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We finally drew lots over several cold beers to decide who was going to complete the break-in mileage on the new Monster last week..........and of course I got the short straw!

After pouting for a couple of hours, I looked at my options. I could either ride her to the office every day for a few weeks, which would delay getting her into the fleet and ready to go, or I could kill two birds with one stone and do a two day road trip and get some cool pics for Facebook and Ducati MS.......of course I chose the latter!

Weather was looking great for the weekend so I chose a Saturday / Sunday jaunt down the Oregon Coastal Highway and back. With the luggage attached containing......well not much other than clean underwear and the camera, I headed out for what would be around 900 miles to complete the break in.

My intended route was from the office in Vancouver, through Portland Oregon, and to run Highway 6 through the Tillamook State Forest out to the coast. Highway 6 meanders it's way through the forest with lots of lazy sweeping curves and elevation change. It's a great run through the pass when traffic is light......I got lucky, with a clear run pretty much all the way. Unfortunately, the twisties got the better of me and I ummm.....forgot to stop for photo opportunities in the forest...........oops!

Now it was time to really start work and break out the camera!

More to come........

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I have to be honest, I didn't have many miles under my belt on the Monsters other than the occasional short run to Motocorsa for service work now and then. By the time I reached Tillamook on Saturday, I was already a huge fan! I had an absolute blast as I ran the curves and the Monster did everything I asked of her incredibly well. Comfort, power and handling were all perfection.

Starting at the Tillamook Cheese factory, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Oregon, I remembered to break out the camera! Just a quick stop here for a cheese fix and photo op, I spent longer in the parking lot chatting to a group of folks who were admiring the Monster and wanting to rent three bikes next month!

From Tillamook, I headed south to Cape Kiwanda, the smallest of the three Capes along the scenic route. From the beautiful sandy beach you can see Haystack Rock offshore. Cape Kiwanda is a birdwatchers paradise with many species including Pacific loon, western grebe, black turnstone and in summer huge numbers of brown pelican.

It was getting close to lunchtime by now, and of course, it had started raining! So much for the weekend forecast! Stopping in at Lincoln City, I called in at Deli 101 for a bite to eat and to get out of the weather for a while. Deli 101 is run by a proud military family whose parents are World War II veterans, with their kids currently serving in the US Air Force. Active Military and Veterans are given discount on their superb range of deli sandwiches. Try the grown-up grilled cheese..........amazing!

By now the rain had eased, so I suited up and headed south toward Newport along the ever winding highway 101. I was having a blast on the Monster and almost forgot to turn off for a visit to Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Yaquina Head is the tallest lighthouse in Oregon at 93 feet and went into service in 1873. You can tour the lighthouse or simply take in the dramatic Oregon coastline at Yaquina Head......stunning!

Back on the Monster I headed south for more twisty fun.......with still a lot of miles to cover before dark.

Stay tuned...........
 

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From Yaquina Head, I hopped back on the Monster to continue south on highway 101. By this point I had already burned a lot of time with stops for photos and a short rain delay. My intention was to reach Brookings, Oregon before nightfall but it looked likely I'd fall well short of that goal by this point.

By the time I got into Newport, the fuel light was glowing brightly so a quick gas stop was the order of the day. Newport has been a vacation hotspot since 1856 and has many attractions to explore. From the Oregon Coast Aquarium to the Hatfield Marine Science Center, lighthouses and bustling Bayfront, there is something for every taste in Newport.

My next stop (before they closed for the day) was to be Sea Lion Caves, close to the town of Florence. With limited time to get through the 40 miles or so to my intended stop, I decided to make limited photo stops along the way and fire up the GoPro in order to capture the coolest and twistiest section of the Coastal Highway. Unfortunately, the mist and spray coming off the ocean had left a thin layer of salt on the lens of the GoPro as I rode merrily along, leaving me with nothing but blurry unusable footage! Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun trying as the footrests and pavement came together in harmony several times along the way.

Passing through the towns of Seal Rock, Waldport and Yachats, there are hundreds of incredible photo opportunities and stopping points, as the road runs closer to the ocean here than any other section of highway 101. I made only one stop for pics, where a friendly tourist asked if she could take pictures of the Monster against the view. After ten minutes of chat, I excused myself and continued south.

I'd never been to Sea Lion Caves before so I was pretty determined to make it. I arrived in the parking lot 20 minutes before closing which left me just enough time to get in a quick tour. Sea Lion Caves is a naturally occurring cavern which soars to the height of a 12 story building, and stretches the length of a football field! Access to the cave is via an elevator which decends over 200 feet to the viewpoint. On the day I visited there were estimated to be over 200 sea lions in the cave, basking on the rocks and playing in the waves and surf. It really is quite the sight and absolutely worth the stop! One thing to bear in mind here is that flash photography is not allowed as it freaks out the animals.....it can be tough to get good pics down there. With that said, if you look closely you can see them laying on the rocks in the picture I took.

More to come........

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