Saturday, January 16, 2010

Seeking snow with fellow Uralisti

Today I had the pleasure to meet three other Ural owners and their lovely wives. We had corresponded via email over the last couple of weeks and had picked today to try and find some snow to see how our rigs would do. This was to be sort of a practice run to not only try some snow riding but if someone got stuck, to practice freeing the rig.

You see, the plan is to take the rigs to Grant, CO on Valentine's Day and participate in the Elephant Ride I'd mentioned in the previous posting. The meeting place was O'Brien's Cafe in Sedalia, located on US85 and CO67. Everyone arrived around 10AM and before we went in for breakfast we got this shot:

Over coffee and breakfast, I got to know my fellow Uralisti a little. They'd all ridden together before it seems and all seemed eager to go find some snow. More on each couple in a moment.

We left O'Brien's and headed west on CO67, heading towards Oak Valley Road just before Jarre Canyon. We were going to search for snow on Bee Rock Rd and I wanted to show them Bee Rock itself. Quite the novel experience for me, riding along with three other Urals behind me!

Here we are at Bee Rock

Deana and Jay

Deana and Jay with their '07 Patrol, Jay works with a mapping company which provides data for GPS manufacturers such as TomTom while Deana works in IT support for a different company. They bought their Ural from Unique Rides in Fort Collins, CO. Jay's first ride on a sidecar rig was the day he picked up his Patrol from the dealer! He's undergone the ABATE sidecar training course since then though and it showed in the way he and Deana handled the rig on the curves.

Cookie and John

Cookie and John, aka Spat, ride this white '08 Patrol. John had previous experience riding sidecar rigs before he got his own. In fact, both he and Cookie are qualified riders of the rig and swap out driving duties during the longer rides. John is a service tech with a telecom company and Cookie manages accounts payable for a different company.

Julie and Craig
photo courtesy of Deana and Jay

Julie and Craig ride a '07 Arctic GearUP Ural, nice color scheme I must say. Like Jay, his first ride was with Julie when they picked up their Ural from the dealer in Washington state and drove it over a period of two weeks back home to Colorado! Now that's definitely one way to get to know your new machine! Craig works for Lafarge Concrete as a driver and Julie is a Senior Electrical Designer for MKK Consulting Engineers. She was, in fact, the one who came up with the idea of using Unistrut for mounting the ammo cans on the front of their rig. It looks good and beats drilling holes on the nose of the rig!

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
you can just see me on the left, shooting the above video as they rode towards me 

After the dissappointing amount of snow we found on Bee Rock Rd, I suggested we try Rampart Range Rd which was just a few miles further west on CO67.

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
 Entering Jarre Canyon on CO67, heading towards Rampart Range Rd

We got there with no issue only to find the road was closed! Dang, strike one. We mulled things over in the parking lot and decided to try Dakan Road since John aka Spat said it went into the hills and met up with Rampart Range Rd.

courtesy of Julie and Craig
 Checking the map at the Rampart Range Rd parking lot, yeah, that's snow

 video courtesy of Deana and Jay
Negotiating a hair pin turn on Jarry Canyon Road

So we retraced our route back towards Sedalia, turning onto CO105 which is just before the town. Several miles later, we turned west onto Dakan Rd with John and Cookie in the lead rig. Soon after we ran out of pavement though, we were stopped by yet another gate, the road into the hills was closed for the winter! Strike 2!

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
 At the farthest point open on Dakan Road

 So we mulled things over again, trying to figure out options. I happened to mention that Perry Park and its rock formations were close by and since no one in the group but me had been there, that's where we headed to next. I was hoping for snow where I'd been forced to turn back before, but at the very least, we'd have nice rock formations to admire.

We got back onto CO105 heading south and about ten minutes later were turning west onto Red Road Rd. We went past the housing subdivision, past the Perry Park Country Club and turned onto Wauconda Drive, past the houses nestled amongst the rocky ridge formations and turned left on Country Club Drive where the undeveloped portion of the subdivision exists. The road turns to dirt here and we set off for some exploration and snow seeking.

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
 Approaching Camel Rock at Perry Park

Camel Rock

We briefly chatted with the man in the light blue jacket who walking his dog while we parked in front of Camel Rock above. He told us there might be snow further on up ahead but to make sure not to intrude on a local farmer's land as he could get quite upset.

Third time was a charm and we found some snow, not very deep but very slick in spots due to it combining with mud. We went past several of the large rock formations in Perry Park and soon were at the point where before I had always had to turn back when on two wheels. Not this time though! I was in the lead and managed to cross a deeply rutted section of road, almost getting stuck a couple of times on mud.

video courtesy of Deana and Jay
Here you can see how I almost got stuck the first time we dealt with the big ruts in the trail, gotta love that 2WD on Natasha!

