Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Cloudy Day of Leaf-Peeping on Mount Evans Road

Fall Season starts today and this past Sunday found Scarlett and I riding into the mountains, joining the growing number of "leaf-peepers", the folks who drive up to seek and enjoy the colors of the aspen leaves as they turn yellow and red as temperatures cool down.

Altitude drives the rate of change for the leaves it seems, as the higher Scarlett and I rode, the more frequent the splashes of bright yellow and occasional reds that fluttered in the wind, highlighted by the dark background of dark green pine trees.

The road to the mountain colors involved twists and turns along Deer Creek Canyon Road, Bear Creek Canyon Road, and Witter Gulch Road, eventually leading me to CO 103 or Squaw Pass Road.

Witter Gulch Road
"Calvin and Hobbes courtesy of www.gomics.com"
Inspiration: Petapixel

One takes CO103 about 12 miles from its junction of Witter Gulch Road (which is now paved, I discovered) and ends up near Echo Lake and the entrance to CO5, Mount Evans Road.  Here's some of the Fall Colors Scarlett and I managed to find along the way to Mount Evans Road:

 Near the sign for Squaw Pass

 Near Echo Lake Lodge, the spot I like to pose my motorcycles
at, with the phrase: "On a Clear Day, you can see Forever"

Scarlett and I would end up above the clouds you see.

A little bit clearer and yeah, you could see forever...

Once we arrived at the fee station for Mount Evans, we found that the road was only open to Summit Lake and so the fee was only half.  The below views along Mount Evans Road cost me all of $1.50 and gas.  Good deal eh?

 It was a bit cloudy as we neared Summit Lake, about
10 miles from the entrance station.

Peaks wreathed in clouds...

 Here's how things looked near Summit Lake, being in the clouds
felt a bit like a soft Irish rain, small water droplets felt on one's face...

Once again back on CO 103, Scarlett and I headed back towards Bergen Park, stopping a few times for pictures:

I had a sense of serene peace while taking this last picture, 
this one is for you, Bobskoot.

A good day of riding away from the metro area where the leaves remain green and Fall is but a pending event on the calendar.  

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Uraling to T3RG's 2014 Civilian Top Gun Rider Competition

As in years past, today I attended the T3RG Motorcycle School's Annual Civilian Top Gun Competition in my role as examiner.com's Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner.  It's actually quite the event, where one can see skilled riders compete in a maze of orange cones, each seeking to get the best time with least penalties for touching cones, dabbing feet or even knocking cones over!

I met up with acquaintances I've made in the past years, and under a blazing Colorado sunny sky, sweated a wee bit from the heat.  I would like to extend my admiration to one of the riders, Digger.  Not only was he competing, but he also led us through the opening ceremony prayer and played the National Anthem on his trumpet!  Job well done Sir.

 Bob Ucman, the instructor I recently had in the abbreviated 
Civilian Top Gun Rider course, was the event judge.

I arrived in time to set up for the Cruiser/Bagger Competition.  The course is a seeming maze of orange traffic cones.  The riders have to negotiate the different portions of the course, weaving their large motorcycles through tight circles, curves, corners and other narrow paths.  All this while trying to do it in the shortest time possible, and without touching, much less knocking over, the traffic ones that comprise the maze.
 Negotiating a 20 foot diameter circle, twice.

 In the Coriolis circle maze, the narrow lanes direct a rider into
ever narrower circles.

 The winner in the Cruiser/Bagger Category.  Not a bad way
to earn yourself $1000!

Then, the folks of T3RG Motorcycle Schools, took some time to reorganize the course obstacles for the next category of riders: Sport Bikes!  The course had its obstacles but the riders were encouraged to do it as fast as possible.  

 Riders enter the Coriolis circle, barely slowing down from
the speed run from the previous obstacle

The sport bike competition didn't take as long as the cruiser/bagger competition even though I  believe it was the same number of competitors.  I guess those guys on the sport bikes were really moving through the course!

The winner of the Sport Bike competition, 
also taking home $1000!

Here's a compilation of video I shot throughout the day, it should give you an idea of the skill and talent involved with some of these riders.  I was told by one of the instructor/judges that the young guys on the sport bikes hadn't taken formal training, it was just talent.  Can you imagine what they could do with training?!

Bob Ucman asked me to mention that T3RG is teaching one more Civilian Top Gun Rider class October 11 and 12 coming up!  I'd mentioned before I'd participated in this class, and you can come out of this course with the skills you saw in the videos.

