Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Ride to Limon with four other ColoradoBeemers

Temps starting in high 20s, peaking at 55 degrees, with sunny skies and very windy at times.

A crisply cold morning ride to Morrison and the weekly breakfast gathering of the ColoradoBeemers club to which I belong. Got there a bit after 0800 after tanking up outside the town of Morrison once I got off the C470 superslab I'd taken to get there.

After a hearty breakfast, I decided to go on the "Eastern Peaks of Colorado" ride with what turned out to be four other riders. This ride had been scheduled in the club's ridebook for last weekend but bad weather had forced its postponement to this weekend instead.

The four guys who I rode with were Gary, the ride captain on his 07 R1200RT, Dana on his 1200S, Kim on his K1200, Tim on his 02 R1150RT and myself on Maria. We took 285 out of Morrison, spotted the cops doing radar where they apparently usually hang out where 285 and 470 meet. Got past them with no issues, took Kipling down to C-470 and then East until we got to I-25. Southbound for just a tiny bit and exited on Lincoln which we continued eastward on until we got to Parker Road.

South now on Parker Road, through Parker and Franktown and the open road of CR83. All the way to Colorado Springs on this road, then a series of turns got us finally on Woodmens Road and from there to US24 which he headed East on to see the "peaks". Gary would point out the peaks as we rode by, if he had not, I think I would have missed them! : )

The name of the ride is very much tongue in cheek as the lands East of the Denver Metro area are really just rolling hills and plains. Once we were East of Calhan and points east, the wind really started to pick up and we were frequently forced to ride leaning into the wind in order to go in a straight line!

Still, the wind was not bad I kept telling myself, not as bad as the stuff I encountered when riding to Sturgis the day I bought Maria from the BMW dealer there. No problem.

Hah, I spoke too soon. The winds really picked up as we got close to Limon and I was really having to concentrate on maintaining my position on the road through leaning into the wind and trying to anticipate the gusts that must have been over 40mph in speed. I even tried lowering my windshield to it's lowest position in order to minimize my profile to the wind! There were several points in that portion of the ride where I thought my motorcycle's back end was being pushed up by the tailwinds that were hitting it at that point! A bit nerve-wracking but we made it into the town of Limon with no issues.

We tanked up and ate lunch at the Denny's located near the entrance to I-70 which Limon borders on. During the talk at lunch I learned the "real" meaning of the name of the town of Limon. It's not the spanish name for lemon as I'd thought all these years but stands for "Lost In the Middle Of Nowhere". Now you know.

Eastern Peaks Ride

The other thing we decided was to cut the ride short and take the I-70 superslab homewards due to the winds that only promised more "attention-getting" gusts of wind against our motorcycles should we decided to do the whole planned ride route. We skipped the portion North of Limon in the map above. The "peaks" are shown for your enjoyment.

The ride home back towards Denver was windy but not as bad as what we experienced heading to Limon on US24. Thank Goodness for that. I departed from the group at the E-470 exit, waving my goodbyes to most of them as I overtook all but one rider and then exited. I should have stayed on Gun Club Road instead of electing to take the tollway though. There was construction on the tollway and it was down to one land on the southbound side. Slowly I made my way home, watching the traffic on Gun Club Rd whiz southbound where normally they would have been watching me go faster on the tollway. Oh well.

So, about 270 miles total ridden by me including going to Morrison where the ride started. I got home around 1530 or so and just puttered around the house and garage. Got to go in tonight to do some work at the datacenter so I have to get some rest.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Commuting in the cold

Maria, all by her lonesome at my job's parking lot

Temps according to my motorcycle's thermometer: low 30s. Temps according to Accuweather website: 19 degrees, according to the CDOT weather stations nearest work: avg of 25 degrees. Sunny, with basically dry roads, ice/snow still remaining on lawns and houses.

No wonder my fingertips felt cold throughout the 30 minute ride into work, it was 19 degrees in the area. My new thermometer is either placed wrong(same spot as old one) or the sun was hitting the rear rack frame onto which it's mounted! I mean, almost a 15 degree difference in temperature readings?

I kept thinking through the ride that I should have put the ATV grip covers on and worn the lighter gloves since my heavy duty ones weren't keeping my finger tips warm in spite of the heated grips being on full blast. But I kept looking at the thermometer and it said low 30s so I chalked it up to wind.

Still, nice ride in, roads were fine, just had to avoid the wet spots and ride in the wheel tracks of cars ahead of me. No ice/snow on the roads themselves, and with the sun we're expecting today, the roads should be just fine this afternoon when we're supposed to hit our high of 49 degrees.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Finishing a work phone call on the motorcycle

Temps in mid-50s, cloudy and dark.

Of course it was dark, it was almost 8PM! I was at work doing a change, which went very well, and I was still participating in the teleconference that was part of the change as they went through the end portion checkouts related to the change.

