Saturday, October 31, 2015

Overcast at the Pass

Sunny day here in the metro Denver area where temperatures would start in the mid to low 40s Fahrenheit at the start of the riding and soar to almost 69 degrees Fahrenheit by the afternoon.

Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig and I motored through and away from the metro area using the I-70 and US40 slabs for the most part.  We couldn't maintain good speed on I-70 due to some strong headwinds coming from the west and so spent a good portion of time on US40, in third gear, trying to hold 40-45 mph due to the winds.

In fact, the electronic information signs on the highway displayed high wind warnings.

Soon enough though, we passed the small towns of Empire and Berthoud Falls, seeing the sky become thickly overcast as we gained altitude heading towards the summit of Berthoud Pass.

 Less than a mile from the pass summit, I stopped to get a picture of Scarlett
You can see the low cloud ceiling which obscured the tops of the mountains.

 Not much snow in the parking lot at the summit.

From the summit, looking west towards Winter Park

Road conditions were wet and with temperatures just below freezing, I took it nice and slow heading west towards Winter Park.  I was hoping for better conditions in the town of Fraser just north of Winter Park but it was not to be.

Though road conditions became quite dry the closer I got to Winter Park, the clouds got thicker and thicker as well.  At one point, I was chasing an open bit of sky where the sun could be seen shining but it closed up before I could get near it.  At that point, I was in the town of Tabernash which is north of Fraser.

Wandered about a bit but the low cloud ceiling precluded a shot of the mountain peaks that surround the Fraser Valley.

Near Tabernash, CO.

I could see the clouds would be hanging around for longer than I wanted to wait so I retraced my steps on US40, heading back towards Berthoud Pass.

Road conditions were a bit better as I transited the summit but the clouds were even lower than before so there was no stopping for more pictures as Scarlett and I descended down towards I-70.

Back in the metro Denver area, I went to the south end of Cherry Creek Park where one can get a good view of Mount Evans on a clear day, such as today.


Above, you can see the cloud layer that obscured mountain peaks along the Front Range.  You can also see the clear skies we enjoyed under a nice warm sun out in the front range itself.

I noticed, as I rode back towards home, that the Fall Colors are just starting to make an appearance for real in the metro Denver area.  Maybe, I'll go check out the Fall Colors closer to the downtown area tomorrow.

Got home, washed the magnesium chloride residue off of Scarlett and put her away clean and dry.  A bit over 200 miles covered today, we're having a pretty warm Fall season so far; the first snowfall for us here in the metro Denver area is overdue this year.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Birthday Ride

Martha, my loving wife and I motored down to Colorado Springs today for lunch.  The weather was beautiful, no chores to do and it was my birthday.

We rode down CO Highway 83 the metro Denver area, through the towns of Parker, Franktown, and about an hour later made it down to Colorado Springs.



Martha had been hearing of and wanting to go to this German restaurant in the city for a while, so today was the day.


The food was pretty good, we both had schnitzels and a glass of beer each.  I even got a free slice of Apple Strudel with a candle on it when Martha told the waiter it was my birthday.

Luckily, no one clad in lederhosen came out singing Happy Birthday, with the strudel!


After lunch, and less than two miles away, was the America the Beautiful park.  We walked around a bit after taking these pictures of the rig at the entrance to the park.



One more picture of the centerpiece for the park.  The angle used below is often used by local photographers to capture sunsets and sunrises.


The ride home was a retracing of our route down, no issues and Scarlett ran great though a bit hot.  Her heads' temperatures were in the low 400s.  I checked with RichardM, seems those are OK temperature levels.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Snow! Loveland Pass and Dillon

This past week, we experienced a couple of rainy days in the metro Denver area.  What was a wet soaking for us was snow at the higher altitudes!  Yay.

Pikes Peak was only open, as I type this, 15 of the 19 miles to the summit so it was not a ride candidate for Scarlett and I.

Pictures from the Loveland Ski Area looked quite promising yesterday and so Scarlett and I motored away from home shortly after 7AM to see what we could see.

Near Buffalo Herd Overlook, one gets one's first 
glimpse of distant snow-clad peaks.

We took super slabs all the way up to the mountains, traffic was light, the sun was shining and temperatures would be in the low 40's Fahrenheit all the way to Loveland Pass Road or US6 exit from I-70 just before the Eisenhower Tunnel which crosses under the Continental Divide.

The roads at 9AM were wet looking which kept my speeds down as the temperatures dropped into the low 30s as I gained altitude on Loveland Pass Road.  I was glad for the light traffic conditions, once the ski resorts open up, the road can become jammed with frantic cagers rushing to stand in line at the ski lifts.

 Near the summit sign, which was crawling with selfie-taking folks

 A bit west of the pass summit, there's a small parking area near 
a small pond .  There was only perhaps six inches of snow so it
was still trafficable.  Later on in the season, a couple of feet or more of 
snow will bar motorized access to this area.

 Looking back east towards the summit of Loveland Pass

 Pond-side pics

Scarlett and I then motored slowly down from the summit towards the curve which overlooks the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort.
 That's the Ten Mile Range Mountains in the distance.

So little traffic today, I elected to motor on down further instead of turning around which is what I usually do when here in the Winter; this is to avoid the ravening hordes of frantic skiers and cagers you see.  Today however, it was light traffic past A-Basin, then the Keystone Ski Resort and finally to the side of Dillon Lake where I stopped for pictures of Ten Mile Range once again:

 Lake Dillon

Scarlett and I next retraced our steps a bit and took Swan Mountain Road to get a closer view of Ten Mile Range from a camping overlook:





Retracing our route along Swan Mountain Road, I stopped Scarlett by a part of the Dillon Reservoir/Lake and admired the nice view presented by the small "peninsula" which projects out onto the lake, dotted with really nice homes.

Since all the ski resorts are still not open for the season, I stopped Scarlett in one of the large parking lots provided by the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort; to get a look at the surrounding mountains.


Now motoring back up the road to the summit, I stopped several times to get a view back towards the west as the sun was now shining fully on the western mountain peaks near Arapahoe Basin:



 Ski slopes of Arapahoe Basin

Light traffic, shallow snow depths, allowed for the next few shots with little hassle.  Sometimes I had to engage the 2WD to get going from a standing stop while pointing up slope but no big deal.






The pass summit was now packed with parked cars, cagers wandering aimlessly taking pictures, and snow-boarders crossing the road.  I rode right on through the summit, wanting no contact with the crowds.  Just a little east of the summit, it was once again light traffic conditions and there were several good spots to stop and pose Scarlett.
 The Summit is just a little past the curve above.

 Looking east and heading down towards I-70.


The rest of the ride was just super slab riding.  I noted that the temperature on Scarletts' engine heads climbed past 400 briefly as I was keeping speeds on or about 60 mph.  Temperatures would remain above 370 or so anytime I went above 55 mph.

I got home in a short time, arriving just a little after 1:15PM.  Temperatures in the metro area had soared to almost 69 degrees Fahrenheit so I was quite warm in all my riding layers!

Hope you liked the pictures, I was quite delighted with the amount of snow on Loveland Pass, it augurs for some nice Winter riding ahead of me.

What are your thoughts on the watermark I am putting on all the pictures now?  It really won't stop the theft given enough motivation on the part of a thief, but it's at least a reminder.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Windy Day

I rode out of the neighborhood on Scarlett this morning, hoping to get a shot of Mount Evans covered with the new snow that fell recently.

Alas, I wasn't early enough and the clouds had moved in due to the seemingly strong winds at altitude:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Going to have watermark my pics from now on.

Been thinking of doing it for a while since it saved the effort of letting folks know where one of my pictures that they'd liked enough to share on Facebook had come from.

Most folks, took the little amount of time it takes, to actually give credit or attribution.

Recently though, I found the below picture from my riding in Europe, on a Facebook side for B.A.D.D., it showed up as liked on my news feed by a friend on FB.

Note: the one on the page in question was before I added the watermark you see.


So, as usual, I went to the page and added replies that included a link to the original posting, on the comments on that facebook page posting when folks asked where the picture was taken.

I then messaged the admin and asked that in the future he place an attribution link.  

The admin replied, saying because of all the members of his "group", they didn't do that.  He also mentioned because I wasn't a member, my comments with links to the posting would be "faded out".  I asked him what that meant, and he said that as I was not a member of the page, the comments would only be visible to me and my friends.  Oh, but if I made a contribution to the site, then he'd post my pictures.

I dithered on this for days, finally donated the minimum amount: $1.  The admin messaged me with "Fuck off with your dollar" and "stop wasting his time".

