Sunday, June 29, 2014

Riding with the C2C50's "Three Amigos"

One of my favorite films of all time, is the comedy "The Three Amigos".  As I rode on Saturday with Jon, Rudy and Dave; aka CCjon, Muzzleblast and Lokiboy on SovietSteeds.

By the end of the my day's riding with them, the nickname of "The Three Amigos" popped into my brain and stuck.  Great day of riding my new friends, safe travels!

 We rode Skyline Drive one more time, this time in broad day for pictures and this video:

The nearby Royal Gorge Bridge was a "must see" stop by the trio, however, last year's fires had destroyed most of buildings I told them and one had to pay and ride a bus to see the bridge.  CCjon decided as we headed on westbound US50 to try for a shot of the bridge from the southern entrance to the site.

The paved way to the south end was closed by a gate.  Not deterred, the four of us left the rigs parked near the gate and we hiked 17 "ural" miles to get the below view.  (note: it was closer to a bit over 1 mile but rough and steep terrain was negotiated, I assure you).

The Royal Gorge Bridge, from near the southern end

We made our way to our sidecar rigs, and saw, with some chagrin, that somehow there was a touring company with tour trucks shuttling tourists over the road that had been barred to us!  Oh well, we go the view for free and it makes for a better story.

Royal Gorge Bridge checked off the list, we motored on US50 West, enjoying the twists and turns of the road as it follows the course of the Arkansas River.  Views of the high rocky canyon walls, the raging waters of the Arkansas River, with boatloads of tourists braving the swift currents and bright sunny conditions made a great ride all the way to Salida, CO

We left CCjon there to rest a bit and Lokiboy, Muzzleflash and myself took a short set of rides.  First was north on US285 from Salida for a quick photo op of the Collegiate Peaks.  The bright sun made for flat picture taking though.  My photos didn't come out, hopefully the other guys had better luck.

Then we rode south on US285, gassed up at Poncha Springs then headed south towards Poncha Pass and one's first view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains at the border with Saguache County.

We experienced major UDF at this point, when joined by a couple in a spiffy BMW 1200GS with Dauntless Sidecar, a '71 Beemer R75 Airhead and his traveling companion on what looked like a Harley Davidson.

The requisite picture of the summit's sign

Muzzleblast then used some app on his smartphone called findmyfriends or something like that we located CCjon's current destination, a park in Salida.  Shortly afterwards, we all were together and I said my goodbyes to the "Three Amigos"

CCjon, Muzzleflash and Lokiboy

Safe Travels my friends, safe travels!

I rushed home, made it there in just over three hours with no issues, Scarlett pulling strong on the hills, fighting head-on winds and rushing cagers with elan and aplomb.

Long day, mostly in the saddle, but well worth it to have meet my new friends.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Uraling to meet the C2C50 Riders

CCjon, Lokiboy and Muzzleblast....the usernames used by Jan, Dave V. and Rudy on and presently the stalwart riders who are undertaking the Coast to Coast via US 50 Riding Challenge on their URAL sidecar rigs.

CCjon, or Jan and I had been exchanging emails and texts for over a year now, ever since he'd gone to Alaska right after I had started returning from Alaska last year.  He had, however, started from Key West, Florida!  A much longer journey, with many challenges and many beautiful pictures generated.

Today I rode down towards CaƱon City after lunch, it took me about 2.5 hours, arriving there shortly after 5:30 PM due to having to do a work-related phone call/meeting while in Colorado Springs.  The guys were already at the motel in Florence where we'd agreed to meet beforehand.

They'd spent the early afternoon at the URAL dealer in Pueblo West, Hymark Motorsports.  Dave had some work done on his carburetors (clogs apparently), Jon swapped out his front tire and Rudy just hung out with them while the work was done.  Dave S., who lives in Pueblo greeted them and escorted them to Florence.

After introductions, we chatted for a bit, looked over each other's rigs and decided after a bit to get some dinner at a Mexican restaurant that Dave S. knew about from previous trips.

We lingered a bit too long and got to Skyline Drive about 15 minutes too late to catch the prime sunset lighting but I think we did OK anyways.

 Dave S, me, Dave V, Rudy and Jan

 Slightly different angles of a rather glorious sunset, its golden
rays burning through the clouds which presented a great backdrop

At the spot where we stopped the rigs for the above pictures, there was this young couple and a photographer taking pictures.  The couple's names were Erin and Zach I believe, and Renee was the photographer.  Erin and Zach are to be married in about three weeks and they were up there for pictures for the wedding I believe.

After Renee took the group shot above, we asked if the happy couple would like to sit in one of the rigs for pictures.  They happily accepted and chose Scarlett as the rig.   Red always wins when it comes to these situations.

WTF Chuck made an appearance with the happy couple. 

Chuck the Gnome is a traveling companion to the three C2C50 Riders, often blamed for large amounts of drinking, mechanical problems, bad luck and what not.  The guys tried to get the couple to take the gnome but no luck, its staying with the riders.

LINK to short video of the rigs on skyline drive:  LINK

We lost the sun soon afterwards and we cruised on down the remainder of Skyline Drive, arriving in town after dark.  The trip back to the motel in Florence was without incident and I managed to find my way back in the dark.

We spent the rest of the night talking, comparing photos and most people writing up the day's adventures and posting photos.  Tomorrow, we're going to try and squeeze in some mountain scenery along the way to Monarch Pass.

Monday, June 23, 2014

3rd Annual CZAR Rally: Orienteering and Jousting

Another great day of riding and camaraderie here in the vicinity of the majestic Collegiate Peaks by Buena Vista, Colorado.

Tina and Indy are ready....
photo courtesy of Craig H.

By 9:30AM we had folks assigned to two-rig teams and setting off on their respective orienteering courses.  The objective being to find small metal tags which had been pre-positioned by Jay B, Tim L and yours truly along two different off-road courses.  More details here: LINK

An example of the information used by we Uralisti on our courses.
This was on Jay and Tim's Route, the last marker

Both courses would include water obstacles (two rigs would fall victim here, but were self-recovered and on the road in a timely manner), sandy whoop-de-doos which tested the traction capability of the rigs, steep inclines and descents down sandy rock-strewn hillsides with the added bonus of heavily washboarded sections and large boulders to keep things interesting.

Both the rig belonging to Steffen and Dave ingested water during their
respective water crossings.
photo courtesy Jay and Deana

Liz and Dave S's rig gets pulled out of the water to be drained
photo courtesy canoewest aka Tim L.

A video from Jay B aka mapperjay of the Northern Route

Jay B. and I rode sweep on each other's route both to get the fun of discovering the tag locations pre-positioned by the other and to police up the tags now that the course was over.

 Scenes along the way as we searched for markers. I rode with
Chris L of Gypsum, that's his Gobi in the picture.

 Best view of the day from one of the sites we rode to in search of 
those orienteering markers.

Chris and I encounter fellow Uralista Scott M with his FJ Cruiser.
Scott couldn't pilot his own rig due to a hand injury prior to the CZAR.

All rigs that went out, came back, I am happy to report.  Everyone seemed to have enjoyed this activity, we'll incorporate lessons learned and perhaps do it again next year.....or perhaps, geo-caching!

By mid-afternoon, the Sidecar Jousting event was set up and soon we every rig team had their practice run trying to use a lance to "spear" four rings along a roadside. The first ring is the largest one, then each following ring is a tad smaller.

First up was our youngest monkey....Tehya., she'd been looking forward to the 
jousting all day!  And this was after navigating for Tim, her dad, during the
orienteering course!

Tehya waves to the crowd after a successful run
photo courtesy Scott Ma.

 Steffen C and Anna aboard his Ural Retro

 Sofia with her dad, Tim
The above should give you an idea of the length of the "lance"
photo courtesy Deana

Like Father, Like Son
Nick and his dad, Steffen
photo courtesy Deana

 Deana and Jay
photo courtesy Scott Ma. 

Janet and Roy N.
photo courtesy Martha

Dan K and yours truly, we did pretty good for a couple of
broken down ex-Army guys! (Third Place)
photo courtesy Scott Mu.

Patrick, my eldest son, manned the fourth ring point, ensuring the 
wind wouldn't blow the ring off its mount.
Miles and I had 2 -3 runs at the jousting course.

