Posted by: Beemer Bob | March 24, 2014

Moscow Mule Ice Pack

As a public service, I felt the need to pass on my invention for an ice pack more effective than any ice pack you can buy on the market.  This is the “Moscow Mule Ice Pack”

I recently had minor surgery on my foot.  To keep the swelling down and pain under control, the doctor had prescribed keeping the foot elevated with an ice pack.

We didn’t have an ice pack large enough for a foot so I decided to invent one of my own.  My unique design provides a nice ice pack and after all the steps are followed the pain will go away.

Step one: Start with a 5 litter box of wine. I find that Merlot works best, but any full bodied red wine will do in a pinch.  BTW, it is a fact that red wine help reduce inflammation.
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Next, drink all the wine.

Remove the bladder from the box.
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Pull out valve. You will need to tug on it pretty hard, but it will come out.
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Wash out well, then air dry.

Using a funnel, pour in 2 cups of vodka. Texas distilled is best, but use what you got.

Next add 1 cup of brandy.

Now you need some ginger beer. Ginger beer is not the same as ginger ale, ginger beer can typically be found at a good liquor store.  But if you are adventurous, you can (as I have done), brew your own using natural fermentation. Here is a cup of nice foamy home brewed ginger beer.

You need to pour in about 3 cups of Ginger Beer.

Replace the plug. You will have to press hard – but it will go back in.

With the spout open and on the top side, squeeze out any excess air, then close the valve.

Put in freezer for several hours. Because of the alcohol, this mixture will not freeze solid but instead be slushy. Kneed the frozen slush a bit to make it pliable, and then place over the injured area.  Elevated of course.

After about an hour, the ice pack should have melted enough allowing you to pour out a cup.

Obviously, you consume this.

Repeat this process every hour until the bladder is empty.

At this point, you will not be feeling any pain.  Now how ‘bout this for an effective ice pack.

Oh, FYI: This mixture of vodka, brandy and ginger beer is the makings of a drink called the “Moscow Mule”.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | March 23, 2014

2014 Big Bend

It’s time for my annual pilgrimage to the Texas Big Bend area. For the past 3 or 4 years I have attended a rally held in the old ghost town Terlingua near the Big Bend National park. This rally, called “Uncle’s ‘round the bend” is organized by a rider named Richard whose uncle lives in the area. Richard and his uncle have been organizing this event for several years and is always very enjoyable. I’ve enjoyed the majestic Rocky Mountains in the midwest and the beautiful Appalachian Mountains of the northeast but the rugged mountains of the Big Bend desert hold their own beauty to say nothing of some of the spectacular riding in the area.

Also what seems to be an annual event, I need to have another surgery of my right foot. This time to remove the hardware that was placed in there last year. The surgery was scheduled for March 10 so I plan the trip to return on the 9th. My rational here was that if I broke anything new while in Big Bend, I would already have an operating room scheduled so they could just fix whatever new thing I break at the same time. I’m thinking I am using good planning, my wife thinks I’m nuts. Go figure.

This year, rather than just going to the rally in Terlingua I will go early so that I can spend some time at the Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP). BBRSP is a 311,000-acre state park located on the Rio Grande in Brewster County and Presidio County, Texas. It is the largest state park in Texas but perhaps the least frequented. It is very remote and rugged with very limited resources. It is popular for hikers, mountain cyclists and various off-road vehicles including off road motorcycles.

Two moto friends, Nadeem and Carl, are joining me on this trip. We meet at my house on February 28th with plans to leave in the morning March 1st. Nadeem was a little upset that we weren’t going to leave on the 29th, but I was able to convince him to wait until March 1st before we left.

I forced everyone to partake in my newest beverage concoction I have named the Sattler Donkey. It is a variation of the Moscow Mule but is made with Texas vodka and home brewed ginger beer. I think they taste good, but after about two of these, it doesn’t matter.
While consuming various adult beverages, we set fire to last year’s Christmas tree and an uprroted tree stump in my fire pit area.
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Carl is riding his BMW R1200GSA while Nadeem and I am hauling our Urals. We are using Nadeem’s truck because of his odd setup that allows him to load his Ural on top of his truck bed and using my toy hauler with my Ural loaded inside. For those that don’t know, a toy hauler is a RV camping trailer that has a ramp that lets you load your toys inside. My toy is Lyekka. Lyekka is also a Ural but older, mechanically challenged and named Lyekka because it lyekkas oil a lot.

*************** DAY 1 ***************

Before we get going, we need to stop at an auto parts store to get some antifreeze for Nadeem’s truck
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Nadeem’s setup always gets a lot of strange looks and many ask two questions. What is it and how in the hell did you get it up there?

About an hour before sundown we were just outside of Marfa, TX. That left 75 miles to the entrance of Big Bend Ranch State Park with another 27 miles of dirt road to get to the park’s headquarters. The speed limit inside the park is 25 miles per hour but the reality is that the truck and toy hauler combo could only maintain just under 10 miles an hour due to the road conditions. While we could have made it to the park entrance just before sundown, we did not feel like making the 27 mile dirt-road drive/ride in the dark. So we decided to make camp at the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Center.

The Marfa lights, also known as the Marfa ghost lights, have been observed near Mitchell Flat east of Marfa, Texas, in the United States. They have gained some fame as onlookers have ascribed them to paranormal phenomena such as ghosts, UFOs, or Will-o’-the-wisp, etc.

The cynics will tell you that this so-called paranormal phenomenon is just the atmospheric reflections of cars and campfires at night. The mystics will tell you that’s hooey.

“What roads?” “Which camp fires?”

The truth is, we just don’t know..

So the adventurous trio set out to go see for themselves. The Marfa Lights Viewing Area was designed by the Marfa High School Gifted and Talented students with the help of Texas Department of Transportation and has a parking lot large enough to park our rig for the night.
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We unload Lyekka to make room inside the trailer for us to sleep.
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Some shots or the Viewing Area
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It’s time to fire up the portable grill to fix us some dinner. Ribs and corn on the cob. Yum yum.
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We set up our camp chairs, ate our meal, and patiently waited for the Marfa Mystery Lights…

We wait …

And wait..

And then we finally see them
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Well perhaps not. Those bright, white circles are the sidewalls of a bicycle as they reflected the flash from Carl’s camera. A young man named John was riding his bike from Georgia to California. He had been on the road for five weeks and had also chosen to make camp at the viewing area for the night. He came up to us asking to borrow a spoon stating that he had left his at the previous night’s campsite. We handed him a spoon and he went to eat his beans-from-a-can. I suggested we create a fourth serving from our corn and ribs for John. John was happy to be invited for a “hot” meal and a beer.

After our meal, I shared some home-made cookies with everyone. We sat and stared at the southern, night sky waiting for the mystery lights and listening to John’s tale. He had just received his college degree as was headed to the West Coast to look for work. He was carrying a 7-iron golf club with him. He is an accomplished golfer and caddy. After he visits friends in California, he is thinking he will continue on up to Oregon on his bike and look for work at a golf course there. But not until he has ridden his bike through the southwest portion of the U.S.A.

Anyway, we continue to stare off to the skies in hopes of seeing the mystery lights. We kept an open mind and stretched out imagination to the limit, but no lights. So disappointed, we call it a night and head to our beds.

G’nite y’all – End of day 1, in the morning we head to the state park.

*************** DAY 2 ***************

In the morning, I handed the remaining home-made cookies to John and said that he could probably use the carbs them more than I could. John said a happy “Thanks, these will get me all the way to El Paso!”. Here is John’s camp in the morning.
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Carl resumes his ride, Nadeem and I in the truck. Pretty boring ride. We have a fantastic buffet breakfast in the town of Presidio. Presidio is a very small border town on the US side. The larger town of Ojinaga is on the Mexican side of the border. I didn’t think of taking pictures so I don’t remember the place’s name but it was a very authentic Mexican breakfast and delicious. A short way past Presido we enter the road to the Big Bend Ranch State Park. We may have entered the road into the park, but we are a LONG way from the park. It’s 27 miles of some very rough road. I had previously called the park headquartes about bring an RV into the park and while they did not say I could not, they strongly recommended that I don’t. So with that advice in hand, he head in anyway. What could go wrong?

Did I mention that this is 27 miles of very rough road. Bumps, dips, lose gravel and washboard. The washboard was so bad that the best be could do in the truck pulling a trailer was less than 10 mph. I began this ride with 2 kidneys but I think one of them bounced out before we made it to the camp site.
Carl, however, is able to make much better time and rides ahead to go scout out some potential campsites for us. These are some shots Carl took along the way.
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Upon Carl’s arrival at the park headquarters, The ranger advises Carl to tell us to setup at the park entrance and not bring an RV on this road. Carl’s response was something like “You don’t know these guys”, so Carl went in search of primitive campsites where an RV could be parked in the central area of the park disregarding the ranger’s advice.

Nadeem and I eventually make our way to the park headquarters. It took something like 3 hours to make that 27 mile tip and my teeth are still chattering from the washborded road. We find a campsite level enough to set up the trailer.

Pulling in, we notice a (yucca??) that resembles one of the scarecrows from the “Planet of the Apes” movie.
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But we are brave and continue on to our campsite

Home sweet home.
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Relaxing in a camp chair with a beer in my hand, This is our view north
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After a long tiring drive to get to our campsite, it’s time for a ride.

Our first ride in the park is a short jaunt called Llano Loop. Following is a video of the ride. The video was actually shot by Nadeem with his helmet cam setup. In this ride, Nadeem is in front on his Ural, carl behind riding his BMW GS and I am bringing up the rear in Lyekka. The ride was a class 1 (easy) off pavement but with a few deep sandy areas that got Carl’s attention. The ride was much longer than the video, but I trimmed the raw footage down to about 3 minutes. I was going to narrate the video but I could not get my mic to work right so you get cheesy music instead. I had to use cheesy music so you tube would not ban it for copyright infringement.

This is a VIDEO of our ride

After our return to the campsite, we met our only camping neighbors, they came over to visit. Their names were Paul and Delores and were visiting from Florida. They visit Big Bend Ranch SP often and love taking pictures of the area. After the couple admired our Ural’s, Nadeem and I quickly offered up rides in the sidecars…
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While showing off, Lyekka blew a fuse. Once we figured out the problem, I replaced the fuse and all was well. Will this be the last issue with fuses on this trip?

It was nearing sundown, so Paul the Delores headed up to the ridge, that covered our campsite on the south, to take pictures of the colorful sunset. After sundown we wound down the night be watching the “Wild Hogs” movie. I had never seen the movie, had downloaded it specifically to watch on this trip, and thought it would be fun to bring the television outside so that we could watch while under the stars. What was also unique about this was that we do not have any electricity here but we engineered a way to run the TV set off the battery.
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We did not have any popcorn to consume during the movie so we settled for the next best thing
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G’nite y’all – End of day 2

*************** Day 3 ***************

On day three of our trip it was finally time to dig a bit deeper into Big Bend Ranch State Park. Our campsite was located almost dead-center of the park so we decided to first go and see the eastern edge. We set our sites on the Tres Papalotes area of the park. (You can read more about Tres Papalotes mining area here

The distance to Tres Papalotes, from our campsite, was only about fifteen miles, but it took about an hour to get there and another hour to get back.

We are now going into class 2 and 3 level roads and difficult to do on as large as Carl’s, so he chose to ride “monkey” in my sidecar.

Following are some pictures Carl took from his perch in the tub.
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We arrive alive at Tres Papalotes and so far, Carl did not fall out yet, but the day is young.

There was an active well

And the water tank looked suitable for a skinny dip on a warmer day.

Following is a video made from Nadeem’s tape of our ride. The ride, there and back was about 2 hours so I tried to cut out most and provide you with an abbreviated version of the ride. The road was rougher than what it looks like in the video, at least it sure seemed more challenging to me at the time. Even though I cut out a lot, the video is still about 15 minutes long so my feelings won’t get hurt if you don’t watch all of it. At least I tried to select some nice songs from local artists that you might enjoy.


Upon our return to base camp, we need to refuel. There are no fuel services inside the Big Bend Ranch State Park, so it was fortunate that my toy hauler has a twenty-gallon fuel station built right in

We decide that the day is young, so let’s go on another ride. Well actually it was my idea to go on another ride and Nadeem reluctantly went along. Carl (now the wise) chose to stay behind.

Following are some of the pictures that Carl took while Nadeem and I are off to conquer the wilds of Big Bend.

The park headquarters about a mile away.

Anyway, “Back at the ranch”…

Nadeem and I have set out to do a ride called “Rancherias-Oso Loop”. This ride is supposed to have a challenging section called “King Kong Hill”, a very steep and difficult hill climb.

About half-way in, we decide it’s getting late and time to head back to camp. I’m tired and ready for a beer so I attempt to navigate us a shortcut home. No problem. Well as shortcuts sometimes, turn out … Every turn I make in an attempt to get back to the main trail gets us into rougher and rougher terrain. I’m not sure if we actually found King Kong hill, but I’m sure we found several of his relatives.

When coming up a hill, I had not gotten up enough speed nor had put it into two wheel drive soon enough and I stalled halfway up the hill. Nadeem walked up to the top of the hill to take a look see and reported that over this hill were steeper hills and we were not sure that we were still on trails legal for motorized vehicles. To come back the way we came was rough, but at least it was a known rough and our best option at this time was backtrack our way back to the camp. We were tired and perhaps not “on our game”, so we took it slow and careful on the way home.
This short (3 minutes) video shows some of our ride up to the point we turn around.


We arrive back at the campsite, safe but tired. It’s time to sit looking over the desert valley with a beer in hand
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We burned some dead meat product and finished off the rest of the deep eddy vodka (we will need to get some more) and called it a night.

G’nite y’all, end of day 3.

*************** Day 4 ***************

Late last night the heater chose not to work and it was the coldest night of the trip. It got down to freezing overnight and no heater. In the (chilly) morning we examined the fuse for the heater but it was not blown. When we re-inserted the fuse, voilà, the heater began working again. Weird. (Note: Another fuse issue. Will this be our last encounter with fuses?)

On day 4, we gave the motorbikes a rest. After warming up from a chilly, heater-less night, we piled into the truck and began making our way to the McDonald Observatory. The observatory is located about fourteen miles northwest of Fort Davis, TX and about 130 miles from our campsite. Our goal was to attend what is known as a Star Party.

We make the looooong drive out of the park. At least this time we ar not pulling a trailer so the truck is able to make better time and my one remaining kidney is a little more comfortable. We stop in the small town of Marfa for lunch. Marfa, according to my bride, is supposed to be a cute town known for its uppity shops and culture. I, however, was not impressed and most of the stores were closed. It did have a nice looking courthouse.
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Not only were most stores closed, so were most restaurants, but we did find an interesting café with outside dining.

Here is Carl and Nadeem stuffing their faces.
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After lunch, we made three other quick stops along the way to replenish some supplies. 1) a bottle of Deep Eddy flavored vodka, 2) propane, and 3) some more edible animal meat to grill. Supplies in hand we moved on, arriving at the observatory about two hours before sundown.

In front of the McDonald Observatory’s Visitors Center…
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Here is Carl trying to figure out the current time from the life-sized sun dial
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There are several telescopes and other astronomical instruments used for research and learning at the observatory. After checking in at the visitors center, we headed up the hill to get a closer look at the larger telescopes.

First up was the Otto Struve Telescope . It was built in 1938 and houses an 82-inch telescope…
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Next to it is the Harlan J. Smith Telescope which houses a 107-inch mirrored telescope completed in 1968.

It’s the one on the right in this picture. Gee, it looks a lot like the one on the left.
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We are on top of Mount Locke which also happens to be the highest point on any Texas highway.
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Some other interesting views from our vantage point

Next we hopped back in the truck to go get a closer look at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. It houses a 433-inch telescope that is made up of 91 hexagonal mirrors that are set in a honeycomb array. A fairly recent addition to the observatory, this telescope was completed in 1997 and is a joint project of The University of Texas at Austin, Pennsylvania State University, and two German universities.
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More views from this peak.

We return to the visitor’s center and await the “Star Party”. As nightfall approached, the skies became cloudy and it was not looking good for any outdoor Star Party activities.

However, we got lucky. The skies directly above us began to open up and we (about 100 visitors in total) were quickly ushered to the “backyard” of the visitors center. They had set up five telescopes for us to view the available celestial bodies. Visible were the moon, Jupiter, and M42 (the Orion Nebula).
It was dark, so no pictures of these telescopes nor we able to take any actual pictures of what we saw. But these pictures plagiarized from the internet are pretty close to what we saw.

Jupiter (But we were able to see two of its moons)
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The Orion Nebula. Many pictures you find on the internet show beautiful colors, but what we saw was black and white. The colors (as I understand it) are derived from time laps photography using special filters and the colors are temperature variances. If my statement is not correct, feel free to correct me but I’ll ignore you anyway.

And of course, our own moon

After about an hour of hopping from one telescope to the next we were invited inside the visitor center’s theater for another presentation. On the screen was a computerized representation of the night sky (but with no clouds). The presenter explained how to find the North Star (Polaris) using two of the stars in the Big Dipper. And how, in the northern hemisphere at least, you can guesstimate your latitude by extending your arm and counting the number of fists above the horizon the North Star is. Each fist is about 10 degrees. Very cool. The indoor presentation lasted about thirty minutes and had a Q&A at the end, but all I remember from it was the North Star and how to use it as an aid to nighttime navigation. I think it is simpler to just use your GPS.

We had originally planned to have a “tailgate” dinner party in the parking lot of the observatory’s visitors center, but then we had a better idea. Why not go twenty miles out of our way, on the way back to camp, and try to see the Marfa Mystery lights again. So we made our way to the Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Area for a second time and grilled up the chicken we had purchased earlier in the day adding some corn and backed potatoes to the meal for good measure.
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The midnight meal was great, but still no traces of the Marfa Mystery Lights. In the end, we decided that the whole thing is a hoax to draw in unsuspecting tourists.

This is what the main dirt road back to camp looks like after dark, as seen through our tired eyes. Nadeem drove, Carl rode shotgun and I dosed on and off in the back seat.
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We capped off the (long) day with a shot of Deep Eddy’s grapefruit flavored vodka…

G’nite Y’all – End of day 4

*************** Day 5 ***************

Today I wanted to do some hiking so we went to the park headquarters to consult with the Park Rangers. Recommendations were made for caves located about 1/2 mile beyond the Yedra 2 campsites. We were informed that there were also rock art images, left roughly 3,000 years ago, on some cave walls along the main road. So, we headed towards the west end of the park with intentions of hiking and cave exploring.

Carl rode his beast Beemer on the class 1 main park road until we turned off on a class 2 side route to the Yedra campsites and there Carl parked the beast and rode in my tub for the rest of the ride. We made it passed the Yedra 1 campsites to about 1.5 miles in and then decided to turn around due to the road conditions. Steep, rocky and off-camber trails where not a road-type we intended to ride that day. The goal was to save our strength for hiking and not having to get a workout from the riding.

This is where we turned around and abandoned the idea of hiking up to the Yedra caves. It doesn’t look that bad in the photo, but at the time I felt like I was staring straight down…

Nadeem and I preparing for a game of “chicken”…

Here’s a VIDEO of our ride into Yedra and then turning back. I think it shows a little bit of how even a ride on three wheels can turn into a workout.

After returning to the main park road, we continued west to find the ancient rock art. The park ranger had described the area where the rock art was located. We rode right passed the rock art about 1/4 mile when we realize we had passed it AGAIN. We turned around, back-tracked a bit, and quickly found what we were looking for. At that point we had passed the art work a total of four times, never knowing that it was there…only a few feet off of the main park road.
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Are these handprints of Indians or four-fingered Martians?

After viewing (do not touch!) the ancient rock art, we continued west to the Vista Del Bofecillos campsite. If for no other reason that we wanted to say we had been on one of the Bofecillos trails. We had been having “fun” with the name all week (if you watched the video linked earlier in this email report, you may have caught the commentary. A bit vulgar, but we had fun with it just the same).

We hiked around the area for some photo opps. What a rugged and beautiful place on earth.
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Meantime, back at the campsite, one of the tires on the toy hauler had been slowly losing air. Not a problem, we just keep putting air into it.
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Lyekka looks on approvingly while airing out her freshly washed air filters hung on here handlebars.

Spoiler alert: This would not be the last of the tire adventures.

After cleaning the air filters from a dusty ride – What time is it boys and girls? It’s shiner time.
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As sunset nears, its time for a few more pictures from out campsite location.

It’s dinner time. Let’s see what Nadeem burns tonight.

After a nitecap of Deep Eddy Vodka, its sweet dreams

G’nite Y’all – End of Day 5

*************** Day 6 ***************

On Day 6 we packed up camp at Big Bend Ranch State Park and headed down the road to Terlingua for the 7th Annual Around the Bend rally being hosted by The Texas Adventure Company. The Around the Bend rally is really why we scheduled this camping trip. 100+ motorbike riders descend on Terlingua each year to take part in this celebration.

While Terlingua is less than 84 miles from our campsite in BBRSP, it took us over six hours to get there. Here is a map of the route from our campsite to Terlingua.
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And an elevation chart. As you can see, we are leaving the high part of the area to the valley of Terlingua
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It was decided that a good idea would be for me to ride my Ural to Terlingua instead of loading it into the toy hauler. This would reduce the amount of weight on the bad trailer tire and give me more time riding. Much discussion then ensued as to whether Nadeem’s Ural should be loaded on the bed of his truck or in the back of the toy hauler. Toy Hauler tire issue aside, Carl and I thought the easiest thing would be to load Nadeem’s rig in the toy hauler and then he and Nadeem could switch bikes half-way on the way out of the park so that Nadeem could also get some bike-time in. In the end Nadeem chose to load his Ural on the bed of the truck. This would later prove to be a very wise decision.

Carl and I headed out in front of Nadeem and the toy hauler. It was agreed that, after Carl and I made it to highway 170 (aka River Road), we would stop and wait for Nadeem at the first “parking area” along the road. As Carl and I head out, we stop for a break at the location of the “cave art”, handprints.

There are two routes out of the park heading to Terlingua. The shorter one is a little rough with sandy areas so Carl opts for the longer route with his beast and Lyekka and I take the rougher road just for fun. We meet back up on the main highway.
This is some of what it looks like on River Road just south of the entrance to BBRSP.
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Things were looking good as Carl and I made it to a BBRSP parking area that overlooked the Rio Grande River called “Balancing rock”.

Upon arrival at the parking area, I used my satellite phone to call Nadeem for an update. Luckily Nadeem had cell phone coverage and could take my call. Unfortunately Nadeem was stuck about five miles from River Road with a flat tire. This time it was the truck that was feeling some pain.
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One of the rear tires had a blow-out (sharp rocks on the road???). A friend that happened to be passing by was helping Nadeem change the tire but the soft sand and loose rocks made using a traditional auto jack too difficult so Nadeem was trying to get in touch with road-side assistance. I told Nadeem that we would sit tight and wait for him at the parking area. (At least that’s what we thought was communicated). So I hiked around some while Carl found some shade to rest.

The parks name sake. Balancing rocks
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The bikes and the view looking towards Terlingua
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Photo from my hike around the park. The river you see in the Rio Grande, so yes the land on the other side is Mexico. If you see anyone swimming across, please call border patrol.
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Since this place is called “balancing rock”, a tradition here is to make a pile of “balancing rocks”. This is a sample of the many “balanced rocks” along the trails.

The hike (and pictures) continue.

At this point, I considered wading across the river just for the grins of saying I went to Mexico, but then thought better.

This picture is a shot Carl took with me beside one of the “balanced rocks” to put size into perspective.

Not sure how much time had gone by, but around mid-afternoon a motorbike rider came barreling into the parking lot with us. It was our (Two Wheeled Texans) friend Dave. Dave was also in the area to attend the Around the Bend rally. Earlier in the day he had been exploring the roads around Big Bend Ranch State Park when he ran across Nadeem and the stranded truck/toy hauler. Dave offered what assistance he could, but the loaded down truck was too heavy to lift with the jack. With road-side assistance on the way, Dave headed towards Terlingua…not expecting to see Carl and I. He told us that Nadeem thought we were already in Terlingua and drinking beer.

So, not wanting to disappoint Nadeem the three us started our bikes and headed off for Terlingua. We didn’t get very far though.

About a mile down the road from the parking area, Lyekka, started gasping, back-firing, and sputtering, then it quit all together. Lyekka had done this during our stay at BBRSP also, I quickly found a blown fuse, replaced it, and off we went. But this time we only got about 1/2 mile before the same thing happened. I replace the fuse again, and off we go. ..For about a mile, and so on. Eventually, I ran out of fuses, so Dave went on ahead to purchase replacement fuses in Terlingua. Carl and I passed the time by trying to come up with road-side fixes. We used for wire from a spiral notebook I had, but that quickly burned apart but made for an interesting light show. I tried cutting a blown fuse in half and then joining the two metal pieces with a key-ring. No good.

A couple driving a Jeep stopped to help, but his machine had a different type of fuse…so no luck there. No worries though, Nadeem will come along eventually with the toy hauler.

Our rescue vehicle (with tire changed) comes along and we load Lyekka up.

Okay, looks like we’re going to make it to Terlingua today. Yippie! We pulled into BJ’s RV Park, setup camp, and then made our way to the opening ceremonies for the Around the Bend Rally. A fajita dinner was served at the El Dorado Hotel. Yummy!! Here is what the beginning of the rally looked like just before sunset.

After a fine feast, we head back to the trailer. We have internet here, so we are able to stream a Netflix movie. No popcorn, so Deep Eddy Vodka has to do in a pinch while we watch the movie. I don’t remember what movie we watched. Too much vodka perhaps??

G’nite Y’all – end of day 6

************* Day 7 ***************

Day 7 found Lyekka, still not happy about things. The backfiring was from the right-hand side tailpipe. I adjusted the valves and found the exhaust valve on that side of the bike was tight. The owners of BJ’s RV Park were great. They offered up feeler gauges, an oil drain pan, and a work stool for me to use while he worked on making the adjustments.
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Not convinced that this was causing the fuse to blow, Nadeem prepares his surgical staff to do some exploratory work on Lyekka.

The fuse block is located on the steering column, just behind the headlight. So Nadeem figures this is the best place to start looking for frayed wires. All looks good there. Next there is a rat’s nest of wires in the headlight housing. Lets take a look in there… Notice that Nadeem wears surgical gloves so that Lyekka does not get a staph infection.

Nothing too bad in there, so the gas tank is raised to see what’s under it and what do you know… Nadeem finds an alternator wire that has lost it’s protective, outer covering. Another Ural rider happens by and has extra wire and connectors to donate. Yea! Here is Nadeem finishing up the surgery to repair the wiring under the gas tank.

The Uralogists (Nadeem and I) figure the issues with Lyekka are resolved so Dave and Carl head off to explore Big Bend National Park (BBNP) from the seat of their motorbikes while Nadeem and I finish patching up Lyekka. Dave and Carl will stay on class 1 and paved roads all day while Nadeem and I take their rigs on the famous Real River Road that runs along the Rio Grande River inside BBNP.

These are some shots Carl took from his ride with Dave.
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Some views from Old Maverick Road, on their way to the Santa Elena Canyon overlook.
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And the view from the overlook.

After enjoying the view and resting a bit, Carl and Dave headed to the Mule Ears overlook.

Dave and Carl enjoy a peaceful ride through the Chihuahuan Desert. Along the way they go through a short tunnel cut into the mountain.
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Getting closer
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And the Boquillas Canyon overlook…

Other pictures from Carl and Dave’s ride.
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Meanwhile, Nadeem and I go on a route called the Real River Road. Coming from the state park to Terilingua we rode hwy 170 which is a nice paved road that follows along the Rio Grande River. This section of highway is sometimes called River Road. But there is another, much rougher, road within the National Park called river road that also snakes along the river, but to differentiate, the dirt route is called the REAL river road.

Anyway, we have killed the morning operating on Lyekka but we have enough time for a short to medium ride before sunset. Neither of us had ever ridden “River Road” but it one of the more famous routes through the park that many have talked about. If we had bothered to look up how long this ride was, we may have selected another ride, but we head off fat, dumb and happy. How long could river road be??

We stop now and then to rest and let the bikes cool down and to pick up motorcycle parts that have been dropped from riders before us. Nothing extremely technical but enough challenge to make it fun. The ride had a lot of loose rock and deep sand that would present problems for our two wheeled brethren, but is playtime for a Ural.

Following are a few shots from our rest times.
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A desert blue bonnet patch

Traditional dessert flowering

Where am I?

Ural at home in the desert

A video of our ride can be found HERE.

After a while we become concerned about it becoming late. Every now and then we would stop and check the GPS for the quickest route back to the campsite and it would instruct us to turn around and go back the way we came. That meant we were not even half way to a major park road. We decide to continue on the route, I mean how bad can it be?

In truth, the trail did improve some so we were able to make some better time. We finally reach the main park road to head back to Terilingua. We are still over an hour away. This is a BIG BIG park and we had ridden a long way. The sun is starting to set, so we high tail it back. High tailing and Ural is an oxymoron, BTW.

Back at BJ’s RV park, the owners were treating everyone to a brisket dinner. Most of the “regulars” also joined in and brought side dishes, cake, cookies and home-made ice cream. The owners told us that in times past, this was a common practice at RV parks but now people just tend to stay in their RV’s while the owners collect rent. The Owners here at BJ’s RV park, however, do events like these about once a week to return to the way RV camping should be.

Short advertisement break. These owners not only assisted me in getting Lyekka up and running but also host events like these and supply loads of wood for nightly campfires. If you are ever in the area with an RV and need a place to stay, I highly recommend BJ’s RV Park

Now back to the story. Carl and company had already partaken in the food fest. Nadeem and I rolled in at dusk but fortunately there was enough food left that they were able to scrape together enough food for us. Yum, yum. Ice cream was all gone, but plenty of cake and cookies for desert.

After sundown, the RV park owner’s started a campfire so that we could toast our tootsies. We were fortunate to have live entertainment as well.

Stayed around the campfire, sipping margaritas for a while before retiring for the night. Another good day in Big Bend.

G’nite Y’all – end of day 7

************** Day 8 ***************

The weather forecast looks like rain tomorrow so Carl heads out this morning so he can get home without having to endure any storms on his way home.
We brave the pending rain and elect to stay. Today I had plans to go to Mexico via Boquillas Crossing but everyone ‘cept me had forgotten their passports. Passports are not required to enter Mexico, but if you want to come back, you better have one.

Hap Hazard (Hap Hazard is my brother Hap – the Hazard tag added to the end is well deserved) says he wants to go off-roading in a Ural. So, off we go.

Today we are doing a route called “Hen Egg Loop”. It is called that because it goes around “Hen Egg” mountain although I never saw a mountain that looked like an egg. Oh well.

Here is the VIDEO of the ride.

In this video, you will see that Hap actually takes over and pilots the Ural for a good portion of the ride. I don’t think Hap is quite ready to buy himself a Ural but he has a better appreciation as to why these things are fun.
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After a mid-afternoon rest, we head over to the location of the rally festivities.
Food, food and more food

Complete with live entertainment. Btw, this is the same lady that sang at the RV camp last night.

Out of vodka and out of tequila so I guess the trip is now officially over and it’s time to go home.

G’nite Y’all – end of day 8

************** Day 9 **************

Pretty boring day. We hook up the RV early in the morning (in the dark) and head home.

We make good time and make it to my house late afternoon. After we unload Lyekka and unhook the trailer, Nadeem heads home. He still has about another 3 hours to go.

I rest and prepare for surgery in the morning. Dealing with my bum right foot seems to be an annual event. A few years ago I broke my right ankle and was in a “walking” cast for a long time, then last year I broke my right foot and a good deal of hardware was placed in my foot to hold it together. This year, they are removing the hardware because some of the screws had come loose (yes, its official, I have at least one screw loose). I still have a lot of problems with my ankle but with the amount of hardware in the foot, a needed MRI would not be possible, so the removal of the hardware will aid in the diagnosis of my ankle. This should be a fairly simple surgery and is supposed to only have me laid up for about a month, but I’m glad I got this trip in first.

I plan to be back in the saddle soonly and off on some other adventure.

G’bye Y’all – End of trip report.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | February 26, 2014

Ragin Cagun Wine Tour

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To commemorate the Madri Gras, there was an event in the Texas Hill country called the Raging Cajun Wine Tour. This is where a group of wineries near Johnson City and Fredericksburg were hosting wine tastings paired with Cajun style seafood samplings. Lyekkka (my Ural), has been having lot of mechanical problems and I just now have this Russian piece of s@@t running and with pending trip to Big Bend next week, a round trip to test everything seemed to be in order.

So the Saint (my child bride) and I load up on Lyekka for a day of wine and seafood.
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A regular passenger (Hunter, the wonder dog) expresses his displeasure with not being along for this ride
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We head north. Part of the reason for this trip is to make sure that all is running well so I don’t break down in the middle of the Big Bend desert. As we ride along it occurs to me that I will be worse off if I break down with the Saint as my passenger. Just a few days ago, we had a flat and this is a picture I snapped of the Saint as she waited for me to change the tire.
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Perhaps I did not think this out well.

It’s a long ride to the first winery, so we stop for a break at a nice little cafe in Dripping Springs.
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After refueling, we continue north to our first winery on the trip east of Johnson City. The Texas Hills Vineyard.
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The friendly barkeep server us some tastings

We were served a few Cajun shrimp and chose a nice white wine to purchase. Each winery participating in this event gave out Madri Gras style beads. Here the Saint models her set of beads

Next we head down the road to the small town of Hye and visit the Hye Meadow Winery
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We are served a nice Cajun gumbo

After a round of tastings we select a nice blush
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Also in Hye was the William Chris Vineyards, and this is our next stop
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They had a nice deck and we had a small sip of wine
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We were treated poorly by the staff there which explains the sour look on my face. We had been buying a bottle of wine at each location but we did not here because of the way we were treated. I will never return.

Not to let a poor business from ruining our day, we head towards Stonewall to visit our next winery. Pedernalas Cellars
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They served up some great Cajun gumbo paired with a Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo Reserve. This is a top notch place and a big improvement from the sleazy William Chris Winery. I like that wine a LOT and that was my choice but when I find out how much it cost, I had to settle for a lower priced rose. It was nice afternoon so we enjoyed some samples on their open air deck. There was a man and woman playing some nice music and we bought one of their CDs. I wish I had thought to take some more pictures but I guess I have had to many wine tastings.

Onward to Woodrose winery
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By now it is mid afternoon and we are getting hungry so we order a cheese plate with a wine tasting. The cheese was good and the wine was good, almost too good. When one buys a round of wine tastings you typically only get a sip of wine per tastings. The nice lady pouring our wines, however, poured half a glass with each tastings. There were 8 tastings in the round we selected and I had to tell her to pour less wine because I still needed to be able to pilot my motorcycle. We braved through the tastings and selected a nice red for our choice from this fine winery.

Now on to perhaps the largest winery in the area. Becker Vineyard
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This too is a top notch winery. We have been here many times in the past so we did not need to do a tasking, I knew what wine I was going to purchase here. Their Malbec is great, so that is what we bought. Besides after Pedernales, if I drank any more wine I would not be able to ride home.

Our eldest son and his wife were in the Fredericksburg area so we arranged to meet up here.
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This is us sporting our collection of beads
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There are several wineries remaining on the tour but It’s now time to head home. I had forgotten to mention before, but because I had recently replaced both pistons, I need to keep the speed down so I select a back roads “shortcut” swinging by Luckenbach. We had this plan to get home before it got dark or cold. Well we failed on both counts.

I managed to turn a 1 1/2 hour ride into a 2 1/2 hour journey down dark roads. It is very dark and very cold, but we make it home.

Our booty from the trip complete with our collection of beads collected during the trip
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End of trip report. Have a winey day!

Posted by: Beemer Bob | July 22, 2013

Continental Divide Ride, 2013 – Strike 3

Riding the Continental Divide 2013

This will be my third attempt at riding the Continental Divide Route (CDR). The first time, I crashed in northern New Mexico, cracked my sternum thus ending the trip. The following year, mechanical issues prevented me from continuing so I had to call it quits. So now, third time is the charm, right? Or will it be strike three?

As a prerequisite to this trip, my child bride (AKA: The Saint), had said I had to get in better condition and lose weight. She did not want to have to come drag my fat ass off the Continental Divide if I crashed (again).

The battle of the bulge is far from over, but I’m now down 25lbs plus my damaged ankle/foot continues to improve so my wife has granted my leave so that I may continue quest to conquer the Continental Divide Route (CDR).

The three stooges for this trip will be myself with my friends Nadeem and Kenneth. ,After working out some minor logistic issues the trip officially begins.

