Monday, December 31, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 34: Happy New Year

We broke camp this morning and drove into Sun City, AZ to spend the next couple of days or so visiting Martha's father: Richard.

Here's the last sunrise for 2018:

Here's the usual video of pictures from throughout 2018, I hope you like it.

Total mileage ridden in 2018: 11,837 miles broken down by motorcycle:

Scarlett:  Ending odometer reading 61,056.  9449 Km or 5669 Miles

Brigitta ('87 BMW R80): Ending Odometer 100,453.  739 Miles (worse than last year)

Fiona: Ending odometer: 10,104 4674 (odometer replaced at 19777), 5429 km or 3257 miles.

RV Stats:

We went glamping with Umarang, the URRV, for 127 days (34.7% of the year). 

She took us Utah, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California and several spots around the great state of Colorado.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 33: Wickenburg and Vulture City

Mellow day today, Martha and I rode Scarlett about 60 miles to the tourist town of Wickenburg.

Temperatures were in the high 40s as we wandered about for a bit, checking the shops that interested Martha and some of the sights.  Alas, not much picture taking was done, but I did get one of the Jail Tree:

The Jail Tree

Wickenburg was one of the towns I visited a little over a year ago while I was in Arizona to help take care of my FIL:  LINK

We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant and then headed the almost 12 miles south of town to Vulture City.  This is the site of a collection of buildings and mining equipment that sprung up in support of the Vulture Mine.

The Vulture Mine's gold played a large part in the formation of Phoenix apparently and the development of Arizona as well.  

Now, it's a collection of ramshackle buildings and many assorted rusted pieces of mining equipment laying about in a sometimes seemingly random fashion.  You've really got to love mining equipment and old time buildings to get your $15 entry fee's worth I think.

According to one sign I read somewhere today, Henry Wickenburg, the one who discovered the gold initially, found the rich vein protruding from the ground when he went to retrieve a vulture he'd just shot down.  Talk about luck!

 Water tank and hoist machinery

 Martha poses at the clerk's window of the Wells Fargo Post

 Weekly Weigh-in

 Lots of rusting machinery, this one caught my eye to
to its name: Hit or Miss Motor.

 You can view the insides of the Assayer's building and
the location where the gold and silver bars were stored.

 That's Henry Wickenburg's house and in front of it is
the Hanging Tree which served as punishment for several.

 I wonder, if back in the day, they actually
had a sign at the brothel....?

 The brothel's front was the only building in
the site that had painted wall paneling....


 Seen at the Blacksmith Shop, this item reminded
me of a Ural's transmission input splines.

 The job of the blacksmith was to produce the drill bits
used to bore holes for explosives.  I believe this is the 
machine where the tips were formed.

Back we went retracing our route back to the URRV.  Temperatures had soared into the mid 50s by this point so it felt warmer in the sun.

Seemingly unnamed rock formation just before
Saddle Mountain

As sunset approached, I got a picture of Scarlett with the sun in just the right position.  I'd dropped the phone here you see, taking the previous picture and once I realized it, had hurried back.....found the phone OK and got the picture.

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 32 Travel Day to Tonopah, AZ

Dec 29

We displaced from the Needle Mountain Road BLM area this morning and headed east and south towards a BLM area I'd boondocked in last year.  Its south of Tonopah, AZ, lots of space, found a smoother road in (last year I picked the worst possible road apparently) and joined the several RVs already onsite.

Along the way, we dumped tanks and took on water at the Cattails Cove State Park along US 95.  $15 and the attendant made sure to tell us that this did NOT include showers.

We also gassed up both in terms of gasoline and propane at the junction of I-40 and US95.

Got to the Tonopah site shortly after noon and set up with no issues:

We then went for a hike later in the afternoon, warm and breezy...a bit chilly in the shadows but definitely warmer than the last couple of days.

In the area, we also found a burned down Class A RV, it must have happened recently because you could still smell the smoke the fire caused!  The plates don't expire till 2020 so the poor owners had recently renewed them I think.

Another picture of Uma, the URRV and Scarlett

Sunset was very mild, no clouds in the sky to reflect the sun as it went west ....

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Day 31: Oatman, AZ and its Burros

After a leisurely breakfast and after Martha returned from the truck stop 7 miles away where she got herself a Truck Stop Shower....we headed out in two vehicles towards Oatman, AZ about 26 miles away.

It was very windy and I was having to concentrate and react constantly to strong gusts of winds that threatened to blow Scarlett to one side or other of the road.

Martha was driving the rental car, as this ride was a further test of my repairs yesterday.  I'm happy to report all is well on those.

We got into town right after three large busloads to tourists had just departed so the timing was perfect!

Oatman is a definite tourist trap, with lots of knick-knacks following either the US66 motif or what the town is known for: it's Burros.  They wander loose in the town apparently and in the surrounding area.

Feed me!

The strong winds continued to blow through time, adding an extra chill to the air which kept us from staying too long.  

We wandered about, checking out the signage designed to lure tourists in to peruse their wares.

The dollar-covered interior of a diner in town.  There were dollar bills everywhere, to include the ceiling....

The town's hotel's claim to fame was the fact that actor Clark Gable and wife Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon there.  One can view the rather rustic "budoir" they used during their stay.  Apparently Clark Gable liked the place for the peace and atmosphere and liked to play cards with the local miners.

As more and more tourists drove into town, we drove out, retracing our route back towards I-40.

 A few miles south of Oatman, a view of the 
hills and rock formations

We stopped in the small town of Golden Shores to gas up and to capture the requisite shot of having ridden on a portion of US 66:

The wind would continue to howl at us as we made our way east to Lake Havasu City to return the rental car since Scarlett seems to be OK once again.

We had lunch in that town and then returned to the campsite where I learned how to and used the onboard water pump to fill the fresh water tank from water containers.  Handy, no need to move the URRV to water, just ferry tanks around.

It was a rather mild sunset tonight, the play of lights amount the distant hills was interesting though.

 The distant yet distinctive hills near Oatman, AZ

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Southwestern Sojourn - Days 29 & 30: Travel Day and Scarlett breaks at the London Bridge

Wednesday Dec 26

After we dropped off Patrick at the airport in Las Vegas, Martha and I were quite fed up with Las Vegas and its crowds and traffic.

Instead of waiting till Thursday, we packed up the URRV soon as we got back to it and headed south on US95 towards Lake Havasu.

Soon, we were finally back within the confines of Arizona's border and had found a boondocking spot off of exit 4 on eastbound I-40.  There were at least five or six more RVs already camped out in the area but we got a good spot pointed at the winds which were blowing quite strongly.

Sunset proved nice:

Thursday Dec 27

Today the plan was to go into Lake Havasu City to stock up on supplies and check out the London Bridge.  Yep, the London Bridge which used to span the Thames River in London. 

You probably know, but it proved to low for modern river traffic and instead of just being demolished, it was sold and taken to Arizona brick by brick and reassembled there as a tourist attraction.

As we neared the bridge, I noted that Scarlett was having some difficulty shifting gears so I thought that once again I had to adjust the slack on the clutch cable.  It had been happening often lately, this need for tightening.

Try as I might, I couldn't get it to adjust this time.  After a lot of head scratching and testing, I decided to check the clutch release rod (it pushes against the clutch plate to disengage the clutch) and its components.

I found that the rear tip of the clutch release rod (1), which inserts onto the "top hat" (4) had somehow seized within the rod tip and heated enough to melt and eventually shear off inside the rod tip.  Who knows how long it's been that way....but it does explain why I had to frequently adjust the clutch cable's tightness as it wore down more and more where it contacted the clutch release rod!

 Left: the spare rod tip, right: the rod tip with part of
the clutch release rod fused and sealing the opening.

 The old rod, note the worn down and ground down
tip on the right and closeup below.
There was also some were on the square tip end.

There is also supposed to be a rubber seal to keep 
oil from splashing into the clutch assembly.
It was completely gone.

Being an experienced, and thereby pessimistic, Ural rider.  I had a spare clutch release rod and rod tip!  There was some problem removing the old components, which had poor Martha walking to the various nearby auto parts stores seeking a suitable magnetic pickup tool which I hoped to use to pull out the failed rod.

Turns out, I was able to use forceps to grasp the failed rod by its end and pull it out.  Now, I'm also the owner of three different sized magnetic pickups....oh well.

So, some travails later which involved the installation of the replacement parts and getting them to seat in correctly, learning how to install the clutch release lever and cable correctly and finally finding I had to basically loosen the adjuster bolts to their stops in order for the clutch to work correctly.  A short test ride later, she was fixed.  Sigh. 

All this took a joy filled 4-5 hours.   I had her fixed with some phone help from Randy (my Ural dealer back in Colorado).  In the meantime, Martha had executed the backup plan and secured a rental car for today and tomorrow.  Turns out, where I broke down, there were three auto parts franchises and an Enterprise Rental car location!

So, while Martha finished the planned shopping at Walmart, I rode back to the BLM campsite with no issues.  I checked with Randy, and confirmed that I had the clutch cable adjusted correctly.  It didn't look right to me at first but then again, I probably replaced said clutch cable a while back with the clutch release rod already damaged so it wasn't right from back then.

 I can pull the cable out of the adjustment
knurled knob by the amount shown above, 
Randy confirmed it looked OK to him as well.

The clutch release rod replaced, it confused me for a bit why I had to screw in both the forward and rear adjustment bolts on the clutch cable all the way to the stops in order for things to work.  Now I believe the clutch release rod had been damaged prior to the new cable, and things just sort of worked, but not optimally....ending up with today's breakage discovery.

 Rear adjuster which moves the clutch release lever

Forward adjuster, screwed in to the stop

Sigh.  Such are the vicissitudes of the life of a Uralista.  Luckily, I had the spares, and was able to do the repairs.  Learned a lot about the mysteries of clutch cable adjustment too, just goes to show how little I know about things sometimes.

Truly amazing how, even damaged as it was, the clutch release assembly still basically functioned!  I wonder how long it was running, damaged as it was?

We'll see how tomorrow goes.

What?  No pics of the bridge?  Fear not, for Martha came through with a couple: