Sunday, January 03, 2010

Riding the snowy eastern plains

Late start for me today, the plan had been to ride over to the Boulder area and see what sights presented themselves. On the way out of my home neighborhood though, I noticed my bicycle speedometer which I've been using to "supplement" the Ural's speedometer was not working.

It was cold, in the upper 20s so the Ural's speedometer was doing its usual "windshield wiper" dance leaving me unable to tell how fast I was going. I thought to continue on but ended up stopping at the Denver Tech Center for troubleshooting of the bicycle speedometer.

Found a broken wire but the dang bike speedometer refused to work once I had it patched up. I turned Natasha around and headed for the Target store near Buckley Rd and Quincy. There I found a new bike speedometer for $11! Cheap!

Bought the new speedometer, got it home and less than 30 minutes later, had it installed and working.

So I headed out once again, tanked up and this time headed east along County Line Rd off of Smoky Hill Rd to check out the weather clouds I'd spotted in that direction.

Pretty soon, I was cruising at 40 mph on dirt county roads. I headed basically east by north and ended up using CR 129 to get to Bennett. I saw where they'd demolished the buildings that had once surrounded the old original grain silo:

Taken during 24JAN09, this is the original silo at Bennett

Today, all that remains is the main silo building itself. I am thinking that too will be demolished soon.

The skies, which had been mostly cloudy up to this point, became heavily overcast and I was soon seeing light snow falling as I got to the town of Strasburg using CO Hwy 36.

Once past Strasburg, I got on CO Hyw 40 and continued heading east for a bit. A few miles before the small town of Deer Trail, I turned south to check out the old racetrack building one can see from I-70. The entrance was blocked so I just continued heading south on dirt county roads as the snow grew increasingly heavier and the winds picked up. It was starting to feel "brisk.

I wandered the county roads and soon found myself looking at fog both to my front and rear so I stopped for these shots:

Fog and snow near Strasburg

I kept heading in a generally west by north direction as allowed by the straight dirt roads which separate the large ranches in the area. Each time I hit a "dead end" sign, I'd change direction; with the eventual goal of making my way back to Bennett.

On one of the county roads, I came upon this small and narrow bridge over a meandering creek. It provided for a nice background don't you think?

Lonely bridge out in the eastern praries

More riding on dirt and some pavement later, I spotted the silos of Bennett and turned in their direction. Pretty soon I was back on CO Hwy 36 which I took westward to the town of Watkins.

I even spotted a lone motorcyclist pulling out of a trailer park but he soon left me behind as he raced westward to the sun. You see, the skies to the west of Bennett were nice and clear and the sun was shining brightly.

I headed south on Watkins Rd from the town of Watkins and soon enough I was at its junction with Quincy Rd. Less than 20 minutes later, I was in my home neighborhoods and the temperatures were in the mid 30s I think. No snow, and sunny; what a difference just a few straight-line miles made in terms of weather!

Natasha did great again, the new bike speedometer works fine as well. She was covered in muddy dirt specks from the riding on the dirt roads, I'll probably wash her tomorrow. About 120 miles of riding on slightly muddy country roads with a bit of snow thrown in for variety.


Chuck Pefley said...

I see gray skies have supplanted yesterday's blue. Looks like you had a good ride East instead of NW. Interesting fix you devised for your windshield wiper cum speedo. Clever!

SonjaM said...

Grey skies are not all bad. The foggy background gives your pictures something eerie.
It never ceases to amaze me how you easily settle your little issues with Natasha. Sometimes I wish my fellow traveler would have just a bite of your talent ;-)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Is my understanding of the problem correct in that you think the cold affects the performance of the speedo? Is it more the cold you think, or the dampness in the air?

I have a very limited understanding of these things... I'm just assuming there is a direct linkage with a cable to a mechanical drive in the instrument.

I know of a number of BMW "R" bike riders who use an electronic bike speedometer to back up wonky speedo's. Some use a GPS. Speaking of which, do you ever get lost on your rides? It seems to me you spemd a lot of time exploring mysterious new roads.

Happy New Year!

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Charlie6 said...

Chuck, thanks for the commentary...a lot of Uralisti have had to resort to this solution so I just followed along....

Sonja...thanks, you really have to be "flexible" and inventive when it comes to riding a Ural....definitely a WWID motorcycle.

Jack, the consensus amongst the Uralisti is that the lubricant inside the speedometer cable becomes congealed in the cold and causing the cable to bind. I should have ridden the Ural yesterday to see since the weather was in the low 40s but had to give the Beemer some exercise.

Sure, I get lost sometimes in the mountains trails but....if you just keep heading down, sooner or later you'll find your long as I can see either the sun or the mountains, I'm usually good to go. Once I find work, I'm going to get one of those SPOT tracking devices to give my loving wife some peace of mind though.

Happy New Year to you all....

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

My job went west as of December 1, too. I am earning small change for doing mop-up articles.

Such is life.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

irondad said...


One is never lost if they don't care where the road goes.


I suddenly thought of a new use for the sidecar. Ride around in the snow until the sidecar fills. Bring it home to make a snowman. People who see sunny skies and bare ground will wonder how you did it!

Charlie6 said...

Jack, yeah....I hope things will be better this year....though the way things are going in DC, I have little hope....., if I fill it up with snow....and bring it back to my snow-filled cul-de-sac....not sure it'll have the same impact as say bringing home one of Jack Riepe's chance encounters on the road who apparently must display their hushpuppies to him.... I am pretty sure there would be impact then...mostly from my wife impacting the side of my helmet with a crowbar. : )

bobskoot said...


I don't envy you with your snow and cold but it does look very nice in photos.
I truly hope that things pick up for you soon (and Jack too). It's hard having to put your life on hold instead of moving forward.
Our industry isn't too hot either. Our sales are way down but so far we are still working. there was talk of going to a 4 day week but then I will have an extra day to ride.
For your speedo cable, could you not get some lubricant made for cold weather and clean all the grease out.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

ps: I can't imagine Martha taking the crowbar to you. 1stly, she is too petite to be able to handle the crowbar, 2ndly, she loves you too much to have you damaged

irondad said...


I don't think you should use the words "speedo" and "snow" in the same comment. In photographic terminology that would leave one over exposed!

Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot, to address your suggestion....tried flushing out the cable housing with 3-in-1 oil, then sprayed in graphite lubricant which is dry stuff...results are mixed at best... I think I'm going to have to take apart the speedo itselt and do some light lubing there also....that'll wait for spring I think...much riding to be done before that.

Irondad.....the way your mind works.....