Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cloudy Colorado

We've been having a rather wet and overcast end of Spring here in Colorado.  Rain every day, solid cloud cover and gray skies darkening everyone's mood and dampening one's riding.

There was a break in the clouds, according to the weather radar reports, so I headed out with Scarlett to capture some cloud time-lapses.  I hope you like them.

The brief view of blue skies did not last long though, as I type this, it's raining once again.  I am hoping for clearer skies come Memorial Day Monday.

Update: One more time-lapse video and some photos, showing a rather cool looking storm cloud brewing....

As I rode home, one could catch glimpses of the mountains to the west, finally!  It had been several days since I'd last seen them.

Above and below pics shot mistakenly with White Balance
set to "Incandescent".....had to do some correcting afterwards

Thursday, May 21, 2015

20K Km Service for Scarlett

Started  yesterday on the myriad tasks involved with the 20,000 Kilometer Service Interval for my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig, Scarlett.

Currently waiting on a replacement starter, the one that came with Scarlett has a broken spacer sleeve which causes it to "miss" engaging the flywheel's teeth sometimes; resulting in an awful metallic meshing noise.  URAL is replacing it with a new one, no fuss.  In the meantime, I kick start her as needed.  :)

You can see the spacer which failed, well, the remaining 
half of it anyways.  Not sure who manufactures the starters used
by URAL on their sidecar rigs.  I'll try and remember to look at the 
markings when I swap it out.


         Engine, transmission and final drive oils.  No big metal chunks on the drain plug magnets, just the usual swarf.

         Oil Filter

         Spark plugs and air filter.

         Fuel Filter

Injected fresh grease into main driveshaft U-Joint and sidecar U-joint.

Both the main drive splines, sidecar drive splines were greased less than 3000 km ago during the replacement of the clutch disks so skipped them.  Both had presented nice greasy coatings during the clutch replacement but were re-coated anyways.

Checked the valve clearances, all good except right side exhaust valve was a bit tight at .002 inches, loosened it to .004 inches.

Checked spokes, all wheels.

Checked the balance of the EFI throttle bodies using the Harmonizer tool.  All good!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Post-May Road Trip Thoughts

Some thoughts and notes as I return to regular work day normalcy after having been "on the road" for 13 days.  The trip grew from a two day drive (both ways) with Milli the URV dragging a trailer with Scarlett lashed securely on top to Chicago for work; to 13 days as I added more destinations.

States that were trailered through:  NE, IA, IL, OH, MI, IN, PA, MD, VA, WV, KY, MO, KS.

The idea was to explore several concepts:

1.  Viability of Milli, the 2006 PT Cruiser as a URV: Ural Recovery Vehicle.  In terms of towing capacity and highway speeds, she did great!  She did use a bit of oil, the AC failed, but mechanically she remained sound.

2.  Viability of using Milli as a mini-camper.  Grade: B.  It was OK, though I only camped one night.

3.  Test how much of a PITA it is to dismount/mount Scarlett from the trailer when the opportunity presents itself for a ride in an interesting area.  Got the process down to less than 20 minutes each way, but it was a bit of a hassle.  Also, no matter how hard I tried, couldn't get Scarlett to look good in pictures while on the trailer....just wasn't happening!

At the West Omaha KOA

The thought had been too to claim more states that I'd motorcycled in.  All I had to do was stop somewhere, get Scarlett off the trailer and go riding around a bit right?  Due to time constraints and general lack of will, there were several states I just drove through, electing to not unload the rig.  So much for that idea, and besides, it just didn't feel right in the end.

Parking in downtown Chicago is ridiculous!  Very expensive.

As I drove hour after hour along the super slabs, my thoughts turned to:

This thought came up repeatedly:  Why am I trailering?  If Scarlett develops issues, better now while she's under warranty than later when she's not!?  URAL support has always been outstanding so why use the URV concept.

I wasn't in a race and it's not like I was in the wilds of British Columbia or Alaska!  Note, I would have been limited to 55 mph had I decided to ride Scarlett instead of trailering.  Using the URV enabled speeds in the 65-70 mph range so we covered the same distance faster.

It sure was nice to bask in the air-conditioning in the car on the hot portions of each driving day.  That is, until the air-conditioning failed, then it was miserable; but at least I didn't have riding gear on I suppose, since I was in a car!

KOA campgrounds and their Wifi, slow at best, and on this trip, quite pathetic at the KOA near Omaha that I stopped at.

You can drive, from Orlean, VA to Centennial CO in two days but they're a long two days!  I was a bit punchy when I got home Tuesday evening.

About 2050 miles outbound, with Orlean, VA being the turn-around point.  About 1668 miles on the return half of the trip.  Rough total: 3718 miles.

So, not sure I'll be repeating the same transportation conditions on the next road trip.

Still, I got the chance to visit friends I'd not seen in too many years, saw an awesome flyover by WWII aircraft, met new folks, rode with a pioneer moto-blogger and finally met in person a legend in the moto-blogging world.  All in all, a good road trip.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Uraling in the Shenadoah National Park's Skyline Drive

Sunday morning and first half of the afternoon was spent in the company of Otto B., my friend of over three decades and fellow Army ROTC graduate.

Otto has recently retired as a full Colonel, and he was in town and staying at Lee S's place near Orlean, VA. The previous blog posting talks about this gathering and the main objective it held, a flyover by over 50 World War Two aircraft to conmemorate VE Day.

Otto, Scarlett and I rode out pretty early and some 40 miles later were motoring onto Skyline Drive.  The first stop showed promising views though we'd seen fog up higher.

 At the first stop as one enters the park from US211.  Skyline Drive itself
stretches for many miles to the south.  We would just ride a short portion 
north towards Front Royal, VA.

 Shortly after that first stop, the fog and clouds pretty much shut us down in
terms of being able to shoot the views of the valley below.  No real safe spots 
along the side of the road for "in the fog" pictures either.

So, since we were socked in with fog, we just rode past the remaining overlook sites hoping to see them later after lunch at Front Royal.  It was quite "brisk" while riding in the clouds/fog for both Otto and myself! We were both glad we'd both the liners for our respective jackets.

At one point in the drive north though, there finally came a spot where we'd outrun the clouds/fog and could get a nice view of the valley below.  

Otto and I decided to relax here a bit, warm up and have a cigar as I positioned my camera to do a time-lapse of the clouds as they rolled over the valley below.

 Otto and Scarlett

Front Royal proved to be a neat little town.  We had lunch at The Mill Restaurant and I am happy to report the food and service were great.

Riding back on Skyline Drive back towards US211, we took some shots from the overlook sites we'd bypassed before but the bugs were out now and the scenery, though quite nice, wasn't exactly conducive anymore to more picture taking shall we say.

We could see rain clouds inbound as we rode south.

We made it back to the town of Orlean with no rain hitting us, that evening was spent enjoying Lee's marvelous production of Lobster Fra Diavolo.  He had cooked as it was Mother's Day while Lynn took it easy, in the company of her son and daughter who came to visit.