Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Uraling to the Ride and Shoot

This past Saturday, I joined other fellow Uralisti and accompanying monkeys for a day of riding and shooting.  Little did we all suspect all the bonus excitement that we would encounter!

Eight of us met a O'Brien's Cafe in Sedalia, CO for breakfast.  There was Steffen C. and his son Nick, the former riding a 2006 Retro and his son a Honda Motorcycle.  There were Craig H. and his lovely wife Julie with their Arctic GearUP rig, newly met Uralista Mike N and his young daughter Patience and rounding out the breakfast group was yours truly with my youngest son Miles.

By 8:30AM, we had finished our meals and tanked up our rigs.  We headed out towards Jarre Canyon on CO67, heading towards Deckers.  We were making pretty good progress until we were past Sprucewood, at which point Mike N's rig suffered a flat pusher tire.

The delay was minimal since Mike had a spare, it just took a little extra time to pump air into the spare tire, courtesy of Craig H's air compressor.

 Above is Mike N's rig, awaiting the filling of the spare tire with air.

This is Dave G's 2012 Patrol, beautiful isn't it?  Lots of aftermarket 
mods such as the high-mount exhaust, dry country air filters and crankcase oil collector.

 Mike N tightens things down while we all "supervise"
Patience, Mike's daughter is on the left, Dave G, Miles and yours truly.

Not one to supervise, Julie sat out the short repair period.

Flat tire replaced, we continued onto Deckers for a short bathroom break before heading into the Pike National Forest area.  It was about 7 miles or so to the primary shoot site but we would experience some more mechanical issues before we got there.  This time, Steffen's Retro's engine suddenly quit running.  

The symptoms pointed to something electrical so Steffen and others quickly got into the Retro's headlight bucket where most of its wiring, fuses and relays are located:

Craig, Dave and Steffen
After a pretty quick but thorough check, nothing was found, they even tried
swapping out the ignition switch (Craig H. had a spare) but that wasn't it.

Further examination under the gas tank revealed a wire hanging loose.  A comparison with Mike N's patrol let Steffen determine it was the wire that provided power to the coil!  No wonder the engine wasn't starting.  A few minutes of wiring work and Steffen's rig was running once again and we proceeded onto the primary site.

Alas, when we got there, we found some guy had established a campsite there and the rules forbade shooting within 150 feet of any occupied area.  We decided to turn around and go for the secondary site.

However, just a few minutes of retracing our route, we suddenly came upon a Jeep SUV laying on its right side with people and dogs sitting outside of it!  We of course stopped to render air but no one appeared to be injured or no one was trapped in the car.  We couldn't get a cellphone signal so while Craig H. lead the rest of the Uralisti to the secondary site, I motored to Deckers to find a telephone landline.

I got there in record time, and placed a 911 call at the "Flies and Lies" Bait Shop in Deckers.  Miles and I pulled out of the parking lot and spotted a black and white painted SUV with Jefferson County Sheriff markings ahead of us and moving fast with lights blazing.

Dang that was a fast response I thought.  Much as we tried, we couldn't catch up with the deputy as he raced ahead of us on Forest Service Road 211.  What's weird was when we got back to the crashed SUV, there was no sign of the deputy, the vehicle had been righted onto its wheels and everyone was gone.  Figuring the accident victims had been picked up, we turned back to where I'd spotted the rest of the Uralisti.

It was very hard to miss of course, one land rover and several Ural Rigs sitting about 200 feet off the road, in the sagebrush covered field next to some small hills.  Everyone had already set up a makeshift range and were engaged in safe shooting of targets.  Miles and I joined them, it was a lot of fun.

 Craig H and Steffen C. watch over Steffen's son Nick as he tries out 
Craig H's Moisin Rifle, it's apparently the same type as the Russian Army used
during the second world war.

 Sighting in with his M14 is Dave M from Colorado Springs.  
Nick and Craig were taking a break in the shooting of the Moisin.

 A view of the rear of the shooting site, where the vehicles were out of the way.

 Patience, her dad Mike N. and their rig.

My youngest son Miles, shooting my Glock G30.
He actually did pretty good for his first time shooting!

 Yours truly trying my hand with the Moisin, heavy rifle, I can
now well imagine how difficult it must have been to shoot it in battle, 
trying to accurately sight it while people on the other side were shooting at you!
photo courtesy of Craig H.

 To the left is Julie and to her left is Sally; Dave G overwatches all the active shooters
photo courtesy of Craig H.

 Mike N and his daughter Patience
photo courtesy of Craig H.

 Another view of the rigs
photo courtesy of Craig H.

Yours truly, supervising Miles as he tries out the Moisin
That's Dave G in the background, acting as safety officer.
photo courtesy of Craig H.

Craig H's old helmet, after it had been used for target practice.
Apparently, a motorcycle helmet isn't penetrated by birdshot from a shotgun
from a distance of 50 feet or more.

The shooting event was winding down a bit after 1:00 PM, I was out of ammo by that time and most folks were gathering their gear.  I turned around and saw a Sheriff's Deputy stating in a loud voice to Craig that we were all "violating the law" and that if we didn't move our rigs back onto the road, he'd ticket us!

