Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pikes Peak in Winter

As I had to work this past Saturday, my boss agreed to let me have half a day as comp time. So I spent this time riding over to nearby Pikes Peak and checking out how it looks during Winter time with snow just about everywhere and clear skies overhead. Perfect.

At Crystal Reservoir, with a view of the top of Pikes Peak

On a clear day....

Just have to be careful not to get too close to the edge!

The requisite sign picture at the summit
Man, it was cold up there, windy and 21°F (-6 °C) 
The strong winds up top made the cold feel like knives cutting through....

A distant view of the peaks forming the Continental Divide

Closer views of the nearby peaks, while sitting next to the
US Army Weather Lab Building

Looking back towards the visitor center at the summit

The view one sees as one exits the summit parking lot area

I believe the above is near the last hairpin turn before the summit

Approaching Devil's Playground

Approaching the Bottomless Pit Overlook

At the Bottomless Pit Overlook.

I started having battery issues around this point.  I had to use the emergency battery start to jump start Fiona.  She seemed OK after that, I could see the voltmeter reporting 13+ volts when the RPMs were at least 2000.  So I took the remaining shots while leaving the rig running.

A view of the road's curves

At the Rock Pile

Rock Pile

Last shot before battery completely died on Fiona

As I was taking the above shot, I didn't hear Fiona's engine cut out due to the battery level now being too low to sustain ignition.  At least that's my theory since voltages were below 6V per the volt meter!  Arrgghh.

I drained the emergency battery startup unit and it wasn't enough to bring voltage up to about 11V which is apparently minimum required to sustain ignition.

What to do, what to do?

Leaving the emergency battery hooked up (mostly for luck I think), I held in the clutch and turn off the ignition so no lights on the rig.  I coasted down the mountain, watching the voltmeter slowly, ever so slowly, rise to 11.0 volts.  Not being able to use engine braking, the brakes got pretty warm on Fiona!

As the battery got to that voltage, I reached a point in the road where it was no longer sloping down.  I engaged the choke and the engine started and stayed on after the second attempt with the starter!  Yay.

I kept the revs high as I cruised on down the remainder of the mountain road, and while the engine was running, felt some misses on acceleration.  It would take me several minutes and clearing the Pikes Peak fee station before I realized I'd left the choke on!  Doh.  The misses went away after I turned off the choke, go figure.

I made it back to the RV site at Cheyenne Mountain State Park with no further issues and Fiona is now on the CTEK battery charger getting replenished.

My theory is that the cold up at the summit, coupled with my many stops for pictures, zapped the battery.  More testing to be done of course but I'd hate to think this particular battery has gone bad, it's not even a year old!  More to follow on this.


RichardM said...

Really nice pictures of Pikes Peak. Some fabulous views. One of these days....

On the BMW with the original alternator, I usually turned off all electric 'frills' (heated gear, heated grips, extra lights, etc) when pulling into the university as it doesn't really charge at lower RPM. When pulling into the parking lot, I usually even turned off the headlight. If I didn't do this, the battery usually barely had enough to start when it was cold. The Odyssey battery helped as did the group 24 car battery but nothing helped as much as the new alternator. Now it even at idle it is almost even (generating as much as it uses). By 2K rpm, it's almost at full output.

Thomas Osburn said...

I am sure you did not have too much traffic to deal with :) I love the photo of the road from the overlook above. I have ridden up 3 times all in the summer. I hope you take time to eat at the Hungry Bear in Woodland Park. You will not be disappointed.

Charlie6 said...

RichardM, such a weak alternator, but I knew that....which one did you replace it with?

I am going to outfit a switch on the aux light on the sidecar side to kill it when taking pictures for now.

Thomas Osburn, that particular angle is very popular for motorcycle riders to gaze at....go figure. The Hungry Bear eh?

Troy R. Bennett said...

Oh man, what a story. Gotta get a working parking break so you can let it idle while you shoot your shots.

Anonymous said...

Excellent images Dom! You're brave riding up there in those temps, but those pictures sure paid off. Nicely done!

RichardM said...

I replaced it with the 450 watt Enduralast one with the permanent magnet rotor sold by that shop in Denver. No more diode board or brushes and the voltage regulator and rectifiers are in a cooler spot away from the engine.

Charlie6 said...

Troy, the parking brake worked fine to hold the rig in place on the steep parts....trouble is the alternator on the beemer engine is anemic, a throttle lock to keep the revs up would have helped. There's an upgrade alternator in Fiona's future I think.

Motoventures, don't know about brave, on three wheels its not hard. There were patches of ice-covered roads that would have given me pause on two wheels. Thanks.

The Naked Truth said...

I think the shot that you so accurately labeled "A view of the road's curves" is known as the "W". Ballsy ride! Great photos of the Sangre de Cristo range.

Charlie6 said...

Naked Truth, thanks...not sure its that "ballsy" when on three wheels. :)

Thanks for ID'ing the Sangre de Cristo range for me on the pics.

Bike Financer said...

Fantastic Images,

Beautiful scenes, combines my two favourite things, snow and bikes.

Not sure how comfortable I would be riding in those conditions.