Turns out, the crisp views of the nearby front range mountains that I'd glimpsed while running errands in the morning, were obscured slight by haze in the afternoon. I had been in a cage in the morning, so no camera with me.
Still, one must make do:
While meandering about the nearby eastern prairies...
Valencia's motor started exhibiting what I thought were "ignition missing" issues, basically it felt like the ignition would cut out for a second. Thinking perhaps it was the PowerArc sensor disk having gotten loose again, I headed for home to check.
On the way home, I started hearing and worse, feeling metallic clanking noises. Some were hitting hard enough I could feel the impact through the foot pegs. Damn. I even stopped to check the oil level thinking perhaps it was too low, but no, it was fine.
Luckily, I was within a couple miles of home when the noises appeared and I nursed Valencia back to the barn.
Once in the garage, I checked the PowerArc sensor disk but no, it was nice and secure, so it wasn't ignition "misses" causing issues.
The metallic noises led me to remove the left jug's valve cover, to see if the nuts holding the heads had worked loose or something similar. Nope, all secure, but then I noticed a lot of metallic shavings, shining brightly in the small amount of oil one usually finds in the valve cover! There were also metal shavings all over the inside components of the valves. Damn. (Sorry, no pictures, I went into "get it to the dealer" mode at this point as it was late Saturday afternoon).
At this point, it was flashback time to when the engine basically seized on me in Oregon as I was making my way back to Colorado from Alaska. Not taking any chances, I buttoned Valencia up and put her on the trailer.
Less than two hours later, I was dropping her off with Randy, at Unique Rides in Fort Collins, the nearest URAL dealer and known good mechanic. We discussed the recurring engine issues Valencia has experienced and Randy said he wanted to talk to URAL and see about sending the engine to them for full analysis. He also told me he was hearing sounds I couldn't hear (my high frequency hearing is shot from my days in the Army) and he was sure if I'd kept running the engine, that it would have eventually seized up.
As it was the weekend, he won't get a chance to talk to URAL till Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, we'll then see what the plan is to fix Valencia. She's still under the URAL warranty so she should be covered.
Me, I'm hoping that the entire engine is replaced. Most if not all of its "innards" had already been replaced by Raceway Services in Oregon, and I would like to have Sergey of URAL to check out the engine on Valencia to determine why it's had so many issues. Sergey is regarded as the Mechanical Guru, at URAL.
It's looking like Valencia is out for this year's Elephant Ride. Yoshie could do it, if I swapped her rear pusher for a dedicated snow tire but I'm not feeling up to it. Damn.
More to follow.