Saturday, August 12, 2017

Meeting BeemerGirl and Oilburner

Martha and I, riding on Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar rig...rode into the nearby mountains to the town of Nederland (Home of the Frozen Dead Guy) this morning.  The mission was to meet fellow moto-blogger Beemergirl aka Lori and her husband Oilburner aka Chris.

We met at the New Moon Bakery and Coffee Shop and chatted up a storm while enjoying some Bacon Wraps.  Well, mostly Lori and Martha chatted up a storm while Chris and I jumped in every now and then.

After breakfast, and since Chris had a couple of hours before having to report to work at Brainard Lake Recreation Area (where they're sort of work-camping); we rode out towards Rollins Pass.  Chris and Lori on their spiffy Honda CBX500X motorcycles.  Martha dubbed them Thing One and Thing Two, the motorcycles that is, since they'd not named them yet!

We got to the eastern entrance of the Moffat railroad tunnel and stopped for a quick picture in the nearby parking lot.

That's Lori and Chris behind Martha

At this point we said goodbye to Chris as he had to ride up ten miles or so back to his Brainard Lake where he mans the fee station as part of a summer gig to "test the waters" of work-camping.

Lori stayed with us and we proceeded to ride down to Golden Gate Canyon State Park via Gap Road.  

The Continental Divide from Tolland Road

It was shortly after we got on Gap Road that we came a good spot for another picture:

The rest of the ride was through twisty canyon roads, bounded on both sides by thick pine forest with the occasional patches of Aspen trees.  We chatted via our Sena Bluetooth headsets which made it an easy way to pass the time and describe things to Lori as we saw them.

We took a small break in the town of Pinecliffe on CO72, got UDF'ed by a K Bike Rider for a bit and then we headed back towards Nederland for lunch.

We decided to try the German Restaurant at the edge of the city and it turned out it was it's last weekend in operation!  It's a family business and the patriarch had decided it was time for the family to retire from the restaurant business!

After a very leisurely lunch of delicious bratwurst, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, and with heavy weather moving in from the North, we parted ways with plans to get together soon for more riding!

As Lori rode back to Brainard Lake, we hit traffic blocks due to a bicycle race that was using Golden Gate Canyon as part of its route.  We diverted back towards CO72 and twisted and turned our way, in mild rain and wet roads, to exit way north of Golden.

Traffic was crap, still due to the bike race, and we slogged our way to another major traffic detour that forced us into Arvada.

We finally made our way south from 64th Avenue to the I-70 slab where traffic wasn't too bad.  Of course, then I got on I-25 south and traffic was basically slow and go all the way to I-225 and Parker Road.

Traffic was heavy and roads were mostly wet though I did manage to avoid a couple of spots where large puddles had formed.  Figure another hour from what normally would have been a 2 hour drive.....way too many people and a road infrastructure that can't handle bicycle racing events.

Great meeting with Lori and Chris and looking forward to our next ride with them.  Lori has one more week of remote work and then she'll be on vacation so I'm hoping they'll be able to ride Pikes Peak and Mount Evans!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Reconning Possible RV Campsites

Under cloudy skies and cool conditions, Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 Airhead and I headed out to check cellular data connectivity in the nearby mountains., had provided a list of BLM campsites that one can take an RV to and I wanted to see what kind of connectivity they had via Verizon.  The wireless coverage map provided by Verizon has proven "lacking" in the past so an in person recon was required.

First up was the farthest, the Gordon Gulch Recreation Area, which is 5 miles or so north of the small mountain town of Nederland, CO.

Lat Lng: 40.009854,-105.501955

I found Forestry Road 266 with no issues though it was just .4 miles north of Mile Mark 37, not .5!   As I cruised around seeking decent parking spots, I came across a young (teenage) black bear ambling across the dirt road.  He picked up speed when he saw me and ran off into the woods.  No pics, wasn't fast enough.

Gordon Gulch Recreation Area

Got decent signal at a couple of spots using the OpenSignal app on my iphone but the terrain wasn't really something I'd take Uma, my Class C Motorhome, to find campsites.  The road was packed dirt/gravel and there were a couple of spots where one might ground one's motorhome.  So scratch Gordon Gulch from the list of future boondocking sites.

Leaving there, I headed back south along CO72 and took the CO46 junction towards the Golden Gate Canyon State Park and its campground.  Less than five miles in, found the sign for campground but it turns out RVs have to take the Gap Road junction further to the north on CO72 to get to it.  The road was too narrow and curvy I guess.  So no testing Verizon's signal at this campground today.

Twisting and turning my way back down CO72 (the Peak to Peak Highway) was quite enjoyable on two wheels but I did note I've become a bit "rusty" as Brigitta and I made our way up and down the twisting curves back towards Black Hawk.

Shortly after transiting the casino town of Black Hawk, I took the US40/US6 junction towards Idaho Springs and shortly afterwards was on the US40 Frontage Road heading east to the I-70 exit.

Getting on I-70 Eastbound, I was soon at the Chief Hosa exit.  This is where Denver's Genesee Park has the Chief Hosa RV campground.  It's a small affair but I got pretty good download, lukewarm upload speeds when I checked.

I think the 10Mbps was a fluke, got 2.2 in a second test for 
download speed

Near Chief Hosa RV Park

Of course, it's an RV park so not quite a boondocking site, but still a possible destination when we've only a couple of days to get away from the cesspool of humanity that is Denver.

The view from the Chief Hosa highway exit from I-70

Brigitta and I made it home, though we did get sprinkled on as we traversed the SW portion of the C-470 beltway to the Metro Denver area.

It was a good workout ride for Brigitta, something long overdue.

To finish this post, a composite/double exposure shot from yesterday's sunset and the moon which showed at the same time.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Slow Summer Week

After the RV trip to Salt Lake City, Buena Vista and a guy's weekend in Fraser; it was time to just relax at home for a bit.

Did some maintenance on Umarang, the URRV:

  • Installed crankcase oil vent filter and reconnected hose to air filter box
  • Replaced rain gutter spout which got ripped off by tree branches in BV
  • Made sun shields for driver/passenger side windows
  • Tried out use of fans to keep inside temps down: jury's out on this one.
  • Installed TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) (Copied RichardM's)
  • Greased zerks associated with front wheel steering/suspension components. (Messy)
  • Washed Uma and her sun shade
Realized the cell signal booster I bought has a -23dBm max limitation and surprised their Tech Support with the -21dBm I can get with the raised antenna and extension cable.  Not sure I want to spend the $400+ to get the unit with a promised -50 dBm gain.

Very hot during the day, cooling off a bit at night, especially if it rained.

Monday's Sunset with Scarlett

Cloudy skies on Tuesday, but no rain

Rains came on Wednesday, we got soaked, it was good

Martha's Birthday's Sunset with Brigitta

 Friday Sunset with Fiona

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Uraling in Grand Lake, CO

This morning, after a leisurely breakfast and some electrical troubleshooting of Bob's pickup truck (brake lights weren't working), we all headed out North towards the town of Grand Lake.

The guys were going canoeing in the lake and I had plans to explore the area by Ural.

We got to Grand lake by Noon and soon the guys were off on their respective canoes:

 Bob and Steve

 Dale, Jim and Rick

 Grand Lake from West Portal Road

 Grandby Lake, near Stillwater, CO

 Granby Lake

Oh, and I found a good candidate for a future glamping event.  The Stillwater Recreation Area campground located next to Granby Lake.  Good cell signal, nice location, the only con I could see in the short recon of it was no trees for shade.

As previously arranged, we all met back up at 2PM and we found a local eatery for a late lunch:

me, Jim, Bob and Steve...Rick and Dale were
on the other end of the bar.

Proof that not all my pics involve motorcycles....
a display of flowers next to one of the shops along
main street.

We all headed home in our respective vehicles, Dale staying as the monkey on Scarlett.  There was a brief detour for the guys to hike the short trail to Adams Fall but I skipped it, waiting for them instead under the shade of a nearby tree in the West Portal area.

The ride home was uneventful and we relaxed the rest of the afternoon on the balcony of the rental home.

Sunset approached and I rode out on Scarlett in the hopes of finding a good spot.  Found an "OK" spot near Tabernash:

Near Tabernash, CO

After the above colors had come and gone, I tried heading west a bit to see if I could find a spot on the other side of the trees you see in the above picture.

I did find a nice spot if ever I'm in the area for a sunset shot at this time of year, it's located near the Fraser Valley Gravel company:

Headed home and finished off the evening listening to and telling stories from our past, everyone was tired and in a mellow mood.  We all, with the exception of Steve, go back to our respective homes in the morning.  This pleasant sojourn is near its end.

Rollins Pass and my First Rodeo

I am spending the weekend at a VRBO property, a guest of a neighborhood friend of mine: Bob W.  Actually, it was five of us total, who were at Bob's rental unit for a weekend of manly camaraderie.  The rental house was near Fraser, Colorado and so I took US40 through Berthoud Pass and past the ski resort of Winter Park to get there.

Approaching Berthoud Pass

Shortly after I arrived at mid-morning Saturday, the decision was made to go up Corona Pass Road.  This is the road that takes you to Rollins Pass.

Riding Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol sidecar rig, with Dale B. as my monkey, we tore up the road, followed by Steve L on an ATV and the rest of the guys in Bob's pickup truck.

photo courtesy Jim M.
Dale B. and yours truly

 The view from a pit stop along the way up
to the top of Rollins Pass

 Left to right: Bob our host, Steve, Rick, Dale and Jim

photo courtesy of Dale

Steve would be the monkey on the first part down
the mountain

 A nice alpine lake 

Railroad Trestle Bridge from back in the day

Rick would be the day's last monkey, he and I
got pretty wet as it rained on us as we left Corona Pass Rd.

Returning to Fraser, we relaxed a bit at the rental house and then we packed all six of us into Dale's car and went to the High Country Stampede Rodeo nearby; this would be my first rodeo.

The opening ceremonies were very patriotic and well done.

Most of the photos I took didn't work out, its quite difficult to shoot horses and riders moving fast it turns out.

photo courtesy Rick
left to right: me, Bob, Dale, Jim, Steve and Rick

Fun day with friends, Dale, Steve and Rick were initiated into the ancient order of Sidecar Monkeys and I've finally ridden both halves of the Rollins Pass Road!

A video compilation of events I saw at the rodeo:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Buena Vista Boondocking 18-19JUL17

Spent a couple of days in the vicinity of Buena Vista, CO.  I was in Umarang, the URRV and towing Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol.

The idea was to test the use of the old Honda eu1000 portable generator in terms of providing electricity to the RV except for the tasks of air conditioner use and microwave oven use.  These two items require at least 1500 watts which is beyond the capacity of the small Honda generator.

I wanted to also find out how long it would last on one tank.
Wednesday: started at 730am.  Using it in eco mode where it ramps up automatically under high loads then throttles down when not working as hard to provide power.

Some data for record:

Found on Internet: Normal conversation: 60-70db

Coffee Maker: 800W unit.  while heating: mid to upper 50s db
While not under load, low 50s db.

70db 20 ft from left side of rv where generator is mounted.
60db 25 ft from right side of rv, with bulk of RV blocking some of the noise.

The Honda will NOT provide enough amps for the air compressor I carry.

Straight run duration, light loads: 5 hours to out of gas.

 The view from the RV's window, as I worked on
Tuesday afternoon.

 A view of Mt Princeton as I rode out with Fiona
after work, to scout sunset locations.

 Mt Princeton, on Wednesday morning.

A view of Mt Princeton from the boulders located near
the RV at the campground.

Here's a short time-lapse sequence showing the clouds above Mount Princeton as the storm front moved in....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

SLC RV Trip - Day 8: Boyd Lake State Park

Although the original plan had been for me to continue heading west while Martha flew home from Salt Lake City today; the continuing very hot weather led to a change in plans.

I shall try for a RV trip that reaches the west coast sometime during Fall Break perhaps.

So, Martha and I packed up Uma the URRV and we headed east on I-80 out of Utah, through Wyoming and ended up stopping for the night at Boyd Lake State Park just south of Loveland, CO.

We were about 2.5 hrs from home at this point, perhaps less, but the prospect of arriving tired, in the dark and still having to put things away just led us to instead have a relaxed evening near Boyd Lake.

Nice RV park, not much on amenities but they did have electric pull-through sites and good cellphone coverage which is all we needed for one night.

Our site had good views of the setting sun, but the sunset itself proved to be a mild one in terms of color.

 Yep, didn't have much time after setting up camp to unload
Fiona, so she's on the trailer still....

Note the mast used to raise the weBoost cellular
booster antenna to a height of about 18 feet for
a -21 dBm gain in signal strength.