Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Street Bike is up again

After discovering that rust and gunk had made its way into the carbs from the gas tank, and several attempts at cleaning by myself and neighbors and friends and coworkers, I finally got the Street Bike running again last night.

We cleaned the carbs (Thanks Rod). I cleaned the tank. I tried to remove metallic stuffs (Thanks Ben). I removed, cleaned, and ultimately replaced the fuel filter (Thanks Ed). I had suggestions and help from many others on how to fix it up. I tightened the battery leads, and viola, she was back on the street.

June 1st, the first good weather day in quite a while during the week, I rode to work again. Its nice to get back into the saddle.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Buckhorn Draw - Camping Review

In what I hope will become a series of posts, I want to share with you our adventures, the good and the bad, in the hopes that you can learn from us and enjoy these same areas as we have. Since we have been shown by other folks over the years about certain areas for recreation, we want to give back and share the information that we gather thru our first hand experience. So, without further ado, we launch into the Maiden Voyage of our Camping Reviews.

We recently purchased a toy hauler to haul our bikes, toilet and to a lesser degree the fridge out with us to enjoy the great outdoors. I've always contended that having a potty is priority #1. A fridge is #2 and a bed is #3. Having a shelter into which these 3 items reside is a plus that comes with a trailer or motorhome. Not a priority, but a happy happenstance. We have all the gear needed to endure a few days camping in a tent in the wild, and have done so on many adventures. When the weather turns, its miserable to be in a tent. In any event, these are some of the thoughts that led up to the purchase of a mobile potty container that also happens to have a fridge, beds and several other amenities.

We started loading it up on Wednesday night, and got the bikes loaded inside on Thursday night. After work Friday afternoon we departed from Pleasant Grove and headed south to Price. After a brief pit stop for some food and sundries at the grocery store, we continued on our way. Between home and Price we encountered a couple places where out F150 and 7k trailer bogged us down to the point of driving just under 40 miles per hour. Some of those hills are tough to climb. Outside Price we were able to keep the speed as we traveled south to Huntington. Another brief pit stop in Huntington and we were on our way out to Buckhorn Draw in the San Rafael Swell. To reach this destination, from Huntington, you simply have to find center street and head east. This takes you through some town and then the outskirts of town. At one point you will encounter a sign redirecting you off the road you are on to enter the San Rafael Recreation area. Follow this sign. It knows what it is talking about. This new road that will continue to take you east through the nothingness and ranches. Soon you will see a road that veers off to the left, with signs indicating Cleavland or a Dinosaur quarry. Do not follow this, unless you want to go that way. It will not take you to Buckhorn Draw.

If your destination is not Buckhorn draw, than its really silly to continue reading this as the intended destination will be exactly that. Veering to the right will keep you on track to the destination already discussed above. Soon you will see mountains on your left, on the east of you. Unless you are doing this in the dark like we did this time, in which case you will see what appears to be a massive void in the distance that is deceptively large but unexplained with the lack of light that night usually provides. Know that these are mountains. At this point you will be able to find anywhere off the road to camp. There are several locations from which to choose from. If you continue to follow this road, and stay to the left, it will provide you with a dozen opportunities to camp in locations near and far to the road upon which you are travelling. Continuing up this road a few more miles you will eventually encounter a gate. I've read that you can travel through the gate, leaving it as it was when you found it. We did not. So i cannot direct you into that area as it is comprised of nothingness in my recollection.

Back to the road we were so recently travelling on. You will most likely notice other campers already taking up residence in some spots that you may realize are well positioned and you wish that you had started your journey many hours earlier in order to ensure that you secured that camping spot. Keep this as a mental note for next time. Not this time, because someone is already there and its a mute point to want that spot. Continue on until you do find a spot. something that screams out to you as a descent spot for you to setup camp and sleep.

As you travel this road, which is called the old railroad road, you will see small roads that shoot off to the left. Most of these are great camping areas, some close, some further. One of them actually leads you to some petroglyphs. But this is a great area to camp. Had you veered right, instead of left as described above, this road will eventually take you to a few different roads, all with interesting locations to setup camp. Further along this road, you will encounter a road that leads to the Wedge Overlook. If you have not seen this, its a must see. Amazing views. There are some single track trails that branch off of this road further east. As well as the beginning of the road/trail that takes you down into Buckhorn Wash and ultimately to Green River. If you continued on east, you may eventually end up running into Highway 6 that headed from Price to Green River. Between these camping spots and Highway 6 there are many other trails to ride your dirt bike on.

If you ever find yourself in Green River, swing by the Robbers Roost hotel and grab a map for the Emery County area. This map has great details about the roads and trails in the area. I have personally ridden and driven on many of these trails. In future posts, I will detail my adventures prior to this maiden voyage in the toy hauler. We'll discuss the other trips that I have been on with friends and family, and the things to look for and to avoid. I hope these prove fruitful for someone other than myself and my family.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New street bike

Monday this week, I picked up a street bike from a local seller from KSL. It is a 1997 Honda Shadow ACE 1100. It's black, and it great condition.

I've known for years that I would eventually get me a street bike to compliment the dirt bike. As the years marched on, in my minds eye, I can see myself getting on a street bike for a quick ride to de-stress. I didn't want it to be too soon that I didn't appreciate it, or too old to appreciate it either.
Life tends to continue to get busier and more stress from time to time. It has its ups and downs. I used to be able escape briefly from life thru the TV and movies. Maybe im becoming immune to this, like one does if they take pain medication too often. Weekends tend to be less frequently able to be escapes, what with other plans, work on-call rotations, and sometimes the weather planing a part in thwarting my plans. I've noticed the last few months the desire for a quick hour or two of escape on random evenings, that would necessitate more planning for other activities. However a street bike ride would fit the bill nicely. Just throw on some gear quickly and ride away. No planning like I have to do to go dirtbiking, no coordinating with other peoples schedules, my own schedule and my families schedule... just get on and go. Assuming that there is time enough for the activity.

So, we were blessed to have found some money, sufficient to get a descent bike that can fit this bill. I started my hunt with a little more surgical approach. Heretofore I had been looking at a lot of possibilities. Once the amount was set, we had a cap, and that made it easier to search. Setting a lower cap also ensured that I got something that was descent. The hunt began.

With shopping buddies lending their expertise, with KSL providing options, and my excitement, I set out to find something I'd like. I set about to test drive some of the bikes to get a feel for them. The first one I tried, I absolutely loved. It had a lot of miles though. I kept looking, with this one at the top of my list. I tried a few more, and soon realized what type I liked. One weekend, my brother Brad showed up and hung out with us a few days, and I went to see a bike that was similar to those I've tried, but a little older. I didnt think that I would actually like it. However, I did. It had half the miles the first bike had, and felt great. A trip to the bank to get the money was a bust, as it gave me errors. So we had to wait for Monday to get any money. This let me think it over for the day.

I made an offer and he counter offered. Mine was 400 under. He went down a bit, I went up a bit, we settled somewhere in the middle. I got a good deal, he got a good deal. I got a bike.
Ive taken it out a number of times in the past week, usually in the dark, and just around the neighborhood. So far, I've gotten each member of my family (including my wife) to take a ride with me. They have all loved it, and I have had quite the workout of my smile muscles. So far, so good.

I'm anxious for some clear days, with little weather occurring, and cold or not, I will take her out for a ride and get acquainted. Come spring, well, I cant wait to take it out more and more and more...

Friday, September 17, 2010

A new way to play racquetball at lunchtime

My long time rball partner has been taken away from me for work, since mid July. I have not had my twice weekly dose of racquetball workouts on Tuesday and Thursday since then.
I recently competed in the Orem Membership Drive tournament, as well as help run it with my awesome daughter (who put in 20 hours of volunteer work). I realized that even a few weeks, let alone months off from the sport can cause rust to appear on the body. I played poorly, with a few spots of shiny.
While at the event, another player and I were talking about consistent play, and he mentioned that he goes daily to the gym to play. Much more than I ever have done, and I admire him for it. I can do maybe 2 days, maybe 3 a week at lunch time. Some evenings, but not many. There is quite a difference in how he plays and how i play, and its because of the practice, among other things. So, he said to come down and find a game at lunch times.
I was loathe to goto the gym without an assurance that someone would be there. I went anyway, biting my natural tendencies to bow out and make an excuse and not go. While there, i was able to meet and play with 2 new individuals that were either at my skill level or above, allowing me and they to give each other a good run for points as we all were able to work out and get the needed exercise that the sport is ultimately giving us. I returned today, Friday, and ended up playing Roger and Sylvia. They are trying to compete in doubles tournaments more, and they played doubles against me. I got to play as if I were two players, against the two of them. Granted, this is more of a workout for me, and I get to server twice, allowing Evil TJay the chance to screw up, and LessEvil TJay the chance to make a descent shot once in a while. I ended up winning the game only by a few points, mostly due to ball placement taking advantage of their inability to quickly reach the ball in some (very few) situations. It was a great game. And it mixed up my game and exercise well. I hope to return and make this a new habit, picking up a game with whomever happens to be there and playing. This is not something i have done, and it falls outside of my comfort zone, tremendously. I like to have it planned and know that i will have a partner to play. Showing up, hoping to play, is difficult.
Hopefully the years of volunteering with the Utah Racquetball Association has garnered me enough acquaintances that I will be able to continue playing, even without a steady partner. Its been 8 years of playing with partners, and this is different for me. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 AF Canyon - first trip

