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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AntiHero, Jul 13, 2012.
:) Thanks, guys, I'm now officially a professional author.
I'd consider doing a run of autographed/personalized books. That'll add a logistical element that will require me having a permanent address (which should be next month). For now, I've got to finish and proof them....oh yes. And get caught up on the Ride Report that started it all!!!
Death Valley is a tricky place to navigate. Not just because of the harsh terrain and wicked climate....as you can see from the map below it's tricky because there's a HELL of a lot to see and you can't just do a nice loop and cover it all. Most locations require driving out and back. A good example: Dante's View is only 2 miles away from Badwater on a map, but the the road you have to take is 40. I'm not complaining--it's those roads that make traveling in the park so phenomenal--but it makes trying to determine what to do and where to go a challenge that is compounded when you have to factor in the scarcity of petrol.
Ghost Rider recommended I take a particularly entertaining road into Death Valley from Vegas. Due to the time I arrived and where I was staying, I decided to do his route on my way out of DV. Seemed like a good idea, but that last day I it rained. The road was yet another 'once in a lifetime' kind of ride, but weather conditions dictated caution. Because I was so confident when I left that (at most), I'd encounter only a light sprinkle, I packed my raingear away in my tail bag (something I'd avoided doing since I picked up the gear in Montreal). I froze, but it was my own stupid fault.
Pic was taken right around Ashford Mills Ruins. I wish I had a waterproof camera--the terrain was spectacular.
It was just initially a light rain, but that's still enough to make 40 degrees feel like 5. And then the light rain turned into a downpour. There was no cover anywhere, so stopping was out of the question. Finally made it to a gas station, where there was enough cover for me to get my rain gear on.
There was a "Flood" sign just up the road in the direction I was headed. Seeing as though I didn't even take a picture you can tell how much I cared. Warning signs in California seem to be put up for no other reason than to scare old people and keep Caltrans workers employed. Chalk my nonchalance up to my disdain for the 'boy who cried wolf': a doom-impending WARNING sign followed by normal circumstances doesn't exactly grab your attention any subsequent time you see it. After the tenth sign it becomes another invisible piece of trash you try to ignore.
As I got my gear all packed away and cinched down, a cheerful old guy missing his nose and his left eye came out of the station to say hi. We had a nice conversation about the weather. He offered me some safety advice that I politely ignored just like the sign.
After firing the beast up (I was shivering at this point in my rain suit), I reached the 'flood'. And oh my, yes, the joke was on me. The good? I was only doing about 20mph when I hit the bottomless pool. The bad? I was only about 20mph. Far too slow to benefit from the front tire 'Moses Parting the Water' effect that happens at speed. The uber-high pegs on the Duck were lower than the water level, submerging my boots and that trick exhaust well under water. Staying on the throttle kept the water out of the exhaust, but did nothing to keep the water out of my boots. I pulled over to drain the water out of my Doc Martins, only to see another "flood" sign a quarter mile up. Yes, it was going to be that kind of day. I realized why the one-eyed old man was so happy: he wasn't me.
The scary thing? He didn't even mention the flood right in front of us. It was the road ten miles out he told me to watch myself on.
I think a book signing tour is on the horizon
Maybe this time you should try it on a Confederate Hellcat
At last you're moving, Dennis ! I thought you're going to stay in DV for ever
Following closely ...
Been following your ride report from the start and you can count me in on a hard copy of your book. And yes, I'd like to have it signed as well.
I was hoping to meet up with you in New Orleans....maybe next time. Everyone eventually comes back to New Orleans. By the way, I was window shopping for the Panigale, back in August, at the New Orleans showroom. I mentioned your epic ride, I doubt they'd remember by the time you showed up.
I took time out from Fest last year to stop in that showroom. I've been attending Fest since 1979, but never arrived on two wheels ... yet. Time constraints dictate "wings of man" this year for 2nd weekend, but maybe next year...
An eBook... absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately I'm still stuck in the 2k's with my paper books, but when they're released you can count me in.
Nothing wrong with that. There's something tangible about holding an actual book in one's hands.
If it will be shipped overseas I will definitely buy the version you can hold in your hand, and keep it in a special place on my reading shelf.
Crap, I stumbled onto your rr yesterday and have been reading ever since and didn't realize I came to the end of it.
It's been absolutely amazing, I can't wait for last leg and the novel and it's certainly motivating me to jump on my sp1 when spring hits and just go riding for a couple of weeks.
Also, thanks for turning me onto Carissa's weird, awasome music.
A fan from Amsterdam.
Nothing quite as cute as a Duc taking to the water. . . . . . . OK, I'll shut up.