Nice huh.  I wished I'd kept that FB conversation so I could post it here, but I was pretty angry at the time.

So, I was in the process of looking up how to report theft of intellectual property on Facebook and found he'd taken down my picture from the b.a.d.d page.  

That's good enough for me, probably should have done that in the first place.

So, watermarks from now on.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Warm Colorado Fall Sunset

Another beautiful day here in Colorado as the Fall season begins to have its effect on the foliage in the Metro Denver Area.

After a long day of staring at computer screens, I rode out with Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar rig to see what kind of a sunset this Monday would bring us here.

The sunset did not disappoint, no low lever cloud banks on the western horizon obscuring the front range mountains and a nice golden orange glow as the sun set.




 Totally by accident, I got the right angle to make the headlight
look like was part of the sun's vanishing light




It's still in the mid-60s Farenheit as I type this, a warm Fall evening to be enjoyed as the NE part of the country gets the first big taste of snow.  Here's hoping its not too far behind for us here.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Scouting Ride for Fall Colors

In order to give Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 Airhead Beemer some exercise and also check out the conditions for Fall Colors in the DTC and South Denver area, we rode out a bit after 9AM into some cool and sunny riding conditions.

Fall riding can be quite nice, it's not hot, it's not cold and when the sun is out, it's almost as great as riding in snowy conditions with the sun out.

The leaves on the deciduous trees are starting to turn with the incoming Fall weather but they weren't quite there yet for pictures.  The peak should happen in the next week or so I think.

Here's a couple of pics of the entrance to Westlands Park in the DTC (Denver Tech Center).

 That's Mount Evans in the distance.


About 55 miles of city driving, and only one dumb cager not paying attention to her lane positioning.

Got home before lunch, hopefully we'll have better Fall coloring by next weekend.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Scarlett has two new shoes.

Spent the morning replacing the worn out tire on the sidecar wheel with a new Heidenau K37.  Got a total of 10,949 Km on that tire, not too shabby since it did both SC duty and Pusher duty.

The old pusher tire still has some "meat" left on it so I'll keep it as the standby spare as I am not going to replace the new Duro 308 that's presently on the spare wheel today.

Replaced both pusher and SC tires at mileage: 25433.

Front tire still has over 1/4 thread on it, will leave it for now as it's not really great for traction as opposed to the pusher and SC tires when on slippery stuff like snow and such.

Couple of fellow Uralisti came by to kibitz, get a part that I no longer need and to borrow the use of the Harmonizer to check the balance of his M70's carburetors.  They were a tad "off" at idle but still within specs, he also borrowed the use of my timing light to check his timing, which was spot on.

Done by noon, would have been done sooner but there was a bit of BS'ing done while Steffen and Dan were around.  Go figure.  :)

Winter is Coming, Scarlett is ready.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Measuring the temperature on Scarlett's heads.

Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar, has what is commonly referred to as a Boxer engine.  The formal description is "Horizontally Opposed Pistons Engine" I believe.

These pistons, function inside what is known as the cylinder heads, or "heads" for short.

During the last long set of riding days down in southwest Colorado for the Fall Colors, there had been a time or two where I'd smelled the distinctive smell of burnt engine oil.  Usually that's either a sign of leaking oil falling on some hot surface or an engine that's running hot.

I recalled seeing a set of engine heat sensor gauges on a fellow Uralista's rig during the last group ride.  Tim L. had installed digital sensors from TTO which used as a sensing device a brass ring which is mounted under the spark plug used in each engine cylinder head.

The price was right, less than $40 each and I got two of them yesterday from Amazon.  Installation was easy and the only real complaint so far is the length of the wiring is a bit short, forcing one to use the leg shields as a mounting point, and not the handlebar.

 Left cylinder's sensor, mounted near top edge of leg guard

 My view of the sensors while riding.

 views of the sensor cable at each spark plug

As I had already suspected from comparison to other thermometer readings I'd seen while riding, the aquarium thermometer I use to measure ambient temperature on my handlebar reads two degrees warmer than actual air temperature:


Tim L. reports his cylinder heads run in the 300s Farenheit when riding, I'll be tracking my own to see how hot the heads on an EFI rig run.

Once I have a baseline, I'll be in a better position to judge whether the engine might be overheating on the hotter days of riding.

First ride with sensors: Ambient temp 54F, heads ran in the 330s Farenheit.  High was 369F on left head and 368F on right head.