I am a network engineer and we make changes to the network during off-hours so as to not impact customer's data traffic. This change was actually happening at a decent hour, usually we have to go in after midnight to do other changes.

My part was done minutes before so I got my riding gear on and headed out to the parking lot at work still listening to the call. I started the motorcycle up to warm it up a bit, got everything but my helmet and gloves on and still the call dragged on.

The road beckoned, there was snow forecasted to start in a couple of hours and still the call dragged on.

Heck with it, I had been listening to the call via my bluetooth headset since I had to be out there on the computer floor doing my portion of the change, so I went ahead and tried donning the helmet with the headset still attached to my right ear. It actually fit and I only felt a slight pressure against my right ear.

Got on my motorcycle, rode off heading for home, and still the call dragged on, but at least now I was moving. I asked if they could hear the motorcycle's engine noise and the others on the call said they couldn't but that I sounded slightly muffled. Since my portion of the change was done, all I had to do was listen while riding, kind of like listening to music only boring.

About ten minutes later the call ended and everyone hung up, I could not of course since I could not reach into my helmet to turn off the call via the headset. This had to wait until I was waiting at a stoplight and I could reach into the tankbag where the phone was and hang up the call there.

Interesting experience, worth a try but I know better than to make it a habit to use the cellphone while riding. Once I get a GPS that gives voice directions via bluetooth however, that's another story.

The ride home was uneventful, I still don't like riding at night that much and I also discovered the anti-fog visor insert I'd recently put in causes some added reflections of the lights from cars and other things on the road. Not safety-related but annoying, hopefully I'll get used to it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

RoadsideAmerica Website

Found this site today while surfing and thought it worth posting on the blog. I plan to use it for future trip planning and thought you the reader might find it worthwhile in terms of planning trips. is a caramel-coated-nutbag-full of odd and hilarious travel destinations -- over 7,000 places -- ready for exploration.

Since our first book, Roadside America, introduced readers to the world of offbeat tourist attractions, we (authors and road trip know-it-alls Doug Kirby, Ken Smith, Mike Wilkins) haven't slowed down. In fact, we're speeding up! Or maybe it's just a bad optical illusion...

For reasons that grow hazier with time, we produced a thicker, more depraved sequel, New Roadside America. The books chronicled tourist attractions throughout the continental United States -- from the World's Largest Twine Ball to an obscure monument to a patriotic pig.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A ride to Red Rocks Amphitheater and trying to get to the Sleeper House

Temps from mid-40s to high 60s! Sunny with a bit of clouds.

A glorious day for riding after yesterday's rainy weather. I headed out at 0930 to take pictures of Maria at the Red Rocks Amphitheater near Morrison, CO. I headed that way by way of the E-470-C-470 slabs and got there about 40 minutes later. Roads were nice and dry and I made good time with the still light traffic on the slabs.

I gassed up at the Conoco that is located outside of Morrison and took the road to the East entrances to Red Rocks. I took Trading Post road in and here's what one is greeted with as you enter the park area, the amphitheater itself, lying there wedge between two big rock formations.

The Red Rocks Amphitheater
Maria near the Trading Post.

I wandered about the complex seeking nice shots of the many beautiful rock formations in the area. Here's a shot of the Lower North Parking Lot which today was serving as a gathering point for a bunch of kids in their rice boy cars. The sheriff was around so they were behaving themselves.

Lower North Parking Lot

There's a road leading from the North Parking lot to something called the Upper North Lot and the Top Circle Lot. Leading to the Top Circle lot is this tunnel cut or formed in the rock wall.

Entrance to Top Circle Lot.

Here's a shot from the Top Circle Lot of the Rice Boy gathering and the valley below.

I then wandered over towards the South Lot Parking Lot area and got this pretty good shot of what I believe is called Ship Rock. It was after all on Ship Rock road so I think it's a pretty good guess.

The day had warmed up pretty good by now so I stopped at the exit and put away my jacket liner in preparation of taking CO74 towards Evergreen. The road conditions were perfect, the sun was warm on my back and I lost the slow convertible that I trailed behind at Kittredge. I was able to average maybe 40-45 mph on the winding twisting road that remained to Evergreen. I stayed on 74 and ended up at the town of Bergen Park. Here's where the thought struck me to try and find the weird saucer shaped house featured in the Woody Allen flick: Sleeper.

I stopped at the Park and Ride at the intersection of CR 65 and 74 and phoned my loving wife who googled the house and gave me directions towards its general vecinity. It turned it that the house was located in Genesee which was the next town eastwards on US70! So I headed down CR74 again till it met with US70 which I headed East on and took the exit for Genesee Park.

I headed up what turned out to be Genesee Mountain Road and at one curve just before the top of the road I saw the house!

Closeup of the House, weird huh?

I must have spent the next hour then wandering about the area, trying every paved road I could find to try and get to the actual house and hopefully get a picture of Maria next to the house. Alas, it was not to be, finally stopped around 1330 and phoned my wife who googled the house address! Turned out that you had to continue up Genesee Mountain Road a bit more and turn off on a dirt road called Genesee Avenue. I went down this road with some trepidation as there were plenty of signs saying "private drive" and such along the way. I spotted the sign listing the house number that my wife had found and rode on down.

The "road" I went down turned out to be more of a very muddy dirt trail with spots still having some snow. Very slick spots I gotta tell you. I went down this trail for a bit, passing just one house along the way till in the distance I saw to my dismay an iron gate barring any further progress! This iron gate was to be the closest I was going to get to the saucer shaped house, dang it. I had to dismount to turn Maria around on the muddly trail and dissapointedly headed back to the main road. Oh well, at least I did not drop Maria on the muddy trail!

Here's an aerial shot of the house I found on the Web. More like a fajita instead of a saucer!

Another View of the Sleeper House

I got back onto US70 and headed on way, superslabs all the way. The day was now really warm and I kept thinking I should have stored away the jacket liner I had donned back again way back at Bergen Park. Got home around 1430 and washed Maria up from the rain shower on Friday and today's muddy roads. Just over 144 miles of riding today, I might even go out later on this evening since the weather is holding up just fine as I write this.

28MAR07: Followup on Sleeper House has this blurb on the house:
Golden, Colorado - Sculptured House - As seen in "Sleeper"
This is one of Colorado's most famous houses, perched on the mountainside overlooking Interstate 70 near the Genesee exit, looking like a flying saucer about to take off. Construction on it began in 1963 and was at last finished in 2000. It was originally designed by Charles Deaton, an architect who believed "people aren't angular, so why should they live in rectangles?" Having been all around this place I can tell you truthfully there is virtually nothing straight-walled about it! It is curved all around, from its west wing living room and kitchen bar to the master bedroom with curved-door closet at the back of the top. A grand living room is at the front of the top with a magnificent view of both Denver to the east and mountains to the north, In the pedestal, on each level, is a bedroom offering this same view. This house was in Woody Allen's 1973 movie "Sleeper" and I've sampled the Orgasmatron myself (it's the house's circular tube elevator). You can also get up and down by one of the most unique spiral staircases you'll ever see (each step's shaped like a crescent), lounge around in watermelon seed chairs, look at the squiggly design carpet, and more. It's a surprisingly very comfortable house. If you want it, it's yours for $10 million. [Richard J. Gardner, 11/25/2003]
(Sculptured House - As seen in "Sleeper": Golden, CO Directions: On Genesee Mountain, overlooking Interstate 70 at Genesee exit. Hours: Private; open for special events only. )

LINK to slide show of the Sleeper House 

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Replacing some farkle on a Rainy Day

Temps from mid-30s to 40 degrees. Rainy.

Woke up to a light rain which I'd seen start last night as I went to bed. Decided not to go on the Coloradobeemer's Annual Eastern Peaks of Colorado Ride. I'd covered most of the plains area East of the Denver Metro area before and I've also ridden in the rain and cold. Not much fun to be had.

Stayed at home and tweaked the blog, like the results? I upgraded to their new blog templates and find it a lot easier to work with the blog. I added the weather "sticker" you see in the sidebar and have also started tracking the states I ride to with my motorcycle.

Just in time for a rainy day, the farkle I ordered from California Sport Touring got delivered by the postman in the afternoon. It's a voltage meter/stopwatch/clock/thermometer(in/out) and black ice alarm gadget which I used to replace the thermometer I'd attached early on to Maria along with a voltage meter I scavenged from elsewhere. I believe it's a cleaner look for the dashboard. Ended up wiring it so it only comes on when the ignition is switched on, no interest in keeping power flowing to keep the clock running (already have one that came with the motorcycle) and did not see need to maintain power to keep track of min/max temps.

I also got a Universal fit version of the FogCity Anti-Fog visor insert. Got the clear version and it went on with very little fuss, though I did not get it exactly centered dang it. The end result however is pretty good. I could not see out the sides before anyways, so the fogshield being slightly off-center is not a safety factor. Can't wait to test it out.

Here's a review of the FogCity Visor Insert and a competitor on WebBikeWorld. I did not get the photochromic versions.

Not me, this pic from a vendor's site.

26March2007 - Update on the FogCity Anti-Fog Visor Insert:
Rode to work today with the anti-fog visor in place, temps were in the mid-40s and the thing worked beautifully. More testing to be done of course in lower temps if possible but so far so good. I did not have to raise or crack open the visor while stopped as I used to have to do. $15 well spent I think.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

An afternoon ride to Deckers

Temps starting in low 40s and climbing to mid 60s by noon. Partly Cloudy.

Spent the morning at work, around 1300 my last meeting was done with, the rest of the day was paperwork that I could just as well do at home so I did the only reasonable thing. I got my gear on and went riding!

Formulating the route as I headed South on the I-25 superslab, I settled on doing Deer Creek Canyon Road to US285 to Pine Junction and taking Jefferson County 126 South to Deckers. The roads were very light in terms of traffic and I made good time. I used this ride to practice some more the concept of keeping one's rev's high. Hence I don't think I upshifted to fifth gear anytime all the way to Deckers, some spots actually required 4th gear but mostly I stayed in 3rd gear and had an enjoyable time dealing with the sweeper turns all the way there. The weather had turned a bit cool at this point so I am glad I decided to put on the jacket's liner at Pine Junction where I gassed up Maria.

Having forgotten to bring the camera with me, no pics for this posting, sorry. The scenery was beautiful as always though, even the areas ravaged by the big fires near Deckers were eye-catching in their own way. The hillsides remain bare with burnt tree trunks almost all laying fallen on them. The roads were mostly clear but there were the occasional big accumulations of sand/gravel in the curves which caused me a bit of concern. I arrived at Deckers at 1500 and had a snack and a break. A couple on two 650GS shortly after I did and we exchanged some pleasantries. They left soon afterwards, heading back the way I had come.

I crossed CO67 and took a few minutes to see and hear the rushing waters in the creek. It was quite peaceful and I luckily managed to notice that the edge of the road was eroded quite a ways and getting nearer would result in me being IN the creek!

I left around 1520 once there were rain drops starting falling on Deckers. I headed East on CO67 towards Woodland Park. I outran whatever rain was beginning to fall back at Deckers so that was all good. The road to Woodland Park is mostly sweepers as well with a couple of twistys thrown in just before you start heading downhill towards the city. I caught up with two other riders, one on a crotch rocket, the other on a honda cruiser I think. We all transited Woodland Park together for the most part but I ended up leaving them behind once we cleared the outskirts of town.

Kept heading East on CO67 till I reached Manitou Springs and shortly after that took the entrance ramp to I-25 North in order to get home as it was past 1600 at this point. Got on the superslab and almost immediately was caught in what must be the daily traffic jam heading out of town. A few miles later, with my engine temps climbing ever closer to the red mark, we finally got unjammed south of exit 151 and were able to achieve superslab speeds. Of course, while we had been slowly poking along, the sun had come out and made me quite warm as well.

A few miles up the slab, I had an unpleasant close call with a cager who I'll name "apu" after the indian shopkeeper character in "The Simpsons". This idiot in his dark blue Land Rover with temp tags kept tailgating me and at a couple of points cut me off while we both were heading North on I-25. What a jerk, then he'd slow way down and I'd pass him up again only for him to start the whole process over again.

The resemblance to the idiot cager is remarkable!

Shortly after the last cutoff, I was able to take advantage of traffic and not only passed him again but ensured I kept at least one other cager between him and my motorcycle. I took special delight in maintaining the speed limit +10 once I had him boxed in, which kept him boxed in. Idiot. Saw him try and get past the cagers between myself and him but no luck.

So anyways, I proceeded in this manner all the way to Castlerock's Founders Parkway exit where "apu" exited, hopefully in quite the snit. By the way, I never even gave him the bird when he would cut me off, choosing instead to bide my time. Not as satisfying I must admit but then again, discretion is the better part of valor when dealing with assholes in their cages.

This unpleasantness behind me, I continued cruising up the superslab to the E-470 slab and from there took the Gartrell exit to home which avoided the traffic mess related to the shopping mall in Southlands. That's another collection of clueless cagers, let me tell ya!

About 185 miles of riding according to Microsoft Streets and Trips, so not too bad. About 3.5 hrs of saddletime. I also found it helps to point one's toes downward when the knees start getting sore, did not have to resort to sitting back on the pillion seat to let my legs stretch out at times. A nice ride in spite of the traffic jam and apu the cager.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Humor from a new blog site

Found this new blog from a fellow rider: Musings of an Intrepid Commuter. This fellow rides no matter what, is a Motorcycle Safety Riding instructor in the the Pacific Northwest area. Nice tales and very good writer and philosopher, though he prefers the moniker of Warrior. He'd posted this humorous story that I thought so funny as to repeat it here:

I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighbourhood could be so incredibly dangerous!

Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more decisions per second, and more sheer data processing than nearly any other common activity or sport. The reactions and accurate decision making abilities needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots! The consequences of bad decisions or poor situational awareness are pretty much the same for both groups too.

Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight training, my instructors called this being "behind the
power curve". It is a mark of experience that when this begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation, and more importantly, does something about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things right again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up.

Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding a motorcycle, at least if you want to remain among the living. In short, the brain needs to keep up with the machine.

I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I headed back into Dallas, found myself in very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage that decided it needed my lane more than I did. This is not normally a big deal either, as it happens around here often, but usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not paying attention and avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action I nearly broadsided another car that I was not even aware was there!

Two bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness, all within seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to get off the freeway.

I hit the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty well, headed through a few big residential neighborhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax, think, and regain that "edge" so frequently required when riding.

Little did I suspect.

As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it-it was that close.

I hate to run over animals.and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact.

Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves! Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing the oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his little beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the
scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" as the leap was spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely in the chest.

Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I would have sworn he brought twenty of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage!

Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential street.and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing.

I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to snag his tail. With all my strength I flung the evil rodent off the left of the bike, almost running into
the right curb as I recoiled from the throw.

That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and
gone on about his business, and I could have headed home. No one would have been the wiser.

But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary pissed-off squirrel.
This was an evil attack squirrel of death! Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands, and with the force of the throw swung around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact he landed square on my back and resumed his
rather anti-social and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take my left glove with him!

The situation was not improved. Not improved at all.

His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him.

I was startled to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back Unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. Torque. This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it.

The engine roared as the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in, well, I just plain screamed.

Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street.on one wheel and with a demonic
squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.

With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car.

Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the throttle, my brain was just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little affect against the massive power of the big cruiser.

About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got IN my full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed
partway and he began hissing in my face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone and intensity. It seemed to have little affect on the squirrel however.

The rpm's on The Dragon maxed out (I was not concerned about shifting at the moment) and her front end started to drop.

Now picture the large man on the huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt, and wearing one leather glove, roaring at probably 80mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrel's tail sticking out his mostly closed
full-face helmet. By now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.

Finally I got the upper hand. I managed to grab his tail again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I could. This time it worked, sort-of. Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.

Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing one leather glove, moving at probably 80mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your police car.

I heard screams. They weren't mine...

I managed to get the big motorcycle under directional control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross street.

I would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would have. Really. But for two things. First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on his back in the front yard of the house they had been parked in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car. The other was standing in the street and was training a riot shotgun on the police cruiser.

So the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to "let the professionals handle it" anyway.

That was one thing. The other? Well, I swear I could see the squirrel, standing in the back window of the patrol car among shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery, and shaking his little fist at me. I think he was shooting me the finger.
That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol car.

I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made an easy right turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.

As for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. Faced with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers, or the evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...I'll take my chances with the freeway. Every time.

And I'll buy myself a new pair of gloves.

A ride down familiar roads, mostly

Temps in the high 50s to low 60s, gloriously sunny.

I dispensed with the jacket liner and wore cargo shorts under my riding overpants. I headed South on Parker Road with no clear idea of where I was going, knowing only that I was riding after having had to go into work at 1230am and experiencing a "failed change". Which meant what we'd tried to do for a project did not go well and we had to "fall back" our change. I got home from that, rode the motorcycle of course, at 0330 or so and was fast asleep by 0400.

So, back to the ride, it was around 12 noon or so when I departed. Heading South I decided to press on through the town of Parker and took CO83 through Franktown. Nice motorcycle-friendly road, two laner and with a speed limit of 65mph once you traverse the Franktown city limits. Nice sweeping curves and open vistas. Now that the weather has turned fair and warm (mostly), more riders are taking their motorcycles out of hibernation and it feels good to see them on the road.

I cruised on down CO83 and saw off to my right a ridgeline I'd often thought would make a great location for a house, or in olden days, a castle! I saw that a dirt road led right up to it so I slowed and carefully went down Spring Valley Road. The road was not bad, just had to go slow. Rode right to the base of the ridgeline/bluff and kept going down the road to see what lay behind.

Turns out it's "Spring Valley", go figure. Just homes on big spreads of land, probably mostly ranchers. I took CO61 South, still dirt, and slowly made my way to Lorraine Road which I took East and back onto the paved CO83. Nice little detour. Should have taken pics of Pikes Peak from Spring Valley Road, next time.

Picked up speed and made the turn to Monument shortly afterwards. Crossed over Monument and I-25, got momentarily disoriented and finally got onto CO105 heading North towards Palmer Lake. More riders in evidence, a couple herds of Harley Riders as well, their rumbling pipes announcing their presence to me way before I saw them round the curve.

105 was nice and dry and I made good speed, practicing keeping my motorcycle's revs in the 4k range in order to take advantage of engine-braking and acceleration ratios when engaging the curves. Not sure yet how this keeping the revs high is going to do to my mpg ratings but it's fun.

