Friday, June 28, 2019

Home for a bit.

Made it home with no issues today.

One of the memorable things I encountered in the last couple of days was ranchers moving their herds on the highways of the Western Slope.

The last one I encountered resulted in the URRV's wheel wells and the trailer being coated with cow shit and piss.  The poor cows were very nervous, being out on the road, and spewed all over the road.

Even going slow, how else do you go by moving cows, the stuff got flung all over.


And yet, this type of traffic jam or "cow stau" for the Germans in the audience, is much preferable to the cager traffic jams in the I-25 corridor of Colorado's Front Slope.  The infrastructure is overwhelmed and it seems to be getting worse as more people move to the state.

I have to say, the Western Slope is looking very attractive to me right now.

Woke before 7AM, broke camp and was out of the BLM site and on the road by 8:45 AM.

Leaving BLM area south of Poncha Pass, CO

Got home around 12:30 PM.  Martha and Patrick were there to welcome me home and help unload the URRV.  I spent the first hour or so unpacking and doing the initial cleaning of the vehicles.

There was cow manure in the wheel wells, and on the fenders (mostly) and loading ramp of the trailer...even poor Yagi had some splatter.

Going to rest for a week or so, then Martha and I will head out again.

I re-acquainted myself with Scarlett, the 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig with a short ride to a sunset.

 Denver, the "baked" capital of the Stoner State

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Heading Home, overnight boondocking near Poncha Pass

Wednesday, June 26

Left Hotchkiss around 9AM I think, meandered my way south on CO Hwy 92, twisting and turning at the end before reaching its junction with US50.

Checked out the Mesa Creek National Forest campsite, small but nice but zero signal, this site will have to wait.

Part of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Took US50 east through Gunnison, Monarch Pass and Poncha Springs where I got gas for the URRV.

Then it was just about 8 miles to the BLM area just south of Poncha Pass.

The spot I'd used before on this trip was taken by about four RVs so I went to the alternate site across the small valley in a different treeline.  All good.

Didn't do a lot of riding, work and kind of tired too.

Did manage to get out for the "meh" sunset though:

Pics of the campsite.

Note to self: next time, park facing the other way to reduce sloping conditions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Replacing Yagi's Sprockets and Drive Chain, and a sunset

Tuesday, June 25

Last day in Hotchkiss, hot and sunny.  It was actually too hot to ride after work but Rich K. and I did get in a sunset ride on the Gunnison Gorge's North Rim.

First though, Rich generously helped me (heck he did most of the work really) in replacing both the rear and counter sprockets along with the drive chain on Yagi, my 2006 Yamaha TW200.

Rich's assessment said I could have "gotten by" just replacing the counter sprocket but I decided to do all three at same time, seems to be the best practice from what I've read.

Not many pics, I was busy spinning wrenches under Rich's supervision while he also worked on things.  He's got nice tools too, which made things easier.  Didn't encounter a single problem and we were done in about 90 minutes.

As you can see above, the front or counter sprocket was quite worn down and needed replacing.  The rear sprocket?  Not so much.  I did go ahead and replace what I assume is the stock size 428 O-Ring Chain with a D.I.D. X Ring chain which is apparently a crowd favorite among T-dub riders.

Had to also clean out the turn signal/horn control as the horn quit working in the morning....turned out the module containing the horn button had become dislodged so pushing on the button didn't allow contact to happen to close the horn circuit.

I ended up wedging a piece of plastic to help hold things and it seems to work fine.

We rode out shortly after 7PM to the same North Rim of the Gunnison Gorge spot as the other day for sunset shots.

We missed finding the spot, ending a bit further west but chose a spot for some pics before mosquitoes chased us away to go find the intended site:

We found the original spot and spent some time shooting pics and shooting the breeze.  Speaking of breeze, the wind picked up and drove away the mosquitoes which made things quite pleasant for the two of us.

We rode back to the RV campsite, after a disappointing sunset, and chatted over a beer on one of the nearby picnic benches.

My thanks to Rich K. for his generous help with things mechanical, good conversation, and expert guiding of local trails and roads.  I had a great time, and I will definitely return to this area to explore it some more.

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 makes 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: