Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rainy Ride

Ever since I started this job which is 100% work from home, I've ridden less as I no longer commute to/from Downtown Denver.  I don't miss that one bit, by the way.

So, it was time yesterday evening for a ride, in spite of the " fair to middlin' " amount of rain falling, the flash flood warnings in the metro area and temperatures in the low 60s.  Actually, the temperatures were fine, just had to turn on the heated grips about 15 minutes into the rainy ride as my hands were soaked, since my riding gloves weren't waterproof.

It felt good, riding in the rain, getting the riding gear washed since what seems like a long time since I last washed it, and enjoying the feel of the rain cooling things off.

I spent perhaps 30 minutes just riding up and down Gun Club Road, looking for the low points on the road hoping for water puddles to splash through.  Alas, the road builders must be getting better at their craft, the usual spots were not flooded.  Oh well.

The rain did get pretty heavy for about ten minutes of riding but no issues for Scarlett and her three-wheeled grip on the pavement.  We even rode down the same dirt trail we used in the previous posting; it was now muddy and wet and I could feel the pusher tire losing grip slightly sometimes, but nothing to be concerned about.

The rain became just a sprinkling by the time I took the above shot, no sunset pictures today....

Got home, the riding gear washed up and now hanging out to dry on hooks in the garage.  Good ride in a nice cool rain, such is wet weather in Colorado.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dawn Patrol

I woke early this morning in order to catch the sunrise, took my 2014 Ural Patrol: Scarlett and headed for a nearby dirt road that links Gun Club Road and Picadilly Road.

I got there soon after the first rays of light warned of the impending approach of the sun.

Over the next 40 minutes or so, I took many pictures; moved Scarlett around a couple of times and enjoyed the quiet solitude of an early Sunday morning.

 Our shadow, racing us home...

Our shadow won the race...

This post is dedicated to the memory of Rachel, Bluekat and Ron's daughter with the strong fighting spirit, who recently lost her fight with cancer.  Martha and I hope their grief is short-lived and their happy memories of Rachel are ever-lasting.

Here's a pic of the first time I met Rachel...

Rest in Peace, Rachel....

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Final Drive for Scarlett = Clean Pusher Wheel

URAL has come through again in terms of backing their product.

Apparently, several of the first batch of rigs produced for the 2014 model year, of which Scarlett is one, had a manufacturing/design defect where the seal for the drive-shaft U-Joint mounts on the final drive.

URAL investigated this and shortly came out with this tech bulletin to its dealers:  LINK

Randy, the owner of Unique Rides, my URAL dealer in Fort Collins; ordered me a replacement FD and it arrived this week.

Rode up to Fort Collins yesterday and Randy replaced the Final Drive with the new one.  The old, will be shipped back to URAL to be rebuilt/repaired to correct specifications.

All this, under warranty coverage!  Only cost to me was time/gas to ride up and back to/from Fort Collins.

Though Randy also cleaned up the wheel as part of the exchange, I went ahead and detailed it some more after I got home.  I look forward to the pusher wheel remaining clean, at least, until the next time Scarlett and I hit the dirt!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hot Day, Warm Sunset

We're having rather hot temperatures this weekend, pretty much dissuading me from doing any real riding.

Temperatures finally dipped into the low 80's near sunset and I headed out with Scarlett to catch the sunset.

Turns out, the spot I parked Scarlett at, one of the usual spots for sunset pictures, is near a local geocache.  I looked for quite a few minutes and even though it was rated "easy", I failed to find it.  Oh well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Job....not much riding.

So I started working for a new company this past week, Emerald Data Solutions, as their network/infrastructure engineer.  It's a virtual company in that all employees work from home.  Yep, 100% work from home, no more commuting in the crap traffic that is Denver traffic.

I flew to Park City, Utah this past weekend for a team summit and meet most of the folks comprising the 24 person company.  Yep, small company with a family culture I am told and everyone was very welcoming from the president on down!  I've spent too much time in the big company/enterprise and I think I will like it here at EDS.  Oh, and I will be a full time employee again, not a contractor this time.

Got back home on Sunday and have barely ridden perhaps three hours since then!  I rode yesterday to the Encana data center to return some gear and today I spent several hours at the CenturyLink data center where EDS gear is hosted.

Lots to do, lots to learn about the environment, and so have spent some long days trying to get up to speed on the environment.  Once I get spun up, I think there will be more opportunities to ride, work, ride some more and then of course, repeat.

What I am hoping to do is ride to camping locations with good WIFI Internet connectivity, work as needed and then finish the day with some riding!

I see interesting and fun times ahead, both for riding and working.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lightening my Camping Load

Last year's ride to Alaska and back highlighted to me that the equipment I schlep along for camping is too big and heavy.

I will be sticking with the two man tent that I have, for now, as I like to bring in my riding gear and assorted stuff at night.  It works, it's waterproof so long as I keep up on the waterproofing sprays.

The stove I took was a two-burner stove from Coleman.  Worked great but bulky and heavy.

src: google

Recently I found (while purging closets) the old field stove I had used while in the Army.  Its a Scorpion brand stove that uses butane canisters for fuel:

A similar stove

However, the fuel canister I had stored with it was depleted, no big surprise as its been over 20 years since I used it.  The propane fuel bottles I have in stock weren't usable of course due to the connection.  However, as butane doesn't work as well in colder temps and such, I decided to find an adapter that would allow me the use of the more ubiquitous propane bottles rather than stocking up on butane canisters:


The above is the Kovea LPG Adapter and it cost me $26 through amazon.  As you can see in the pic above, it has male connectors on each end, one for propane bottles and one for butane canisters.  You set the flow screw to a bit above fully closed to handle the higher pressure from the propane fuel bottle and you're good to go!  Tested it the other day, works fine.

example pic showing use of regular propane bottle, kovea adapter and a small
stove similar to the one I use.
src: LINK

Yes, am aware of multi-fuel stoves but also have been told that the ones that burn gasoline also tend to add a "gas" taste to food cooked with it?  I don't know and besides, the propane bottles I plan to use can be had most anywhere.

Another item that was bulky and somewhat heavy, was the folding camp chair I sometimes take along when camping.  This was replaced by an item which weighs much less and stores quick compact, the Coleman Camp Stool:

Coleman Camp Stool: $14

The above will also come in handy as a stool to sit on while working on the motorcycle while on the road; it is just the right height for me to use it instead of kneeling while doing repairs and maintenance.  Dimensions when folder: 10.2 in. x 8.4 in. x 1.6 in. (26 cm x 21 cm x 4 cm)

The old Army sleeping bag, which is rated for -10F, I'll keep though it is a bit bulky, just need to get a better waterproof bag for it.  It doesn't weigh much, with is the more overriding concern for me when camping.  

All for now, we'll see how things go as I hope to go camping now and then this Summer and Fall.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Additional Storage for Scarlett

After seeing the ammunition cans used by the three Uralisti on their rigs during my recent visit with them as they crossed the country on US50; I began to have thoughts.

So, the other day, I went to the local Army Surplus store and lucked upon a used storage container of rather strange "provenance".  Not a typical ammo can, not as robust but also not as heavy, it seems to have been a container for items belonging to a drogue or pop chute?

 Coerce?  Weird.
The kangi characters suggest Chinese perhaps....the two
left most characters are 8 and 9

 What drew me to buy this box, was that it opens from the side.

 The bright orange handle, immediately removed.

 A bit rusty on the inside, nothing some naval jelly didn't cure

 No idea if tag is original

 After rust removal, a coat of blue primer inside and out

Several coats of flat black paint, to include one coat of rubberized coating later, it was ready to mount to the underside of Scarlett's tub, right after the snowmen supports.

As with the new Kolpin Gas Can you see below, I used large washers to distribute the load where the bolts secured both items.

 A small lock (enough to keep honest people honest) secures the lid

Now there's room to carry my "self-recovery" ropes, come-along device, tow strap and a spare inner tube. 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Two dogs, a sidecar and a ride to Mount Evans for one of the dogs.

There are things in life which seem to attract and amuse most people, one of them is the sight of a dog riding in the tub of a sidecar rig.

We've friends visiting from SE Texas.  Ken P. has visited by himself before while riding on his motorcycle.  This time, he brought his lovely wife Julana; they were up here visiting their son Eric who'd recently moved into the Denver Metro area for work.

Ken and I are members of the Rounders, a group of riders who ride year round.

Ken and Julana, along with their son Eric are dog people, and experienced trainers of said dogs.  I was very impressed on how well they are trained and how well behaved both dogs are.

Valkyrie, a two year old German Shepherd
"such a ham"

Yesterday, they returned from a day of driving Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Their son Eric and his dog Voltaire, a Golden Retriever, joined us for dinner.

After dinner, it was time to see if either dog would like a ride in the sidecar rig.  Voltaire went first, and after a bit of adjustment and coaxing, was soon enjoying being the monkey while Eric rode slowly around the cul-de-sac.

Voltaire and Eric

Valkyrie took a bit more convincing but after she saw Voltaire ride, was convinced to go riding with Ken:

Valkyrie and Ken

So that was Thursday.  Today, the Fourth of July, we rode out in  a group of three vehicles towards Mount Evans.  I was on Scarlett, Ken was on Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 and Julana brought up the rear in their SUV with Valkyrie onboard.

We made good time all the way to near Bergen Park and we exited I-70 there as it had become almost a parking lot due to all the folks heading west for the long weekend in the mountains.

We got onto CO103, or Squaw Pass Road and we ascended slowly, twisting and turning our way towards Echo Lake and the nearby lodge.

Scarlett and Brigitta with Echo Lake in the background

Parking the SUV, we decided to see if Valkyrie would like to ride in the sidecar with Julana.  It was 14 miles up to the summit of Mount Evans and Valkyrie did great!  Cagers coming in the other direction would break out in smiles once they spotted her in the sidecar, tongue wagging in the wind and sitting on Julana's lap.  Ken brought up the rear with Brigitta and must have been highly amused the times he saw Valkyrie rise up and look back towards him, checking to make sure he was still with us.

We made it to the top just fine and found a spot to park the motorcycles within easy walking distance of the parking lot at the top of the mountain.

 The requisite pictures of the sign at the top of the mountain.
The real top is a big rock pile with about a 1/4 mile of trail to get to, but
none of us elected to walk up.

 Julana, Valkyrie and Ken

 Valkyrie of the West!

As we started the return trip from 14,130 feet, Valkyrie seemed much 
more at ease in the sidecar.

We didn't stop for pictures on the way down, just slowly descended, entertaining folks in cages once again with sights of a pretty German Shepherd in a bright red and white sidecar rig.  Valkyrie must have been having fun, sometimes she'd lay her head on my right arm, drooling on it of course.

The rest of the ride home was a run to get ahead of the oncoming rain.  We made it home with barely a few sprinkles falling on us in the town of Morrison and as we entered my home neighborhood.

Good day of riding, everyone had fun and I think the experience has convinced Julana to give an OK to Ken getting himself a sidecar one day.  :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Published on Fix.Com

Pretty much out of the blue, I got an email a month or more ago, from Jesse of  He asked if I was interested in writing for them and of course I said yes.

Several story ideas were submitted, and the first one they selected involved the concept of surviving the riding of a motorcycle in city traffic.  I based it on the training I've gone through since I started riding motorcycles and added in a heavy dose of personal experiences and observations.

In my present contract, I commute 45-50 miles a day in city traffic to/from Downtown Denver, not very enjoyable and definitely something that requires close attention!

The story had to be 1000 words in length, and at first I thought: "Wow, that's a lot of writing"!  Turns out, I generated over 1400 words total and still felt there was stuff missing from the article!

Oh, and yes, they do pay me to write these articles.  So along with exposure as a moto-writer, there's a little money to buy tires and gas.  Bonus!

My first article with is now online:

picture source:

The colorful graphics were generated by's in-house artist based on sketches I sent in along with the article.

Jesse also recently said they'd be interested in other articles as well, so we'll see how far this particular writing gig goes.