Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Slew of Sunsets to finish off October

Here's a compilation of sunset pictures that we enjoyed here in the Great and overcrowded State of Colorado; since our return from our Glamping trip to South Dakota.

It's really only the Metro Denver area that is crowded beyond the capacities of its aging infrastructure, I know, but sometimes it seems the whole state is filling up.

Still, the sunsets lately have been pretty nice, with one being exceptional in its colors....

Oct 23

Oct 24

Oct 27
The setting sun's light seems to spill over the foothills 

Oct 28

Oct 29

Update: Nov 01, adding photos from the Halloween Sunset: Oct 31.

 Denver Skyline

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Like Father like Son?

Back in 2009, I was working in the garage and my youngest son Miles who was 9 at the time, was "helping" me.

Back then, it was Maria, my 2004 BMW R1150RT, that was my sole motorcycle.

After we buttoned her up, Miles asked about being able to ride a motorcycle...even though he couldn't reach the pegs on Maria.

The full details here on the blog link:  LINK

Since then, I'd not given the above conversation much thought.  When asked about riding by Miles after he'd gotten his driving license, I told him: Make it through two years of car driving without an accident and we'll see.

Well, it's been over two years and no accidents per se.  His car has been hit twice, in a minor manner, in parking lots but that doesn't count.

So this past Sunday, Miles swung a leg over a motorcycle at the Basic Rider Course given by T3RG; the same folks who trained me over 11 years ago.

Here's some snippets from Monday, when I stopped by before lunch:

Dang it, he can reach the pedals now....

We're now in the process of getting him his own, proper, riding gear and helmet because he will be ATGATT, or else.

Tuesday afternoon after work, Miles and I went out for a diagnostic ride.  He rode Brigitta, my '87 R80 Beemer and I followed behind him on Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol sidecar rig.  We were using the Sena intercom headsets to communicate as I gave him instructions and advise when needed.

I wanted to see how well he'd absorbed the material from the BRC and I must say he did pretty well actually.  Some rookie mistakes but nothing major and he learned a few things I think.

Best of all, he didn't drop Brigitta!

More such rides to follow, both to increase his and my confidence levels on his ability to ride safely.  We're looking for his own motorcycle of course, something at 500cc or a bit lower for insurance and power purposes.

He wore my regular riding gear until we get him his own, and he'll be sporting a full face helmet and real moto boots very soon!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fiona is back online

Spent most of Sunday, putting Fiona back together.

As a reminder, the clutch disc had failed and caused not only damage to the clutch disc but also chewed up the input shaft splines from the Russian gearbox.

Link to previous posting:  LINK

The repair parts had all shown up while I was out on the last RV trip with my loving wife Martha.  It was just a matter of putting things back together.

The gearbox was easier to put together, once I had the right input shaft!  Turns out what I thought was a "spare" 650 Ural gearbox, was actually a 750 gearbox and so using the input shaft from that "spare" wouldn't work.

For future reference, I will need the input shaft with the 20 teeth in the 4th gear and 17 teeth in the third gear.  The 750 gearbox input shaft has 21 teeth and 18 teeth in the corresponding gears.

So I found the correct replacement from Gene at Holopaw Ural and he sent it to me with the right 4th gear installed along with corresponding front bearing.

 New (old) input shaft in place, and gearbox re-assembled.

Note: If ever replacing this input shaft, remember to remove the rear bearing collar for reuse.  Bural installed an upgraded bearing at the rear of the shaft.

Note, on this particular 650 gearbox, the spring for the kick start lever is installed from outside the case:

One has to insert the end of the spring onto the hole in the cap, then with pliers
rotate the cap counterclockwise to set the spring tension.

Following pics are for my reference later, showing the clutch components in assembly position and order:

 Pressure Plate

Clutch Plate, note the concave divot at
the center, that's where the clutch rod engages

 View of replacement clutch disc sitting on
the pressure plate

 Cover/compression plate holding everything in with old
input shaft used to align the clutch disc with the 
divot in the center of the pressure plate.

Note: above silver colored bolts are used to press the components together as they are under tension when assembled.  One then puts in the remaining 4 allen headed bolts with blue loctite, tighten them down to hold things, then remove the assembly bolts and put in last two allen head bolts to finish that task.

The installation of the gearbox, donut, clutch release assembly, final drive shaft, final drive and swing arm assembly went pretty smoothly.  It's all a very tight fit so hammers and ratchet straps are required along with patience.

