All posts by epix1718

A Good Start

On day number two now, finally have a chance to update my travels.

Before departure went to visit family and check out the baby cows on the farm.  Almost makes me feel bad about buying some veal a couple nights before.. *almost*

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Had the sidecar and so gave my dad his first ride in it, he really enjoyed it and just waving at all the people in town on the way to the farm.

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We took a nice ride around the fields and well the old tractors that have been sitting for ages just intrigued me..

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After getting home did my last minute packing, Luna has discovered she has a VERY slight ability to jump so she plomps herself up on the new couches.

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Left home very early to catch my 630 am flight to Denver then into Phoenix.  Flew on Southwest airlines again and they such great service as always.

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After landing in Phoenix, Buddy from the forum I purchased the WR250R from picked me up at the airport.  After getting to his place we worked on setting up the bike while eating pizza. After putting all the luggage on the bike I gave it a shake down and seems well.  We loaded the bike in his truck and took it to my hosts, aka my awesome uncle Jim and his family just north of Phoenix.   Buddy and his wife were great, kudos to them for the hospitality. 

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Getting a short amount of time to see Jim and his family was nice.  I was out literally within seconds of laying in bed, was up for nearly 36 hours at that point.  In the morning did some adjustments and said my goodbyes before hitting the road.  The route north was I-17 for a short while before hitting the much more scenic road of 179 to Sedona.  After Sedona hit Flagstaff for lunch and then 180 to where I am now on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Unfortunately the GPS app wasn’t do it’s job of tracking my route until Flagstaff.

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Camps were full inside the Grand Canyon but the ranger I spoke too informed me a free off the beaten path location so set up for the night here.  It’s actually a nice location, only about a 5 minute ride into town!

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Bonus picture of the funky carpet at Wendy’s.. Stopped to get an overpriced Frosty.. About twice the normal cost as back home!

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Fly N’ Ride

Well a new adventure is on the horizon in the coming weeks.  Sold off some other bikes/items I haven’t been using  to some lucky new owners and came across a deal on a nicely modified Yamaha WR250R.  “Issue” being that it is located waaaay over in Phoenix, quite far from Michigan!!

On the positive side I have a bunch of airline mileage credits that need to be used before expiration so might as well make a fun trip out of this instead of just paying to ship it home

I’ll be flying into Arizona to meet with the owner, who has been extremely helpful in facilitating the Fly & Ride, load the bike up, visit with family in the area, then make the trip home via the scenic route.

No route is defined yet, but I want to make key visits to the Grand Canyon and the parks of Southern Utah and to Moab.   Beyond that I’ll travel through central Colorado again the book it right home.

Stay tuned for more updates!

grand-canyon-sunrise

She’s Home!

Well she finally made her way home!

First off must give some credit where credit is due and thank Randy & Tammy at Unique Rides along with Ural Corporate for all of their help getting the Ural sorted.  http://www.uniqueridesco.com/ is their website.  Without their help the Ural would most likely be sitting in my garage right now with a still broken engine and hefty tow bill.

The folks at Ural really stepped up offering to replace my engine on a bike didn’t even belong to the original owner nor was under any sort of warranty.  Ural rebuilt the engine with new rotating assembly, as well as even replaced my clutch with fresh parts for no charge.  My financial responsibility was to pay for the shipping costs and labor done by remove/install the engine.. quite a good deal in my opinion.

For a little recap; it was the crank bearing that let go causing bottom end knock.  Only a matter of time before the rest of the engine would ruin itself.

To get the bike home, I reached out to uShip.com – a site I heard about after seeing the “Shipping Wars” TV show on TruTV.. there I made a posting and was contacted by Nelly from Kristopher Tours shipping.  We made an agreed upon price and she hauled the bike from Ft. Collins, CO to me in SW Michigan.  From the time to pick it up to my house was just 3 days.  I highly recommend her, she did a fantastic job.  A link to her uShip profile is: http://www.uship.com/profile/conchis/

Crank Bearing Cage Remnants
Flywheel Damage

I’m fortunate enough to have the other rig to ride in the meantime, so that’s just what Luna and I did!  Plenty of little trips around the area.

Luna helping change a tube
Making a visit to the Das Essenhaus car show in Middlebury, IN.
Bit of fall foliage.
Along Prairie River
Helping a turtle cross the road.
Autumn flowers
Trick or Treat

Ural Engine Update

It’s been about 2 months since the engine failure.. but some good and not so good events have happened in the time sense.

First off, talking with Randy we originally thought it may have just been an alternator bearing that dropped through the engine, but inspection resulted in that not being the case 😦

After hearing that I contacted IMZ-Ural HQ out in Redmond Washington about the issue, I was pleasantly surprised with an email response simply stating “We have contacted Randy at Unique Rides, expect a phone call shortly”.  Hmm…. a bit later Randy let me know that Ural has decided they are going to fix the engine, all I need to do is pay for the shipping costs!!! My motorcycle is out of warranty so this was GREAT news!

At first I thought Ural was shipping the parts to Randy to have it fixed there but was misunderstood in that regard.. Ural want’s to do the work themselves, so Randy took my engine out and as of this week the engine is currently in Washington to be serviced.  A bit of a wait but at least it’s in the best hands it can be.. from what I’ve heard the head mechanic Sergei is the master for these Urals.

Now just hoping after they get it serviced and back to Randy and put in, weather holds out for my return trip home.. if it looks like the delay will be longer I’ll probably just have the bike shipped home via uShip.om

To get my sidecar infatuation covered in the meantime I decided to put a bit of work into the older Sportsman.. The G424 150w alternator has been replaced with a unit out of a crafty guy in Romania (Vicktor) that uses a modern day 500w alternator with the headcase of the G424.. direct bolt on unit!!! Amazing.  Also scored a new Ducati ignition coil.  This along with the Type3 ignition already on the bike should be much more reliable than the G424 which wasn’t even pumping out enough to recharge my battery.

Picture done by my cousin Mark S. Johnson while out visiting in Boulder.  Love this picture!

Luna-with-Goggle-on-Ural-01-Master

 

 

Some shots I took off my camera since being home..

 

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Early end of a journey

Well the journey has been cut short and we’ll get to that later but here is a recap of the past two days.

Left Ouray Thursday morning, stopping in at the motel for another quick shower, also called Gunnison Motorsports the verify the tire delivery.  They have arrived! So made the trek back to Gunnison, grabbed some lunch and worked in their back lot to remove the wheels.  The owners wife had a hoot seeing Luna and took a photo to put on their Facebook page.  Owner, Fritz handed me a few decals as well on my way out.

Leaving Ouray

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Passed the 15k mark

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New rubber installed!

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Great guys and very fair prices

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From then on I was suggested by locals to check out Crested Butte.  Arrived and while it did have a nice downtown it was a bit touristy.  I hung out a bit then went to find a campsite at Lake Irwin.  When arriving at the campsite there was a line of RVs to get in.. RV camp grounds to me are quite lame so I found the host and asked about other camping.  She directed me to stay on the road just before the entrance and ride up into the meadows.  Was very primitive camping but the views were gorgeous, and free camping too! If I were stuck down in RV land I’d have to pay $18.

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Set up camp and went into town for groceries and talked to some locals.  Met a fellow traveler named Andy from the UK who has been on the road for 3 years on his yamaha tenere 600. Awesome guy, he was very intrigued by the Ural and jealous of the cargo capacity.  Basically said in all his travels a Ural could work great as speed is slow when traveling outside the US.

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Free campsite for the evening.

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The kitchen

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While waiting for dinner to cook went and checked out the wild flowers and scenery.

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Slept pretty poorly that night, at 10k elevation it got cold and my pillow just plain was not comfortable so woke up early to hit the road to Glenwood Springs in hopes to find a Walmart for a new pillow and other supplies.  Another local the night before suggested I take Kebler Pass, glad I did.. The Aspen trees were a sight and also spotted some elk.

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Coke Stoves

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Just as I rolled into Glenwood Springs and coming to a red light I heard abnormal sound.. And for those whom never ridden a Ural, these things make all sorts of weird noises.  This was not the normal sewing machine with marbles being tossed around in a glass jar noise, but a knocking thunk noise from inside the engine case.  Not good.  At first I thought maybe the clutch screws coming loose so removed the starter to inspect the freewheel screws.. those were normal but were some chunks missing in the freewheel.. no biggie there. 

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After that was time to drain the oil to look for matter. Was NOT looking forward to this as my guess at this point were bearings letting go.  Well in the back lot of a Safe Way grocery I drained it and inspected the filter. The results….

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Crank bearing cage pieces.. This is what came out, so still lots left inside the motor waiting to wreck havoc.

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Made a post online and amazing help was not far away!  Another Ural owner came to the rescue and trailered my rig to his place just a few towns over. 

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I’ll have AAA tow it to the dealership in Fort Collins tomorrow or early next week.  In the meantime a previous coworker lives just outside Glenwood Springs so she invited me to stay the night.  Amazing luck in this bad situation.  I unloaded the luggage off the Ural and set up a rental car to get me and Luna home.  We then ordered from a local Hawaiian food place.. Mmm and just hung out overlooking the Eagle River on her back deck. 

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Still up in the air the full situation on the bike.. options are to have the dealership repair it ($$$ potential), or have it towed home via uShip and do repairs here.. another option if I get it home is to swap in a BMW R80/7 engine I have out in the barn.. would be time intensive but the reliability and extra power the Ural deserves make the swap an enticing thought.  In the circus of Ural ownership, the show must go on!

Colorado – Ouray & Silverton

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Had an entire post written up then when I hit the publish it errored out and lost everything even though it was saved 😦 I’ll write this one a bit shorter and more pictures as that’s what people enjoy anyways!

Currently I’m ditching the tent for the hammock tonight, let’s just hope it doesn’t rain. The hammock is very comfortable and I can stretch out in it also. Makes a good place to type up this report too!

Yesterday I woke up early before all the tourist bustle of Ouray to take Luna on a walk. The old mining equipment is pretty neat.
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Motel we stayed at, Bruce the manager was very accommodating. He even let me use a room the nights I didn’t stay while camping in the area to get my morning showers. Located on the south side of town next to the Elks club.
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Afterwards checked out of the motel and while trying to decide what to do for the day I spotted another Ural! Billy from Texas on a 2014 efi Patrol T. I asked his plans and he mentioned wanting to try some trails but his wife was too nervous to ride along after their encounters the day before. I suggested we could both take our rigs so it’d be safer and while at it more fun to have a partner along.
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We hit the road to Yankee Boy Basin just off the first switchback of town. Soon into the ride I could feel my Ural was going to have issues, just a massive lack of power for the steep loose road and really had to slip the clutch to get it up some of the paths. Billy did fine on his efi rig, so that’s an advantage there. I’m running the jets put in near sea level. I made it about 80% of the way until the bike just had no more.. very hard time starting and the engine was very warm. I could smell the hot oil so I turned the bike off to let it cool down while Billy continued. This gave me time for photos as well.
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Selfie 🙂
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Still some snow left up here
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Billy returned saying the path got quite a bit rougher so glad I turned around when I did! On the way back down the slope I saw the Thistlewood campsite and low and behold there was an amazing campsite open! First come first serve so I grabbed it and have been here for 2 nights now.

Just look at this.. has a creek with a mini waterfall running next to it, shaded, fire ring, picnic table, less than 5 miles from town and a outhouse just up the way. Only $10 per night.
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With camp set up Luna and I set out for Silverton along the Million dollar highway US550. Gorgeous road and well maintained. Not for the faint of heart!
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Before I could even pull off my helmet in Silverton a crowd surrounded us! Women and children going crazy for Luna and guys asking about the bike. For the guys out there, don’t buy a Ural thinking it will be a chick magnet, the only thing it attracts is old guys.
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I did some shopping in town picking up some decals and gifts including a $41 Harley Davidson shirt (yeah…) for the step dad. Afterwards rode out to the Old 100 Gold Mine and surrounding area.
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Storm clouds were rolling in so we came back to camp. The sky cleared up so I hung out and played with the pooch until she tuckered out.
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Today was basically a relax and maintenance day. Woke up to tighten some loose nuts on the bike, and rode into town for a shower and visited the hardware store to get a rubber stopper as my phone mount broke. These rough road excursions on a weakly suspended bike rattle everything out of place. While in the hardware store a kid about 16 came up and asked me if picked up a hitchhiker a few days ago. I said yeah but that was over 200 miles away. He told me that was his dad. Was a bit of a strange coincidence. I picked up the guy as he was walking down the busy highway 285 about 10 miles out from Morrison, Colorado. I saw a bike parked on the side of the road and about a mile later a guy carrying his jacket, helmet, and backpack. He told me his rear tire blew and he called for a tow but after waiting 4 hours gave up. I gave him a ride to town and wished him luck. His son said his father and the bike (towed) did make it home safely 🙂

