Thursday, August 31, 2023

TPMS-related Work on Umarang + Moving the Sand Ramps

 TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

I'd recently encountered slow leakage issues on both the outer dually tires on Umarang, aka Uma, aka the VRRV.  The Eeztire TPMS system I use would alert when the tire pressure reached a preset low threshold of 55 PSI.

Much diagnosing and switching out air stem extensions, I figured it was the existing 135 degree bend extensions.  They were tightened by finger pressure and apparently would work themselves loose enough to start leaking air.

I decided, after spending way too much time worrying about leaking air, to replace the ones used by the outer dually tires with these:

Why these?  Because I could use a wrench to really tighten the connection to the tire's air valve stem.

Of course, when I got them, that while the left tire accommodated the new extension just fine, the one on the right did not.  Due to the way the air valve stem on the right side tire, I couldn't tighten it with the 11mm wrench due to clearance issues!

I had to go in with the 11mm wrench by way of between the right side dually tires.  Of course, the 11mm wrench I have wasn't long enough so a temporary extension was required.

The above let me reach the hex nut involved and I got things tightened up nicely.

I found, when I went to mount the decorative hubcap covers the I had to remove the TPMS sensors, mount the cover, then replace the sensors.  Of course, air was lost in the process and more "topping up" was required.  Tedious.

This morning, I used a Dremel cutting wheel to create "clearance" to allow me to dismount/mount the decorative hubcap cover without having to remove the TPMS sensors first!

Left side sensor, note the slot I cut to provide clearance

Right side sensor, it's actually from
the trailer as I suspect the sensor labeled
#5 is leaking too.

The new air valve extensions held pressure overnight so I think I'll be good to go for a while.  I hope, anyways.

The decorative hubcaps, which came with the RV, serve no purpose other than to be decorative.  The actual wheels are gray in color, but I'm thinking perhaps it'll be OK to dispose of the decorative hubs in the future...they've been a hassle at times!


Moved the sand ramps from atop the rear bumper of the VRRV to lay instead on the roof, under the top portion of the stock RV ladder.

I'm going back to the stock RV ladder for now, the ladder I'd bought this past Winter has become a pain to fold away.

Monday, August 28, 2023

A Rainy Weekend and now Back Home

For the most part it was a rainy weekend.  Spent a lot of time at camp listening to e-books and sometimes doing some quick rides when the sun would peep through the clouds.

Sunday, most of the morning was sunny so I too an extended ride to explore other forest roads in the area.

I also checked out the "bump along the highway" that is Lake George.  Not much there anymore.  The store below hails from the days when Eleven Mile Canyon was called Granite Canyon.

photo displayed at the store above

Lake George

More Chi-centering relaxation during Sunday afternoon.  It was raining lightly when I spotted a rainbow framing the VRRV nicely:

The prospect was for more rain the next couple of days so I decided to come home earlier than planned.  Martha tells me this camping trip brings the total days camping this year to 190!

Friday, August 25, 2023

T'Dubing along Eleven Mile Canyon Road

As forecasted, the weather today has been mostly overcast with sporadic rain showers.  

The day started with a foggy sunrise:

one of the locals enjoying the sun

However, for most of the morning, though overcast somewhat, the sun did shine through on occasion as I rode on the Eleven Mile Canyon Road.  Temperatures were cool as we're at around 8000+ feet in altitude but not bad.

Eleven Mile Canyon Road used to be part of the Midland Railroad System, the first one apparently to cross the Continental Divide in the late 1800s.  On its western end, the Eleven Mile Dam and Reservoir exist.

According to what I found on Google while trying to find out how it got its name: Eleven Mile, the dam and reservoir were created in the 1930s by Denver's efforts to create backup water sources for their growing needs.

The canyon itself was carved by the South Platte River, one of the major Colorado rivers.  It was originally known as Granite Canyon, due to its many large granite dome rock formations.  They're quite scenic, these rocks, I must admit, here's just a few of them:

These rock formations are apparently a somewhat overlooked rock climber's mecca.  The more popular locations such as Garden of the Gods and others getting better publicity and way more crowds!  I think the climbers I did spot are happy with being out of the limelight.

The river was also host to many fishermen, I think most of them were Fly Fishermen but what do I know.  The fish caught here are apparently quite the sport though they're only "catch and release" according to signs I saw as I rode along.

I say many fishermen, but really, everyone I saw had their own piece of the river, out of sight of other fishermen.

As the road used to be a railroad bed, there remain three narrow gauge tunnels similar to the ones I've seen near Buena Vista:

Lots of history to this road!  There's 4 campgrounds accessible via this road, run by the US Forest Service.  All were full according to the sign at the road's entrance.  There's a $9 fee per vehicle, $4 for motorcycles.  I'm not sure how well the attendant was at the fee station, I could see that the Interagency Pass was accepted and which I showed, but she still said I had to pay the $4.  I gave her a $20, she couldn't make change so she just returned it to me and told me to go on through.  Sigh.

Anyways, it's quite the scenic road, well worth exploring if you're out this way.

I returned via mostly not technical FR 393 to County Rd 98 which eventually leads one back to Blue Mountain Road.  A good morning of riding I must say.  The afternoon would turn wet and dreary.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Boondocking near Blue Mountain and Eleven Mile Canyon

I spent Monday through Wednesday of this week enjoying the quiet solitude of the small bit of Pike National Forest centered on Crazy Gulch.

Some short hikes, some short rides in the limited trails within the forest area.  Lots of resting and centering of my "Qi" or "Chi" depending on which movies you've watched.

A view of Pikes Peak during one of the hikes

Lots of Aspens around my campsite:

Most of the only people I saw were hikers as they walked by along the trail.  Vehicles seen were one Jeep and one OHV, but just meandering quietly along.

Sadly, the area is pretty small so today I displaced to check out the dispersed camping offerings in the Eleven Mile Canyon area.

I parked in what I figured would be a temporary spot while I dismounted Yagi, my TW200 and looked for "mo better" campsites.  Along FR 875, the "prime" spots were already taken and the other sites I found would mean some more driving over what I now call "speed humps".  They look like speed bumps but wider and taller, and there were some that might cause parts of the VRRV to scrape the ground.

So, I elected to set up camp where I had parked.  It had good cell signal, not bad views and some shade.

The other sites I'd seen were fine but more forested with limited views; except of course of the next site along the trail!  The one above doesn't have any close neighboring sites, just the way I like it.

I did some exploring with Yagi later in the afternoon and mapped several more sites along FR876 and a couple of nice sites on FR876B, for the next time I'm in the area.

It's supposed to be a rainy next few days due to some tropical storm that made landfall in Texas, so we'll see how the road conditions support traffic over the weekend.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Boondocking near Crazy Gulch

This time I'm back to solo camping, Martha has social commitments you see and I just needed some time away from the cesspool that is the Metro Denver area.

I found a small dispersed camping area near Divide, CO through iOverlander.  It's nicely wooded, and my site has a lot of Aspen trees as you'll see below.

It being a weekday, I have the place to myself in terms of campers.  A hiking couple did go by earlier but that's it in terms of human contact.  It's great!

More to follow....

Friday, August 18, 2023

Boodocking near Deadman Road, camera disaster averted!

 A near disaster of a day, but was saved by a pair of Good Samaritans!

Thursday, August 17

We left the campsite at the West Lake Campground near Red Feather Lakes Village a bit after 9AM and by 1030 we'd found a nice boondocking spot less than 15 miles away and 1600 ft higher in elevation.

We're now camping off of Larimer County Rd 86 aka Deadman Road.  Just 4.3 miles from the fire tower I'd visited yesterday.

No cell signal at this campsite so I went exploring for the closest point to check in with the kids.  I had to ride Yagi the 4.3 miles to the Fire Tower and got signal there.  I then rode back towards camp, kept going towards Red Feather Lakes to see if there was a closer cell signal point.  Coincidentally, it was 4.3 miles from camp at a curve on the road!

Oh well, so I rode back and shortly after getting back to camp, I realized I didn't have my camera bag with me!  Some panic'ed searching of the VRRV and the campsite yielded nothing.  I feared I had put the camera case on the cargo rack prior to donning my helmet and had then ridden off searching for Internet signal!  Dammit.

The next few hours were spent by Martha and I, searching the campsite and me also back tracking all the way back to the Fire Tower and back, twice!  Nothing.  

Not willing to believe that a loose camera case could have stayed with the motorcycle for long as I rode the packed dirt county road...I nevertheless rode the full distance; but paying extra attention by walking the road for the first mile.

Of course, I didn't find the case.  Ironically, I did find an Internet cell signal just a quarter mile from camp while I was walking along searching along the road side!

At the end of the third back track, I stopped at the nearby cell signal point and saw I had a voicemail!  The caller had left a message saying they'd found the camera case and to call them.

I called and talked with the caller's Dad.  He told me they were camping near the North Fork of the Poudre NF campground and we arranged to meet at the entrance.

I stopped at the camp to let Martha know and she sent me forth with a bottle of wine and some reward money.

I met Jacob, and his dad James, shortly afterwards.  They initially refused my offer of a cash reward, saying to just "pay it forward".  As we talked, I managed to convince James to accept the bottle of wine at least.  Some more talking and I finally convinced Jacob to take the reward money, with his Dad's consent.  Such honest and forthright behavior must be encouraged!

My sincere thanks, James and Jacob!  You've gone a long way towards restoring my faith in humanity!!!

Oh, and here's the pics of the tower from Wednesday:

Monday, August 14, 2023

Camping in the Red Feather Lakes Area

For the next few days, we'll be enjoying the views and so far quiet atmosphere of West Lake Campground, near Red Feather Lakes, CO.

It took us just shy of three hours to drive to this campground, we're not towing anything this time as the Honda CR-V is in the shop for alternator issues.  It was good to get away again from the cesspool that is the Metro Denver area.

Martha scored us what we think is the best spot in the campground run by the USFS.  Good cell signal too, with three bars of LTE for Internet access.

The only bummer is that swimming isn't allowed in the lake.  The water is cool but I think we could have stood the temperature if it got warm enough in terms of air temperature!  Oh well.

Did some exploring with Yagi in the afternoon, typical lakeside communities with at least two grocery stores and even an Ace Hardware store nearby.

Sunset was under clear skies: