Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two Rides to close out 2008

I thought about doing some more exploring of the grassy trails near the Blackstone Country Club which lies due south of the Aurora Reservoir. I decided to try and get a picture of the reservoir from the neighboring "South Shore" housing development but there turned out to be no shot.

I saw that although Powhaton road was not yet built all the way to Smoky Hill Road from the development, that there was a dirt trail. Cool I thought, a bit of trail riding. Big mistake.

The dry dirt surface quickly become very slick. It looked dry on the surface but just beneath was this gooey type of mud. Almost dropped Brigitta at this point but her lighter weight compared to Maria and my ability to use my legs as outriggers saved her from a drop as I slid to sideways to a stop.

I looked ahead and it looked dry. I was to be proven wrong. I kept on going where I should have turned around thinking that it was just that patch of trail that was muddy. It turned out to be the whole damn way back to pavement. Perhaps 1/4 mile, maybe more.

I was struggling to keep Brigitta upright and succeeding for the most part. Some close calls and then things got worse. Mud built up under the front fender and the rear wheel was just sliding sideways for the most part. I kept trying to forge on, hoping for dry surface, with no luck

Finally, the rut that had been created down the middle of the trail seemed to magnetically attract my rear wheel, no matter what I tried. Down it went into the rut and I was stuck.

It looks dry don't it? It's not

Tried for a while to get her out but just managed to run out of breath and get really hot under all my riding gear. I must start working out, I am so out of shape! For those of you who noted the cheapie saddlebags, I got them thinking they'd stop the exhaust pipes from hitting ground on tip overs. They don't and so I've taken them off for now.

Managed to put the kickstand down after a while, and after a couple of droppings of the motorcycle onto the soft mud. Got most of my riding gear off and cooled off for a bit while I pondered things and took the above picture.

Tried many things, digging a path, spinning the rear wheel till it smoked (I quit that approach very quickly), noted my dang headlight was not turning off even with the ignition off (weird, had to take the fuse out to avoid draining the battery). Tried shifting my weight back to the rear tire and bouncing it, no luck.

Tried putting her on her side in the mud and pulling and pushing her to get her out of the rut. No luck, she may be lighter than Maria but still damn heavy. Finally, got her upright once again, and started rocking her forward as I worked the clutch to engage the rear wheel. I started making a little progress, I quickly kept up the rocking and I was out of the rut!

Of course, still surrounded by the damn gooey mud, even on the grass covered areas. I kept going really slow, slip-sliding my way until I got her moving forward. I inched forward while sliding sideways with the rear tire. I had to keep my legs out as outriggers and I painfully, slowly, made my way the last 2-300 ft back to pavement. The last few feet were up a slight incline, muddy of course, which made for an interesting finale. Damn mud.

Retrieved my gear, cleaned off (I thought) enough mud from under the front fender to get me home, replaced the fuse, and started off. Less than a mile of riding, I had been feeling a very bumpy ride, I looked back in my mirrors and saw I was trailing a cloud of blue smoke! Aaaarrrgggh.

I stopped as soon as I could get off the road. I thought I'd blown the engine with the struggles in the mud. Happily it was not that, but just caked on mud under the front fender which was causing the front wheel to overheat.....damn. Now there's nice rubbing marks on the front tire.

As I cleaned off the mud more thoroughly this time, the second of two cars stopped to offer assistance. I told them I was OK and thanked them for stopping. Made me feel good that people would stop to offer aid.

Finally got the wheel cleared off enough and got her home with no further incident. Spent some time getting all the mud off her, there was a lot still under the fender! Finally, she was clean, I was exhausted and hungry.

That was the end of Ride One.

Some lunch and some rest later, I left the house once again, close to 3pm or so. I wanted to make sure there were no issues with Brigitta. She ran pretty good though she did seem to not want to hold idle some of the time. Hopefully that's just because she was on her side a few times while on the mud. I'll do a more thorough check tomorrow.

I headed over to Buckley Air Force Base to try and capture the light of the year's last sunset shining on the satellite dish domes located there. I got there in plenty of time and got these shots as the sun sank further into the West, finally disappearing for the last time this year.

I thought the sun was hitting these bare trees nicely, don't you?


Ah, the "golden" time, near sunset, when the light takes on a golden hue

Near the end of the sunset, I liked how the sky to the East reflected the dying rays of the sun below

Last sunset for 2008

I headed home in the dark after the sun set, just in time for rush hour. Oh well.

Here's hoping the New Year is a good one for you, my readers. Ride safe and Ride Often!

6 comments:

Richard Machida said...

Great story! Would tires with more agressive tread pattern help with the slippery stuff?

Charlie6 said...

Richard

am sure a more knobby pattern would help shed mud, but my fender is really too close to the tire in the front....it clogged.

slippery mud though, I hear its a booger no matter what you ride.

Happy New Year!

Richard Machida said...

Time for a dual sport bike maybe. I've been looking at replacing my R100RT with a F650GS since we still have a fair number of gravel roads. Plus it weighs a lot less.

Happy New Year!

irondad said...

It's kind of funny to read about but, having been there, it's not at all funny at the time. Glad you perservered. You're right. In the picture the ground looks deceptively dry. Amazing how long a quarter mile can actually seem, isn't it?

Then you go back out to ride again? Kind of like "Blackhawk Down"!

Charlie6 said...

Dan and Richard, the more I think about it, I believe now that it was the clogging of the fender for the front tire that was causing the problems.

The front tire just wasn't really rolling forward, causing the rear to slide sideways as it fought the front tire.

Oh well, next time I know better...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6:

What you need to determine the condition of the roads ahead of you is the patented Dick Bregstein Mine Detector. The kit consists of one Dick Bregstein (my riding partner) and an R1150R. All you do is send Dick out in front. Do not ride ay further if his tail light goes out, which means he found bottomless mud, a lake, or an open mine shaft.

Dick gets excited from time to time but takes strength and comfort from remarks like, "I'm glad I wasn't stupid enough to get stuck like that."

Fondest regards,
Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads