Friday, April 30, 2010

A different way to attend one's own wake

So I saw this posting on, and the thought that came to mind was a statement I'd made way back when to my loving wife.  "When I die, bury me with my motorcycle".   That statement was of course taken by her in the spirit it was given.  In other words, she rolled her eyes and moved away from me to another part of the house.

This guy, in Puerto Rico, took it to a different level of "making a statement" at his own funeral.

photo source:

No, that's not a picture of the guy before he died.  That's his corpse, posed on his motorcycle, at the funeral home, for the wake.

I guess, ATGATT is really not an issue at this point.  He died through other means, by the way.  Go to the link above for all the details, more pics and a video.


Totally unrelated, just a picture of the weather system moving into the Denver Metro area as I was riding home today.

Saw some snow flakes as I neared my house, maybe I'll wake to snow in the morning.

EOM Mileages:  Natasha 18,321 Km (2294 Km in April), Brigitta: 84,331 Miles (460 miles in April, sad), total for April: 1836.4 Miles. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sunday ride to the Garden of the Gods

 This past Sunday, I left home around 9:00AM under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s.  The day would warm to a high of around 60°F before things would cloud over with incoming weather.

I took Parker Rd south through the busy town of Parker, looking to find the snow that had fallen on Friday of last week.  I started seeing traces of snow on the hills on both sides of the road shortly south of Franktown and by the time I cruised by Castlewood Canyon State Park; it was snow-covered fields as far as I could see.

The temperature seemed to drop as I cruised by these snowy fields on Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer.  I stopped to don my neck gator and along with my heated grips was quiet comfy in wind chills that I guess were in the 20s.

I cruised comfortably on CO83, Brigitta holding 75mph easily where Natasha would have struggled to hold 65mph.  Truly a dichotomy of performance, my two motorcycles.

I turned west on Old North Gate Rd just north of Colorado Springs and saw this wagon by a windmill at a stop sign.

Along the Old North Gate Rd

Proceeding along Old North Gate Rd (it refers to the North Gate of the Air Force Academy which makes its home in Colorado Springs), I soon arrived at its junction with the I-25 Super Slab.  I got Brigitta up to 75mph easily enough and though the wind gusts were pretty strong, it was smooth riding to the scenic overlook alongside the highway:

At the I-25 Highway Scenic Overlook

Staying on the slab, I got off a Woodmen Drive hoping to get a closer look at Pikes Peak, I would end up wandering about the Colorado Springs Tech Center where I found a spot near an office building complex for this shot:

I really don't know how one could get any work done with scenery such as this outside one's office window

I cruised further south, and finally ended up on the road that leads one to the Garden of the Gods park.  I rode up the Mesa Overlook road where the fancy houses are and stopped at the Mesa Overlook for these pictures.

At the Mesa Overlook parking lot, that's Garden of the Gods in the near background with 
Pikes Peak in the far background

A closer look at some of the large rock formations visible from the Mesa Overlook

A panoramic view of the gorgeous scenery visible from the Mesa Overlook

I circled back around towards the main entrance to the Garden of the Gods and joined the slightly busy stream of cars filled with tourists and locals out enjoying the view of the many large rock formations that make up this park.

Here's the rock formation at the park's main parking lot.  I stopped here to remove my cold weather liner and neck gator and switch to light summer gloves as it had turned quite warm.

My favorite spot on the loop road that circles the massive rock formations of the Garden of the Gods

I hope you like this panoramic view of my favorite parking spot at the Garden of the Gods

One last shot of nearby Pikes Peak from the Garden of the Gods

Exiting the park due to the now numerous cars on the loop roads around the park, it was around Noon and I elected to ride east into Colorado Springs.  I cruised through the "historic district" of Old Colorado City but saw nothing worth stopping for a look or a picture.

Soon I was in the western side of Colorado Springs, past the many buildings belonging to Colorado College.  I turned north on Union and made my way north and out of town.  I stopped just past Powers Blvd to don my warm weather gear once more for the ride home.

As you can see, incoming storm clouds have almost completely hidden Pikes Peak from view

On CO83, heading North away from the springs.

Shortly before I took the last two shots above, I was passed by a herd of Harley Davidson bikers, all clad in their motorcycle club colors with no helmets, doing their best to deafen me with their loud pipes.  Ironically, I think the name of their club, from what I could see of their "colors", was "Sons of Silence".

Still, to each his own I say, at least they were out riding.  I got back on Brigitta and we cruised up through Franktown and Parker.  I took Inspiration Drive out of Parker to get me back to my home neighborhoods.  Perhaps 160-170 miles of riding today with perhaps 5 hours of saddle time, not too bad for a Colorado spring ride.

I hope you were able to get out and get some riding this weekend!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Windswept Plains Ride

Yesterday afternoon, the sun was out, temperatures were in the high 40s to mid 50s and so I went riding on Natasha after having "waterproofed" her ignition coil.

It was quite windy with gusts into the 40+ mph range I am sure.  It was mostly coming from the North so I could feel Natasha being pushed by the winds whenever I rode in an easterly or westerly direction.  Still, she handles wind much better than when I am on two wheels.  Sure, there's pushing motion on the motorcycle but no worries about having to lean her into the wind!  : )   The sidecar makes riding in strong winds just a matter of holding the steering steady with some slight pushing on the grip that's alee of  the wind.

I had headed towards Buckley Air Force Base on Gun Club Rd, hoping that the spot on Picadilly Rd where water always collects after a rain storm still had some water to ride Natasha through.  It had been quite water-filled on Friday night when I had to dash into work to retrieve my laptop for some work but it was all gone on Saturday.

Still, the lighting was good for this shot of a couple of the golf balls at Buckley with what I believe is Long's Peak in the far background:

Buckey AFB

After some fruitless riding around my data center's area looking for shots, I took Smith Rd out of the commercial district and headed east towards Powhaton Road.  I cruised by the mystery track and indeed I could see a small channel running down the middle of the track.  This lends credence to the commenter who'd described this channel and who had doubted my previous source of information on the purpose of said mystery track.

The ground was very muddy though and I could not get Natasha much closer than the fence line so pictures of the track, without snow covering it, will have to wait for drier days.

I continued on eastwards from the track towards the town of Watkins.  The plains to the east of Denver are so flat, that the locals have this expression: "One a clear day, you can see Kansas".  Well, today was not very clear of a day but pretty close, and all I could see was the nearby town of Watkins:

  Looking east towards Kansas on part of the vast eastern plains of Colorado

I rode south to the highway that forms the southern border of Watkins, and taking Watkins Rd south once more towards Quincy Rd.  The roads were very lightly traveled today and the winds seemed to pick up once I was on Quincy Rd heading back west towards my home neighborhoods.  I actually had to shift my butt more towards the right edge of my seat in order to ensure the sidecar wouldn't go "light" on me.  Interesting, not scary, just interesting riding.  I would have surely been in my "dances in the winds" mode had I been on Brigitta!  Did I mention they were strong winds?

Made it home with no issues, less than two hours of riding in sedate country roads, with the occasional strong winds to remind me of Spring in Colorado.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why Natasha didn't like rainy days.

You've probably heard me complain at times of rough idling and acceleration when riding in wet or rainy conditions on Natasha, my Ural Sidecar Rig.   I'd tried many things, thinking at times it was the air filter getting water saturated due to the poor design of the air filter box; or the carburetor throttle cables not functioning smoothly or sticking.  To remedy that, I switched to an oiled K&N filter, carried a spare filter (which saved me once from being stranded) and added a larger cover over the air filter box intake hole, problem solved I thought.

In the back of my mind though, I'd always though perhaps it could be the ignition coil.  The symptoms were similar under rainy, wet conditions as when I went through a bad coil period shortly after I bought Brigitta, my '87 R80 Airhead Beemer.  Brigitta's condition though had resulted in the inability to hold idle while in the rain and really poor running condition.

Add into this mix, the fact that Ural ignitions type I through V have known issues with heat from the engine and the coil, so that on warm days, it can affect engine performance.  To fix that, other owners had drilled holes in the plastic cover which protects the ignition module and coil.  As I'd experienced firsthand the effects of heat on the ignition module, I'd done the same:

These photos were from the sovietsteeds forum courtesy of jpanyon, this is not Natasha but a similar Ural

The venting of the plastic cover does seem to help a lot on hot days or when riding in warm weather in stop and go city traffic.

However, as I am sure you can see it coming, the holes now let in water during rain!  So, the last few rainy days I'd experienced some rough idling and poor acceleration from Natasha on my work commutes.  Not good.  A small shield in front of the vented cover had yielded mixed results.

Today I finally had some time to do some troubleshooting.  First I made sure, while the engine was running, to spray water around the carburator hose fittings to see if I had air leaks, there were none.

Next I liberally sprayed water from a spray bottle onto the bottom half of the vented front cover, above where the "silver hockey puck" or Type IV ignition module is mounted.  No effect, still smoothly idling engine.

Then I sprayed water into the holes at the top right corner of the cover, bingo!  The engine started running rough immediately and soon shut off.  Aha!

I removed the horn and removed the plastic ignition module cover and tried the water spray again with the engine running.  This is what I saw, note the electrical arcing!

 A good pic of the coil, note the silver tab parallel to the securing screws for the spark plug cables
the large silver colored round cover is the "silver hockey puck" ignition module

What those metal tabs are for, one on each side of the coil, I have no idea.  They're not used and after some more testing I decided to cover them with some heat shrink insulation.  I ended up doing both tabs and all the wire connectors as well.  Everything on the coil is nicely insulated from water now except where the spark plug cables plug into of course.

I started the engine back up after the insulation work, sprayed water at the coil from all angles and no arcing or negative effects on the engine's performance! 

Success!?  We shall see at my next ride in the rain on Natasha.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Uraling with a new member of the DAU

DAU:  Denver Area Uralisti.   The informal name by which those of us Ural owners who've had a chance to ride together call ourselves.  Today, John and I met up with a new member: Steffen.  John and Steffen had exchanged emails through and today our schedules worked out to get a small ride in as a way to welcome Steffen to our ranks.

Steffen rides a beautiful 2006 Retro, black with white trim.  Very nice.  We met up at Morrison at 1:00 PM today and John (Spat) joined us shortly afterwards.  We shot the breeze and got to know each other a bit, while being UDF'ed by the occasional passerby.  Finally though, it was time to ride.  Spat was still recovering from having a six inch metal plate removed from his leg (and yet he rode to this meeting!) so he went on home.

Steffen's Retro and Spat's GearUp

Now, is that a clean engine or what?

Check out how all the lights and such are part of the headlight bucket!

That left Steffen and I to see what kind of trouble we could get into!  I led the way out of Morrison, heading west on Bear Creek Canyon Road, twisting our way through the nice curves and making our way through the small towns of Idledale and Kittredge, finally arriving at Evergreen.

It had been my intention to show Steffen Bear Creek Rd but I managed to miss the turn in Evergreen darn it.  So we ended up cruising along CO73 until we arrived at the town of Conifer where Steffen tanked up and I donned a long sleeve shirt.  It was a bit cool still in the mountains.

 On Pleasant Park Rd, just outside the town limits of Conifer

photo courtesy of Steffen
yep, still a little bit of snow left in the area near Conifer

We then got onto Pleasant Park road so Steffen could get some glimpses of the long drops into the valley below, with only metal guardrails keeping us from going off the sides of this curvy road. 

Pleasant Park became High Grade Rd and eventually we were making our way down from the foothills, onto Deer Creek Road which eventually dumped us onto Deer Creek Canyon Rd.    I took a small detour into Deer Creek Canyon Park where the rich folk live so he could see some of the rock formations which make this area so attractive.

On the far end of Deer Creek Park

The Uralisti and their rigs

photo courtesy of Steffen

Rock formations in Deer Creek Park

Once we exited Deer Creek Canyon Park, I led Steffen over to the vicinity of the Lockheed Martin building and we had us a good view of the entrance to Deer Creek Canyon and the foothills nearby.

A view of the break in the foothills which forms the entrance into Deer Creek Canyon

We then doubled-back on Deer Creek Canyon road till we got to South Park Rd which we took North towards the nice rock formations once sees along the eastern side of  this road.

photo courtesy of Steffen
A small sample of the many colorful rock formations along Valley Rd, north of Deer Creek Canyon Rd

photo courtesy of Steffen

Proceeding along, we got to the entrance to a park near the rock formations above.  Turning into the parking lot, we got a good angle on this large rock formation.

A small park with hiking trails along Valley Rd, south of Ken Caryl Blvd

photo courtesy of Steffen
Here is a demonstration of the outstanding cargo capacity of a Ural sidecar

It was about 4:30PM at this point and both of us had to be heading on home.  It was great riding today and I think Steffen had a good time, he is definitely planning on joining us at an upcoming "tech day" that I am hosting on 8 May.

The Ural sidecar rig count in the DAU now stands at five, plenty more room for other rigs and they don't have to be Russian!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Uraling to Tarryall Reservoir

This past Sunday, I rode out on US 285 out of the Denver Metro area under partly cloudy skies in temperatures that started out for me in the high 40s and would end up in the low 70s and sunny skies.  The idea was to explore Park County Rd 77 from the small town of Jefferson to the "Ghost Town" of Tarryall, one of the many gold strike towns that Colorado is known for.

While I really did not find much in terms of remaining structures at Tarryall, I did find the Historical Society's marker by the schoolhouse building and some delapidated wooden shacks that probably were part of the old mining town but no signs affirming this.

The ride out on US285 was without incident and in light traffic for the most part.  There's lots of construction right now in the vicinity of Pine Junction so be prepared for the slower speeds.  The local and state law enforcement patrols were out in force that day!

From my house it took me less than two hours to arrive at Jefferson.  The mountains to the east of the town were shining brightly with the remaining winter snows and made a nice backdrop:

A panoramic show of the Continental Divide from just east of Jefferson, CO

After the above shots, I returned towards Jefferson and took County Rd 77 east out of town.  The road is mostly roughly paved with plenty of patches of packed dirt with lots of gravel.  Great road for Endure/Dual Sport motorcycles but quite doable at slower speeds for regular street motorcycles as well.  It follows a meandering stream that flows from Jefferson to the Tarryall Reservoir.

The countryside is dotted with horse and cattle ranches, there's even a Bison ranch near Observatory Rock just east of Jefferson.  I observed some pretty large specimens of Bison quietly grazing so I stopped for this shot:

At the Observatory Rock Bison Ranch

As you ride down County Road 77 or Tarryall Road, you can see many rock formations on both sides of the road.  Some of the are quite impressive and definitely define the character of this valley.

After a few miles I sighted the frozen over waters of the Tarryall Reservoir and State Recreation area.  Folks were ice-fishing on the ice and just enjoying the scenery at this location.  I spotted a narrow rocky spit of land that projected from the shore and looked wide enough (barely) for Natasha to ride out on.

As there were no signs prohibiting motor vehicles on the narrow pier-like structure, I backed the Ural slowly and carefully down the narrow surface which was filled with large embedded rocks.  I chose not to go all the way to the end as it got narrower and rockier.

I explored the area around the reservoir and ended up on the opposite side of the reservoir where one can see the small dam that creates this reservoir.

Look closely, you can see a couple of ice fishermen out on the ice

After the above shots, I continued south on Tarryall Road in search of  Tarryall itself.  The road became a bit curvier as it followed the stream that meanders south of the reservoir.  Once in a while, you'd get a peek at the top of McCurdy Mountain to the east and more and larger rock formations near the Ute Trail Valley which is a national preserve apparently.

I finally got to the town and not much remains of the old mining town as I mentioned at the beginning of this post.   Several wooden "buildings" that were either collapsing into themselves or near that state can be seen from the road but appear to be on private property so I didn't ride up to them.

At the southern end of the "town" is a white building which the Colorado Historical Society has apparently restored or maintained along with a historical marker panel stating such things as:  The original school was built in 1898 and replaced in 1921 by the structure that is pictured below.  The school served from 1921 to 1949.  A teacher's recollection from the late 1880s state she was paid $40 a month to teach about 25 students; she also recalls heating rocks on the stove and passing them out to students in the winter to help keep them warm.

