Home again, home again

I got back home from Colorado today, landing at O’Hare at about noon.   On the way home I picked up the dogs and stopped by Black Magic Customs.   The headlight shell and the air cleaner cover were ready and they looked great.   I put them in the truck and went to the post office, then finally home.   It’s good to be home.

Biking in Colorado – part 2

Sawatch Range valleyOn Sunday, I decided to ride up to Steamboat Springs. Remembering that it can be a little chilly, I left a bit later today, around 8:30am. East on Highway 6, then north on Highway 131. There was a sign that I noticed and really enjoyed seeing – it said “Open Range next 5 miles”. I immediately thought of the western Open Range with Kevin Costner, a movie I really liked.

The initial part of the ride was similar to yesterday’s ride, but then it leveled out. At least, it was more level than most of yesterday’s ride, anyway. The turns were more sweeping, and the terrain was more open. I started wondering about fuel, and after passing through Toponas, I turned around and went back to fill up. There wasn’t much traffic and I didn’t relish pushing a bike around because I was too stupid to get gas when I could. Topped off, and back on the road headed north.

There was a lot of empty road on this trip, and I like the space. A mechanical problem could be a difficult problem to solve, but the Hawk GT just kept running great. The flattops came up fairly quickly and the Finger Rock was an interesting formation. Signs of civilization came up at Oak Creek and then Steamboat Springs. I decided to have lunch at Tequila’s – it was great. There was a nice view looking south towards the ski slopes.

I headed back and you definitely notice different things along the same route but from a different direction. I came upon two VTXs heading south out of Steamboat Springs and they were wasting no time. There was some construction just south of town, but other than that the roads were great. I was kind of sad to see Toponas come up, because that meant that my trip was nearing the end. I chose to let the VTXs go on, and I filled up again and continued south. When I got back to Wolcott, at Highway 6 and Highway 131, the VTXs were sitting there at the Yacht Club bar and grill. I met the lady riding one of them and they have been on quite the trip from Arizona up through Nevada, down through Colorado, New Mexico, and home. I’ll make a trip like that someday.

A great time riding, on a different bike than I usually ride, in a part of the country I have not ridden through before. I hope this will not be the last time for any of those things.

Biking in Colorado – part 1

Minturn - Eagle RiverI borrowed a bike for the weekend so that I could see some of Colorado from a motorcycle. The bike was a Honda 650 GT Hawk, a v-twin sport bike. It is quite different than the other bikes I ride, the two biggest differences are the footpeg placement (more under the seat than on my cruisers) and the handlebars (a more forward-leaning riding position). My wrists weren’t used to it, but given more time it would seem more natural. I really noticed the difference when braking.

The ride itself was nothing short of spectacular. I left Eagle at about 7am, headed east on US 6. Brrrrr. When you’re in the shadow of the mountains, it’s COLD. I had to stop and put earplugs in, I seem to forget them fairly often. I made it to Minturn, and stopped at Harry’s Bump and Grind. The coffee was hot and the scones were right out of the oven. Just what I needed to warm up and start the picture-taking. The trip to Leadville was one stunning panorama after another. I stopped and took a picture at the Tenessee Pass Continental Divide sign. On to Leadville, then on south towards route 82. I stopped in Twin Lakes and topped off the gas, and a gentleman on a Harley dresser was doing the same thing. He had just come over Independence pass and said it was cold up there. I thought – great. I had just warmed up and now it’s going to get cold again. Oh, well, the views are worth it.

The trip from Twin Lakes to the top of Independence Pass was as good if not more picturesque than the trip from Minturn to Leadville. Wow. Still snow on the ground up there, and a fair amount of it. The trip down the western side of the pass was, you guessed it, stunning. However, I had shot three rolls of film on the way up to Independence Pass and had no film for the trip down the western side. On through Aspen, then stopped for pizza at Redstone Pizza in Basalt. On north to Glenwood Springs, then east on I-70. I have never seen anything like I-70 east of Glenwood Springs. Humbling. The engineering it took to get that road shoehorned in along the river is amazing, and it looks it.

I got off I-70 at Gypsum and took US 6 back to Eagle. The ride was about 215 miles total, every foot of it was worth the time. I hope the pictures turn out – if they do I will select a few and post them here.

Nellie’s first Senior success

My young Labrador female Nellie (Meridien Benelli Black Eagle JH) qualified in the senior stake at the Madison Retriever Club hunt test this weekend. John Miner handled her, and she ran great. Congrats to Nellie and John. Next weekend is the senior stake at the Mid-Iowa hunt test.

GPS is coming

I bought a Garmin 2610 gps system on eBay, and received it yesterday. After installing the mapping software on my laptop, and a bit of futzing around to get it unlocked, I loaded maps into the gps and took a short drive to see how it works. Actually, I’m impressed. I will undoubtedly learn to use the features of this unit over time, there are a lot of options to set. Basic operation is fairly intuitive, but learning the other features will make it even more useful.

By all accounts, this is one of the best units for use on a motorcycle as it uses compactflash (CF) cards to hold the map files, rather than an internal hard drive. Hard drives are not as forgiving to motorcycle vibration.

Mounting it will take some thought to get it right. I will probably just buy an AC adapter and cut the cord off to hardwire it into the bike’s electrical system. You can buy a power cord but it’s more than twice the AC adapter’s price and the power cord includes an audio connection that I won’t use on the bike anyway. Also, if it were to be stolen or damaged, my insurance only covers it if it is hardwired. Cigarette lighter plugs and sockets don’t count. Think about that before you wire up a socket for your gps power.

Torque recheck

After returning from the breakfast ride (about 120 miles total) I rechecked all the fasteners to be sure nothing had loosened up. All were good and tight to specs. Some people have had problems with front fork seals leaking after reassembly, I’m happy to say I have seen no leakage. We were very careful when disassembling the forks to keep the seals oriented the way they were installed so that we could duplicate the setup when reassembling them and it seems to have paid off.

Breakfast ride

Left Saturday morning to meet John for breakfast and to see his new bike, a Shadow 1100.   I turned around fairly quickly and got some gloves, it was cooler than my trip out with the dogs made it seem.   The ride was great, I know a way to get almost all the way to Geneva without going through any towns.   Met John, then we went to DuPage Honda.   I went home a different way, via Fabyan Parkway.

Maiden voyage

Well, almost. It IS the maiden voyage for the newly minted changes: wheels, tires, turn signals, headlight wiring, front forks, etc. No problems, looks and sounds great. Photos soon to be forthcoming.

18

Rear wheel installed

The rear wheel wasn’t too difficult to reinstall, just took some fine adjustments with the bike jack to get the frame and the axle lined up.   The brake caliper took a little work as I didn’t install the caliper on the bracket before installing the rear wheel so I had to come up with another way to get it installed.   Took some head-scratching, but got it done.   Next is the under-tank wiring.