Link to the T3RG Motorcycle School:  LINK.

The K pathway you see at the end of the Bagger's video is part of the K and R cone obstacles, in memory of Kevin Ratzell, former Motor Police officer, and past lead instructor of Civilian Top Gun course and events.  Kevin passed away in this spring of this year, his family and friends were out in force during this event, he shall be missed.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Farewell, Bobskoot....

Martha and I just found out today that one of the pioneers of moto-blogging, Bobskoot of Riding the Wet Coast fame, had passed away in his sleep, in Nashville, TN.  He'd been driving his beloved Corvette in some kind of National Rally, along with his lovely wife Yvonne; his last post being published August 30.

It'd been quite some time since that post and I'd sent emails and texts to Bob asking what was up....for he was a frequent poster of great content and pictures.  Now we know, so long afterwards, that he was gone.

Martha and I will sorely miss Bob and extend our heartfelt condolences to Yvonne. 

We first met Bob through the usual way of moto-bloggers, exchanging comments on each other's blog postings.  After quite some time of this, we finally got a chance to meet Bob along with fellow moto-blogger Bluekat and her husband Ron during a road trip to Montana.

The trip was in July of 2011 and we all spent a few days in a rustic cabin site getting to know each other, doing some rides which culminated with a glorious day riding the "Going to the Sun" Highway in Glacier National Park.  LINK

Bob, Ron and Kari in Montana

That trip was truly a memorable one, even more so for affording me the chance to meet fellow moto-bloggers like Kari and Bob.  Bob turned out to be quite the character and his companionship made the trip so much more enjoyable.

Bob was in his element when talking motorcycle riding, photography, cameras of all types and function and of course, in his signature Pink Crocs!  Generous almost to a fault, you only had to but hint that you needed something and he'd be right there offering to get it for you.  

I would later go visit Bob in Vancouver, as I rode towards Alaska back in the Spring of 2013, he graciously let me stay at his home and we had a chance to get together with a fellow moto-blogger, SonjaM and her husband Roland for dinner:

Roland, Yvonne, Bob, Sonja and yours truly

We would next met up with Bob as my family was spending a family vacation in Wisconsin helping Martha's dad celebrate his 80th birthday.  Bob was doing a cross-country ride from Vancouver to the East Coast of the USA and detoured out of this way to come spend some time with us in Wisconsin!  LINK

 We would once again have the pleasure of Bob's company the following month as Bob was making his way back towards his home in Vancouver, Canada.  Again detouring away from of the optimal route, he came and visited us for a bit and I had a chance to ride with him once again.

Martha and I consider ourselves fortunate to have met and spent time with Bobskoot!  The blogosphere and our lives are a sadder place without his presence.  You will be missed Bob, you now ride where we can only wonder for now,  you will be remembered fondly.  

Hail Fellow well met!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five Young Riders (and one Goose) on a Two Year URAL Adventure...

Stumbled upon this blog via a posting on sovietsteeds.com.  Five young riders (they look like they're in their mid-20s at most!), on five 650cc URAL Sidecar Rigs;  riding a planned 30,000 Km route from Europe all the way through Asia, across the Bering Strait (by boat I am sure), and into North America all the way to our eastern coast.

Check out their blog for more details about the riders, the route and their plans:  LINK

From their blog:

Five with a zest for action
We are friends and together we have already implemented several projects in recent years, which include artistic collaboration, joint exhibition projects and publication of a book, as well as several field trips to various countries.

What makes us different is our zest for action. There are so many challenges that we want to deal with, causing us many long sleepless nights until we have finally mastered them. Not only as a group but also on the basis of our experience we feel strong enough to accomplish this.

The message from all of our projects that we want to transmit to the people is: Do something! Start! Give yourself a shake and all is possible!

The Five Riders

The expedition's aerial photographer: Blockbuster.
Apparently, trained to fly about the riders with a GoPro 
Camera attached!

Think about it, artistic types with no professional mechanic experience/training, in fact there's a stated "lack of knowledge" on their blog, expecting to learn to fix things as they go.  No support vehicles and crews, riding old URAL sidecar rigs with the old 650cc engines and a seemingly "let's see what happens and see who we meet" plan for the journey.

They've also got a Facebook page where most of the updates on the trip so far have appeared, my guess is the blog might not be updated as often as their Facebook page.

I am looking forward to reading of their adventures, ah to be young again.....(though I was never this easy going)