A few more minutes wandering around found no more "marked" structures and I continued south for several miles, to see what lay to the south of town.  The road becomes a bit narrower and more enclosed by hills as one nears US24.  About seven miles shy of US24 I stopped and turned around to go back to Jefferson.

The Ural had been misfiring under load sporadically, accompanied by loud exhaust popping noises.  I'd tried replacing the air filter with the spare I carry, no luck.  The problem would kind of go away after a bit of riding so I was enduring the momentary poor engine performance.

I got to Jefferson thinking my engine problems were over, perhaps just some bad gas.  I stopped at the old church in Jefferson for this shot:

Alas, it was not to be.  As I rode out of Jefferson and onto US285, the Ural's engine misfired more and more and I could barely achieve 30 MPH!  I stopped for a bit at the bottom of the road which leads out of the valley and onto Kenosha Pass and still found no issues.

I limped up to Kenosha Pass and parked at the scenic overlook at the top and removed the cover on the front of the engine to the ignition module and coil.  I had verified air (air filter) and gas (fuel lines) and all that remained of the triumvirate necessary for a internal combustion engine was spark (ignition system).  As I removed the cover, I noted that the wires leading to the coil were very loose; in fact the bottom one came off by the simple act of me removing the plastic cover!

I re-crimped the connectors and ensure all three wires going to the ignition coil were nice and secure.  I left the cover off just in case and rode on north on US285.  The engine started off rough the first few hundred meters but smoothed out nicely and I regained expected power levers.

I came upon the small settlement of Shawnee and parked in front of the Shawnee Tea Room after several good performance miles and replaced the plastic cover  to protect the exposed ignition coil and timing module.

I continued on, Natasha's engine pulling as strong as ever and I was able to maintain the normal speeds as I made my way closer to home.  Loose wires, I guess the vibrations from the engine had loosened them?  I was glad I was able to find them and fix them.

The rest of the ride was smooth sailing along the many curves on US285 coupled with the steep inclines that make life interesting when on two wheel and really interesting when on three.  I must have looked quite the sight, hanging off the sides of the seat to deal with the curves as they came up.

Made it home just fine with no further issues.  It had gotten quite warm in the metro area, and I was sweating a bit as I neared home.  A bit over 300Km ridden today in about six hour of saddle time.  Park County Rd 77 is a nice road for dualsport motorcycles like I mentioned but well worth a slow ride with street motorcycles as well.  Very nice and sedate scenery will inspire to stop often just to look around and there are several trailheads for the hiking-minded among you.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Riding for the Republic

A new joint experience for my loving wife and I today.   Today was the Republican Arapahoe County Assembly at Englewood High School and both she and I were duly elected county delegates for Precinct 319.  We'd both volunteered and been elected among others at last month's Republican Caucus in our neighborhood.

Like most Americans, we were pretty uneducated as to the the process of how a party selects the candidates that end up on the ballot on Election Day.   Our education started at the precinct caucus and today we got the lesson on how a party selects the candidates at the county level.  These choices then move onto the state level primary and eventually represent the party at the elections.

Martha and I rode on Natasha, my Ural Sidecar Rig, starting off from the house very early in the morning in 31°F temperatures and clear skies.  Martha was quite the trooper, having waived the need for a windshield on the sidecar and hunkered down the whole way there.  Though it was only a 45 minute ride to the city of Englewood's high school, it was brisk in terms of temperatures!

We had us only one anxious period, around the beginning of the proceedings, Martha discovers the diamond in her engagement ring missing!  We quickly looked around our seating area but nothing.  We thought perhaps her gloves had snagged the rock when she removed the gloves after we'd arrived at the high school.  We were going to wait for a break in the proceedings and go look.  I wasn't too worried since I keep a high value items rider on our household insurance but still didn't really want to lose it due to the sentimental value.

A couple of speeches later, Martha finds the diamond at the bottom of her purse!  Pheeew!  It must have gotten knocked loose of the mounting when she was looking for a pen to fill out paperwork.  Both of us were quite relieved and it freed our minds to really listen to the candidate speeches and such.

Many speeches later, carried out well in spite of a malfunctioning microphone, we went through the district voting and confirmed our candidates for next month's final approvals at the state level assembly.   There is more work ahead and more efforts by like-minded citizens hoping for a better future for our children.

Having now been a small part of the process, I personally think of myself as a better citizen; doing more than just voting at the State and Federal levels on Election Day.  Being able to do so with my wife's support and riding there to carry out our duties was icing on the cake.

The sun had come out in force and temperatures had soared into the high 50s as we left the county assembly.  The ride home was nice and warm, in fact, Martha told me at times she'd been so warm and cozy in the sidecar she'd nearly dozed off!   

A good day of riding for our Country, sorry no pictures, but if you just picture the typical crowd at a BMW Motorcycle Club gathering, you'll get the idea....they just had more of the ladies with them than at the club gatherings!  We were about a thousand strong at this one assembly today, the process is going on at all 64 of Colorado's counties and I am sure nationwide as well.   Given the participation I saw today, November 2010 could be a major turning point.

I've always tried to avoid politics on this blog.  So, if you're opposed to my party, good for you, and thank your lucky stars you live in such a great country where one can think and say pretty much as one wishes.  I will not demean your party or your beliefs in this forum and I hope for the same courtesy from you.

One final note, a tip of our helmets to the Patriot Guard Rider who rode to the assembly on his Harley Davidson motorcycle!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter greetings to all, Natasha and I started the day by meeting the sunrise on this Easter Sunday.

Here's hoping you got some riding in on this weekend.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A good ride on Good Friday

Note: This posting is also located on So what's the difference?  I get paid per # of hits on that site, so if you feel like helping my fuel budget, read the article there instead:  LINK,  Thanks!

A nice, partly sunny and at times very windy day here in Colorado.  My new job designates Good Friday as a paid holiday so today was a day for riding!

I left shortly after breakfast, say around 8:15 AM and took the back roads down to the town of Parker.  The weather was partly cloudy and cold with sometimes a very strong wind.  I crossed the town of Parker heading south along its main drag, Parker Road.  At the south end of town I then went along Crowfoot Parkway and eventually got to Castle Rock.  A short hop over the I-25 Slab and I was heading north on US85, passing the town of Sedalia and eventually arriving at the entrance for the E-470 westbound slab.

After that it was a short quick dash on this slab until the Wadsworth Blvd exit and from there onto Deer Creek Canyon Rd.  I was there to try and find my missing Leatherman multi-tool.  I'd not seen it since my eventful ride this past Sunday and was hoping it had fallen out of its pocket on my tool holder which I keep clipped to my riding pants.

I found the spot!  Note the small hole I'd dug to enable more room for swapping out the rear wheel last weekend.  This is along Deer Creek Canyon Rd, looking east, just before Grizzly Rd.

That's Deer Creek with its banks full of underbrush, this was the spot where I'd gone to pick up a rock
to prevent my rig from rolling while I jacked it up .

And there it was, my multi-tool!  Can you spot it?

Now that I had enjoyed such good fortune in finding my multi-tool, I figured the rest of the day would be frosting on the cake!  I headed up further into Deer Creek Canyon and this time managed to spot a wall-like rock formation which I'd missed on my previous rides on this great canyon road:

 To me, it looks like Nature had created a retaining wall

I kept going and took the Deer Creek Rd turnoff towards High Grade Rd and Pleasant Park Rd.  These twisty narrow paved roads would eventually lead me past still snow-covered farming fields and some cold temperatures.  I arrived at Conifer and tanked up Natasha, taking the opportunity to put on the ATV grip covers as it was only in the high 20s in that area.

I rode down to Foxton Rd which is the first exit from the gas station I usually use in Conifer.  Road conditions on Foxton Rd were dry but there was lots of sand and gravel on the pavement.  Soon enough I was at the junction of Foxton Rd and West Platte River Rd.    I got onto the river road which is a packed dirt road with many curves, some of the blind curves so watch yourself for oncoming traffic.  The road parallels the West Platte River of course and you eventually reach a small group of houses near what is called the Rock Dome:

The Dome Rock

After Dome Rock, it was just the occasional old house or two before I reached the remains of the Platte Hotel.  I went past the small bridge and paused to take this picture of the confluence of the West Platte River and the South Platte River.  Note how the West Platte's water is clearer than the muddy water from the South Platte:

Where the West and South Platte River meet.

