Showing posts with label Milli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Milli. Show all posts

Friday, April 03, 2015

Back Home

Got back home this afternoon, after a set of long driving days.

Accomplished:

Visit my parents.  Mom and Dad are well and seemed happy to see the grandsons that I haven't brought to visit in too many years.

Stay with and visit my Brother Carlos and his lovely wife Ling and their two handsome sons, Evan and Nathan.  My nephews didn't remember me, I've been quite the absent uncle so it's my fault, but all was forgiven when they got rides in the sidecar.

See my sister, Ana and her partner Rosa....and see that they're both doing well.

Ride in San Francisco's crappy traffic to pose Scarlett near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Ride a small portion of the Pacific Coast Highway, between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco.

Las Vegas seems quite the tourist trap, now I've seen it, and can cross it and Nevada off the ride destination list.

Milli, the PT Cruiser proved capable as a tow vehicle/URV: Ural Recovery Vehicle.  3013 miles driven, no mechanical issues but I think a tow vehicle with a bigger engine is in my future if I continue to pursue the URV concept.

Tried the camping in vehicle concept, it's doable in Milli but the overall concept needs to be re-examined.

Some Thoughts/Observations/Notes:

Yes, more comfortable in a car but there were countless times when scenery presented itself and try as I might, there's no way to make a car pulling a trailer, look good.  Even with a URAL sidecar on top of the trailer!

It takes me 20 minutes to secure the rig, less than that to unload it.

MPG for Milli: 18-21mpg.  Not too bad but not great.  Of course, we were at max towing capacity.

Some truckers really shouldn't be on the road, they're a danger to all around them.

Milli can hold 70 MPH with trailer, all day long.  Up hills though, one must use third gear at times.

For the cars who were passed, on hills, by Milli the URV, yes...you should be embarrassed and yes, you should learn how to use lower gears for higher torque.

The UDF doesn't stop when the rig is on a trailer.

The best parts of the trip, family visits aside, were when Scarlett was off the trailer and we were motoring along.

A replacement gas cap for Milli costs $12 and you can ride over 100 miles without one.  I must secure the new one to her so I don't repeat that again.

Something sadder than usual, to be panhandled by a native-american, at a gas station near Monument Valley.

Audio books are key on long drives.  The next tow vehicle will have cruise control.

Twisty roads and the shadows from a setting sun cause one to think one's trailer is about to come loose.  The long shadows cast by the low sun catch one's attention out of the corner of one's eyes.

Started the day in Durango, CO and took US160 all the way to I-25.

 Approaching Wolf Creek Pass from Pagosa Springs on US160

 Mount Blanca

 That patch of sand colored terrain is the 
National Sand Dunes Monument

The mountains in the background are part of the Sangre
de Cristo Mountain Range

Closeup of Mount Blanca


So, is the change in text/background colors making things more easy to read?

Monday, February 03, 2014

SITREP: Valencia's status and current action plan.

The dealer is closed today but last update from Randy is that Valencia's engine was to be shipped to the mothership in Redmond, WA to be taken apart and analyzed.  At that point (which according to Randy, wouldn't take long for URAL's Sergey to analyze), a decision would be made to either rebuild the engine again or ship a replacement engine back to Unique Rides, my dealer.

Note: The 2014 models are now shipping, which makes me wonder if they've stopped making 2013 model engines with carburetors and the "old" design for weeks if not months now.  Which would kind of make me wonder re existing stockage levels of engines suitable for Valencia.  The new engines are NOT retrofittable (to my knowledge).

Note: I don't know where the engine is now, I hope to get more info from Randy tomorrow.  The assumption is that he's already shipped it to the mothership.

So, what to I do now you ask.

Well, some may think me callous, but I have decided that I am done with Valencia.

Yoshie, my Suzuki V-Strom Sidecar Rig, though running fine, is not as good or safe on snow as Valencia was.

So, emails were exchanged between Tammy, the co-owner and sales person of Unique Rides.  It all happened over the course of last week and the result is this:

1.  They will take both Valencia and Yoshie in as trade-in rigs for a new 2014 Red and White Patrol.

2.  I signed the invoice this morning and sent it back to Tammy via email.

3.  The value offered for the trade-ins will result in a no cost upgrade to me.

4.  Unique Rides will take on ownership and eventual sale of both Valencia (once she's repaired of course) and Yoshie.

5.  I need to deliver Yoshie to Unique Rides, so no more riding on her except to get her to Fort Collins where Unique Rides is located.  Yoshie is too wide for my trailer so she must be ridden to Unique Rides.

6.  My new rig, is scheduled to ship out of New Jersey on 24FEB13.  Yep, that's the earliest they could do it, there's apparently a big demand for the new rigs and its not like they make thousands of them each month.  (Total URAL rigs produced last year was under 1300 units).  About a week to transport it to Colorado, figure I take ownership end of February if no delays occur.

So that's the plan.  I will still keep trying to find out the final resolution of the engine issue of course and update you all when I have something.

This is why I will be not riding on three wheels for the month of February.  Where the weather and road conditions permit, Brigitta, my '87 R80 Airhead Beemer will provide for my two-wheeled riding "fixes".

How am I going to get to work you ask?  Well, recent events involving Martha's car highlighted the fact that perhaps being a one car family isn't "optimal".  That and the fact I will soon only have one sidecar rig drove the need for a backup car.

I now introduce you to Milli, the URV:

2006 PT Cruiser

Yep, I am back to having a cage, after almost 6 years of doing without one.  She's got a tow hitch and just enough tow capability to function as the URV or Ural Recovery Vehicle.  When my new rig is down for whatever reason, she'll get me to work.  She can pull the trailer to pick up my rig if needed though I'll probably use Martha's X5 to take my new rig to/from the dealer as needed.  I bought the car from Oscar so I know it's been well-maintained and he sold it to me at a fair price.

Odometer reading: 90,068

Note: One good point about having Milli, the boys can learn to drive on her, not Martha's X5.

I drove Milli to work today, just another lemming in a cage.  :(

Hopefully by the end of this month, I hope to introduce you to my new Ural Sidecar Rig.

Update: 04FEB14: Got email from URAL's VP of Operations & Product Support: Jason:  The engine is being picked up by URAL's trucking company today, they expect it to be in Redmond, WA this coming Monday.

Update:05FEB14: Engine picked up today by URAL, same truck that delivered two new 2014 rigs, took the Valencia's engine.

Update 11FEB14: URAL's VP of Operations and Product Support, Jason wrote me today:  The engine arrived yesterday (late due to weather) and Sergey has already dis-assembled and inspected it for defects. We have found the crankshaft shows signs of wear or damage on the connecting rod main bearings and will need to be replaced. Sergey will complete the repair and your engine will be shipped back to Unique Rides by Friday.

So, URAL once again has stepped up and honored their warranty without questions.  I dare say there's not many companies out there who are this fully behind their product.

If the engine ships Friday as planned, it should be back at Fort Collins by the latter half of next week.

Update: 19FEB14:  Valencia's engine has been repaired, was picked up for shipment on 14FEB (Friday) and should be at Fort Collins either today or tomorrow depending on weather conditions.

Updated: 20FEB14: Valencia's engine arrived yesterday, that's the good news.  The bad news is all the winter weather hitting the East Coast and specifically New Jersey has delayed the shipment of the 2014 Red/White Patrol to March 4!  :(