Saturday, October 24, 2020

Making the trailer last a bit longer.

 I have been using an Aluma 638 Aluminum Trailer since before 2016 to haul one of my two Ural Patrol sidecar rigs when camping with the URRV.

I've pretty much put the thing through terrain and situations that it wasn't really designed for and which aluminum just couldn't withstand long term repeated stress.

Stretching the trailer's tongue by two feet to gain clearance distance didn't help as it most likely added undue stress where the beam mated to the trailer bed's longitudinal support beams.

Along with stretching the tongue and gaining clearance, carrying the TW200 on the forward edge of the trailer bed didn't help things either!

Not supporting the rear edge of the trailer when doing loading/unloading operations didn't help either, something I learned about today thanks to RichardM.

I'd tried having additional aluminum welds to secure the tongue to the beams under the pretty sure it wouldn't come off but the cracks in the beams themselves caused worry:

Above shows rear portion of trailer's tongue and
the cracks that have developed over the years.

I'd always assumed it was the flex of the trailer bed as I drove the sidecar rig up onto the bed or off the bed that was causing the above cracks.

The last camping trip, I'd used an inch wide, 3/16th inch thick steel bar to act as reinforcement plate on the top and the bolts you see below, using the added on welded brackets as base.  Seemed to do OK but the metal strip was proving too narrow.

So, in the last week or so, I've added wider steel plates:

I've also added a couple of wooden fencing planks
to distribute the weight of the tug over the aluminum bed

Steel plating both on top and bottom on left side
where the cracks were worse

Right side, didn't use steel plate on bottom side,
this spot is more to keep things connected as the 
welded on brackets seem to be doing fine.

Some email exchange with RichardM and some googling revealed my idea to support the forward edge of the trailer was mistaken, I'm supposed to support the rear edge of the trailer.

So, I'll be traveling with a couple of small jack stands to use when loading/unloading the sidecar rig onto the trailer.  This should alleviate some of the stress when a 800 lb sidecar rig is driven onto or off of the trailer!

My next trailer, will be a steel trailer....yep, much heavier but stronger.  But not anytime soon, I hope.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Fall Colors at the base of the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains

 A windy day but at least the morning was sunny though it would cloud up in the afternoon, making the temperatures in the 60's feel much colder than actual.

I rode down to Westcliffe and then west on CR 160 which took me to the Gibson Creek Trail Head.  Near there I picked up CR 173 and after a mile or so, it got reach steep and rocky so I switched over to the "Rainbow Trail" thinking it might be better.

Wrong!  It was narrower and steeper with tight switchbacks with loose soil causing me to have to walk Yagi down them.  So I returned to CR 173, negotiated the really technical portion again and returned to normal county roads; all without dropping Yagi once.  Definitely roads to ride with a partner....not alone.

The county roads I stayed on, sort of ran parallel to the base of the eastern face of the Sangre de Cristo peaks near Westcliffe.  In spots, there was nice collection of trees displaying nice Fall Colors:

I got back to the URRV and a late lunch, after which I headed out to explore the area around the reservoir to the west of the campsite.  I stumbled on the road and was soon on the western side of the reservoir....before I got to the SWA's gate, I saw this nice display of light beams:

Entering the western side of the reservoir, I was able to pose Scarlett with a view of my campsite and Umarang in the far background:

Continuing on, I was soon forced by the roads away from the water and ended up at CO Hwy 69 after several miles.  I used CR 241 to get back to and past the Lake DeWeese Resort and soon was back on my side of the reservoir with a view of the now empty campsites now that the weekend is basically over:

There is on RV besides mine and one guy camping in a tent nearby as well.  I hope to do some more checking out of properties tomorrow, have asked more info from a local realtor.  I'm also hoping to hear from the realtor we engaged back in Cañon City....I think her taking a look at the property I looked at yesterday will give her a better idea of what I'm looking for.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Checking out a hilltop property near Westcliffe, CO

Main activity today, in a gloriously sunny day with temperatures in the 70s, was to see if Umarang, the URRV, was able to get up to a hilltop property, maneuver and come back down safely.  It's a pretty tight fit you see, and the listing realtor had his doubts about a 25 foot long RV fitting past the curves.

The property is part of the Bull-Domingo Ranch, a name which had caught my eye as you might imagine.  The name comes from the merger of the Johnny Bull and Domingo Mines located nearby.

The blue circle in the picture below shows the hill top in question, the current land owner had a driveway "roughed in", with two sort of flat spots to possibly build on.  The red circle was possible land to build on as well, but it turned out pretty sloping.  The build spots are on the lower of two hills; you can see the other hill already has a house built on it.

The area highlighted in yellow is the plat map, showing the property being sold.

picture source:

I'd called the listing agent's realty office and was assured no problem with permission, and since its a 35 acre piece of vacant land (mostly all hill), it was OK for me to go onto the property and drive around.  The fact that I was driving a 25 foot long RV gave them some pause but no prohibition was issued after I checked.

I left the trailer, with Scarlett still tied onto it, at the DeWeese Reservoir campsite along with Yagi, the TW200 to hold the spot.  I drove just the URRV for this test.  The rough rocky condition of the roughed-in driveway and some steep portions had me wanting to make sure the URRV could make it up safely before further exploring the idea of acquiring this land.

As it turned it out, it was no big deal.  Uma, the URRV rode over the rough, rock strewn driveway, with no issues or clearance problems at the narrow points.  As expected, I did have to back up a bit at the major curve, in order for Uma to point in the right direction for the major curve leading to the top flat spot.

At the lower flat spot, which sports a small metal shed.
Here's where I had to back Uma up a bit towards the edge
so that I could point her nose into the turn.

The Big Curve leading to the upper flat spot

Once pointing correctly, it was short work to slowly drive up the remaining sloping portion and reach the upper flat spot.  A little more maneuvering on this sort of flat yet rocky area and Uma was all set:

On the upper build spot....roughly 1400 square feet of usable
space, the rest needs more rock removal work.

You can see what they meant by "roughed in" driveway

After pictures, it was time to make my way back down with Uma, again I had to back up at the big curve, in order to get the nose pointed back down the driveway correctly.  No big deal.

But what about the trailer you ask?  Well, if I end up purchasing this property, Uma would tow the trailer to the lower flat spot, I'd unhook the trailer there and move it out of the way towards the shed after unloading the Ural rig (see second pic).  Once free of the trailer, Uma would continue on up to the top parking/build spot.

OK, test ride up and down complete, associated maneuvering complete with no issues.  I hope to now check out the rest of the property though I doubt I'll walk all 35 acres since it's all up and downhill!  

More to follow.  What do you think?  The idea is basically to use this as a private campground and perhaps build on it in the future.  It's secluded and private, in a central location for trips within Colorado and points south in the winter.

As its above 9000 feet in altitude, the property will probably not be really great for camping during the Winter months, but then again, I'd probably be camping in warmer climes anyways.  It just kind of bothers me to have land unused you know?

As you might suspect, I'm not 100% certain I'm actually going to buy anything.  We'll see.

Here's some pics shot by the listing agent for their ad:

A view of part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range

A view of part of the Wet Mountain Valley

View of more of the Sangre de Cristo Range

The hill top in question, the URRV had been located right
at the very top.

UPDATE: October 20.

I'm back home since the 12th.  The hunt for land has been once again postponed.  The property above fit most of the parameters but one major one held off my decision.  Winters are more severe in the Westcliffe area as opposed to the Cañon City area.  That, and the fact that if I bought now, I'd face perhaps 5 months of cold where the land would not be optimal for camping.

Friday, October 09, 2020

A Quiet Day at the DeWeese Reservoir SWA

 Not much riding today.

Pretty much just enjoyed a quiet morning at camp, watching canoes with fishermen or at least, fishing poles in them, move slowly about.  Several RVs within my line of sight but spaced out nicely and none really close to mine.  

Spent most of the first half of the afternoon online perusing and discarding candidates for lands that are for sale.  Zillow is good for the initial find, but one must use tools such as google maps and which provides plat maps to show you the property lines.  Zillow sucks at pretty much everything important....kind of like the initial ranging shot in the artillery, it gets you in the ball park....then you zero in.

After three hours of no luck finding properties worth a physical look, I went and checked out a previously discarded one that was nearby.  It's still not suitable, basically, you're buying a small access roads and completely tree covered.

There's only one property I'm interested in and that's awaiting coordination work between my realtor and the listing agent sometime this coming week.  More on that later if it works out.

I discovered on my ride back through the Lake DeWeese Resort community, a sign stating some new to me rules regarding boat activity or rather waterborne activity in this particular State Wildlife Area or SWA.  Somehow, the recreational boating rights aren't owned by the state but by private parties and they went to court to prevent any recreation boating activity not authorized by them.

The result is the only activity allowed for the public is fishing (with a Colorado license of course) from a boat is the only activity allowed.  Nothing else, no wake boards, jetskis, powerboats (unless actively fishing) and any other water craft.  I'd been wondering why things were so quiet here, now I knew.

So weird to me, that private parties can "own" recreational boating rights but the state retains ownership of fishing rights.  Lawyers....

At the end of the riding, the sun was shining nicely through some trees near the campsite so I posed Yagi accordingly:

Today's sunset coloration wasn't too bad I guess, a good end to a peaceful day....

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Boondocking near Poncha Pass - Days 3 & 4: A little more Fall Colors and displacing closer to Westcliffe, CO

 Wednesday, Oct 07

Rode Scarlett over to Westcliffe to check out some land for sale there.  About a 90 minute ride each way but with light traffic for the most part so all good.

Found a property I liked, more research to be done and we'll see where that goes.

Thursday, Oct 08

Spent the morning wandering about the BLM forest roads almost directly across from my campsite area, across US Hwy 285.  Nice little bit of meandering, and though I forgot the SD memory card for my regular camera, I made do with my iPhone:

After the above riding, I returned to the campsite and by 1245PM I had broken camp and was moving towards Westcliffe.  The idea being that it would cut down on transit time to further explore properties in the area and nearby developments as well.

I got to the DeWeese State Wildlife Area and found an open spot on a spit of land projecting onto the reservoir.  There's space for others so we'll see if things fill up as the weekend approaches.  Perhaps I can learn to tolerate the close company of others, so long as they're not exactly on top of me.

I rode to a spot where there was usable 4G and bought a Colorado Fishing License via their website.  You have to have either a Fishing or Hunting license now, to use a State Wildlife Area for camping....used to be free but I guess they're needing the money.

License confirmation number in an email, I was good to go and returned to the campsite to finish setting up camp.  I raised the weBoost antenna mast and got 2 bars LTE though throughput was very low, still better than 1x which was the unboosted signal on my cellphone.

More exploration of properties tomorrow I expect.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Boondocking near Poncha Pass - Day 2: Fall Colors on Marshall Pass Road and within Rio Grande National Forest

 Pretty good day of riding in search of Fall Colors and finally achieving the summit of Marshall Pass after two unsuccessful attempt when there was still lots of snow on the road to the summit.

Turns out, Marshall Pass Road is quite easy and even Umarang, the URRV would have had no issues achieving the summit!  Dang snow.....

Not really much in the way of epic scenery from the pass summit so Yagi and I turned around and made our way down heading back the same way we came up.

Here's some of the Fall Colors I saw on the way down:

Mount Ouray

Rode back to the camp for another late lunch and then headed out to explore FR 876 which is inside the Rio Grande National Forest (I thought I was next to the San Isabel NF but apparently the Rio Grande NF has bits located here as well).  

Here's three pics from Aspens located next to my campsite:

Some more Fall Colors enroute to FR 876:

So, assuming you're not tired of Fall Colors pictures, here's the views along Forest Road 876, it was quite colorful and extended for over two miles I think.

Hope you liked the pics, tomorrow it'll be Scarlett's turn to go out to look for Fall Colors or views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, we'll see how it works out.