Sunday, May 01, 2016

Fiona, thoughts after riding in Utah

Some thoughts and notes post-Utah riding:

Cathedral Valley: Temple of the Moon

Gobs of torque in all gears.  Addictive.  Smooth power delivery from the R80 Beemer engine.

Her stock engine belly pan is about an inch+ lower than a stock Ural's belly pan, this dictated taking less "technical" paths at times during the riding.  Hit the belly pan once, no issues except for a slight scar on one of the fins.

Experienced a dead battery due to the alternator not charging it while riding.  Turned out to be a loose ground wire in the connector going to the voltage regulator.  Confirmed it is a good thing to carry a small jump starter capable battery, and that she kick starts really easy when the engine is warmed up.

The battery issue led me to find a new issue.  Seems that the end of the adjusting screw on the clutch actuator lever had been impacting the battery case, and had slowly been gouging a hole.  Yikes!  In camp, I'd added some cardboard layers to elevate the new battery.  That kludge didn't last long so now I've added a couple of foam pads under the new battery, and now the adjusting screw hits the foam, not the battery.  It's something monitor though.

Foam pads to elevate and cushion the new battery
the rubber strap is used to secure the battery.

The Odyssey PC680 battery that came with Fiona was manufactured in 2016 so it "should" be OK, we'll see.

Not great MPG results when off-roading: 18-20.  No idea what paved road MPG is as I trailered Fiona to Moab.

The spare gas can mounted on the sidecar rattles!  I have to find a way to reduce the noise.

Her worn street tires, at first a source of concern when off-road, did great!  The easy power of 2WD on loose, deep sand enabled her street tires to cruise mostly effortlessly.  The one time she got really stuck, it was because the 2WD lever disengaged, must figure out a way to keep it in place when using 2WD.

The stock "tractor" seat is "OK", I think a bench style seat is in Fiona's future however.  I've ordered a generic set back pad for the pillion's grab handle assembly, as I keep hitting it with my lower back on rough terrain.

The 2014 Ural airbox I got for Fiona worked great, though I found the Ceet tubing to wear think in spots where my legs are, rather easily.  I've duct-taped the tubes for now.  No significant dust accumulation in spite of a couple of rather dusty rides.

Fiona got her left muffler knocked loose on a rock, a two-into-one exhaust system is definitely a plus when riding the rougher trails in the Moab area.

The occasion never came up to do an informal race against another URAL on the two long hills when riding from the town of Moab back to the campground.  I did see she could hold 60 MPH easily in fourth gear on said hills though; and she had more throttle to go.

The post on the spare tire holder, broke off while riding in the Mineral Bottom Road area.  Looks like it had been previously welded, but not done well.  I used some straps to hold things together for the ride back to camp.

Fiona seems a bit bouncier than Scarlett, I'll have to check out the shocks on her soon.  Perhaps get her the more updated shocks.

That's it though, she did great in the Moab area riding!  Moab tested and approved I believe.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Snowy Ride for Scarlett

I returned home on Thursday this week, leaving behind rainy weather in the Moab, UT area and that rainy weather arrived here last night in the form of snow for us here in the Metro Denver area.

Not much snow has fallen, and it's not sticking to the roads, so not a big deal.

Scarlett and I motored out after breakfast hoping to catch some views of snow-laden branches on local trees.  It snowed lightly the whole time we were out.

 Hey, what's that under the trees?

Next was running to the hardware store for some supplies to try and fix the broken post on the spare tire holder on Fiona.  It broke off during the last ride to Mineral Bottom Road.

 Looks like the previous owner had repaired it by welding?

The parts I got will not work, now trying some JB Weld, though most likely I'll end up cutting off the remnant and putting in a 6.25 bolt to replace the post that broke.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fiona's last day of riding in Moab area

Quite the day today for the Uralisti who joined the group of 13 Ural sidecar rigs for a ride in the back areas of Arches National Park.

Two more canine monkeys joined us today
That's Kim and Cheryl's Red/White Patrol
These folks have impeccable taste in colors for a rig!

Dana led as usual and soon we were riding on rough trails with plenty of rocks, gravel, loose sand and then more loose sand thrown in for good measure.  The rain we'd had the previous day helped some but some of the spots with reverse camber proved a challenge to many of us.

We did have one rig flip onto its side due to the off camber and loose sand conditions I believe, but rider and monkey survived with only minor injuries; heck they recovered and went riding in Arches National Park!  Kudos to Tracy and Tamara for being such tough Uralisti.

The movie at the end of this posting shows what would prove to be the highlight of the soon to be aborted ride.  It was a steep hill, strewn with rocks of course, but all the rigs proved capable, even Fiona though her rider missed the dang line and got a bit off course near the top!

Due to the accident, it was decided by Dana to turn the group around and head back to the back end of the Arches National Park so everyone could get back onto pavement.

Here's some pictures taken at Arches:

 Balanced Rock is where we emerged from dirt onto pavement

Courthouse Rock

I returned to camp, and joined Milo M for a ride to Mineral Bottom Road.  Milo led as he'd been there before and about 14 miles later, we were descending down a very twisty canyon road to the level of the Green River.  Beautiful area, the river the lined with high rock canyon walls and dramatic rock formations.

Today was Fiona and I's last day of riding for this year's Moab gathering of Uralisti.  Met new friends and rekindled previous friendships.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunset near Moab, after a rainy day

No riding for me during the day today, got work done instead while it lightly rained on us hear for most of the day.  Gray clouds, steady sprinkling rain and cold but mild winds didn't deter some of the Uralisti however, which I was glad to see.

Not a lot of rain mind you, more of annoyance than anything else.  We here at the campground hope that the sunset we saw tonight augurs for a nice weather day tomorrow so we can get some more group riding accomplished.

Speaking on sunsets though, Troy, the rider from Maine who writes for the Bangor Daily News popped his head in Chris L.'s tent where I was BS'ing and had me come outside to look at the clearing skies and the promising colors of a sunset.

We both geared up and went in separate directions to try and capture the sunset's light.  As I exited with Fiona out of the campground, I saw the nearby butte lit up beautifully by the setting sun which was behind the Seven Mile Ridge across the street.

I didn't get there in time to pose Fiona though, the rich colors dulled quickly as the setting sun made its way westward.

So I decided to chase the sun as it lowered itself in the west horizon.  Fiona and I made good speed along UT Highway 313 which leads one eventually to the Canyonlands National Park.  We didn't go that far, just a few miles past the Monitor and Merrimac Overlook site.

I almost missed the setting sun by the time I found a good spot to pose her along a dirt road about a mile from UT Hwy 313.

We motored home in the rapidly darkening evening light, Fiona's head lamp lighting the pave UT Hwy 313 as we motored on back to the campground.

The rock formations and canyon walls on both sides of the road looked quite nice silhouetted against the evening sky.

Got back with no issues, only sunset pictures today, not much in the way of riding by me.  The new battery on Fiona performed well and I've confirmed she charges nicely at above 2000 RPM.