Monday, July 27, 2009

Stay Tuned

Heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow, returning on Friday. I'll should have new posts for this week posted this weekend....

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Ride Mt Evans

The plan for the day was to take a two to three hour ride via a 'classic' loop dubbed the Echo Lake Loop. Up 70 to Idaho Springs, exit onto 103 and run by Echo Lake on the way back down to Evergreen, and then on through Kettridge and Morrison - with an optional diversion up to the summit of Mt Evans from Echo Lake. Darren, owner of a new BMW F 800 GS, was the only other member of the ride team.

Other than a bit more traffic on the way up 70 and then around 103 to Echo Lake, the day was looking good. Sunny and not too hot. After a short photo stop at the turn off to Mt Evans, we decided to stick crowbars in our wallets and pay the three dollar fee to drive to the top. (pic)

Half way up, just before summit lake, the road, as we were warned, turned into a roller coaster ride. Frost heaving caused the asphalt ribbon to undulate up and down with uncalled for zest. Me, on the FJ, was going just a bit too fast for the conditions. One bump (ramp) nearly launched me and FJ airborne. Darren, with his bike's massive suspension travel, just stood up on the pegs and let the bike soak up the lumps.

Summit Lake provided a nice place to pause and capture a few pics. And a last chance for some warmth and sun. At Echo Lake, the temp was 65 and mostly sunny; Summit Lake was 54 and mostly overcast.

After the quick photo shoot, we headed the rest of the way up. Almost immediately, we were enshrouded in clouds and pelted with rain. Should I take a moment at this time to mention that the road we were on was barely wide enough for two cars to pass, with 100+ foot nearly vertical drop offs with no guard rails? That plus dense fog/clouds and a rain spotted visor isn't what I'd call ideal riding conditions.

I'm sure the suspense is too much for you, so I'll let you in on some critical info. We made it to the top without falling off the mountain and dieing. Very cloudy/foggy/rainy, and 42 degrees. I took this shot while the clouds weren't *too* bad. No, I don't really think I can see for miles... A little while later I took a shot at the elevation sign. With a complete white out background of clouds.

The descent down the mountain wasn't any better. Even more rainy.

Continuing towards Evergreen, we managed to get ahead of the rain and took a pit stop at Juniper Picnic area, where we grabbed a few more pictures.
Arriving at Evergreen a little after 2:00 pm, we checked Darren's GPS for a place to eat. We selected a place called Tanglewood bar and grill, or something like that. The GPS lead us to a little strip mall, where there was a place that looked like a restaurant, but had no signage. Having no better plan, we stopped and had lunch there.

My lunch was a smoked salmon. Quite good smokey flavor. 4 stars (out of 5).

I checked the menu to see if the establishment's name was printed there. Nope. I checked the check to see if it was there. Nope. Not there either. So, without assuming that it was the Tanglewood something or other, I have no clue where I had lunch. But the service was good, and all the people were very friendly.

A little while after we finished, the rain subsided to a sprinkle, so we headed on back home. A 2 or 3 hour ride + rain == 4 plus hours out. Loop distance, 106 miles.

Not an ideal ride, but any ride/photo shoot is better than a day at work.

[edit- Awesome. The blogspot editor *refuses* to take/save my formatting changes. oh well.]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Real Ride

Taking the bike out and running to the local RC hobby shop to pick up a few parts is not a ride. Heading out and hitting the mountains around sunrise and getting back in the neighborhood of sunset is what I call a ride. Recent Beemer owner and friend Darren alerted me to this mega day ride put on by the local BMW shop and BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado. Not actually *owning* a Beemer caused a slight pause, but the site assured me that riders of other brands are welcome as well. Looks like a nice long scenic ride. I checked out their 5 minute movie that one of their riders made from the 2006 ride. Lots of runs over mountain passes. Can't wait. Date is Saturday August 1st. I'll bring my camera.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Updates and a Little History

On the recent subject of the FJ1200, I took another ride up Golden Gate Canyon on Sunday. For those that are interested (those? plural? optimistic, aren't we?), fresh high octane fuel in the tank helped the engine run even smoother. For those that weren't interested, fresh high octane fuel in the tank still helps. (did I just steal that line from someone else?)

On the way back down Golden Gate Canyon, I passed a familiar stand of willow-like trees next to the river and a pleasant S bend in the road. It reminded me of the night time ride I took on the FJ, and with Scott on the V Max. It was on that turn that a cat/rabbit/some-other-small-animal passed it's gang initiation requirements by trying to soil Scott's underwear. It bolted across the street right in front of him, with me following close behind. Good times.

An update on a different subject: A word of caution. Earwigs like linseed oil. I treated the oak threshold of the shed with linseed oil to help protect it from the weather and foot traffic. Once the sun fell, the nocturnal insects came out, and at about 10:00, I happened to go to the shed and saw an estimated 30 earwigs on and near the oil treated wood. Eeww. Not my favorite insect. I can try to get a picture and post it if they return tonight. As if anyone is interested. [Update: no earwigs the next time I checked. Could have been the rain...]

Updates done, here's some history. One of the things that I wanted to have as a regular feature of this blog are posts with recent photos. The most recent photo set I have taken that isn't worth negative money is a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens back in May. Here is a slideshow of some of the more interesting, if I can use that word, photos.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Busy Day

An early start to the day. I loaded my 15 year old Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike into the FJ and attempted to ride a dirt path up the Col de Tourmalet... as the first real ride I've done on that bike in a decade. Accompanying me on the ride was Dave, with his new Specialized Hardrock Sport. After running out of O2 two thirds of the way up, and with legs that where undeservingly scratched, poked, and abused by weeds and scrub encroaching on the path, I relented, and gave the win to the mountain, and turned around for a more enjoyable decent. ...Except the weeds scrub still wanted to get a taste of my blood.

After a safe return trip to the car, and a refuel at le Peep, I returned home and started working on mounting the door to the shed that I (with plenty of help from friends) built a
couple years ago. Yeah, things get done real fast around here. 8P

After taking several measurements, and getting a few supplies from Home Depot, It came time to cut some wood. After clearing off the radial arm saw (it's not my fault it attracts any object that can fit on it's wide, level surface), I still needed to move another object sitting next to the saw, so that I could have the room needed to rip one of the boards.

That object, happened to be an 18 year old FJ1200 - nice of me to have a Toyota FJ Cruiser and a Yamaha FJ1200, and refer to both as "the FJ", huh? I had not ridden it in a couple of years - for one reason or another: dead battery, flat tire, rain. Since I had to move it, I figured I may as well try to get it running again (I had checked the battery a week ago, and although it was low, it was still good, so I stuck it on the charger). It started right away, but had serious carburetion issues, and would sputter and die when I twisted the throttle. I let it idle, hoping that it would clear out some gunk from the jets, while I ripped the board. Once done with the saw, I returned to the bike and fiddled with it enough that I could get some RPMs out of it by setting the choke just right, while I twisted the throttle, just right. Not perfect, but it looked usable. I donned my riding gear, added air to the tires, and tried to take off. Hmmm when I put it in gear, and put a load on the engine, it didn't have enough power, and died. Repeatedly. More fiddling and coaxing, and I barely managed to get the thing moving. Then, slowly, accelerating. My biggest concern now was stopping at a light, and being unable to get started again before the drivers behind me lost all patience and ran me over. So, I decided to use the roads at Red Rocks Community College. It was close, and there were no lights. And little traffic. It did have roundabouts, and all I was trying to do was run more fuel through the carbs to clear out the jets, so I pulled a Bill Murray (The Man Who Knew to Little), and stayed in the roundabout for a few circles. I know it's stupid, but I smiled. There was tar sealer on the pavement cracks (lots of cracks), and it was a warm day, so, although the tar surface was solid and dry, the inside of the tar was like jello. Kinda nerve wracking for a rider that has not ridden in a couple of years, who is riding a bike that stutters, and wants to quit. I put up with it for the duration of a loop around the campus, then, with the engine working better, headed for the open road. I took a trip up Golden Gate Canyon and back. The trip did the bike (and me!) wonders. It ran a lot smoother, and had good throttle response - if not the horsepower that it should have, and it knocked a lot with the throttle twisted more than half way. Fresh fuel should help that.

Hey, what happened to the shed door? Oh. Yeah. I got side tracked. After the ride, instead of working on the door, I completed a smaller shed task. I put in the threshold. You can (sorta) see it in the shed pic.

/sigh. Yeah, I know. Who cares about my silly biking stories. Maybe they will get better...

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Welcome to the fifty six millionth blog to be created. Actually, that's likely a low ball estimate, but it's the number that popped into my head. Being new to Blogspot, it may take a while for me to figure out how to make this page do what I'm interested in making it do. Likely, I'll have to get my own domain renewed and my Linux box running again to make a site that'll be more what I have in mind. Here's a picture of me. No? You don't think this is Ralf Schumacher's brother blogging this lame blog? Of course, you are right. But at least you know something new about me. I'm familiar with F1. More in an arbitrary time unit...