Sunday, June 28, 2020

Sunday Sunset on the Front Range

Been back home since Thursday, getting chores done, helping #1 son practice for his Network+ Certification Test, and just doing minor fix work on the URRV and associated gear.

It's been really warm here on the Front Range, to the point any riding I do is either early morning or late evening.

Such as tonight's short ride to the usual sunset viewing spot.  It's become quite popular, this spot, I counted about 13 cagers in the immediate area.  Cagers that I would end up having to edit out of sunset pictures but I guess their increasing presence is just something I have to learn to deal with.  The infestation of the Metro Denver Cesspool continues, seemingly unabated or affected by the pandemic.

I probably won't go out camping again until after the Fourth of July Weekend's annual frenzied activities and desperate camping by folks who still have to work for a living.  The idiots with their illegal fireworks have already been disturbing the evening quiet, steadily building up to the frenzy of illegal fireworks on the Fourth.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Boondocking along Rampart Range Road

June 22, Monday

Martha had a mild case of "Shack Rot" so she asked to go camping in the Rampart Range Road area.  Not being one to deny my loving wife anything, I went and retrieved the URRV from storage and we were on the road by 3PM.

I managed to take a wrong turn and we lost about 30 minutes but we managed to get to the first campsite, #9, at 4:40PM.  The sight was more sloping than I remembered from the last time I camped there so we gave up and continued on down Rampart Range Road.

We got to site #13 and it proved good in terms of terrain but bad in terms of being really close to the main dirt bike trail.  Lots of dust and noisy dirt bikes but still, not too bad.  Note to self, best camping sites are on the east side of Rampart Range Road!

 Campsite #13

 An example of the dust clouds raised by vehicular traffic speeding
along Rampart Range Road

The foreground shows how close the main dirt bike trail is
to the campsite.

June 23, Tuesday

We woke to sunny skies and while I was prepping Yagi for a ride, Martha called out to me from the camping site across the road, #14.  It was a "mo better" site in terms of sun exposure, flatter and easier to maneuver in.  So while Martha sat in a camp chair relaxing and "holding" the site, I hurriedly packed up the URRV.  Just enough to move across the street, so it didn't take too long.

Martha went walking for her 10K daily steps and I set up camp again before I left on Yagi to go check out other camping site for future use.

 Campsite #14

I'd end up taking a left on Forest Road 507 and there were several more campsites there, all the way to #49!  I marked two that were nice and large for the URRV's future use.  I returned to camp and Martha as I had hit reserve on Yagi.  We relaxed the rest of the day away, reading and in Martha's case, doing some studying.

Sunset view, from a ridge north of the campsite, on the western
part of the road.

June 24, Wednesday

Did a little trail riding on FR 686 and FR868A, the entrance to which is just a short bit south of the campsite on the eastern side of the road.  Narrow but doable trail, lots of loose pea-sized gravel in parts but no big deal to Yagi.

 Along FR 686

Telephoto closeup of the southern metro area

Not much else got done but some minor hiking by me, more hiking by Martha to get her daily goal of 10K steps in.  The place was getting more and more crowded as folks started to come in for the weekend.  More cars careening down the main dirt road, trailing huge clouds of dust to cover the campsites next to the road.  Across the way, we had an older couple set up a travel trailer.  Unfortunately, with them came two youngsters who weren't capable of taking their ATV/dirt bike on the trails but were capable of seemingly endlessly circling the travel trailer within campsite 13.  I'm sure they created their own little dirt loop within, making it sure more difficult for the next and future campers.

Some notes:  Best campsites along Rampart Range Road are on the eastern side.  If camping by Rampart Range Rd, be prepared for dirt bike noise (why don't they seem to have a muffler requirement?) and large clouds of dust from idiots who can't seem to obey the 20 mph speed limit.  Definitely look into the campsites along FR 507, they're off the main road, and I don't believe there's nearby dirt bike trails to draw in the speeding bastards one finds on the main trails.

So, just a  short camping trip to help relieve Martha's case of Shack Rot.  Learned a few new things re this area for future boondocking and a new appreciation for more remote camping locations.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Boondocking again in the Hugo State Wildlife Area, CO

Three day's worth of pics:

June 15, Monday.

No major chores on my plate at home, in fact I managed to introduce a crack in Martha's car's windshield finishing the last chore.  Dammit.

So, before I damaged something else, I went camping.

It was forecast to be a hot week in the Front Range of Colorado so Martha elected to stay home in the air-conditioned house.  Go figure right?

I went back to tried and true Hugo SWA for some solitary time, just me and the cows out in the eastern plains.

The only annoyances are biting flies and cow patties left by the roaming herd of cows which grazes within this wildlife area.

The afternoon was spent re-learning lessons on dealing with the heat.  It got up to 96°F (35.5°C) inside the URRV and about 92°F (33.3°C) outside at the warmest time of the day!  Luckily, an ever increasing breeze came in late in the afternoon and cooled things up slight.

As the sun set, so did the temperature move downwards, thankfully.  I think it was 71°F (21.6°C) or so when I got this sunset picture over at the north campsite area:

The ride for the sunset also verified I'd re-assembled the sidecar's shock absorber correctly over the weekend.  It had been making a loud clunking noise when riding about the Turquoise Lake area and taking it apart and ensuring the shock's piston was fully retracted during assembly seems to have done the trick.

Tuesday, June 16

Another very warm day.  Woke to a nice 63°F (17.2°C) around 6:30 AM, to a cloudless sky and a nearby visitor who was quietly munching away at the vegetation on the nearby hill.

Did some maintenance on Fiona:  Burned out light bulb in tail light and re-attached the wooden block I use to increase leverage/pressure when actuating the brake pedal.

Way to hot to ride during the heat of the day, so spent time in the shade of trees, reading my e-books and enjoying the wind as it rushed by.  The wind kept the bugs down so I was glad for that, even though the wind was strong enough to have the weather service issue a Fire Watch for said winds.....

After some discussions with RichardM, Iturned on the onboard 4KW generator and ran the air conditioner for four hours in the hottest part of the day.  Quite the difference almost 20 degrees makes!  Trying to get a feel for how much gasoline the onboard generator consumes while powering the air conditioner.  After 4 hours, I couldn't tell if the needle on the fuel gauge had even moved!  Perhaps its economical enough to run the generator to power the AC after all?  UPDATE: just turning on the ignition to check the fuel gauge isn't enough, you have to actually start the engine to have the needle register correct level.  

 At the start of the "Golden Hour", around 7PM

 Heading towards CR 2G and the SWA's northern entrance

 Near the north campsite

 Along CR 2G

Wednesday June 17

Managed to get geared up and headed out on Fiona while it was still below 80°F (26.6°C).  Rode out to nearby Kinney Lake SWA but found only fishermen and clouds of biting flies that followed me as I cruised around.  Left shortly after that and rode the highway to CR 2C, taking it eastward to CR36 which leads one to the southern entrance of the SWA.

Here's some views of the three ponds/lakes in the southern area of the SWA:

Here's the lakes/ponds in the Hugo Middle Area, where I like to boondock:

I ran the air conditioner and onboard generator for almost eight hours and I don't think the fuel gauge needle for the URRV's gas tank moved downward at all!  Incredible.  see previous NOTE. 

I did run the temperature setting about 1/4 of the way from warmest setting, which kept the temperature inside at 81°F (27°C).  The outside temperature would peak at 95°F (35°C) but it was nice and comfortable inside!

So, a nice discovery for me in terms of the economics of running the air conditioner via the onboard 4KW generator, it's not as thirsty as I had previously believed!  So basically, the 4KW consumes about .4 gallons/hr of AC usage....a "medium" load per the generator's manual.

Last night of boondocking, I go home tomorrow to get some stuff done and we'll see where I go camping next!

Tonight's sunset was OK:

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Meandering about the mining area east of Leadville, CO

June 09-12

Sunset on the 9th:

Jun 10: Martha came up with Patrick, my #1 son, for a brief camping visit by them.  Patrick even got some sun!
Morning of the 10th, before the arrival of Martha and Patrick

June 12, Friday

Patrick has work tomorrow so he and Martha drove out of here this morning, headed back to Centennial.

I rode out of the dispersed camping area, which is starting to get full of weekend campers dammit, and rode through the town of Leadville and up Lake County Road 3 back to the area I'd visited with Martha.

Being on Yagi, I was able to negotiate any and all trail that caught my fancy, no issues at all!

First of course was getting to the top of the hill where I'd spotted an interesting structure the last time I was in the area.  Back then, snow had stopped me.

Now, the snow is all gone from the trails so up Yagi and I went.  The tower on the right in the picture below is what I'd seen from the valley floor.

I got onto Lake County Road 1 and meandered in the direction pointed at by a wooden sign stating: Ibex City.
 Mount Elbert through the pine trees

I ended up on top of a nice overlook area, with wooden ruins of old mines, which I assumed was part of this Ibex City that had been alluded to.  No further signage spotted.  Still the view was quite nice from there:

You can walk out on top of one of the mine dumps and see the city of Leadville down below, with Turquoise Lake and of course nearby mountain peaks:

I spotted this neat looking trail going up the side of a nearby mountain:

So of course, Yagi and I went to tackle that trail!  It proved quite rocky in spots but nothing Yagi couldn't handle in spite of my lack of off-road skills.  We made it to the top and here's the view:

That's as far as I went on County Road 1B, I turned around and gingerly made my way back down the mountain back past "Ibex City" and back onto County Road 38.  I meandered about the trails I could see and just pootled around looking for photogenic mining structures, didn't really find too many.

Here's the one mining structure that I felt worth stopping for a picture.  Quite large, and still I'm unsure what function it provided!  I couldn't get much nearer, it was on posted private property.

Eventually, I went back towards Leadville.  Here's the last remaining mural that I'd missed getting a picture of.  I shot it after Martha, Patrick and I visited the Baby Doe Mine yesterday.  No pics by me of that place, it was "ok" but I wasn't feeling it in terms of shooting pics.

Back at camp as I type this, more and more weekend campers keep showing up, some with large dogs which I'm sure will spread their poop all over the place.  I am also sure these people won't pick up after their dogs.

This area is proving too popular, especially on the weekends it seems, I don't think I'll be coming back to this area for camping.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Back to Boondocking near Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, CO

June 8, Monday

Ah, springtime in the Rockies.....

I displaced from the Lake San Cristobal Recreation Area this morning and by Noon I was in the Leadville area looking and finding a nice spot to camp near Turquoise Lake.

Rest of the day was spent dealing with stuff at home via phone and setting up camp.  Nice and almost warm afternoon.  I went to bed with a forecasted two inches of snow overnight.

June 9, Tuesday.

I woke to this and a balmy temperature of 35°F (1.6°C):

Springtime camping in the Rockies indeed!

After a quick breakfast, I geared up, brushed the snow off Fiona, my '99 Ural Patrol and went for a ride before things melted.  The weather forecast is for a high temperature of 48°F (8.8°C) today so I don't think the snow will last long at all.

It took a bit of cranking but Fiona did finally turn over and wake up.

I stayed in the local area, waiting for the mountains to show once the morning haze/fog burned off a bit.

 At the Turquoise Lake Dam

 Next to Mt Massive Golf Course....highest in the nation apparently

 Mt Massive

 Main trail through dispersed area campgrounds

Home again

Almost all of the snow was gone by the evening, it had gotten as warm enough to melt it all away.

It remained cold enough though to cause me to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the warm interior of the URRV.

Here's a late afternoon of the view of Mount Massive, Colorado's second highest Fourteener, from the window of the URRV:

Today's sunset was middling