Saturday, July 6, 2013

Video Compilation - Riding another awesome Motorcycle Road - Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway, Colorado state Highway 141

A close friend of mine that lives near Grand Junction said "you must go to Gateway Colorado and see the Auto Museum and the Canyon". Well, we did, we first took the motorhome down this route on way to our base in Silverton, Colorado. The road was super easy for a big RV rig and the Auto Museum was an absolute treat. Watch for the post on that visit in a few days. I will add that this 300 mile ride was a backup to a 400 mile ride that we had to cancel due to the Wild Fires in south central Colorado. there was certainly no loss on our part because the ride delivered 10+!

I could try and be an expert and say a lot about this part of our great country but, I again will differ to the various "true expert" and their websites on these Interwebs that are stock full of info on this historic and beautiful drive. Enjoy!

BLM Excerpt:

Along the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway, reminders of Colorado's last frontier are still evident today. The route begins in Whitewater and pursues a course through Unaweep Canyon, where geological formations are as many as 1.4 to 1.7 billion years old. Along the way, the route passes by Bangs Canyon Recreation Area and through the Gateway Area. After reaching Gateway, the Byway turns to thread its way through the vivid desert redbeds of the narrow Dolores River Canyon. Soon, travelers will pass Uravan, where mining activity has been historically prominent, beginning with copper and later shifting to uranium used for atomic bombs during Wolrd War II. Water for these processes was provided by the Hanging Flume aqueduct system, and remnants of this landmark can still be seen today. Continuing on, the Byway eventually takes a course through San Miguel River Recreation Area and ends in Placerville. By the time travelers have completed the entire route, they will have seen remote lands featuring green meadows, snow-capped peaks, turbulent rivers, abandoned mining claims and more.

About the Hanging Flumes:

The Hanging Flume is perhaps one of the most risky and lofty plans in mining history . . . and for the purposes of placer mining, pretty much a complete failure. But as a heritage tourism site, it still holds our attention, long after the memory of its father, the mysterious Nathaniel P. Turner and hundreds of grunt workers have faded. Recent preservation efforts promise that we will enjoy the Hanging Flume for generations to come.
 On to our videos! Folks, this video is about 10 minutes long. Go grab a cold beverage and come back and sit back for a spell to enjoy.

Riding the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway (Standard Definition) from PJC on Vimeo.

Riding the Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway (High Definition) from PJC on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Riding the Million Dollar Highway - Time Lapse Photography

One of the finest Motorcycle Roads in the United States is better known as "The Million Dollar Highway". It is a breathtakingly beautiful and mostly a "soul settling" ride in both directions. Going north, is more relaxing than going south as the section described below keeps you on your toes at the edge of an abyss.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Though the entire stretch has been called the Million Dollar Highway, it is really the twelve miles (19 km) south of Ouray through the Uncompahgre Gorge to the summit of Red Mountain Pass which gains the highway its name. This stretch through the gorge is challenging and potentially hazardous to drive; it is characterized by steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and a lack of guardrails; the ascent of Red Mountain Pass is marked with a number of hairpin curves used to gain elevation, and again, narrow lanes for traffic—many cut directly into the sides of mountains.

To render this ride into a format easily viewed, I used a GoPro camera to shoot 2 photos per second. I then combined and edited the photos into a movie using CineForm Studio and Apple IVideo. I am very happy with the final product.

Some have asked how I kept the little GoPro camera running so long. My setup is a GoPro Hero3 Black edition with extra battery backpack as well as a large, external LiPo battery that connects to the GoPro USB port.The USB connection is a bit finicky and sometimes does not power the camera when the cameras batteries are depleted. It's king of hit and miss. I sure wish that GoPro would come up with a bulletproof external power supply... HINT!!  To control the camera, I enable Wifi on the camera and connect via the GoPro app on my Iphone. The later is powered all the time as I use the Iphone on my bike to play music while I ride.

Here are the videos for your viewing. There are Standard and High Definition formats. Enjoy.

Timelapse - Riding The Million Dollar Highway - US 550 - July 2013 (SD) from PJC on Vimeo.

Timelapse - Riding The Million Dollar Highway - US 550 - July 2013 (HD) from PJC on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Sooner or later, every RV owner is faced with changing out the shore power plug on their rig. Even if they were originally molded together the plug and cable become separated mostly due to the vast temperature changes that our rigs endure which shrink and expand the cable sheath and conductor insulation. With 50 amps of current running through this plug, any loose or exposed wire conductor is a recipe for an electrical fire.

I faced this exact issue with our rig and I initially chose to replace the plug with the Camco version that is fitted with a handle at the back of the plug for easy handling. I visited my local RV parts vendor, paid  @ $20 and upon opening the packaging and the looking at the inside of the plug, I was appalled at the extremely flimsy construction and what I will call a "dangerous design". I immediately returned this junk item and went to Plan #B with a visit to my local, "Blue Home Improvement Store" full of items made everywhere but in the USA.

Beware of Camco-Chinese, "Chamco Junk!"
At the Big Blue Store, all I could find was a plug made in Mexico that was clearly designed for static, household use and very limited handling and therefore not compatible with RV, shore power use. Because we were heading out in the next few days, I made the purchase at @ $25 and also made a note to look for a better solution.

The Mexico plug was far better constructed than the Chamco Junk but definitely did not make me feel comfortable with the small amount of surface that would grip the shore line cable sheath or the dangerous lack of clearance between the circuit elements in the plug (just like the Chamco).

