Thursday, March 06, 2008

Cheapo Topcase for Maria Redux

I ordered a couple of days ago this trunk from JCWhitney. It's the same one that I'd posted about before: LINK.


I've been dithering about getting a topcase or trunk for a few weeks now, and while I had found something similar with reportedly better build qualities, it was also in the end about $100 more and I just don't see the ROI given what little gain I expect to get from having a topcase again.

What made the decision for me, cheap as I am at times, was finding a posting on the COG owners discussion forum where the poster mentioned the special item# you could use to get the large topcase that I got for about $56 shipped! If you just search using the word "trunk" on the JC Whitney site, you get a listing for same item but for $64.99 before shipping!

Here's the magic item # in case you're interested, just plug it in to the search bar on the JC Whitney site and you'll get the better pricing of 49.99 AFTER you go to checkout with the item listed at $64.99.

ZXE277022 - the E is what makes it special. No idea how long it'll last this way, so don't delay.

Yep, follow me closely here, it'll list in the initial screens for $64.99 but as soon as you enter your credit card and before you do the order, it'll go down to $49.99! The rest of the cost was shipping via USPS.

So yeah, you get what you pay for...build quality is OK at best. The lock failed me before but I plan to upgrade it with a better lock from an online source for cam locks. The Universal Mount takes a some doing to get it right on my Maria but unless you look real close, it's not a problem. I had been happy with the previous trunk, and with the experience I gained from it and the great customer service JC Whitney displayed in terms of taking it back makes me feel pretty safe in this cheap storage farkle purchase.

As usual disclaimer: No, I don't get a cut from JC Whitney, just passing along what I believe to be a fair bargain for a cheap motorcycle trunk. YMMV, do your research before you buy...yada yada yada. Caveat Emptor and all that. You don't like it after you buy it? Send it back since they've a 3 month no questions asked policy. All you're out then is shipping costs.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Deer Double-take

Temperatures in the low to mid 40s during the ride. Sunny.

I woke before dawn to a neighborhood covered with frozen snow. No choice to work from home today, the company's new CIO was in town for his talk. I caged it in and was I glad I did. I must have hit several instances of just solid sheets of ice on the main roads to work! There were spots where if I or any cager around me had even tapped their brakes, he would have spun out and probably hit me! I was glad to get to work in one piece. Those were some icy conditions in the hour before full sunrise! It wasn't just occasional patches of snow, I am talking stretches of road, some perhaps 1/4 to 1/2 miles long.

In the typical Colorado fashion I've come to love, the sun came out, the temperature soared into the 20s and the snow just melted/evaporated while I listened with my coworkers to the CIO deliver his spiel. He did a pretty good job, sounded confident, like he knew what he was doing ... heck, he had me (as a contractor)wanting to be part of this vision!

We were done at noon and I saw the roads were bone dry, any remaining snow was on the grassy areas. I was glad, since that meant a ride when I got home.

I got home by 1530hrs and by 1545hrs I was riding out of the cul-de-sac. Maria and I took the county roads Southwards, ended up at near Parker where I thought I spotted some deer to my right as I rode by. I did a double-take and saw at the last second they were just bronze statues! I turned around and positioned Maria for a shot with the "herd".


After saying goodbye to the deer, I made my way north on Parker Road, through the center of the town of Parker, then taking the Inspiration Drive back roads back to my home turf. I detoured north a tiny bit to take in road conditions on Gun Club Road. Finally, after 45 miles of riding and about an hour in the saddle, was back home. Nice ride.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

What the motorcycling weather gods give, they take away

Temperatures in the mid 20s all day. Snow, wind, slush.

Well, the motorcycling weather gods gave us here in Colorado an incredibly gorgeous riding day yesterday. Today, they took it all back and gave us the forecasted snow. Dang.

I woke up to snow flurries being blown by some strong winds from the North, my house sits at the center of the cul-de-sac. Picture a funnel, well we're at the bottom of said funnel! Snow tends to build up on my property more than my neighbors.

Spent a few hours with the snow thrower but barely have a path cleared using the sidewalks of the King Canute Path. At 5PM there's still a little bit of snow falling and the stuff on the ground is starting to freeze. Should be really icy conditions for tomorrow's commute which unfortunately will have to be in the cage for me. I am not looking forward to it, bigwig coming to talk so no working from home tomorrow.

The main roads are wet and slushy, this snow is wet and chokes my snow thrower every few feet if I am lucky.

The "good news" is that it's slushy and melting at the present 27F° outside. The "bad news" is that it'll be a skating rink tomorrow morning I fear. However, it's supposed to get up to 40F° and sunny tomorrow so perhaps a short ride in the afternoon after I get back from work.

Here's a capture of the radar picture provided by weatherunderground.com, this mess moved NW to SE through the day.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Riding the Peak to Peak Highway and nearby Canyon Roads

Beautiful riding day! Temperatures ranged from low-50s to mid-70s! Sunny for most of the day.

I started my ride today a little before 0800hrs and got back home around 1530hrs. Got in around 274 miles of riding and discovered a couple of neatly twisting canyon roads to add to the repertoire of such roads within easy distance of home.

I slabbed it on I-70 to US270 to US36 to get to Boulder. The skies were kind of overcast during the first hour or so of riding but it was not too bad. I cleared Boulder by taking CO199 West towards the town of Nederland. This is the home of "The Frozen Dead Guy" festival which is coming up: 7-9 March. More info here.

I headed North on CO72 from Nederland and soon arrived where it junctions with CO7, a beautifully twising/winding road that ends up at Estes Park and is known as the Peak to Peak Scenic Highway.

The first view of Mt. Meeker on CO 7

I made my way past Allenspark and stopped near St. Malo's Church for this side view of Mount Meeker.

Mount Meeker and St. Malo's Church

Next up as one makes his way on the Peak to Peak Highway are great views of Long's Peak, this series was taken from the spot where Enos Mills, the father of Rocky Mountain National Park, had once homesteaded and now there's a marker.

Views of Long's Peak - From Far Away

A little closer...

Closest I could get with my little camera

Historical Marker near where I shot the Long's Peak pictures

Twin Sisters Mountains, you can see the stone wall where the Enos Mills Plaque is mounted

A short ride from the Enos Mill location, you come upon Lilly Lake where there's a frozen lake this time of year and a trailhead for the Twin Sisters Mountains. Here's some views from near the entrance to Lilly Lake Park:


Frozen Lilly Lake

Lilly Lake, looking back towards Long's Peak

From Lilly Lake, you arrive at the southern end of Estes Park pretty quickly. I tanked up there and headed back down South on CO 7, thinking to take Lefthand Canyon Road East from the town of Ward.

I made my way, thoroughly enjoying the twisty/windy roads that were pretty much gravel free. Mind you, there were some spots I had to slow down a lot in but not too bad, not like Deer Creek Canyon Road!

I elected to stay on CO7 towards Lyons instead of turning at the junction with CO72 and boy I am glad I did. The twists and turns on CO7 as one heads towards Lyons are great! You're surrounded by rocky canyon walls for most of the way and the curves as the road follows the path of the river left a big stupid grin on my face!

From Lyons I headed South on US36 towards Boulder, hoping to find the eastern end of Lefthand Canyon Road. On the way there, I spotted a sign marking "Hygiene Road". Needless to say, I took a slight detour to get a picture of Maria next to a sign announcing the unusually named town of Hygiene!

Before I found the sign though, I stumbled on CO66 on the North end of Hygiene and wandered westward on it a bit till I got this shot of what I believe is Long's Peak.

On Colorado 66, looking to the west

An unusually named town

I then made my way back through the town of Hygiene and back on the road I'd taken from US36. Once back heading south on US36, I spied what looked like massive satellite dishes off in the distance. I kept looking for a road that led in their direction and found Nelson Road. I took this road and ended up within perhaps a quarter mile of the satellite dishes. They apparently belong to the US Dept of Commerce and are also apparently used by the USGS, NOAA and the National Telecom and Information Administration.




All I know is, they were kind of cool looking, in an X-Files sort of way. : )

So, pictures taken, I headed back on Nelson to US36 which I continued south until I zipped by the sign for Lefthand Canyon Road! I got turned around and got on this road, which was quite nice and twisty as well. Traffic was kind of heavy by this time of day so the pace was sedate for the most part. I made it to the town of Ward which is a really small and rustic town on the side of a mountain.

I headed south where Lefthand Canyon road junctioned with CO72 and soon I was in the town of Nederland once again. I found a parking spot at a supermarket parking lot and ate my lunch. Life was good.

After a short lunch break, I headed back South on CO119 back towards Boulder. The traffic in Boulder was quite heavy and it stayed heavy as I turned from CO119 back to US36 which I took back to US270. I stopped at a Bass Pro Super Store (it was huge!) and looked around a bit but finding nothing I headed onto I-70 and was home soon afterwards.

The weather had turned quite warm by the time I was done at Bass Pro World. I was down to a T-shirt under my riding jacket and had removed the vent panels from my riding pants. Still, I was warm but not overly so, and it was just fine once I got moving on the motorcycle.

So, again I must say it was a beautiful day to ride. Bikers, squids, donorcycle riders and other motorcyclists were out in force after say 10AM. Snow is expected tonight but that's ok. We had a good day to ride today here in Colorado.