Continuing on, it was the usual rock canyon walls bordering the South Platte River which as usual drew my eyes to the rocky formations, it's a very scenic and enjoyable piece of road.  I arrived at one of my favorite picture taking spots, the big boulders in the river:

River Boulders

I always stop for a shot of these boulders, it must have been quite the sight when they first came crashing down from the top of the rocky canyon walls!  I made my way to where the pavement begins again, about ten miles north of Deckers.  Along the way you pass these small settlements and I stopped at the sight of an old gasoline pump I'd spotted on previous trips:

A fuel pump from a bygone era, somewhere north of Ox Yoke

I made it down to Deckers and crossed the small bridge over the South Platte River, the sign indicating it was the way to the YMCA Camp.  I was thinking it might also lead to the nearby Cheesman Water Reservoir but it turned out to deadend at the YMCA Camp where there was construction work being done.  I turned around and on the way back to CO67, I posed Natasha via a view of the fly fishermen who ware fishing along this dirt road:

Along the YMCA Camp Road, apparently a favorite for fly fishermen

Once back on CO67, I headed north on it towards US285, looking for the sign that would lead me to Cheesman Reservoir.  I soon found it, just shy of the Cheesman Trailhead.  I turned off onto this forest road which is also known as Wigwam Creek Rd and was soon at the furthest point one can get for now.  I had the reservoir in sight but work was still underway with signs stating the reservoir is closed to the public until May of 2011.

Cheesman Reservoir, scheduled to open May of 2011

Although it was a bit dissapointing, things looked up as I was making my way back out.  There was another dirt road leading off to the left as I was riding back out on Wigwam Creek Rd, Forest Rd 211.  There was a small wooden sign stating: "Lost Valley 7 miles".  How could I not take it right?

The packed dirt road, with some rough washboarded sections, ran through part of the Pike National Forest area which was devastated years ago in the massive Hayman forest fires.  The area still looks pretty desolate with burnt out husks of tree trunks outlined against the sky and many rock formations now exposed to the casual observer.

My first photo of "unnamed rock", I would end up near its base by the end of Goose Creek Rd.

Pano shot of the way into "Lost Valley"

I continued on Forest Rd 211, getting closer and closer all the time to what turned out to be an unnamed rock formation shown above.  The road is also named Goose Creek Road and leads to the Lost Valley Dude Ranch I found out.

Closer and closer I got to "unnamed rock"

Note how the valley floor and hillsides were bare of trees, the result of the Hayman Fires

I came to the end of the road, the entrance to the ranch which is apparently a lodging place.  I turned around just past the entrance and spotted the amusing words carved on the top portion of the ranch's gate:

Ooooooo Aaaaaaaah

The sight one saw when exiting the ranch must have been truly amazing before the devastation and destruction of the Hayman fires.  I hope the area recovers someday, the hills just don't look right, denuded of trees with just their burned out husks and fallen tree trunks covering the sides of  this hilly valley.

A view of the devastated hillsides, it was the same as far as I could see in all directions.

I retraced my route on Goose Creek Rd, waiting to the occasional car headed in to the Lost Valley Dude Ranch.  Soon I was back on County Rd 126 heading northwards to the town of Pine and Highway US285.  I turned north on US285 and it was cruising time on this slab all the way back to the Denver Metro area.

As usual, it was US285 or Hampden Rd which I took across Denver back towards the I-25 Slab.  I took this slab south to where it junctions with the I-225 Slab, did the death merge onto I-225 with no problems and soon was at the Parker Rd exit.  The usual roads soon had me at my home neighborhood around 4:15 PM.  It had been perhaps 7.5 hrs of saddle time on a mixture of paved and dirt roads, covering about 200 miles or so I think.  A really good day of riding on Good Friday!