In less than 30 days, my fear about the clamping force on the cable sheath was confirmed. Because of the consistent handling in an RV environment, the cable sheath pulled out of the plug straining the conductors. And yes, I tightened the sheath clamp as much as possible.

The Mexico plug. Who designed this thing? 

The search was now on for a viable solution. I looked for many months and finally found what I was looking for -  directly from the USA, made by Hubbell.  Yes, it is pricey at $70 delivered via You get what you pay for and this unit is truly of "commercial quality". All the shortcomings of the Chamco Junk and the Mexico plug are covered in this unit. It is very durable, very well made and of a safe, thoughtful design. In particular, it has adequate insulation and spacing for the conductors in the plug itself and a very large surface for clamping the cable sheath.

Hubbel Part# and Origin
Hubbell Plug Fitted
Compare the safe spacing and insulation of the conductors
Unlike the Chamco and Mexico plugs that use very small,
screws to tension and grab the wire conductors , the
Hubbell plug uses large 3/16th inch socket screws.

Even though, I despise the Chinese crap from Chamco, I did like their idea for a handle that was fixed to the plug. The Hubbell unit had no such feature. Fortunately, some deep research on the Interwebs revealed a new solution by Coil n' Wrap with the product name of "Plug Dogs". Presto, problem solved!

No this is a great setup!
Removing and fitting the new plug took about 30 minutes. I feel confident that my shore power connection is now safe and trouble free for many years to come.  Thanks Hubbell and Coil 'n Wrap.

Tools: 3/16 Allen, compound snips, precision snips, flat blade
screwdriver and a box cutter knife. 

KEYWORDS: Camco Made in China, 55255, Hubbell Made in USA

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Riding Season has commenced!

I left the compound at 0800hrs and 67 degrees. Hopefully the weather will hold to the official start of spring a bit ahead.

A quick loop of 215 miles in just under 4 hours was in order and a great time to dial in the Madstad Windscreen. I stick to my claims that this was the best addition so far on the Road Glide. Even with varying cross winds the ride was very comfortable. About the only turbulence at speed is coming of the side of the fairing. My next add-on will be a set of Sancho's Wings.

This loop is about 80 miles of divided highway with light traffic with the remainder being two lane, rural highway with very little traffic. The vistas just get better and better with every mile.

The far side of the loop is the tiny road stop of Death Valley Junction and my favorite route into Death Valley. I'll catch that whole loop soon,

Death Valley Junction pano-pic.The proverbial "blink and you'll miss it".

Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's Been Awhile

It has been awhile since my last Blog post. The normal excuses of "too busy", "family", "work" etc. etc. etc. do apply.  So what, let's move on!

One of the activities I have taken back up is Motorcycle Touring. Looking way back, it started at age 12 in the late 1960's with my first dirtbike and all the freedom that provided in the formerly unrestricted, rural hills of Southern California. As time went by I have owned many motorcycles and have been active as well as dormant in the sport and pastime. Bringing it all current - after some deep family stress in 2012, I looked for an avenue to get away from distractions - for "solitude thinking", bordering on meditation where I could remove myself from the daily priorities to think out the processes to then create a protective and positive outcome for myself and those dear to me.  Fortunately for me, there soon became nothing better than the very wide open, perfect motorcycle touring roads of rural Nevada. I mean the "very best" where you can travel for 30 minutes and never see another vehicle, all while being surrounded by the incredibly vast, crystal clear vistas of the Great Basin.

So here I am, back with a few photos and prose to share with you all on that very subject. I hope you enjoy.

Meet "My Therapist". She is a 2012 Harley Davidson, Road Glide Custom. Very low miles, excellent condition, and always looking for new accessories.

A lot of my motorsports friends ridiculed me for buying a cruiser and not one of the "latest fad - adventure bikes". I tried those bikes, I liked them and if I did not live in a local where roads are so empty, so smooth and so straight that they disappear over the horizon, I may have made that choice. The Harley suits me fine, it is incredibly comfortable, has a great stereo and enables the mode to induce deep thought and meditation on those long, perfect Nevada rides.

Today, after a few months of minor chaos, I was finally able to couple great weather, a bit of freedom from work and a lack of family responsibility together to hit the road for a nice 180 mile ride out to the Valley of Fire, State Park and Overton, NV and back. The photo above is in the park at a location called "The Cabins". I used my Nikon D5100 DSLR for this shot. The map below covers my route - all told - about 175 miles.

Below is one of the roads in the State Park. This photo was taken with my Iphone 4S with quality still a far contrast to that of the Nikon DLSR. A neat pic though none the less.

Between the park and the town of Overton is a BLM, Long Term Visitor Area "LVTA" where RV owners can camp for extended periods of time for next to nothing. These areas are commonly sprinkled with camps, all with privacy gaps that I'd sure agree with.  The campers range from retired, full time RV dwellers with good apparent income to individuals that look to be at the fringe of our economy and society. The old coot below and his incredibly rustic, vintage trailer surely fit the later category.

It should be clear that I enjoy photography and the satisfaction of capturing interesting subject matter to share. This is definitely one to capture. The man's poverty is sad yet, it is good that he remains independent with a roof over his head, in a rural area with a wonderful vista and not some trash filled alley in the bowls of one of our overcrowded cities.

That's all for today folks. I will do better to keep the Blog more current. With that, My Therapist leaves you with the following message: "Be American - Buy American!"