A Hell of a Ride - A military retiree meets the country he defended.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Setanta ADV, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Setanta ADV

    Setanta ADV Adventurer

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    A Hell of a Ride –

    Hello all! This is my first attempt at a trip report, so please forgive any mistakes I make and just chock them up to my technical ignorance. This is a recap of a trip I just recently concluded. It was my first long distance ride, so I tried to put an “extra special” spin on it. At least for me, it was. I know that amongst this crowd, long distance riding isn’t that big of a deal at all. This report is just a summary of my attempt to reinvent myself a bit and find new ways to make life work. Some of you may find the story interesting. I didn’t have time to write this as I was traveling, so I thought I would try my hand at sharing portions of this experience now, to see what ya’ll think. To set the stage…

    I retired from the U.S. Army in September 2016, after 25 years of service. During my service, I had the great fortune to take small teams overseas to support national objectives in high threat / at risk nations, and interact with military and political leadership. I often found myself in the unique position of having witnessed "breaking news" firsthand. I was a part of several operations that even now, when I think back on it, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at the amount of faith that was placed on myself and my Soldiers, to do what was right for the country. Being one of the people “in the know” and commuting to various tip of the spears was an incredible privilege, but like all things, that privilege could not go on forever. I realized it was finally my turn to hang up the uniform and so begin thinking of myself as a member of society I had not been part of since I was a teenager... A civilian. I have a lot to learn.

    What does it even mean to be a civilian in this day and age? I'm not really sure. If I accepted what news media and social media project on a daily basis, it would appear that, despite the effort of my colleagues and myself over the past decades, our country is in a much worse state today than it ever has been in our lifetimes. I find this hard to accept. I realized that the country has definitely changed, but how has it changed? What does it mean to be an American today? I decided that I wanted to find out firsthand and see if there was any good left in our country that may be overshadowed by sensational headlines.

    Being a motorcycle fan, I decided to hit the road, and film the trip, in order to discover the beauty of our country, meet the people I share this country with, and see the good contributions they make on a daily basis. Perhaps if we take the time to look for it, we will find that we still have many beliefs which we hold in common, rather than solely focusing on a few disagreements that could cause us to be torn apart as a nation.

    So, what does a trip like this look like? My plan was to see as much of the country as I was able, within a two-month span. I wanted to see a few iconic cities, but mostly I wanted to go to areas I had never visited, or possibly even heard of. I settled on a route which covered 43 states and approximately 13,000 miles in a rough lap of America. The next decision to be made was which motorcycle would I choose to transport me on this epic ride? Well, like I said above, I wanted to speak with people from around the country, so knowing that I would be traveling solo, as well as the fact that I’m not the most magnetic personality around, I decided I needed something that would draw a bit of attention. Something that would not normally be seen in the areas of the country I intended to visit. Noting that, if I wasn’t able to make my project work for me, this may be the only long-distance MC trip I was able to take, I wanted a bike that spoke to me personally. The problem was, I also needed a bike that was able to haul a tremendous amount of gear. This was a solo trip, yet I was to document it in a way that it would normally require a small crew. I knew that traveling solo would open myself to additional dangers which could only reasonably be overcome by packing contingency equipment to mitigate the risk. I would need additional fuel cans, tools, repair kits, clothing for extreme temperature variations, including snow conditions, and camping gear in case I became immobilized for a few days in isolated areas or funds ran low. I also have a habit of forcing myself to adapt to situations just to see if I can succeed. “Interesting” often prevails over “sensible”. So out of all the possible options available on the market, which mighty steed was the perfect fit for a journey such as this? A Ducati 1299 Panigale S, naturally… Seen here upon delivery.


    IMG_4159.JPG

    To be continued…
    #1
  2. JoeFab

    JoeFab Been here awhile

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    In !...j.f.
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  3. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    In!
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  4. jeepman63

    jeepman63 daplumber

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    im in:lurk
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  5. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Long timer

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    :lurk
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  6. Ol Man

    Ol Man Been here awhile

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    Thanks for your service and your trip goals sound really interesting.
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  7. espacef1fan

    espacef1fan Long timer

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    Lurking mode activated. I retire in 6 years


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
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  8. i4bikes

    i4bikes Been here awhile

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    I'm in.
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  9. birdie_xx

    birdie_xx Long timer

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    Thank you for your service ... and this is not the bike that I would choose :lol3
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  10. BillUA

    BillUA Las Vegas, NV

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    IN! And I think your observation of civilian life in today's climate has been calibrated very well.

    Thanks for your service.
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  11. hawkdriver85

    hawkdriver85 n00b

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    in, odd choice of bike thats for sure
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  12. avtechinbtown

    avtechinbtown Been here awhile

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    +1 especially on thanking you for you service. Curious how the duck holds up...and how you hold up riding it. I think I would need a big body pillow to stretch out over the tank for long rides ;) Big props for picking a bike that you WANT to ride!
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  13. espacef1fan

    espacef1fan Long timer

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    I dont know if I would picked it either, but, maybe I will pick it. Im planning a retirement ride myself.
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  14. b4thenite

    b4thenite Been here awhile

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    good luck and be safe, soldier!
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  15. YYZ Rush

    YYZ Rush n00b

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    On a Panigali....Oh boy this is going to be good. I'm in.
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  16. wilsonjw42

    wilsonjw42 Long rider

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    I'm in. Retired (for the first time) in 2008 -- welcome to the "outside".
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  17. Merfman

    Merfman Trustin' my cape...

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    First things first: THANK YOU for your sacrifices!

    Second: in!
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  18. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road

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    Thanks for being the tip of the spear.

    A Pana-what? Never heard of it. Don't look like no touring bike to me! :lol3
    #18
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  19. locopny

    locopny Adventurer

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    +8 Thank you for your service.

    I'm in. I think the bike choice is cool. Definitely an out of ordinary bike for a trip as this is.
    #19
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  20. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    18 years and counting here. Given that I've drunk deeply from the Orange Kool Aide pitcher, that's the way I woulda gone, but hard to argue with a sexy Panigale!
    #20
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