Ural-a-ling in the southwest, a winter sojurn 2012

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Mr. Cob, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    It has been my habit for the last 8 years or so to escape from the gloom and rain of the Nor-Wet by traveling south in search of sunshine and a bit of warmth. For many years I would spend a couple of weeks in Death Valley but after being there so many times and having seen everything there is to be seen and ridden every trail possible I needed something different. And so I tossed a request out to my fellow Uralista's who lived in the southwestern part of the country to do some sort of small rally or just participate in a small group ride showcasing their part of the country.

    I had also heard about a sidecar rally being held a few miles northeast of Yuma Arizona and so I kinda planed my time and route to include this rally. This year would be my first time going south with the toy hauler I had bought last summer, so going to a new rally, meeting new Ural riders and living in the deluxe rolling garage was something I was looking forward to. I left from my home just outside of Granite Falls WA on February 12th, arrived two days later at a friends home in Hespria CA where I would spend the next day before leaving to attend the rally in Arizona.

    I arrived at the rally site a day before it started, I wanted to get there early as I wanted to pick a parking spot for my truck and trailer that was easy to get in and out of. Having never before towed a 38 foot long 5th wheel trailer I didn't want to arrive and have to jocky that beast into a camping spot. As it turned out there were plenty of easy parking-dry camp sites but as I had never been in this area before I didn't want to take a chance.

    The next day the Uralista's started to show up, first was Dennis with his neat camper-van, his Ural in the foreground.
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    Later that evening the Ural riders from Arizona started to arrive, I am sorry I can't remember everyones name. This is Terry's rig
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    Here Walt, a rider who lives in Colorado does a bit of head light repair.
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    I think this is Beemer Bob's rig.
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    When ever a Ural or especially a group of them are parked, they soon draw a crowd of folks wondering what they are and how old they are, most are surprised to hear that they are still being made and that most are only a few years old.
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    Terry who is a member of the Navajo Nation has a sense of humor that he enjoys sharing.
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    The sidecar rally that was being held at this camp ground was open to all makes and models of motorcycles equipped with sidecars. After the Ural camp was established Dennis and I rode across the road to where the other sidecars were starting to show up and to setup camp. We walked around and talked to some of the folks most were nice people but as always we ran across a couple who just had to show their contempt for Ural's by making snide remarks. Funny thing is one of these fancy rig folks was to later break their high dollar rig trying to get it unstuck from the sand they rode into, something a lowly Ural would have no problem with. :lol3

    The next day myself Dennis and a couple of fellows from across the road, sorry I can't remember his name went on a nice ride on a dirt road that had some very deep sand on it, this caused a problem for the guys on the one wheel drive rig and they had to turn around. Here's a bunch of photos from that ride.
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    You find the strangest critters in the desert.
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    This was one of the DEEP sand areas that forced the one wheel drive rigs to have to turn back.
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    We came across a wash with Dennis's last name.
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    The camp ground was next to a large dam formed lake, lots of boating and fishing in the middle of the desert.
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    I stayed at the rally site for two days then packed up and headed to "Pipe Organ National Park", stay tuned for some beautiful desert views.
    #1
  2. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    327
    Looking forward to reading this. We had a great time.
    #2
  3. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    57,302
    Location:
    Toronto
    Beautiful pics!! Let's see the beauty of the desert :thumb

    :lurk
    #3
  4. n16ht5

    n16ht5 ride the night

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,429
    Location:
    Arlington, WA
    bout friggen time! excellent photos!
    #4
  5. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    I left the Yuma area and headed southeast to Organ Pipe National Park. I had some misgivings about going to this park, a good friend of mine was working there as one of the camp ground hosts and I had heard that the park was one of the most beautiful desert parks in the entire country. My misgiving concerned how our government and its lax enforcement of its laws had resulted in half of the park being taken over by drug runners and illegals crossing the border from Mexico into the USA.

    To me this is a travesty, how can we police the world when we can't even secure our own national border. On the way I passed through three check points manned by border patrol, they checked nothing, I could have had 50 illegals or tons of drugs in my trailer, they just waved me through, no wonder our border is so full of holes. Enough of my rant it just bothers me that this is going on and nobody in government seems to care, I guess they are all making to much money off this scam yet we can't get on an air plane without getting felt up or x-rayed. :puke1

    I checked into the main ranger station, picked out my camping spot and then got settled in for the next three days that I would be here in the park. My camp site. You can see some of the desert plants are in bloom, lots of color and way more green then I had ever seen in a desert area.
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    Because of the park closures there were only two roads open to public travel, there were tours accompanied by "armed guards" that you could sign up for but this is NOT my style of sight seeing. So me and the Boys headed out on a 20 mile one way road that ran through the mountains, this road had a lot of elevation change and offered some spectacular views. I am just going to post photos in the order they were taken along this road with a few comments scattered where they will add to the story.
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    And so the day ended, it was a great ride I only saw two other vehicles whilst on this road, I spent a lot of time just sitting and taking in the views. I really enjoy traveling with the Boys, they love to ride, don't complain when I stop to take MANY photos and are good company for those times when you just want to let it all soak in with out having to explain why. Stay tuned. :D
    #5
  6. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    Another day in the park, another road to travel. Saw a lot of neat flowering plants on this road here's some photos.
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    Detail of the flower on the plant pictured above this photo.
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    I was surprised by how much grass was growing in some of the old dry creek beds.
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    Small bushy trees were everywhere.
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    After leaving the dirt road I rode on the main paved hwy that crosses the park and goes into Mexico. I didn't cross the border I had no interest in visiting that part of Mexico. Here's some shots taken at or near the border crossing.
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    You can't bring guns into Mexico but once your there you can buy one that was probably supplied by our government to the drug dealers that have half of this park closed to public use.
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    The Ural loaded in the back of the toy hauler, the next morning I leave the Organ Pipe Park and head for Craig and Jenny's home in Hesperia California where I'll be camped in Craig's front yard until I head back north toward home a week or so later.
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    I really enjoyed the time I spent in Organ Pipe Park, its a totally different type of desert then the ones I am used to seeing and camping in, so much plant life, so green, it really is a magical place. Stay tuned.
    #6
  7. Thermos

    Thermos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Oddometer:
    240
    Location:
    Gray, Maine
    Nice ride report!

    -T
    #7
  8. FLYING EYEBALL

    FLYING EYEBALL out of step

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,608
    Location:
    southeast of seattle
    good stuff!! :clap
    #8
  9. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    After leaving from Organ Pipe Park, I drove to Uralista "cpres" home in Hespria California, Craig and Jennie hosted me when I did the circumnavigation of the USA the summer of 2008 on the Ural. Craig was kind enough to let me park my truck-trailer in his front yard for the time that I spent at his home, THANKS Craig. :deal

    When I arrived at Craig's home he was in the process of installing new push rods in his Retro, one of them had failed so we replaced all of them and did some detail work in the process. This is the push rod that failed.
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    On the older Ural's, built prior to 2010, the nuts used to secure the rocker arm supports -heads to the engine were not finished flat on the top or bottom. This rough edge would dig into the rocker arm supports causing metal displacement between the nut and the rocker arm support. The rough surface of the nut made it impossible to get accurate torque readings when tightening the nuts and in my opinion was a major cause of many cylinder head studs threads being pulled from the crankcase.

    Starting in 2010 ALL the new engines came equipped with "flange nuts", these nuts can be bought from a Ural dealer and installed on ALL older engines, I highly recommend doing this. If you don't want to replace the old nuts you can do what I have helped Craig do to his engine as he wanted to RIDE and not wait for parts.

    This what the surface of the old style nuts looks like, this rough surface is what prevents proper torque readings and is what galls when it is tightened against the rocker arm supports.
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    This is the damage done to the mating surface between the nut and the rocker arm supports.
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    This is a "THEORY" that I have, I have no official information to collaborate this, I think the nuts were made this way so that when they were tightened they kinda locked into position, remember the Ural was first built as a military vehicle, worked on in very nasty conditions by folks who had only minimal training to keep them going, I doubt that the field mechanic had a torque wrench in his tool box he would have been lucky to have a full set of tools that comes with the rig. Using the old style nut once it was tightened down the changes of it backing off were pretty slim, the trick was DON'T over tighten the nut.

    As we didn't have the new flange nuts and we wanted to RIDE we did what I have done to my older Ural's years ago before I got the new style nuts, using common sense and regular tools we "re-machined" the old parts.

