From my blog:
I bought a new bike in late December, just before Christmas. I decided to upgrade the Multistrada I've loved so much (for six years and 34,000 miles or so), and I bought a 2016 Multistrada Pikes Peak edition.
While I never expect to be able to ride much in the winter months here in Idaho, this winter has been ridiculous! Snow upon snow upon snow upon temps around zero, which never seem to end. So much so, that I haven't been able to put even one mile on the bike since I bought it. And once the snow does melt, the roads are a complete mess of water, sand, salt and chemicals. No thanks.
So, I spent the last few weeks dreaming of riding her, and performing a few mods like an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system, some engine and radiator guards, a super high decibel horn, etc. All dressed up with no place to go.
This past week, I finally couldn't take it anymore, so I looked on the map, and checked weather reports, trying to find the closest area I could that would be reasonably warm, dry, not take too long to get to, and give me some opportunity to at least do a bit of winter riding. I don't mind it being a little cold - I'll ride with temps in the mid-30's to mid-50's and not have a problem since I've got good heated gear to wear. Southern Utah? Nevada? Coastal Oregon? Northern California?
Best alternative seemed to be California for sure. About a nine hour drive to get to the Sacramento area, which could be a good launch point for some fun riding over two days. I'd drive over Friday, ride the weekend, and drive back home Sunday night and Monday morning. Kind of like so many of the trackday weekends I've done in years past, to Thunderhill or Spring Mountain or wherever. Only this time, my track destination would be the streets of northern California.
Forecast looked wet for Friday, but just cool and sunny over the weekend. Good enough. I didn't love the idea of my new baby getting all wet and dirty in the back of my pickup driving over in the rain and snow, but I figured it would be worth it. I surveyed road condition reports online, and found that several of the routes I was thinking about were blocked due to mudslides, from the massive amount of rain and flooding they've been having. Finally I planned a route of about 600 miles, narrowing it down to roads that looked like fun, and seemed to at least be passable.
The route I wound up doing was a little different, caused by a muddy detour. It wound up looking like this:
Friday morning, off I went. As I passed from Idaho into Oregon, it just looked cold and snowy ahead.
As I approached the Reno area, I started seeing highway signs saying that I-80 was closed at the state line to all trucks. I went online and saw that there was also a big detour from the highway due to a mudslide. Wonderful. Still, I'd come this far. I was going to find a way to ride this weekend. Going over Donner Pass was kind of nuts. Snow and sleet, with lots of mud and debris all over the road. Nasty!
As we descended along the detour route, the sun came out and it warmed up into the low 60's, almost magically! Felt so great to see sunshine, green grass, and know that soon I'd be riding. I stopped for the night and sampled some regional farm-to-table cuisine:
I could hardly sleep from excitement (or maybe the double-double in my gut), but finally morning came and I loaded up the bike for my ride. It felt surreal to be actually getting on my new bike and riding it for the first time, this time of year, on a long tour of some new terrain. I was very happy, to say the least!
As I rode, I familiarized myself with the new bike, noting the changes from my previous-gen Multi. Lots of similarities of course, but lots of differences too! I love the new color display, which is bright and full of easily accessible information. Really nice. Seat seems to be a little more comfortable, giving a bit more room and options on sliding forward or back a bit - certainly more than the old one did. I need to figure out a better touring windscreen. The Pikes Peak little carbon fiber one looks cool, but it was noisy! Brakes seemed to be significantly better - very impressive! Suspension felt plush, but way too soft for the type of riding I was doing. I'll have to do some adjusting there. Power was outstanding, and the sound through the trapezoidal Akrapovic was positively badass. I was worried that if I tried to stay at least close to the recommended break-in RPM guidelines, I'd feel completely hamstrung, but the bike has tons of power all through the RPM range. It'll do around 90 in sixth gear before even hitting 5500 RPM, which was generally plenty (or so I've heard).
It wasn't long before I hit the twisties - and it felt SOOOOO good!
This particular road was pretty rough, but it didn't matter. It was still a ton of fun, and they'd just get better and better as I went along. But it had been months since my last ride, so it just felt awesome.
One thing I did notice in a hurry, was how flooded it was everywhere over there! Wet roads with lots of residue from very recent mudslides, roadside waterfalls, and roaring rivers of brown, full of mud and debris. All the land completely saturated and wet.