Liz and Dave S.
Liz tries the "javelin" method for this run.
photo courtesy Scott Ma.

Team Beard
photo courtesy Scott Mu.

 Julie and Craig H, and Tina their dog
photo courtesy Scott Mu.

Sofia and her Dad, Tim
photo courtesy Scott Mu.

Dezso and Jay
photo courtesy Scott Mu.

Then, we decided to add a bit of competition into this event, and each subsequent run was made for time!  So, not only did you have to capture 3 of the 4 rings to qualify, you were now trying to do it in the shortest time possible.

The competitiveness of the typical Uralista came to the fore folks, rigs raced down the short course....the monkey holding the lance unwaveringly as a cloud of dust covered both the road and the spectators cheering the competitors onward..  Who knew a URAL sidecar rig could go that fast?!

The winning time was 17.62 seconds with all four rings captured.  There was a faster time but alas, they missed on ring.  The winning team of Roy N. and Scott M. were awarded the annual CZAR trophy:

Team "Beard"
photo from Scott's FB page

Conceived during the second CZAR for the Uralista who lost the most parts from his rig, this trophy has now been converted to record each CZAR's winning team.  In case you're wondering, its a muffler support bracket.  Craig H, who "won" the award last year, mounted it as shown and did the engraving.

The award was given to Roy and Scott that evening, as we dined on steak at Quincy's Restaurant in Buena Vista.  It was a fun and tasty way to finish off this year's CZAR Rally.

More photos as I get access to them, will add to this post accordingly.  If you post a comment, you'll get a notification when more photos/videos are added, if any.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Third Annual CZAR, Buena Vista, Colorado.

The Third Annual CZAR (Colorado Zidecar Adventure Riders) Rally is now in full swing, a lot of Uralistas having arrived yesterday to the KOA Campground near Buena Vista, CO.

 Photo of the Continental Divide from near the western end of Kenosha Pass

Part of the Majestic Collegiate Peaks as one
approaches the Buena Vista KOA on US285.

I arrived at 10:00AM, having left home at 7:00AM and transiting down on US 285 with no incidents and light traffic.  There were ten other URAL Rigs parked near the main office for the campground, getting ready to go on the day's ride.

I dumped some gear in fellow Uralista Tim L's cabin as I couldn't get into mine yet as it was being cleaned and joined the group ride.

Julie, Craig, Indy and Tina

photo courtesy Canoewest aka Tim L.

 I believe the group shot above was on CR 187, early on in the riding.

We're still working on our "heroic pose"
photo courtesy of Scott Mu.

11 Rigs, and one two-wheeled motorcycle ridden by Steffen's son Nick, Steffen was riding his Ural Retro with his lovely wife Jody as the monkey.

I wasn't paying much attention at all to the route chosen by Jay B. for the day's ride.  Even though we did have to do some retracing of steps and several map checks, I would say the group ride was a success.  Everyone did well experiencing the varied terrain offered by the area to the SE of Buena Vista.  There were deeply rutted trails, deep off-cambered sloping trails, some mildly steep hills to test one's clutches, some pretty technical portions involving all of the above and with some loose gravel/sand and gravity making life interesting for all.

 Lunch break in a field in the middle of nowhere, peanut butter sandwiches anyone?

Some of the terrain was quite steep and "technical"
photo courtesy Jay

 Jody and Steffen catch a lttle air negotiating a steep hill
with ruts and rocks
photo courtesy Canoewest 

Craig H aka s854
photo courtesy Canoewest 

We covered a little bit over 100 km of varied terrain riding, and fun was had by all.  As you can see below, there were several stops for discussion as to which route to take to get us back to civilization.

 Towards the end of the day's riding, there was on "technical" 
spot to negotiate before hitting the last water point.
photo courtesy Janet and Roy

photo courtesy Janet and Roy

Still, as the afternoon wore on, we finally hit on the right combination of dirt trails and found our way back to CR 187 and from there back to US285 and thence to the KOA campground.

Dinner was pot luck, located at Steffen and Jody's RV as in years past, and much food and drink was consumed.  Everyone was hungry and the talk of today's riding was the main subject.  I went into town and bought a couple of cheesecake samplers as my contribution.

Called it a night shortly after 9:00 PM, early start tomorrow as we try and herd all the riders to the starting point of the orienteering courses starting at 8:00 AM.  Tomorrow afternoon, my loving wife Martha and my two sons: Patrick and Miles will be joining me in the upcoming URAL games scheduled after the orienteering courses.

Note: Lots of video and photos shot by other Uralisti, I was riding sweep for the group and didn't really get much of a chance for pictures.  As I get access to the stuff from the other photographers, I'll add it to this posting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Uraling Home from Rangely, CO

My work completed successfully yesterday morning, I was able to leave the Rangely Field Office by 9:30 AM and headed home via CO 139 towards Grand Junction.

She's a little dusty and muddy, but doing great.

I must say, CO139, which is part of the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway, is a much better (if longer) choice for riding from Denver to Rangely.  I had taken CO13 from I-70, through Meeker and then to Rangely and the route was not as scenic.

The northern third of CO139, between Grand Junction and Rangely
is replete with beautiful rock formations

The centerpiece of this stretch of highway though, is Douglas Pass, while not presenting majestic snow-capped mountain peaks as other Colorado passes do; it holds its own in terms of scenery and delightful twists and turns both going up and down.

 Looking north on CO 139, heading towards the summit of Douglas Pass

 The wind at the summit of Douglass Pass was quite fierce where I
posed Scarlett for the picture above.  It was strong enough that I had 
to at times hold onto the handlebar to keep from getting pushed back 
away from the rim; which in retrospect is a good thing.

 A bit further down from the summit, now on the south side of
Douglas Pass, I got a little UDF by a couple of Beemer guys from
Georgia.  Below are Don and Jeff who are doing a large circuit of the 
West.  Turns out Jeff actually has read this blog....small world.

 Further south along CO 139, you can see the road stretch alongside
the mountainside and continue southwards.

 The view as one approaches Douglas Pass from the South

 Above is what you see as you leave Mesa County and head
into Garfield County

Once I got to Mesa County it was straight slab riding all the way into Loma and from there into Grand Junction.  I had the "bright" idea of using US6 instead of getting onto the I-70 Super Slab eastbound but that proved to be slow and traffic choked.

I got back on the I-70 eastbound slab at Palisade and stayed on it to Parachute, CO where I refueled and took a small break.  It was very windy that day but luckily it was coming from the South and didn't slow me down much.  Scarlett was able to hold 55-60 mph with no issues and while I was the slowest vehicle on the highway, traffic was light and people passed me safely all day long.

Soon, Scarlett and I arrived at Glenwood Canyon and this time I resolved to stop at each possible exit to see what views of the canyon could be photographed.

 The view at the western end of the "No Name" Rest area 
where several nice homes are built as well.

 Part of the view from the "Hanging Lake" Rest Area, I didn't
go on the hiking trail to actually see this Hanging Lake.

 Here's what you see if you get off at the Shoshone exit in Glenwood
Canyon, at the end is some property managed by the local
utility company.  There was even a boat ramp though it looked 
closed for the season as the river was running quite fast with snow melt.

As the Shoshone exit didn't have an entrance into eastbound I-70, this resulted in me having to head back west to Hanging Lake then using it to turn back east.  Still, only about 30 minutes used up doing all this back tracking.

Vail was next, the last time I was here on a motorcycle, it had been on Valencia and it had been Fall.  

 This is what Spring looks like in Vail

The came the slow climb up to the summit of Vail Pass, Scarlett was able to hold 50 mph but I had to gear down to 3rd gear in order to do so.  Still, she pulled strongly and I was able to get this shot:

After Vail Pass, came the towns of Silverthorne and Dillon, pretty towns in their own right but no time for photos today.  I did stop Scarlett east of Silverthorne to get this shot of the mountains located near the town.

That would be the last photo stop of the day, once I got past the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Continental Divide, it was just steady riding all the way to the Denver Metro area.  Got home around 6:30 PM I believe.  Scarlett did a bit over 1389 kilometers round trip to Rangely and back, averaging 40-44 mpg which is unheard of for a URAL.  For us, it was roughly 16 hours of highway time, not counting the time inside the Dinosaur National Monument.

I kept her speeds under 60 mph the whole trip and she seems to like it at those speeds on the highway.