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.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

More Boondocking near Penrose, CO

Spent the morning mostly relaxing around the RV, doing some minor chores while it was overcast outside and a bit windy.

The dawn, which I was once again up before, was not bad.  Rather than replicate Friday's results though, I shot the sunrise though the right side window of the URRV:

The main chore this morning was the changing of the oil on the Onan 4KW generator.  I'm doing it every 50 hours and I was actually late with this one, as the hour meter read 153 hours.

No major difficulties except for not having a 9/16" socket for the drain plug....rode into Penrose (9) miles away to get one from the hardware store.  The new socket will become part of the onboard tools I carry for the RV I guess.  Must also find the right Torx wrench for the drain plug hole cover plate.

Didn't make too much of a mess, in spite of the wind catching the last few streams of old oil as it fell into the drain pan.

More relaxing after a leisurely lunch.  The sun had come out shortly before noon so it was quite enjoyable.  Then I got the text I'd been waiting on.  Just before 3:00 PM I heard from Garth L, a fellow Uralista who lives near Penrose.

We arranged to meet at the gate to Skyline drive in Cañon City at 4:00 PM so I geared up and got there a few minutes ahead of them.  Just as well as the road was blocked by a police car.  Seems some hiker had taken a fall or something and they were conducting rescue operations.

By around 4:20 PM, all was cleared and we were allowed up the road.

Garth with his wife Nancy

Garth then led the way through town, with a short stop at the NAPA store for me to get some oil for Fiona, then we went to the Coyote's Coffee Den on CO 115 in Penrose.

We chatted for a bit, had a drink and talked about times past and future plans.  Garth is getting a hip replacement operation on Monday so he'll not be doing much riding for the next three months or so.

My thanks to Nancy and Garth for coming out to ride with me, here's hoping Monday's surgery goes without a hitch!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Boondocking near Penrose, CO

Oct 25:

Had an appointment at the Veterans Center located on the grounds of the former Lowery AFB, now a gentrified neighborhood and home to the Wings over the Rockies Museum.

I'd shown up an hour too early (early onset of dementia probably) so I had some time to kill.

I rode Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with an '84 R80 Beemer engine over to the museum and my eyes were drawn to a new (to me anyways) structure.

A rocket ship!  I thought at first it was some new feature of the air museum but no, its just an ice cream shop, though quite effective in drawing one's attention.

I got home by 11:30 AM or so, hurriedly packed up Fiona with stuff for the URRV and then headed on to the RV Storage Yard to get Umarang ready for a few days of boondocking!

I didn't leave the storage yard till just shy of 2:00 PM but still made it to the boondocking site just shy of 4:00 PM!  The BLM spot is known as Penrose Commons BLM and is used by campers, ATVs, dirt bikes and yours truly.

Typical Colorado High Desert Plains terrain, it's got some pretty rough trails that I'd had issues with on a previous trip!

Got set up and pretty much had the place to myself.  One other RV was a few hundred feet away and we left each other alone.  Below campsite photos taken the next morning.

After getting camp set up and eating dinner, no time for riding for a sunset spot but it turned out fine as I'd picked an excellent spot to view the day's sunset with no riding to be done:

After a quiet night, I woke early enough to catch Friday's Sunrise:

 a little artsy shot for you

Spent most of the day, getting fasteners from nearby Florence, CO and re-attaching the mud flap assembly for the passenger side rear wheel well.  What a PITA it turned out to be.

Still not quite finished, but must wait till I return home for the right tools to fully secure the flaps.  I think the sucker will stay on till then.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Mid-Week Sunset on the Front Range

It's been a busy couple of days.

Replacing the valve stem extenders for the duallie tires that were replaced (salvaged one from the old tire) and re-programming the tire sensors, after receiving the new one from Amazon.

Got Uma, the URRV, through emissions testing.

Tested the new generator, it can power the microwave (without anything else using power) but can't power the AC unit.

Based on the replacement cost of the one tire pressure sensor ($42), I think I'll be installing back on the anti-theft devices on the sensors.  Not really very effective in terms of stopping them from being stolen, but just making it more difficult for the casual thief I suppose.

Wednesday's sunset was pretty good:

I had been listening, by chance, to John Denver's song: Rocky Mountain High and as I took the below pic, the line "I've seen it raining fire in the sky", played....

 "Fire in the Sky" indeed