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I awoke early to a blustery and cool Southern California winter's morning, up before the sun. I fired up the ol' computer and posted a bunch of nonsensical posts here and on www.ducati1098.net, and went for a pre-dawn soak in the hot tub, under a clear and starry sky.

The smell of fresh coffee filled the house, and I poured a warm cup of inspiration, and went out to my garage, my favorite room in the house. I flicked on the lights, and was greeted by a clean fleet of machines, each begging for their turn in the fresh air. It has been cold here, so I had been away from the garage for about a week, and the Tamburini's ominous cowl reminded me of what a sight this bike is. I fired up the compressor and walked the hose past the R1, the VFR, the RC51, and kneeled down at the valve stems of the F4...Sorry others, I need my fix...

I suited up, cleaned my visor, and rolled the bike out onto the driveway into the yellow-gold of the morning sky. The wind had settled, but the air was still just a bit cool, and dead leaves littered the street from the wind overnight. The sky was clear and blue, the sun was on the rise, and the air smelled clean and fresh.

The motor fired right up and I slipped on the gloves, closed the garage, and rolled away south, Ortega's sweeping apexes in my mind. There was nobody out. The streets were clear of most traffic, and I entered CA15 south with a hearty fistful of throttle, the bars racing to free themselves of my grasp. Up through the gears I accelerated, listening to the howl of the Tamburini's motor and exhaust notes in the still air. 3 miles later I exited to Old Temescal Canyon, past Tom's Farms and through the dusty valley's back road. This twisty, undulating route wound me past the Corona Lakes, south to Lake street, where I made my right and continued south through Lake Elsinore. I banked right onto CA74, expecting to see the usual pack of sportbikes waiting patiently for a meaningful gap in the traffic flow, to begin their assault up the hill. There was nobody there, there was no traffic at all.

I wound her up through third, and settled into fourth for the flats leading up to the steep climb up the eastern face of the Ortega mountain range, the bike was just humming along effortlessly. The sweeping carousel corners on the Elsinore side are amazing, and I watched out of my left eye as the steel and wood guardrail snaked past on the outside. Still no cars.

With the tires warmed up, and my pace settled somewhere between brisk and fast, I proceeded to devour the eastern face, riding right past the deserted pitstop known as the Cliff House. Where is everybody? I thought to myself...

After trolling through the town at the top, 45mph on the dot out of respect for the CHPs that like to hang out here, I bagan the long decent down towards the western side. The corners were intoxicating, the air was clear but cool, and the bike was in its element. I finally saw three of our bretheren, coming up towards where I had just been, and got the universal thumbs up indicating that our LEO friends were still at the coffee shop. I enjoyed my ride all the way down to the flats that flank the polo fields on the other side, where I picked a wide shoulder, checked for traffic, and executed a sweeping u-turn to retrace the route. Almost all of the way back up, I hardly saw a car or a bike, the road was all mine this morning.

I stopped at Tom's Farms back on my side of the hill, and put away a steaming ham-and-eggs plate, washing it down with more fresh coffee and a glass of fresh OJ. Traffic was finally starting to build as I rolled back north onto the 15, heading for home. On the way back up the hill to my house, the bike suddenly errupted into a long, looping second gear wheelie, I don't know how this happened, ahem, but it was a nice one!

Christmas came early for me this morning. A clear day, a clear road, a clear head, and the most amazing motorcycle in the world...Okay, biased opinion.

Griff
twoeleven
 

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Great write up Griff, :smoking: I can taste those hams and eggs from here! :)
 
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