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Old 08-08-2008, 08:58 AM   #1
DeeGee OP
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Honeymoon on the Duke

Reading some of the great reports on here are really cool and inspiring! Here's a tale about a trip just over two years ago my wife and I did on our Ducati ST4s.

I test rode a Honda VFR and the Duke after deciding I'd kinda out grown my CBR600 and the V-twinned Duke won hands down, I loved the throaty roar that sang from the exhaust so I signed on the dotted line!



I blinged the bike up a little with a new set of pipes, a pro-oiler (www.pro-oiler.com) fitted an auto-com system, purchased a topbox and finally a satnav system.



Once we told the family what we were doing, they were all saying stuff like; what if you fall off, what if you breakdown, what if you have an accident?? Well we shrugged our shoulders and said so what! We'll take insurance and breakdown cover, problem solved!

We took the usual precautions of plug repair kit and a few basic tools and my trusty Leatherman, first aid kit with a few plasters in and we were sorted.

I had the bike serviced prior to the trip including new rubber. 500 lighter in my pocket and we were good to go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnuDUydgKOo

The bike was really heavy and I nearly dropped it turning the corner at the top of our street but I soon got used to the weight and off we went.
A few hours in the saddle and we were boarding the channel tunnel.


After leaving the train I put our hotel address in our Satnav who we nicknamed "Sheila" After 20 minutes of her "Ping Pinging" and telling us where to go we ended up telling her where too go as we got lost! Out came the trusty map and we were soon on the right road.

Our first night in France was in a town Cambrai, we had decent meal and a good nights kip. Then the following morning we set off on our way to Luzern in Switzerland. Not long had we been going the petrol light came on and because it was a Sunday the first petrol station we came across was closed!



The heat was intense and it became the norm that at each fuel stop we had to re-fuel ourselves.



We got lost a few more times, but this added to the adventure, as we came round a fir tree lined road the Alps appeared before us, it was an amazing site, truly beautiful.



We finally arrived at our hotel in Luzern



After a quick shower we had a great meal of fillet steak and potatoes and we shared a bottle of wine and hit the sack. This is the view from our hotel room overlooking the lake.



Next day we were in for a suprise as it was the longest and hardest of them all, we were heading for Venice.
Jack getting ready.






And one more of the lake before we set off.



The morning was bright with clear blue skies above and the sun was already warm on the backs of our leathers. We'd not been going long and I decided to take the long way and go over the Alps. 180 degree hairpin after hair pin after hair pin. I got a bit cocky and we ahd a very close shave as we almost hit the inside wall of one of the tunnels as it tightened as I was giving more gas. Jack put her foot down which unsettled bike and it jolted closer to the wall. Luckily I managed to wrestle it round and we came through unscaved, although Jack gave me a right bollocking!

I calmed Jack down and then had a word with myself and on we went........Just a bit more causiously. I thought we were making good steady progress and stopped by Lake Como for water and a snack and to admire the views before we rode round the beautiful lake.





Sheila was clearly enjoying the sunshine as she "Pinged" Away "Take your next left Ping Ping" She cooed. I think Jack was getting jealous because she swore at her a few times telling her to shut up. Sheila was getting on her nerves. I tried keeping neutral and calmed the situation saying to Jack that she was doing well. It was at this point that Jack said that she should have gone in one of the lakes as Sheila was taking us the long way round and telling us to turn where there was nowhere to turn! Sheila must have heard her comments and she turned herself off!

We thought we were getting closer as we'd stopped for fuel a number of times, but we didn't seem to be getting far. We had been in the saddle for nearly 12 hours and I was getting pretty tired. and was very hungary . We soon came into the outskirts of Venice and as Sheila Satnav guided us expertly to our hotel we............ Err............... Was in an industrial area!