I came to Wolfenberger road with its own set of curves and made good time on that little bit of pavement as well until I reached the outskirts of Castlerock. Once again crossed over the I-25 superslab and took Crowfoot Parkway as my regular backway to the town of Parker. At this point, I decided that I had meant to go just to the dealer to get some more 20w50 oil for Maria. So I stayed on Parker Road till I got to the BMW of Denver dealer. I briefly chatted with a fellow rider on a classic airhead who was also picking up oil. His was a pretty motorcycle. Bright red, clean and with over 70k miles on her!

I went in and got the oil, I started up Maria and after a few seconds she died on me. Had a hard time re-starting her and getting to stay on. Not sure what's going on with that, probably need to do some more adjustment of the throttle cabling since a few days ago when it somehow worked itself a bit loose and caused Maria to be hard to start. The embarrasing part was me doing all this while this guy in a Honda Goldwing stood idling on his motorcycle waiting for me to deal with things.

Finally got going and headed home. Maria behaved fine so I'll be seeing how she acts the next few days. A fine ride, on familiar roads with a brief detour down dirt roads.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Lookout Mountain and taking the long way home.

Temps starting in low 30s and ending in high 60s, beautifully sunny.

The day started off a bit cool but ended up gorgeous. I went to Golden after I left work at 1300hrs and afterwards had occasion to ride up and down Lookout Mountain road a couple of times from the Golden side of the road. The bicyclists were out in force as were several motorbikes. The Lookout Mountain Road is part of the Lariat Loop Trail in Colorado and its quite twisty in parts with several hairpin turns and breath taking views of the city of Golden and in the distance, Denver itself.

The road was near perfect in terms of visibility, lack of gravel/sand and amount of traffic. On my last ride up, got stuck behind this truck hauling an ATV, still not too bad. A guy in a 1150GS got impatient I guess and decided to pass me and the truck with a double yellow on the road, so I guess he was more in a hurry!

Here's a shot of the top of Lookout Mountain with its antennae farm:

Some shots of the Town of Golden and the Coors Plant, and the Mesa near Golden:

Finally, some of the vistas available to you as you ride this great road:

After Lookout Mountain, I headed down towards Morrison, passing by the Red Rocks Amphitheater (which I must go back and take pictures of soon). This was on US40 I believe and from Morrison I headed down CO 8 rd to 285 which I rode for a short bit until I got to Turkey Creek Canyon Road. This is also the exit for Tinytown, a tourist trap featuring a small steam locomotive which gives you a little tour of Tinytown and it's scale model houses and such stuff. It was still snow-covered in parts so it's still closed for winter as I rode by.

I followed Turkey Creek Rd down to Fenders where I then headed up Deer Creek Canyon Road and it's great twistys all the way to the Chatfield Reservoir. Headed south on CO 121(?) and turned off before the Lockheed Martin Complex's entrance and into Waterton Canyon Road. This leads you eventually to CO85 which I took to Sedalia and eventually to Monument where I took the usual backroads back to Parker and home. A great ride, my knees were a bit sore from the twistys and saddle time but it was worth it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mirror Farkle for Maria and a K&N Air Filter

Beautiful Riding day again today. I don't think it got above 58 degrees but it was still great for riding to/from work and a bit after work as well.

Got Maria a couple of things today. First was a K&N Air Filter to replace the rather dirty one left in the air filter housing by the dealer AFTER the motorcycle was given her annual AND a 6K service at one time! I found several dessicated, dead insects in the housing as well. Kinda makes me wonder really what else was skipped during these services since I know for sure inspecting the dang air filter is one of the checks! I must contact the dealer. I only wish I had checked the air filter right after I got her serviced. But since the service was in NOV of 2006, the presence of bugs to be sucked into the air filter housing was ZERO here in Colorado between then and when I checked the air filter this past weekend!

The GS mirrors I got from another rider though the IBMWR Mailing List were also waiting for me at home and mounted up to the clutch and brake reservoir housings just fine and with very little fuss. Now, I hope to have better view of the lanes to each side of me when riding, the stock mirrors sometimes were "lacking" in terms of field of view and coverage. Not to mention, when I used the handgrip covers on cold days, I could not see much else but the handgrip covers in the stock mirrors! I was inspired to get the GS mirrors by the RT motorcycle shown in the March 2007 edition of BMW Owners News Magazine that I get as part of being a member of BMWMOA.

This was the motorcycle in the "How not to ride the Haul Road" which caused quite a stir in the BMW Rider community forums.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Went to Cheyenne, WY for lunch

A beautifully sunny day today, temps ranged from 41 to 60 during my ride! Gorgeous riding day and it showed in the number of fellow riders I saw on the roads.

I left at 0930 and took the superslabs to the initial destination of Horsetooth Reservoir near Fort Collins. About halfway there I decided, what the heck, Cheyenne and the Wyoming border is not that much further away so decided to go all the way there and have lunch. I missed the opportunity to stop at the Wyoming border to take the requisite picture marking the spot, will have to catch it next time. Not used to crossing state borders that often!

Cheyenne was pretty quiet when I got there, not many people walking around or cars driving around. I wandered around a bit on the motorcycle and found the State Capitol building. Pretty impressive structure for this state.

Wyoming State Capitol Building
Replica of Liberty Bell
Wyoming Cowboy

I then went wandering a bit more and found this interesting looking pub to have lunch in. The interior decor was quite "varied". It was like a tornado had swept up all the various "theme" restaurants, planet hollywood and the like and crammed all the knick-knacks found on those varied places onto the walls in this place!

I saw collections of roadsigns, beer bottles, gas station signs, license plates, cereal boxes, car hoods and tailgates, beer signs and kegs, old toys, posters, pennants, old time photos, hubcaps and who knows what include an oil print of a musketeer in full regalia! Topping it all off were numerous TVs showing basketball games and Nicktoons.

Amidst all this sensory input, I had a burger with bacon and a fried egg and fries along with a pepsi. Good lunch and good service, Sanfords is very much recommended as a interesting stop if you're going through Cheyenne. The place appeared to be popular with local families just out of Church.

After lunch I headed down I-25 to Fort Collins and my original destination, the Horsetooth Reservoir. This time I looked for and spotted the sign welcoming one to Colorado. Though I did not take a pic of it due to distance, you could also see the old wooden sign in the field next to the superslab marking the state border.

The exit to Horsetooth Reservoir was easy to find and I rode on Harmony Road for a bit until I got to the reservoir. It's got a road that goes most of the way around the east, north and south sides of the reservoir. There were still ice packs on the water so no boats, just lots of riders and cagers enjoying the many great views that one sees while riding along the water's edge.

My favorite shot of the day.

I got back on the I-25 superslab at 1500hrs and was home just before 1630, much more traffic at this time but the weather was incredibly warm! Had thoughts about stopping to shed my jacket liner but elected instead to lower the windshield a bit for more air. Cruised on home, no issues and experience only some pain in the knees for what turned out to be about 5 hrs of saddle time. The whole trip was about 304 miles which brings Maria within 50 miles of the 26k mark!

A great ride, I must explore the stuff north of Denver more!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A ride around Denver and my first oil change on a bike

Temps from low 40s to high 40s.

Rode to Morrison using the E-470/C-470 superslab, had breakfast with the ColoradoBeemers club at their regular 0830 time at the Red Rocks Grill. French toast with bacon on the side, mmmmm.

Afterwards I rode off before the rest of the group had finished, and headed to Foothills BMW to ask some questions of the Service dept and to get an oil change kit from their parts dept. Main question had been when was Maria due to have her brakes bled again and when the ABS circuits were due to be bled. I had previously ordered speedbleeder, tubing, special "mini stan" funnel and such to be able to bleed the brakes per a procedure I found on The author had great pics and made it look easy enough for someone like me to tackle this job.

Turns out though that the brakes don't have to be bled till November of this year so I've got plenty of time to hopefully see the process done at a Tech Day locally and decide if I really want to do it. If I let the dealer do it, it'll cost $368 since it's the 12k service that is due next, when Maria reaches 28,000 miles(she's at 25.5k right now)! I am debating whether to go in and have her serviced or do it all myself when this happens. Perhaps I'll wait till she hits 30k. After all, she's out of warranty as of last September. Decisions, Decisions.

I left the dealer and headed North on Wadsworth Blvd till I reach I-70 which I took heading East till it neared the E-470 exit. I exited earlier and took Colfax to Picadilly South and from there to Gun Club Rd and home. So, pretty much a circuit of the Denver Metro area.

Once I got home I changed the oil on Maria after first scrubbing things down a bit with some engine cleaner. The oil change itself was very easy and not very messy. Took her out for a check ride afterwards and made sure there were no leaks. I switched from 10w40 oil to 20w50 oil on the advice of the parts desk person at Foothills BMW. Apparently BMW had put out a bulletin recommending the 20W50 for my bike.

The day was overcast and dreary looking, did not go out riding in the afternoon. I hope it'll be sunny tomorrow.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wild Hogs - Go see it!

I went tonight to see the movie "Wild Hogs" with a buddy. It was a great movie, we found ourselves laughing out loud at some of the antics these guys did.

The movie itself is about four middle-aged guys caught in ruts and using a road trip as a way to work things out, get away from it all and recapture their youth. Along the way they manage to ride through some great scenery, piss off a biker gang, get their asses kicked while standing up to them and help save a town, shy guy meets cute girl, friends bare their souls to each other and begin to get a grip on what really is important to them. Throw in burning tents, poop in a bag, monster bug hits while riding and you've got yourself an amusing way to kill a couple of hours.

Sounds a bit predictable but the movie is quite funny, specially to those of us who ride motorcycles. It pokes fun at the Harley-Davidson stereotypes commonly held out in the world so if you ride a hog, be prepared to laugh at yourself a little.

From a safe riding point of view, these guys pretty much threw away the rules at various points in the film but that's hollywood, where you can get away with doing stupid things on a motorcycle.

One guy kept falling off/crashing his sportster so often its a wonder the dang thing was ridable by the end of the movie.

They sure looked like they had fun though.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A ride to Cheyenne Mountain AFS

Temps in mid-20s to low 30s and Sunny as all get out!

Beautiful, if cold, day today. Took off from the house at 1100 after successful fighting off the urge to buy new gadgets in the form of phones and Internet Tablets. Good decision since the ride cost me just $11 in gas whereas either of the two gadgets I'd been looking at and really not needing was at least $400!

Started off by just reconning the route to work which proved dry and clear. I then headed South on I-25 to Colorado Springs with the initial objective of taking a picture of Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain.

Traffic was medium for the most part and I was able to make good speed to the Springs. Here's a pic of Pikes Peak from a scenic overlook area just off of I-25 Southbound.

After I took the above pic I headed on South until I reached Colorado Springs and the exit to SR115 which is the way to the Cheyenne Mountain Park and Canon City.

As I cruised on SR115, I kept looking around for an exit or pull-off where I could get a good picture of Cheyenne Mountain. Through a stroke of good luck, I happened to pick the one exit which actually led to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex! It's called NORAD Road and it's a winding road which leads you eventually to the actual entrance into the mountain which is now part of the Cheyenne Mountain AFS or Air Force Station.

Yep, for you Stargate SG-1 fans, the entrance pictured in the show is exactly the entrance in real life but with more fencing/barbed wire and some buildings off to the side which they don't show in the program. Before you can get to the parking lot where you can see the actual entrance into the mountain, you must first register and present military ID at an outlying security checkpoint, past which there's no photography permitted so no pics of the entrance to the mountain unfortunately.

Here's a couple of pics from the road leading to the aforementioned security checkpoint. The entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, is located near that flat area, bordered by snow, to the right and above the small bobcat dozer. I was able to ride all the way to the security gate guarding the complex's entrance. Kind of cool, in a way, even though I could not take pics.

I then rode home via SR83 which took me through the NE suburbs of the Springs, then northward through Franktown, Parker, C-470 superslab and home.

The whole ride was about 150 miles and almost 4 hrs of saddle time, good ride though I was starting to feel the cold near the end of it.

Closeup of map below, showing the road I found to the "mountain"

It's supposed to be in the high 50's tomorrow! Hopefully I'll be able to ride some more.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

A short ride with blowing snow at times

Temps in the low to mid 20s, sunny.

We woke to about two inches of snow on the ground with an underlying layer of icy buildup. Not nice, worked from home today and got some snow-throwing/shoveling time in between projects/meetings.

The sun came out as I worked and again did a beautiful job of melting the snow away, by 2pm the culdesac was mostly dry and I had clear paths out of the neighborhood.

I did not get off "work" till 4pm though so it was around 1615hrs that I headed out for a short ride to take a look around. As I cruised out the neighborhood, found my way barred by blowing snow which had caused a light snow covering along my chosen exit road. Turned around and exited the neighborhood by an alternate way, making my way to Himalaya Rd. I crossed this road heading West till I meandered my way through this other neighborhood and got to Smoky Hill Road which I headed SE on.

Once on this road I decided to recon my way to Parker Road for tomorrow's commute ride. The road was pretty good actually, but blowing snow again caused a long patch of "iffyness" as I neared Parker Road. I'll have to remember to wait till I see ice melting in the sun before I head in tomorrow! The patch I traversed was not bad but it did look rather wet and iffy, I slowed way down, pulled in the clutch and activated my four-way flashers by holding down both my turn signal buttons to alert the cager behind me that I was slowing down. Kept it nice and straight and steady and had no issues. Probably would not have had any issue keeping previous speeds but no sense taking chances!

It was pretty windy out during the ride which of course contributed to the incidences of snow blowing across the roads. Hopefully, whatever snow is going to get blown around, ends up in some fixed position overnight and not on the roads!

My hands got cold even though I had the heated grips on High. Stopped once I got to Parker Rd and I put the handgrip covers on the handlebar, my light summer gloves on and all was nice and toasty as I headed home.

The auxiliary brake lights I installed Wednesday appear to work fine, the cagers seem to stop further back than usual from me at stoplights. We'll continue to see tomorrow.