Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Failed Experiment - No more trailering both the T-Dub and an Ural Sidecar Rig

Oh well, it was worth a shot.

The idea of mounting a Harbor Freight Hitch Rack to the front of my Aluma 638 trailer to allow me to bring along one of my Ural sidecar rigs and the Yamaha TW200 seemed workable and for a while, it did.

Today, as I finally did a closeup inspection of the underside of the trailer, I found cracks where the tongue mates to the cargo area of the trailer!  Dammit.

Apparently, extending the tongue by two feet AND adding the TW200's almost 300 lbs to the tongue of the trailer was too much.

I'd noticed it being a bit "bouncy" on the last trip, had done a cursory check and seen nothing.  Today, it was pretty obvious:

Of the three tabs which are attached by welds to the tongue and then to the frame of of the trailer, the rearmost one had separated and cracks had developed.

The other side of that support was cracked as well, and the tab's weld had cracked as well.  Not good.

So, my planned departure for a Leaf Peeping camping trip for this morning had to be postponed.  I hurriedly checked Google Maps and it showed a welding shop about 8 miles away.  I called and the owner Jim said bring it over so he could look at it.

I hitched up the trailer to the URRV and hurried on over.  Colorado Mechanical Welding is the name of Jim's welding shop, it's located in a suburb neighborhood next to his home in Parker.

He had been loading some big pipes onto a truck when I showed up, so as soon as that was done, he came over to the street where I'd left the trailer to check things out.  He said, no problem, and to leave the trailer with him and depending on workloads, he might be able to get it done today!

I left the trailer after confirming with Jim that carrying 300 lbs of T-Dub on the front of the trailer is not a good thing, so the rack will be coming off.

Shortly before 4PM, I get a call from Jim, the trailer is finished!  Martha got home shortly before 4:30PM and I drove her car (it's very tight maneuvering room at the welding shop property) and with Patrick (#1 son), we went to retrieve the trailer.

A very fair price was charged and the rear mount point of the trailer tongue is now "reinforced".

 right side

left side

Really happy with Jim's work.  Saturday I try to go camping again, and we'll see how the new reinforcements work out.  I'll only be hauling Scarlett, my 2014 Ural as she stands out nicely and I hope for many good Fall Colors shots.

I heartily recommend the work of Jim's company: Colorado Mechanical Welding in Parker, CO.  Fairly priced work, quickly done and with friendly enthusiasm.  He's not only a great welder but he also is a holder of several land speed records on a Hayabusa!

Jim said he got the above motorcycle up to 247 mph!

Update: September 26.

Delaying departure for camping till Sunday; so I took Fiona's port side muffler over to Jim Cole's shop to weld the crack at the base of the support bracket.  It was caused by either being knocked off during Fiona's last camping trip or my repeated hammerings on the bracket to get it back to the right angle to mount it.

I expected to drop it off and pick it up later but he took a look at it and the broken mount on the TW200's cargo rack and said if I was willing to wait, he'd do both right then and there!  I of course said yes, and both tasks took less than five minutes for Jim!  Another fair price was paid and I left a happy camper once again.

 Jim Cole welding the mounting bracket, in situ, nice and fast

Jim did this welding faster than I could remove the 
seat on the TW200 to expose the broken cargo rack mount!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Gathering in Key West - Last Day

Everyone started heading home today.

First though, here's a shot of the sunset last night, not great, but not bad.

The sunset from the balcony of the Hot Tin Roof restaurant in Key West

We took Lee to the Key West airport and he would fly back to Virginia, experiencing apparently a 737 having to abort a landing due to coming in too hot!  All's well though, he made it home safe.

Last touristy shot for the trip:

Otto and I drove out of Key West, first stopping at Post #28 of the American Legion on Stock Key so we could get something to drink and Otto could purchase a shirt with the post's number on it.

Then it was just boring driving on US1 North, then getting on US95 North (with a quick side trip to Otto's girl friend's mom to pick up some dresses for her) till we got near the Fort Lauderdale Airport

I'm staying in the Red Carpet Inn, not quite the sumptuous lodgings as the Crowne Plaza/La Concha hotel in Key West but it'll do for one night.

Otto on his way to Orlando for the night as he heads back
towards Atlanta and points North.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Key West Gathering, Day 7

The fishing trip planned for this morning got rained and weathered out.  7-10 foot seas and high winds will do that.

So we sauntered over to breakfast at a French motif cafe, for omelettes and coffee.

After breakfast, some shopping for t-shirts and such by Lee and Otto, and returning to the hotel for a promised tour by the General Manager: Mike Rice.  He showed us the Spa floor and its rooftop views of the city.  The hotel, at six stories, is the tallest building in Key West.

 The Episcopalian Church with the western coastline
in the distance.

 Mike Rice, talking to Lee with Otto behind Lee

Mike Rice showed us the other establishments belonging to the hotel, to include a Starbucks and a Jamba Juice shop.  He also generously stood us for coffee and juice at each location.

In the late morning, we ended up in the museums area and while Lee toured the Arts and History Museum:

Otto and I checked out the treasures recovered from the Atocha ship wreck when the area was under Spanish rule.  The museum is the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.  Mel Fisher searched for over 16 years before finally locating the wreck of the Atocha and becoming the richest treasure hunter in history once the Supreme Court found in favor of him over claims by the State of Florida and the Federal Government!

 Otto at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Lots of items on display at this small museum, and as usual, I'll present the stuff that happened to catch my eye.  Its well worth visiting, this museum, if you're ever in Key West.

 Stone Hammerhead Shark for sale

 Summary board on the Atocha

 Gold Plates

 Fancy Salt Cellars

 A cross destined for a pope

 "Poison Cup", not meant to carry poison but to
get ride of it with the Bezoar Stone that is placed
in the metal ring feature at the bottom.

It was believed, apparently with some confirmation, 
that Bezoar stones absorbed some poisons.

Of course, no exhibit about the treasures of the Atocha would be complete without the display of Gold and Silver bars and ingots:

Some of the artwork I found interesting in the Pirates section:

Lee met us outside of the museum once we finished and we walked on over to nearby Meson de Pepe Cuban Restaurant.  Next to the restaurant is a small courtyard with busts of local notables and such.

 Apparently a long time guest of 
La Concha hotel where we are staying.

 The Little White House's primary
VIP guest.

And of course, Ernest Hemingway

Afer some relaxing back at the hotel, we headed backout just before 5PM and got ourselves a table at Sloppy Joes' Bar.

Turns out, Martha, my loving wife, found a streaming webcam showing the occupants of the bar:

yep, that's Otto, Lee and yours truly in Sloppy Joe's Bar

We had dinner at the Hot Tin Roof restaurant and enjoyed great service and food.  Got back to the hotel with no issues and finished off the evening with one final drink in the hotel lobby/bar area.

Friday, September 20, 2019

A Key West Gathering, Day 6

Woke to hear that we wouldn't go deep sea fishing this morning, waves were in the 7-10 foot range and high winds making it unsafe.

Instead we did the tourist thing around the town:

We took a ride on the "Conch Tour Train" which serves to give one a sense of the "lay of the land" and our first stop was the Sails and Trails Exhibit/Museum.

Some of the FEC (Florida East Coast) Railway which caught my eye:

We then adjourned to the nearby Turtle Kraal restaurant for a meal and drinks:

 One of the many roosters who wander about
Key West, was our lunch buddy.

Then it was time to visit Captain Tony's Saloon so that both Otto and Lee could get some souvenir t-shirts.

A quick trip to the hotel to dump the purchases and then we walked over to the Hemingway House for the guided tour:

 Here's hoping on of us three can make a similar 
shot tomorrow should we be able to go fishing

 Painting hanging in Master Bedroom
depicting the Hemingway House

 Two of apparently 55 cats which wander about the
house and land owned by Hemingway

 In its day, the largest pool of its kind in Key West

 Ernest Hemingway's writing room

 Yep, another cat, curled up asleep in
the master bedroom

Last known photo of Hemingway holding
the shotgun which he'd used to kill himself

We walked from the Hemingway house and stopped for a drink at the Green Frog Bar, which is apparently the hangout for the locals.

An hour or so back at the hotel for a siesta and then we headed out once more, first having dinner at the Hard Rock (Key West) restaurant.  Not much to report from this particular venue.

After this dinner, we walked on over to the original Margaritaville Cafe and had a beer and key lime pie:

We rounded off the evening with one more round of drinks but this time at Sloppy Joe's Bar, they had live music and a sizeable crowd.

 photo courtesy of Otto

The weather forecast for tomorrow morning is looking somewhat good; we'll find out at 6:30 am tomorrow if we're a go for fishing.