Friday, December 31, 2021

Happy New Year and 2021 in Pictures

Happy New Year !!!

Here's hoping 2022 is the year that sees an end to the pandemic and onto better things!

As the tradition it seems to have become, here's a compilation of pictures taken during 2021, I hope you like them:

The usual stats:

Motorcycle mileages

This year it worked out to be a downward trend  for Yagi and Scarlett.  This being the first year I've owned the Sammy, not a big surprise eh?

Total mileage ridden in 2020 = 3556 (-48% over last year) and very pitiful when compared to the totals for 2010 when I apparently first posted end of year mileages achieved: 16941 miles!

Scarlett:  Ending odometer reading 68562 = 1145 Km or 687 Miles (worse than last year) 

Brigitta ('87 BMW R80): Ending Odometer 101.811 = 932  Miles or 1491 km (almost double than last year's sad figure)

Yagi: Ending odometer: 15286 = 1947 Miles or 3115 Km (almost half than last year)

Totals since 2010 (missing 2011-12)

Total motorcycle mileages

RV Stats:

We went camping for 216 days or two weeks more than last year.  That works out to 59% of the year vice 55%  last year)

Umarang: ending Mileage: 80864 = 10,964 Miles for 2021. ( 1364 miles more than 2020), starting mileage under our ownership: 20,240 back in 2016.

The Sammy: Ending mileage 91631 - 9700 towed miles = 5870 driven or actual miles

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Seen while bingeing....

The weather here in the overcrowded Colorado Front Range has been and remains cold but sunny since Christmas.

I did go on a brief ride in Scarlett, my Ural Patrol sidecar rig but it was but to run an errand at the VRRV's storage yard and back.  It was, a "coldly brisk" ride.

I must get Brigitta out before the expected snow fall come New Year's Eve in a couple of days or so.

In the meantime, what have I been doing is sheltering in place (lazing on the TV couch) bingeing on multiple episodes of "All Creatures Great and Small".  Based on the great books I read in my younger days by James Herriot, a British Veterinarian.

I remain unsure why I find this series so interesting, to the point of there's been days when all I've done is watch episode after episode!  Good thing I'm retired.

So, why this post you ask?

Well, starting near the end of season 4, a new character was introduced.  Calum Buchanan, a newly minted Veterinarian come to join/help with the practice in the Yorkshire countryside.  

Calum you see is quite the character and to accompany said character is his mode of transport: A 1931 New Hudson Sidecar Motorcycle!

Here's some screen captures and pics from listed online source:

The rather stylistic/fluted exhaust pipe which was apparently a signature design of New Hudson motorcycles makes them easy to identify.

And yes, the sidecar is shaped like a boat!

After it made its debut on Episode 10 of Season 4 of All Creatures Great and Small, it went on sale for £12,000 but apparently remains unsold.  More info here: New Hudson and here: Chortley

Some pics from the article itself showing better detail of the rig:

and one from the auction website:

Pretty rig isn't it?  I don't think the boat is actually detachable and a functional watercraft but even so, can you even imagine the "delay factor" involved when driving such a rig around?

Sadly, it appears that in a latter episode, they had to switch to a different but still beautiful sidecar rig:

I'm guessing the above tug is a Norton?

Anyways, more episodes await.....not to mention, Brigitta, who hasn't been out since Oct 29!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas

Been home a few days now, and no riding....just adjusting back to home life.

No snowy white Christmas for us here in the overcrowded cesspool that is the Colorado I-25 corridor; but I'll take global warming over a new ice age.

Here's hoping you have a Merry Christmas, that you and yours are healthy, and that the holidays are what you hope them to be.

Here's a pic from Christmas near Las Vegas, NV back during 2018....

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Home again

Sunday, December 19:

Returned home after almost 11 hours of driving.  Long day with 566 miles to cover per Google Maps.  Nothing like the distances covered by RichardM while retrieving his new Jeep from WA to FL, but still, long enough for me.  Came home to no snow, and the usual snow falls haven't happened.  Heck, the temperatures are comparable to what I was experiencing in New Mexico!

A bit over 2130 miles round-trip by the VRRV with the Sammy in tow; according to Google Maps time I must remember to write down starting mileage for the VRRV.

47 nights camping this trip.

It works out to roughly $37/day.....I'm thinking the only way to draw down this figure is to stay longer at each stop on the next trip.  The longest I stayed at one spot (Dragoon Mountains) was 13 days.  The usual limit for such camping is 14 days (sometimes shorter depending on local BLM/USFS policy).

Then again, costs are well within budget.....perhaps I need to quit overthinking things and just enjoy the solitude of my type of camping.  This was the first camping trip where I zealously tracked each and every expense, not sure I'll do it again.  Ignorance can be bliss, right?

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Cold Day means Museum Day - Geronimo Springs Museum in TorC

I woke to an outside temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit and about 38 degrees inside the VRRV.  I quickly turned on the Catalytic Propane Heater and warmed things up eventually.

The day was forecasted with a high of only 51 degrees and windy so no outdoors activities for me!  Instead, I drove to TorC and checked out the Geronimo Springs Museum.  It's put together by the Sierra County Historical Society so it's got a bit of a variety of things; not just stuff about Geronimo for instance.

Before I went into the museum, I posed the Sammy by a mural I'd seen before, heck I think I'd photographed before; but just in case....

I liked this one of a Native American woman:

OK, like I said, there was a bit of variety in the museum's offerings.  This mastodon skull was apparently dug up in Sierra County:

Among the many historical photographs of people, buildings; there were also pictures of the construction of the Elephant Butte Dam which would eventually create Elephant Butte Lake and the State Park that exists today.

I liked this picture because it shows Elephant Butte before the dam was completed and the water covered the ground around the butte:

Here's a picture of Elephant Butte, and while the water levels are low, you can see how the dam's construction isolated it into an island of sorts

photo from February 3, 2021 posting

Let's see, if you like seeing Native American pottery, there was a lot of it at this museum!

There were several shelves of these and other large pottery jugs/containers lining up one wall:

Below is just one section of four I believe chock full of pottery samples from different eras:

These caught my eye because they reminded me of napkin holders, not sure what their actual purpose was but the size was right to hold rolled up napkins

One of about 5-6 framed collectiions of arrowheads and other implements and such:

Of course, with Geronimo in the museum's name, there was a small room dedicated to the man's story, imagery and photos of him and assorted items attributed to him.  The figure is made of wax by the way.

As you probably know, Truth or Consequences was a radio shot from the 1950s.  A couple of photographs of the show were strange or unusual enough to catch my attention:

If you look closely, the "or else" guy is holding a gun....I know it is
in jest but imagine trying that on a live audience today.

A short blurb on how Hot Springs, New Mexico became Truth or Consequences, New Mexico:

Only in America....

The sharp-eyed amongst you might have noticed the left rear wheel on the Sammy seemed a bit shiny in the mural photo at the start of this post.

At first I thought it was a leaking brake cylinder again but closer examination by myself and Mike W. (the sammy guru) discovered it was a leaking shock absorber.  Sigh.

Ironically, it may have started leaking since yesterday evening but the ride performance and comfort hasn't changed one bit!  I'll be ordering replacements soon, and changing the rear shock absorbers out once I'm home.

Speaking of home:

I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree
Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have some snow and mistletoe
And presents by the tree
Christmas eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Not in my dreams, however, I will be driving home soon after I wake tomorrow morning.  I've got the VRRV and Sammy all connected and I just have to put away the inside items and move out.  Google maps says its about 8 hrs, so figure 10 hours.

I was going to stop about midway, near the town of Springer, NM but the weather forecast puts the overnight temperatures in the single digits, so no sense stopping!

Friday, December 17, 2021

Sammy repairs by a Guru and exploring the southern end of Elephant Butte Lake State Park

 Wednesday, December 15

Mike W., who I met the first time in 2021 that I had camped near Truth or Consequences (TorC), NM, back in the first half of 2021; fixed a couple of things on the Sammy.

One of the objectives of this particular camping trip had been to have Mike W. supervise me as I replaced the leaking o-ring for the distributor where it mates to the engine case.  It's a known problem with Samurais and the online video made it seem simple enough.

I coordinated with Mike and on his day off mind you, he met with me at his home and instead of watching me do the work; he did it all himself!  It was like watching a master at work!  I was paying so much attention that I failed to take any pictures.  Doh.

The only picture I took was to record the position of the distributor's rotor before the distributor shaft was pulled out of the housing:

Mike made it look even simpler than I had thought it to be.  A couple of tips here and there as he worked led to me understanding the process much better.  Especially the "stabbing" of the distributor shaft into the housing and making sure the rotor is pointed correctly and how to find Top Dead Center (TDC) using the fourth spark plug hole.  Apparently you can do it with the first spark plug hole too, just FYI.

I spent more time just chatting with Mike W. than he took to do the actual repair!  By the afternoon, I was back at the campsite, just cleaning up the area under the distributor to see if the repair holds up.  The area should remain clean, and as I type this on Friday, it has!

Thursday, December 16

Mike W. texted me in the morning saying that Autozone had a good price on a replacement Fan Clutch for the Sammy!  I told him to go ahead and order it from their warehouse in El Paso, TX and by 8PM I was back at his home.

I would spend the day doing a motorized trash pickup along Monticello Point road, besides which I'm camping, and ended up policing up three 13 gallon bags full of tin/aluminum cans and glass bottles!  Some people are truly pig dogs.

I then drove about 20 miles or so to the Recycling Center/Dump on the southern end of TorC.  No fee for recycling but I should have sorted things out better beforehand.  Still, it only took a few minutes to do the sorting.  I went to the Walmart and did some grocery shopping and then returned to camp.

Once again, Mike W. did all the work while I looked and learned.  Not much to report, it's a straight forward job for the most part.  The trickiest part, to me, was his removing the existing fan and clutch without removing the fan housing.  Very slick.

Here's Mike W. fishing the fan, ever so calmly, once he'd removed the four nuts that secured it and the clutch to the pulley for the alternator.

Re-using the mounting bolts for the fan, here's Mike W. making it look like a walk in the park:

By 8:30 PM we were done!  And by we, I mean Mike of course!

Friday, December 17

The last warm-ish day according to the weather forecast before cooler temperatures start this weekend.  The plan is to start heading back to Colorado on Sunday I think, we'll see.

I drove the Sammy down Rock Canyon Road and meandered my way to the southern end of the Elephant Butte Lake State Park.

Not many people around and I found a nice spit of rocky sand to pose the Sammy near Lost Canyon section of the state park.

A little further south I found a big beach area where apparently its OK to camp with one's RV.  Apparently this is quite the popular spot in the summer where it's almost wall to wall RVs.  This late in the fall season, there was only one rig:

The only thing that might stop me from camping here next time I am in the area is that the beach is within line of sight of houses.  Not exactly solitude but then again, it's next to water!

Around 3:30 PM, I headed north on NM 1 to see if I could get some good pictures of the foot hills one can see from my campsite:

Heading back to camp, I was too late to capture the distant hills while they were painted by the golden hour's sunlight.

I'm happy to report no issues with either repair done by Mike W.  I'm very fortunate to know him and his easy going and patient manner of imparting knowledge about Suzuki Samurais!  Thanks Mike!

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Back in New Mexico

 I left the Indian Bread BLM Recreation Area at 8 AM today, and by 10 AM had dumped tanks, taken on water and filled up on propane at the Mountain View RV Park near Bowie, AZ.  

By 1:30 PM, I was pulling into my favorite BLM spot on Monticello Point Road, just north of the City of Elephant Butte, NM.  I only saw two other rigs, and they were very far from my preferred spot so all good.

The rest of the windy afternoon was spent setting up camp and doing a trash pickup round or three.  Not much trash in the campsite itself but I ranged further out and found plenty.  Sigh.

There's a wind advisory on till 11 AM tomorrow so I its just as well that tomorrow morning is planned for some repair work on the Sammy and picking up groceries at the Walmart in Truth or Consequences.

Mike W., Samurai Guru who puts up with my sometimes incessant questions, is going to supervise my replacing the O-Ring on the Sammy's distributor where it mates to the engine.  It's a known oil leak point and should not take me too long to do.  Mike is there to ensure I don't mess things up and cause issues with the timing.

Sunset was promising but the high winds ended up occluding the main sunset point.  The alpenglow to the south though was not bad:

Monday, December 13, 2021

Last two days in the Indian Bread BLM Recreation Area

Not much to report, no more sunrise or sunset shots were presented either on Sunday or today, Monday for me to capture.

No long drives or rides on either the Sammy or Yagi.  I did visit a non-working, though still spinning, wind pump:

No repairs on any of the vehicles.

Just a lot of relaxing, actually more like just listening or reading books and enjoying the solitude and time to think.

Only one annoyance, a California asshat who late Saturday evening, shows up and decided to squeeze his shiny new Mercedes Benz sprinter van onto a small clear spot about 60 paces from my campsite.  Fortunately, he left on Sunday morning and I made sure other asshats wouldn't try to use that inadequate spot for a campsite.

Note the asshat's license tag, it ends in 666, how fitting

The spot he picked was so unsuitable, his own wife never even stepped outside the rig!  She slept in the van and he spent the night in a tent.  Hah.  It was cold that night too.

I was gratified to find evidence of spiny bushes having been broken by the asshat's bulldozing, which probably scratched up his fancy paint job.  Also found a broken off lid from his waste tube container.  Hah!

Anyways, not much else to report.  Tonight is the 13th night spent here, and I'll be displacing tomorrow to New Mexico, back to the Truth or Consequences area.  Going to get some supervisory help in replacing a leaking o-ring in the Sammy's distributor.

Pictures?  Not much.  Here's a zoomed in view of distant hill this morning:

Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Fort Bowie National Historic Site

 I'm glad I changed my mind and decided to check out the Fort Bowie National Historic Site, it is well worth visiting!

Though not much remains of the fort's buildings except for their stone foundations, the informational plaques give you a good idea of how things were, and the photos that are part of the display are quite nice to fill in the details for your mind's eye.

I walked in from the regular trailhead, but you can also access the fort and the visitor center via a separate road closer to Bowie in case you don't want to walk the 1.5 miles (one way) to the fort.  The walk does take you past several historic spots so its worth the exercise.

Grave Marker of Medal of Honor winner in the post cemetery
Interestingly, located some distance from main post.

The strategically important water source for the area, Apache Spring

The PX !

I didn't know that a school was mandatory.

The school's foundation stones

Same view of the spot for the Dress Parade pic of 1886

Heliographs....I'd forgotten about this signaling technology

This is part of what remains of "Officer's Row"
I believe that is Bowie Peak in the distance

The foundation stones of the CO's house

The view from the CO's house of the main parade ground

Cavalry Barracks

Inside the visitor center, there's some interesting photographs and displays as well:

In case you were wondering....

The officer whose mishandling of the 
situation was the seminal event leading to
24 years of war with the Apache

Heliograph, though apparently, incomplete

I thought this photo very nicely done, an action shot!

A view of the fort's grounds from the top of the ridge tail one
uses to return to the main trailhead.

Siphon Canyon

A couple of information plaques located at the main trailhead:

Though it felt like it was longer (I remain out of shape), the fitness app on my phone reported me walking just 2.6 miles or about 12,500 steps.  Go figure.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the Bowie area of Arizona and have about 2-3 hours to kill, you may want to check out the Fort Bowie NHS!