spent a lot of time in Milan without a bike, as soon as it arrived, I was pretty much gone.



Milan was fascinating. I can't say I fell in love with the city, but I did fall in love with it at after dark.



Definitely not the best city to ride (or park) a bike in. There were soooo many wheels attached to poles. Just wheels....no motorbikes, no scooters, no bicycles. Just their wheels. Though everyone warned me that theft is pretty rampant in Italy it didn't take long to get the confirmation just by walking around. In any case, after Ducati Milano prepped my bike I didn't have any plans on sticking around to find out how long a Panigale would last on the street.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Onward to Rome:



Booked a small apt. on a 500 year old property about 20 min. outside of Rome proper. The property embodied all the romantic notion of Italy those of us who live outside of Italy have. Confirmation: it does exist.











I had planned on going into Rome the first day. But I was so fucking aggravated by GPS (exit freeway, ride around an industrial park behind an airport, then ride around it again, then get back on the road I was on). My Garmin has the built in prank exit option I suppose). So instead of dealing with 'guess my route', I instead cooked up some of the fresh vegetables from the garden into an eggplant/bell pepper/ghost chili and tomato 'salsa' and devoured all of it. The place had two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, etc. It was large enough to live in FOREVER. I think I'm getting back into the swing of a new house every few days because instantly I felt right at home. Kind of hard not to, I suppose.

Oh the stories if only these walls could talk:

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh this trip isn't over, ladies and gentlemen. Much, much more to come.

182 Racing: my 2012 had a high idle/popping exhaust issue. Ducati replaced the heads, pistons, and ECU, but none of that solved the problem. I had quit my job already, so time was of the essence. Instead of waiting for a fix, I got a good deal on a trade in and set off with my new bike. Probably a good idea, as I'll be putting at least another 30,000 on this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd been to Rome before, so seeing all the sights one would normally see wasn't very high on my list. I'd really wanted to get a picture of my bike in the center of the Coliseum, but that most certainly wasn't going to be happening....



For anyone who's not been, the Coliseum in Rome is the largest Roman Coliseum built--but it's not quite as massive as most think it is. (Guess it just looks a lot bigger on TV).



Hard to imagine all the battles of mortality, of both man an beast, that took place here.



Oh, I know that killing for fun and entertainment is wrong, but let's push political correctness aside and admit that, to most, the ideas of Gladiators is still f'in bad ass, as awful as it is.



Sound disgusting? Regrettable? Horrific? Yeah. But we simulate the same situations all the time with movies and video games depicting mock-life-or-death struggle--sublimations of the 'darker' side of our psyche. Nothing more life affirming than surviving a life-or-death encounter, which is probably why the need to exercise this primal need to dodge spears takes so many different present 'socially acceptable' forms. Sitting in a cubicle all day isn't exactly life-affirming, so we ride motorcycles, take chances, get in fist fights, take our aggression out on those closest to us, jump from airplanes, track our bikes on the weekends, push ourselves right up against the limits of everything we can. Civilization isn't easy to adapt to. Coliseums were therapy, a place for people to witness (and participate in) the experiential hazards and dangers that we're still hardwired for.



Just wish I could have somehow got my bike inside the gates!
 

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WOW. I see you finally branched over here to the ORG Dennis?

May as well get the exposure you deserve my friend, this is another world feat after doing the cross country trip a couple years back. The photos you shared with us on the real Panigale forum are TOTALLY out of this world bro! UNREAL how you had everything fall into place with the scenery and all. Keep em going for sure.

We are ALL so proud of you D, don't know if you have a return date set yet but you should advertise that a lot before coming home so that your forum family has the chance to make it to the location (where would that be btw?) and welcome you home!
Sound cool Dennis? Stay safe and good to see you bring these folks into the picture too! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The Coliseum was one way to stimulate the masses through violent life-or-death struggles. But the need for 'extraordinary incident' (Wordsworth) doesn't always have to take on Natural Born Killer-forms of violence. Adjacent to another tourist spot in Rome was the house that John Keats, a Romantic Poet considered among the greatest poets in English literature.



