Sunday, July 31, 2016

Mount Evans Blues

In an effort to battle the recent spate of riding ennui, Scarlett and I rode out to Mount Evans as it had been almost ten months since the last time I was there for sunset pictures.

It was also, a way to ride and escape the heat, somewhat.

I left the house at 6AM and it was already 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the Metro Denver area, which took me about the normal 50 minutes to traverse using I-25 and I-70.  Fueled up in Idaho Springs and from there it was not long before I was riding past the still closed fee station for Mount Evans at 7:30 AM.

Since the road up Mount Evans is Colorado Highway 5, you technically don't have to pay to ride on it, but if you use any of the facilities then it's best to pay.

Scarlett and I rode to the top, following a couple of cagers who drove like they were scared of the edge of the road.  So that if there's no guardrails I say!  Eventually, we all got there and I distanced myself from the cagers.

 The summit sign has been upgraded.

I didn't linger in the summit parking lot after the above picture, it was time to start back down the mountain and stop where I could safely to take pictures.

Not a bad day in terms of clear skies, a bit hazy for distant mountain peaks but not bad at all.  I stopped where I could, trying for different angles this time, though I am sure the steady readers among you will find some familiar angles being used.

 The above pic shot with the monopod extended above me and
using the wifi-remote control app on the Sony camera.

 There are some lovely hairpin turns on Mount Evans Road.

 Stopped by a small pond, hoping for a good reflection but 
settled for a view of the rocks under the water surface

I titled this posting Mount Evans Blues, due to the many scenic blue graduated mountain ridges one could see today.  I hope you like them, there was definitely post-processing involved to get them to come out as they did!

 Approaching the Summit Lake Area

As you can see in the following photos, the clouds were moving in from the West, we're expecting rain in the Metro Denver area today (and we sure need it).

 View of a small cloud burst just before the foothills area I think.

Temperatures had been in the high 60s Fahrenheit while cruising up and down Mount Evans Road so I had doffed my riding jacket liner.  Once Scarlett and I safely made it back to the Metro Denver area, temperatures soared up into the low 90s and I would see the onboard thermometer report 96 degrees Fahrenheit as the high just before I got home.

However, as I rode the last few miles home, a wasp flew right up my right sleeve jacket and of course decided to sting me.  It felt like someone introduced a hot needle into my arm.  I batted at my right sleeve with my left hand and finally killed it.

Once I got home, off came the riding jacket and out came the dead culprit:

Luckily, I appear to not be too sensitive to wasp stings as the welt on my arm has not swollen up much.  I'd experience such "hot needle" stings before but not found the culprits upon stopping.  Now I know.

A good day of riding, not too many encounters with idiot cagers along the way, and nothing broke on Scarlett which is always a plus!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Hot Colorado Sunset

We're experiencing quite the heat wave here in Colorado, went out riding for a bit at mid-morning and it was already in the high 80's at that point.

Worked on Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar, disabling the parking brake on it as it appears to be causing the pusher wheel brakes to "grab" even when not engaged!  This causes performance and heat issues as you might imagine.

I followed fellow Uralista Darrell's mod, the disconnection of the parking brake cable from the lever attached to the cam on the caliper and keeping the lever in place with a bolt:

This evening, predicted a good sunset for Colorado so I rode out with Scarlett to see what we could see:

 Denver Skyline

Added the Ian overlay to bring out the colors

It was still 80 degrees Fahrenheit as we pulled into the garage after the sun had set.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Proactively replacing the main drive shaft on Fiona

Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol Sidecar with '84 BMW R80 engine, came to me with the stock drive shaft with the fine splined yoke that mates to the rubber donut.

The rubber donut is how the output shaft of the transmission, mates to the drive shaft that goes into the final drive for you non-Uralisti.  It's part number 2 in the diagram below, you can see why its called the donut right?

I'd received the updated version of the drive shaft from Randy, the premier Colorado URAL dealer, before the trip to Europe, and while I await the return of the gearbox it was time to do this work.

I would be replacing the assembly labeled as 13 in the picture above.  This would give Fiona a drive shaft with coarse splines vice the old fine ones which are reputed to strip out easily.

Parts 4-6 came assembled.  Part 7 gets mounted onto part 1, forward (closer to the gearbox) of the splines.  Part number 8, which helps keep part 1 in place when mounted onto part 8, was positioned in the middle position.