    Step one, using a good sharp hand file, CAREFULLY dress the burrs from the surfaces of the rocker arm supports that have been gouged but the old nuts. You DON'T have to remove the deep gouge, just the burrs so that you have a FLAT mating surface. Here Craig is doing the file work.
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    This is what you want to end up with when your done filing, a FLAT surface, do this to both ends of both rocker arm supports on both sets of heads.
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    Step two, using the SIDE of the grinding wheel on a common electrically powered bench grinder, CAREFULLY dress the mating surface on one side of the nut to remove all the nasty bits ending up with a FLAT surface, like this.
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    Both of these steps must be done slowly and carefully, you don't have to remove a lot of metal and you must be extremely careful NOT to file or grind an angle onto the mating surfaces, TAKE YOUR TIME, its easy to do, just don't rush it. Once you have flat mating surfaces on the nuts and the rocker arm supports you need to make a trip to the local hardware store, when there pick up some proper size FLAT washers, these washers will be installed in-between the nuts and the rocker arm supports.

    You don't need hardened washers, there really is no stress being put on these washers they are used only to provide a "full" contact FLAT mating surface between the nuts and the rocker arm supports. In this case we used hardened washers as the store didn't have any grade 5 regular washers of the proper size.

    This shows the rocker arm support in place.
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    Here the washer has been installed.
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    This is what the assembly looks like after ALL the nuts have been torqued in the proper sequence to the proper reading, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, torque a Ural cylinder head nut to more then 36-38 pounds MAXIMUM. As you can see in this photo the threaded stud does not protrude past the top surface of the nut, when using hardened washers ( hardened washers are usually a bit thicker then regular grade 5 washers ) this is NORMAL and there is plenty of thread engagement between the nut and the stud to safely do its job.
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    This is a procedure that I would highly recommend everyone who has an older Ural doing the next time they set valves, rework the stock parts as we have done here, or better yet BUY the new flange nuts and have them on hand before you do your next valve adjustment. REMEMBER if you buy the new flange nuts you will still have to hand file a FLAT burr free surface on the rocker arm supports BEFORE installing the flange nuts.

    All the head work done, Craig changes all the fluids in preparation for the afternoons ride.
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    I loaded the Boys into my sidecar, Jennie jumped into the hack of "her" rig and we had a short ride around the area, it was a good day of wrenching and riding. Stay tuned for "sidecar alignment 101".

    Part of the agreement between myself and IMWA is that as I travel and attend Ural gatherings, I am on the lookout for things that aren't right on the rigs and when ever possible I'll do all I can to help the owner get his rig in to proper trim-tune or suggest what he needs to do in order to eliminate what ever problem they may be having. I also carry a good assortment of spare parts so in many cases I have the part on hand to fix something that isn't right. I don't work for Ural, I work with them, its the best job I have never had.
    #9
  10. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    327
    If you think I had a choice in you parking, you have underestimated the gal who calls the Ural her bike, I enjoy our visits and the Ural folk are great fun. Jenni says hi and she is enjoying following along, her bike really runs nice right now so I am just going to ride and enjoy it for what it is. For those who don't know Jenni she is a brain injury survivor and says cars a dangerous not bikes, the Ural has gotten her in the wind and meeting new folks is always fun. We have a 600 mile trip planned for the end of the month so maybe you will see my first ADV ride report.

    For those of you on the edge Urals are great and Mr. Cob is a good guest, take the plunge and join in the story.
    #10
  11. Motomuffin

    Motomuffin CSMC

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    549
    :lurk
    #11
  12. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    Jason a friend of Craig's rode his rig over to visit and to meet me, when I first saw Jason's rig I couldn't believe my eyes, in the 6 years I have riding and wrenching on Ural's I had NEVER seen one so badly misaligned. For those not familiar with sidecars a bit of explanation will help you understand why this had to be corrected not only because it would make it easier on the machine but because the way the rig was aligned it was down right dangerous to ride.

    Alignment 101, There should be a bit of "lean out" in that the motorcycle should lean away from the sidecar from one to three degrees, this is to counteract the crown that is on most roads on an off road bike I have found that zero lean out works best as the rig is often on terrain which causes it to lean away from the sidecar this in turn makes it easier to flip the rig over. It is also good to have the tire on the sidecar toed in a bit in relationship to the bike as this helps and makes it easier to steer the bike in a straight line especially on a crowned road, the amount of tow in will depend on how steep the local roads are crowned, how heavy the sidecar is and a number of other variables. Here again it has been my experience that a TWO WHEEL DRIVE Ural that is used primarily off road and is in two wheel drive a lot is much easier to control if there is zero toe in, this is because when in two wheel drive the toed in tire on the sidecar wants to push the rig sideways when under power.