Our plan is hopscotch with a support truck. Meaning that even only two will ride at a time and one person would drive the truck ahead to a predesignated campsite. We rotate doing this northward on the trail until it is time to go home

We had always planed to drive there with bikes in tow but that was going to be using my small flat bed trailer. My friend, Nadeem, comes to pick me up and convinces me that “roughing it” is overrated and that we should give up all this tent and sleeping on the ground silliness when I have I a brand two toy-hauler (an RV trailer that can haul motorcycles or other toys).

I’m concerned but Nadeem is confident that we would be fine bringing the RV because the truck would be taking pavement routes anyway and not to worry. Trust me he says. I reluctant agree, but if my trailer gets stuck in the mountains somewhere, I’m leaving him with the trailer, taking his nice truck and going home.

So we are going to rough it in style.

***** Day 1 (June 25) we are off
RV in tow

Wait, what is that perched on the bed of the truck?

Yes, it is Nadeem’s Ural! I’ll get some better pictures later but it is an odd configuration and we get a lot of looks from from folks wondering what the hell is that thing is and how the hell did he get it up there.

My ural is inside the trailer (picture to come). We head to pickup Kenneth. I text him that we are bringing the RV and he is concerned because he knows my ural fills all the space. He asks if there is room to load his bike and I tell him “no, but we will do it anyway”

After some “creative” packing we manage cram Kenneth’s small motorbike in there somewhere. It took a very large shoehorn and will most likely require a can opener to get it out.

Inside of overstuffed trailer

Off we go! We got a late start but Kenneth (who lives in Dallas area) insists that we have to at least get out of the metropolitan area before we stop for the night.

After a few hours we find a small town with a Walmart and pull in. Yes, that’s right, we are “camping” in a Walmart parking lot.

We visit Walmart to get some last minute supplies and pizza. We crank up the generator for the A/C, eat some pizza, drink hot wine and call it a night right there in a Walmart parking lot.

G’nite Y’all

***** CDR Day 2, June 26 *****
We are packed up and rolling by the crack of 9:30ish (yeah, we be slow)

The excitement of driving through west Texas and eastern New Mexico is beyond description.

It reached 107 and we saw 1 or 2 trees. I’m sure glad we had an air conditioned truck to ride in.

Nadeem needs to have access to wifi for some work issues and I needed to work on Lyekka (my ural) more on this story to follow.

Anyway, we stop early in Ruidoso at an over priced RV park for the night.
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A pretty boring day.

G’nite Y’all

***** CDR Day 3, June 27 *****
While stuffing motorcycles into the trailer we managed to tear a rubber flange that connects a carb to the engine. After several attempts at repair we decide the only option is a new flange. There is a ural dealer in Santa Fe, NM so we drive there instead of Pie Town. No pie this trip :(.

The dealer in Santa Fe did not have that flange in stock but we acted so pathetic they agreed to pull that part from one of their new rigs in stock. Great folks and if you are ever in Santa Fe and need some m/c assistance, make sure to stop at Santa Fe Motor Sports.

We then drove a little northwest and connected with the trail. We found a nice flat open area in the National Forest and set up camp.

We are finally on the Trail! It’s time to unload Mickey from its roost

Our remote campsite just off a Forrest road

We take a little jaunt down a service road so that we can say we have ridden on the trail today.

The CDR adventure begins in the morning.

G’nite Y’al

***** CDR Day 4, June 28 *****
I get the new flange on but now but Lyekka being true to form is lyekkaing gas all over the place. Well it seems that while trying to repair carb, etc., a pin that holds the float in fell out. That pin is somewhere between here and Ruidoso. Again we try a make shift repair and again we conclude we need the actual part.
So, someone has to take truck duty (drive truck to next location). I therefore, take truck duty so that I can get another pin. Fortunately this is not a unique part and most any motorcycle or ATV store should have one.

Nadeem and Kenneth head out on the trail.

Following are some shots they took along the way
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They got stuck in a rain storm and took shelter under a tarp

In the meantime, our end point for today is Del Norte, CO. I plug that into the GPS and begin the drive with trailer in tow.

Along my drive, I find these that reflect my current mood with not having a running bike.

I spend a good amount of time running around to find a place that would have to carb float pin I need. I find a shop that sells me a pin out of an old carb.

I head on to Del Note to find us an RV park for the night. I set up trailer and proceed to the task of Lyekka repairs. The pin does not quite fit, but I am able to find someone with a grinder and we are able to get it to the right size. I put Lyekka back together and she no longer leaks but still runs like crap.

By that time it is getting late and the guys are not here yet. We had set a time of 7:00 pm that the riders were to send me an OK message with their SPOT tracking device. It’s 6:30 and I am starting to get concerned. Has something gone wrong? I’m making sure to keep Sat phone connected.

They finally show up soon after dead tired. They tell me that was a very demanding ride plus they had to take shelter under a tarp from a lighting storm.

Day is at end. G’nite Y’all

***** CDR Day 5, June 30
My ural still runs like crap so I have been driving the truck. Boring.

No adventures for me so nothing to report.

We have been working on that damn ural ever day. If one continues to fix the things that don’t need fixing you will eventually fix the right thing.

We notice there is an exhaust leak where a clamp is broken, so perhaps that’s the problem. So tomorrow, I’ll get some new clamps and fix that.

Breakfast in Del Norte, CO before the guys head off on another day of fun while I am stuck driving the damn truck :-(

A few shots they took along the way
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By the end of the day, we end up in Salida, CO. We did not have a designated campsite so I need to find a place and then text the other guys and tell them where I am at. The local RV parks seem to be full but I find the WalMart RV park. No there is not really an official WalMart RV park but there were already about 10 RVs parked in the lot so the Walmart parking lot resembled an RV park.
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I fix the muffler leak, but it still runs like crap :(

Today is the last Saturday of the month so we are missing our monthly Pie Run. So we get an apple pie and some ice cream at Walmart. No blue bell ice cream in Colorado, so we had to settle for some inferior brand. We have out pie run in the Walmart parking lot.
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Happy Pie Run, y’all

***** CDR Day 6, June 30
We decide to make today a rest day. Give us a chance to do laundry and see if we can get Lyekka running. Before the end of the day, we move to a commercial RV park so as not to overstay our welcome at Walmart.

The major problem with Lyekka has a long last been discovered. Long story short, it had to do with my attempt to stop a head oil leak and some additive I had put in the oil to fix this problem had actually caused oil to leak into the ignition system preventing proper firing. Anyway, after an oil change, Lyekka is running. Not great, but running.

***** CDR Day 7, July 1
Although Lyekka is running, we still need more time to test and fiddle to see if she is road worthy yet.

Another boring day for me on Truck Duty. Oh well. I head north to a remote Forest Service campground near Parshal, Colorado.

End of boring day. I’m sick of driving the damn truck.

***** CDR Day 8, July 2
Today was a good day

Yesterday we finally figured it out and Lyekka is now running much better, not good but at least running. So today, will be my fist day of riding. I am now smiling ear to ear and had a great time to day. After several days of working on Lyekka’s issues, we get her running sorta. I’m sick of driving the truck so today I ride!

It’s a good thing that Lyekka is running because Kenneth took a spill yesterday and banged up his elbow and can’t ride.

I actually had a proper sling and splint in my first aid kit, but Kenneth wanted something improvised to go along with his Daniel Boone look.

Nothing major we think and he will probably be ok on a few days.

We start the day at a remote Forest Service campground near Parshal, Colorado. It is a very pretty area and we are right next to a rushing river.

The previous night we decide to make some cobbler in our Dutch oven. We put it in the campfire to cook but we are tired and don’t want to wait. So we come up with this great idea to just put some coals on the pot and by morning we can have cobbler for breakfast. This morning there is a black brick of burnt mass.
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Here is Nadeem having a bite.

Even though the RV has a nice cookstove, Kenneth insist on cooking eggs over a campfire. He has a Frontiersman complex.

After breakfast, Nadeem and I ride out. Lyekka is still having some issues so we take it easy to the town of Kremming and locate this ATV dealer

The most helpful folks I’ve met. They help us diagnose the issue and now Lyekka is running great!

I wanted to kiss them but Nadeem said that would be a bit much, so I give them a big thanks and off we go.

We continue to make our way up through northern Colorado. A few shots along the way.

We make it to our destination at Steamboat lake state park. Kenneth has found a pretty spot among wildflowers and has the RV all set up. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures.

G’nite y’all.

***** CDR Day 9, July 3
Today the plan is to cross over into Wyoming. After researching the map we see that there is not much civilization in southern Wyoming. We normally have been doing about 150 miles per day but the closest campground we can find is a little over 200 miles, so we will need to get an early start and make good time. The roads on the map look to be semi-improved so this should not be a problem.

Our concern is the accessibility with the RV. We are uncertain if RV can make it to the campsite, so we develop a “plan b”. There looks to be a small town by the name of Atlantic City about 25 miles north of the campsite location. So the plan is, if Kenneth gets to the area with the RV and it does not look to be accessible, he heads to Atlantic City and waits for us there. Conversely if we get to campsite location and the RV is not there we know to ride on to Atlantic City. So with plan in hand, we head out.

After leaving Steamboat Lake State Park, we find the road not as improved as we thought. Last nights rain had made the road muddy with a coat of ice. Yes this is July, but there was ice on the raid. This did not present and problem for a ural but a conventional 2 wheeled bike would have had big problems.

Once we get past the muddy section it is pretty easy going.

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We are on a public road but it goes though free range ranch land. We had to stop to let a heard of sheep pass through. My phone was dead at the time so I didn’t get a picture.

We continue on and encounter a group of cowboys heading their cattle across the road.

We go through an area called aspen alley

A nice wide open road in the middle of nowhere. The washboards were hell! Every bone in my body were jittered, my left kidney relocated to the right side and I have no idea where my bladder ended up.

We finally get past the washboard area to a section that had recently been graded and packed down. We are still on a dirt road but it is wider and smother than many paved roads. To demonstrate the heavy traffic, we stop in the middle of the road for a break.

Somewhere along the way, we cross into Wyoming. There was not a sign that announced our entry into the state, but we make it to Rawlings, Wy

We top off our gas tanks and grab a lite lunch and head north. A few shots along the way.

As you can see, the landscape was flat, but with mountains in the background and the riding was easy.

We come across this interesting looking vehicle. It seems to be a snow oriented type vehicle.

We arrive at our designated campsite but no site of Kenneth our the RV. We wait for a while. We try calling Kenneth using our sat phone, but no answer. We therefore resort to plan B. Plan B was that if Kenneth did not feel he could get the RV to the campsite, he was to head to Atlantic City and wait. So, we head on to Atlantic City.

As we pull into the only restaurant in town, a guy pulls in with his truck and apparently he has been trying to chase us down. He is interested in Urals and wants to talk to us about our rigs. We have a nice conversation and when I ask him if he knows of a place where we can park our RV, he invites us to set it up out by his cabin here in town.

In the meantime no Kenneth. We seem to have lost our support vehicle. I thought the support vehicle was supposed to rescue us. We have cell coverage here and try to call him. No success so we try the sat phone but no success. We came to learn that sat phones don’t work well in a vehicle that is moving. Where is Kenneth and more importantly where is the RV, my wine and our beds.

Kenneth finally shows up. It seems that he got delayed in a bad storm.

Our host, Gary and his wife Jo, join us for dinner at the Grubstake restaurant in Atlantic City.

We are later joined by John. John is a local that lives here year round and rides an old vintage BMW with a sidecar. John is sometimes retained to take motorcycle adventure groups on a tour of the local trails. John graciously agrees to lead us around tomorrow.

Gary and Jo primarily live in California but fell in love with this area many years ago and spend the warmer months here every year. They are outside of any utility service but have devised ways to basically live off the grid. Their electricity is 12v generated from solar panels and refrigerator is propane. Water comes from a spring high on a hill that is gravity fed to their cabin and wash house.

This is their cabin. It is very nice and cozy.

For hot water they have devised an interesting system of coiled black hoses to heat water and then drawn into the wash house as needed.

It’s a little hard to see, but in the enclosed box is a coiled black garden hose.

This is their bank of coiled hoses that provides them will a sufficient amount of hot water.

The bath house.

Outhouse. It’s hard to make an outhouse pretty, but somehow they managed.

And their workshop garage with plans to put a ural in there

Our RV is set up behind their cabin. We visit with our most gracious host on the front porch of their cabin until it is time to retire for the night.

G’nite y’all

************** CDR day 10, July 4 ***********
In the morning, after a large breakfast prepared by our personal chef Kenneth where we are joined by Gary and Jo, John shows up to lead us on some rides. All together we have 3 sidecar rigs so Kenneth, Gary and Jo load up in sidecars with John, Nadeem and I driving.

This is Johns old rig. An early 60′s BMW with a Ural sidecar attached.

A few shots along the way.

We make Gary, Jo and John honorary members of TWT
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We encounter a river crossing that everyone had the good sense not to try and cross. Well, not quite everyone. This is my attempt at crossing. I hit a rock that slid me into a high spot. We had to get out the winch and pull me off before I could make it.
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There was a group on ATV’s on the other side and they gave me a beer while we taunted the others to cross. After much badgering, no one took the bait and I had to cross back to join the group

This is an old ghost mining town by the name of South Pass City

We end the ride a John’s cabin to drink some of John’s beer on his deck.

John is an extremely interesting person and some what of a jack of all trades. He does a lot of study on plant diseases and is retained to teach classes and write articles on the subject. He also works with the University of Idaho to conduct research on Sasquatch (Big Foot)! John and his colleagues are convinced that this creature does exist and John presented some pretty convincing evidence. These are a few of the foot impression cast of Big Foot prints.

John also has a green house so he picks some fresh vegetables and we head back to Gary and Jo’s place for dinner. Jo takes some chicken along with John’s veggies and makes a fantastic dinner for us all.

We bid our new friends good night and head back to our trailer. Today is 4th of July so we hear some of the locals shooting fireworks but we are too tired to go watch. Sleep awaits.

G’nite y’all

***** CDR Day 11, July 5
John has many irons in the fire and is a busy man, so he cannot play with us today. It is time for us to move on and not overstay our welcome. I really hate to leave, Gary and Jo are the best hosts and their hospitality was great. We left feeling like we made some great new friends.

After Jo made us some oatmeal (she called it “oaties) we hit the road. Nadeem and I riding and Kenneth driving the truck.

John had told us how to find a section of the original “Oregon Trail”. We crisscrossed the open range for a while but finally found the markers

This was a real treat. Not only was it a fun ride, but the thought of riding on the real Oregon Trail was an adventure. My mind thought of the covered wagons that made their way along this very trail.

We got back on the main trail. For a long time, it was well maintained dirt/gravel but it did start to get interesting.

We met up at our campsite just south of the Tetons. Nice Forest Service park. No water or sewer, but we did have electricity. Not bad for $20
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Kenneth pick up some T-bone steaks and potatoes that we grilled over an open fire. Yum, yum. There goes the diet.

The day is done, with our bellies full, we call it a day

G’nite Y’all

***** CDR Day 12, July 6
In the morning, after breakfast prepared by Chef Kenneth we head north. Nadeem and I riding, Kenneth driving. Kenneth still is unable to ride due to his elbow injury. Nadeem and I are not complaining because Kenneth is a much better cook than either of us. If Kenneth gets well enough to ride, we are just going to push him over so he gets hurt again and stays the cook.

We head into the Tetons. This mountain range is breathtaking.

We stop at the visitors center at the entrance of the Tetons National Park. I kept seeing signs for moose in area and at last I finally find one.

We ride through the Teton Park.
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We make it to our next campsite, Camp Flag which is just south of Yellowstone. This is a nice, but overpriced, RV park but being right between Teton and Yellowstone it is able to command a good price.

We decide on a change of plans. It does not look like Kenneth is going to be able to ride anymore this trip so we decide to just call this our northern end point for the CDR trip. We will now just spend some time exploring Yellowstone with Kenneth riding in one of the sidecars and that we would return to this same campsite everyday. We plan to do this for a few days and then head home.

We get to this campsite fairly early so we opt to do laundry at the facilities here and try our hand at making cobbler again. There is actually a lodge with a restaurant. So we decide to treat ourselves to a restaurant meal. the food was so, so and very overpriced. Afterwards I go do the the laundry and leave Kenneth and Nadeem to make us some nice cobbler. They end up burning it again. Not as bad as last time, but yet inedible. Maybe another 4 or 5 mixes, we might get it right.

Storms come in that include a good amount of hail. I’m sure glad we are not in tents. End of day.

G’nite Y’all

***** CDR Day 13, July 7
Today the storms seem to have passed so we head on to Yellowstone

We encounter another Continual Divide marker

While we were stopped, some girls pulled in and were all excited about out rigs. I keep telling Kenneth that he needs to get one of these chick magnets. Anyway, they kept asking questions about what it was like to ride in a sidecar, etc. we were all heading to old faithful so I let let take turns riding in my tub on the way to old faithful.

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We make it to old faithful just as she was erupting. Oh well, we will just wait for the next one. Turns out there are several geysers around here so we took a walking tour of the other geysers and hot pools.

We waited for what seemed to be forever for some other geyser to erupt. Nadeem and I headed to the a/c lodge area but Kenneth insisted that this geyser was goin to erupt any moment and wanted to sit and wait in the sun for this miraculous moment.

While Kenneth bakes in the sun, we have ice cream

We are inside an a/c building with a picture window facing old faithful when she decides to blow

My ice cream enjoying the show (picture taken for Kenneth’s benefit)

Kenneth eventually joins us. His geyser never erupted. :-)

We head on the the northern end of Yellowstone. Our plan to go west from there and hook on to a section of the CDR trail that would take us back to our campsite.

We encounter a horrific traffic jam. Is is a wreck? It is just bumper to bumper for what seemed like miles. Our air cooled engines were not going to tolerate this slow going without the benefit of air flowing over their heads, so we killed the engines and just pushed. Once I had let a gap form between me and the car in front and a car from behind to take this opportunity to swing around in front of me. I mean Jeese, we have been able to go 2 to 3 mph for the longest time and some jerk wants to cut in front of me. Using my tact of which I am well known for, I politely explain to this man that he was being an ass hat and convinced him that he he should go back to his position in line.

As we continue this slow moving traffic, the cause of the jam starts to appear

It’s a family of bison just plodding down the middle of the road without a care in the world
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I’ve seen bison before but this is the closest I have ever been to one without a fence to protect me. I’m glad he was not wanting to go for a ride in the sidecar

We exit the park and enter Montana for a short while.

We are only in Montana for a short while and as we head south west of Yellowstone, we enter Idaho.
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Soon we are riding on a section as we learn later is called the “rails to trails” project. This is an abandoned section of railroad where the rails and beams have been removed allowing this section to be used by ATVs and other smaller off-road vehicles. Where the cross ties were there remains a valley which made the going interesting. It was like washboards on steroids with a lot of whop-de-doos. Nonetheless, it was a fun ride and now and then we would cross a narrow train trestle just barely wide enough for a Ural
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And then ….

Its starting to get late and I want to get back to the campsite before dark, so I lead us to a wider, more level gravel road so that we can make better time.

And then …

I hit a right curve too hot causing the sidecar to go in the air a little bit. I was able to get it under control but by time I did, I had gone off the road a little bit. Once stopped I then set out to get back on the road. I’m in the lead and I think if I can hurry I can get back on the road before Nadeem and Kenneth see that I had missed a turn. I wanted to save myself the grief I know I would get if they knew. I put the rig in first, give it some gas and slowly let out the clutch

And then …

Well now I not exactly sure what happened, but I guess my hand had slipped of the clutch or for some reason the clutch grabbed before I was ready. The clutch dumped and I am now heading to the other side of the road at full throttle, I hit a ditch and a tree stump on the other side causing Lyekka to go airborne and flip completely over tossing me to the ground

And then …

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Ouch! At least I am lucky that the rig did not land on top of me. Sadly Nadeem and Kenneth saw gas leaking form the upside down Ural so they had righted it before they thought to take pictures. I was upset that they did not get a picture of Lyekka napping but at least Nadeem had the foresight to get a picture of me still on the ground.

Once I am up, it is apparent that I am hurt and need to go to a hospital and get checked out. While we are trying to figure out how to get me to a hospital a nice family of folks come by in there truck. They are heading to the town of Rexburg, ID which happens to be the closest hospital and they offer to take me. So the Mom and 3 kids pile in the back seat, we load me in the truck and off we go with Nadeem and Kenneth in pursuit.

I am deposed to the Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg. As hospitals go, this one happens to be pretty top notch. The ER room is mostly vacant and I am tended to in short order. Kenneth stays and Nadeem heads back to get the truck.
Even though the ER is vacant it still takes several hours for X-rays, CT scans, Dr. evaluation, etc. The final diagnoses is multiple fractured ribs involving rib# 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. So pretty much my left side is broken with at least 6 fractures. In addition, I also have a partially collapsed lung. It is very late and I am eventually admitted to the hospital. In addition to the morphine they had been giving me in the ER, they hook me up to a device that provided me with a “happy button” that when pressed will inject a short of morphine into my IV. My pain is under control and I am happy

The ER doctor has some connection at a local motel and is able to get Kenneth and Nadeem a room at a discounted price.

G’nite y’all

***** CDR Day 14, July 8
Today is spent by Kenneth and Nadeem retrieving my deserted Lyekka and my mid afternoon I am released from the hospital. I had explored options to fly home but the doctor had a big problem with that and feared that high altitude would cause my lung to fully collapse, so I must travel by land.

We return to our campsite with the plans to load up and hit the road. Bu they have some difficulty getting the bikes loaded up and decide we need to stay the night and head out in the morning.

The guys unload me from the truck and stuff me in the trailer.

G’nite y’all

***** CDR Day 15, July 9

During the night I am unable to rest in the trailer bed and wake up the guys and have them load me back in the truck so that I can sit more upright. It seems that laying flat hurts more.

In the morning we head out. Kenneth and Nadeem take turns driving while I pop pain pills

We dive and drive and drive. At some point in the middle of the night, they stop so can grap some shut eye. They just sleep in the truck, I pop another pain pill and go back to lalla land

***** CDR Day 16, July 10

We head first to the DFW area and return Kenneth to his home. Then we head to my house in New Braunfels to be greeted by a rather pissed wife. She tells Nadeem to keep me that she does not want to deal with me being injured AGAIN! After a while, she reluctantly accepts delivery of me, Nadeem stays the night and heads to his home in the morning


This was third attempt at completing the CDR. I’m thinking this a quest that was not meant to be.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | June 6, 2013

And I thought they were Catholic

Sent from a heavily loaded motorcycle in Utah

Posted by: Beemer Bob | June 2, 2013

The battle continues

The battle of the buldge continues. I’m winning the battle so far, but the war goes on.

I am now 267. I was 287 when I started this, so I have dropped a total of 20 lbs and one notch on my belt. I’m not on any specific diet, I’m just trying to be smarter about what I eat and getting more exercise.

Am I fit enough to attempt riding the Continental Divide? I don’t know, I feel fitter, but I’m still fat. One of the problems with losing weight is how do you reward yourself? Once I was able to take in a notch on my belt, I wanted to celebrate with a large chocolate milkshake and a hamburger with a side of fries.

From my past injuries, the arthritus in my right foot is pretty severe and permanent. To continue to lose weight will, I’m sure, help with the pain but my ability to ever ride a two wheeled motorcycle again is very questionable because I don’t feel that I can support the bike with that foot. I’m down to my Ural sidecar rig that I can handle just fine and actually is more fun than a conventional motorcycle anyway.

The plan to ride the divide remains. I will be be traveling with two friends this time. They are both considerable younger than me (I think most everyone is younger than me) so they should be able to drag my fat ass home if needed. The date for our departure is a moving target. Their work schedules and responsibilities are getting in the way and making scheduling difficult but we plan to begin sometime after the 22nd of this month but may be an long as the 30th before we start. I’ll keep you posted.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | March 23, 2013

The battle plan

The plan boss, the plan

OK folks, I’m beginning to put a plan together. At least an exercise plan. Changing eating (and drinking) habits is, I think, going to be hardest so I am going to start with the easiest.

Through my Medicare plan, I was able to join a local gym here in Sattler. AnyTime Fitness. They have what looks to be nice equipment and is very convienant. I also was able to get a free membership to Golds Gym (old age has some benefits). The Golds Gym is in San Antonio and about a 40 min drive but they have a pool.

A few days ago, I went to a water aerobics class at the Golds Gym. Being that all the other participants were old fat women, I felt like I might drown in a pool of estrogen. I was about as gracefull as a bull frog and had trouble getting in the rythum of the program. But being in the water did allow me to walk more freely. Oh, a little background info is in order. Last November I did some serious damage to my right foot. I fractured the 5th metatarsal into 6 pieces requiring surgery. The doc pieced it together with lots screws, plates and misc hardware. Being its location and the severity of the injury, healing has been slow. This is also the same foot that I broke my ankle and tore a ligament two years ago. Saying all this as background as to why I have to avoid impact exercises like treadmill and much walking. At least for now, but this limitation will improve.

The problem with exercise equipment at home in my lack of self discipline. To get this started, at least for now, I felt my best option would be to retain the services of a personal trainer. No this is not covered by Medicare.

Both AnyTimeFitness and Golds Gym offered PTs and the cost was about the same. The PT at AnyTime was a young woman and the one at Golds Gym was a guy with biceps the size of tree trunks. Wana guess which one I chose.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | March 22, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

No I’m not talking about the WW2 offensive, but rather my mid-section bulge. My reason for this posting is to make public my battle and goals among friends and to make myself publicly accountable.

I did something like this years ago when I decided to quit smoking. I had tried (in secret) many times but failed. I never had to tell anyone I failed because no one knew I had tried. Once I made my goal to quit smoking public, I could not be seen anywhere with a cigarette and I would have the embarrassment of everyone knowing I failed. It worked, and that was about 25 years ago. Now I have a new addiction that is killing me.

This came about because of my desire to ride the Continintal Divide Route (CDR) this spring. Yes, this will be attempt #3, but that is a different story. Although I’m retired, my kitchen passes are normally limited to 2 weeks (longer than that, the dishes start to stack up), but this trip was looking to be at least 3 weeks. My good friend pleaded with the my wife (AKA: The Saint) for an extended pass and she reluctantly agreed but with the stipulation that I get in better shape so that she does not have to deal with retrieving my fat corpse from the middle of nowhere because I had keeled over from a heart attack.

With this goal, I started to do some research and found with my weight and height I have now achieved the honorable status of MORBIDLY OBESE! obese is one thing, but morbidly obese is, well … morbid. Obese can always be glossed over with nice terms like “Husky”, “on the heavy side”‘, etc. There is nothing you can do with morbidly obese. That’s just plain FAT. I have to lose the “morbidly” from my classification.

Some time back, another friend and I were talking about health goals so that we would have many years of riding and we agreed that I needed to lose weight and he needed to stop chewing tobacco. He quit chewing for a while but I did not live up to my end of the bargain and he has returned to chewing. Now that I have publicly called him out he has to quit chewing as long as I live up to my end of the deal.

Physically I am 65 and the thought of having to slow down because of my age and health is depressing. I can’t do much about my age, but I recognize I must get in better condition if I want to continue to have good adventures on the roads less traveled.

I’m asking for your support, encouragement and damnation if I fall off the wagon. About once a week I will post my current weight and what I have done to condition my body.

So, here is the starting point.

Height 5’10
Weight: 287 lbs.

Posted by: Beemer Bob | July 30, 2012

Colorado Tour of Honor – full report

There is an annual event called “Tour of Honor” benefiting the wounded warrior project. It begins in April and if you are one of the first to visit all of the designated memorial sites within a state, you earn a trophy. For the past two times, I have had some kind of conflict and not able to start in April in order to compete for the trophy. This is actually OK by me as I am not one to scurry around going from site to site anyway. I prefer to take my time and just complete the tour for the sake of completing it and oh, by the way, I do get a pin and a certificate.

Last year, I completed Texas and it took me all the way to the deadline in October to finish. Having conquered Texas, so to speak, I am going after another state and begin earning pins for each state. Let’s see, there are 50 states and if I complete one state per year, I will be 114 years old when done. So then I may stop doing my adventures. I have this philosophy that as long as I have things on my bucket list, it is not my time to go. When the Lord comes calling for me, I simply tell him to look at my bucket list and come back when I am done.

My next adventure is to complete all designated memorial sites in Colorado. I’m heading out in the morning and hope to complete all sites and ride some of Colorado’s twisty mountain roads for the next week or so and then head home.

********** Colorado TOH – Day 1 ********

Riding across west Texas is not one of the more exciting things in life, so not much to report today.

My brother (Hap Hazard), joined me early this morning and we headed out from my house near Waco.

One could not have asked for better riding weather especially considering we are in Texas and its July. It was in the 80′s the entire trip. Some threats of rain, but we escaped the wet stuff and the worse we dealt with was light wind.

We rode and rode. By time we made it to Clovis, New Mexico we decided that was enough for one day. We found a motel with an indoor pool, a bar and next to a sonic drive in. What else could a man ask for?

End of day 1

G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 2 ********

After a pretty nice complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we got off early and headed northwest.

For the most part, the difference between west Texas and east New Mexico is the state boarder. Miles and miles of nothing. After several hours we approach Santa Fee and the terrain begins to improve. North of Santa Fee the scenery turns to beautiful red rock cliffs.

Shortly before crossing into Colorado the roads and views greatly improved. New Mexico is somewhat restrictive. Beautiful winding roads and views with posted limits of 55 mph. I mean, gee whiz. Being the law bidding person I am, I obediently observed the speed limits at all times.

We were on the edge of a cold front blowing in so the temperatures stayed in the high 60′s. It boarded on being too cold.

We decided to take a coffee break in the town Pagosa Spring. This town is famous for its hot springs and related type resorts. We had our coffee on a deck overlooking a river where lots of folks were playing. It looked cold to me.

As we were leaving, it starts to rain.

As we were debating if we wanted to brave the rain, sleet and hail began to fall.

We no longer debated if we wanted to ride. Back inside for another cup of coffee or two until the storm passed. I’m sure glad we stopped when we did and avoided getting caught in the hail.

The storm did not last long, so off we go. Just in case, we put on full rain gear that turned out to be unnecessary. We rode through the forest and arrived at our last stop for the day in historic Durango.

Durango is a nice tourist type of town with a lot of nice restaurants and bars.

Durango has a trolley/bus that goes around and picks you up near your motel, takes you to the downtown venues and then you can catch a ride back to your motel. So after our thirst had been quenched and our tummies full, we return to our motel and call the day at end.

End of Day 2

G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 3 **********

We found a nice place for breakfast and headed north on U.S. Route 550 otherwise known as the Million Dollar Highway. The history of why this highway earned this name varies but one thing I know is that the road and views are worth a million.

OMG, tight twisties, and breathtaking views.

We stop in Silverton for a coffee break

We then continue north on the million dollar highway. Breathtaking!

Arriving in the picturesque town of Ouray, we stop for lunch.

From there we continue north to Ridgeway and then head west and hook on to beautiful CO-142, then northwest towards Grand Junction.
As we went west of the million dollar road on Colorado 141, the scenery changes to a more rugged desert terrine. Still mountainous, but not the same as we had before although it is still gorgeous in its own right.

We stopped to view the Dolores Canyon near the Utah boarder.

In need of water to work its Dolores Canyon gold mines, the Montrose Placer Mining company’s built A thirteen-mile canal and flume to deliver water from the San Miguel River. The last five miles of the flume clung to the wall of the canyon itself, running along the cliff face. Constructed between 1888 and 1891, the four-foot deep, five/foot-four-inch-wide “hanging flume” carried over 23 million gallons of water in a 24 hour period. Its construction dazzled mining pros with its sheer ingenuity.

This is what it used to look like.

The placer claim, unfortunately, dazzled no one; after three years of indifferent yields the company folded, abandoning the flume to the ravages of weather and time.

Following is a picture of what remains when we were there.

Continuing towards Grand Junction, the rugged red rock views continued.

We are now in the high desert and the cool mountain temperatures are no more. By late afternoon, it got up to 103. That’s a tad warm.

We make it to Grand Junction and able to find a cheap motel near downtown. After a cool off time in the motel’s pool, we walk to the downtown area.

Downtown Grand Junction is surprising quant with nice shops and fine dining.

We had a great meal and wine at this place that had been recommended.

Well after an enjoyable but tiring day of riding and our tummies full, we called the day done.

End of Day 3

G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 4 **********

Well this trip was about doing the Tour of Honor after all, it just took a long time to get to the first one that was in the town of Fruita just outside of Grand Junction.

This is the Western Slope Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The focal point of the memorial is a Bell Utility Helicopter (UH-1H) Iroquois or “Huey”, the workhorse of the Vietnam War. The Huey became the symbol of the conflict, as the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps all flew missions in the aircraft, and all branches of service are represented here. For me personally, anytime I see or hear a helicopter, memories of Vietnam enter my mind. Whenever we were at a base camp, there was the constant sound of the Hueys. The first time I had the “opportunity” to ride in one, I thought it to be a thrill. I soon discovered that when in combat zone, they don’t land, they just hovered briefly near the ground and we would have to jump out and then run for cover. The thrill of my first helicopter ride was over.

The names of all those from the Western Slope area who were lost in the Vietnam War are listed here.

Afterwards we ride through a National Park called the Colorado National Monument.

Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. Bold, big, and brilliantly colored.

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Our goal for today is to make it to the small town of Paonia, CO the site of the “Top of the Rockies BMW motorcycle rally”, so we head east.
But perhaps not the most efficient routes because we “have” to ride through the Grand Mesa area.

Colorado’s Grand Mesa Scenic Byway leads through old-growth forests, aspens, meadows and so many lakes you’ll lose track

At this point we are at an elevation of about 10,600 feet

We arrive in the town of Paonia, the site of the “Top of the Rockies BMW motorcycle rally.

What can I say. Lots of BMW motorcycle and the people that ride them.

I find a place to hang my hammock. I forgot to take a picture, but hey! You know what a hammock among a sea of tents looks like.

The remainder of the evening was spent listing to the provided live music, shooting the bull with old and new friends and consumption of large amounts of adult beverages.

I am able to stumble back to my hammock and pass out.

End of day 4

G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 5 **********

Today’s quest was for the best hamburger in the world. Seemed like a worthy cause, so off we go.

This hamburger waits for us in the town of Buena Vista. There is a faster way to get there and a shorter but longer in time scenic route through the mountains. We of course take the scenic way.

Our first leg takes us by way of the Black Canon of the Gunnison

Despite the awesome views, much of our time was spent doing this

Waiting for this

A good portion of the road was under construction and we got stuck in several of these blocks waiting for our chance to go through.

The road was muddy and slick and when the pilot truck would finally lead us through, it proceeded at a snails pace making motorcycling difficult. I would have to stop now and then (holding up those behind me) so that I could proceed with a little more momentum for short bursts at a time.

But at last we make it though and the hamburger quest resumes.

Next we ascend up to Cottonwood Pass. On the west side of this pass is dirt/gravel but well maintained and packed, so it did not present any problem.

I waited a while to take this picture without people but these ladies just stood there and looked at me, so I gave up.

But then one of them offered to take this picture of yours truly and she didn’t steal my iPhone. So all was good.

The road down was paved, twisty with magnificent views.

We arrive in Buena Vista early afternoon and very hungry. The trip took longer than anticipated. We “dine” here.

Their signature burger was a 1/2 pounder grass feed beef burger with green chili mixed in. I didn’t think that I could eat that much, so I talked The Hazard into sharing one. He whined about that for the rest of the day because he wanted the whole thing.

It was delicious and they have their own micro brews that are excellent as well. Well worth the trip.

For our trip back to our campsite at the rally we go by the way of Independence Pass.

Independence Pass reaches a high point of 12,095 feet, then descends into the even more beautiful valley of Lake Creek, eventually joining US 24 fifteen miles south of Leadville

The scenery at the pass and all along the route is some of the most spectacular in Colorado and perhaps the finest viewable from a major highway

The road runs right beneath many great mountains including the highest in the state (14,433 foot Mount Elbert)

And rises well above the tree line into the stark Alpine tundra zone, while also passing lakes, rivers, steep sided valleys, thick forest of fir and extensive aspen groves.

It’s currently July but you can still see some remains of snow in the mountains.

Independence is the highest paved mountain pass in Colorado.

This has been a very enjoyable but very tiring ride. I’m exhausted.

We finally make it back to the rally site, eat dinner, listen to the live band and drink large quantities of adult beverages

I climb into my hammock and pass out.

End of day 5

G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 6 **********

Today, the Hazard and I part company. I to resume my Tour of Honor and him to head to Utah to meet up with some friends. Yes Utah is where the Hazard had his last misHap, so hopefully this time won’t be a repeat performance. Be careful Bro.

I now head up to Golden Colorado for the next memorial site on my list. There is a quicker all highway route or a longer, more scenic route going through the mountains. Guess which way I go.