Best of all, no parts left over!  :)

Now, I have the below Chiang-Jang (CJ) clutch disk with springs added for shock absorption.  I may end up removing the gearbox again to put it in, we'll see how I feel about taking everything apart again.  It's coming to me from Singapore, so not sure when it'll get here.

Update: Oct 25, got the above clutch disk,
its 6mm thicker than the /2 clutch disk and so, unusable.

In the meantime, I'll be taking Fiona around for errands and such, "breaking in" the new/old input shaft and doing a 3-4 oil changes on the gearbox until she reaches 1000km mark.

Fiona, back online and ferrying lumber from
the big box store.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Day Six of the RV Trip to South Dakota and now Wyoming.

We decided last night that since we're so close, we'd pay a visit to the Devil's Tower National Monument a couple of hours or so away from where we'd boondocked.

For the record, it proved quite windy boondocking where we did near the Badlands!  Got so windy, the RV moved enough to cause us to wake and move the slideout back in to reduce our wind signature!

We survived and after breaking camp, made it to Devil's Tower just after lunch.

The afternoon was spent relaxing a bit at the National Park Service campground within the monument's grounds.

Devil's Tower was the nation's first National Monument, designated as such by President Theodore Roosevelt.  So Wyoming holds the distinction of having the first National Park at Yellowstone and the first National Monument at Devil's Tower.

 Our view of Devil's Tower from the campground.

We picked a nice location for Umarang

The day's work completed, we rode out on Scarlett and did the loop known as The Spirit Highway.  Not too shabby a road in terms of scenery but the good stuff awaited our return back in the Devil's Tower area.

 At the scenic turnout spot just before the Devil's Tower Junction

 Near the Devil's Tower Visitor Center

At the Visitor Center Parking Lot

Of course, there's only so many views of Devil's Tower one can take before it tires both the taker and the audience of said pictures!

Back at the campground, the prospects looked pretty good for a nice sunset and boy did it turn out!

The last Pano I took before my camera's battery died.

I ran back to Umarang but failed to get there in time to snatch up my iphone to take the remainder of the beautiful sunset colors.  However, not to worry, my loving wife Martha also got some great shots of the sunset while I shot the panos:

Here's a video of the four panos that turned out alright:

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Minuteman Historic Site, more Badlands and a Sunset

After work today, we rode over to exit 131 that takes one to Cottonwood, SD.  Just after exiting the I-90 highway, one is at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. 

Here there's a visitor center with a small but well put together museum dedicated to the memory of the Minutemen squadrons once fielded by the US Air Force as part of America's Nuclear Triad.  A sobering subject to be sure, but they documented it pretty well.

 I found this map showing the missile silo locations quite 
interesting, I imagine the Russians during the Cold
War would have liked to have their hands on it, eh?

 Morbid Humor, not surprising, given the times

After the visitor center we went to the D-09 Minuteman Missile Launch site by way of the Badlands Scenic Byway, allowing us to see the whole scenic loop of which we saw but a part last evening.

Back to I-90 and exit 116: The D-09 Minuteman Missile Site was a bit of a letdown as it was the site where you can't go down and access the control center.  All you can do is walk about on top, and gaze down at a replica missile through a glass observation platform.

Martha and I then headed on back to Uma to relax for a bit until it was time for me to wander out for the sunset at the Pinnacles View Point within the Badlands National Park.  Martha stayed with Uma to relax some more and cook dinner.

 Scarlett on the cliff edge, that little white box
in the background is Umarang at our glamp site

 The pinnacles at Pinnacles View Point
about an hour before Sunset

 The Golden Hour is in play....

After the sun set, most everyone left.  There was this couple parked next to me who waited for the real colors to come out.

 At first, it was just a mild rosy glow in the skies

 Pretty suddenly, the skies basically turned to
the colors of fire with yellows turning to reds
in quick succession.

Last shot, my camera lenses just couldn't taken in
enough light to prevent a high ISO so I stopped here.

There were some deep red afterglows in the clouds above the distant horizon that my camera just couldn't capture I'm sad to report.

Still, a few pics for you to mull over, I hope you like them.

I rode home in the darkness, only seeing some deer alongside the road just before turning onto the dirt road which led to my glamping site.  I'd seen two large Bison on the way into the park, glad they'd moved elsewhere while I took pictures.