Daytona-Bound, Day 2

Coast to Coast on a Ducati Diavel to Daytona Bike Week Day 2

Cold was my theme for the day. As I rolled out of Prescott and onto SR-89A (one of my favorite roads) temps were in the low 30s. Thankfully, since I was all geared up with my Venture AddHeat gear from neck to toe (other than some Firstgear heated gloves, which are also fantastic and compatible with the hookups from Venture), I was almost not cold, but I did think to myself, “you’re going to lose the neck, sir.” I have a nifty Aerostitch Thinsulate neckband that usually keeps my ostrich-like neck warm, but I had forgotten it at home.

Anyhow, before long I was twisting and turning all the way into Jerome, AZ. Jerome is an old mining town built on a steep hillside. The road through town is literally a series of switchbacks from one block to the next. I really wanted to wait for Caduceus Cellars to open, since I’d wanted to try their wine ever since I saw the documentary, Blood Into Wine, about the beginning of the Arizona wine industry. But there was a snowstorm blowing in to Flagstaff, so I thought I’d better hit the road to outrun it. That didn’t work.

Flakes started falling as I rolled into Sedona, and I thought a run up steep and twisty Oak Creek Canyon (which 89A follows) might be a bad idea in a snowstorm, so I busted South on SR-179 to get to Interstate 17 -- 20 miles out of the way, but way safer. It might have been the best idea I had all day. At least when the snow started blasting me I was on a wide road with not too many cars on it. I’ve never ridden in falling snow before, or in 26 degree weather, but thanks to my heated gear and Ducati Traction Control, all was well. Despite the snow coming down so hard at one point, that I could only see about 80 feet in front of me, it didn’t build up on the road and there were only a couple of spots with ice. I’m actually not sure if the DTC did anything since it works so subtly, but I know I never felt anything like a slip, even on gravel.

So it was up I-17, then east on I-40 for a long, long time, across the Continental Divide, and into Albuquerque. Along the way it slowly warmed up from the 20s, to the 30s, and eventually all the way into the 60s. Thankfully, no more than that, as my layers of thermals and heated gear would have been too much.

While riding today I discovered a couple of new things about the bike. The otherwise stellar transmission sometimes finds false neutrals, but luckily doesn’t make ugly grinding noises. A snowflake appears on the lower display when the temps fall below 40 to alert you to watch for ice on the road. On a 500-mile day, my butt was very done by the end. Not sure how it’s going to work tomorrow with a 630-mile day planned. Staying with friends in Santa Fe, I was treated to a pair of home-cooked meals featuring exotic meats (lamb, bison), and then capped off by an oh-so welcome dip in a hot tub. So maybe I’ll be ready for the long road ahead tomorrow...