Sunday, October 16, 2011

Riding Trail Ridge Road, with Cesspool

I recently met a fellow sidecar rider, Cesspool is his username on advrider.com, and he rides a beautiful BMW R1200GS mated to the same Dauntless M72D Dual Sport Sidecar that Yoshie has.

Cesspool has been working diligently to "dial in" his rig so that it rides correct and with least amount of effort.  The first time I saw his rig, something just didn't look right in the way it had been set up.

Note: This posting was first published in my examiner.com byline, if you'd like to help my fuel budget, please go HERE and read the story there.  Then come back here for the additional videos.  Thanks.

Much work since then, Cesspool aka Greg thought he had it pretty close.  We arranged to meet in the town of Dumont, CO and from there ride out to the Rocky Mountain National Park on our rigs to see how his behaved.

We met up around 9:30AM and after a brief chat, we moved on over to the nearby truck weigh station as Greg was curious to see what the weight readings were for his rig.   He talked to the operator and he agreed to let us put our rigs through, no charge!  Such a deal.

 A shot of the "the rigs", as Greg was inside smooth-talking the weigh
station operator into letting us go through the scale.

Between trucks, here's Greg easing his GS Rig onto the scale.
His rig came out at 1160 lbs.  Yoshie and I came in at 1020 lbs.
Note: Greg was carrying 100lbs of ballast for this ride, I was not carrying ballast.

Weighing operations done with, we headed west on the I-70 Slab until we got to the Empire/US 40 exit.  Turning north on this road, we climbed upwards towards Berthoud Pass.  Soon enough we were in the parking lot where the visitor center is for the pass and posed our rigs accordingly.

The requisite shot of the Pass Sign at 
the Continental Divide

Motoring onwards, we headed north to and through Winter Park and the towns of Fraser, Tabernash and Granby.  At Granby, we turned off of US40 and headed now northwards on US34 past Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Lake and finally to the Grand Lake.

Soon after Grand Lake, one enters the Rocky Mountain National Park limits.  We each paid our fee of $10 for our motorcycles and headed on towards the nearby mountain peaks.

Not sure what was going on with my camera but several shots I thought I took, didn't appear on the SD card in the camera.  Rather disturbing that.  I made poor Greg stop all those times, and not much to show for it!  Weird.

We rode the five hairpin turns and reached Milner Pass where once again we posed our rigs by the pass sign.

Milner Pass and the Continental Divide

The ride up to the top of Trail Ridge Road was smooth and dry for the most part.  Some snow has already started to accumulate alongside the road but not to any great extent.

We stopped at the Alpine Visitor Center and I mounted the GoPro camera pointed rearwards so I could capture Greg and his rig as we rode on Trail Ridge Road.  The weather was heavily overcast and gray.  The wind was up and blowing but it was not very cold.   Good riding weather, really.

Posing the rigs at the Gore Range Overlook, just east of the 
Alpine Visitors Center.

The above gives you an idea of the awesome spectacle that is the Gore Range


A video of Greg's rig and the surrounding views of the mountains visible from 
Trail Ridge Road.

Pretty soon, we came to my favorite stopping point on Trail Ridge Road.  The "Rock Cut" is a parking area with great overlooks of the nearby mountain peaks.

Panoramic shot of part of the views visible from 
the Rock Cut Overlook

We continued eastwards on Trail Ridge Road, again I was shooting video of Greg as he rode along behind me on his rig.


Too soon, we had ridden downwards enough that the scenery was mostly obscured by dense pine forests.  You can see the ravages of the Pine Beetle though throughout the park, quite a shame really.  The beetle infestation has really taken a toll on the forests of Colorado.

Once we were at the valley floor, Greg and I switched rigs so we each could get a taste of the other guy's rig and how they handled.  I must say, Greg's GS is quite smooth and nice to ride.  The muffler emitted a wonderful sound as I rode behind Greg on Yoshie.  This was only for a very short ride and we ended up parking at the Beaver Meadows visitor center to exchange notes on the rigs.

It was time to head home now and Greg led the way through the town of Estes Park which was crawling with tourists!  We took US36 back towards Lyons, CO.  It was a nice and mellow ride on US36, both our rigs taking its twists and turns with no issues and easily keeping up with traffic for the most part.

I turned south at the junction with where US66 and US36 separate in Lyons, I beeped my horn and waved goodbye to Greg as he continued on US66 towards Longmont, his home.  I transited through the usual traffic jam that is Boulder and soon enough I was heading towards home.  I experienced some delay as US270 was having construction work done and we had to take detours, but not a big deal.  I sure am glad though, I don't work in that part of town!

Got Yoshie home after 280 miles on her odometer, no mechanical issues and the chain seemed just fine when I checked it.  Greg emailed me earlier this evening and told me he'd adjusted what we both thought was excessive toe-in on his rig.  Sounds like more riding is in store to further "sort out" his rig.  It rides fine, both of us thought so, but there was some effort involved when turning her to the right, this toe-in adjustment should do the trick.

Note: Just got an email from CDOT, Trail Ridge Road is closed due to adverse weather conditions.  I guess those clouds you see on the videos weren't kidding huh?

7 comments:

SonjaM said...

Spectacular vistas indeed. Your riding buddy Greg as a very nice rig, and it looks like it wants to go around the world.

I will never complain about the weight of my Sporty... your hacks are almost as heavy as a compact car...

bluekat said...

Simply stunning scenery. The mountains are so beautiful. I've been catching up on some of your latest posts, and the fall colors in some of the other posts have been wonderful too. Our colors here are pretty weak in comparison.

RichardM said...

Wonderful videos. I love the scenery. I am also astonished by the weight of the rigs. I thought the fiberglass tub would make them pretty light.

Richard

Charlie6 said...

Sonja, thanks and yes Greg is a very amenable riding buddy. As to the weight...yeah....but look at the cargo capacity. These are big motorcycles too.

Bluekat...thanks to you as well. I will admit to some tweaking of the fall colors in some of the shots, my camera fails to capture what my eyes see most of the time.

RichardM, thanks. As to the weight of mine: 1020lbs. I weigh 165lbs, and the v-strom's "dry" weight is 459lbs, add in 5.8 gallons of fuel which is about 6lbs/gallon, so figure 35lbs. This leaves what, 361 lbs to account for....that'd be subframe mount hardware, sidecar itself, sidecar frame, third wheel, tools in trunk. Quite a bit of weight to hang "off the side".

bobskoot said...

Dom:

beautiful views. sometimes the dial on my Lumix turns when I remove it from my pocket and it turns to "Memo" mode which stores a small 2MP photo into its internal memory. It has happened numerous times so check your internal memory for the missing photos.

Your GoProHD videos are much smoother than mine, could be the smoother roads or perhaps you are recording in R3 mode, while I am using the shakey R2.

It's nice to find another riding buddy with a similar rig to ride with

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot

thanks! that was it, the missing pics were in the onboard memory...will see if they are worth using.

re video mode, using R3.

thanks again!

dom

Brady said...

Dom,

I think 'dialing in' is some of the most fun that can be had. Why? Cause I'm a big nerd, that's why. I love sync-ing up the carburetors on my old Honda and saying, yep, that's a bit better, but if I just tweak this...

Nice view up there. Must be getting toward the end of the riding season for most people in your area, though. I know you iron men and your tugs will ride through worse weather than postmen, but I don't know If I'd head through it on the Connie.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com