After picking up provisions we set back to camp. I cooked up a burger patty that was 50% bacon and topped it with Colby cheese . No bun, still trying to stick with low carb for the most part. After lunch I laid in the hammock and ended up taking a 4 hour nap.. eek.
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Keeping the pop chilled in the snow water river.
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After the nap went into town to see what was going on. Another bulldog owner came up to see Luna and share photos of her bulldog Annabel. Her friend said it was on his bucket list to ride in a sidecar so offered him a quick ride thru town. Came back to camp afterwards and now laying underneath the stars in the hammock. Great way to end the evening.

Colorado – Boulder to Ouray

Currently in Ouray.  The past two days have been great, not a lot of miles put in but plenty of things to see.  I left Mark’s late Sunday morning heading to Salida.  Before doing so Mark and his daughter got a ride in the sidecar, they had a blast.  I did a few last minute modifications to the luggage system as the saddle bags were wearing on the rear shocks.  Added on some blocks of wood to use as spacers and so far it is holding up well.

The trip didn’t get far when I smelled a meat smoker from the highway just south of Colorado Springs.  Beef brisket nachos with jalapenos!

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From then on it was just some random gas station stops.  Before getting to Salida we ran into hail! Before we even knew it, it was just too late to pull over.  Luna got pelted with the hail and tried to crawl up into the nose of the sidecar. It sure did sting even thru my riding gear.

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It warmed up quickly so I dried off.. during the storm my vents were open so I got soaked.   Made it Salida and sent a message to a fellow friend from ADVRider asking for camping locations.  He responded with GPS coordinates a long with saying he was in the area.  After picking up groceries I headed to camp, and wow what a location.  Ara had his dog Spirit with him so Luna had a playmate for the evening.

Arrived in Salida. A cool little town.

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The camping spot. Very primitive but awesome views of Marshall Mountain.

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We awoke in the morning to the sound of free range cattle, I think Luna was hoping for a T-Bone steak…

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After packing up we explored the area.  The trails went on forever splitting off in all different directions.  Ended up getting onto a path which was quite scary on a sidecar bike.  The path was basically a ledge with a steep drop off, and to make matters worse the ground was soft dirt and many large rocks in the way that fell recently.  Ended up having to turn around.  Had fun though!

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After exploring we hit the road for Highway 550, this was a nice ride which took us on US50 through Monarch and Gunnison. Monarch was a bit of a challenge, the Ural was struggling with the elevation.  I’m using the jets put in near the Boston elevation level, so not really designed to run here.  Monarch and US50 is a great scenic route nonetheless.

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While in Gunnison I spotted a bike dealership as my rear tire is getting pretty worn and the spare isn’t much better.  Of course they didn’t have the Ural tires in stock but the owner said he’d have them in a couple days and only $25/wheel to have them installed.  As I’ll be spending time on Ouray and Silverton this works out perfect.  I’ll just swing thru on my way back north to have the tires swapped.

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Heading south from Montrose we made it into Ouray.  The town was bustling.. tried two different campgrounds and both were full.  Temps were high too so splurged a bit on a motel. Nothing fancy but is nice to have air conditioning and WiFi.. which is allowing me to write this post 🙂

After settling in we browsed town and when temps cooled down the manager let me park in the carport so I could swap the sidecar wheel onto the motorcycle rear wheel. This allows me to.have more tread this way until I get the new tires this week.

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