Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A new battery for Scarlett and lunchtime ride's views of Mount Evans

Went to start Scarlett's engine at around 9AM for a quick ride to snap some pics of Mount Evans while the conditions were clear....but when I pressed the starter button all I heard underneath the seat was a "klunk".


No lights whatsoever when the ignition switch was on, and I noticed the voltmeter (which is hooked up directly to the battery) would turn off.  It usually stays on (consuming very little energy).  Hmmm.

Removed the seat (minor PITA), swapped out each relay in turn with a new one.  Nada, no lights.

Finally thought to put a meter on the battery, it would register 12.6 volts with nothing on, then drop to 4.6 volts when I turned the ignition on.  Dammit.

So I removed the battery (another minor PITA), put it in Fiona's sidecar and rode to the local auto parts store.  It registered 4.5 volts at their store, so their tool couldn't test it.  But we both figured it was toast, $114 later, I was enroute home with a new battery, this time an AGM battery with 310 Cold Cranking Amps.

I installed the new battery, added cushioning pads under and behind and to one side of it.  Secured all the wiring that I loosened to do troubleshooting and Scarlett cranked right up at the hit of the starter button!  Sigh.

By now it was lunchtime and the usual hazy conditions had moved in with the temperature.  It had soared to 46°F (7°C) so no need for heated grips!  The sun was warm upon me as I rode to the same area I rode to yesterday.

The snow was gone from the roads, leaving just muddy conditions.

 Mount Evans

The battery had been replaced back in DEC of 2016 so it almost lasted me two years.  I guess I must be hard on batteries, perhaps stopping and starting too much while taking pictures.

Monday, November 12, 2018

23rd Anniversary and a Snow Ride

Today marks 23 years since my loving wife Martha and I got married at my parent's home in California.

Yes folks, she's put up with me for 23 years, the woman should be sainted!

Here's a pic of the happy day, what the photo doesn't show was the nervous tic I had on my right eye....

I am sad to report, I recently tried to put on the Dress Blues jacket I wore at the wedding, and it doesn't fit any more.  Go figure!

We woke to light snow here in the Metro Denver area, but by 9AM the skies were clear and the sun was out.  We had perhaps 3 inches of snow accumulation and naturally I hurried out to take pics before the snow all melted away.

It was a brisk 17°F (-8°C) as Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig and I rode out on snow-packed roads to the nearby ranching community where I hoped to find snow covered landscapes.

Sadly, the clouds were still hiding the mountains to the west so no views of the Rocky Mountains.  I did get nicely snow-packed/covered roads though and with the occasional slip and slide, meandered about for these pics:\

Temperatures had soared to 19°F (-7°C) by the time I turned Scarlett towards home, there was work to be done of course.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Sunrise in Penrose and Scarlett is back on the road!

Tuesday, November 6, Election Day.

Woke early as usual, and decided to capture the sunrise even though there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

A look at the secluded campsite, nice but
not very level.  

Martha had reported the washing machine had gone on the fritz.  So after a short hike nearby, I packed up and headed on home.

Based on the diagnostics, the CCU (the brains of the machine) isn't making a clicking noise when power is plugged in so it has to be replaced.  Given the fact that the washer and dryer are over 14 years old, and I'd been putting off the replacement of the rubber seal for the door....Martha and I decided to replace both units.

Best to do it now while I'm still employed eh?

Wednesday, November 7

While the talking heads and politically-incline populace either wailed and gnashed their teeth or jumped for joy depending on the votes; I replaced the failed u-joint on Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol.

It wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be but it still went pretty well.  I am sure if I did j-joint replacement often, I would be better at it but in the end its in place and spins freely.

New U-Joint or Cardan holding the two parts
of the drive shaft assembly together.

The above picture is to prove I'd pumped in new grease (red stuff) into the u-joint before installing it onto the motorcycle.

Took Scarlett out for a short test ride and am happy to write that she rode just fine, and the new u-joint stayed in place in spite of my ham-fisted mechanical skills.

Next up is Fiona, she needs new pushrod tube seals on her Beemer Engine.  I'm attending an Airhead Tech Day this Saturday to review the procedure of removing the heads to get at the seals.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Camping again at Boyd Lake State Park and later Boondocking again in Penrose

This past weekend, I drove the URRV towing Fiona, the '99 Bural with the Beemer engine to Boyd Lake State Park.  Martha was attending a nursing conference in nearby Loveland, CO so we decided to make it a camping weekend.

The weekend was cold and windy, not very enjoyable in terms of outside activities.

I did go riding out to Pinewood Reservoir as I did same time last year but no pictures really came out, I suggest you look at last year's post for pics if you wish.  LINK.

We did get a nice sunrise on Sunday:


While we did have a good time camping, I felt the need for more so after Martha left me to return home in her car, I headed south on the I-25 superslab, through the cesspool that is Denver, the secondary cesspool that is Colorado Springs and onto CO Hwy 115 towards Penrose, CO.

Monday, I rode back down to the spot I found in the earlier Penrose trip and got the one shot I missed the last time:

Instead of retracing my route along Fremont County Road 3 however, I continued westward on this road, negotiating about three technical spots in terms of road conditions but otherwise, not a bad road....just not maintained apparently!

After one wrong turn which ended up at a locked gate, I found County Road 3A and junctioned with US50 soon enough.

I road back towards town and got off at the turn for Skyline Drive to get some shots while there was little to no traffic, it being a Monday and all.

This viewpoint is near the big star installed by
the town at the top of the ridge.  That's Skyline
Drive as you look towards the North.