With the weather being so wet in June, and cool, we didn't get up into the mountains to ride the area until August. Last night, 3 of us went up to Salamander Flats and staged for our first ride. This ride almost didn't happen, as a huge rain storm occurred earlier in the day. But with the sun coming out for most of the afternoon, it seemed like we could give it a shot. It was a cool 60 degrees, and the trail was slick in spots, but extremely fun. We take off from Salamander Flats and head to summit. This is always a great little leg to get started on, as it has some tight curves and rocky paths that are not hard to pass, but remind you of whats coming up in the harder sections. We got to summit and took a small break to make sure we were all ok continuing on. We were, and we took off, heading down the hill on 252 (i think). This is a quick little trail, and has some meadows that you pass thru rather quickly. The climb back up to 157 on the ridge is some of the funnest simple trail in this area. I love that leg. Once we got to the top of the ridge, we encountered a group of riders numbering above 12 riders. They were going opposite of us, and we met about midway. We had a great little chat with these folks about bikes, trails, and so forth. We continued up along 157 to the junction that would take us back to Salamander Flats. But at the junction, instead of heading right, we headed left, and went back up to summit. This was the first time i recall hitting this section of trail, and it was enjoyable. Once at summit, we could see that there was still sun in our favor, and it seemed like we were quitting early if we headed back to Salamander Flats now. So, we repeated what we had just done, and headed down 252 and back up to 157 on the ridge. Once we got to the turn off to Salamander Flats, we took it this time, and chased the sun all the way to the Staging area. We barely made it as the burning globe dipped behind the mountains, leaving us to pack the bikes and gear in the twilight. This is the perfect timing, having used all available sunlight to our advantage. While loading up, we could smell the dinners cooking nearby from the campers in the area. It smelt divine, as I had not had dinner yet prior to the ride. While loading up our gear, one of my knee guards went missing. I could swear it was right there a moment ago, but it was not there when i went to close up my bag. I looked all over the place, in the bag, around the bag, around the trucks, and so on. It was then that we remembered the puppy that had come over to say hi to us from a nearby camp. We strolled over to the camp and found the extra knee guard. This camp was the same one that had come over to invite us to feed on their leftovers. So we proceeded to enjoy their hospitality and chowed down on some yummy stew. We stood around their campfire, had some fun discussions and ate their stew. It hit the spot. As we talked and enjoyed the ambiance, the sun completely disappeared, leaving us to drive down in the dark. We realized that our wives may be worried, as the sun had set and we still hadn't returned. As soon as we got out of the canyon we made the calls to let them know we were ok, and returned home, tired, sweaty, full of stew, and muddy. I hated putting my bike away dirty and muddy. But with no sun to allow me to wash her off, i had too. Maybe tonight, i can get her back out and clean her up, gas her up, and get her ready for the next adventure.

Monday, July 26, 2010

what i did saturday

so there i am in the water

ski on, rope in hand, nervous and a little bit frustrated.

its her first time this year, and for some reason, all previous instances of the actions taken to perform the task ahead are erased annually

i go thru the explanations once again, and again

we are lined up, ready to go, and I yell the fatefull words 'hit-it' and the task is upon me. breathing no longer necessary or possible.

i feel the tug of the handle in my grasp, and hold on like grim death

as i rise, i am showered with pellets of lukewarmess

then i descend, ever so briefly, as i always have, as the torrent deluges over and around me

then the tugging seems to lessen, and i sink, sink, sink...but im so close... i just needed a little more to go and hold on before birthing into the new world where i glide over instead of thru the water

just need to hold on a bit more, but already, ive sunk too far

suddenly i am met with a fierceness of resumed tugging at my hands and arms

i feel the adrenaline tell my muscles that they can make it, and pull this out, to just bear with it a little bit more...

but alas, they do not listen, or are unwilling to comply and i let go, sinking into the drink once again, back where i started

apparantly my little girl saw me dip back down ever so briefly and decided to shout the terminal command "down" which precipitated

my descent and ultimate demise at the end of the rope

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My 2009 Christmas story

This post has been moved to my personal blog