On the final drive side, I had to replace the final drive bearing nut (came with new seal) since the updated drive shaft is of a different size.  Assembly #16 below:

Disassembly was pretty straightforward, thanks to this video put out by Gobium of SovietSteeds, aka Van Le.  LINK.   You have to remember the final drive bearing nut is reverse threaded in order to remove it.

 The old shaft assembly used the castle nut/cotter pin method to secure
the wedge bolt, which secures the shaft to the final drive gear.
 The end of the old wedge bolt was flush with the assembly.

A view of the fine splined shaft's connection to the yoke
that goes into the donut.

View of the new drive shaft's coarse splines, tougher hopefully
than the fine splines.

Part #21, Final Drive Gear, came out with the old FD bearing nut but I was able to reinsert it with no issues.

Fiona's FD came with three shims as shown above.
I reused these with the new drive shaft.

I made a note to make sure I put the side of the new wedge bolt
with the tapered cut facing the FD.

Once you've got the new u-joint and bearing nut in place and tightened, you insert the wedge bolt with tapered side facing the FD gear and tap it into place  You insert it so that the threaded end finishes opposite the raised end shown in the above picture.

 The new u-joint assembly mated onto the final drive and secured by the new 
bearing nut, note how I made sure the end of the wedge bolt is flush or damn near.

The new drive shaft assembly uses a Nyloc nut to hold the
wedge bolt in place.

I'll be cleaning up the old drive shaft assembly and parts and keep it as a "get me home" spare.  Now all I need is the repaired gearbox (its awaiting delivery of better rear bearing for input shaft) and I'll be ready to put Fiona back together and on the road once again.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The 2016 United Sidecar Association Rally in Hotchkiss, CO

I attended this year's USCA National Rally held in Hotchkiss, CO.  Quite the mellow but enjoyable event, with a varied and extensive showing of sidecar rigs of several makes and models.  Of course, Ural sidecar rigs made a respectable showing as well!

Most of the attendees camped in the Delta County Fairgrounds where water/coffee/tea and lemonade were provided 24x7 and we got fed Breakfast and Dinner on Saturday.  Good grub and there was even musical entertainment!

On Friday, went for a late lunch/ride with Dan Kearney and Randy Fritch (Colorado's premier URAL dealer) to a place near Crawford, Colorado.  Afterwards, we checked out a canyon road recommended to them by Dana Williams, the organizer of the rally for this year.

 Dan K. and Randy F.

 Dan's motorcycle and Randy's and my rig wait for us at the top
of the cliff's edge.

The gravel was quite large and loose along this road, made
for some interesting turns if one didn't slow down.

CCJon, from Riding the Horizon fame attended the rally and brought along his spiffy new KLR Sidecar Rig: The Grey Phantom:

CCJon's Grey Phantom

photo courtesy Jay B.

Jon graciously let me do a test ride of his rig, and it was great!  Good power, handled well, stopped well and I am sure it'll do his planned ride through South America with ease!  This KLR sidecar option may be something worth looking into, don't you think?

This morning we had the Top Dog Parade of Hack Dogs, riders and their dogs lined up for a quick parade and the winner was voted on by the rally attendees.  This year, the winner was Newt, Mr C.O.B.'s dog pictured below with Dave Hooker, aka Mr COB.

Newt and Dave Hooker aka Mr. COB

 Met Scott, a Denver area Uralista with a cool Retro sidecar rig
with a rather skinny monkey.

Since there's not many sidecar related things cooler than a dog in a sidecar, here's some of the other contestants from this morning:

 courtesy of  Tim Laughlin
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

There was a "show and shine" competition, but I missed it as I was helping set up for the sidecar games portion of the rally.

The games ended up consisting of two events:  Sidecar Jousting and Blindfold Obstacle Course.

The jousting event involved negotiating gates formed by traffic cones, which forced the rigs to do slalom turns and then at last second line up for an attempt to spear through and collect three colored rings.  The course was on loose soil which made it that much more challenging.  We didn't do it as a timed event though, people get too "competitive".  The three teams that gathered all three rings were then lined up in front of the audience in the stands and clapping determined who won.