We were both absolutely shot and the bike was overheating in the sweltering night time heat and as luck would have it as we were riding round looking for our hotel another biker came and asked us if we were lost. This guy was called Reuben and after we had a brief conversation he guided us to our hotel! Needless to say after we checked in I bought Reuben a beer and we had a chat in Spanglish

Jack was not happy!



I'll catch up with some more tomorrow
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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Well done going on a biking honeymoon.
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Old 08-09-2008, 06:00 AM   #3
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After a good nights sleep we were both looking for a couple of days off the bike and relax and enjoy the sights for a couple of days.

The Grand Canal-Venice


Our other mode of transport ............. A gondola!


We went to The Doges Palace in St Marcos' Square and the ladies weren't allowed to show their shoulders or legs and had to get wrapped up! Check out the old lady "recycling" the orange material behind Jack that the tourists had disgarded!



We stopped to have a "Large" Beer and a couple of paninis' for lunch, I honestly didn't think a "Large" Beer would be this large



We made interesting viewing for the passing tourists

The famous Rialto Bridge


Back on the road again we headed south and I wanted to visit the Ducati Factory in Bologna as there was a museum and they run tours throught the factory twice a day. We had the usual argument with Satnav Sheila and once again she proptly turned herself off! Again when we fuelled up we had to top ourselves up too. The temperature was well into the high thirties to low forties and we sweltered in our leathers.


As we got nearer the Ducati factory I was pleased with a conversation I had with a beautiful Italian lady whom I asked for directions, I understood everything she said, with a quick thanks we were off in the right direction, but we were running late for the tour!
Then finally- The Holy Grail!!

The Ducati Factory.





My happiness soon turned into tears though We had just missed the tour by 10 minutes and we were told by the security guard on the gate that we couldn't join them part way through. I asked if we could just go to the museum instead, but he said that was closed due to some press conference going on. I was gutted and I couldn't be bothered to wait until 4 o' clock until the next one so we pushed on towards sienna.



We found an amazing road of twists and turns which lasted for approximately 30 miles! It was heaven! I think it was the S222. Beautiful scenery either side of the road and clear blue skies above!





We never got to Sienna as the signs were almost impossible to navigate by and Sheila was having none of it as again she turned herself off, out came the trusty map and we headed for Grosseto on the west coast where we found a large campsite.





After our evening meal we headed back to the tent and opened a bottle of vino


More tomorrow guys. Thanks for looking
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Old 08-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #4
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Nice, but pity about the factory tour.
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Old 08-09-2008, 04:35 PM   #5
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So close yet so far.. too bad about missing the tour...

Thanks for sharing your honemoon with us!! What a great ride

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Old 08-10-2008, 01:54 AM   #6
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I was gutted about the factory tour! All that friggin' way!

The trip is the best thing I've ever done.......Er............... apart from maybe trading the Duke in for a KTM Adventure

I'll post the remainder of the story and pics soon.

Again thanks for looking!
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:16 AM   #7
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Great pics and ride, love the Duc too
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:02 AM   #8
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Next Day we headed for Rome
I had heard that the traffic here was supposed to be bad, but I couldn't believe how bad it was! I tried skirting round the outskirts of the city, but we were slowly being sucked into the turmoil. Sirens were blaring loudly in the distance and we were soon aware of the reason why!

On our right hand side a small motorcycle was laying on its' side the front wheel mangled and oil seeping from the engine, like some wounded soldier. A wheely bin was laso on its' side spilling its dirty stinking contents onto the road. Almost parked on top of the wheely bin was a car with the front end all smashed in with it's bonnet all crumpled up. This was a wake up call if I ever needed one!

On we ploughed





It was total madness, we didn't really know where we were going, we were just looking for a place to stay. We found no hotels and we had to camp again and we stumbled across this place Just on the outskirts of the mad city.




We peeled of our leathers and hung them out to dry while we pitched our tent





We soon got a welcome shower and a change of clothes then headed into the city on the train.





More tomorrow folks!
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:26 AM   #9
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Great trip, keep it coming!

To bad you didn't arrive in time for the Ducati tour!

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Old 08-11-2008, 02:29 PM   #10
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Nice picture.Too U went all that way and was unable to take the tour.But that can be another ride. So I"ll by and eat my popcorn and read your post from time to time.
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Old 08-12-2008, 01:28 PM   #11
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One more of Jack in the Colleseum



We decided to head back up north and have a bit of a leisurely ride back through France instead of having a couple more days in Italy and caning it back home. We found Sienna By mistake We just went under a huge arch and we found ourselves in the middle of a very busy shopping precinct. I had to rev the engine to part the many shoppers who were in our way! We were both laughing....... ...........
Then we got pulled by the Police
Mi Dispiace, Mi Dispiace I pleaded They wagged their fingers and replied No Motochicletta! I had to hand over my documents for the bike and show our passports as we had become a bit of a side show, but thankfully the cops used a bit of common sense and after making me push the bike in the afternoon sun 500 yards put us on the right route.

Another re-fill for the bike and us



Jack made me laugh loud. I said lets head for Piza and stay there for a couple of nights What's there to do there though she replied
I asked if she was joking, but I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't. I said what's Piza famous for?? She shrugged her shoulders Have you never heard of the leaning tower of piza? I asked. Aw is that here she said!! .......................... SERIOUSLY!

We found this place


I asked about secure parking for the bike, I was showed to the side of the small hotel as the guy on the desk opened a gate with a bunch of keys.



After a shower and a change we wondered over the road to see if we could find the famous tower, this is what we saw as we turned the corner.



Views from the top.



We asked a fellow tourist to take a snap and she duly obliged



And having a quiet beer later on in the evening



A bit of retail therapy for the missus



Cheers for the comments guys! I'll follow it up soon

DeeGee screwed with this post 08-12-2008 at 01:44 PM
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:53 PM   #12
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Great trip.
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Old 08-12-2008, 06:38 PM   #13
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Awesome trip and pics!!! Keep 'em coming...

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Old 08-13-2008, 12:32 AM   #14
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Awesome photos!
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Old 08-13-2008, 08:33 AM   #15
DeeGee OP
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The days were flying by and we soon had to say our goodbyes to this magical place.



We headed north up the coastline with some awesome views, we had the sea on one side and mountains that dwarfed us on the other, it was a sight I'll never ever forget. A radiohead track came on on the ipod which inspired some thoughts as I reflected on what we had accomplished so far. I know we'd not travelled round the world, but we were out there on the road almost every day on the bike seeing a part of the world we never would have done if we'd have opted for a package holiday. I had a tear or two in my eyes.

We passed through tunnel after tunnel



And we soon crossed the border and we were back in France. We did plan to travel through Monaco and Cannes by staying on the coastal road, but we turned inland to cut the corner and we eventually found a hotel in Valence. This was the view from our window. As I fired into the minibar



The next day we cracked on and we encountered our first problem with the bike, (And before you ask it wasn't the electrics! )

When I fitted the exhaust cans I had to use a longer bolt to secure them and it was this bolt that had sheared through the hugger and was scrubbing rubber off the rear tyre. A quick fix with my trusty leatherman and some cable ties and all was well.


Another stop off and I couldn't resist this.





Me having a breather I was sooo hot! I thought my head was gonna



The Kamikazi Flies



We headed for a place Tours which we reached around 4 o' clock. I was dripping with sweat, we found a hotel through the Tourist Info place, very helpful and friendly despite me sweating all over her desk

Our hotel room had no air conditioning



I was no gent! I was taking a shower first then while jack was having hers I found a bar and treated my self



Each time we've ever gone abroad Jack always seems to need a chemist This was no different, and to be fair she was getting ravaged by the mosquitoes, and for some reason they left me alone

The said chemist



Caring for herself



Thanks for the kind replies fellas really appreciate it.

More tomorrow.

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