Thursday, July 30, 2020

Wyoming Boondocking - Day 3: Errands and a hike up a hill

Wednesday, July 29

Some more shots of the campsite I'm presently boondocking in.

After breakfast, I rode Scarlett the 24 or so miles back into Colorado to the town of Walden.

I needed to refill the spare gas tanks and also purchase a replacement trailer brake/turn light.  Once again, I'd lost one of them somewhere between home and the North Sand Hill Recreation Area just north of the town of Cowdrey, CO.

This time, it was the right side light; but luckily, the plug was not very damaged from having dragged on the ground for who knows how many miles.

NAPA P/N 60202R1

Installation was pretty easy and I re-used the OEM rubber grommet.  This time, I also used some sheet metal screws to "wedge" the light assembly in place, and did the same for the left side light.

I also ordered a pair of lights from Amazon, thereby guaranteeing I'll never lose another trailer light again since I'll have spares onhand!

After leaving town, I decided to once again check out the North Sand Hills Rec Area, since I was riding the most capable of my onhand vehicles, Scarlett and her 2WD.

I didn't get very far on the trails as things got sandier than what I was comfortable with pretty fast.  I did spot where I should have set up camp, in fact a couple of spots, but they weren't very secluded and were near other campsites.

I did find a small hill which Scarlett could easily climb for this shot:

This recreation area is pretty forested for the most part with deep sand in the trails winding their way among the trees.  I'd say it's a haven for OHVs with wide tires and such.  Not much in the way of scenic sections of sand dunes as I'd pictured beforehand.  Oh well.

Returning to camp, I got the trailer light installed and then had some lunch.

After lunch, with the winds really picking up, I figured I'd forego riding in such winds and instead hike up to the top of the nearby hill where the campsite is located.   The URRV is at 7960 ft (2426 m) altitude and the top was at 8530 ft (2600 m).  A gain of only 570 ft in altitude but it felt much higher as the going was quite steep.  (or I could be really out of shape)

 Looking to the SW, that's WY Highway 230,
it becomes CO Highway 125 across the border

Looking to the NW, you can see the access road
into the Six Mile Campground.  This road also acts
as access to the Platte River Wilderness Area.

The rest of the afternoon was a windy mess and I stayed close to the URRV, watching the clouds overhead racing past...their shadows mottling the valley before me as they passed overhead.

After dinner, I took a leisurely evening ride on Yagi to the rock formations on FR4A:

Returning to the main trail, I kept going northward for perhaps a mile until I stopped on top of a small ridge for these views:

Near where I stopped above, there were a couple of these box shaped objects.  One white, the other rust brown.  From a distance, they looked like discarded plastic containers some Schweinhund had left behind as garbage.  I'd seen another pair, one white and the other blue, at a different campsite.

I walked over to take a closer look and they're actually solid blocks of some material/mineral.  I think they're salt licks left out for the wildlife by the USFS Rangers?  No, I didn't lick it to confirm.

One more view of Yagi staring off towards the east:

Even though the sun was still above the horizon, it was getting a bit chilly and the winds had picked up again so I returned the 3.5 miles or so back to the campsite without incident.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Wyoming Boondocking - Near Six Mile Campground: Routt National Forest

 July 27, Monday

 A long first day for this camping trip!  I'd planned on boondocking within the North Park Valley which has Walden, CO as its county seat (Jackson County).  More info on this area here: LINK

Got to the planned campsite at the North Sand Hills Recreation Area.  The main “road “ was very sandy which should have been a clue.

I spotted a spot for a likely campsite and while driving around it got stuck I. Some loose deep sand!


The scenario of an expensive tow out of this sandy spot ran immediately through my head as I tried moving the URRV back and forth to try and get forward momentum.  No joy.

I stopped trying, unloaded Scarlett from the trailer to lessen the load on Uma the URRV. 

I also cleared the sand away from the front of the rear dually tires.  I got back in and hallelujah she started moving and gaining speed.

Soon I was back on the main trail whiting thought sandy before but now saw it nice and firm!

Walked back the Scarlett, engaged 2WD, and slip and slid out of that trap of a campsite!

Checked out further on and the good spots were taken already so I ride Scarlett back to the waiting URRV and loaded her back on the trailer.

Oh, also noticed I’d lost the right side tail/brake light assembly on the trailer somewhere between there and home!  Dammit.

Anyways, I drove the five miles back to Colorado Highway 125 and checked out the nearby Cowdrey SWA.  Small area for rigs and it was already too crowded for me!  Also, really big flies clustered on the windshield as I sat there.  Nope, not for me.

So I got back on Colorado Highway 125 now heading north and soon crossed the state border Into Wyoming.  My new destination the Six Mile Campground run by the US Forest Service.  

I found the campground with no problems and even a nice pull through spot.  Paid the overnight fee of $5 and then decided to unload Yagi and do some exploring before setting up camp.

It’s good that I did!  While meandering a trail south of the campsite I found a better one with no one nearby!

I rode back to Uma, loaded up Yagi and got everything ready to move.  Drove out of the campground, my neighbor must have wondered what happened!

Got to the new site, a bit higher altitude than the campground and no one here but me! 

Only minus?  Best signal is Extended 3G, and that's
with weBoost!

The sunset wasn't bad:

Tuesday July 28

Did some riding in the morning, found some nice rock formations.

Late morning afternoon I had returned to camp, it started raining so I took a nap.

Things cleared up nicely in mid-afternoon so I went down to the trailhead for the Platte River Wilderness.

Heaven to fly fishermen

Decided to ride back to this mornings rock formations....the riding started out under nice blue skies and I got to the location after some nice meandering riding.

The storms around here move fast apparently because all of a sudden I was surprised with rapidly darkening skies!

It started raining as I hastily rode back to camp, then it started hailing smaller than pea size ice particles!  Any exposed skin stung in pain when hit by this hail.  I guess I should be thankful it wasn’t bigger stuff!

Yagi got me back to the URRV just fine, soaked to the skin as I didn’t have my rain gear.  Oh well.

Some more rain forecast for tomorrow as well but then the rest of the week should be sunny and highs in the low 80s!

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Prepping for more camping

Some tasks prior to going camping again.

To hopefully remedy the weird engine performance behavior when trying to do steep highways and not being able to hold 55 mph when above 10,000 ft (3028 meters); I swapped out the main jet in my 2006 TW200's carburetor.

Based on info I found on the tw200 forum, I had bought Keihin Jets from

1 x Main Jet 99101-393-105

1 x Main Jet 99101-393-110

1 x Main Jet 99101-393-115

The last number is the size of the jet.  The stock jet the TW200 came with is size 125 and the theory is its too much fuel above 10,000 ft where there's less air for the air/fuel mixture.  (Thanks RichardM for the reminder)

You have to remove the fuel bowl at the bottom of the carburetor to access the jets so I had to loosen the worm gear hose clamps, unhook the fuel line, and also unhook an air line going into the exhaust side manifold of the carburetor.

Then, I could rotate the carburetor's bottom side to the left so I could access the fuel bowl screws:

Once I had the bowl off, I also checked the size of the idle jet:

Idle Jet

Then, using an 8mm wrench to loosen the main jet assembly, using same wrench and I think a 6mm wrench, I removed the 125 jet and replaced it with a 110 jet:

#110 Keihin Jet now in place

Putting everything back together went smoothly, made sure the carburetor was as level as possible, reinstalled all removed hoses....went for a test ride and she ran as normal.  Hopefully I'll find some high altitude riding during this coming camping trip to see if it helps or hinders.

I geared up and rode to the RV storage yard to pick up Umarang and Yagi held 55 mph just fine.  In fact, I had to throttle back at one point because I was inadvertently doing almost 60 in a 40 mph zone!

The above speed could have been a result of one of three DAC*s trying to kill me with their cars though.

Retrieved the URRV, trailering Yagi back using the Pitbull Restrain System.


Water notes:  Overflow tubes started at 30 gallons per the water meter as expected.  Put 6 gallons in the water heater tank and an additional 17 gallons in three containers for washing; 5 gallons in separate jub for flushing the toilet.


Got 12 replacement caps for the ends of the steps of the RV ladder for $24 from here: LINK, some of the original ones are cracking and falling apart so I'll be replacing the ones that need to be replaced.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Changing my preconceptions of Preload Settings

Preload:  Preemptively adding a load, in this case compressing the spring  on a Ural's shock absorber to "stiffen" or "harden" the ride.

Background:  When I first got Scarlett, my 2014 Patrol, she wallowed like a old Cadillac and didn't feel safe to ride her home from the dealer.  I stopped shortly after leaving Fort Collins and using the pin wrench in the assigned tool kit, turned the preload to the full position.

The "new to me" Scarlett rode much better with stiffer settings!  And so, I would forget about it and always set the preloads on all my Ural rigs to the max setting, not wanting to "wallow".


I'd been messing about with the shock absorbers on both my rigs, the 2014 with the German Sachs Shock Absorbers and the 1999 rig with the old style shocks made by Ural (I think).

Most if not all had displayed signs of seal failure and oil leakage, and the Sachs shocks showed the springs compressed more than normal while just parked.

 Scarlett's rear shock absorbers, from a rig that was parted out,
showing what I think is "good" spring separation distance.

Scarlett's front Sachs shock absorbers, showing the
narrower spring separation gap of what I believe are
failed or worn shock absorbers.

In the last few weeks, I've replaced all the seals on the "rebuildable" shock absorbers for Fiona, the '99 Patrol.  Of course, you know, the two front shock absorber pistons on her broke during the last camping trip.  So now, Fiona is sporting the "used" and believed failed Sachs shock absorbers from Scarlet's pusher wheel position.

 Scarlett's rear shock absorbers, now used on Fiona's
front wheel's suspension.

Old style shock absorbers with new seals on
Fiona's pusher wheel's suspension.
Note the spring separation gap is wider.

I've got two supposedly new shocks, old style, coming from Belarus....they'll get put on Scarlett's front wheel and I'll see how they work out:

image source: ebay


I set the preload on all the shocks but the sidecar shock on Fiona to lowest setting.  A test ride revealed NO wallowing behavior and a more comfortable ride.  Hmmmm.

Then, I thought I'd do the same for Scarlett's shocks and a test ride revealed only a slight wallowing behavior.  Upon returning home, I adjusted the preload to the first position and will test that for the next few rides.

Amidst all these changes, I realized that one the combo pin wrench in the tool kit isn't suitable for the sidecar shock absorber.  No room to turn the wrench you see.  Previously, it had led to frustration and even removal of the shock absorber in order to change the dang preload settings!

In the picture above, the rightmost pin wrench or spanner is the combo wrench I thought was meant for all the shock absorbers.  I was, as usual, wrong.

The left most wrench is the one that came with the 2014 rig's toolkit.

The center wrench is the one that came with the 1999 rig's toolkit.

Why the difference?  The center one is also used to loosen/tighten the center piston's cap within the shock absorber's body.  The Sachs shocks not being rebuildable, no provision is made for their being taken apart.

Turns out, the center or leftmost wrench is the only one suitable to adjust the sidecar's shock absorber's preload within the tight confines involved!  I was trying to do it all with the rightmost combination wrench and failing miserably when it came to the sidecar's shock absorber!  Doh!

Going forward:

The day's of my Ural rigs being used to attack rough mountain trails and passes are over.  It's forest roads only when not on pavement I think.  Yagi, my 2006 TW200 Dualsport will get me to the top of mountain passes and down the rough stuff.

Depending on how the "new" shock absorbers do on Scarlett, I might get a similar pair for Fiona.

Also exploring finding shock absorbers of similar specifications on Aliexpress, perhaps finding a cheaper alternative for future use.

I might even explore the use of "heavier" or "stiffer" springs, but some research needed on that.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Found: GoPro 4 Session Camera

If you're feeling like a bit of a helpful Samaritan, please spread the word:

Recently, I found, near the junction of FR811.B and FR123 in the Pike National Forest, a GoPro Hero 4 Session camera.

Camera will not power on, I think it's toast.

It was underwater and apparently has been that way since September 3, 2017....the date of the newest file.  The red arrow in the screen capture above shows where it was found.

Here's what I believe is the camera's serial number in case someone can use it to trace the owner:

I checked the videos and here's some Snip App captures of whom I think is the owner and his GMC Pickup Truck's license plate, that might help identify the owner:

Colorado Plate
506-IQD? or 506-IOD?

If you're the owner, contact me at for retrieval of the camera and 64GB MicroSD card.  I'll put the camera away until the end of the year at least.  I repeat, the camera is toast...tried charging it and it did warm up a bit but couldn't get it to power on.  The 64GB MicroSD card is viable however and contains videos.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Failed attempt at Red Cone Pass Road and another displacement

Wednesday, July 15

Discovered this early this morning as I worked on getting ready for today's riding:

The pic shows what I had after removing the torn up TP rolls from the shelf you see in the cabinet under the bathroom sink.  Little sucker just dug through the two rolls, digging through, apparently looking for something?  Martha thinks it was taking away material for its nest.

Spent some time checking for evidence of rodents having taken up residence, couldn't find any.  Only opening I could find was where the 30 amp power cable went into the RV within the compartment where its stored when not in used.

My theory is one of the many small squirrels/varmints in the camp site had finally gotten brave enough to approach the URRV and enter it seeking whatever.  I'd been at this site seven nights you see, pretty long time for me.

So, I sealed up the hole through which the city power cable runs, and taped up the opening through which it is run when deployed.  I'm hoping that's how the varmint got in.  The bottom of the RV is pretty well sealed, where there's openings, the manufacturer filled in the cracks with some kind of hard rubber sealant.  I'll have to check for new openings I guess.

The above done, I geared up to try and ride up to Red Cone Pass about 20 miles away.  You access the entrance to this road via Park County Road 60 and then turning onto FR121.  I didn't get very far.  It had looked doable in the video link I published before; but that video didn't cover the first mile...holy crap!

The first mile or so is apparently a dirt trail heavily strewn with loose boulders and large gravel.  I didn't even get 1/4 of the way before hitting a boulder wrong and Yagi ending up on her left side agaisnt/up the left bank of the "trail".

After some dragging, I got her upright again and checked for damage, none evident so I continued hoping to see an end to the boulder field.  Nope.

As soon as I saw what was in front of me, I found a flat spot to stop:

This is a view of was behind me, lower down:

So I pivoted Yagi on her centerstand, allowing me to turn her 180 degrees and pointed downwards.  At this point two Jeeps showed up and blocked the way down so they stopped and we conversed.

The lead jeep's driver had been up Red Cone Pass before and he said the trail actually got much tougher just a bit further on; then it would turn easy until near the top when it became really steep and a lot of loose gravel and another boulder field.

Hearing this, my decision to turn around was confirmed for me.  The Jeeps moved to create a path for me to walk Yagi by them and I wished them a good day as I left.  Red Cone Pass will have to wait for me to come back in a more capable vehicle such as a Jeep or a Side by Side ATV!

Coming back down the 1/4 mile I had achieved wasn't pretty as I was a bit shaky.  Still, no more falls, and I got back onto the county road.  There I discovered I couldn't shift up from first gear, the pedal had gotten bent upwards in the fall.

I pulled over and using my booted foot, pushed down on the pedal enough to achieve clearance.  It had gotten bent a bit more and when I tried to up shift, it would contact the engine case before engaging the next gear.

Also noticed the left front turn signal mount was slightly bent as well, luckily, the light fixture itself was fine.

Once I could actually cycle through all the gears, I continued on back to US 285 and slowly made my way back to camp.  Yagi's performance really suffers at above 10,000 ft even though I've checked and she's got the larger jet in her carburetor.  She acts like the engine cuts out and immediately cuts back in, repeatedly, while trying to maintain speed.  I was lucky to make 45 mph going up towards Kenosha Pass.

The above behavior had been happening the least few days each time I tried to make highway speeds going to and from trail heads; so not part of the latest crash.

Got back to camp and noticed that the spot the next hill over from my camp site was open now, so I hurriedly packed things up and displaced to the new site.  Hoping the rodent who was brave enough to crawl into the URRV would be left behind in the old spot and the rodents in the new spot would take a few days to be brave enough to try and get in!

I unbent the clutch pedal a little more, and using a wrench, unbent the mounting bracket for the left front turn signal....all good.

I originally parked the URRV all the way to the left of the picture below, facing towards the path that led to the campsite.  After two separate camper rigs stopped and looked for way too long before moving on, I decided to make it more obvious that this site was full:

Does the site appear to be at full capacity?

A closer up view

At Martha's suggestion I also ended up dragging a log or two across the entry path, clearly showing a perimeter which I hoped wouldn't be challenged.  I'm not here to meet new friends through camping you see.  I'll see how it holds up as the next weekend's worth of campers shows up.

Yes, I've become quite the curmudgeon in my old age.  Perhaps I should have a sign made up to post at the entry to a camp site:  Disgruntled Vet, Leave Me Alone.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Slow Day then a Breakage Day

Monday, July 13

Pretty much a do nothing but hang about kind of day.

Did cruise the whole length of Rock Creek Hills Road in Yagi to count remaining occupied campsites and they’re down to 14. 

The day began chilly and overcast and the sun wouldn’t shine through till 11AM; I had lost all motivation to go riding by then.

Tomorrow is a ride to Fairplay about 16 miles away once I get on US 285 South. Need some lock washers and to fill up the spare gas cans for future riding.  The gas station in Jefferson which is much closer is closed for reasons unknown to me.

Tuesday, July 14

A gas run, and broken shock absorbers!

Rode Fiona to Fairplay to refill the spare gas cans and stopped for some lock washers for Fiona.

The errand went well and I decided on the way back to forego going back to camp to switch out motorcycles and kept going to the Kenosha East Campground location to check out the sites.

Within the campground they’re pretty small, suitable for truck and tent camping really.  The nearby dispersed camping area had a couple of nice sites but cellular signal was basically nonexistent!

Then I decided to explore County Road 126, Twin Cone Peak Road.   Big mistake, should have gone back for Yagi as originally planned.

The road was dirt and was quite nice at first, once you’re past the gate and past the private property access area, it got steadily rougher.

I should have turned around when I had to stop to let the clutch cool off.

The road had lots of big mounds of dirt, similar to speed bumps but much larger and steeper.  So Fiona was having to do a lot of diving on the other side of these speed bumps.

But I kept going like the stubborn optimist that I am.  Got about another mile up and then I started hearing/feeling loud metallic thumping noise from the front wheel area!  Dammit.

I kept going till I could find a flat stopping point as the noise started while Fiona was charging up yet another slope.

It was apparently one too many speed bumps for Fiona’s front shocks!

 Well that ain't can see the main piston had broken apart
(rope-like object in foreground is the camera's lens cap leash....sorry)

And the view at this spot wasn't anything to write home about either!

Note how low the front fender sits without the shock absorbers in play.
I'm lucky the fender wasn't resting on top of the tire, rendering it immobile!

After cooling off a while, and basking in the result of my deviations from plans, I decided to of course turn around at this point.

I slowly made my way back down the mountain, trying to find the smoothest line for Fiona's front wheel and lessen the amount of impacts.  Eventually, we made it back to the Kenosha East Campground area, onto US285 and headed on back to the campsite.

Made it there with no issues, taking CR77 instead of CR56 since its paved whereas CR56 is heavily washboarded.  Got Fiona loaded up onto the URRV's trailer and made some lunch.

Working with ratchet straps, a small hydraulic jack, a BFH and some cursing, I got the springs unbent and the broken remnants of each shock absorber's piston re-inserted into the shock body's top cap.

You may notice the right side shock is more askew than the left side shock.  That's because the half moon shaped retaining clips on the top of the shock cap were missing completely on the right, and one remained in place on the left:

I figured they fell off as the shock absorbers were flopping about once the center piston broke and the rig was still moving.  Dammit.

So, after some debate, geared back up and rode Yagi back to the site of the incident.  Yagi of course had no issues riding up the same rocky road!  I found one of the clips before I got to the spot where I had parked Fiona.

Passing the spot, I decided to see how much further I could get with Yagi.  Turns out, about 1.6 more miles of steadily rougher and rockier trail.  Got to one point where I stalled her while trying to climb out of a steep depression in the trail, and down we went.

No injuries to neither myself or Yagi but that was where I decided to turn around.

Got back to the site where Fiona had been parked, and walked down perhaps a max of 1/4 mile, finding the other two missing clips!  Yay.

The worsening weather had not improved the view

Rode Yagi back down the mountain, to the sound of thunder claps that sounded really loud and close by!

Got home with no issues.  I won't be able to install the clips without the shock compression tool that is at home so Fiona is out of commission for now.  I do have two old style shock absorbers coming from Belarus which I was going to put on Scarlet's front end.  I'll then use Scarlett's old shocks for Fiona's front end until I can either get the shocks repaired or buy two more old style shocks.

Ah, the viccisitudes of the life of a Ural rider.  A Ural rider who now understands perhaps leave the mountain trails to Yagi and the city street riding to the Urals.