Friday, April 11, 2008

Ducati People Unite

When I bought my first Ducati in 1992, I was unaware of any other Ducatis in the Wenatchee area. Eventually my brother bought a 900ss and it was my belief that we had the only two in town. Then a yellow 748 appeared on the scene but before I could meet the owner I heard of a terrible accident. Over the years I have seen more Ducs running around, mostly Monsters. It has been my hope that we might find a way to get together as a group just to share the Ducati experience. Last Fall I posted a notice on Craig's List -- Wenatchee having its own section for motorcycle want ads. I got three responses right off the bat. I tried again this Spring and got several more. I now have a list of a dozen or so, most of them in the Wenatchee area.

Last weekend, I was able to get four of us together for our first group ride. We had a red 999, a yellow 748, a 620 Monster Dark, and my beloved red Multistrada. The day was cool but brilliantly sunny. We met in front of the old K Mart store and headed up the Cashmere valley. We took as many back roads as possible, starting with Chatam Hill, Lower Sunnyslope, and Sleepy Hollow roads. I love how my bike wants to leap into the air over the big hoops on Sleepy Hollow. After crossing the old wooden bridge west of Monitor, we were on the highway long enough to bypass Cashmere. Taking the third bridge to connect with the old Sunset Highway, we noticed our Monster rider was not with us. The other two riders turned back to find him while I waited briefly. I mistakenly thought I saw them head back into Cashmere and went to find them. After searching the likely places and missing them parked under the bridge, I decide to head to our next stop at the Timberline Motel in Peshastin. The owners have turned the little old wooden gas station into a motorcycle repair shop and Lizi counts a shiny red 900ss among her many bikes. The other riders were already there, as Seth was getting make-shift repair done to his bike's shift lever.

Unable to persuade Lizi to break away from work and join us on the ride, we headed up the Peshastin North Road toward Chumstick Valley. All these back roads are pure joy on a motorcycle. For the most part, the pavement was clean and dry. The Chumstick gets progressively better the further up you go until you switch back up over Beaver Hill. The far side of the hill is blessed with the most luscious set of tight curves. They are always a blast, whether running up or down the hill, but the lighter and more nimble the bike, the better. Stopping briefly in Plain to catch our breath, we headed out on the Chewawa Loop Road. This road snakes through the forest, undulating up and down. The pavement is not smooth and the vestiges of winter were evident in the debris and trickles of cold water running over the road in places. Not a fast road but a pleasure just the same.

Finding ourselves on the Lake Wenatchee highway, it was time to open the throttle for a fast run back to Highway 2. Seeing the road open up, the 4-valve bikes pulled the trigger and blasted past me like I was standing still. The open cans on the 999 sounded like a Howitzer in my left ear. It all ended too soon at Coles Corner but we were hungry and swung into the '59er Diner for some hot food and a little flirting with "Flo." (They're all named Flo there)

So, the Ducati contingent has met and rode and lived to tell about it. The weather is finally starting to warm and we hope to make this ride the first of many. It would be fun to get 6 or 8 Italian Stallions running together.

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