Sunday, December 03, 2006

Getting a small riding fix, finally!

It's been snowy and icy here since Wednesday of this past week, hence, no riding. This is unusual for Colorado as it usually is nice and sunny after a snowstorm and the snow does not linger for long.

The urge to ride was always there but fortunately common sense prevailed and I drove the car to work instead on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was pretty much a wash since I was up all Thursday night and Friday morning working a change. Yes, I did think about studded snow tires but, again, I managed to land on the sanity side of the the line between common sense and stupidity on that one.

Saturday, it snowed again. So much for the weather forecast: "light flurries and no accumulation". The snow that did accumulate, about an inch worth in my neighborhood mostly melted by the afternoon, leaving icy patches on the streets and both exits to the main roads blocked by sheets of ice. So, no riding again.

Sunday, cold and sunny. Temps in the 20s as I finally was able to escape the neighborhood by negotiating gaps in the ice patches on the streets leading to the main roads which were dry. I only rode a for a little bit to test out the liners for the overpants. Had all my cold weather gear on including the heated vest but I think I could have done without the vest as the temps did not get below the 20 degree mark during the whole ride.

I rode over to Parker's main drag where I took this picture of Maria:

Notice the ATV Hand Covers on Maria
Here's what the onboard thermometer registered:

I guess I got out too late in the day, it was around 1030am, because the temps were already soaring! I took this pic less than one minute after the first pic:

Rode home after the picture taking, the gear kept me warm as usual. The electric vest kept me more than toasty along with the heated grips inside the ATV hand covers. As usual, the only part that was starting to get cold were my toes within my army boots which are apparently in the airstream under the motorcycle. Must work on something for that region.

Short but sweet, now I can feel the withdrawal symptoms subsiding...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Found this great pic at the Colorado Beemers' Site

Update: Turns out this is not an actual poster but something produced at this site apparently:
Motivate me

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Breakfast with the ColoradoBeemers and a ride to Garden of the Gods

Temps in the high 20s to low 50s, sunny and breezy.

Left the house at 0730 and arrived in time for the 0830 weekly breakfast at the Red Rocks Grill in Morrison, CO. This is where the BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado, aka the Colorado Beemers, meets every saturday for breakfast and pickup rides. I got there around 0815 and was warmly greeted by the folks already there. Everyone was really friendly and conversation flowed over some good breakfast food. I ended up joining the club at the end of breakfast!

I met Gary who travels to Europe yearly and keeps a motorcycle in Heidelburg to do his touring. I met Gray, the president of the club, quite a funny guy. Another Gary who told me of his experiences with the annual rally on the western side of the state. Tom, ex-marine, who's got a cool looking GS 1150 with an Area51 sticker on it. Mike who works for the state's regulatory office and the final guy at the table was Wayne who'd also done some european traveling and was planning a trip to Rumania!

After breakfast, the 14 or so who'd shown up moved to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant where people continued to chat. One guy even had a rig on the back of his beemer so he could carry his dog around with him! A group of us, five in all, decided to head down to Deckers by way of 285 to 67 and from there head towards Woodland Park where they'd break off for some dirt riding near Westboro. They were all riding GS's with me being the sole RT rider.

Siggy, one of the guys I met during breakfast, who is the Ride Captain, pointed out an older gentleman on an immaculate white 1200GS and said to beware....there was a true rider, very fast, who'd been around the world on that particular motorcycle. Well, let me tell ya, Siggy was not kidding when he said that guy was fast. Holy cow! It took all my skill and concentration to barely keep up with him and his partner all the way to Deckers! We started with five of us and near the end of the ride I noticed we'd lost one, turned out to be the older gentleman's son! Guess he decided to break off earlier on while my concentration was to the front, and trying not to lag too far behind the leaders.

I believe the gentleman's name was Jim, his partner was Terry and one other guy who was also going dirt riding on his GS was Dave. Friendly group of guys and it sure was a "brisk and spirited" ride to the point where we parted ways. Truly do I have much to learn about the twistys at speed. I take solace in that I've only been on a motorcycle for less than a little more six months whereas these guys have been biking for years! Jim told me he'd racked up over 144k miles on his world-traveling GS, his partner Terry told me he'd racked up over 34k miles already for 2006 alone! Wow.

The trio went off to do some dirt riding, I said my goodbyes and kept heading East on 67 to Woodland Park and got on US24 at that point, taking the Garden of the Gods park exit. I cruised around the park for a good hour or so and go the following pics.

Above: My best shot of the day

Balancing Rock

I took a different exit out of the Garden of the Gods and somehow ended up in downtown Colorado City, very quaint and touristy. Once I got my bearings, got on I-25 and headed north and to home. What a day of riding, a total of 211 miles and about 52mpg! I guess the RT loves to be ridden hard and fast! My knees were feeling a bit sore by the end of the riding. I had tried riding with the seat in the middle position and although I am not sure yet, it seemed to help a bit.

Here's the route I rode today:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Trying out the Electric vest by way of the Santa Fe Trail

So for today's ride I thought I'd ride the part of the fabled Santa Fe trail that traverses the SE corner of Colorado on US50. Tthe area features a National Historic Site called Bent's Old Fort. This was an old trading post with Mexico back when it was located at the border of the US territories and Mexico. Located near the town of La Junta, CO, the fort was a commercial waypoint and trading post till 1849 when it was burned and destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1976 by the park service using blueprints drawn by a LT Abert of the Western US Army back when he resided at Bent's Fort. More information here if you're interested. It was a cool place to check out, got there in about three hours and spent almost two hours touring the place.

The trip to La Junta and points beyond were a great opportunity to try out the electric vest I'd just gotten through Ebay. It's the Widder Lectric Vest and it came with a BMW power hookup so it was a natural fit on the motorcycle. The temperatures ranged from the low 30's to low 50's as the day progressed and my torso was nice and toasty whenever the temperatures warranted the vest being turned on. My arms would still get a bit cool but nothing to the point of cold or bothersome.

Here's my route:

I skipped SR86, electing instead to stay on I-70 to get home.

After touring the fort, I returned to the RT where I met a fellow rider on a beautiful blue and silver K1200LT getting ready to go tour the fort. He belonged to the Buffalo Soldier's Motorcycle Club chapter out of Colorado Springs. We chatted for a bit about our motorcycles and he told me he was scouting the area for historical stuff for possible inclusion into a trip for his club. Nice guy, Charles was name and he said he went by C.B. I spotted a Colonel's sticker on his motorcycle and he told he was assigned to Peterson AFB near the Springs.

After we parted ways, I rode over to this nearby sign:

It was a bit tricky getting Maria in position since the area in front of the sign was just gravel, and lots of it.

I traveled onwards, heading East towards Las Animas and turned North after Wiley onto US 287 heading towards Eads and Kit Carson. I had hoped to see more historical stuff at Kit Carson but it and Eads both turned out to be merely what I now call Junction towns, places with a small population gathered around the junction of area major roads. Lots of straight line riding today through the state's Eastern was sunny and cool, little to no traffic, and Maria performed beautifully as usual.

One thing that struck me about this part of Colorado was the plethora of junked out pickup trucks that people gathered on their ranches located East of Pueblo; they just sit there, rusting in the sun. I guess this is the area where old pickup trucks come to die, I'm talking stuff that looked like it was built in the 40s and 50s! There were many ranches along the way with their own collections of rusting hulks. I should have stopped and taken pictures of some of the larger collections!

I covered about 418 miles today total or just slightly more than when we took the trip up to Custer, SD to see Mt Rushmore! Long day but I was able to move my legs around on the motorcycle in order to minimize the cramping of the knees. It's still there but minimal so long as I don't stay in one position too long. I figure it was about 6 hours of saddletime and quite enjoyable.

I was starting to get a bit chilled, except where the vest covered me, by the last hour of the ride since it was getting dark. The sun was just setting as I pulled into my garage, tired but having enjoyed a very nice long ride.