Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Sammy is going to a new home.

After much anguish, costs and worries, I've decided to take the Sammy to a new home and owner.

I must say, it feels like a great weight has been lifted off of me.

The Sammy will go to someone who is more than capable of fixing her current and future issues.  Mike and Laura are great friends that Martha and I met through the Sammy, they and other Samurai enthusiasts who befriended us as newbie Samurai owners will of course remain friends.

I'll pick her up from the shop today, and ready things to take her to her new home in New Mexico after the Labor Day Weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Boondocking in the Pike NF: Day 7 and 8

 Saturday, August 13

Not much activity today, a couple of the group members readied themselves to return home.

John and Gary would leave us in the afternoon, both of them taking Mount Herman Road as the quickest way off of Rampart Range and onto the I-25 corridor.

Before they left, a group picture of all the Revival Attendees:

Me, John, Jerry, Rich, Mary and Gary on his trailer

It would be a dark and stormy evening, with rain and thunder and lightning to keep everyone in their tent or RV!  

Sunday, August 14

By 11AM, Rich and Mary & Jerry had packed up their vehicles and departed the Revival Site, saying goodbye to me again as they headed to Rampart Range Road.

I had thought to stay till Monday but decided to beat the forecasted rain storm home.  Got everything ready and was home by 3PM or so.

I had a nice time at my first Revival, can't believe the group has been doing it for 48 years!  Apparently, the number of attendees was much larger at times, but as with all things, the numbers have dwindled.  

Here's a pic of Spat aka John, from Friday night I believe, he was watching the sunset (or lack thereof) from this position on Falcon Rock:

The trip there and back was also a good test of the cover I'm now going to be using to protect the Sammy's windshield from rocks and such while its being towed:

Last but definitely not least in several categories, a couple shots of Gary's tent trailer rig.  He says it's a work in progress as he refines how things are stored/deployed.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Boondocking in the Pike NF: Days 5 & 6

 Thursday, August 11

We rode out at around 1030 AM, Rich and I taking the shortcut via Hotel Gulch while John and Gary rode a paved route towards a rendevouz point just north of Woodland Park, CO.

Hotel Gulch was nothing I'd take a regular car down, steep slopes with off camber sections that might interfere with a Ural sidecar rig as well.  This was the reason John elected to go via the paved route even though it was a bit longer.

Yagi, my TW200 dual sport, made up once again for my sad lack of skills and we did just fine through the gulch all the way to the rendezvous point!

Then it was dirt county and NF roads for the four of us!  The only flies in the ointment in terms of the ride were two really tough hills which gave John's Ural some problem until he put 2WD on.  We actually had to push his rig on the second hill since his clutch had overheated.

The second fly was idiots in a short column of ATVs (probably tourists in rentals since the ATVs were all the same).  They didn't know how to communicate, hogged a spot full of water crossings to "film them crossing water" and just generally typified the annoying amateur ruining the roads.  Oh well.

We made it to Lake George and the decision was made there to forget about making it all the way to Guffey, CO and instead we headed east on US 24 to get gas and then have a late lunch in Divide, CO at McGinty's.  Pricey food but good.

The only photo of the ride, we were moving!

We rested the rest of the afternoon and after dinner with the group it was time to try and catch the sunset.

As the sun neared the horizon, it colored the distant peaks nicely:

The sunset itself was obscured by clouds so no pics there.  Here's a pic of Revival group (Year 48), sitting by the fire Thursday night:

Friday, August 12

A no moto content day.

Gary suggested we go look at the "old" RRR or Rampart Range Revival site, called Limbaugh.  I'm told that's what displays on the maps for the location.  Gary and Jerry went in his Rubicon Jeep and John and I followed behind in the Sammy.

The location is off of FR 322, the road's entrance is rough enough to dissuade any future use by me for the VRRV!  Still, no issues for either 4x4 and we were soon at the guardrail which the Forest Service put up years ago due to extensive damage in the area caused by campers and day users apparently.

We parked the vehicles and walked perhaps a mile or so and got to the vicinity of the campground.  

The main objective of the hike was to show us the old RRR campgrounds but really to showcase the large rock formation which dominated the campsites.  It was this rock formation that was climbed, back in the day, to get a look at distant peaks such as Pikes Peak and to watch the moon rise during the RRR.

Gary attempting but in the end not able to climb
up the remembered path to the top of the rock formation.

A view of the rock formation

Posing at the flank of the rock formation, the
campground area below

Jerry, John and Gary, with John and Gary wearing
RRR T-Shirts from past revival events.

Yep, somehow, you could climb to the highest
point of the rock formation.  

On the return trip, Gary in his Jeep issued an informal challenge as he took a steep side detour off of 322, deeply rutted and "interesting" looking.  Of course, the Sammy and I accepted the challenge, I got out and locked the hubs, put her in low gear and 4WD and up we went!  No problem!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Boondocking in the Pike NF: Day 4 - A Ride to Chair Rock

 Today was a riding day for myself on Yagi, my TW200 and Rich K. with his Suzuki DR350.

Rich led me through exploring FR 32x, with many rutted sections testing my confidence and abilities!  Still, it wasn't too technical and I didn't drop the motorcycle once during this ride. 

At the junction with FR32y, we took a side trail that eventually (after more rutted, steep and winding turns led us to Chair Rock.

Here's a zoomed in view of Chair Rock from the top of Falcon Rock, which is apparently the name of the rock formation next to the Revival's campsites.

We parked our motorcycles near the base of the above rock and some minor climbing later:

We couldn't get closer to the rock, there was a gap wide enough to prevent either of us from jumping across!

View from the rocks

Rich K. giving some perspective on the rock's size

A view of Falcon Rock, from Chair Rock

One had to carefully park in this area.

We got back to the junction with FR32x and took it to the nice camping spot I'd found the other day:

We got back to the VRRV and relaxed a bit until another Revival attendee, Gary, drove by with his Jeep and trailer.  

Rich K. motored back to the Revival site to help Gary set up and I would join them after lunch.

A truck camper driven by a couple more people, Jerry and Mary along with their dog Yuki would show up in the later afternoon and I rode over to introduce myself as they set up their camper.

Not sure how many more people are expected, I'm hoping to see John S. aka Spat this evening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Boondocking in the Pike NF, Days 2 & 3

 Tuesday, August 9

Slow day today, didn't do much of anything really, just enjoying the solitude and recharging my batteries.

I did find a really nice group campsite off of FR32y that might be the next spot I move to after the revival.

Here's the sunset from that new spot:

You get a nice view of Pikes Peak from the new spot:

Wednesday, August 10

Here's the same possible future campsite, in the morning's light.

Did some light exploration riding with Yagi, my TW200, but nothing scenic to report.

Shortly after 1PM, Rich K. arrived from Hotchkiss, CO.  He brought along his motorcycle and set up camp at the actual Revival Campsite, 1 mile from my own campsite.

After he got setup, we went up to the top of the mound of rocks that is next to the Revival campsites.  I will be up there again to get better pics, but here's some for now.

Rich K., trying to get a signal on his cellphone
at the top of the boulders.

A view of nearby Devil's Head....

Here's an almost 360 degree pano from the top of the boulders.  I'll see if I can do better but you get the idea, great views.

Some more Revival participants should show up by tomorrow evening.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Boondocking in the Pike National Forest

 Ah, finally some alone time.

Martha pointed out to me that I'd been around people since the beginning of June, and probably needed some alone time to recharge my batteries.

So, I drove the VRRV, towing the Sammy (testing windshield protection mat) to Woodland Park west of Colorado Springs.  From there you can access the southern portion of Rampart Range Road.

Once you're off the paved portion, it's about 9 miles or so to Forest Road 32x of the Pike National Forest, off of Rampart Range Road.  I got a nice spot just off the start of FR32x, about a mile from the campsite for The Revival.

What's The Revival you ask?  It's a gathering of motorcycle-minded people apparently, which has been going on at the same location and time (full moon in August) for decades.  I've not attended before, but I know some of the guys who will attend so it should be all good.

Near sunset, I drove what turned out to be 13 miles to the big rock point hoping to pose the Sammy on the rock again with the sun setting in the background.

Alas, the angles are not right, so here's just the sun as it set:

Saturday, August 06, 2022

An Attempt at Pike Peak's Summit by James and I

 James Peet is a friend of mine from my college ROTC days.  He was a junior cadet MS2 when I was in the MS4 or final phase of ROTC training.

We kept in irregular contact, mostly through Facebook and such over the years.  He's presently on the Colorado portion of the TransAmerica Trail  or T.A.T on a 2022 Himalaya motorcycle.

I saw he'd reported in via FB on his travels as he made his way from the eastern start point of the TAT; and on Thursday of this week, saw he was in Florence, CO.  About 2.5 hours from me!

I messaged him via FB messenger and we soon coordinated a meet/ride at the fee station at Pikes Peak for Friday.

We got together at around 1130 and soon afterwards were riding up the mountain.

Here's a couple of shots of his motorcycle, it's a Thumper with just 411 cc of power so 55 MPH is basically it in terms of performance.  Since the TAT consists of back country roads and dirt when possible, this is not an issue.

Check out the sign....

As we got closer to MM 15, we stopped at the lodge and James donned wet weather gear as it was starting to rain.  The clouds looked pretty nasty further up the mountain and he didn't want to get too cold.  I'd forgotten my gear in the RV so resigned myself for some cold.

Once ready, we motored on with James in the lead.  As we neared MM 16, there was a Park Ranger waving him over.  After a few seconds, James turned around and we parked the motorcycles a short distance away from the ranger.

Turns out, weather conditions were "not great" up top, with steady rain and some hail in the mix.  So they were closing down the road to uphill traffic until at least 2PM.  So, instead of standing around in light rain for at least 45 minutes, we motored on back to the lodge for food.

The roads were wet and the switchbacks were taken with due care by both of us.  I was leading this time so I could get him to stop at picture taking spots on the way down.

A view of the Rock Pile and part of the switchbacks

James P. at the Rock Pile, that's Colorado Springs
in the distance I think.

We had some very expensive burger/fries and chili at the lodge then when we exited, saw these skies:

A talk with the ranger at the brake check point was not encouraging and so James and I decided to bag any further attempt to make it to the top of Pikes Peak.  MM16 would have to be our highest point achieved today.

The ride back down the mountain was uneventful, so was the transit of Colorado Springs and riding on CO Hwy 83 through Parker and from there, home.

Here's James motorcycle as he worked to unpack things so he could do some laundry and such tasks while staying overnight as our guest.

Much wine was imbibed by the two of us, and in the morning, James packed up his stuff back onto the motorcycle.  He's going to resume the TAT at Salida.  Due to other issues, there's gaps in his TAT routing, but as he said, he's not out to prove anything, just have some fun riding the TAT.

James and I before he left Saturday Morning.

Wishing James safe travels and no more droppings of his motorcycle as he continues westward.

Brigitta did fine, by the way, no issues.  She needed the exercise so it all worked out for all involved.

BTW, James Peet is a published author of science fiction, cooking and is working on an article about riding the TAT.  I've read part of his Corps of Discovery Series and do recommend them to anyone who likes science fiction and the idea of alternate Earths and their exploration.  Amazon link to Book 1 of the series:  LINK  (No, I don't get an Amazon affiliate incentive payment, I just like his books).

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

A Recce of Campsites and Posing on a Big Rock - On Rampart Range Road

 Today, it was time to do some more stress testing of the new Toyota 3K Carburetor and the Sammy's cooling system since I had the radiator flushed yesterday.

I would end up driving 149 miles round trip.  I used CO Hwy 83 to get to Colorado Springs where I picked up US24 to CO Hwy 67 and thence to the southern end of Rampart Range Road.

From there it was about 10 miles to the site of a planned gathering by motorcycle riding friends, called The Revival.  It's been going on for years if not decades and this will be the first time for me if I do end up going.

Stress testing aside, I wanted to see if there were RV-able campsites near the Revival site, since the actual Revival site wasn't doable by Umarang, the VRRV.  It was just out of my comfort level you see.

The Revival Site is next to a large outcropping of rocks and perhaps part of a rock dome as well.  No problem negotiating the "path" with the Sammy, but the VRRV would have issues with low branches and tight spaces.

After picking up a 13 lb trash bag's worth of trash at the Revival Site (people are swine); I found a couple of sites that were usable close to where FR324 and FR300 (aka Rampart Range Rd) meet.  So getting the VRRV to within a mile of the actual site is doable!  Now to figure out my schedule accordingly.

I then spent the rest of the drive, heading north on Rampart Range Rd and checking out likely camping sites.  I found several tight ones, with steep entrance paths, and most of them without cell signal.  I did find one though, about 7.5 miles the Revival Site that'll work and function as Plan B if the primary camping sites are taken when and if I show up.

Soon after exploring this last site, I entered the Fee Area run by the Forest Service and their requirement that you camp only at designated sites.  I didn't bother checking these sites out as they were too far from the Revival Site.

However, I did stop at this large rock formation, to pose the Sammy on top of it!  After a careful walkthrough, I put the Sammy into 4WD and Low Range and crept up the side of the rock, no problem!

At this point, I was standing in front of the Sammy and heard what sounded like the whooshing sound of something under pressure, being released.  Weird.

I opened the hood and looked around, didn't see anything in my quick scan.

I started the engine in preparation for backing down the rock and the Sammy was running rough!  It was the same symptoms for when the old carburetor wasn't getting enough fuel to run the engine!  

Once I got it sort of working, I started backing down, planning a more thorough inspection once I was back by the side of the road.  The engine quit about halfway down and I let the Sammy coast down and stopped.

I could now see, in front of me on the rock a trail of liquid!  It was gasoline, and had started spewing when I started the engine.  I checked under the hood and this time I spotted where the fuel line to the carburetor had come off the outlet port on the mechanical fuel pump!  Doh!  That was the pressure release noise!  

It remains unclear to me what caused this pressure that caused the line to come off...the drive up the rock and the approximately 45 degree angle of climb?  Had the dirt road's bumps caused it to come loose enough?

I reconnected the hose and the Sammy was right as rain again.

I drove north and took the usual route back to CO Hwy 105 and from there, to Castle Rock, Parker and home.  No issues except for the second instance of the day when I had to come to a stop pretty quickly due to a changing stop light.

I stopped fine but the engine died.  It had happened once before in this drive, also at a sudden stop.  Hmmm.  The Sammy started up just fine both times, I'll have to drop an email to the carburetor guy and ask him if this is normal.

Still, overall, a good day of Sammy driving!  Oh, and my souvenir from Hawaii did fine on the dashboard:

His name is Russell Crow, and represents all the chickens that are everywhere on the island of Kauai!

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Home again and I meet another Samurai Enthusiast

Monday, Aug 1

Happy Colorado Day!  Thought about doing the usual compiling of Colorado pictures over the last year; but it turned out not many pictures available!

After an hour and 20 minute delay due to personnel issues on the part of United Airlines (sick flight attendant); we managed to leave Kauai and survived the 6.5 hour long plane ride home at almost 8:30PM HST.

We got back to the overcrowded cesspool that is Denver at 7:30 AM MDT (I think), my mind was fuzzy from the uncomfortable sleep positions I tried after dinner on the plane.  I don't think I slept more than a few minutes at a time before some pain caused me to shift positions.  Oh well.

The Things picked us up and we all went home without further incident.  I was wiped out and after some light unpacking and a light breakfast, crashed till mid-afternoon.  Martha, on the other hand, powered on to her first day of the new school season!

Tuesday, Aug 2

I drove the Sammy to a new mechanic's shop: Big Nick's Gasoline & Diesel Repair.  The shop is the one that recently replaced Thing Two's truck's radiator and they had good reviews from neighborhood friends.  So I decided to have them do the radiator flush on the Sammy, see what kind of vibes I would get from them since I'd not met "Big Nick" before.

The shop is only a 12 minute walk from home, so conveniently located.

Turns out, he's a Samurai Enthusiast!  He looked over the Sammy and remarked on how good a condition she seemed to be, cosmetically of course.  I dropped the Sammy off, and would have it back about an hour later.  No issues, radiator flush done, and good vibes received about Big Nick and his operation.

The Sammy awaiting her radiator's flushing,
kind of looks like she's smiling eh?

Nick also showed me his son's Samurai rig:

Yeah, not street legal...

The above rig started life as a Suzuki Samurai but has been quite modified.  It's got a Toyota Engine in it, giving it an additional 85 HP and is the most easy, drop-in, engine swap for a Sammy.  It's also now an automatic transmission vehicle.  

Since they were going to drain the old coolant from the Sammy, I asked Nick to also remove the old carburetor's thermal choke which I'd left in place when I removed the old carburetor.  

Now, the choke is gone, and it's a single hose forming a loop for the coolant to just flow through:

Tomorrow, I plan to drive the Sammy over 100 miles to stress test the cooling system after it being flushed.  I'm also trying out a way to carry more gas with me in the cargo area of the Sammy:

The ROK straps hold it securely, the wood base should prevent rubbing damage on the bottom.  If it spills, its not on the side with the exhaust pipe and it's open to the air of course.

If the above proof of concept works tomorrow, I'll make it a bit more clean in terms of straps and such.

Oh, also found a minor leak on the gas tubing leading from fuel filter to the Sammy's gas line.  Replaced, and no more leaks.  The Toyota 3K carburetor continues to run great.