Friday, August 16, 2019

Reinforcing broken frame bracket, a new rear tire and storage option for Yagi

Follow up to my last post:

The replacement rear tire for Yagi, the 2006 Yamaha TW200 (T-Dub) arrived earlier in the day than I expected to day.

Got the old wheel off with no issues after reviewing the applicable YouTube video by tdubskid.

Note how worn down the T-Dub's rear tire had become.

Bundled the old and new tires into the trunk of the car and off I went to Performance Cycle to get the tires swapped out.  Cost?  $32.

Got the wheel with  the new tire installed with minimal hassles.  There's some slight juggling of components, and sequence is important but again, no big deal.

Then it was time to reinforce the cracked, almost broken bracket onto which the upper mount of the Cyclerack Cargo Rack mounts.

The frame bracket in question.
Not too bad, but time to reinforce it.

Bought some steel strap with 5/16" holes in it.  Cut to fit over the above bracket and modified it to still allow the use of the two smaller screw holes used by the cargo rack mount screws.

 Three bolts with corresponding washers, lock nuts and nut 
secure the steel strap  to the damaged aluminum bracket

I cleaned up the bracing I'd put in place to hold the top mounting bracket in place for the cargo rack, which had broken at the weld before.

Also added metal strapping as reinforcement

OK, so everything went back onto Yagi with only minor adjustments required to accommodate the center Hex Bolt in the middle of the steel strap.  

Gave the cargo rack a tug and it feels pretty solid; the only give is at the above picture's hold down points.

I also decided to remove the soft panniers that I'd been using on Yagi and replace it with a plain old plastic toolbox I had just laying around.  Easy to mount, fits nice, and looks OK.

 Now I have the option to carry one gallon of extra gas either
secured to the back of the top case or:

inside the top case!  Probably more secure this way.
But when I add in air compressor, jump start battery....

The weight of the gas is definitely more forward, and shouldn't cause oscillations that break things again when riding off pavement.

We'll see how this new cargo arrangement works out over the next few outings with Yagi.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Broken cargo rack bracket and adding a trailer anchor point

Some minor work on both the T-Dub and hopefully improving its transportation tie down system.

I discovered, at the start of the last camping trip, that the bracket which supports the rear portion of the Cycleracks cargo rack had broken.  I'm thinking mounting the Kolpin gas can mount on the rearmost portion of the cargo rack caused too much flex/stress.  My fault.  Back to the drawing board on carrying extra gas.

Until I can find a welder to hopefully fix the weld shown above; I drilled the holes you see, and used safety wire to hold things together for now.  Also found an old metal strap, for use in the middle far so good.

Oh, and speaking of welder work needed, the bolts you see in the foreground, mount to an aluminum support that is part of the frame of the motorcycle.  It has a crack, probably from all the weight/stress.  Hopefully, that's an easy welding job.


As I learn to safely transport the T-Dub on the rack I bolted to the front of the trailer, I've been learning how to best tie it down for transport.  Have lost a couple of straps due to wear point damage, and have tried several ways to hold her upright and steady.

Below pics show latest version of the tie downs.  Any thoughts/feedback would be appreciated if you see something not right.

 Front view: anchor point is attached to rack at right front wheel,
through the middle frame and ends at the spare wheel.

 Rear view, the new anchor point is the silver one 
at bottom of above picture.  It extends the angle
so there's less stress on the blue strap.

The front wheel is kind of held in place by the adjustable clamp that came with the rail, not great at that role so I also used cam lock straps to secure each wheel to the rail as well.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Home for a bit

Returned home today, rain in the forecast drove a lot of people out of the Rampart Range area as well.

Here's some pics from Saturday's sunset at Sunset Point Trail.

Some after-camping notes:

Some campers are swine, leaving behind garbage at campsites.  I picked up two shopping bags of trash at the site I stayed in.....this is why we can't have nice things and why government agencies shut down access to camping sites.

Rampart Range Road can swarm with dirt bike riders, takes some work to find a campsite away from the trails they frequent.

Next time, will try and get a site in the 20s-30s in terms of campsite numbers....better to find a site on east side of the road vs the west side where the dirt bike trails are located.

Camping without needing to find Cellular Internet access, nice.

Sunset Point Trail, it's OK for sunset pics but probably won't try it again.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

A Single Track kind of a day

Aug 9, 2019

After breakfast, I rode Yagi, my 2006 Yamaha TW200 Dualsport over to the Dutch Fred campground (it appears to be a free camping area) to capture a nearby rock formation I'd spotted the day before.

Where it had been empty before, it now had three campsites with campers.

After I took the above shot, a rider from one the campsites came up to me.....yelled "Hey, that's my T-Dub!" and circled around to come park next to me.  Turns out, it was Dustin, the guy who'd sold me the TW200!  Small World.

We chatted for a bit, were joined by two of his riding friends.  They were going out for a bit of riding.  They offered to let me join them in their riding but I declined since I like to stop so often to take pictures.

After they left, I rode on over to the vicinity of Devil's Head hoping to get a shot of the mountain itself.  No luck at this point, though I did find a nice pile of boulders to climb and get shots of the countryside:

 Above, the view of the road where I left Yagi parked

Below, the rock pile I spent some time clambering over.

Here's the view from up there:

I turned back towards the turnoff for Devil's Head Trailhead and stopped for a pic of a nice rock formation:

I got back on Rampart Range road and soon found an entrance point to the single track trail that was running alongside the road.  It was Trail #627 I believe, and it was very rideable in spite of my lack of dirt biking skills.  I went slow and steady of course, not going like a bat out of the hell like most of the dirt bikers I'd seen in the area.

Moseying along, I came upon this open area that gave a good view of the nearby mountain range of which Devil's Head is a part:

Devil's Head is the rock formation atop the middle of the 
mountain on the left.

I continued on what I believe was Trail 627 until I got to one spot where I mistakenly got onto Trail 787, boy was that a mistake.

What had been pretty doable single track terrain turned hilly and full of series of holes, one right after the other, which tended to bounce one's motorcycle about quite a bit!

Still, it was still doable but definitely was pushing the limits of my dirt riding skills.  Trail 787 took me deeper into the woods, steadily descending into some valley.  Narrow spots abounded, and I was concentrating really hard in not smacking the mirrors or for that matter, myself, on the trees alongside the trail.

There came one tight turn to the right, with negative camber and mud which proved my undoing.  Took it too fast, hit the front brake as I was aimed at a tree turn, and crashed.  I pitched forward onto the ground while Yagi buried it's right side into the mud/dirt.

I banged my left knee and the side of my right calf pretty good, but was able to turn off the engine and slowly get up.  I was dragging Yagi to a better position to pick her up when two other riders came by with their dirt bikes.  They stopped and offered to help and it was easy work to pick up Yagi and get her upright once again.

We chatted for a bit, then a third member of their party showed up on a small ATV and advised them that another one in their party had gotten stuck further back the trail.  I examined Yagi and she seemed OK, covered in mud of course due to the many puddles and being crashed onto the dirt.

I said my goodbyes and thanks and after some encouragement from one of the riders, kept going instead of turning back.

It would be many more miles of sometimes tricky trail riding but no more crashes but there were a couple of close ones!  Let's just say I breathed a sigh of relief when the trail finally ended at the entrance parking lot to Rampart Range Road!  

So, Trail 787, not a trail to do by yourself, trust me.

I rode the trail that borders Rampart Range Road back towards the campsite, it wasn't as technical but it did have some steep hillls!  I was tired and hot, so went slowly all the way back to the campsite.  Still, made it back without incident and rested the rest of the day.  I had left the campsite around 8AM I think and didn't get back till almost 3PM!  Long day of riding!

No pics of the trail riding, picture a rough dirt trail, barely wider than your handlebars, bordered by pine trees on both sides, throw in many, many, holes filled with water, sloping walls on each side, steep hill climbs and steeper descents.....and you'll have an idea.

Friday, August 09, 2019

First camping trip as a kept man

August 8, 2019

Left home near noon after a slow load-out of the RV, got to Rampart Range Road's campsite number 9 around 1PM and set up camp.  The US Forest Service runs these sites, they're free except for the Flat Rocks Campground but it's a popular spot.  I was lucky to find a spot on Thursday, I expect all the sites (up to 34 that I've seen so far which are labeled campsites) will be full on the weekend.

Not exactly a level spot but it'll do, this is campsite #9.

The novel part?  I didn't bother checking for cellular internet signal before setting up camp!  I could make voice calls which was good enough to check in with my family.  I do have signal, but even using the booster, not usable for work.  But then again, I have none now!

Rode Fiona, the '99 Ural Patrol about six miles south to the Devil's Head Trailhead parking lot.  It's around 2.5+ miles up the gentle sloping, heavily switch-backed trail, to the top. 

 There were spots where things seemed so peaceful and calm

I will admit, I stopped perhaps 4 times on the way up, to catch my breath and wonder when in the heck I'd get to the tower.  Once on the top of Devil's Head, in what the caretaker apparently called "Hell's Half Acre", one gets the first peek at the tower:

Yep, more steps....

The interior of the watch cabin, door was locked.  Apparently, it's still a functional watch station operated by the Forest Service.

You  can walk around the exterior of the watch cabin, some really nice views, almost....almost worth the long hike up and down.

And then, the clouds rolled in and enveloped us on the top, it was like being in a rolling thick fog which caused temperatures to plummet.  I had to put my riding jacket back on to get some warmth.

 Vertigo? Anyone?

The way  back down to the parking lot was easier in that gravity was no longer a foe, except of course on one's knees taking the shock of stepping down grades along the trail.

I thought the clouds/fog made this narrow passage somewhat magical

It was past 7:30PM as I made my way down, and there were still folks on their way up!  Not sure what they were expecting to see, perhaps the top of Devil's Head is magical at night?  I wouldn't be finding out.

Got back to the rig with no issue, a couple of near falls due to loose gravel was it.  Rode home and as I approached the campsite, it decided to rain pretty heavily so I was soaked by the time I got back to the URRV.

Monday, August 05, 2019

First sunset pics since becoming a "kept man".

And yes, retirement is suiting me just fine so far. 

I rode Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol with the '84 Beemer R80 engine to a different spot I'd recently found nearby.  It's part of a hiking trail that supposedly allows viewing of Pronghorns. 

Haven't seen any near the trail however, but did spot a nice windmill that used to be used to pump water from a well, it now just spins freely in the wind.

Lots of mosquitoes as there's nearby water in small creeks.  Yikes.  Luckily I had my riding gear on, and I fashioned a head covering out of my T-shirt.  Should have kept my helmet and gloves on too but left those back at the rig to walk over to the windmill.

It was a pretty glorious sunset I must admit, hope you like the pics:

You didn't think I would skip having a picture of the rig, did you?

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Colorado Day, 2019....and I'm now retired.

Greetings on Colorado Day, August 1st.

I was given notice by work yesterday, my job was eliminated.  This was expected, and we're good to go here financially.  Now I am no longer constrained by needing to have internet access when selecting a campsite!

Consider me retired.  Put a fork in me, I'm done.  I think I will enjoy being a "kept man" since Martha wants to work for a few more years.

Timing-wise, here's a compilation of pics from August 3, 2018 to today.....same music as the 2018 version of this series: LINK

Hope you like it.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Reposting: Sunday Sunset...and I'm still here.

Well, apparently one hazard of trying to edit one's blog using the EasyBlog app is accidentally deleting a post that was published while editing it!  Dammit.


OK, so bottom line up front: The Ultrasound Scan of my bladder today showed no kidney stone so the doctor thinks it has been passed out of me.  No pain involved with that particular exit so I'm happy.

Lesson learned: Hydrate!

Another lesson learned, avoid EasyBlog for more than correcting typos on published blog postings.

Here's the pics that went with the posting I accidentally deleted.