Apparently, we'd all missed the posted sign at the start of the Forest Road that prohibited the parking of vehicles in any space not cleared marked for parking.  Sigh.  We moved our rigs to the side of the road then returned to the shooting site on foot to finish cleaning up and picking up all our stuff.

Our rigs as we prepared to go back to Deckers for a late lunch.
Dave G and Mike N. had already left beforehand as they had other commitments.
They missed out on experiencing the deputy being irate.  Still, he 
didn't give us tickets so it all evened out.

Back at Deckers, we met a fellow Uralisti who walked up to our table and introduced himself.  Kim H. is from New Zealand and works for the Gates Rubber Company in Denver.  I got his email address and will be adding him to the distro list for the group rides.

As we were finishing our burgers, what should show up at the parking lot but a large flat bed tow truck carrying the wrecked Jeep!  

I think the insurance company is going to end up totaling this cage.

Dave M and his Patrol, member of the Zombie Outbreak Response Team!

I led the three rigs and one motorcycle remaining onto CO67, and onto the South Platte River road route that I frequent at times.  While it had been hot all day, we were on these roads immediately after rain had fallen so things had cooled off very nicely into the mid 60s.

We ended up on US285 and tanked up in Conifer, CO.  We said our goodbyes at this point, with Steffen and his son heading up CO73 towards Evergreen as they didn't want to mess with the highways.  Craig and Julie H, and yours truly with Miles elected to ride into the city using US285.  

The rest of the riding was uneventful, we waved goodbye to Julie and Craig near the intersection of University Blvd and Arapahoe Road.

Good day of riding, though it was quite warm early on and the heat wouldn't break till the late afternoon!  Good day of shooting as well, everyone was quite safety minded, no one got hurt which is always the primary goal of any shooting event.

I hope the driver of that crashed Jeep got medical help, he'd been complaining of hitting his head and feeling dizzy when I left for help.

All in all, an interesting day.


scap said...

Mine is a 2006 not a 2008. Great fun that day we should do it again soon.

SonjaM said...

What an eventful day. You were in the middle of nowhere for target practicing and almost got cited for illegal parking ;-)

It never ceases to amaze me how talented Uralista are at fixing something that's broken. But I guess that's a necessary skill to have when you ride such a characterful bike...

redlegsrides said...

scap, steffen....fixed the year, thanks.

SonjaM, I would say neither of the two issues that were encountered are solely in the purview of URAL ownership...but you do develop troubleshooting skills by necessity it seems.

Lucky said...

Exciting day! Looks like it was mostly a lot of fun, with a little bit of adventure thrown in.

Trobairitz said...

I agre with Sonja - what an eventful day. Wiring gremlins, to crashed Jeeps, to talking to deputies.

It is good the Ural owners ride together so you can compare parts and wiring if something goes wrong.

Unknown said...


Nice that you had a place to shoot. It is challenging up here as there is no where locally we can fire our guns anymore. the local gun range closed and now you have to belong to a club and pay membership dues. We used to go on the forest roads but I think they are not allowed anymore.

so nice that you are all so adept at fixing your own rides

Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

Coming from a country where guns are not allowed, I am slightly amused by the fact that it is okay for you guys to go into the woods and shoot at stuff, but you get into trouble for parking in the wrong place, seemingly in a very remote location! For me, the priorities seem a little backward there. It does however seem like a great day out.... except the crash.... the puncture.... the mechanical problems.... the lack of phone signal. I suspect Miles will remember this day for a long time.

redlegsrides said...

Lucky, I am sure the driver who managed to put his jeep on its side had way too much adventure!

redlegsrides said...

Trobairitz, not to mention carrying spare parts!

redlegsrides said...

Bobskoot, so far in this country, it's not too difficult, we shall see what the future brings.

redlegsrides said...

Gary, apparently it's because the land we were on was part of the very large Hayman Fire years ago and they don't want folks disturbing the re growth or causing damage that leads to rain/flood driven erosion.

RichardM said...

I thought I had posted a comment but who knows where it ended up,

It looks like everyone had a great day except, possibly, the family in the Jeep. At least there were no major injuries.

It is always fun to target shoot but with the scarcity of ammunition, it's getting harder and harder to do. If Miles enjoyed shooting, we have a championship rifle team hear at UAF and they start training with teams in middle school a high school. The challenge the high school competitive team has is transporting the gear as it's against school regs to have firearms on the buses.

BeemerGirl said...

Too funny! I was reading along thinking, why can't you possibly do a photo shot within 150 feet of an occupied area?? To realize in further reading that it wasn't anything to do with photos. Hehe. Funny to think where my mind lept to given your past adventures. Glad you were able to get out. I though gunfire was illegal in the national forests anymore?

redlegsrides said...


It's ok to shoot in the National Forests, not the National Parks I believe.

RichardM said...

Another confusion around here is that it is legal to carry a firearm into a National Park though it is illegal to discharge it.

RichardM said...

Here's the link to the NPS page. http://www.nps.gov/dena/parkmgmt/firearms.htm

As of February 22, 2010, a new federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal and Alaska state law, to legally possess firearms within Denali National Park and Preserve.

Under federal law, the use or discharge of a firearm is still prohibited by applicable provisions of 36 CFR Section 2.4 and 36 CFR Section 13.30.