Saturday, January 31, 2009
The initial objective today was to see if I could get close enough to Elephant Rock, located near Sedalia to pose Brigitta in front of it. Turns out though that what I believe was Elephant Rock Road is a private neighborhood road for the people that live there. Normally, that wouldn't dissuade me since it's a common use road for many people; however, the fact that it was still somewhat snow-covered and muddy kept me from using it. Another day perhaps.
So I backed up a bit on CO67 heading back towards Sedalia and turned on Oak Valley Road which eventually led me to the junction with Bee Rock Road, the alternate destination for today's ride:
I continued on this packed dirt county road and got one more shot of Bee Rock:
Then I came upon this small rise in the road where snow was still in evidence and mud from melting snow kept me from going further:
Sedalia where I filled up Brigitta's gas tank and decided on further course of actions. Looking at my map, I saw the Pinecliffe Road was nearby on CO105 just south of Moosenberger Road. I saw that it was the same road that I had been on while near Bee Rock so I figured I'd use it to get to where I was stopped by mud.
The packed dirt road was no big deal though there were some muddy spots which I tried to avoid. Again, it traversed someone's land but as long as you stayed on the road, you were fine. I made it all the way back to the muddy spot which had stopped me before and I was glad that I did. It gave me the opportunity to pose Brigitta thusly:
When I had gotten on Pinecliffe Road, aka County 21, I could see on top of the ridge a big boulder rock formation. I believed this is Elephant Rock and the map confirmed it. This was taken on the way out, as close as I could before the trees and terrain started to obscure it the rock formation:
Once back on CO105, I headed on South towards Red Rock Blvd which is the next road some time after Dakan Road, its the road which one takes to the Perry Park Country Club. The pictures of the rocks there are for tomorrow's posting.
I searched on Google after I wrote this posting and found the above image of Elephant Rock. Cool rock formation but I've doubts I'd get close enough with a motorcycle.....
Update: 27JUN09 - Turns out, there's two Elephant Rocks in close proximity to each other. I should have known better!. Go see the posting for 27JUN09 for details.
Friday, January 30, 2009
I visit a honda shadow forum discussion forum regularly, looking for new pictures from John, aka Sanke, my solo riding/exploring mentor. Recently, he'd posted a picture of a treehouse he'd found and had asked me if I knew where it was.
I was stumped and asked for a hint, the hint he gave me was enough for me to guess right after some googling. I had then decided to find this tree house for myself and finish off the posting with my response to his "challenge". All in fun.
So I slab it from the Denver Tech Center down to C-470 via I-25 Southbound. I took C-470 west towards US85 which I took southbound until I got to the turnoff for the small town of Louviers. Louviers is an old company town, used to be part of the complex for an old dynamite plant owned by Dupont. All that remains is quaint houses along orderly streets with lots of old trees throughout the town.
Took me a few minutes but I did end up finding the treehouse:
Here's the picture that Sanoke had posted in the honda shadow forum:
After Louviers, I continued southbound on US85 until I reached Sedalia. I turned off here and took the Rio Grande Avenue turnoff in town to do some exploring. It had looked promising on the map but a few miles in it became private roads and I had to turn back.
I did however spot this rustic looking barn near Sedalia on Rio Grande Avenue and posed Brigitta accordingly:
You can see we were having beautifully sunny skies and temperatures were in the mid to low 50s throughout my afternoon riding. It had been in the mid to high 20s during the morning commute but even then it wasn't too bad if you had the right gear.
Once back on US85, I rode along it to the town of Castlerock, from there it was the Crowfoot Parkway back to the town of Parker. I continued past Parker, using Parker Road until I got to Aurora and Arapahoe Road. Heading east on Arapahoe, I soon got to Liverpool and my home neighborhoods. About two hours of riding and a bit over twice the distance I normally commute home from the DTC. Good ride.