(For those who haven't spent much time in the Annals of English Lit., John Keating, the character in Dead Poet's Society played by Robin Williams, was a direct reference to Keats himself.)

At the core of the Romantic movement is something those who ride bikes understand all to well: the desire to experience and to explore. Romanticism was a rebellion against the age of reason. The argument goes like this: both science and religion provide certainty (or at least the illusion of it), but in doing so, de-emphasize the importance of individual experience: science tells us how the world works, religion what it should mean.

Keats died a tragic death (Tuberculosis) and it was remarked that often when he would awake in the morning he'd weep that he was still alive. His last request was to be placed under a tombstone bearing no name or date, only the words, "Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water."

Unfortunately the cemetery had shut down for the month, so I was locked out.





(Picture is from a previous visit.)

I had no idea at the time, but my visit to the Protestant Cemetery where Keats was buried coincided with the same day Robin Williams, who so accurately captured the life-affirming philosophy of Keats in the Dead Poet's Society, ended his own life.

They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
WOW. I see you finally branched over here to the ORG Dennis?

May as well get the exposure you deserve my friend, this is another world feat after doing the cross country trip a couple years back. The photos you shared with us on the real Panigale forum are TOTALLY out of this world bro! UNREAL how you had everything fall into place with the scenery and all. Keep em going for sure.

We are ALL so proud of you D, don't know if you have a return date set yet but you should advertise that a lot before coming home so that your forum family has the chance to make it to the location (where would that be btw?) and welcome you home!
Sound cool Dennis? Stay safe and good to see you bring these folks into the picture too! :)
Hey Gunny! Yep--I did finally branch over here! I keep getting messages from Ducatista telling me that they had no idea the RTW trip was going on, so here I am to share the experience with others who dream of doing the same some day (or just want a break from the daily grind at work). :)

No idea when this will be over, no idea where I'll land when I 'return'. I'm sure that will all just work itself out when the time comes. Another trip around the US is also a very real possibility....just have to get passed Siberia first.
 

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This thread is a great find for me..
As one that followed, in a more voyeristic fashion, your first trip..
I look forward to this ongoing adventure..
As long as there are not moments reminding myself of reading with fear while you were in Detroit.. No offense meant to anyone from Detroit as I have friend over there too. It was simply some very dramatic reading..

Good to see that you are out there once again, and that your health is good as well..

Antihero, I do not spend time over "there" as much, so will you be keeping this thread going as you did on your U.S. Adventure?
Once again subscribed.. And wishing you the best over there.. Shiny side up..
 
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I spent most of my time in Rome not on the bike. With a city so concentrated, even riding a block or two means you miss something, so I hoofed it mostly. Don't want to bore anyone with pics of just Rome, but it's truly a phenomenal place to visit (and a great city to ride in).
























Next up: Florence
 

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Good to see you on this forum Dennis & that is truly amazing to ride in Europe...can't wait more updates...I followed your North America ride on the other forum...cheers bud!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Left Rome and yes--pretty much all of the surrounding areas look like this:



On my way from Milan to Rome I saw a city built up on the hillside. Probably a good time to point out that there are advantages to riding on major or minor freeways: all major roads go through towns and cities that are majorly interesting. Often backroads--esp. in Italy--are in pretty bad shape, so what looks great on a map can look more like a war zone in person. Great if you have a supermoto and love the bumps, but terrible if you have a 50lb backpack on and are not/do not.

Anyhow, saw it while heading South, so figured I'd try and get back to it when I headed north again.

Not my pic:


Orvieto is one of those cities, if I have to confess, that I imagined staying in prior to the trip. A rustic, magnificent ruin of a city that made it quite impossible not to pretend I was living in a completely different era. The reality of it, though, is that it's just a show and tell city, really. Still cool, but too much of an attraction. Makes it feel artificial, even though it's not.



And oh yes, most of these places are pedestrian only, though I did ride by cops here and there who didn't seem to mind us much. Try to get away with breaking laws right in front of the Italian Police on a GoldWing!









 
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