Exploring southern Wyoming, I'm struck by how vast and arid the landscape has begun. The rocky outcrops and mesas sit below the great 13'000 ft peaks of the Wind Mountains and Shirley Mtns. Towns are few and far between.
I explored the area around Cherokee Park and Creedmore Lakes north of Fort Collins and below the WY border. The high country shifted from arid open pasture to alpine forests of spruce and aspen. Wild flowers dotted the landscape as I cruised the sandy rutted roads for miles.
Around 4:30 I got in touch with Haris but reception was poor and I was sorta content with my camp spot. I was a bit bummed about not catching them nearby but didn't have a solid idea of time or location.
I left Boulder yesterday to scope out the front range and head up toward Fort Collins to camp with friends. The weather has been great and a few storms in the afternoons. I got chased by a Tibetan Mastiff on the Stove Prarie and watched the sun set in the Coche la Poudre River
Some funky sculptures
After some more walking in the woods and scrambling about.
I like to call this adventure sewing. Thunderstorm overhead, lightning strikes nearby, sirens and a sewing needle and waterproof patch :)
Slept great in my hammock to the sound of Boulder Creek. I woke up around 630, made oatmeal and coffee then hiked from the house to the 1st and 2nd Flat Irons. What a view! This hike is quite steep and full of switchbacks. Great way to start the day!
Rented hard tails from University Cycles and went for a few miles on the front range. Had a blast. Matt met a boulder and it won.
Went up to Baehr Reservoir in Pine, CO for a night of trout fishing and camping. Absolutely amazing - I could live there.
As I gained elevation and approached Denver, I could feel the Ruckus acting particularly sluggish on any incline. I figured it was jetting and I could swap em out once here. I stopped at Fey Meyer Honda on Monday but it, like every shop in town, was closed. The spare jet I bought months ago turned out to be completely wrong so I had to reassemble it again in their parking lot.
Frustrated, I set across town to explore the city and wound up cruising 25mph and nearly getting ran over everywhere. I took a few hours to walk and explore the Arsenal Rocky Mountain WIldlife Refuge on the north side of town. I saw cranes, buffalo, mile deer and prairie dogs. Nice and quiet change from the city.
I left here on the way to my buddies' place when the bike started to sputter and barely would idle. I pulled over to a fast food Parkig lot to diagnose and checked plug, voltage, fuel lines and then had to completely remove the body to get to the carb for air leaks. None. The variator looked suspect so I pushed it over to a Grease Mobkey garage and used their tools to pop off the variator. All three of the guides had disintegrated in the box and the towers for the variator were nearly sheered off.
I went to Sun Racing on Tuesday and picked up the spare jet, some bolts and a fuel pump just in case.
The 72jet actually made it worse so I had to revert back to 75. Lot of work for nothing. Also got gas all over myself when changing the fuel filter but got it done. Note: do not fill up tank beforehand!!!
The lil Ruck is down on power due to the altitude. The extra jet I had turns out to be incorrect but I had to take the whole thing apart to learn that the hard way. Shops are open tomorrow and hopefully will have a jet in stock.
Jet swap (hope it helps)
New fuel filter
Check variator and replace if necessary
- I have a hunch that the variator and belt may have something to do with the slow acceleration too
I jubilantly entered the great state of Colorado with a fist pump and outfit in need of a wash.
Despite the big storm, I made my way within 20mi of Denver by nightfall. I camped in a small field off Hilltop Rd under a pine tree. The first chance to slee without the threat of Mosquitos in a long time.
340mi for the day - slept like a log
Hours of straight roads and little changes in scenery afford time to listen to my mind.
I hopped on Hwy 96 in search of an E-W route with little truck traffic. This road follows the old Sante Fe Trail which opened up trade between the newly established state of Mexico and the US
It felt just like walking through the game "Oregon Trail"
Kansas kept on going!
Descending from the Ozarks, I was slightly sad to see the mountains go. My next big hills would be the Rockies.
It was a long day crossing down from Arkansas and through WalMart hometown Bentonvile into Missouri and finally Oklahoma. The landscape changed quickly as deciduous forests gave way to large scale farms of wheat, corn, soy and cattle.
Upon stopping here I discovered a 6" rip in my right case. Patched it but have to sew it up.
The terrain grew around me and the Ruck struggled up the hills. Pines grew out of the shale and red muddy soil. It began to look more like the Shenandoah Mtns with rolling hills and twisty ridge line roads. The temp cooked for the first time in weeks and I relaxed after my time in the south.
All in, a beautiful morning for riding around. Shout out to the Top Of the Mountain Store in Deer for being open and opening to our conversation!
After leaving the scooter shop in FL, I noticed my top speed was about 38mph instead of 43-45. I chalked it up to the new tires. Around Birmingham I felt a bit of an unusual vibration above 35 so I kept it below there. I should have stopped and checked my belt beforehand but waited until 6300 mi and my next oil change.
Today, on the shaded sidewalk out front of the Advance Auto in Cabot, AR I changed gear and engine oil, inspected my "ok" filter and then removed the cover to check my belt. It was too hot to the touch...not good. When I pulled it off one of my roller guides fell out in pieces. That would explain the poor acceleration. The belt was worn and cracking. There was a buildup of belt dust in the case.
My homemade variator tool is a POS. Live and learn. I'll be shipping myself a new one for $35 shortly.
I asked some dude on a zero turn mower where the best old time mechanic was around and he suggested Dave's beside the Sonic. I cruised on up and explained my problem and all I needed was an impact wrench. He quietly nodded and pointed over to the bay without saying much. He must have been 25 with the knowing eyes of someone twice his age. I'd like to think that he saw my dilemma and the nature of my trip and took pity on me or the bike.
It took me 5 min to get the cover off and expose the variator while chatting. I removed the clutch bell in a cloud of belt dust and then the variator. My weights weren't doing so well either so I kept the stock weights and guides and placed them into the Polini variator with a fresh belt from Matt.
It took maybe 20 minutes with me doing all the work. They asked some questions about the trip and how I could have the money to do it. It was all about living cheap and saving it away, much of it afforded by an education and job of higher than average pay. I asked them what kind of vehicles they usually worked on and they replied with a bit of everything. I mentioned the lack of 26" rims in these parts and they laughed. "Yeah, around here you see more lifted trucks. The higher the truck, the closer to god. You can take that with you." He smiled.
The 15'500ft long earthen hydro fill damn at Sardis Lake opened in 1940 and was the last of its kind built in the US.
Florida is fun to visit but just ain't my pace. Happy to enter Alabama. Currently past Tuscaloosa and hope to make Mississippii or Arkansas this evening.
A few observations:
Chattahoochee is on the Appalachicola River, not theChattahoochee.
Ozark is nowhere near the Ozark Mtns.
I woke oh at 4:30 and was riding into the dark sandy roads by 4:45. The moon was waning but only a few days past full, illuminating the silvered pines against a dark blue sky. I made my way to Tallahassee and changed oil at a closed Auto Zone before the sun rose. Afterward, scooted the remaining few miles up to All About Scooters. I foun some cinderblocks out front and propped up the ruckus before getting to work. The exhaust removal and tire spooning took me about 20 minutes. I was afraid it couldn't break the bead but two firm jumps and they both popped right off!
I met this guy who showed up on his way to work for oil and a squeaky brake. He had just bought this Buddy for $1400 here this past weekend and already was having trouble with it. I gave him a rundown on what needed to be done and had him get a bottle of two stroke oil at a
Auto Zone across the street. He added it and went on to work, frustrated that they didn't open until 10. We got to talking while he smoked a hand rolled cigarette in brown paper. He lived "off the grid" in the woods 10mi north of town in a camp he made. He has a job but doesn't like to pay rent for a shitty house so he keeps I his tent. A lifelong resident of Tallahasee, he complained about folks running him off the road on his way here. I'll keep my eye out ;)
In May 2014 I quit my job to ride a Honda Ruckus over 59'000 mi and counting. Wild camping most nights and cooking most of my own meals, I keep the costs low and the landscape changing.