Tehya and Tim in "Dad Plaid"
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

yep, that's a Burgman

courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

courtesy of  Scott Kirkwood

 courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

 courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

 Liz and Dave Springer
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

 Deana and Jay
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin (great angle shot Tim!)

 Tie-breaker runs involved spearing a plastic cup and keeping
it speared on the "lance" until the point was raised fully 90 degrees.
Here's Deana and Jay
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

The second event involved blindfolding the sidecar rig driver, and the monkey passenger issued directions to negotiate a series of traffic cone gates and slalom course.  It was quite the interesting experience, driving Scarlett, my 2014 Patrol Sidecar rig without being able to see, while fellow Uralista Dan Kearney issued instructions from the sidecar.  Alas, we didn't make it into the finals.  In fact, when we swapped places and Dan did the driving, he had trouble hearing me and we ended up running over three of the cones!

BMW 1200C with sidecar in the Blindfold Obstacle Event

 Tim L. and his daughter Tehya

 Yours truly and Dan Kearney,
after our "amusing" performance
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

Deana and Jay on the Blindfolded Obstacle course
courtesy of  Tim Laughlin

 Deana and Jay pose as the victors of the jousting competition
striking respective poses much to the delight of the audience.

 A cool trailer spotted at the rally, towed by a Goldwing Trike

Sunday morning saw the whole fairground abuzz with packing up activities by the rally attendees.  I grabbed some coffee and a donut and broke camp with minimal fuss.  Goodbyes and final chats were done all around, and then Dan Kearny and I headed out together to ride back towards Denver.

One small issue after a few miles though, the pusher wheel's brake pads grabbed the disc and caused me to lose power again.  I'd adjusted it out before but apparently there's more to the issue.  I pulled into a gas station's parking lot and removed the parking brake bracket and spring, completely disabling the parking brake....I was then able to push the rig back and forth, before, I couldn't.

Backed out the adjustment nut as much as I could and basically had very little pusher brake capability, but the front brake would do fine for the rest of the ride.

Near the summit of McClure Pass on CO 133.

Capable of 55 mph+ again, we rode towards Carbondale where we tanked up with fuel.  Dan K. then showed me the turn for another Cottonwood Pass, or County Road 113 which would take us up and down for several miles, most of it dirt, and only one wrong turn to the town of Gypsum, thereby bypassing the slog to Glenwood Springs and quite a bit of I-70 super slab.

The view we saw when we made the wrong turn, great mistake eh?

We got on US6 and rode parallel to the I-70 Super Slab from Gypsum to the town of EagleVail where we stopped for lunch.  

Lunch over with, we got on the I-70 slab and rode it to a traffic jam about 3 miles west of the Eisenhower Tunnel which crosses the Continental Divide.  We crept forward in the hot sun, along with a million cars it seemed until about a mile from the tunnel when Scarlett stalled and I pushed her to the side of the road since she was overheating.  Dan's motorcycle was overheating a bit too, in spite of being a water-cooled motorcycle so that should give you an idea of the conditions we were riding in.

Perhaps 10 minutes later, Scarlett had cooled down enough and we joined the slow moving mass of vehicles inching our way to the tunnel.  We made it there with no further issue and we then rode mostly "downhill" from the Divide, with a couple of additional slow downs, to the Georgetown exit where I got more fuel.

We stayed on frontage roads from Georgetown, avoiding the I-70 slab all the way to Idaho Springs where I parted ways from Dan K who would be taking the Virginia Canyon Road from Idaho Springs towards Blackhawk where he lives in the mountains.

I got back on I-70 and traffic cooperated all the way back to the Denver Metro area where temperatures reached over 99 degrees Fahrenheit at this point!  It was a long hot slog at 55 mph along C-470 and the E-470 toll road but Scarlett and I made it back home by 4:30PM with no further issues and no heat stroke on my part.

I called the Ural Dealer, Randy, and we made plans for him to consult with URAL either tomorrow or Tuesday and coordinate a time when I can take the rig up to him to perhaps replace the pusher brake caliper or the brake master cylinder or both, hopefully under warranty.

I also need to replace the front wheel bearings it seems but that task I can do myself I think in the next day or so.

Scarlett went over 38K kilometers during this rally's riding.  About 500 miles of riding total.

Note: I hope to add more photos from other Uralisti as they find time to process what they shot....will advise via a comment.

Here's a great video from CCJon, his blog is here:  LINK