Monday, August 30, 2010

Moto to Flagstaff??

Apparently, not everyone got the memo that Christine and I are going to ride our motorcycles to Flagstaff, AZ. That's probably because I never sent the memo.

A year and a half ago, Christine and I booked ourselves on a raft trip through the Grand Canyon. I've done it before (twice in fact), but on the last trip I just knew that it was something Christine needed to do. I recently looked through my journal from the last trip and these were the last words I wrote:

I need to take another Grand Canyon vacation. An oar trip next time though.

So that what we're doing. A 16-day float trip through the Grand Canyon with ample time for hiking to some amazing places from the river.

How could we possibly make this trip better? Motorcycles. We're going to ride our motorcycles down. We'll ride from Fort Collins to Durango one day and from Durango to Flagstaff the next. We've never taken a trip like this, so I have no idea how it's going to work out. If all else fails, we park the bikes somewhere and rent a car.

The bikes are equipped and ready to go. Maybe this trip is just an excuse to tinker with the bikes. Here are some of the things we've added:
- Cruise Control / Throttle Lock
- Extra tool storage
- Aux fuse box
- Heated jackets
- Highway pegs
- Bike-to-bike intercom
- Power jacks for jackets, cell phones, gps, etc.

I'm excited to get rolling.

Moto mayhem

In a few weeks, Christine and I will embark on our longest motorcycle ride to date: Fort Collins to Flagstaff. We've been busy getting our bikes and gear ready for the long haul.

I've spent a lot of time in the garage over the past week installing cruise control on my bike. Not a throttle lock, but full-on cruise control. Conceptually it's pretty simple. There's a control unit that can tug on the throttle as it monitors speed, tach, and brake. As you might expect, it's a little involved to hook it all up.

It started with a teardown of the bike. I had to remove most of the body panels, the gas tank, the air cleaner (harder than it sounds), and even the throttle bodies. Having never taken that much off the bike, it was a little scary and I often wondered if it would all go back together. From there, I had to hook up the control unit and all of the wires. Sounds simple in words, but it took a long time and several trips to the hardware store.

2010-08-21_02_bike disassembled

Finally it was time to put things back together and cross my fingers. Once I got far enough along in the reassembly I could hook up the battery and test my wiring. So far so good, everything seemed to be working. Then I finished putting the bike together and started it up. The first time I tried to start it, I had forgotten to hook up the fuel line to the throttle body and the fuel pump spit a bunch of gas on me. Nice. After rectifying that situation, the bike started up and ran perfectly. Pretty exciting.

Then comes the scary part - a test ride. I put on all of my gear and set out to see what happens when you let a computer (and a marginally competent engineer) mess with your throttle. I got out on an open road near the house and hit the "set" button. To my amusement, I could feel the computer take ahold of the throttle and maintain my speed. It was super sweet. I tested out all the other features and everything worked great. I'm ready for some long highway miles. I still have some finishing work to do (like mounting the control pad), but it's mostly done.

In addition to the work on my bike, I made a couple modifications to Christine's. She wanted to be able to stretch her legs out a bit while riding, so I added some highway pegs. That's still a work in progress as we try to find a position that's comfortable for her. I'm not ready to tackle the cruise control install on her bike, but for now I've installed a throttle lock. Unlike cruise control, it takes some adjusting as you ride, but it will help give the throttle hand some relief.

On the wardrobe side, Christine had some height added to her boots. Even with a lowered bike, it's hard for her to get her feet down. The added bit of sole really helps.
Christine's Gene Simmons moto boots
And to top it all off, we added some new white leather pants and a white leather jacket. Hotness ensued.
2010-08-29_01_ready for a bike ride

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weight weenie

When it comes to camping, Christine is a weight weenie.

As we were packing up to leave, she was debating on whether or not to bring her flip-flops for lounging around camp. She decided not to bring them because she didn't want the extra weight. (I don't know how much flip-flops weigh, but I'd guess you measure it in ounces.)

Later that night, she pulls an electric toothbrush out of her bag. It was awesome. We all have our favorite luxury items. Hers is a toothbrush.

(Mine is a wife. Does that count as a luxury "item"? I don't care. I don't like going camping without that bit of luxury. But I am glad I don't have to carry her...often.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Browns Lake

It's the middle of August, and Christine and I finally went on our first backpacking trip of the year. Yeah, I suppose we "camped" during the Bicycle Tour of Colorado, but I don't think that counts. :)

After work on Friday, Christine and I drove up to Pingre Park road to car camp for the evening. That area gets a little crowded on the weekend, but we found a cool campsite off the road behind some big rocks.
Campsite from above

Saturday morning we took a short drive down Crown Point road to the Browns Lake trailhead. We've hike to Browns Lake several times, and it's always nice to get back to an old favorite. Even though we didn't get there until Saturday afternoon, we managed to get our favorite camp site in the area. It's away from the other sites (camping only in designated sites here), and there's plenty of space.

In the past, I've caught a lot of really nice fish here. This time, I didn't have much luck. I caught a couple decent ones, and a couple that were so small I didn't know how they get on the hook.

Sunday morning we lazily slept in and cooked up some eggs for breakfast. We don't normally cook eggs because it's a bit of a pain. This time, we steamed them with spinach and cheese in these funny silicon cupcake cups. It worked great.
Egg breakfast

We didn't stick around long. Christine had a flight to catch, so we got out of there right after breakfast and headed home. I wish we could have spent more time out, but we'll take what we can get. It was a great time.


Ryan catches a fish