I *will* buy the coffee table book, and *will* buy the novel. Hell, I'd still chip in even if they were about the proper way to sort marbles, so long as the words are your own! Not the iPad edition however, I digitally rot my eyes out enough as it is.
Thanks for everything, AH. Let us know when you're ready for our money. Ha!
Marble-sorting, lol. Would make for some nice pictures, though.
Hard-copy books are still in progress....soon....soon.....
For now: On to LA!
I've been through a few bad storms, but the one I hit leaving DV for LA was definitely the most dangerous of the trip. The road the old dude warned me about was filled with large pools of standing water. I tried to maintain a balance between riding fast enough to not freeze to death and 'slow' enough to avoid hydroplaning spectacularly to my death. Apparently I error'd on my estimation of how slow 'slow enough' was and came as close to catastrophe as one can get. Once out on a main highway, the monsoon continued, but instead of just worrying about me losing all traction I had to worry about 3-4 lanes of traffic doing the same. Being near invisible in the gray-out conditions didn't help. Were it not for vigilance, Ducati ABS and Traction Control I might have not accomplished one of the goals I set when I first began the ride report (don't end up in the morgue).
Things dried out eventually and I made it to Irvine, where I warmed my bones in the hotel shower and washed away the post-traumatic stress.
While out scavenging for dinner I found the shot that captures the picturesque, radiant and 'devoid-of-people' side of LA I like so much (a difficult combination to find, but it's there):
This picture makes me want to ride, for some reason. lol
Griffith Observatory would be a cool back drop for the Duc.
Isn't riding in a torrential downpour, aka 'Noah Weather', FUN? Last time I was riding toward the ark, I was headed toward Weed on I5.....luckily my bike floats!
My last gully washer was returning from Toronto last July. Plenty of lightning and scary wind, but my scariest drencher was two years ago returning from the eastern shore of MD. Crossing a long steel suicide grating above the Verrazano Narrows in a 50-knot side wind and torrential downpour was cause for a fresh set of undies, and not so much because they got wet [g].
I finished the hardbound book project! Well, one size at least. Two options are available: hard-cover with a dust jacket printed on 80lb paper and 2) hard cover that has images printed right on the binding on premium lustre 100lb paper. Both are Large Landscape Format (13x11 inches/33x28 cm). Both are 60 pages.
For an idea of the size:
There's also a PDF available that.
Though the PDF and eBooks are cheap, the physical copy is expensive. (I know, in order to publish anything I had to buy 3 versions of the eBook, 1 of the PDF and one of the hard-copy book). My royalty is ~5%, and Blurb keeps the rest. (Clearly not a great strategy for me trying to support my next trip.) There is a coupon code good until Jan 28th, though, for 25% off (COZY). I'm considering doing a smaller, less-expensive book, but it requires me reformatting everything all over again, which takes days of effort.
To note: I have not received the printed copy yet, so I can't verify if there are any formatting issues that only show up in the printed material and not in the electronic version. If there are any issues, they should be fairly insignificant, but again--I won't know until I can hold it in my hand and can't guarantee perfection at this time.
For those who requested a signed copy there are a couple options.
1) Send me a PM with the type of book you want. When I have a complete list, I'll work out the rest of the details/costs.
2) Pick your favorite picture from the Ride Report and I'll print a copy, sign/personalize it and mail it to you (you can simply paste it into the first page, which is blank).
Link is here, with a sample of the first 15 pages: http://www.blurb.com/user/store/AntiHero_X
Onto the rest of the ride!
Back to where this trip began:
Having hit 15,000 miles in Death Valley (or maybe even a little before), I brought my bike into Ducati Newport Beach to have my first 'major' service done. I hope you're sitting down. When I called to ask how much it was I was not. Though Ducati has done a great job of doubling the time between valve adjustments (15K for the 1199 vs. 7500 miles for the 1098/1198/848), the frameless design requires complete disassemby of the bike. Swingarm, forks, everything. 16 hours, $1898.24.
Makes the look of these in the showroom a little less appealing:
If that wasn't bad enough, Ducati Newport Beach doesn't have loaner bikes. No loaners? That might not seem out of the ordinary for a Kawasaki or Yamaha dealer, but EVERY Ducati and Triumph dealer I've been to offered me loaners for anything more than a blinker fluid flush. Hell, for $2K I could have bought a bike! Aaron, the sales manager, offered to let me use his personal bike, but instead I just holed it up at a motel a couple blocks away (which added another $180 to the cost of the service for a two night stay).
And if that's not bad enough? The valves were in spec and didn't need adjustment. Fuck me!
The service guys did, however, completely detail the bike while it was apart, which probably took 10 hours alone. Still....