Sunday, August 09, 2020

Independence Mountain - Day 3

Aug 04, Tuesday.

Telephoto views of the nearby mountains as I sipped my coffee at the campsite this morning:



Delaney Butte

Long day again on Yagi's saddle today.  Rode CR 35 all the way till it met up with CR 6W, pretty good forest road with some spots made tricky by golf ball sized gravel making traction interesting at times.

Still, no harm, no foul.

I did check out Three Mile Creek beforehand hoping to get close to Sugarloaf Mountain but no go; the road ends on private property and the trail around is closed for area restoration.

 Mitchell Placer Mine at Three Mile Creek



Once on CR 6W, I took it back to CR 7 and headed towards Lake John SWA.  This time however, I kept going another few miles and got to the Delaney Butte Lakes SWA.  Pretty nice set of lakes, though a bit more crowded in terms of campers.

 North Lake was the most crowded


 You can get to the trail head for Delaney Butte from South Lake

I liked East Lake best, some nice sites for camping and no one
there while I was there.

Motored on back to the top of Independence Mountain via CR 7.  Oiled Yagi's chain as it was looking quite dusty and dry and just rested the rest of the day away.  I did see a group of 5 ATV riders but they were just tooling about, not bothering anyone.

Far as I can tell, I still have the mountain all the myself in terms of campers.  I like it!

Friday, August 07, 2020

Independence Mountain - Day 2

Aug 03, Monday

During yesterday's evening's sunset, I was shooting near the junction of BLM 2504 and CR 35.  CR35 is basically the road which traverses the top of Independence Mountain.

As I waiting for the right sunset lighting conditions, I noted that I was getting 3 bars LTE on my phone!  I was near where I'd seen the Class A parked Sunday morning and yes, it had this good reception there.

I decided to move to this spot this morning.  Woke, broke camp, loaded the motorcycles and off I went up one more hill and on to the new site:




By 8AM, I was all set up, and having my first cup of coffee.  Ah....the view is much better here from the campsite along with better signal without the use of the cellular booster!

Went for a short ride down BLM Road 2504 to check out the Tipi Rings Site:


Tipi Ring

 Views on BLM 2504


Then I did some initial checking out of additional BLM trails located about halfway down Independence Mountain.  Many miles of forest roads to be explored soon.


More evidence of massive Pine Beetle damage

Spent the rest of the morning fixing the recently broken Army folding shovel I carry on the Ural.  I needed to do some shoveling you see.  Apparently,  some tent campers and such who don't have a toilet in their vehicle...feel it's OK to leave their makeshift toilets in the trees....not bothering to bury it or pack it out as they're supposed to!  What's wrong with these people?!

I'd found two white 5 gallon buckets in the previous site, and now, one blue one hidden in the trees perhaps 60 feet from where I set up the URRV:


I'll spare you a view of the contents....

I didn't bury the bucket above, that's probably worse.  I just filled it to the top with dirt I shoveled up from nearby.  I didn't want to chance "smelling it" you see.  Again, what's wrong with these people?!

Some light rain showed up around lunch time and I took a nap as riding in Colorado rain isn't really a warm experience.

Once the clouds moved on, I went out riding along CR 35, perhaps 4-5 miles past the junction with CR 7B.  Found a neat trail that lead out to a set of small ridges:





I then returned to CR 7B and rode it down to CR 6W.  From there I figured I might as well ride CR 7 and about 6 miles later I was at the Lake John State Wildlife Area:

 Lake John SWA

 The Lake John Resort, which includes an RV Park.

 Headed back towards Independence Mountain
on CR 7.  My campsite is basically just shy of the high point

The Golden Hour came and I liked how it was highlighting the young Aspen trees next to my campsite:



Sunset tonight was pretty good, a bit cool once the sun sets but then again I am at 9700 feet in altitude!

Following two pairs of photos are same shot, first in Vivid Mode, the second in Sunset Mode....which mode do you like best?





I liked the rays in this one....

Returning to camp, I spotted something glowing in the grass near the treeline.  Weird.

Turned out to be some sort of solar powered LED light bulb.  It's a bit beat up and damaged but it still works as you can see:

My new "candle" to blog by....

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Boondocking on Independence Mountain, CO

Aug 02, Sunday

Decided to do another recce of Jackson County Road 7B, this time with an eye for turn-around points just in case.

Rode out on Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol and 24 miles later, I was at the junction of CR 6W and CR 7B.  Note, there's an RV park if you turn left instead of right at Lake Johnson Wildlife Area.

I discovered a Class A RV tucked in the treeline as I wandered about getting pics of Scarlett at the top of the mountain:



The presence of the Class A, who had taken the harder BLM road up, pretty much made up my mind re trying to get Umarang and trailer up to this spot!

I talked to the RV owner, he turned out to be a fellow sidecar owner.  He's got a 1957 Chiang-Jang 750 rig and lives somewhere near Fort Collins, CO.

I rode back to the vicinity of Six Mile Campground in Wyoming, broke camp, and mounted up both motorcycles.  Soon we were all at the junction of CR 6W and CR 7B again, the mountain beckoning us forward.

From google maps, to give you an idea....we basically drove up one of the ridges!

 

Initially, it was not bad at all, pretty much a gentle grade at most:



In fact, up until perhaps the last 1/2 mile or so, I kept the automatic transmission in Drive.  I wanted to see when Uma would require manual intervention.

The last 1/2 mile was a bit worrisome but Uma did great.  I did have to hastily shift into the lowest gear and floor the accelerator in order to maintain 4000 RPMs and 20+ mph headway!  I had thought she'd just automatically shift further and further down, like when climbing high pass highways and be able to hold higher speed but I guess not.

Still, Uma got us to the top with no issues.  The previously reconned campsite was still empty and I set up camp, finishing around 1:30PM for a late lunch.  Nice spot amidst the big Aspen trees which should provide some shielding from any high winds that might develop up here.


This is the view of Medicine Bow Mountain and other peaks
less than 50 paces from the URRV.  Not too shabby eh?

Not too many folks up here.  I have seen a group of about three ATVs drive by but not much else.  

I like it!

Later in the afternoon, I went out to check out the "neighborhood".  I found only one truck, occupants somewhere else; and the Class A I'd seen in the morning was gone.

I was measuring the length of the "steep part" of the road where I had to manually go to Umarang's lowest gear which turned out to be just shy of 1 mile from the top.

Part of the "Last Mile"
Doesn't look too bad.....

As I was riding up with Yagi, I spotted a trailer light on the side of the road.  Uh Oh....what were the odds?!

Yep, it was the one I'd recently bought and installed on the right rear of the trailer!  Dammit.

Besides all the damage to the plastic, I found that, Oh, wonder of wonders, the bulb whose filaments were busted and was hanging loose from its mounts,  isn't replaceable, you basically have to replace the whole unit.  Dammit.



Still, given all the other stuff that could possibly have gone wrong today, I'll take this as the price of a nice boondocking spot.  I'll just pick up a replacement at the NAPA store in Walden in a few days and this time am going to use weather sealant to hold the sucker in place!



Monday, August 03, 2020

Trail riding near WyoColo and a Recce of my next campsite.

Friday, Jul 31

Long day in the saddle with Yagi but so worth it in the end!

Spent the morning checking out a couple of forest roads that start from the vicinity of the hamlet called WyoColo.  An obvious combination of Wyoming and Colorado, located near the border of the two states.  Sort of like OreIda which I always thought was just a name for a potato products company but I found later is located at the border of Oregon and Idaho, hence OreIda!

Anyways, the trails took me through portions of the Medicine Bow National Forest which have been heavily logged in the past.  I didn't see any recent cuts but lots of evidence of old cuttings with wood debris and torn up land almost everywhere you look.  Kind of depressing, I kept telling myself it was probably a culling done to stop the spread of the Pine Beetle infestation.

I rode FR 898 all the way to the Pelton Creek Campground to check it out but it was closed.  I also tried a few miles on the road to Fox Park.  Here's a view of Medicine Bow Mountain from Fox Park Road.




I got back to CO 127 and took a national forest access road which ended up dumping on the road that leads to the North Sand Hills Rec Area!  As I was that close to Walden, I decided to go there to get more gas for Yagi (got 80 miles on 1.06 gallons MPG) and a stop at the hardware store for some self-tapping screws to fix the ramp on the trailer.  (Broken welds)

Leaving Walden, I went back to Cowdrey and took the road towards Independence Mountain to check it out, so glad I did.

Less than ten miles later, I think, I went up BLM Road 2504 which was narrow and steep and gravelly in parts.  Still, Yagi, made it up with no issues and I went to the very top for pics:





Wandering around the top, I found possible campsites!  They even had 1 bar of LTE signal at them!  I saw a couple of guys working on BLM signs and asked them; they believed camping was OK as long as its on National Forest or BLM land.  There's STL or State Trust Land close by where camping is prohibited.

I checked out a less steep and smoother road, Jackson County 7B which also leads back to the main road and I believe it's quite doable by the URRV.

I went down and back up to the top on County 7B to make sure then descended one last time today on BLM 2504 for pics:



Riding back to my campsite, I debated the urge to displace immediately to these new sites on top of the mountain but ended up deciding to wait till at least Sunday.  I may go back on Saturday to  see if the sites were taken or not.

I am curious to find out how busy the present area I'm in gets on the weekends.

Finally, the windy conditions (mostly in the afternoon) here in southern Wyoming have led me to try tying down via tie-down straps the apex of the support arms for the awning when deployed.  First time ever doing this so not sure how it'll work out.

It's been doing OK in the mild winds of today since I put the straps on, but it's been less than an hour as I type this.

Before, strong gusts of wind would cause the support arms to rock making me worry about the base they're attached to and making some rather disconcerting noises.  It would almost always cause me to roll up the awning, even when the winds weren't really that bad!

Now, the support arms don't move at all, only the awning material itself, which should be OK.

I'll report when the winds are strong enough to rip the screen door from my hand though I think by that time, the awning will be stowed away!