John made it look easy! He didn't even spin his pusher tire as I did.

Then Craig and Julie crossed handily and here you can see Deana and Jay as they successfully negotiated the first major obstacle:

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
  I've always wondered how I look from the back, now I know....the hikers that we passed must have been quite amused at our antics!

Turning around, we came back via a different trail back to the first major obstacle. We had some discussions but in the end we all negotiated it just fine with no issues. Here's Craig and Julie taking the "harder" route instead of the easier route the rest of us took:

The harder way
the easier way

Here's a video of John and Cookie as they negotiated the deeply rutted trail
video courtesy of Craig

We went through every trail we could find, the snow was there but not very deep at all. However the amounts of slippery Colorado mud we found almost everywhere made up for it in terms of practicing on iffy traction conditions!

Of the group, only myself and the Patrol ridden by Jay and Deana got stuck on deep ruts. I really thumped something on the underside of the sidecar but I could not find any damage. The three men and myself on the rig got Natasha out of the rut she was hung up on easily enough.

photo courtesy of Spat and Cookie
 yep, stuck with the pusher tire in the rut

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
 Natasha after we freed her from the rut, man I was glad the guys were there to help get her unstuck!

After we got Natasha freed, both John and Craig rode their rigs across the rut that trapped me at different points and made it through just fine, here's Craig and Julie showing how it's done:

Craig and Julie

 Deana and Jay had minor issues with the rut that trapped me, but John was able to push them out singlehandedly

One long muddy trail led us to a nicely scenic location where we took the following group shots, getting to the spot was only mildly challenging so long as you maintained momentum!

Julie and Craig, uraling down a very muddy but just slightly rutted trail

Here's Deana and Jay getting mud on their shiny Patrol

A nice couple of rock formations for background

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
Check out the rich colors on the rocks, we were there at the right time of the day for it

Making our way out of Perry Park, I elected to try the "new" road that was being built as a secondary way into Perry Park. It was nice and flat though a bit muddy in spots. We road in a line formation, with some space in between each rig as the rigs were throwing up clods of mud as we shed the stuff that'd collected while on the muddier trails.

photo courtesy of Deana and Jay
Leaving Perry Park on the "under construction" road

The dirt road eventually dumped us on Dakan Road and from there we got back onto CO105, this time heading north towards Sedalia. It was past 3:30Pm by the time we got to the gas station in Sedalia. We talked for a bit, took some more pictures and agreed we'd try and do this again if it snowed between now and Valentine's Day. I believe we're all planning on riding on the Elephant Ride on Valentine's Day, it should be quite the fun day.

courtesy of Julie and Craig
 Back in Sedalia at the end of the ride....four rigs went out, four rigs came back, its all good

It was great to see and hear other Urals and their riders, those newer machines are nice and quiet and their riders seemed quite happy with their machines.

Here's a link to more pictures of John and Cookie's Rig:  LINK

Here's a link to Deana and Jay's photos for today:  LINK

Here's a link to Julie and Craig's photos for today: LINK

28JAN10 Update: Youtube video from Craig, using the photos shot that day.


Chris Luhman said...

Looks like you guys had a fun day. If you ride east a few hours, there is a lot of snow. :)

I nearly got stuck riding in 4-6" snow on frozen lakes. What are some tricks to getting unstuck you've learned besides not getting stuck in the first place?

Charlie6 said...


well, we only got two rigs stuck...both times just pushing got them unstuck...gotta watch them ruts, you can't tell how deep the snow is in them until its too late....

the guys did mention something called a rope puller or "come along"...sort of a winch that uses a rope, must research it more as I think it would have helped had I been alone and gotten stuck as I did.

So, you've been on top of frozen lakes?

Chris Luhman said...

I rode on a frozen lake today. I saw trucks out there ice fishing and a four wheeler, so I just drove down the boat launch and out onto the lake. They all looked confused.

It's been -10 to 20F for the past month, so the ice is thick. It was lots of fun. Should have a pic or two in my next blog post. See my flickr page if you can't wait. :)

This link has some good ice safety info.

Chuck Pefley said...

Nope, never been on top of frozen lakes. Are you going to show us how it's done?

That looks like an absolute blast you people had! I had no idea the Ural was so competent at this kind of riding!!

Mike said...

Here's an inexpensive come along if you have a Harbor Freight near you.

These are handy to have for moving heavy objects.
Really nice ride report Dom! The pictures and video are great. Looking forward to the Valentines Day ride.

Gary France said...

How cool is that? You meet up with like minded bikers and go off in search of snow! This really shows how keen you guys are. As you said, you must have looked quite odd to the people who saw you.

This has to be one of the stranger ride reports I've read, but also one of the most enjoyable. Keep up the good work (or should I say play).


Moto Italy said...

Classic motorcycle is so beautiful !!

Arizona Harley Dude said...

If there were 7 of you folks out there in the snow on bikes, does that make you normal?

That looked like a ton of fun and having those extra hands to help if getting stuck would have made it even better. I noticed when John's pusher tire didn't spin he had a tad more weight holding it on the ground then you did. When I saw your pusher spinning I thought about the new weld job on the axel.

What type/brand of gloves are you wearing out into those conditions? I really enjoied the post. Thanks.

Charlie6 said...

Chris, its not that cold here so no frozen lakes with vehicles on top of them that I've would be "cool" to do that, looking forward to your pics.

Chuck, back in the day, these machines were made to roll with the their respective armies, in bad terrain and serviced by soldiers under field conditions....thanks for visiting.

Mike, thanks for the link, am doing research now....I need the rope comealong though for unlimited length...I think. The rope is pricy stuff. Thanks for visiting and writing.

Gary, thanks for visiting and commenting....yeah, we were an unusual sight, but why be like everyone else right? : )

Moto Italy, Grazie Mille!

AZ Harley Dude,

What is normal? It's all about which side of the fence on is standing on I think.

John was running same pusher as I, the Duro tire. Maybe he had more weight on his rig than mine? The "improved" driveshaft for the sidecar did great, damn thing is so strong I predict all else around it will break before it does! As to gloves, it actually got hot while we were out there riding, almost 60 degrees! I use thinsulate lined deer skin gloves for cold weather, with ATV grips to keep the wind off plus heated grips. Yesterday, I switched to Olympia leather gloves with no liner it was so warm! Thanks for writing in and commenting.

Spat said...

John here, there is a bigger difference than what appears. The differential on the newer models is a selectable 2WD which is a positive lock 2wd. Domingo's is a full time 2WD with slip differential. Both have their advantages and disadvantages on and off road.
One of the best rides I’ve had in awhile.

Richard Machida said...

That was a great ride report. Looks like a lot of fun. I was wondering if the newer rigs had selectable 2WD and no differential. That seems to help in the slippery stuff. Is it necessary to constantly shift in and out of 2WD since there is no differential? Just wondering...

Charlie6 said...

Spat, thanks for writing in with the explanation.

Richard, yes, you have to manually engage it when your pusher tire starts slipping or when you're going into an iffy situation and you're aimed in the right direction already....

Spat said...

Aimed in the right direction leads to one of the disadvantages. When the selctable 2WD is engaged these rigs don't turn well.

Chris Luhman said...

I'd also add that it is a disadvantage to stop and engage 2WD. I've read you can get a bigger lever and learn to do it while moving. (

Charlie6 said...


you sure about being able to engage the 2WD "while moving"? I seem to recall reading somewhere in the forums that this is not a good idea....I could be mistaken. Perhaps Spat will chime in on this one.

Chris Luhman said...


The manual says in huge letters not to do it, but that Hubert guy from says he does it all the time. Apparently, there is a technique to doing it right. I'd like to practice on someone else's bike though ;)

Spat said...

At a dead stand still in is harder that getting water in Haiti. However if you are rolling it slides in and out with ease and no gear clash. At what speed is too fast, don't know, I'm usually 2-5mph. I get a little wiggy about putting my hand down by the rear wheel while rolling, so advantage to Dom for FT2WD. There is a company out there that makes a tank shifter for reverse and 2WD which works well.

irondad said...

Oh, no. You mean to tell me there's MORE of you? Groan.....

P.S. I'm also helping your fuel budget by clicking the other place. What are pals for? Besides insulting each other, that is.

Charlie6 said...

Irondad, yep...there's more and a great bunch they are....

thanks for helping with my fuel budget by the to your question of why no donut videos....maybe next time it snows!

Jack, thanks for the comment on my link. Very kind of you.

bobskoot said...


I read your report on the other site. Nice to have friends with similar rigs, and to help get unstuck. I see you are liking videos too. I can go back there later and click a few more times to pay for the doughnuts . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Charlie6 said...

Bobskoot, feel free to click away...the formula that converts clicks/linger time the amount paid is a mystery to me but more could not hurt....thanks

and yes, having like-minded and like-geared riders does encourage one to "push the envelope" a bit more than usual.

Charlie6 said...

Craig, thanks for letting me post that youtube video you created from photos taken that day....good stuff.