#19 In Roads-Ducati Don
Leaning the Beast onto his kickstand next to a spanking new Ducati Diavel in the “no parking” zone of a country produce stand, I look up as Ducati dude walks up. “You can’t park there,” he tells me. With a grin I tell him that if he can, I can, and our connection is made. I ask if I can take his picture and he strikes a pose but doesn’t ask why. We stood under the shade tree chatting for the next ten minutes.
Don is 69 years old and has been riding for 55 years. On this day, he is working to get his brand new Ducati broke in. He’s 1,002 miles into the process. We start off discussing the fat rear tire after I ask how it handles. “It sticks great, no slipping at all. It’s a 240mm and I really like the handling. It’s the same that’s on the V-Rods. This bike is pretty cool, don’t know for sure but I’m told the name, “Diavel,” is Italian for devil and I’m telling ya, it runs like the devil for sure. I really like this motorcycle. I like sport bikes for their speed and handling and my Harleys for the cross-country comfort.”
He goes on to tell me he’s ridden a motorcycle in every one of the 50 states and the longest trip he’s taken was from California to the Florida Keys where his son lives. He says his son has a 200-mph motorcycle called an Aprilia, which will leave his Ducati sitting in the dust. Don has two Harleys and keeps a log, which he shows me, of his miles. The tally is over 500,000. He admits he has a really hard time finding anyone to ride with him and the typical conversation goes like this:
“You want to got for a ride? Sure, where you want to go? Oh, I dunno, how about down to L.A. or over to Shasta? Um, well, how about Stockton? I’ll ride to Stockton with you.” Don laughs. “Stockton, really? A whopping 60 miles? So, I usually ride alone.” I tell him I can relate, spending most of my time on the road alone and he asks what I do. I don’t mention Thunder Press or In Roads, just that I travel and haven’t owned a car for ten years. He says he envies me. I laugh and point out that he seems to be doing pretty well, I certainly haven’t made all the states, but it’s a goal. He stashes his bag of cherries in the saddlebag and nods. “Yeah, you’re right. I certainly am enjoying being retired.” We wish each other well and promise to wave next time we cross paths. Later I checked it out and “Diavel” does not mean “devil” in Italian. In fact, the word doesn’t even exist in any dialect I could find. Wish I could tell him.