Honeymoon on the Duke

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DeeGee, Aug 8, 2008.

  1. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    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! :D

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    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.

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    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?? :eek1 Well we shrugged our shoulders and said so what! We'll take insurance and breakdown cover, problem solved! :D :D

    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. :thumb

    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 :eek1 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.
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    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!

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

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    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.

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    We finally arrived at our hotel in Luzern

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    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.

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    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.
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    And one more of the lake before we set off.

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    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! :cry

    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.

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    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. :snore and was very hungary :dg . 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! :waysad

    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. :huh This guy was called Reuben and after we had a brief conversation he guided us to our hotel! :clap Needless to say after we checked in I bought Reuben a beer and we had a chat in Spanglish :freaky

    Jack was not happy! :D

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    I'll catch up with some more tomorrow :D
    #1
  2. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Well done going on a biking honeymoon.:D:lurk
    #2
  3. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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

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    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 :eek1
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    We made interesting viewing for the passing tourists :D :freaky

    The famous Rialto Bridge
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    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.
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    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!! :clap :clap :D :D :D

    The Ducati Factory.

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    My happiness soon turned into tears though :cry :cry :cry 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. :huh 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.

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

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    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.

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    After our evening meal we headed back to the tent and opened a bottle of vino :freaky
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    More tomorrow guys. Thanks for looking :D
    #3
  4. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Nice, but pity about the factory tour.:lurk
    #4
  5. GB

    GB . Administrator

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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 :thumb

    :lurk
    #5
  6. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

    Joined:
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    I was gutted about the factory tour! :cry All that friggin' way! :eek1

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

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

    Again thanks for looking! :D
    #6
  7. BikePilot

    BikePilot Long timer

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    Great pics and ride, love the Duc too:clap:clap:clap:clap
    #7
  8. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

    Joined:
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    Location:
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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! :eek1 :eek1

    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! :eek1

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

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

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    More tomorrow folks! :D :D
    #8
  9. ksmdigital

    ksmdigital Adventurer

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    Great trip, keep it coming! :lurk

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

    Kevin
    #9
  10. BlueByU06

    BlueByU06 Ribbon Rider

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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.:D :lurk So I"ll by and eat my popcorn and read your post from time to time.
    #10
  11. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

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    One more of Jack in the Colleseum

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    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 :huh By mistake:eek1 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!:D :D :D We were both laughing.......:D ...........:D
    Then we got pulled by the Police :yikes :eek1
    Mi Dispiace, Mi Dispiace I pleaded They wagged their fingers and replied No Motochicletta! :ddog 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 :D

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    Jack made me laugh loud. I said lets head for Piza and stay there for a couple of nights :D What's there to do there though she replied :confused
    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 :baldy Have you never heard of the leaning tower of piza? I asked. Aw is that here she said!! :bash .......................... SERIOUSLY! :D :D :lol3 :loco

    We found this place
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    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.

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    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.

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    Views from the top.

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

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    And having a quiet beer later on in the evening

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    A bit of retail therapy for the missus :bore

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    Cheers for the comments guys! :D I'll follow it up soon :D
    #11
  12. zadok

    zadok Long timer

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    Great trip.:D:lurk
    #12
  13. Green427

    Green427 Comfortably Dumb

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    Awesome trip and pics!!! Keep 'em coming...

    :clap
    #13
  14. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    :bow Awesome photos!
    #14
  15. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    The days were flying by and we soon had to say our goodbyes to this magical place.

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    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. :cry

    We passed through tunnel after tunnel

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    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 :freaky

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

    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. :thumbup


    Another stop off and I couldn't resist this.

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

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    The Kamikazi Flies :D

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    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 :shog

    Our hotel room had no air conditioning :eek2

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

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

    The said chemist

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    Caring for herself :rofl

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    Thanks for the kind replies fellas really appreciate it. :D

    More tomorrow.
    #15
  16. Leg End

    Leg End BikerFM.co.uk

    Joined:
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    interesting trip dude--did you get a chance to play a round:eek1--of golf that is :rofl

    how much is it to get in Colosseum ?--and is there much to see like artefacts wise or just the building? Heard Rome is manic with the traffic out of control:yikes

    looking forward to next instalment DG :bmwrider
    #16
  17. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

    Joined:
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    We paid around 30/40€ for a guided tour of the colluseum, it was worth it as the guide told you anything you needed to know.

    There is also some artefacts and treasures in part of the colluseum which are all on display along with some artwork.

    The traffic is MENTAL!!!! :becca And I aint kidding, we got stuck in some square with no traffic control and there was buses, trucks, cars, scooters, cyclists, coaches, all blaring there horns as no one was going anywhere, there was even horse and carts, then there's the pedestrians trying to cross! All this mayhem was going on and there was two policemen watching through RayBanned Sun glasses looking cool smoking and chatting to the ladies. :huh
    #17
  18. Chr!s

    Chr!s natural born dreamer

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    Nice report mate, what a great way to start off married life. You looked a tad hot though!!!....(er, as in from the sun!).

    Apparently, if you say ''Je suis chaud'' in France it doesn't mean your hot from the weather but hot for sex...as my wife found out once while at a dinner party with LOADS of families :lol3
    #18
  19. Andres A

    Andres A FINDING NEMO

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    lucky guy , nice couple, lovely honey moon:clap :clap :clap :lol3 :lol3 :lol3
    #19
  20. DeeGee

    DeeGee I'm a Yorkshireman thanoz

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Up North In The UK!
    We've got another European trip coming up this Summer so I thought I'd better get my arse into gear and get this RR finished before we set off on the next one :rolleyes

    Right now where was I? :scratch

    Ah yes France, we'd just got to the sweltering hot hotel room!

    We had a good meal and a few welcome beers that evening in the town of Tours. The next day we hopped on a bus and visited Chateaux Amboise

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    Views from the top over looking the town

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    This famous fella was buried here also after spending his later years living here

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    This is above the entrance to the crypt where he is buried

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    Got myself a new friend too :rogue Never realised how big these were :eek1 until I saw this one.

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    Back to the hotel for a shower and a change and we hit the town for another slap up meal which turned out to be the worst meal of the trip, for me anyway, raw meat, salad and a cheese board that the chef must have found under the fridge as opposed to in the fridge :eek1 :puke2

    Finally we headed back up to Calais through Le Mans and made it safely to the hotel. :D

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    A decent meal this time washed down with a few beers and a bottle of fine French Vino.

    The next day we packed our belongings for the final time into our panniers and we made the short journey up the road to the channel tunnel.

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    An uneventful 4 hour trip up the A1 turned into a bizzarre kind of video game as we hit a massive tail back of approximately 6/7 miles long. Some people moved out of the way and let us through while other :dic moved into the middle of the road to try and stop us making progress.

    We eventually made it hame safe and sound :D

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    As it was our first trip abroad I can honestly say it was the best holiday/experience I personally have ever done. For those guys who are thinking about doing it, as the nike advert says; Just Do It!

    Great roads, great weather, great scenery and some great people were met on the way. Never again are we going to jump on a plane for a package holiday, for me this is the best kind of holiday and may we experience many many more :D

    Thanks for looking guys and thanks for the inspiration.

    Gav :D

    PS Just gotta say that the bike was faultless!! Wish I could've afforded to keep it, but it had to make way for the Katoom.
    #20