New campsite in Penrose BLM
Secluded but not very level.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Boondocking Sunrise and a Mechanical Failure that turned out to be not too bad.

Monday, Oct 30.

Woke earlier than the alarm, and was having my first sip of coffee when I glanced out the window and saw the beginnings of a great red sunrise.

I hurriedly got my tripod and camera and positioned myself to capture these:

I left the Penrose BLM site at a bit past Noon after having found and checked out the next spot I'll use when I return, soon.  It's much more secluded and away from the ATV traffic than the site I used this past week.

Tuesday:  Halloween Eve

I rode Scarlett, my 2014 Patrol over to Westminster for a couple of appointments with a VA Veteran's Administration medical contractors.  Having my hearing confirmed as bad and check of the right ankle.

On the way there, Scarlett started making rattling noises when I would let off on the throttle to slow down in traffic or shift down gears.  Oh Oh.

Lots of scenarios ran through my head:  such as something inside the gearbox (which had been rebuilt by the legendary Sergei of Ural HQ over two years ago), or the clutch plate splines were starting to shear away, or after talking to Randy the Ural dealer in Loveland, CO; the bearings on the alternator coupling were going.

I got through the appointments with no issues and headed on home, hoping to make it there without a breakdown and having to be towed on a day when snow was expected!

The rattling noises would come on deceleration and shifting gears, getting more often and louder as the ride progressed.  Two blocks from the house, it became almost a constant rattling noise (similar to when you hard brake using rear brakes on loose soil when coming down a mountain trail).

But, she got me home!

After a late lunch and calming of the nerves, I steeled myself to go out and uncouple the gearbox from the engine case to examine the damage to what I now thought was failed clutch plate splines.

I was doing a closer look at the drive train and notice some unusual movement at the main driveshaft's u-joint.  Getting a flash light I saw that the u-joint had broken off along one axis!  No idea how it managed to stay in there and keep the two halves of the drive shaft coupled together to drive the final drive and get me home!

I took off the pusher wheel, the final drive, and cleaned things up for these pics:

 The u-joint caps are still in place!
You can still rotate the remnant of the 
u-joint which sheared apart.

 One axis remained intact

Note the damage from where I think a portion
of the failed u-joint or perhaps the drive shaft fork
impacted the final drive fork.

Randy, my Ural dealer in Loveland, CO had the part on hand fortunately (it's a Russian U-Joint, apparently not available here through regular auto parts store outlets).  

He'll send it to me soonest, only $18 instead of what I was projecting in terms of if I was lucky, replacing clutch plates and if I was unlucky, having to repair a gearbox!

I hope to have Scarlett back on the road by the weekend Monday next week, the dealer forgot to mail it out and since I'm headed his way for camping.....I'll pick up the part from him instead.

Note: This particular u-joint lasted well over 58,000 km.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Penrose Boondocking, Sunday: Temple Canyon Park and a ride to Silver Cliff, CO


Not a bad sunrise this morning, my last full day of camping here in the Penrose Commons BLM area.

Soon after breakfast cleanup, I headed on out to check out the camping sites at the Temple Canyon Park located SW of Cañon City on CR3.  The road was quite doable by an RV, in spite of some tight turns as one nears the park.  However, the road turns to shit inside the park!

You go through BLM land on the way to the park, and I saw a couple of sites with campers in them.  I got 2 bars LTE via Verizon whenever I checked.  Still, not a lot of sites and some of them, the rigs within, seemed to have been there quite over the normal 14 day limit!

Once you're in the park, it's like the city has forgotten about the park and no maintenance has been done on the road.  Not usable by Uma, the URRV!  Still, I rode on in and meadered about, not bad sites and I even found a small trailer and pickup truck camped at the end of the camping loop.

 View of the Canyon Wall's rock formations from within
Temple Canyon Park.

 A view of the Cañon City valley from near the entrance
to Temple Canyon Park.

Once back on BLM land, I explored a side trail which led to several tent sized camp sites, all kind of riding on top of narrow ridges.  Pretty cool locations actually.

Here's the view from the one I parked Fiona on, with a great view towards Cañon City through the canyon rock walls.

Soon enough, it was time to head back towards Cañon City, here's some pictures of the road one traverses:

 Yep, some swine had dumped their old furniture at
this spot, what a dirtbag some people are.

Back in the city, I took CR 143, aka Oak Creek Grade, which takes one SW through a small mountain range between Cañon City and Westcliffe, CO.  It's about 28 miles of mountain roads, twists and turns, up and down slopes which keep one's speed down to about 30 most of the time.  Figure an hour to do this trip.

The road becomes CR255 once you cross into Custer County.  Within the mountain range itself, the area is part of the San Isabel National Forest.

As one nears the city of Silver Cliff (which is just east of Westcliffe), one can see nice views of the eastern faces of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Sorry for the hazy look, the light was pretty terrible this time of day when I took the shots.


The valley one traverses on the way to Silver Cliff was explored originally by Zebulon Pike:

There appears to be open range/BLM land to the west of Silver Cliff but I'll have to check the maps.  There sure weren't any fences!

I finally got to Silver Cliff, found a gas station and filled out for the return trip, retracing the route I'd just rode into town on.

 The outskirts of Silver Cliff

I swear, there's a ten degree temperature differential between the valley where Silver Cliff is located and the valley that Cañon City is on!  It was breezy and chilly with temperatures in the low to mid 60s on the west side of the mountain range between these two cities and low to mid 70s on the eastern side!

I figure the small mountain range between serves as a shield wall of sorts for the westerly winds?

View of the Cañon City valley from atop the road
just before you leave the San Isabel National Forest.