    Now that you have a bit of back ground take a look at this photo, notice how the bike leans toward the sidecar NOT away from it, also notice how the sidecar wheel rather then being toed in, is in fact toed out. This is from the front.
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    From the rear, also notice how the sidecar wheel is canted toward the bike at the top, this is WRONG.
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    I have a bunch of photos on my Smugmug showing the angles that the rig was set at if your interested in seeing them go to this gallery.

    http://mr-cob.smugmug.com/Motorcycl...cross/21618317_cL6qZR#!i=1724041992&k=dZrQxQr

    After discussing this with Jason, we arranged to go over to his home the next day and set his rig up properly what follows is photos showing how we did this job and the results of how the rig now looks and functions. Here we are getting ready to work on the rig in Jason's garage. Before we can correct the alignment we had to loosen all the adjustments, take measurements and determine the present angles.
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    We will be using a floor jack to move the rear of the sidecar so we can adjust the angle of the sidecar wheel and the toe in.
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    We will be using two old 8 foot long florescent light bulbs as straight edges, these will be held to the wheels with bunji-cords.
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    Here you can see the floor jack in place and the light bulbs are ready to be secured to the wheels.
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    First taking a measurement off my older rig we set the front adjuster so that we can then use the rear adjuster to set the toe in. On the older rigs, pre 2010, the front sidecar mount was NOT adjustable taking the measurement from my older rig gave us a good starting point from which to make the other adjustments.
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    All of the adjustments made, we are now making sure that everything is TIGHT and that reference marks have been punched or scribed on the adjusters so that if in the future the sidecar should ever have to be removed or if fine tuning of the alignment needs to be done a KNOWN starting point will be easy to find and or return to.
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    We rotate the mufflers for a bit more ground clearance.
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    Rotating the right side muffler is done much easier with the sidecar raised.
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    Jason at work whilst I supervise.
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    We do some grinding on the throttle cable supports to make cable adjustment much easier.
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    Now the rig is properly aligned, notice how the bike leans out a tad and that the sidecar sits level.
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    From the rear notice how the bottom of the sidecar frame is level and that the sidecar wheel is perpendicular to the level driveway surface.
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    A very HAPPY Uralista after taking the rig for a test ride.
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    Randy did some work on his rig while we were working on Jason's, he also did the the throttle cable mount modification, after which we readjusted his carb cables. cutting, grinding and filing the cable support. Notice that Craig is supervising this operation.
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    The finished support, ready to be reinstalled.
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    Installing the mount.
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    Ready to ride.
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    From left to right, Craig and his Retro, Randy and his Gear-Up, my Gear-Up, Jason and his Gear-Up. A good day of wrenching and all the rigs are running well, TOMORROW we RIDE.
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    And so another day came to a close, now that everyones rig was in good repair and tune tomorrows ride would be more enjoyable. Stay tuned.
    #12
  13. J-Dub

    J-Dub Combat Commuter

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2004
    Oddometer:
    285
    Location:
    High Desert, So Cal, USA
    Hi Dave,
    Thanks again for the help getting my rig riding straight! :thumb
    #13
  14. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    327
    Thanks for the drinks and food, glad to help and glad Dave was around, good times with Urals and the friends that come with them :D
    #14
  15. planzman

    planzman commie bike rider

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    671
    Location:
    Middle Ga
    Hey Mr. Cob, can you show details on how you secured the boys with the toneau folded that way, i wanna take my girls for a ride, but need to do more security in case of a skwirl!:ear
    #15
  16. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy planzman,

    I use a bunji cord running from the rear of the nose mounted rack at the front of the opening at the front of the passenger compartment behind the toneau cover that hooks onto the trunk operating lever; I then roll the toueau cover so that it provides a secure closure to the door opening of the passenger compartment, hold the rolled toneau cover in place with another bunji cord with a special shaped hook on the end of it.

    I then secure the Boys via an adjustable leash hooked to their vests and to the front of the luggage rack that is mounted on top of the spare tire and trunk. I leave the leash long enough so that they can get into the covered area in the nose of the sidecar in case of cold, wind or rain, if its really cold or raining I'll simply snap the toueau cover in place over the sidecar this protects them from the elements whilst still allowing them to peak out from underneath it when they want to as shown in this photo.
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    #16
  17. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy All,

    The day after all the wrenching a group of 8 Uralistas gathered at Craig's home before setting off on an all day ride that would take us on some very fun and interesting roads. I am sorry I can't remember all the places we rode to and I ask that those who were on this ride and who are following this ride report to add photos and or commentary that will better explain the photos I'll be posting. THANKS.

    One of the first folks to show up at Craig's home was Mark, here he is presenting to me the gift of saddle bags that he made by hand, custom tailored to fit a Ural. Mark makes these saddle bags and passenger door coverings for sale to other Uralista's I highly recommend his work and products. Thanks Mark, I really appreciate your gift and will put it to good use.
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    When I say that I parked my truck-toyhauler in Craig's front yard I am NOT kidding, that's Craig's home behind the truck-toyhauler with the full group of Ural's participating in todays ride in front of my truck. Lets see if I can remember everyones, from left to right; Mark's Gear-Up, Craig's Retro, my Gear-up, Kaven's Patrol, Charlie's Patrol with Jason's Gear-up on the far right end.
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    From Craig's home we rode over and UP to Randy's home, he lives at over 6,000 feet in places there was some snow on the ground. This is Randy's home.
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    Here we have stopped at some over-look that Randy lead us to.
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    Another series of over-looks on the roads we traveled.
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    After many miles of really FUN twisty roads we ended up at this restaurant, from what I was told it is a favorite biker hang out on the weekends.
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    We had a great lunch.
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    Jason, his wife and their Gear-Up.
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    Charlie and his Patrol.
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    Kaven and his Patrol.
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    Randy and his Gear-Up.
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    Mark his wife and their Gear-Up.
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    Craig his wife and HER Retro.
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    The Boys and mines Gear-Up.
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    After lunch the group broke up and headed in many directions back to their own homes, Craig-Jennie and I followed Randy back to his home area and another restaurant where we shared a nice dinner.
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    After dinner we said our goodbyes to Randy and headed back to Craig's home in the dark, it was COLD, I am sure glad I had hippo-hands, heated grips and my Gerbing heated jacket liner for the ride back, YES I covered and tucked the Boys up in a polar fleece blanket for the ride back, didn't want the little buggers to catch a cold. And so another day came to a close, I had a LOT of FUN, met some great folks, it was wonderful. Stay tuned for more riding and good times. :evil
    #17
  18. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface 30-125

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    13,407
    Location:
    Where Prince Charles spent his honeymoon
    :lurk
    #18
  19. cpres

    cpres Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    327
    Well as Mr. Cob. stated we had a great show of Urals converge in my sleepy little town with the goal of a great ride and a nice lunch. We headed out of town with the intention of getting fuel but due to issues with card readers etc we got just a bit scattered. Once we had fuel and a plan it was off to Wrightwood and the to tackle the "Crest" Hwy 2 home of Newcombs Ranch, yes it is a popular moto spot in S Cal. The weather and the group was great and fun was had by all even when the pace got turned up as far as a blazing 40 horsepower will allow. I will admit that I have a blast on the Retro that my wife calls her bike and it really is fun to work on carveing the corners because you can't just open the throttle on the straights and fly like the M2 Cyclone that shares its home with the Ural allows.


    It is more fun to ride a slow bike fast than to ride a fast bike slow, not to mention time spent with my crazy wife who loves all our Ural friends.


    The group forming up as viewed by my wife with her camera, the old camper is mine
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    The Group pic before the ride
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    Some pics my wife shot from her seat in the chair
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    Dave on the prowl to get the pic
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    Another view of us, the door skirt on the Retro is some of Mark's work, it is several years old now.
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    The boys with their master, all three have invites to return as do the other crazies in this group who came to play
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    At Newcombs Ranch
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    A fellow Ural Rider who met us on his trike for lunch, gotta play with all the toys in the box right?
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    My better half and I
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    After lunch the group split up and a couple of us played a bit hard, I won't say who started it but I will say these pics show some body english to keep the rig on three wheels.

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    #19
  20. Mr. Cob

    Mr. Cob Howling "Mad", Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2001
    Oddometer:
    9,515
    Location:
    Granite Falls, Washington State, USA
    Howdy Craig,

    Thanks for adding photos and commentary to the ride report. I'll try to add another chapter this evening but I have to work up a experimental parts report for Ilya, with luck after this report on the new parts folks will be in for a very nice surprise come the 2013 model year and YES these parts will retrofit all of the older Ural's. :clap:clap:clap
    #20