Recently I find myself not riding much. I can give you a long list of excuse's such as my work schedule which causes me to leave home before the sun comes up and leave work long after the sun sets. Or how about "ponding", never heard of ponding? Neither had I, it's what a local highway department calls standing water on the road. My commute seems to have more than it's fair share of ponding. Ponding alone isn't really a good excuse, but when you add temperatures in the 20's and 30's it all adds up to a very wise decision to take the cage. I have know doubt I could probably walk away from a get off caused by one of these "ponds", but don't think I could walk away from the caffeine deprived, talking on the cell phone, texting, eating breakfast and playing with the radio SUV driver that pancakes me with their 22's.
Instead of riding I find my self absorbed in the writings of those who live in more motorcycle friendly climates and searching the interwebs for motorcycle minutia.
For today's post I have found some very small motorcycle minutia indeed. The venerable Monkey has achieved new heights. I could probably park one of these baby's in my garage and my wife would never find it. I can see my self zipping down to the local coffee shop for a cup of joe on the Cafe Monkey. Can't you see it, a Hi-Vis pretzel on a screaming Monkey. It just makes me smile thinking about it.
The above photos are but only a sample of the screaming Monkey's at Monkey Tuning, check it out, and the next thing you know you'll be searching craig's list for that hidden Monkey in your town, such as this one ready to run in my neck of the woods.
In some intricately spun web of the interwebs I came across this site. It is well worth checking out, the link below guide you to a beautifully minimulest motorcycle, that I wish was in my garage. Yamaha SR500 tracker
My first couple of bikes were Yamaha's and though I don't ride one at the moment I do have deep down compulsion to own one again someday. A nice SR500, XT500 or a SRX6 would be most satisfying.
I have been lurking on ADVRider.com for awhile and I've seen Lost Creek Road mentioned a few times on the Missouri Thread. Here is a quote from one of the post's about Lost Creek Road "..you should probably take someone familiar for your first ride down there.." -ThumperDRZ
I found out a couple of days ago I would have Saturday morning to my self, so a plan was hatched...
The Plan: Head west from home to Washington, MO and cross over to the north side of the Missouri River. Then start a series of north then south gravel roads inter-connected with tarmac. Once (if) the gravel roads have been completed I would cross to the south side of the Missouri river at Herman, MO and work my east to home.
The first gravel road was Charette Creek Rd. Lots of thick lose gravel was the theme of the day. Charette Creek Rd. had several low water crossings and if memory serves me a couple of small rocky crossings.
Charette Creek Rd.
Next was Dry Fork Rd, Howards Branch Rd, and Sellen Schutter Rd, all pretty mild.
Lost Creek Rd. the road the above quote referes to was next.
Lost Creek looks pretty tame on the GPS.
Lost Creek looks OK from this view also.
The Creek is no longer Lost. The Road is really over there somewhere. Should I or shouldn't I?
I did it.
After I conquered Lost Creek it was a breeze down Massas Creek Rd.
Massas Creek Rd.
At the end of the day I made it home unscathed, but very tired. I don't believe I have ever worked so hard riding a motorcycle before. I did learn a few things though.
The road on the other side of the creek will never be the same. Hard packed gravel on one side and 12 inch's of sand the other.
If it's hunting season there will be hunters on 4-wheelers using both sides of the road.
The narrower the road the more likely you will meet someone in the largest possible truck.
Knobbie's are in my future.
I need a stronger skid plate. I didn't bottom out, but did have plenty of large rocks strike my plastic skid plate.
This morning I went on the Club ride to St John's "Gildehaus" for the 48th Annual Sausage Festival. I was but one of the 3,877 diners served. They will have the 49th Annual Sausage Festival on Sunday October, 24 2010, so plan ahead. After I was stuffed like a sausage I went my seperate way and explored some road's in the area that I had yet to ride, plus a few that I have.
The first and last photos were taken on Melrose Rd. The other two were taken on Grand Army Rd. Grand Army Rd. started out paved but quickly turned to gravel.
Two weeks and 600 miles finds the motorcycle incapacitated and on the lift. It was just a flat rear tire, but I didn't find the flat until late Saturday afternoon as I was leaving for a Club event. Luckily I'm 2 deep with motorcycles at the moment, so I parked the new bike and took the old bike.
I had an appointment set up for Tuesday to get the 600 mile service done so at the Club event I asked around if any body had a tube that would fit my bike. It was suggested to call Dave Clark at Forever Endeavor Cycles, The shop was just a couple of minutes down the road and was still open. He didn't have a new tube, but did have a used one with plenty of life life in it and it was free for the taking. Dave left it outside the shop so I could pick it up when ever I got there. Art had a set of tire irons and volunterred time sunday to help me change it.
Saturday night my job was to remove the offending wheel, so out comes the tool kit and owners manual. Owners manual passed, it had the proper procedure for removal and installation of the offending wheel. The tool kit on the other had FAILED miserably, it was missing a wrench in the correct size to fit the axle nut. It turned out that the axel nut was a 26mm, not a size most people have laying around. I have a very nice selection of tool's in metric and standard, but it seems that most socket sets go from 24mm to 27mm, skipping the needed 26mm. My local Sears Hardware Store doesn't keep 26mm sockets in-stock, special order only. I got the wheel off using my adjustable metric wrench.
The tire had a 1 1/2 inch fine thread drywall screw in it. I probably have a few of those laying around someplace, so it could have been introduced to the tire in my very own garage. I was a little bit suspicious of the old bike, the past two weeks was the longest time period that it had not been started since early march of this year. I suspected it had gotten jealous of the new bike, and set it up for a flat tire. I do hope they learn to get along. I don't recall ever getting a flat on the old bike in my 13+ years of ownership.
On Sunday morning there was a handful of tire irons, plenty of grunting and some baby powder involved getting the tube changed out. A big thanks to Art for the time and tools on a Sunday morning.
I will be purchasing a 26mm socket in the very near future, as I'm sure this won't be the last time I will need the wheel off. It also looks like I will be cutting a $25 wrench in half so that I can get the wheels off the bike while traveling.
The motor company has apparently tanked in the third quarter, and has decided to ax Buell Motorcycles and sell off MV Agusta. Click on the title link to see an message from Erik Buell, in the short message you can see just how much Erik put into the motorcycles that carry his name. It's truly a sad day for American made motorcycles.
I have always been intrigued by the (XB12) Lightning series of bikes, and finely got around to taking one for a test ride this spring. It was quite fun. If only my garage and wallet could go 3-4 deep in motorcycles I would have one.
I have had an itch for quite some time, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't scratch it. The more I talked about it the worse it got. It would keep me up all night doing internet research on the best way to sooth it. It would cause me to day dream at work for hours on end. My wife would never even discuss it. I had come to the conclusion that I would suffer this itch for all eternity.
A few weeks ago I decided to try and get my wife to help me one more time. I double checked all of my research, consulted friends and I practiced in front of a mirror. In the end I gave a passionate speech. I layed out all of the positive points. I made it clear that if my itch got scratched, that I wold be more than willing to return the favor when the time came. I probably gave the best sales pitch of my life.
I guess I should remind the readers this is a blog about MOTORCYCLES. Get your minds out of the gutter.
About a week after my sales pitch I started to get that feeling I would be living with itch for a long time, when my Loving wife asked me If WE were going to the motorcycle shop that weekend? I think I passed out. When I awoke I checked to make sure I had heard correctly and then didn't ask again for fear something would change. As it turned out we couldn't make it to the shop that weekend, so I called Gateway BMW Motorcycles on Friday afternoon and asked them to put a sold sign on the bike a 2009 BMW G650X Country, and that I would be in on Wednesday to sign all the papers and take delivery. It turned out to be a good idea to call them as Saturday some came in to buy MY motorcycle.
My itch got scratched at about 2:30pm on Wednesday September 30th, 2009 when I left the Dealer on my new bike, taking the long way home of course.
I recently purchased and installed new tires on my motorcycle for the first time. Just to clarify, I installed the tires myself for the first time (on a street bike anyway). I have used up 5 or 6 sets of tire's over the years, but I always had them installed by a dealer.
A friend of mine has a No-Mar tire changer and a static balancer. I made arrangements to visit him with my old tires still mounted on the wheels (left the bike at home) and the new tires. In a matter of about 30 minutes we had the old tire's in the back of my truck and the new tires installed. Then it was time to balance the tires and wheels. I'm no expert on balanceing tires, this being my first time, but the idea when static balancing is to find the heaviest part of the tire/wheel and add weight to the opisit side of the wheel using stick on weights. We went through the process with both wheels, adding another 15-20 minutes to the whole job, not to bad less than an hour to mount and balance for my first time. Later that day I installed the wheels back on the motorcycle and took it for a test ride. During the ride I thought I could feel the slightest vibration, more so at certain speeds.
At this point my neurotic behavior kicks in and I start down a dangerous path of "what if's" and "should I's". What if I did the balancing wrong, should I re-mount and re-balance? What if it's a defect in the tire, should I... If I was sitting in a chair while this was going on and you observed me, you might notice my eye's vacant or a small string of drool. No big deal sitting in a chair in a padded room, but I'm traveling in excess of the posted speed, on a road that doesn't have 1 inch of straight and level pavement. This prosses continues at lightning speed until I have a really wet brain fart. After the brain fart I conclude that the balance must be off slightly and that I must revisit it.
Re-mounting and balancing is not a simply process as I would need to contact my friend with the equipment and set up a date and time, also I ride to work everyday and my weekends are usually full of family time. So there had to be an alternative, some place between Google and ADVRider I found DynaBeads, small ceramic beads that you pour down the valve stem and they dynamically (Magically) balance your tires as you ride. Using the DynaBeads web-site (click on title link) I found a dealer near me and the proper amount of beads for my bike 2 oz front and rear. After leaving the dealer with $26 less money, I had two 2 oz bags of DynaBeads and a installation kit (plastic bottle and tube). Installation is a breeze,
Let the air out of your tires.
Remove the valve stem.
Put the proper amount of beads in bottle.
Connect tube to bottle and valve stem.
Squeeze bottle (pump?) until all beads have entered tire.
Replace valve stem.
Inflate tire to proper pressure.
Repeat until all tires have been done.
Not to bad, I had both tires done in a matter of minutes and was ready for a test ride.
My first impressions during the test ride was that things had noticeably smoothed out, but I could still feel a vague vibration at certain speeds/RPM's. At that point my neurotic behavior kicked in and I started down the dangerous path of "what if's" and "should I's"...
I have now convinced my self that during my most recent oil change I overfilled the oil (my bike takes exactly 3.7987779 quarts of oil) and spun a bearing or broke a piston skirt. At the moment I'm reserching if DynaBeads poured into the crank case will help, I'll let you know how it turns out.
The big question, DynaBeads, did they work? I think so. I read many accounts from people who said they will use nothing else, but I still think it wise to balance your tires in a conventional way before pouring $25 down your valve stems.
See you on the road.
P.S. I have found a soultion to my balance / vibration problem, but you will have to check back later to see what it is.
Stunt Rider Chris Pfeiffer has taken over BMW HQ. BTW Chris rides a BMW F800R.
Chris has been riding BMW's for a while, but is not the first, a few years ago you may have seen Jean Pierre Goy doing stunts on the Behemoth K1200LT Luxury Touring Bike, if not here is a short clip. Jean Pierre Goy was also the rider in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.
BMW Motorrad has been trying to lure new younger riders for some time now and I believe Chris Pfeiffer is a part of that plan. If you are a lucky soul You can even get a Chris Pfeiffer Replica F800R (only 68 are being built).
Some people will ask,"What did you do on your trip besides ride your motorcycle, eat food and sleep?" My answer "Ride Eat Sleep Repeat, what else is there?." It's not easily explained to non-motorcyclist, but motorcyclist know what I mean.
Over the 8 days on the road I, traveled 3184 miles. burned 73 gallons of premium gas. averaged 49 mpg. crossed the Continental Divide 6 times. rode over 17 mountain passe's. 11 of 17 passe's over 10,000 feet. 2 of 11 over 12,000 feet. rode to an altitude of 14,110 feet. visited 5 ghost towns / mines. rode the Bus 4 times. ate pizza 3 times. picked up my bike 2 times. broke 1 speedometer cable. crashed 1 time, going backwards no-less.
I ate at the following notable restaurants: Copper Kitchen in La Junta, CO. Feliciano's Home Run Pizza in Chama, NM. Francisco's Restaurante Y Cantina in Durango, CO. Ted's Taco in Mancos, CO. Serious Texas BBQ in Durango, CO. Mario's Pizzeria & Ristorante in Gunnison, CO. Taco John's in Goodland, KS.
I meet many interesting and friendly people. Including but not limited to the, father and sons in La Junta, CO. Wisconsin Bikers in Raton, NM. Frank in Chama, NM. Colin (from Farmington, NM) in Mancos, CO. Everyone at Basin Motor Works in Mancos, CO. Bus driver in Durango, CO. Hotel clerk in Gunnison, CO. Truck driver in Goodland, KS.
I also learned a few things. It seems I always learn a few things on trips like this, but soon after I'm home I forget much of what was learned. Maybe by committing it to digital paper I will retain more of it. I need to pack lighter! Interestingly enough I have consistently packed lighter over the years, but I still need work. I have two area's in particular that I need to improve.
The first is photography / electronics gear. I have slowly decreased the amount of photo gear I take along on my moto trips, and I believe on my next trip I can manage with even less. In the past computers weren't a problem, but today every body has a laptop and they will fit on the bike easily. The computer is a great to have along, but it does add a significant amount of weight, unless you have the latest MAC Air book, which I don't. I believe a net-book is warranted before the next Moto trip.
My second problem area is Fix & Repair. Do I need to drag an air compressor, slime, plug kit and a second set of tools? Well yes, or well maybe and in fact I would like to add a liter of gas to my kit (more weight to lose elsewhere). I guess it depends on where my travels will take me. I will work on lightning the this part of the load before the next trip.
Lastly I have learned that if I plan on exploring the southwest in the future and in particular search out ghost towns, I need to acquire a smaller and lighter motorcycle. Even before I was home my mind was spinning about new wheels. BMW, Kawasaki, Suzuki, KTM and Yamaha. New or Used. More Street or more Dirt. So many choices, I will pursue this in more detail in a future post.
The one thing that is certain is that I have only scratched the surface of the great motorcycle roads and that I must return. The only question is when.
I woke without a plan, yet I knew exactly what I was going to do. I had a shower, breakfast, the bike packed and was on the road by 8 A.M.
Day 7 may have gone a little different if my motel had had a guest laundry. I don't mind washing my clothes, but I just hate being stuck at a laundry mat for 2 hours. With that in mind I turned right out of the motel and headed east on U.S. 50. I had 3 destinations for the day, the ghost town of St Elmo, Pikes Peak and a place to lay my head when I got tired, anything in between would be a bonus.
You would think after traveling a few thousand miles (most in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado) I would have learned the local gas rule, "1/2 a tank or less? then stop at the next station you see", that would have been Poncho Springs, but not me I'm a "run it till your on fumes" kind of guy. After an extra 25 miles for gas I was on County Gravel Rd 162 heading for St Elmo.
St Elmo is a very well preserved ghost town. The reason? Because all of the people have driven the ghost away. St Elmo is privately owned so there is limited access to the buildings, viewing is basically from the road and boardwalk. I was still able to capture a few interesting images. There is another ghost town farther down the road, but that road is gated. More Private property.
Not long after leaving St Elmo I was heading east on U.S. 24, next stop Pikes Peak. Actually my next stop was a little shade along the road to eat left over pizza. When I arrive at the Pikes Peak toll booth I'm told it's $9 to enter, and I'm also told that the road is paved, gravel, paved and more gravel. In parting I'm told that I picked a good time to visit as the road is in excellent condition for the International in 4 days time. I would hate to see the road when it's in poor condition. I now have a new found respect for the drivers who compete in the Hill Climb, they either have some really big brass balls or a total lack of reality. The summit is shoulder to shoulder people. It doesn't take much time to see the sights and I'm on the way down.
It was late afternoon when I stop for gas in Colorado Springs. The plan then was to head towards home stopping for gas & food when needed, when I needed a rest I would look for a place to stay. I stopped for supper at Taco Johns in Goodland, KS after that I had no good reason to stay in Kansas. There would be no sleeping until I could sleep in my own bed.
I had watched the sun set in my mirrors as I approached Kansas and as I crossed Missouri I watched the sun rise. the last 100 miles were the hardest, I was ready to hit the hay. I'm a little gray on the exact time I arrived home, but I do remember figuring I had been on the road for 22 hours. A day later I figured the mileage as being 1048 per google. After a quick shower I was asleep before my head hit the pillow, not to fully awaken until the next morning.
See you on the road. GAW
P.S. I will post a summary of the trip and some thoughts on what is to come. It shouldn't take to long, it just needs A/D conversion (it's all on paper). Check back soon.
Sorry for the delay, There was no time to update on the road and once I was back home I came down with a bad case of the lazy's. Better late than never, right?
The map above shows me taking I-70 for part of the days ride, it is not accurate. When I drew the map Google didn't think I should ride over Independence Pass.
After Day 5 I wasn't about to rush into anything so I took my time getting ready. I had the free breakfast at the motel (better than most free breakfast, but worth more space) and was on U.S. 50 heading west just before 9A.M.
Not far from Gunnison I notice a large bird of prey (not sure is it was an eagle or hawk, sorry I'm not an Ornithologist) that looked like it was going to auger in nose first, and it did. Just as I approach the crash site the bird takes flight. It appeared the bird picked up an unwitting passenger. Today's in-flight meal will be chipmunk sashimi.
I take CO 92 and follow it along the Black Canyon of Gunnison, stopping to apply my rain gloves when the clouds let loose. Day six would be no different from the rest, rain on and off through out the day, sometimes very hard, others just a few drops. Not long after putting on my rain gloves I stopped to remove them at the overlook where Gunnison Creek meets the Gunnison River. With different gear (hiking boots) I might have hiked the trail to the bottom of the canyon, next time.
On to Hotchkiss and north on CO 133 through Paonia, home of "Top O the Rockies" BMW Rally, I was early by a few weeks. Over McClure Pass a meager 8755 feet. Just down the east of McClure Pass I stopped to shoot some photos of Hays Creek Falls and the Crystal River.
Next I followed CO 82 a 4 lane highway into Aspen. Aspen is packed with people and cars, I can only imagine what it must be like in Ski season. None to fast I'm east of Aspen heading for Independence Pass. Halfway between Aspen & Independence Pass I spot what turns out to be the abandoned Independence mine. I took a great deal of care parking the bike on its side stand just off the road on the beginnings of a jeep trail, all to no avail. Before hiking around the mine works I broke out the trail mix for a little energy boost, with a mouth full I got quite the surprise as the bike tried to take me out. Luckily as it fell the seat gave me a push out of the way. I said a few choice words as I picked it up. I didn't think to document the moment on film until the bike was up-right and in a more stable spot. I've had the bike for 13 years and until yesterday it had never been off its wheels, now twice in 2 days. Photos of the mine taken and on the road again I come to the mining camp not even a half mile down the road. There is a nice level parking lot (with lots of cars and people), but I don't stop. Cars and People don't fit into my ghost town photos.
At the summit of Independence Pass (12,065 feet) there is a over look at the end of a short hike, but again the parking lot is full, so I snap a shot of the Pass marker and skip the rest. When I reach U.S. 24 I decide to save the side trip to Leadville for my next trip west, It was getting late and I had a long way to my motel. I headed south to Buena Vista, fuel-up and follow County Rd 209 to Cottonwood Pass. Cottonwood Pass will shave 20-30 miles off my trip back to Gunnison but will require 16 miles of grave road going down the other side. At the summit (12,126 feet) I take a rest and a few photos. It's the highest point on my trip so far and the highest on two wheels for me. Cottonwood Pass is more to my liking, only a few people around when I get there and before I leave I'm the only one there. It's not that I don't like people, I just enjoy the quite solitude. The 16 miles of gravel wasn't bad, hard packed Dirt with just little loose stuff on top.
Even with the short cut it was still after 8 P.M. when I arrived back at the motel. By the time I decided I was to tired to walk to the Cowboy bistro and should order pizza the pizza joint had closed already. Luckily Mario's Pizzeria & Ristorante was open late and delivered. So I got another pizza and salad from there. I think the pizza was actually better this time. After dinner I made sure everything was organized and ready to go onto the bike in the morning, as I would be moving to an as yet unknown location in the morning.
I believe on a trip like this you have to have a day to test your fortitude to have fun. Today was that day.
1. The first gas stop of the day. You must pre-pay before you pump. They have one pump that takes CC's and 6 that don't. You have to leave your CC with the clerk along with the other six...NOT.
2. Breakfast wasn't terrible, not great either. The service was slow and forgetful.
3. Taking a gravel road, that in hind sight I shouldn't have, I had to stop for people standing in the middle of the road. The bike stopped for 1 nano second then took off backwards (very steep road). It finally stopped moving when it and I were only 12 inch's from tumbling 10ft into a fast running creek, and the bike was laying on it's side. I would have taken a photo of it laying there but the people I had to stop for were freaking out.
4. Not that long after putting the bike back on two wheels, the rain came, but this time it brought it's good friends Thunder, Lighting and Hail. Not terribly big but it still stung when it hit a soft part.
5. At 10,000 feet thunder is much louder, and scares the sh@t out of you, when you are putting on your rain gloves.
6. Falling out of your chair in your motel room still sucks, even though nobody else saw it.
7. The restaurant you want to eat at is closed on Sundays. But Supper at the back-up was very good, so not to bad a day.
I was a little confused with the time this morning and got a later than planned start, but my day would have been a much different had I left when planned.
First order of business was breakfast. I headed west on U.S. 160 out of Durango. Being this close to Mancos, I couldn't not go to Ted's Taco. The Frybread Breakfast sandwich with egg's, sausage, cheese, onions and of course green chile was excellent. You just can't go wrong with Ted's Taco.
While eating I met Colin a fellow BMW rider from New Mexico. He was having Tires installed on his GS at Basin Motorcycle Works, just across the street from Ted's. I followed Colin to Basin Motorcycle Works to see if they might have a speedo cable for my bike. Not only did they have the proper cable they had the bike in the service bay replacing it in no time.
From Mancos I went in search if ghost towns. There were a couple places along CO 145, That I was looking for, but they were either not ghost towns (people living there) or it was raining to hard to get the cameras out. Ophir looked like the best place for photos but it was raining quite hard there. In fact it rained on me just about the whole time I was on CO145. I did see a biker down on the road, one of the few dry parts, no telling what happened, the bike was laying on it's side and police and ems were around the rider and passenger, I hope in the end they were able to walk away with only minor injuries.
I took CO 62 to Ridgeway and then head south on U.S. 550. Ouray just shows up out of nowhere, and if you didn't see the small specks moving back and forth on the canyon wall, you would think it was a dead end. 550 is just one switchback after another as it climbs the mountain out of Ouray.
Not long after leaving Ouray I zipped past a very small sign pointing to Ironton, I caught a glimpse of something and made a U-turn and saw the sign. It's amazing to see the buildings just sitting there. I only took photos and left only foot prints.
Leaving Ironton, U.S. 550 climbed Red Mountain pass then dropped down into Silverton. Continuing south I went over Molas pass and Coal Bank pass. U.S. 550 continues to go back and forth until you are about 30 miles from Durango then it straitens out, the temperature also rises as you drop below 7500 feet.
Any photo's I might post from this loop can not do the real thing justice. The roads are great motorcycle roads, but they do have a lot of traffic, and the highway department doesn't know what guardrails are. Looking over the edge of the road can give you a bad case of vertigo if you aren't careful. I look forward to riding it again, but maybe with out all the rain.
After getting back to the motel I wiped some of the stink off and took the bus to Serious Texas BAR-B-Q and following Colin's advice ordered the Texas Taco, a flour tortilla filled with beef brisket, onions, jalapenos, and cheesy fried potato's. I also got the Buttermilk lemon pie. I went to bed very full and happy.