Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hoar Frost Scenes on a Gray Sunday

We had gray overcast skies hanging over us here in the Metro Denver area this Thanksgiving Weekend, with temperatures in the low to mid 20s farenheit, and with my FIL visiting from Arizona; it didn't make for long distance riding opportunities.

Today, Sunday, while my FIL and my loving wife Martha went to the Rec Center to exercise; I went out for a short spin in the same neighborhoods where I got the pictures for the Frosty Scenes posting previous to this one.

Temperatures were in the low 20s as Scarlett and I rode along all warm and snug in my riding gear.

To my delight, the cold temperatures had preserved some of the hoar frost on the trees in the area, though it wasn't as thick as before.

The solid gray skies overhead made me feel like we were riding inside a snow globe for which the contents haven't been shaken up.

Still, we meandered about on mostly snow-covered dirt roads and took in the sights:

In the neighborhood prior to the one I used for pics previously, the
view of the road ahead inspired a stop

The fellow above and his partner dog, were losing the minds running
back and forth along the fence line and barking while I took the picture.

Motoring just a few miles further east, I was once again in the ranching neighborhood that provides scenic spots for photos.  I started with a nicely laid out driveway which I'd been unable to photograph due to the sun's position on the previous occasion.  That's one thing about overcast skies, it makes picture taking simpler in terms of lights and shadows.

Next, just a short distance away, the copse of hoar frosted trees were still waiting for someone to come along and photograph them.

The last shot of frozen leaves, was taken at the spot above.  The rich brownish color encased in ice caught my eye, I hope you like it.

Previously: Frosty Scenes

Friday, November 27, 2015

Frosty Scenes

Black Friday, the day when crazed consumerism apparently hits its peak as crowds supposedly flood the local malls and stores in search of perceived "bargains".

Scarlett and I, instead, elected to pursue frosty scenes courtesy of the snow fall we had overnight and the freezing mist that had preceded the snow.

It was a brisk 6ºF (-14 ºC) as we headed out of our snow-covered neighborhood and towards the nearby ranching community to see what we could see.

Pretty soon I'd escaped suburbia and entered a much more serene and nicely snow-covered area where I tend to take pictures while remaining close to home.

I really liked the Hoar Frost on the below tree, and the sun cooperated by highlighting it nicely:

On a day with less clouds along the front range mountains, one would be able to see Mount Evans in the shot below:

Leaving the area, I spotted the fellow below watching me warily as I waited for an opening in the traffic pattern:

Scarlett and I went over to the back area of the Blackstone Country Club for the shot below:

A look at County Line Road south of the Blackstone Country Club and east of the junction with Elbert Road:

By now, temperatures had soared into the 20s Fahrenheit so it was time to mosey on home after tanking up.  Traffic was picking up in the mall areas as expected but I made it home with no issues except for one idiot cager in the Safeway parking lot who thought she had to take up both lanes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Another Beautiful Colorado Sunset

Beautiful weather conditions yesterday, all day, for us in here the Metro Denver area.  It got to the mid-60s Fahrenheit!

Work was one small hassle after another, leaving me in a somewhat sour mood by the end of the day.

4:00 PM came and went and there was mention of a beautiful sunset in the making by the weather guy on the TV.

Wasting no time, I geared up, and Scarlett and I motored to our usual spot for capturing the beautiful sunsets that Colorado tends to have.

I must say, the colors were so good tonight, that of the 91 pictures I took as the sun set into the western horizon, it took me quite a while to whittle it down to 19 candidates, of which the six below made it to the final list.

I hope you like them.

So, in order, as the sun slowly left us here in Colorado:

 -0.3 F stop

 -0.7 F Stop

 -0.7 F Stop

 -1.3 F Stop

 -0.7 F Stop

-1.0 F Stop

Note: the only post-processing done was using the "auto" feature of google photos and cropping.  No further tweaking was done by yours truly.  I didn't see the need, you see.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Views of Snowy Mount Evans

Mount Evans, is the tallest mountain amongs the range of mountains visible to us here in the Metro Denver area.  It towers over the other mountains due to its proximity to us and is a handy guide as to which direction is west when the skies here are clear.

Yesterday, Sunday, Scarlett and I motored out on mostly dry roads towards the ranching neighborhood where one usually finds good views of snow-clad terrain and on a clear day like today, nice views of Mount Evans.

 The "usual" view of Mount Evans from the Ireland Street Overpass
of the E-470 Tollway

We took Ireland Street through the Travois Neighborhood, enjoying the views of snow covered fields and houses whose roofs were still covered mostly with the recently fallen snow.  Soon, we were at the junction with Inspiration Drive and we headed north.

Recently, within the last couple of months anyways, they've made a somewhat radical change to what used to be arrow-straight Inspiration Drive.  Near some new housing developments, they blocked the direct way and instead force the traffic around a big roundabout.  At first I found this a bit irritating but today I realized this construction had also created a small, paved island, where one can pose one's rig with Mount Evans in the background.

Here's Scarlett sitting pretty on what is known now as Inspiration Place:

Leaving Inspiration Place, I went over to the ranching community for the usual shot of Mount Evans, using the telephoto lens to "bring in" Mount Evans.

Temperatures had started in the 40s at the beginning of the ride and had soared into the low 50s by now.  I had to remove a couple of layers and then proceeded on home for lunch.

Not a bad way to spend part of a quiet Sunday morning.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Snowy Sunrise

We in the Metro Denver area got a dusting of snow overnight, perhaps an inch tops in the areas near my home anyways.

Scarlett and I rode out at 0635 from the neighborhood and headed for the Aurora Race Track for some open views of the sunset.

Temperatures were a bit "brisk" with the onboard thermometer telling me it got as low as 12ºF (-11 ºC) as we rode along.

The sun was just beginning to color the skies with warm orange colors as I arrived and posed Scarlett:

Once the sun was well clear of the horizon, it was time to put on gloves again, to warm up my frozen hands and for one last shot looking to the South:

As we rode back towards home on Quincy Avenue, we stopped for a couple of pictures of Mount Evans on the western horizon, as it was lit up by the rising sun:

Full 2X zoom on the 50mm Lens

Update: Noon:  

Friday, November 20, 2015

R.I.P. James Petitti

The URAL sidecaring community lost a great man today, James Petitti, the guy who created Raceway Services/URAL in Salem, Oregon.

I saw the facebook posting by URAL and felt the need to write this posting.

I first met Jim back in April of 2013 as I was heading up to Alaska with Valencia, my 2011 URAL Patrol Sidecar.

I was experiencing clutch issues due to the failure of the rear main seal on the engine causing oil contamination of the clutch plates.

Jim's team jumped on my rig and got it squared away in an amazingly short time and had me on my way.

The original blog posting is here: LINK. but this is the picture I wanted to repost:

As Valencia was worked on tirelessly by his mechanics, Jim and I talked about his experiences in the motorcycling world and also in the world of racing.  He talked about his interactions with one of the other greats of motorcycling history: Burt Munro of "The Fastest Indian" fame.  Jim explained to me about pushing the envelope in terms of mechanical modifications when he used to be part of a racing team of what I recall to be small stock cars.  I am sure I have the designation wrong, but his expertise in such matters was extensive and to me, unquestioned.

Jim's shop, Raceway Services, remains a premier URAL dealer and I was lucky to have found them along the way to and from Alaska.

Though the shop is now owned by Frank, Jim's influence carries on I believe.  I am sure Jim's name will forever be associated with URAL and Raceway Services.

Rest in Piece Sir.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Snow Day!

We in the Metro Denver area woke to an ongoing snow blizzard which was creating a bit of havoc with road conditions and traffic.

I'd say we got perhaps six to eight inches of snow, depending on where you were in the metro area.  In my cul de sac, there were snow drifts that were higher than six inches in spots.  Took Miles, my youngest son and I most of the morning (starting around 9AM or so) to clear the accumulated snow from the driveway.

iphone pic through window glass

Then some time was required to clear a path through the cul de sac to the neighborhood road, lot of work, and by the time we finished it was warming up.  Temperatures soared into the 40s by noon and it was time to go for a ride before all the good snow was gone.

Scarlett and I motored out of the neighborhood riding on slushy mounds of snow,  traction was suboptimal but still not bad if you kept your speeds down.

I took the back way to the ranching neighborhood where one can get a good view of Mount Evans on a clear day.  These back roads were not plowed at all and presented (at times) traction challenges.  I even had to engage 2WD for portions of the roads in order to steer in a generally straight line.  Fun stuff.

Mount Evans on a snowy morning on the Front Range

Leaving the above location, we slowly motored onto Inspiration Drive and from there towards the spot where I recently got a shot of Mount Evans using the telephoto lens and some adjustments with zoom and depth of field settings:

Six days ago....139mm

 Mount Evans, 147mm

still using the 210mm

The main roads were wet but pretty much clear of ice and snow by the time I motored home.  I don't think the snow will last very long on the paved surfaces.  It'll stick around for a few days on the grassy areas of course so perhaps it'll make things scenic for a bit longer.

Update: 18NOV15:  Photoshopped version, removing extraneous signs/objects.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pikes Peak Views, Perry Park and Dakan Road

Today's ride started with the destination of Pikes Peak Summit, as it had been reported yesterday that the road was open the whole 19 miles up to the summit.  No snow overnight, so prospects were good I thought.

Scarlett and I motored out shortly after 8:00 AM and we took CO Highway 83 through the city of Parker, the town of Franktown and points south.

Along the way, we took a small detour on CR 80 to get these views of Pikes Peak:

Got to the Pikes Peak fee station shortly after 10:00 and the ranger there told me that due to high winds, the road was only open 13 of the 19 miles!  Disappointing, so I elected not to proceed up to mile marker 13.

I thought perhaps the winds would die down if I waited (there were in the mid-40s mph when I first checked via the cograilway website).  So Scarlett and I headed down from the Pikes Peak fee station and explored the small town of Manitou Springs.

We managed to finally locate the road that leads to what used to be the exit for a road from the Cave of the Winds attraction.  It is, however, now a drainage for flood waters apparently:

Wandering about Manitou Springs, killing time and periodically checking wind conditions up at Pikes Peak Summit, I stopped at a small park to get a picture of this retired Cog Railway Locomotive and a nearby 155mm Howitzer from 1918:

After some more wandering, we moseyed on over to the Garden of the Gods but saw a large amount of cagers cluttering up the entrance.  So instead, we just took pictures from outside the garden.

Pikes Peak from Garden of the Gods

Getting back on US 24, we returned to Colorado Springs and headed north towards Monument, CO.  Here we picked up CO Hwy 105 North through Monument and Palmer Lake.  This is a favorite roads for motorcycle riders and there were plenty to be seen riding along the warm afternoon.

I turned off on Perry Park Road and proceeded to wander about, taking pictures at the usual spots and seeing how much construction had occurred since the last time I was there.

 Perry Park

 Back side of Camel Rock

 Camel Rock

Perry Park Golf Course

Returning back to CO Hwy 105, Scarlett and I continued north along its gently curving roads until we got to the turn off for Dakan Road.  I was hoping to find the seasonal gate open and it was!  We continued on Dakan Road, climbing steadily on the dirt road which was coated with snow on occasion but not too badly.

We managed to reach the point where we crossed the border into the Pike National Forest and Scarlett's clutch decided it was time to turn around.

Had I been in the company of at least another URAL sidecar rig, I would have waited for the clutch plates to cool down and continued onwards into Pike National forest but discretion and the rapidly darkening skies made up my mind for me.

On the way back down Dakan Road, there were some nice views of the valley through which CO Hwy 105 runs:

CO Hwy 105 eventually takes one to Wolfenberger Road which we took towards the town of Castle Rock.  Here's a final view of Pikes Peak and Castle Rock's namesake rock formation from near the Founders Parkway:

A short time later, Scarlett and I had transited through the town of Parker one more time and coming up to the junction of Orchard Road, we decided on a sunset sort of shot of Mount Evans from the southern end of Cherry Creek Park:

Almost eight hours in the saddle and almost 300 kilometers (290) ridden today.  Scarlett did great though her MPG results with the new EFI mapping were slightly disappointing at 29 MPG.  We'll see what the next tank results are but it's not something unexpected.  Still, a good trade off for smoothness when in first gear and moving at parking lot speeds.  She's so smooth now, quite nice, to just mosey along without popping noises and slight stumbles.