Sunday, October 23, 2016

A Ride to Los Alamos

Martha and I rode Fiona, the '99 Ural with the '84 R80 Beemer engine to the town of Los Alamos to see what we could see of this historic site.

It was a cool 34°F (1°C) when we set off.  We were slightly delayed because the oil in the engine had gotten a bit "thick" since temperatures were below freezing overnight here in New Mexico.  Angel Fire is at above 8000 feet in altitude so it gets a bit chilly overnight.  The battery on Fiona, though charged, struggled mightily but could not get going before the charge ran down.

I broke out the portable jump starter battery and after a bit of struggling to connect the positive clamp to the battery terminal, finally got Fiona's engine going.  I will be adding a battery cable extension to the positive terminal, it's just too tight in terms of room the way I have the battery mounted.

We got underway and twisted and turned our way up US64 West towards the city of Taos.  The temperatures were brisk but we were dressed for the ride and I had grip covers to keep my hands warm.

At Taos, we got onto State Highway 68 towards EspaƱola, from there it was about 13 more miles on State Highway 30 to Los Alamos itself.

 Fall Colors are on the way out in this part of New Mexico

 La Mosca Hill (Fly Hill)


 A Russian Rig at the Los Alamos main gate....
(Actually, it's just a front to a restroom building, part of a park)

 "Does this bomb make me look fat?"
Martha posing by Fat Man

 Little Boy

We retraced our route on the way back, temperatures had soared into the 70s by then and it was quite comfortable for riding!

 Martha liked the way she managed to capture the clouds in the mirror.

Along the way back, between EspaƱola and Taos, we stopped to check out the Black Mesa Winery:



It proved a bit crowded at the tasting bar so Martha elected to keep going.  We made it back to the Angel Fire RV Resort by 5:40 PM I think and I am happy to report that not only were we not the slowest vehicle on the road, but Fiona did great all day.

Martha cooked dinner while I installed the extension battery cable to Fiona's battery so we can jump start her easier in the future. 

Really, I'm smiling...honest!

After dinner, it was a soak in the big hot tub and relaxing in Umarang afterwards working on this posting.  A good day of exploration and riding!

17 comments:

RichardM said...

Beautiful scenery. And even the yellow leaves look pretty nice.

The BMW starter does leave a lot t be desired in cold weather. The replacement starter that I had picked up a couple of years back really helped with cold weather starting. Plus, the group 24 battery doesn't hurt. The Ural starter seems to do a much better job of spinning the engine.

No comment on the "smile".

Charlie6 said...

Thanks RichardM, didn't realize that the Beemer starter was known for "weakness". Where did you situate the larger car battery? In the tub or the trunk? I've a heating pad on order for the Ural belly pan, maybe it'll help keep things warm enough for the beemer starter to spin the engine first thing in the morning. 200W heat pad, perhaps....

RichardM said...

The battery is in the tub in a marine battery box. If I needed the space, there is plenty of room on the sidecar frame next to the rig.

The replacement starter has a reduction gearbox and spins faster with a lower current draw. At least that's the claim. That seems to be my experience. There were several times when the engine barely turned over. That hasn't happened since.

Thomas Osburn said...

Great photos. I visited Los Alamos once on a day ride. Great place with interesting history. Sorry you had starter trouble.

Charlie6 said...

Is this the replacement starter you picked up last time you were here in Denver?

SonjaM said...

Brilliant colours, Dom. Sounds like a wonderful day to be had for both of you. RV & Ural seem to be a perfect combination for you guys.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks SonjaM, it was indeed a great day out and about.

Battlefield Biker said...

Hi,
Great blog. You two seem to be having a great time. What MLRS unit were you with? I was with 2/2 ACR in the 80s-90s on Warner Barracks II in Bamberg and we shared the small kaserne with a MLRS battery.
TJ aka Battlefield Biker
http://battlefieldbiker.com/

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Battlefieldbiker....I formed and commanded C Btry, 3-27FA (MLRS) in Ft Bragg, NC...my platoon ldr and XO time was with A/94FA (MLRS) in support of 1st Armored near Nurnberg back when there were still two Germanies. Those guys in Bamberg, I ended up commanding with one of the officers there in the 3-27FA, small world.

Ry Austin said...

This comment is NOT post related (I just thought I should warn you :D )...

Dom, I've been meaning to mention, simply for the sake of mentioning: Between December 2004 and October 2006, my brother's family lived in Centennial while my brother managed the Denver branch of ADI (https://adiglobal.us/Pages/default.aspx). Afterward, they returned to Salt Lake, where my brother manages the local branch. They lived at 5453 Dunkirk Way. I don't suppose you knew them--Christopher and Sarah Cox?...

Charlie6 said...

Ry Austin, sorry but I don't think we ever met your brother. The address you posted is pretty close to my home neighborhood though!

Ry Austin said...

Yeah, I've just been curious for a long time: You often mention many of the places that he and his young family frequented.

Charlie6 said...

Ry Austin, the metro Denver area has become just another overcrowded big city in my opinion. The infrastructure can't handle the existing numbers and more are coming....

Ry Austin said...

My brother's family loved Colorado's mountains--hell, I love Colorado's mountains--but I think he'd agree with you. Besides, he was always homesick for his family and the Utah places that he'd grown up loving.

I'm tempted to say the same thing about the Salt Lake metro area, but what do I know--Denver's about twice our population.

Trobairitz said...

You found some gorgeous fall colors. And the afternoon temperatures seem much better than what you started off with in the morning, but at least it was sunny.

Charlie6 said...

Trobairitz, thanks, it was good riding weather, the whole time we rode....

Charlie6 said...

Belated Thanks Thomas Osburn, I missed your comment before.

It wasn't actually the starter but most likely the battery. It's been fine since then once I took care to really and fully charge it back up.