I passed by the town of Redstone and came upon these old coke ovens.

These beehive coke ovens were constructed in the late 1890′s to carbonize or coke coal mined coal basin for the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company. A narrow-gauge railroad, approximately 12 miles long (removed in 1941), brought the coal down grades exceeding 4 percent from the mine to Redstone.

Coke is carbonized coal, a product produced by baking coal in a heated oven. By using a process that allows the impurities in the coal to be burned off, while not allowing the carbon content of the coal to burn, the coal is turned into coke. The impurities burned off were actually the volatile matter contained in the coal, such as tars, oils and gases. When burned, coke generated an intense amount of heat but produced very little smoke, qualities that made it an ideal fuel for use in producing iron and steal and was good for blacksmith operations.

As I continue northward (or sorts), the views and roads do not disappoint me. Fantastic! A portion of my route was on I-70, but even there the views were great with the mountains in the background.

The small world of motorcycle enthusiasts is amazing. Everyone seems to take their toys all over the place and you can meet up with people also 1,000 miles from home. This is Brad from Austin. I met Brad a few years ago when I rode with the Hill Country BMW club out of Austin to the Big Bend area. Brad had seen through my blog that I was in Colorado and told me him and his wife were vacationing in the area and invited me for lunch. Vacationing is a word us retired folks use simply to say we are far from our home base. If you are retired, every day is a vacation. So we decide to meet in Breckenridge.

As I neared Breckenridge a rain stormed loomed on the horizon but I have been lucky this trip so far and able to skirt around the rains, so I did not bother to stop and put on rain gear. That turned out to be a mistake. About 10 miles out of Breckenridge, the temperature drops to about 50 and the sky opened up and dumped its rain on me. I got soaking wet, could not see but a few feet in front of me and thought I was going to freeze to death. On the edge of town was a subway and I ducked in to get out of the rain. Their bathroom had one of those stupid hand dryers that we all hate. But I was able to divert the blower to my chest and kept running it over and over again to warm my core and dry out a bit. I decide that I will live after all and the rain lets up a bit, so I continue to our meeting place to meet up with Brad and his charming wife.

Sorry, no pictures of the charming wife, just me and Brad. We had a very nice lunch. I had the shrimp po-boy and the waitress assured me that is was local catch out of the nearby river.

After bidding goodbye to Brad and wife, it is still a light drizzle so I done my full rain gear which of course made the rain stop and the sun come out.
There in Breckenridge was my second TOH memorial site. This is the 10th Mountain Division Monument

The 10th Mountain Division (Infantry) of the U.S. Army was activated in 1943 because of the need for mountain-trained soldiers who could endure the harsh terrain and weather conditions of winter-time Europe. Camp Hale in Colorado was chosen for its altitude of 9400 feet and varying terrain similar to the Alps and Tyrenees. Soldiers were trained with snowshoes, skis, mountain climbing equipment and sleeping in the snow without tents.

They are perhaps best known for their feats during World War II, leading the way into the mountains of Northern Italy, driving back the Germans after many weeks of heavy fighting. By the end of the war, the 10th had suffered more casualties than any other division.

The 10th Mountain Division is still fighting today in the mountains of Afghanistan.

My next stop is Golden, CO but of course I cannot take the highway, I take the more mountainous route and go my way of Hoosier Pass. And of course, the views and roads are spectacular.

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After some nice sweeping roads through the mountains, I arrive at the United States Marine Corps Memorial in Golden Colorado.

Like the Marines themselves, words are scarce about this memorial, just a quiet pride and immense sense of honor.
Semper Fi.

Today was a long day of nice riding, but I am pooped, so I find me a sleazy motel for the night. I’m too tired to even go out to eat so I heated up some dehydrated something for dinner, but fortunately I had a box of wine, so all was good.

End of day 6

G’nite Y’all

********** Colorado TOH – Day 7 **********

Now heading towards the next Memorial site in Woodland Park and of course, I take the most scenic route I can find. Frankly, in this part of Colorado it is almost impossible to find a route that is not scenic so I have to weigh between magnificent views or more magnificent views. I plot my route and head back through the mountains.

Great views most trip but as I get closer to Woodland Park going through the Pike National Forest, the views are somber as a result of the recent forest fires in this area.

Don’t you know that the folks that live in this house consider themselves to be very lucky?

As I travel through the Pike Forest, I came across this series of signs that had been placed by the local firefighters.

Very sad indeed. What was once lush forest now lays barren.

But continuing on, the remaining forest still holds its beauty. Incidentally, during my travels on this trip I saw many signs in front of homes and businesses thanking the firefighters for all their hard work. I too add my thanks to firefighters everywhere.
Much was lost, but much more was saved.

Added to my honor ride, I stopped to give my honor to the famous Donut Mill in Woodland Park.

OK, maybe the Donut Mill is not famous, but some years back we actually lived in Woodland Park and this was our favorite memory of this town so I had to get a donut and take these pictures to send to my wife. I’m having a donut at the Donut Mill and you are not – Ha Ha Ha.

I move now to the Fallen Soldier Battlefield Cross monument in Woodland park as a memorial to all those of all military branches that gave their lives for our country.

The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross, Battlefield Cross or Battle Cross is a symbolic replacement of a cross on the battlefield or at the base camp for a soldier who has been killed. Made up of the soldier’s rifle with bayonet attached stuck into the ground, helmet on top, dog tags sometimes hanging from the rifle and the boots of the fallen soldier next to it. Its purpose is to show honor and respect for the fallen at the battle site. The practice started during the American Civil War or maybe earlier as a means of identifying the bodies on the battleground before they were removed.

Today, it is an immediate means of showing respect for the fallen among the still living members of the troop. It might be seen in the field or base camp after the battle.

Used less today as a means to identify the fallen but more as a private ceremony among those still living as a means to mourn, as attending the funeral is not always possible for soldiers still in the fight.

As “macho” at the military tries to portray themselves, they have mastered the art of making grown men cry. I remember all too well this type of service and attended more than I cared to attend. Our friend’s body had already been sent home but we would have these services as a memorial. They were short and painful. We would be in formation facing the “cross” of our fallen friend’s rifle, boots and helmet while the chaplain would say a few words and the taps was played. The playing of taps is where I and most would usually lose it. After the service, we were expected to carry on and not waste time in mourning – DAMN YOU ARMY.

Next I head to Colorado Springs. From the recent fires I had heard that the quaint town of Manitou Springs had been evacuated, so I took a short detour to see if there as any damage to this cute little town. All seemed well and no evidence of fire in the main section. I guess during the time when the fire was out of control, the officials had taken precautions just in case the fire came through this valley.
Then I headed over to the Garden of the Gods. This site has also been closed as the fires raged nearby. It’s hard to make out in this picture but just down the road from the garden one can charred timers in the background. Fortunately, the they were able to protect the area immediately around the garden

A quick stop at the garden to admire the rocks

It was a Sunday afternoon with nice weather, so there were at least 10,000 people per square foot, so I did not stay long and headed onward to the next memorial site.
Within the city of Colorado Springs I arrive at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial.

Several of the figures had been adorned with artificial flowers

In the shadow of Pikes Peak is this statue of a firefighter rescuing a child. It stands in front of a memorial wall that includes the names of 1,775 fallen firefighters from North America. Included on the wall are the names of 343 New York City firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11, and another 122 names were added in September 2006.

This plaque had been decorated with toy figurines of Batman and Robin. I wondered if there was a story behind this?

Now I headed to Pueblo for the next site. I attempted to find a scenic route but had little success once I got more than 50 miles away from Colorado Springs. The pleasant mountain temperatures were gone as well. It hovered around 95 to 100 most of the way. No offense to the fine folks that call Pueblo home, but this is not one of my favorite Colorado towns.

I find the Medal of Honor Memorial, the site of my next memorial site

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Four of Pueblo’s heroes are the centerpiece of this memorial outside the Convention Center on Heroes Plaza. In addition to the statues there are 3,400 names of the other MOH recipients.

There is a water feature referencing President Eisenhower’s comment, upon placing the medal around Pueblo native Raymond Murphy’s neck, “What is it in the water out there in Pueblo, all you guys turn out to be heroes?”.

The four granite blocks upon which the statues stand, contains a map of where their action took place, as well other awards they earned listed. The designers of the memorial were able to work with each of the recipients to make sure their uniforms and equipment was accurate.

The four Medal of Honor recipients from Pueblo:
William Crawford, World War II, 1943
Carl Sitter, Korea, 1950
Raymond “Jerry” Murphy, Korea, 1953
Drew Dix, Vietnam, 1968

Onward to the eastern Colorado town of Lamar. I though Pueblo was hot but the ride to Lamar proved that I ain’t seen nothing yet. The afternoon was spent going down a straight highway of lands so flat it made west Texas look hilly. The temperature hovered around 105 most of the time. It was a very dry heat that made it slightly more tolerable than humid Texas heat, but 105 is still hot. It filet like I was riding in an oven and breathing the hot air was slightly less than fun.

In Lamar, I make it to the Madonna of the Trail Monument.
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Madonnas of the Trail

A recurring piece of public statuary stands in twelve locations from Maryland to California, tracing a historic travel route from “covered wagon days. The statue is the Madonna of the Trail, an 18-ft. tall tribute to the pioneer mothers who traveled west with their crazy husbands.

The Madonna of the Trail is a pinkish, stony-faced pioneer Mom, in long dress and bonnet, strutting westward with a rifle on one arm, an infant on the other, another little cruncher grasping Mom’s skirt

The Madonnas of the Trail were a project of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, dedicated in 1928-29. They are strung along the National Old Trails Road

This was the fifth Madonna of the Trail statue to be dedicated on the National Old Trails Road from Bethesda, Maryland to Upton, California. It drew the largest crowd of all the dedication ceremonies and the entire town closed down for it. Area pioneer women were honored during the week’s festivities that included parades and dances. President Truman was listed on the program but was unable to attend.

In case you have not noticed, but I have traveled many miles today and spent the afternoon in very hot weather, so I am exhausted. I can go no more. I need to find and air conditioned motel and call it a day.

I find this motel with unusual figures on the balcony above the office.

A place that decorates like this can’t all bad. They had good rates, so I call this home for the night. Too tired to go out, I fix me a fine meal of dehydrated something and attach my box of fine wine.

End of day 7
********** Colorado TOH – Day 8 ***********
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The previous monument (Madonna of the Trail) was the last on the list for Colorado. So as far as the Tour of Honor ride goes – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. But now I need to get home.

At Lamar, I head south. This was as exciting as riding eat in southern Colorado but at least it is morning and not as hot. I stop for breakfast at the great metropolis of Campo, CO. This is a picture of the café and also a picture of the entire downtown of Campo.
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The breakfast was good but I found the blue balls on the bottom of all the chairs interesting.

I ride through a section of the Oklahoma panhandle that looked like the desolate south east Colorado. Then I ride through the Texas panhandle area that looked like the Oklahoma panhandle.

I arrived in Amarillo, Texas early afternoon. There was still a good 7 to 8 hours riding before I could get home so I was not going to make it today. I could have ridden for a few more hours before calling it quits for the day, but I love the “Big Texan Steak Ranch and Motel”, so I called it quits here in Amarillo.

It’s the Cattlemen’s Hotel for me tonight
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After checking in, I cool off for a while in their Texas shaped swimming pool. Come supper time, I mosey of to the Steak Ranch to rustle up me some grub.
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The Big Texas is famous for their free 72oz steak. That’s right, it’s free along with all the fixings to include a baked potato and salad. There is, however, a catch. You have to eat the entire steak and all the fixings within an hour. If complete this task, your meal is free. If you fail, your bill is $72.

While I was there, two young men stepped up to take the challenge. They were seated at a special high table of honor so we could cheer them on to victory.

There was this Longhorn fan;
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The timers you see to the side were not his. He had been working at his for a while and only had a short time left.

Then later this young lad had probably pestered his dad until he gave in and let him take a whack at it.
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You see a full plate of meat on the lad’s plate and that plate in front containing a side of beef is the portion that he has not gotten to yet.

Wait, it looks like the Longhorn fan is beginning to falter.
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He gets up and gracefully accepts his defeat (and $72 bill) . They do put the rest in a to-go box, so it is not too bad.
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I left before the kids time was up, but he was not making much of a dent and I’m sure dad got a nice $72 bill. But what the hey, I bet it was fun trying.

I return to the hotel and declare the day done.
End of Day 8
G’nite Y’all
********** Colorado TOH – Day 9 **********
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Rather uneventful today. Just rode and rode and rode.

I made it home by about 5ish. The day is done, the trip is done
Mission Accomplished

Bye Y’all

Posted by: Beemer Bob | June 27, 2012

Two Slices of Pie (Full Trip Report)

Two Slices of Pie (A CDR Adventure)
To further my search for the perfect pie as well as some adventure I headed to Pie Town, NM for a rendezvous with some fellow members of Two Wheeled Texans (TWT). After a big slice of pie in Pie Town, NM on June 16th, 2012 (the date of the first annual Texas Invasion of Pie Town), I am planning to head up the Continental Divide thorough Colorado and a portion of Wyoming. Then to loop westerly and tour Moab. After Moab, my plan is to return to Pie Town for seconds on that Pie. This trip as planed will be about a two week trip.

A friend (Nadeem) and I will be trailering our rides to Pie Town. We plan to store our truck and trailer there and then we head north (after pie of course).

I once attempted to ride the CDR last year on a BMW R1200GS, starting at the Mexican border, but I only made it just a tad north of Grants, NM (Long story). This time I will be on a Ural with 2 wheel drive and setup for off-roading. I can pretty much go anywhere a dirt bike can go except single track. In addition to Nadeem and myself, we will also be bringing along Mr. Pie
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Mr. Pie is part of a “Pony Express” game within the TWT community. I was dubbed “IT” at the last TWT pie event, so now it is my duty to bring Mr. Pie along with me on my journeys until the next TWT pie event.
Mr. Pie checks out the sidecar and is ready to go.
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Mr. Pie’s motto is “Safety First”, so here he tests his new DOT approved crash dew rag.
In case of a mishap and he hits the pavement, the dew rag will keep his blueberries from spilling out.

As we plan our trip, we read about the fires in New Mexico/Colorado and Mr. Pie becomes concerned about the smoke engulfing many parts of those states. Mr. Pie is sensitive to smoke, so he procures some additional gear for protection.

As I was preparing to gather my stuff, I had a problem with my gear. I was going to bring my full face helmet, but it seems I had a problem with that helmet.
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Oh well, it looks like I will bring my ¾ helmet.
***************************** DAY 1 **************************************
I meet up with my friend, Nadeem, in Fredericksburg. We transfer my trailer from my truck to his and my bride takes my truck and a credit card to go shop in Fredericksburg.
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The three of us hit the road. We had a boring ride through the nothingness called west Texas.
There are a lot of fires currently in New Mexico and Colorado. One of them is just south west of Roswell and we were going to route well around Roswell, but the reports were that the Roswell route was OK and that was the shortest route, so we forged ahead.
We push on and make it to Roswell by about 7. Check into a motel 6. Once we landed, Mr. Pie made a new friend.

Now it is time to go in search of nourishment.
The local McDonalds looked like a spaceship, and that was cool.

But Mr. Pie, being the snob he is, wanted better. A place called “Peppers Bar and Grill” was recommended by the motel desk clerk. Great hamburgers, seasoned fries and $4 mary-go-ritas.
Mr. Pie approved.

Mr. Pie had way too many mary-go-rittas and had to head back to the motel so he could go to bed.

G’nite Y’all
***************************** DAY 2 **************************************
I’m happy to report that Mr. Pie had a good night’s rest.

While in Roswell, we went in search of illegal aliens

We visit the UFO research center so Mr. Pie can get more info about the government’s coverup of the crash site and the aliens that visited us.

More aliens.

Time to hit the road. We push on. Mr. Pie had always wanted to see the big dishes at the “Very Large Array(VLA)”

If you are not familiar with the VLA, a short description is that a large array of dishes are used to “see” into space to study our universe. The sight, however, is based on radio frequencies outside of the optical spectrum.
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We push onward to Pie Town.
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We pull in to The Good Pie Café
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The owner graciously allowed us to park our truck and trailer at his restaurant.

We had a “lite” dinner.
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After our “lite” dinner. It was Pie Time.

We enjoyed a New Mexico Apple Pie. This apple pie includes green peppers and was surprisingly quite good. The above picture is actually one pie that we shared.

Mr. Pie flirted with all the wait staff.

And then there was this interesting looking man

With full tummies, we head to a place called “The Toaster House”. This is a hostel for those doing the Continental Divide. This is owned and maintained be a fantastic lady by the name of Nita. She had stopped by to replenish supplies.

It may not show well in the pictures, we are standing in the “Toaster Gate” So called because of all the toasters hanging on the fence and arch. I don’t know why.
A few pictures inside Toaster House.
Pikes Peak or Bust
Pikes Peak or Bust
Pikes Peak or Bust

We had a very enjoyable and relaxing stay at the Toaster House.

G’nite Y’all
***************************** DAY 3 **************************************
The rest of our TWT group was not going to be here until noonish, so we hung around the toaster house for a while.
There is no cell phone coverage in Pie Town so we headed over to the Pie-o-neer Cafe about 11 so we could tap into their wifi to check email, etc. BTW, there are two restaurants in Pie Town that are known for their pies. Today’s café is the other one.
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For those that read about my last trip (that failed), I had stopped here on my way up from the Mexican border on the continental divide BC (Before Crash). On that trip I had stopped here and I had mentioned that the waitress was cute. Later I was chastised for not getting a picture of the cute waitress. Well she was still there and Mr. Pie flirted with he so he could get her to hold him for this photo op.
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While we waited, we were presented with a task. Kathy (the owner and head pie maker), had two stainless bowls that she had stacked together but could not get them back apart. They had been working on this problem for quite some time, but no success.

At first Nadeem accepted the task, put he could not seem to get it out.

So he enlisted my help. We tugged and tugged.

Until finally …


We were both awarded with a free slice of pie for our efforts.

After a while we were getting hungry so we went ahead and had a slice of pie with the plan to order lunch once the gang showed up. After pie, we were still hungry and our group had not shown yet, so we went ahead and had lunch. After we finished lunch, the gang shows up and so we had ANOTHER slice of pie with our friends. Our goal for this trip was to have two slices of pie and now we have had 3 slices and we haven’t even started.

The gangs all here!
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After the lunch rush, Ms. Kathy (AKA: The Pie Lady) posed with some pies.

Sad moment here. It is time for Mr. Pie to move on. We had to pass him on for adventures with another. So sad. Bye by Mr. Pie. You will be missed.

Nadeem, poor guy, has gout in his ankle and he was starting to have a flare up. We decided that it was best for him to follow me in his truck and trailer north to Grants, NM. We would spend the night there and see how he felt in the morning.
So on to Grants. We check into a motel 6, I have wine, Nadeem takes pills.  By morning, Nadeem if feeling OK but is concerned that his ankle may give him problems if he rides but he wanted to go. So, we load all our stuff on the Ural and Nadeem rode monkey (in the sidecar tub).

Onward we go through hill and dale. Me driving, Nadeem holding on for dear life.
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Things are going good, but once or twice, Lyekka over heated so we had to stop and let her rest up a bit. Notice Lyekka’s load. She is a pack-horse.
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Our first stop is the “Crash Site”. No, not aliens but me.
In August of 2010 I was attempting to travel the Continental Divide culminating with a ride up Pike’s Peak. But I crashed at this site and cracked my sternum and hyper extended my rib cage that prevented me from being able to pick up by bike much less ride out. I was in McKinley County, NM but this counry did not have anyone competent enough to find me despite the fact that I carry a spot tracing device that provided them with the exact GPS location. I ended up in the open 19 hours until I was rescued by some fellow riders and the NM state police. I went to this location to see how hard it was to find. I entered the coordinates into my GPS and was routed straight there. Conclusion: The officials of McKinley County are morons.
Following are a few pictures from my previous encounter with this spot.
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Well, here I am at the same location with my hack. Notice, however, that the road has since been graded. The grader operators could find this road, but not McKinley county rescue?
We deposited a geocache of sorts near this location and will soon be posting a “Are you smarter than McKinley County?” challenge soon.
The rest of the day was fun and frustrating at the same time. When I had crashed previously, I was attempting to route around what showed on my routing to be a washed out area. The route that I took, was actually worse than the actual CD route Anyway, we were now off the CD route and not wanting to turn around where thought “surely, we could keep heading north east and rejoin the correct route” Surely. We went this way and that way. Every route we took was met with some sort of obstacle. A river, a deep ravine, a fence, always something. Then we started having lots of problems with Lyekka. She would run great for a while, then overheat and shut down. We got to the point where we could ride for about 5 – 10 min and then have to wait an hour for her to cool down.
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Interesting old building.

As we traveled north we would be on roads that the GPS map said did not exist and then there were roads shown on the GPS map that did not exist. Sometimes we were just riding though open fields looking for a way to get to the main route.

We came upon this river crossing and we debated back and forth as to whether or not we should attempt to cross.

We found a section of the river that looked passable (50/50 chance) and we were going to try it but we were not sure that was not going to be another one of the roads that go nowhere and the return way at the crossing looked worse. So we kept on trying to find a way back to the main route.

The ravine you see in the background was our problem. The main route was on the other side but the ravine ran for miles and we could not find a way to get across.
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Lyekka stops here and refuses to move another inch until she cools down.

So it is siesta time while Lyekka rests.

Trying to get Lyekka started again.
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OK, got it started again. Run back and jump in Nadeem!

Desert terrain
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Lyekka has overheated again. Time for a break.

Deep sandy roads

Lyekka will run about 5 mine and overheat and we would have to wait 30 to 45 min for her to cool down before we could continue on. We are trying to get back to Grants but the sun is setting and dark is approaching.

At the last “cool down” spot, we were thinking seriously about just laying down our sleeping bags and were going to have to wait until morning. We give it one more try and right around the corner is pavement going downhill. Lyekka says OK and we make it to Grants and find us a motel for the night.

We feel that the issue is valves are not within proper gap. Actually that is Nadeem’s idea, I don’t have a clue. I’m going “what are valves?”. Well not that bad, buy my mechanical knowledge is limited. So in the morning, we reset the valve clearances and for good measure I hit a few time with a large hammer.

We put it all back together, she starts right up and I am able to drive halfeway around the motel before it dies again. Ugg. Upon close examination, it now looks like there is a short in the ignition wire. We fix that and all is well.

We load all our stuff back on and it is time to hit the trail. Having spent most of yesterday trying to find our way back to the CDR, today we begin where we were supposed to in the first place and vowed not to do any side trips today.

Off we go! Running great! CDR here we come!

We make it a few miles out or down, then she sputters, farts and dies. After she cools down, we head back to town but notice how nice she runs all the way back to town, so we turn around and head to the trail.

Off we go! Running great! CDR here we come!

We pass the spot where we last crapped out. Still running great. We are finally on our way.

Then she spurts, farts and dies. After cool down, we drive backs to town, needless to say, she is running great. We think perhaps there may be some gunk in the gas or in the valves that needs to be burnt through so we go to an auto parts store and get some sea foam stuff to put in the gas. Did I mention that she is running great now? We pour in some gas cleaner and head back to the trail.
Off we go! Running great! CDR here we come!

We pass the spot where we crapped out the first time this morning. We pass the spot where we crapped out the second time. Still running great. We are finally on our way.

Until she sputters, farts and dies. We let her cool down and head back to town. It’s time to give up, lets head to the motel. Well, before we make it, Lyekka craps out. Fortunately this time it was near a taco restaurant. We had lunch giving Lyekka plenty of time to cool down. But after lunch, she would not start. We fiddle farted around with for it long time, but no go. After a while, Nadeem hitches a ride back to the motel to get his truck and trailer. Sadly It is time to give up, whatever is wrong with Lyekka is beyond what we can do in the field. We load bikes up and head home.

We decide to do a stop at Carlsbad Caverns on the way back. A few pictures.
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This picture, Nadeem thought was interesting. He thought it looked like a part of a woman’s anatomy.

Nadeem tries to pinch the boob.

Views from the top of the Cavern’s site.

That’s all there is. There ain’t no more. It sure seems that I am having trouble ever doing the CDR. This is the second attempt, so I guess there will have to be a third time. I’m wondering if my problem is that I keep trying to do this route from south to north. I think I should try doing it north to south so that I will be going downhill the whole time. I wonder if that will work?

Currently my plan is to try this again later August or early September, See ya then.

Oh, BTW: while I was trying to ride CDR, the real mother bird was back home setting on her nest.

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