Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brochure Pictures

My wife calls them "shiny papers", those spiffy glossy brochures one finds at the motorcycle dealer which try to convince you that you need to buy their wares.

While perusing the site which I stumbled upon recently, I found a softcopy of BMW's 2003 Brochure for my motorcycle.

The below picture is so well done, portrays my motorcycle and the rider in such a great way, that I probably would have had serious thoughts of buying a motorcycle had I been at the dealers back in 2003! : )

Coincidentally, I ride with a light gray/silver jacket/black overpants in the summer and I'd like to believe I look at least half as studly as the rider depicted below! Yeah, I know, dream on.....

Overfarkled perhaps?

I saw this post today on the "Bikes in the Fast Lane" website.

I must confess to a penchant for electronic farkles and on again/off again search/lust for gadgets to mount on my BMR shelf on my R1150RT.

The bikes show at the link though, would put my wildest ambitions to shame.

Here's the one I liked best from all the ones at the post, check them all out if you wish.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I am really loving these ATV grip covers!

Temperatures from 20-22 F° during the morning commute into work.
I rode away from home wearing just my winter lined leather gloves thinking for some reason that it was in the 30s. The forecast called for highs in the mid to upper 30s so I guess that's why it stuck in my mind.

It was actually in the very low 20s as I cruised out of the neighborhood, picking my way through the ice patches and snow dustings. The snow dusting was just the result of the high winds we continue to "enjoy" here in the Front Range. The SW portion of Colorado is getting big winds and big snow, blizzard warnings all over that area. Beautiful area but glad I don't live there right now.

So anyways, I realized I'd made a mistake about a third of the way into my commute. The heated grips, on high, were not keeping my fingers warm! Tried to tough it out but about halfway through the commute I pulled off into this parking lot and put the ATV grip covers on along with my summer gloves.

Aaaaahhhh, much better! My fingers started thawing out soon after I started moving again and it no longer felt so cold overall. Nice. Had I been thinking, I would have followed the rule of thumb that if the temperature is below 30, its time for the grip covers.

I got to work feeling nice and toasty except of course for a bit of cold in the toes and face. Oh well. LINK to posting re these grip covers.

Here's the temperatures in the Denver Metro area as I type this:

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Estes Park - Loveland Loop

Temperatures from high 30s to low 60s F°. Sunny and occasionally fierce wind gusts.

Today was to be a long ride day since the weather was so great and the roads were dry. I decided to head up US36 through Boulder and up to Estes Park to check out conditions at the Rocky Mountain Park and then head back towards Denver on CO34 through Loveland.

I left at 0935hrs after breakfast and used the route you see below. I arrived at the city limits of Estes Park just after 1100AM. CO36 is not a bad little motorcycling road once you clear the Denver/Boulder Metro areas. In fact, once it junctions with CO66, its got some nice curves to it as you make your way to Estes Park. I'd forgotten how enjoyable this road can be.

Everyone was out enjoying the nice weather, from the multiple squad cars on US36 giving out performance awards, to pelotons of cyclists really crowding the border of the road and making cagers slow down nervously. No performance awards for me though, cagers had the state trooper's full attention as I went by several speed traps.

The wind gusts in the Estes Park area were quite fierce and strong most of the time I was there. You had to pay attention when doing slow turns!

Once I got to the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, I decided to forego spending the $20 entrance fee after talking with the ranger manning the gate. He reported lots of icy spots on the roads off the main park road.

On the way back from the park entrance, I stopped near the Historic Stanley Hotel and took these pictures:

This is the view guests of the Stanley Hotel enjoy

Historic Stanley Hotel

After tanking up back in Estes Park, I headed out on CO34 or Big Thompson Avenue....named apparently after the Big Thompson river which carves its way through this also wonderfully twisty road with high canyon walls on both sides. This time of year, there's a thick layer of ice over the still flowing river.

On CO34 heading East, Big Thompson River frozen over

Pretty thick ice

Cool Rock Formations on CO34

Ice Fishermen on some frozen lake in Loveland

I twisted my way to the town of Loveland and cruised through the town to pick up the I-25 Super Slab. I headed South on the slab towards Denver making pretty good speed, it was along this stretch of highway that I saw most of the motorcycles I was to see today. Mostly Harleys from what I could tell, the fact there's a big dealer in this area probably contributed to the numbers of Hogs I saw.

I pretty much reversed the route I took outbound on the way back home. By the time I neared Denver, the weather was in the high 50s low 60s and I was starting to feel a bit warm with all the riding gear I had on. Not uncomfortably warm, mind you, and definitely not warm enough to stop and shed layers.

I got home after about 215 miles of riding and perhaps 5 hours in the saddle. I was a bit tired from battling the windy conditions most of the day but it was an enjoyable ride nonetheless.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Me, and my Shadow.....

Nope, this is not about my first motorcycle, a 2006 Honda Shadow Aero. Nice motorcycle.

Temps from high 20s to mid 30s during morning ride, mid 40s during the afternoon ride.

Today's riding was broken up into two rides by planned maintenance on my loving wife's minivan. She and I bled the brakes, I replaced the stock bleeder valves with speedbleeders (gotta love 'em) and after lunch my wife went to the movies. Once she returned, the afternoon ride was on.

The theme for the morning and afternoon rides was to try and capture my shadow as I rode along on the motorcycle. I had to find pretty straight roads with no traffic where I could lock the throttle using my Kaoko cruise control so I could raise my camera and shoot my shadow!

It's not as dangerous as it sounds but its nothing to make a habit of doing either! Be careful if you go out and try this.

Here's the best one of the lot from the morning ride:

Heading West on Quincy Road

That's the Front Range Mountains, on Quincy Road

During the afternoon ride, I rode longer than my morning ride which really had been a short ride to shoot my morning shadows and then get brake fluid from the auto parts store for the minivan.

Here's the route I took, the stuff in the upper third was the morning riding:

Pretty much involved going South via backroads to Parker, then Franktown. Then I headed West on CO86 towards Castle Rock, and continued through that town, onto Wolfenberger Road which is still CO86 until it intersects with CO105. Wolfenberger Road has a few nice curves to it and I made the most of them.

I took CO105 North until it junctions with CO67 which I then took towards the town of Sedalia which lies at the junction of CO67 and US85. I then took US85 South back towards Castle Rock and it was on this road that I took this shot of my shadow.

I like the way the GS mirror shows the view to the rear

The rest of the ride was uneventful, I took Founders Parkway to Crowfoot Parkway back to Parker, went through Parker to Lincoln which I took East towards Inspiration Drive and soon back to Smoky Hill Road and home.

A nice pair of rides, almost 107 miles and the weather was beautiful. I did not even need my electric vest, and kept the grips on at the low setting for whole day.

Just an observation: I saw 35 other riders out there enjoying the nice riding weather, 12 had helmets of some type on. Yep, sadly less than 33% were riding with a helmet. You'd think in colder weather they'd be more motivated but apparently just covering your head with balaclavas, knit caps and sun glasses is enough. Quite amusing actually to watch them go by wearing all that instead of a simple helmet. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I need to replace my tires again!

Not having the best of luck in terms of the rear tire on my motorcycle.

The first flat I've ever had, was in the rear tire, replaced almost 11,000 miles ago. LINK

Today, I closely examined my rear tire since once again I found it at very low pressure after commuting home. The rear of the motorcycle had felt a little squirrely on the way home. I did not find anything the first go around, went and got a more powerful flashlight and spotted it:

At first it looked like an embedded rock but further examination showed it to be metallic, like a nail head. Dammit.

My front tire had been nearing its TWI: Tire Wear Indicator and I'd been closely watching it to schedule its replacement. Well, now that I have to replace the rear tire again, might as well get the front tire done at the same time!

The tire was not flat, it was just a slow leak. I had pumped it up to 42 PSI after I discovered the leak and not even two hours later, it had lost 7 lbs of pressure! Not good.

I took this as an opportunity to practice again with my tire plugger repair kit so that the tire would hold pressure safely enough to get me to the dealer to get new tires. Hopefully tomorrow if they have them in stock!

The whole repair took me about 45 minutes, 20 of which was struggling to pull out what I thought was a nail! Much cursing later, it finally came out, here it is next to the vise grips I used to finally pull it out:

Not a nail but some kind of fastener I think

I then cleaned out the hole left behind with the reamer tool included with the tire plugger repair kit:

Reaming the hole and getting it the right size for the plugger tool took up most of the remaining 25 minutes that this repair entailed. A bit of a pain but otherwise no big deal.

Here's how it looks with the plug in place, after I re-inflated the tire:

Tire plug before being trimmed off with included razor blade in repair kit

All done

Hopefully, this repair will hold pressure since I want to ride the motorcycle to the dealer/mechanic to get it fixed while I wait.

The instruction kit said not to exceed 1000 miles or 50mph until I get the tire repaired/replaced. I was advised today by Mike O, whom I consider a motorcycling mentor, that its not worth one's safety to get "a few more miles out of an old tire". Great advice, and something I post here for others to read and learn from hopefully. Thanks Mike!

I got almost 11k out of the rear tire before getting that stupid nail in it. I got a bit over 18k out of the front tire! I really like the long life I get out of the Metzeler 880 Marathon Tires. Now if only I can avoid picking up nails with the rear tire in the future!

Update: 23JAN08: Maria has new shoes @ 48,622 miles. If I'd been able to mount and balance them myself, I would have saved $112 after taxes. It might be worth it to look into getting a tire balancer and some tire irons!

Coldest Commute for me so far....

Temps from 1-34 F°. Sunny.

This is what the Denver Metro Area temperatures were being reported as at 0806am today. I left for work, via the King Canute Path to S. Ireland Street and used that street to get out of the neighborhood.

I had reconn'ed the path before heading out on the motorcycle and spotted several icy patches on the sidewalk path before S. Ireland Street. To the paranoid guy in me, it sure looked like some lowlife had purposedly poured water on the sidewalk to create the ice patches. The drop pattern did not fit with splashback from the street nor as melting from the snow on the side of the path. Bastards.

No problem, it just added to the anxiety level a bit. I spread some sand and some melting agent crystals on the patches and my motorcycle rode over them just fine.

Once out of the neighborhood, the streets were pretty much bone dry, I avoided the portions that even looked "moist" just in case though. The lowest temperature that I noticed on my onboard thermometer display was 8.1 F°. So, it's a new low for me in terms of riding temperature.

I stayed on main roads on the way to work instead of the usual sideroads since I could not count on a couple of them to be completely ice free. So I was not able to see the thermometer reading from the doctor's office I pass by on my regular commute route to compare against my onboard thermometer which tends to report higher than actual temperatures usually.

The heated vest and grips along with my ATV Grip covers kept me warm and the only real issue was the total inability to ride with the helmet visor in the closed position. Had to keep it slightly cracked open while moving and mostly open when stopped at lights otherwise it was fogging up! Rather disturbing since I had the Fog City shield on but apparently it's not much good below say 20 degrees F°.

It was pretty cold, I could see my breath swirling around INSIDE the helmet! I must have looked like a chimney the way my breath came out with the visor flipped up!

It's 34 F° now as I type this, the commute home will be no big deal, damn near a heat wave now!

Yeah, I know there's riders out there riding in much colder temperatures, it was a new low for me, that's all. For instance, this guy is doing riding in -50 degree temperatures! Now, that's Hard Core. Of course, he's doing it with a sidecar rig but still, damn! LINK

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Ride on the Eastern Plains near Denver

Temperatures ranging from mid-30s to low-40s F°, sunny.

I had to wait till 10AM before some small evidence of melting was occuring before I ventured out for my ride today. No sense going out while it was still icy since still snow/ice on the neighborhood streets in spite of the King Canute Path work I'd done yesterday.

I made it out of the neighborhood without incident, traversing snow/ice is ok so long as one is going slow and straight, with no need to stop. I had plenty of cleared/dry spots along the path to enable to me stop safely of course.

I headed out East towards Elizabeth and Kiowa, the main roads were dry and my heated gear kept me warm as I cruised a bit over the speed limit heading East on CO86 on the eastern plains towards the city of Limon. I pretty much had the road to myself, there were perhaps 5-6 other vehicles out there with me. Weather was pretty good, a bit cool but not bad since the sun was out.

As I neared the railroad tracks one crosses shortly before the junction of CO86 and I-70, I spotted this metal sculpture/silhouette of an indian warrior on a horse, thought it'd make a suitable backdrop for Maria:

CO 86

Once I got to where CO86 and I-70 junction, I stopped briefly to check the air pressure on my rear tire since my pre-ride check had found it at 7.5 PSI! Not sure how that happened since I tend to check the air on a weekly basis at least. I was worried about another small leak but it was holding pressure just fine.

I continued on, heading West on I-70, making my way past the little town of Agate, Deer Trail and finally exiting at Strasburg intending to look at the small stone monument that's there. The monument marks, according to the locals and, the REAL place where East met West in terms of the trans-continental railroads being built back in 1869-70.

I could not find the monument, I believe it was in the town's museum which was closed. So I settled for this picture at the town limits announcing their claim to fame:

After Strasburg, I headed West on CO36, through the small towns of Bennett and Watkins. I continued West on CO36 since I knew it became Colfax Avenue once it was part of the Denver Metro area.

CO36 kind of merges onto I-70 shortly after Watkins and I took the frontage road for a tiny bit until I came to Powhaton Road. I took this road South since it seemed to be heading in the general direction of home. The powerlines which lined this roughly paved road made for an interesting shot:

Powhaton dumps you onto East Jewell Avenue and from there I got onto Gun Club Road heading South once more. The rest of the ride was routine, since I use Gun Club Road to commute on for work.

Not too bad a ride, almost 150 miles of riding and about 4 hours of saddle time. Much melting had occurred in my neighborhood while I was out riding and I was able to use the neighborhood streets to get to my house with minimal traversing of ice/snow.

Too bad we've got another Artic front blasting its way through here tomorrow....all the wet roads should freeze up quite nicely.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Trust but Verify

Today I relearned the meaning of the phrase "Trust but Verify" which was attributed to "the great communicator", President Ronald Reagan when he spoke about arms control with the then "evil empire" aka the Soviet Union.

I'd been riding around for quite a while thinking that the tail light on my R1150RT seemed a bit dim, even at night. It was lit every time I checked so I just wrote it off to cheapness on BMW's part in terms of what wattage bulb to put in the tail light socket.

I was researching whether "brighter" tail lights existed for my motorcycle and on one of the sights I kept seeing a mention for: "Check your owner's manual for correct replacement information". A light went off in my head, pun intended, and I went to retrieve my motorcycle's manual.

Lo and behold, when the bulb had been replaced by me, it had been replaced by a 5 Watt bulb! The manual stated it should be a 10 Watt bulb! The dealer had given me the wrong one and I had trusted them to get it right instead of verifying it!

A quick call to the dealer confirmed all this, they swapped them out for me no problem. I had originally bought two 5 Watt bulbs, one to replace the burned out one and the other as a spare. So they gave me two 10 Watt bulbs, the right ones this time and their apologies. I like this dealer, I just have to do more verification to eliminate human error I guess.

See below pics, it's hard to tell but I see a difference in brightness between the top picture (sorry for the bluriness) with the 5Watt bulb and the bottom picture with the 10Watt bulb.

5 Watt Tail Light

10 Watt Tail Light

I feel a little more visible and thereby a little more safer now. Trust, but verify!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A short and chilly ride.

Temps from 16-21 F°, sunny with a few clouds.

Today I woke to temperatures in the low teens during my normal commute hours and less than an inch of blowing snow on the ground. I decided to work from home and see how the day would develop in terms of riding.

After lunch, the sun finally came out in force after a morning of solid overcast and rather cold temperatures. Still, no melting was evident. However, it was so cold that no new ice had formed and the winds and blown clear most of the path out of the neighborhood that I'd not cleared already with a broom/shovel.

I left for what turned out to be a brisk 40 minute ride, covering perhaps 20 miles of riding in the general vecinity of my neighborhood. Just a little stretch of the legs for Maria and a bit of a sanity enhancer for me. I really hate the days when I can't ride, even if its just the regular commute to and from work. I ride every day if I can, but when temps are freezing or below, the roads must be dry!

You can see the route I took, kind of like a bowtie, with its center being my neighborhood. Halfway through the ride I had to stop, put on the grip covers and my summer gloves since my winter gloves just weren't cutting it in the sub 20 temperatures. All was nice and toasty after that, though by the end of the ride, was starting to feel the cold in my toes. Not too bad but since I'd not worn my warm winter socks, I got what I deserved in terms of tingling.

I was tempted to ride on to the datacenter in the DTC where I sometimes work but then saw some pretty serious clouds breaking over the Front Range, decided to go home instead. Not to mention, I'd taken off my highly scratched up Fog City Fogshield last night in preparation for replacing it. All the riding I did was without a fogshield and I got to tell you, it makes a difference. I was fogging up the visor no matter if moving or standing still at a light. I had to crack the visor open so many times my face was starting to hurt from the cold.

You can be sure I put the replacement fog shield on after I got back! I just have to remember to never ever touch it, even with the softest microfiber cloths since it'll scratch!

Update: 17JAN08. Well, the Fog City Fogshield works fine, now its my glasses that fog up when riding in sub-20 degree temperatures like I did today when commuting from work to home. Not sure why but I had no fogging issues in the morning when temps were ranging from 10-14 degrees (a new low for me), but I did get fogging on my glasses with temps around 26 degrees while riding home. I've applied some "Fog Off" on my prescription glasses tonight, we'll see how they fog up or not tomorrow.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Ride to Red Rocks and checking out conditions in Deer Creek Canyon

Temps from mid to upper 30s F°, sunny and breezy.

A slightly brisk but great day for a Winter ride here in Colorado. The recent snow is gone from the major roads and as I'll describe later, avoidable in the lesser traveled roads in the foothills of the Front Range.

The first task of the morning was to change the oil, at 48,098 miles, it had been over 6000 miles since the last oil change.

I put everything back together and then my first stop was the Red Rocks Amphitheater that the City of Denver uses for multiple venues/shows throughout the year. It's located on the West side of the metro area, near the town of Morrison. I used the C470 slab to quickly get there, it was brisk at 1030 hrs when I left home so the heated vest was on as well as the heated grips!

From Morrison, I entered the Red Rocks Amphitheater area through its East Entrance. You wind your way up a small hill and are presented with this view of the facilities as you approach the venue and it's buildings:

Looking West at the Amphitheather nestled in the massive rocks

Here's a shot of a snow-dappled rock formation that was located South of Maria in the above picture. There really was not much snow remaining on the rocks, just in the parking lots.

Kind of looks like frosting, doesn't it?

As I wandered about looking for suitable backgrounds for pictures, I spotted this elevated walkway which apparently takes one up the rock it clings to for closer views. I chose not to walk up but instead got this shot of the structure itself which I thought interesting in terms of angles:

Elevated Walkway

The final shot of the area was of a large rock formation called ShipRock, apparently it looks like a ship from a different angle. I chose a different view of it though for this picture:

Ship Rock

I left the amphitheater area soon after I took the above shot. I exited South onto Bear Creek Road which I winded my way up through Idledale and Kittredge where I took the turnoff South towards Parmalee Gulch. The mountain roads were pretty clear but sandy/gravelly from the recent snow control efforts. I spotted, slowed and rode within five feet of a small deer as I headed South from Kittredge. It did not seem to afraid of me, it'll probably not last long if it does not watch out for cars!

I got through to the small town of Indian Hills with no incidents. It dumps you eventually on US285 which I took into Denver. As I cruised southwards on C470 once again, I decided to check out the road conditions on my favorite winding road: Deer Creek Canyon. So I exited off of Wadsworth Blvd and started making my way through after a brief stuff for a lunch of trail mix. I watched the prairie dog colony off the side of the road where I'd stopped to rest, the lone guard never did raise more than his head out of his hole, watching me eat.

I made it all the way to Fenders on Deer Creek Canyon road. The road conditions were better than the last time I'd tried it but only marginally where the sun was blocked from shining on the pavement. There I had to negotiate the ice pack by staying in the clear ruts left by cars. Needless to say, I slowed way down and there was no "spirited" negotiation of the winding curves. So, besides the icy patches in the shadowed areas, the road was pretty clear though again sandy. Caution is recommended during this time of year when negotiating Colorado's mountain roads.

I soon ended up on South Turkey Creek Road which I took back to US285 again. I'd had enough of iffy roads by now so I stayed on US285 and headed again back to the Denver area. Took C470 to E470 and home, managed to stay warm most of the day thanks to the vest and the heated grips. About 126 miles of riding, perhaps close to 4 hours of saddle time. Good ride.

Sorry, no pictures of conditions on Deer Creek Canyon Road, the sides of the roads were mostly solid ice or snow, no safe places to stop really.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nominations open for 2008 MBI Riders Choice Awards

Click the above to go to the MBI Awards Site

Ok, first, this is not related to the previous posting about the "Bloggies" nominations.

The MBI or Motorcycle Bloggers International is a group of bloggers I belong to who share a common interest in motorcycling-related matters. They sponsor an annual Awards process which several categories relating to motorcycling, you the reader gets to nominate and later on vote on these award candidates.

So, please take a look at the categories, nominate if you feel strongly about a category and sign up for a reminder for when the voting begins! The awards are actually being watched or starting to be watched by lots of folks in the motorcycling industry so its a chance to have your voice heard.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Telecommuting from O'Malley's Steak Pub/Grill

Temps from high 40s to low 50s F°, heavy overcast skies.

I left for the Denver Tech Center (DTC) to one of the two datacenters I split my time working at. Things were quiet and I was done with my business there by 1130. One of the guys at work mentioned O'Malley's Pub in Palmer Lake as a possible location for lunch and since it involved riding, I was of course in!

I took the I-25 Super Slab out of the DTC as the noon traffic rush filled it up but I soon left the Denver Metro area behind me as I sped south on the slab, the traffic thinning the further I got from Denver's southern suburbs.

Soon I was at the exit for the town of Palmer Lake, road conditions were pretty good, some ice/slush/snow in the center of the lanes here and there but not bad at all. There were wet spots on the roads and with the overcast skies, they looked more intimidating than they probably were. Still, I took curves and turns nice and easy whenever I the road looked wet and I could not ride around such spots.

I got to O'Malley's with no incidents, ordered out a cheeseburger and fries and broke out my laptop from its backpack carrier. O'Malley's has a free wifi access point and soon I was on the Net and logged back into work. I ate my lunch while catching up on emails and such, then did some light surfing and returned some phone calls I'd gotten while on the motorcycle.

O'Malley's, a popular biker hangout on weekends

It was past 1330 by the time I was caught up with work and done with lunch. I paid my bill and left going north out of town towards Larkspur. There's some pretty scenery on the way to Larkspur, here's some examples from today's ride:

Spruce Mountain Road, looking North towards Larkspur

Spruce Mountain Road, looking South towards Palmer Lake

Small Hills south of Larkspur near the I-25 Slab

I rode on Spruce Mountain Road, and went through the small town of Larkspur where it ends and junctions with the I-25 Slab. I took the slab northbound and got off at the Founders Parkway exit at Castlerock, this is also known as CO86 which I headed East on until I got to the town of Franktown and CO83.

I took CO83, aka Parker Road at this point, and was soon in the city of Parker. I spotted the below scenery while negotiating the heavy city traffic and u-turned at a light to pose Maria with the Front Range in the background. The overcast skies had cleared over the mountains and the sun was hitting them just right, don't you think?

I then resumed my way north on CO83 until I got to Arapahoe County Road 42 or better known as Arapahoe Road which I took East and soon home after gassing up. About 100 miles of riding today, it was much warmer temperature-wise than yesterday but the lack of sun cast a gloom to things I think. Oh well, riding is riding!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Get your nominations in for the Eighth Annual Weblog Awards

Sorry for the short notice but I just found the announcement today about the nomination process for the Eighth Annual Weblog Awards finishing soon, at 10PM EST on 11Jan2008!

You can submit your nominations for up to three weblogs or blogs you feel are the best representatives on each of the categories. The full details are at the linked site but here's an excerpt:

  • A "weblog" is defined as a page with dated entries.
  • The contest is open to any weblogs that existed for a period of time during the year 2007, so weblogs that were discontinued during 2007 are also eligible.
  • Only one nomination form and one finalist voting form may be submitted per person.
  • E-mail addresses are required to vote. You must use your own address and confirm the validation e-mail.
  • If you attempt to submit a second ballot, your first one will be replaced.
  • In the nomination phase:
    • URLs are required.
    • The maximum number of weblogs you may nominate for a category is three (3) for most categories and four (4) for Weblog of the Year.
    • At least three (3) different weblogs total must be nominated.
    • There is no limit to the number of categories a weblog may be nominated for.
    • Nominees have to fit the category they are placed in.
  • Weblogs may win a category over multiple years a maximum of three times.
If you feel my blog merits nomination in one of the many categories, I'd appreciate your nominating me and your vote if I get enough nominations of course. Thanks in advance.

LINK to the "Bloggies" website.

First Ride for 2008

Temps from 39-48 F°, sunny, balmy.

I managed to clear the King Canute Escape Path out just before lunch so after a quick meal I headed out on my Maria for our first ride of the new year. The temperature had really soared from the morning low of 4 degrees and I worked up a sweat clearing the final portions that remained snowpacked.

I got out with no issues and followed the route below to stretch Maria's legs since she'd not been out since before Christmas! The weather was perfect, not cold at all and I was well on the way to achieving the serenity that comes with riding a motorcycle.

Maria got a small chance to "kick up her heels" as I opened her up to 80 mph along the I-25 Super Slab as we got on from Castlerock and headed North towards the E-470 exit to head for home. : )

I mentioned the serenity I get at times when I am riding my motorcycle, even when just commuting, it helps to relax me most times from the stresses of the day. This first ride of the year was overdue for me, I'd been trying to get out of my snow-packed neighborhood since before the new year!

So it was fitting that I spotted this housing development sign that matched the serenity I seek.

"Serenity Now!"

I hit a tiny spot of ice along the King Canute Path on the way into the neighborhood and felt the rear wheel slide just a tiny bit. Got my attention! It drove whatever thoughts had been dancing in my head about trying to ride in on the remaining snow pack instead of using the path! A little more ice clearing is due this afternoon!

So, about 55 miles of riding, about one hour and 20 minutes including picture taking above. I feel much better now. It's too bad I could not ride on New Years Day but there will be others.

2008 Mileage Start

Saw someone else do this on their motorcycling blog, thought it was a good way to record mileage stats.

Starting 2008 with 47,863 miles on Maria's odometer. She had 19,437 miles on her odometer when I bought her back on October 7, 2006 so we've managed to rack up a few miles together since then.

I didn't think of doing this at the start of 2007, I was preoccupied with finding ways out of my snowpacked neighborhood at the time! It was 38 days without riding this time last year....the horror!

I hope to get out tomorrow since we've warming temps for the rest of the week, maybe even a short ride this afternoon if it really soars to 41 degrees as predicted.

A Belated Happy New Year Greeting

Temps from 4-41 degrees forecasted for today and sunny.

I went skiing with some college friends of mine from the 26th-30th of December in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The skiing was pretty good though my friends from northern Virginia who like the resort said it was the coldest and most crowded they'd ever seen it. Figures!

Steamboat Springs, CO

The view from our condo

An interesting area to ride in around Steamboat Springs, I'll have to ride up with my motorcycle in the latter part of Spring to see what it looks like without snow on the roads!

Denver went through a blizzard that did not taper off till Christmas Day and while I did my best to clear the King Canute Escape Path, more snow fell and hardened to ice on it while I was gone skiing. My loving wife, who does not share my insanity, did not get the snow blower out to keep the patch cleared. Can't say I blame her.

Got home just in time as most of the passes we traversed on the way back to Denver closed shortly after we went through. Here's a couple of pics of what it looked like on the way back:

On US40 somewhere East of Rabbit Ears Pass, West of Granby, CO

One of many "whiteouts" moments we drove through

Passing scenery

So I came home to thick, hardened snow/ice on the key points of the path that withstood my efforts to clear it for this morning. I think I could have made it out but it was 50/50. Since the temps are supposed to climb into the 40s today and remain that way to the weekend, I elected to drive the cage in and hopefully leave early to get some clearing work in.

Happy New Year wishes to those of you who frequent this blog.