Well, I sure slept well Sunday night and I earned it with a 700 mile day. Today’s ride would be about 300 miles or so, much shorter and pleasantly, the final stretch for home. I lingered around the place, packing slowly for the trip, checking the bike over thoroughly as I strapped on the tailbag. Everything was fine except for a loose screw in the left rear turn signal assembly. I used some blue painters tape to ensure the turn signal wouldn’t depart the bike, and stopped at a small used car lot to borrow an allen wrench. Ah, the wonderfully complete Ducati tool kit strikes again. They were very accomodating and in about 5 minutes had tightened the screw and was on my way north.
The wind had picked up considerably, something I didn’t notice at the woods before I left. Now, thinking about it, of course not. I was at ground level, the wind very well blocked by the forest of trees in every direction. Riding north, out in the open, the wind was merciless. All of my other bikes have a windshield, and of course the Goldwing has a full fairing out front. The Ducati can’t be bothered with any of that, so you are left to face the wind on your own. I began to feel like a bobble-head doll, expecially when passing big trucks. After several hours of this, my neck began to complain about it. Looking over my shoulder before moving into the passing lane became somewhat painful, but necessary.
One thing I will have to address quickly is the mirrors. They provide a great view of my shoulders and not much more. Sure, you can lean right or left to actually see behind you, but since I do my best to keep a good scan going I was moving around a lot. I’m going with bar-end mirrors to solve this problem. Yes, they will widen the bike but more importantly they will provide a clear view to the rear – absolutely essential when riding in any traffic at all. The brand I will probably purchase is CRG, they have a ball and detent to fold them inward when parking or covering the bike – a handy feature. Review to follow.
When I was riding the final few miles home, it got cold. The thermometer said 50 degrees, but when you’re moving at 70+ mph with no wind protection it seems a good bit cooler than that. It was good to see home, and better still to have a nice hot shower and cup of coffee. A long ride, on a reliable machine, is fun all by itself. But, being home is good too. I can see a few changes to the bike – I had plenty of time to think about what they might be and with some miles on it I think I can prioritize the changes pretty well. The mods and accessories phase is underway.