Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Extending the trailer's tongue and a short ride in the Grand Mesa National Forest

Monday, June 24.

Rich K. graciously provided the use of this Toyota Tundra pickup truck to tow the trailer over to the welding shop to have it's tongue lengthened by two fee.

By 2PM, it was ready and we went to retrieve it.  Great welding job by Valley Machine; highly recommended. 

Here's what the trailer looked like before the mod:

Here's what it looks like after the extension was welded on:

Hopefully you can see the additional room that will hopefully suffice to install a motorcycle carrier rack of some sort, in order to be able to carry Yagi, the TW200 and one of my Ural sidecar rigs in the main cargo area of the trailer.

 The support wheel is attached on the new aluminum
section that is the extension

 Shiny, but not for long.

 To my untrained eye, looks like a good weld

The welder also installed two plates extending past the point where the two pieces are welded together.  There's bolts holding them down on both ends providing additional structural support.  This extended tongue is not going to be bending due to weight!

The additional length should also help the trailer clear any part of the URRV when backing it up causes it to swing wide to the side due to space constraints and actions on my part.

Before, the shorter tongue had actually allowed a slight impact by the front edge of the trailer's cargo area and a corner of the RV!  Luckily, no real damage.

I've not driven the URRV with the trailer yet, but Rich K. didn't seem to have any issues backing the trailer into position once we returned to the campsite.  Lengthening the tongue to make it a bit easier to back the trailer apparently.

In the afternoon after work, Rich K. and I rode out on 3100 Road north towards the Grand Mesa National Forest.  It was paved for a few miles but it turned to dirt soon enough and we were able to access the forest via the smaller of two gates.  The main gate, used by cars and such, remains closed due to road conditions apparently.

We motored on for a few miles, avoiding mud puddles and ruts caused by snow melt and soon stopped at the parking lot near the junction of FR 728 and FR Z50.

From there we didn't get too much further towards Bailey Reservoir due to muddy conditions.  On our return to the junction, we stopped at Hartman Reservoir to enjoy the scenic water and surrounding forest:

I think this area will be quite scenic come the Fall Colors, lots of Aspen trees around, water scenics, and green pine trees.....

We returned the way we came, got back with no issues.  The plan is for us to replace the sprockets and chain on Yagi on Tuesday of this week.  Rich K. has generously offered his assistance, tools and most important, his motorcycle lift!  More on that later.

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Ride to Hike Needle Rock and later a ride back to the North Rim of the Gunnison Gorge

Sunday, June 23

Prepped the trailer for tomorrow's tongue extension welding by removing the spare tire mounting assembly and the support wheel assembly to get them out of the way.

Also lengthened the wiring cable on the trailer by three feet and then got some wire loom to protect it as well, lights still work so I guess I didn't mess it up.

I geared up and rode in cool temperatures (mid-50s) and would return to temperatures in the low 60s but which would feel much warmer as the sun is out today, even though there's lots of puffy white clouds.

As I approached Needle Rock Road, I was forced to stop by a large herd of cows being moved from one pasture to another by their cowboys:

Just another Sunday event on the Colorado Western Slope

Got to Needle Rock's Trailhead, parked Yagi, stashed my riding jacket and pants nearby in the bushes and set about hiking up the narrow, sometimes steep, winding and rocky trail up towards the base of Needle Rock.

It was a long hike up, with perhaps 3-4 stops to let my panting lungs catch up.  I didn't make it all the way to the base, it was really steep and narrow at that point and I found myself slipping and sliding more than gaining any more ground.

Here's some pictures I took on the way down:

 What a lovely location for a home, don't you think?

 Not so distant Mount Lamborn and Landsend Peak

 See the little gray triangular area?  That's the Trailhead.
You can also see portions of the North Fork of the Gunnison

 One doesn't get a good angle on Needle Rock from
the trailhead, so one must hike.

Here's a couple of shots as I left the Needle Rock area.  

I avoided using CO 92 by using Crawford Road all the way back to Hotchkiss, turning on Fobare Road to link back up with CO 92.

It had warmed up nicely in the afternoon so after processing the above shots, and lunch, it was time to head out again to take advantage of the sunny yet cool weather.

I headed out to the North Rim of the Gunnison Gorge Conservation Area again, first going to the areas available via the Pleasure Park Road entrance off of CO 92.

  Overlooking the area around Pleasure Park

 An interesting canyon than one can ride into but
I chose to save that for another day, perhaps with another
rider along just in case.

I came upon this carcass of what I think is a wild pig/boar.  Note the large canine like teeth.

The trail then heads inwards and since I wasn't sure where it led, I decided to turn around.

One more shot of the interesting canyon

I then retraced my route back almost to the entrance to Pleasure Park Road, but turned west on the dirt trail that parallels the highway all the way to Eagle Rock Access Area where a greater portion of the North Rim becomes available.

 This is the portion of the North Rim that overlooks where
I camped with the URRV before.  It's as far as I went
today on this trail.

Retracing my route once again, I stopped to let a couple of cars go by on a narrow portion of the trail.  Here's today's artsy shot.....a view of the second car in the side mirror as it drove away from me.

Before descending back towards CO 92, I took another short detour and ended up posing Yagi here;

Back on the trail that parallels CO 92, just before the "big hill" which really isn't much of one but looks steep for a bit.

Took this about halfway back towards Pleasure Park road then saw and took an exit gate back onto CO 92 which I used to get back to Hotchkiss and the URRV campsite with no issues.

Lots of pictures I know, I hope you liked them.

Sunset in the Delta County Fairgrounds:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Back in Hotchkiss, CO

Friday, June 21

First Day of Summer!

Woke to gusty winds at 3:30 AM, shaking the URRV quite nicely.  Got up and pulled the slideout back in and went back to sleep, waking once again around 7AM with the winds still blowing heartily.

Forecast said the winds would only get stronger as the day progressed so I broke camp and left by 10AM, displacing the 35 miles back to Hotchkiss, CO and the Delta County Fairgrounds where I'm once again camped.

Here till at least Tuesday, going to take the trailer to the local welder and have him extend the tongue by two feet.  He should be receiving the materials today and he said to drop the trailer off on Monday morning.

Once I got Uma, the URRV, parked and setup....I rode Yagi to the nearby grocery store for supplies.  Will have to make a second trip as there's only so much cargo space on Yagi for groceries; that's one area where I miss having one of my sidecar rigs with me.  Hence, the extension of the trailer tongue and eventual install of a motorcycle rack at the front of the cargo area.  More later.

More RVs at the fairground today than when I left on Wednesday!  Found a spot, but no water faucet nearby, will have to lug water via the spare jugs if I run out though I doubt it as I'm not staying that long I don't think.

Had some slack time, so with Rich K's help, removed the back panel of the speedometer enough to get rid of two bits of plastic that tended to sometimes block the view of the trip meter.  Usually after a ride on the trailer, you see, the bouncing would cause them to get wedged on top of the numbers....very annoying.

Saturday, Jun 22

Rained in the early morning hours, woke to a muddy parking lot where there was no gravel.  The day would stay overcast and feel cold (low 60s) with rain falling ocassionally.  No real riding today.

Did go out to run errands and such, and even went to a local BLM area for some riding; but it was desultory riding at best:

Spent most of the day just watching shows some DVD movies, fixing minor things in the URRV and just chilling out.

Rode out for the sunset but I couldn't really find a good spot for what turned out to be a "meh" sunset.  It was quite chilly, riding in the shaded portions of the valley.  Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2019

T-Dubing near the Dominguez Rim

Thursday, June 20

Woke up way too early to catch this morning's sunrise here at the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area BLM site.

During the lunch hour, I rode out to find the overlook point that one takes Escalante Overlook Road to get to.  Turns out it was one major overlook west of the one I took pictures at yesterday, Wednesday.

 View to the west from Escalante Overlook
The Gunnison River flows below...

 Yagi wanted a look as well.

Red rock lined canyons and mesas across the river

I thought then to ride Escalante Overlook road back to the highway but got turn around and rode perhaps 4-5 miles of medium difficulty trail that ended at a sign post near the highway labeled 76B.  

I was four miles west of the entrance to Escalante Overlook Road so I rode Yagi down this short stretch and turned at the sign.

Found a campsite candidate perhaps a 1/2 mile in, perhaps next time I'm in the area.

Rode the trail all the way back to the Dominguez Rim and the overlook, then turned east to explore the portion of the rim in that direction.  The trail wasn't too bad and I found another overlook spot:

This overlook allowed a good angle to view what appears to be a cave on the side of the canyon wall:

Interesting eh?

Returning once more to the Escalante Overlook Road, I took it back all the way to US50.  Note, there's a great spot for a small RV/Trailer right on the rim but to get there it's a bit rough, I don't think I'll chance it with Uma, the URRV.

I then US 50 for less than 2 miles to get to the entrance I used yesterday to enter this area:

Some info on how the area got it's name, the two Franciscan Priest were doing this while the US was being born!

More info here: LINK

The afternoon turned very windy with many gusts shaking the URRV.   At one point, I event brought the slideout in.  It's supposed to calm down in the evening.