Monday, September 20, 2021

A ride to view the Gunnison Gorge Eagle Rock Shelter Petroglyphs

 A pretty good sunrise today, with a few clouds reflecting the rising sun and some rays as well.


Spent the morning doing some light maintenance and RV related chores.  After lunch, Rich K. rode to my campsite and we spent some time perusing maps he'd brought, planning tomorrow's riding.

Then, we got on our dual sports and criss-crossed the Eagle Rock Shelter area, exploring trails where we found them, and just simply enjoying the riding on pretty easy dirt trails.  Rich mentioned the petroglyphs were worth the short but steep hiking so after he went home, I returned to the site to check it out.

Yep, a bit steep on the way down towards the rock shelter where the petroglyphs were found; but not too bad.  Coming back up was another story, had to stop and rest once to catch my breath.

Here's views of the rock shelter, the signs are sun-faded and basically unreadable in terms of the description of the petroglyphs themselves.



Here's the ones I managed to find, there were pretty hard to see/spot.  I zoomed in on the ones I found and then boosted the contrast heavily to make the petroglyphs/pictographs? stand out more.











The petroglyphs have been dated to be almost13,000 years old!  Here's a link to a pretty good writeup in a Rock Art Blog.

I returned to camp and got a pic of the nearby mountain peaks:

Mount Lamborn on the left and Landsend Peak on the right.

Stay tuned, more riding tomorrow, on trails I've not been on yet, trails that should provide a view into the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness if I can hack it on the trails.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Now boondocking within the Gunnison Gorge NCA

 By 9AM, I was basically alone in the Delta County Fairgrounds once again.  All the rally attendees had departed for home and the rally was over.

Spent the rest of the morning just relaxing in the newly returned solitude.  Closer to lunch, I decided that since no riding was planned for the afternoon, might as well displace to the boondocking spot I'd spotted and checked out in the last couple of days.

Camp set up was under mostly cloudy skies, and thereby nicely cool temperatures.  Oh, and it was a bit windy but not bad.  Being situated between two dirt mounds helped cut down the wind's effect as well.


This spot isn't on my usual go-to app for locating boondocking locations.  I'd seen some existing fire rings while riding about the northern portion of the NCA and thereby it met all the requirements for dispersed camping site within BLM managed lands.

Here's a view of part of the dirt road that leads to the top of the hill on which the campsite is located.



After dinner, I rode Yagi along the Eagle Rock Shelter Loop, taking pics of the eroded rock formations that are part of the Gunnison Gorge NCA.


Can you spot Uma in the above picture?

How about now?

A view, similar to a previous posting's pic, but with the setting sun's coloration of the rocks rendering them warmer to the eye.


Shooting to the west, I liked the way the rock formations seemed to float in the haze.


Sunset on Sunday:


Yep, still a lot of haze and smoke from forest fires in the air.

I'll be here probably till Wednesday morning, it all depends on what kind of riding I can get in with Rich K. who lives in Hotchkiss.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Uraling to the Grand Mesa National Forest

Today I rode again with Dan K.  Both of us on our respective Ural Patrols and we headed out of Hotchkiss to the Leroux Creek Road.  We took this road north towards the Grand Mesa National Forest a few miles away.

Once the road turned from pavement to dirt, it became quite wash boarded and the riding was quite rough at times!  You have to really want to camp in this portion of the Grand Mesa National Forest because the enduring of the washboard conditions was tough.

We did find some nice looking camp spots once we were within the national forest, most of the spots taken up by vehicles and campers belonging to hunters.  It was hunting season you see, not sure for what, but every man I saw, was wearing at least one article of clothing in bright orange.

At 9600 feet (almost 4000 feet higher than the altitude at Hotchkiss), the Aspen leaves had started turning color here and there, not a lot.  Then, we happened on a large copse of Aspen which had turned early apparently, so we stopped for pics.





Moving on, we finally made it to Bailey Reservoir.  After some narrow twisting trail riding, we got to what would be a prime camping spot; if only we could get the VRRV in there.  Impossible of course due to the trail conditions, it was hard enough for the Urals to make it through:




Retracing our route back towards the south.  We tried stopping at a few spots where there were as of yet meager offerings of Fall Colors.  Of all those stops, only the last one yielded lukewarm results:


Continuing on our way back, I decided to explore a side road marked as Oak Mesa Road.  It proved to be an easily Ural-able trail going up to the top of Oak Mesa.  The view from one of the stops wasn't too shabby:


Here, we posed the rigs about 250 feet further up the trail:


We didn't get much further up, there was a gate marking the beginning of private property.  Turning around, we did explore another side trail but bagged on it no even a mile in as it looked like it went a long convoluted way out of our way.

We got back to the fairgrounds with only one mechanical issue with Dan's rig but he easily resolved it.  

We rested the rest of the afternoon and even though we'd had a light snack provided by Dan, were quite hungry by 6PM when dinner was served in the community hall building.  

The drawings for prizes was conducted prior to dinner and Dan K. won a waterproof travel moto bag.  I won a BMW air pressure gauge and cap.  Not bad swag.

The weather was moving in as we ate, so it was hurried goodbyes after the final drawings after dinner.  A good day of riding overall, we'll see if we can sneak in one more short ride tomorrow before Dan K. has to drive home with his motorhome that he, like me, uses to pull a trailer hauling his Ural.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Cars of the Colorado Grand

 The Colorado Grand is a vintage car event involving vintage cars, very expensive ones, driving 1000 miles around Colorado.

This year, their stop in the town of Hotchkiss, coincided with part of the Thunder Mountain BMW Rally.  So it was kind of a bonus event for us.  Most of the morning was spent watching, admiring and taking pictures of these vehicles as they stopped briefly for coffee and snacks.

As usual, took too many pictures and not enough knowledge to be able to give you details on the cars, but figured you'd like the eye candy anyways.

This one was my favorite, the Mercedes Benz Gull Wing:



In no particular order or precendence, just a few of the many cars I saw, but these caught my eye best.












Not much riding today, though Dan K and I did manage to work in a short ride in the Gunnison Gorge NCA.  He'd not been on the rim before so I think he enjoyed himself.  Not many pics taken and the ones taken didn't really come out for me.  

Then we found Dan's rig's left muffler loose in its mounting bracket, so he secured it up again using a spare nut he'd been carrying.  We returned to town to visit the hardware store but no parts retrieved; instead he thinks it'll be fine till he gets the rig home.

We had lunch at the Taco Hut in town, then basically "shot the shit" while whiling the hot afternoon away and things go ramped up with the BMW rally folks in terms of setup and registration.

Hopefully, a longer ride tomorrow on the Urals.

Note: I did manage to speak to Rich K. re getting his assistance but because of the logistics involved with hoisting a sidecar rig into the air; he was a bit doubtful as to his ability to work on it.  Having worked all his life as a Porsche mechanic, his days of laying on the ground working on vehicles were over.

So since the rig is quite drivable, I'll just take it on home and do the replacement of the steering head bearings by myself.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

At Hotchkiss, CO for the 17th Thunder Mountain BMW Rally

 Woke early and got this shot of the sun rising from the two main mountain peaks visible from just about anywhere near Hotchkiss, CO:

Lens bloom created that flower-looking object above
Scarlett, weird but nice

Yesterday, after setting up camp, I'd taken a short ride with Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig, to check out some possible boondocking sites.  None found but a good ride nonetheless.

Near Pleasure Park, part of the Gunnison Gorge NCA

While it was still cool out (actually should have worn a liner under my riding jacket), I rode out once again to the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area (NCA) to do some more searching for boondocking spots.

I did manage to find about three to five good candidates and the access road involved was quite able to be negotiated by the VRRV!  I also did some picture taking of course, I was riding Yagi, my Yamaha TW200 Dualsport which loves the terrain we were on as we rode along the rim of the Gunnison Gorge.




Heading north towards CO92 Highway








My final stop before reaching the highway as the collapsed entrance to an old mine on the side of a hill:



Back at the County Fairgrounds, I was working on Yagi's saddlebags when who should show up but Dana on his new rig.  It's a Triumph Rocket III tug with a Texas Sidecar!  It's quite the beast if you know of these motorcycles.

2.3 Liter Engine, the largest production engine worldwide apparently.  Dana had just returned last night from a 1119 mile trip from Donie, TX where he'd had the rig put together with the tug.  Needless to say, he's got gobs of torque and power with this new tug, so holding highway speeds or better are not a problem anymore.

Sadly, he'll be selling his 2006 Ural Patrol, which was ridden and ridden hard, year round, when Dana was working in the Vail area before he retired.



The rally starts officially tomorrow and there were several riders and their motorcycles already in evidence at the fairground's grassy area, with their tents set up as I type this posting.

Fellow Uralisti John and Cookie S., along with Dan K. are attending this event as well and I spent the evening first with John and Cookie at Dana's home (he lives in Hotchkiss); and then having a beer with Dan K. when I spotted his camper upon returning to the fairgrounds.