Tomorrow, it's supposed to be even warmer, probably the high 50s to low 60s and sunny. Guess what I'll be doing? :)
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Fortunately, being a mile closer to the sun, proved me wrong once again! :)
By Noon the main roads were clear but still wet looking. I had a workable path out of the neighborhood and temperatures were in the low teens. Not bad, but not quite good enough riding conditions yet.
I worked through lunch and by 1330 was in my riding gear and riding out of the cul-de-sac. I had visible pavement for most of the way out of the neighborhood by this time and the temperature was a brisk 23 degrees. It was still quite sunny and it did not feel as cold as the thermometer reported.
I cruised on down to the park by the intersection of Orchard and Tower roads and took the customary "short ride" shot:
Afterwards, since the roads were now dry and clear, I headed onto the new housing development I'd mentioned in the last few postings and got these two shots. I had to traverse some snow-covered pavement to get Brigitta in position but no issues were encountered. Going dead-slow helps.
I am thinking it was actually freezing fog/mist that caused my visor to quickly become covered in ice during yesterday's ride. Oh well. Good lunch ride, well worth the delay.
Now, back to work.
It's promising and works on same principle as the Kaoko "cruise control" I use on Maria.
After that, its just a matter of putting the throttle where you want it, and tighten it down a bit more till it holds the throttle in the position/speed you want. Make damn sure you've not tightened it so much that you can force the throttle to idle with your hand! Both this and the Kaoko Cruise Control I use on Maria allow me to cut the throttle easily.
Remember to loosen this screw when in city/heavy traffic or you'll be expending more effort than usual actuating the throttle. Not to mention, if you have a get off, the dang throttle will be held open which could it make it interesting trying to engage the kill switch on a motorcycle that's spinning around on its jug because the rear wheel is still spinning!
Read here for snowbum's story and warnings re using this and other similar devices! LINK
Monday, January 26, 2009
The steam coming off the pavement looks pretty cool actually considering my house's external thermometer read 14 degrees!
So I went out for a short ride, pavement was pretty much dry, what water I encountered was just that, water.....no ice.
The onboard thermometer registered 8.5 degrees as I rode. It was a very short ride, less than 20 minutes because it turns out at those temperatures my visor was covered quickly with frozen breath remnants. Not just fogging, it was FROZEN. Had to ride home actually with the visor cracked open and freezing my face. This condition occurred in spite of a fresh coating of "cat crap" on both my glasses and the visors on the helmet!
Still, short as it was, it was good to get out for a little bit. Working from home and attending work conference calls is not the most exciting thing in the world. This ride on the other hand, got my adrenalin going for sure. A new personal low in terms of temperatures I've ridden in as well.
Needless to say, without the strong sunlight hitting the area, it would have been icier and more of a folly to ride!
Here's the summary from the webbikeworld review:
Summary: Modern motorcyclists have a great range of choices when it comes to helmets, body armor, back protectors and the like, but choices in neck protection systems have so far been limited.
The Leatt Brace offers a comfortable, flexible neck protection solution created by a motorbiking neurosurgeon.
Please follow this link for their full review. I checked out the manufacturer's website after reading the review and that's how I found out about their new model, the Adventure, which is probably the one I'd buy if I was to be convinced it's usable/comfortable as a daily wear article when I ride. More research is in order.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Link to her posting.
Here's a video of some of the pictures from my rides in 2008, hope you enjoy them.
Update: 1527hrs: The "snow", really freezing drizzle or "frizzle" was not sticking and very very light. So I headed out for about 50 minutes of riding, a little over 23 miles of travel on dry roads. Had to re-coat my glasses with "cat crap" anti fog coating and after that all was well. Still had to crack open the visor during stops but that's it.
As you can see, dry roads. It was more than brisk though, average was about 18 degrees but not much wind so it was all good.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Today's riding started pretty late, I was to meet my wife and sons after they attended a movie at the nearby Southlands Mall at around 1230. So, while killing time, I wandered an undeveloped neighborhood (paved streets, no houses yet) off of Smoky Hill Road and Aurora Parkway. Found a nice open cul-de-sac and grabbed this picture of what the Front Range of the Rockies looked like today.
If you look closely, you can see the locally famous "brown cloud" over metropolitan Denver. It forms when there's a temperature inversion layer, trapping dust/pollution in a cloud over the city.
I met up with my family and the boys wanted to try their hand at ice skating. Mind you, they'd never had lessons and neither my wife nor I knew how to skate. Not sure what she and I were thinking when we said yes to the boys request to do this.
Predictably, they found out its harder than it looks. Some falls and really hesitant moving on the ice later, the boys called it quits way before their hour on the ice was up. Oh well.
As my wife took them home, I headed towards Quincy Road on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer. The intent was to take pictures of the town of Last Chance, CO then head north towards Fort Morgan and take pictures of the bridge of arches there. These goals proved a bit over-optimistic given my now really late start time.
From Quincy Road I took Watkins Road to Watkins and from there US36 East towards Strasburg and Bennett. I kept going east and took the US40 turnoff instead of staying on US 36 near Byers. Not only was I now not heading towards but parallel and south of Last Chance, but I also missed a chance at gasoline in Byers.
Not thinking clearly, I realized my mistake but instead of heading back to the junction with US36, I took County Road 197 north towards US 36. All well and good I thought to myself even though I was now at the 1/4 mark in terms of gas. I still foolishly thought Last Chance was close enough and that Fort Morgan was within range of my remaining fuel.
Within ten minutes or so I was back on US36 and continuing to head East. Nothing much to see for miles around but prairie, the odd ranch building, some cows and remnants of a wheat harvest. My trip meter was nearing 170 miles and I usually hit reserve at around 185 so I was beginning to really worry about my fuel status.
Soon I passed County Road 265 and stopped to check my map. Dang it, Last Chance was not even close, I would have to go past County Road 295 before I was close! I turned Brigitta around and set Last Chance as a target for another day.
I kept the RPMs at 4K or lower, trying to make my gas last longer. Right at 184, the engine told me that it was running out of fuel and I switched to last reserve. Based on previous experience, I had now perhaps 20 more miles of range before I'd be pushing the motorcycle. I was unfamiliar with where I was so was quite glad when I spotted a sign for a gas station in Byers when my trip meter read 191.
Unfortunately, their best gas was only 87 octane so I only got 2.5 gallons of it since I usually use the 91 octane stuff. Brigitta ran fine on the lower octane stuff but I prefer using the better stuff on my motorcycles.
I passed through Byers and retraced my path now westbound on US36 back towards Bennett where I intended to salvage the ride with some pictures of the silos there. I was feeling chilled in spite of my layers and heated grips and the sun was getting close to the horizon. Still, I got to Bennett at a good time in terms of lighting from the sun:
I got back on the road after taking the above pictures, still feeling a bit chilled but glad to have stopped for the pictures. I rode on through Bennett, through Watkins where I headed south on Watkins Road back towards Quincy Road.
Quincy Road took me back to my home neighborhoods soon enough, I tanked up at my regular gas station with the good stuff and headed on home, tired and chilled.
Still, a good ride for the most part. Didn't make it to the original objectives but still got it perhaps 100 miles or more of dry roads and sunny skies.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I worked from home and after my morning phone meetings, got in about 40 minutes of riding with temperatures ranging from 25-30 degrees. You might say it was "brisk". My new Caberg Trip helmet sucks at temperatures below 30 degrees in terms of fogging. I'll "refresh" the coating of "Cat Crap" antifog on the lenses to see if it helps. I had to ride most of the time with the visor cracked open.
I rode Maria, the R1150RT Beemer with her superb wind protection and stayed nice and warm in my riding gear and heated grips on full power. Soon after I left, overcast skies and the incoming weather conspired to rob me of any photo opportunities unfortunately. You could not even see the Rockies behind the fog-like cloud formations rolling in from the west.
I had left the house with just the occasional snow flake fluttering down from the partly sunny sky and dry roads. 40 minutes later is was completely overcast, sleeting pretty good, you could see the ice particles being blown about the road like snow, and the roads were starting to look "moist". Time to head for the barn I said to myself.
The plan for this weekend had been to ride the cage to Steamboat Springs but while I think I'd manage to get there, getting back out after the projected foot or two of snow hit would be dicey and being a contractor I have to work, no vacation for us. Internet access is not the problem, the problem is shelter which I had priced at $150/night which for one night was fine but for an undetermined amount of days? I don't think so.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I cut across Denver using the I-225/25 slabs until I got to US6 which takes you West out of the Denver Metro area. I approached Golden using this highway and saw the light was hitting the buttes near Golden and the Colorado School of Mines favorably so I stopped:
Blackhawk area. LINK click the link if you want to read some of the history.
It's a really nice two lane highway, with lots of pine trees on both sides of the road and very twisty in some spots. The shoulders on the side of the roads were not very wide to start with, and with the remaining snow/gravel accumulations there is very few spots to safely stop one's motorcycle for pictures.
I rode up to the highest point and then back on down the other side of the mountain. Pinecliffe and Wondervu were the only two concentrations of wooden buildings along this highway, not even big enough to call them hamlets really. For those of you who like hairpin turns, there's plenty of them on the western side of the mountain traversed by Coal Creek Canyon. Beware the gravel on the center lines of each lane though, it can make life interesting when your rear wheel skips out momentarily from under you. I managed to keep these type of interesting events down to just one for this ride.
I reached the junction of CO72 and CO119, the Peak to Peak Highway, and I headed North towards Nederland since the sign said it was only 3 miles away. Well, the town limits are 3 miles away but it was closer to six before I hit the town itself. I turned myself around and headed on back on CO119 past the junction with CO72.
I stopped after one set of twisting turns at the southern end of a small lake where the Gilpin County border lies. Here's a picture of the lake, frozen over, with some peaks in the background:
I twisted my way through this wonderfully clear road all the way back to Golden. There was very little gravel or wet spots on the road and I was even able to explore a couple of side roads which were paved and led to housing areas. The dirt roads were muddy or snow-covered or both, so I stayed off of those this time around.
Back on CO 93 heading back towards Golden, I stopped near where the road junctions with the road to Leyden. There's a pretty long rocky ridge formation to the East of CO 93 which I took pictures of:
A pretty good ride and using CO 72 is an attractive alternative to using CO 119 from I-70 which is where the Peak to Peak Road begins.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
A couple of days ago, I spotted this ad for a 1979 Honda CB750 Motorcycle with sidecar for $1300. The price got my attention, the picture used by the owner was not that great and my knowledge of Honda CB750s was nil.
I asked John, aka Sanoke, if he'd come along and take a look at the motorcycle from a mechanic's point of view since he is quite the wrencher and used to be an aircraft engine mechanic.
We met at the guy's house in Littleton, CO this morning, at 11:30 and we looked the rig over. Initial impressions were that it had some amount of surface rust where you'd expect it. The sidecar needed to have its paint removed and redone, the interior was "ok" and the seat would need some work as it had a tear in it.
Here's some pictures of the sidecar and what we assumed are mounting points from a "universal kit".
concours" level condition in terms of appearance but then again, the price was pretty accurate according to Sanoke. He pointed out I could buy the rig, sell the motorcycle and keep the side car for eventual mounting on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer.
We'd found out, from documentation provided by the seller's wife, that the sidecar was an American Brand sidecar. I'd inquired about these sidecars before via email to Dauntless Motors who specialize in sidecars and their mounts. They mentioned that the early American sidecars with torsion bars suspensions (which this one had) were known for "issues". That and the fact that parts are no longer made led me to decide to pass on this sidecar. Hopefully someone buys her, although we did not get a chance to ride her to see how her engine worked, it would not take too much work to make it a good looking rig.
I said my goodbyes to John and headed in to work to get some stuff done. He headed off for a ride, destination unknown. Lucky.
On the way back to US285 from the seller's house, I saw a large lake to the East and stopped to take this picture:
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I had to go to Denver International Airport today to finish a survey of communication closets owned by UAL. The weather was in the high 30s to low 40s and sunny so riding my motorcycle was the obvious choice.
Great ride in, a bit windy as I approached DIA but no big deal. A bit of a hassle going through the TSA security checkpoints since I'd forgotten about the metal clasps on my suspenders which held my waterproof liners for my riding pants. I had gone through the metal detectors before on other trips and the riding gear itself is fine.
Now I have to figure out some way to wear cold weather liners and NOT have to strip off all the riding gear before I get to a storage location at work when working at DIA.
Anyways, to get back to the title of the posting. I found out, once we started working, that I would have to pick up a print job from Kinko's along with a mailing tube. No problem I said, assuming my straps were in my system cases.
Well, I get to Kinko's and no straps. A bit of fast thinking and I took off the suspenders which had given me such problems at airport security. Using them I was able to secure the mailing tube and get it home in brisk riding conditions with no problems.
Who needs a cage when having to transport awkwardly shaped packages? Now if only I remember to transfer the cargo straps between one motorcycle and the other!
Monday, January 12, 2009
The book details the many reasons involved with the gap's existence and the lack of roads through it and how it became the author's obsession to be the first person to traverse it on a motorcycle. In his case, he did it with a 1981 BMW R80 G/S! This book resonated with me as Culberson's motorcycle was basically the same motorcycle in terms of engine/frame specifications as my own 1987 R80, Brigitta.
The G/S however had better suspension and offroad wheels of course and still it was an epic struggle on the part of Culberson and the indian guides he hired to help him along the way. He had to deal with crooked cops, scam artists, accidents and near-death experiences along the way and his writing style keeps you turning the pages to see how he gets out of the situations he finds himself in.
Just picture yourself doing this: Using hand winches/pulleys to lift a 500 lb motorcycle up hills and down ravines in the middle of thick jungle terrain. Employing the local natives to hack a path for your motorcycle along barely discernible remants of trails and past failed expeditions by other types of vehicles!
This book should be available to you from your local library system as it was for me. I may actually have to buy my own copy as reference and inspiration as Culberson did stuff in his mid-50s that I would never even dream of now. Unfortunately for me, I'll never get a chance to meet Ed Culberson as Lou Gehrig's disease took him in 1995, truly a legend in BMW and motorcycling circles.
ISBN: 1-884313-06. Get it, read it, then try and keep it in mind when encountering some tough stretch of road.
Me? I know I'll wimp out and bypass the gap if I ever get the urge/time/wherewithal to ride the length of the Pan American Highway.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
I was wandering about the neighborhoods SW of my home neighborhood. Basically centered on the intersection of Parker Rd and Arapahoe Road. I spotted one large opening in the overcast covering the city, located right on the mountains of the front range:
Being on the east side of the Denver Metro area and not having more than a couple of hours of riding time due to family commitments, the above view is the closest I could get using my camera.
I meandered through the Town of Foxfield, which is really a neighborhood built on ranch land. The houses have decent amount of land around them for the most part. The town is on land that is slightly higher than Parker Road itself and so it afforded me some semi-decent locations upon which to pose Brigitta.
Got home a bit after 11AM, my heated grips working fine once again and an afternoon of reading Ed Culberson's "Obsessions Die Hard" book ahead of me. The book is about his traversing the infamous Darien's Gap on the Pan American Highway. I believe he was the first motorcyclist to do so by the way.