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20080807 Thursday August 07, 2008

The Freedom Rock (and Uly)

The artist that's been painting it annually for the last 10 years.

The rock's location.

Posted by rich ( Aug 07 2008, 10:11:41 PM CDT ) Permalink

20080613 Friday June 13, 2008

Downtown Des Moines Uly Photo

Posted by rich ( Jun 13 2008, 10:30:54 PM CDT ) Permalink

20080316 Sunday March 16, 2008

Buell Ulysses 1,000 Mile Service and Suspension

Yikes ... I brought the bike into Zylstra H-D/Buell last week, $328. I don't remember what the Sportster's first service was, but I don't think it was quite that much.

Another important lesson: I'd been lazy and never taken the time to setup the suspension according to the guidelines in the owner's manual. I finally did today, and WOW, what a difference. It feels like a completely different, and even more incredible bike. I'd never really seen what a dramatic difference suspension could make in a vehicle's handling.

Two annoyances: I cannot get used to having to shut off the blinkers manually. Also, the throttle feels like its very soon, 1/8" - 1/4" inch of looseness. I asked the dealer to look at it during the service, and they said it was properly adjusted. I can't believe that's correct, and I forgot to check the Buells that they had sitting on the floor to see how their throttles were adjusted.

Posted by rich ( Mar 16 2008, 09:45:42 PM CDT ) Permalink

20080106 Sunday January 06, 2008

First Ride of 2008

Starting Ulysses mileage: 863 (barely getting started)

Went for a nice, 42 mile ride around Des Moines today, this afternoon the temperature was around 44 or so, so it really wasn't too bad. I wasn't planning on it, really, until I went to get groceries this afternoon and saw another motorcycle out and figured, why not?

First picture is from Gray's Lake, still frozen over, but they're flying the red flag indicating that it isn't safe to walk out on.

These are the penguins from the Jolly Holiday Lights display in Water Works Park.

I still need to fix the bent bits on the bike from when it was backed into, right after they showed up the temperature here dropped and I've done nothing out in the garage since mid-November.

Posted by rich ( Jan 06 2008, 04:10:28 PM CST ) Permalink

20071104 Sunday November 04, 2007

Less Than 1 Month Later...

I was having a late lunch at Bakers Square, and a woman driving a minivan backed into the Ulysses in the parking lot.

The rear left blinker was scuffed up as well, but it didn't show up well in the photograph. The damage to her minivan actually appeared quite a bit worse than the bike's damage, a number of scratches, and it was dented in. At least the bike fought back a bit.

Posted by rich ( Nov 04 2007, 06:11:08 PM CST ) Permalink

20071019 Friday October 19, 2007

"Your headlight is burned out."

When I was considering buying the Ulysses, I ran across a discussion board thread where someone wrote:

"I'm constantly being told I have a headlight burnt out and personally think it would look better with both lit all the time."

When I was in Ames last night picking up the bike, about 5 minutes after I left the dealership I ended up stuck at a traffic light that was having difficulties due to the storm. While waiting, a helpful person headed the other direction stopped their truck next to be and politely told me one of my headlights was burned out. I laughed to myself, and thanked them. It'll be interesting to see how frequently that happens in the future.

Posted by rich ( Oct 19 2007, 08:43:04 PM CDT ) Permalink

20071018 Thursday October 18, 2007

2008 Buell Ulysses

Even since Buell announced the Ulysses, its been a bike that's really caught my eye. When I was much, much younger, I rode a Suzuki DS80 dirt bike. The idea of having something that would be at home on highways, but wasn't afraid of getting dirty, sounded fun.

Several weeks back, a friend in Ames gave me a gift certificate to Zylstra Harley-Davidson/Buell in Ames for my birthday, and when I stopped by there to use it, I noticed that they had a 2006 Ulysses sitting on their floor. I sat on it, started at it, and went on my way.

The following week, I stopped back - this time, with my helmet in the car, and talked to another sales guy and asked if I could take it our for a test ride. They agreed, I was thrilled, and afterwards, the willpower to resist buying one was nearly gone. After leaving the dealer, I stopped at a local Des Moines Suzuki/etc. dealer, and tried out several other dirt bikes, dual sports, and such. No other brand I tried out felt as good as the Ulysses did when I took it out on the interstate. A few days later, I called the sales guy back, and told them to order a 2008, in barricade orange. Projected delivery date: January at the best. I was seriously disappointed.

Well, the second sales guy left the dealer in the meantime, and the third one, Mike, called me last week to let me know that not only did Buell have the bike I wanted, it would be on a truck and delivered this week! Their Thursday delivery rolled in, and this afternoon I received a call that it was ready for me to pick up. During what's been one of the rainest weeks of this year. This month, 5.26 inches, today, just under half an inch.

Despite the bad weather, a friend and I headed up to Ames, I had my rain gear and waterproof gloves (that I just bought a couple weeks ago), and picked up the bike. It poured on the way back, but I was relatively dry, and thanks to the heated grips, my hands were extremely warm.

And here's the new addition to the garage (along with me, extremely wet):

I can't wait to get it out on a nice fall day. Even in the pouring rain, with brand new (slick) tires, the bike handed incredibly well.

Posted by rich ( Oct 18 2007, 09:15:18 PM CDT ) Permalink

20061115 Wednesday November 15, 2006

The Bridges of Madison County

Last Wednesday, November 8th, it was one of those rare fall days where the temperature was in the upper 70s, and it would've been just plain wrong to sit in an office the whole day. Fortunately, I rode the bike to work so mid-afternoon I headed south of I-35 and ended up down by Winterset. Despite having lived in Iowa my whole life, I'd never actually seen the covered bridges in this after. When I was headed into Winterset, there was a sign that pointed to the south saying that there was a bridge down that way. After heading down a number of miles of gravel roads, I found the Holliwell covered bridge:

Even better than the bridge itself, was everything that people had written on the interior of the bridge. Not the typical meaningless graffiti, but rather things like marriage proposals and memorials to loved ones that has passed away.

After stopping there for a little while, there was a sign pointing off to the south saying that there was another bridge nearby. After riding for what seemed like an hour (they really need to put the distances on those signs), I found the Imes covered bridge:

This one wasn't in its original location, instead its on the east side of St. Charles, right off the I-35 exit. A lot more geared towards tourists, it seemed.

After that, I headed back up to Grimes, and back to work. It was a good couple hours away from the office though, and a much needed break that day. I'll definately try to make it back down there when the weather is nice and check out the other bridges in the area. I'll also try to bring something better than the camera in my phone next time too.

Posted by rich ( Nov 15 2006, 10:28:58 PM CST ) Permalink

20060820 Sunday August 20, 2006

Finals Days in South Dakota

Saturday was out last day on the road, before arriving at my parent's house. Coming through South Dakota, the drought they've been experiencing was stunning to see. There's little left of the corn crops, and in many places, the corn was bundled up into hay bales instead of being harvested.

Early in the morning, we stopped at Devils Tower.

There is a really nice trail that goes around the base of it, so I went on a nice little hike around it. In many of the trees and bushed, you could see prayer cloths left by American Indians.

Around the tower, there are some beautiful red rock formations:

This little guy was in one of the prairie dog areas around the monument. While he was eating, he'd tip backwards and his little feet would go up in the air.

After spending a couple hours in that area, we headed over to Badlands National Park.

Here's a couple pictures from inside the park:

After a very long day of driving, we made it to their house around 1 AM Sunday morning. After unloading the dogs, and a few essentials, I crashed on the couch for the night. Sunday morning, I headed back to Des Moines, and am finally home again.

Final Yellowstone odometer: 13245, 408 miles in the park.

It was an absolutely incredible trip.

Posted by rich ( Aug 20 2006, 10:28:24 PM CDT ) Permalink

20060818 Friday August 18, 2006

Forests, Dams and Passes

On the way out today, we went through Yellowstone one last time. I managed finally to get a picture of the Upper Falls:

We drove through Shoshone National Forest on the way out, some of the scenery was incredible.

Along the highway, signs were posted identifying the different types of rocks that made up the mountains, and their approximate age.

We stopped at the Buffalo Bill Dam, and on the way to the visitor's center, there was a number of pieces of old machinery removed from the dam during the 1985-1993 Dam Modification project.

Upstream Cableway Wench, "this cableway wench, which was used to install and remove the ball plugs, trash racks, and the bulkhead gate for the left abutment outlet works, dates to the construction of the Shoshone Power Plant in 1922."

Balanced Plunger Hydraulic Valve, "this 48-inch diameter value is one of two which were originally installed at the base of Buffalo Bill Dam in 1920 to supply water to the Shoshone Powerplant and Lower Level River Outlet Works."

Ball Plug, "this large wood and concrete ball plug was one of two used to halt the flow of water through the 42-inch-diameter Power Outlet Works conduits, located in the base of the dam."

This is a look downstream from the top of the dam, the Shoshone Powerplant is over on the left side:

And this is a look down from the top of the dam:

This is the Bullalo Bill Powerplant, its a little further downstream, and this picture is taken looking upstream:

We crossed the Powder River Pass, Kassi and I ran up to those rocks at the top of the hill, she'd been sleeping all day and needed to use up some of her energy.

The GPS unit I had with me showed a slightly different elevation, it was showing +/- 19 feet at the time, so it should be somewhat accurate. You can also see some other trip statistics on its display.

The view was great, and you could see the snow fences that the state uses to keep the pass open during the winter. You can see we're above the tree line here, too.

Tonight, we're in Gillette, Wyoming. Why is the carpet always green in Super 8s?

Posted by rich ( Aug 18 2006, 10:23:11 PM CDT ) Permalink

20060817 Thursday August 17, 2006

Earthquake Lake

This morning we headed down to the Earthquake Lake area. In 1959, the Yellowstone area was rocked by a severe earthquake, 7.5 on the Richter scale, and the epicenter was pretty much where we've been staying the last few days.

There was a landslide that blocked off the Madison River Canyon, forming a new lake, and killing 28 people.

During the quake, Hebgen Lake tilted - the north shore sank below the water line, and the south short rose. Waves in the reservoir crested over the dam at the west end of the lake, damaging it, but not destroying it.

At many point, the old highway though the area was destroyed either by landslides, or simply sinking under the water.

Looking out across Earthquake lake, you can see the trees that now have their bases underwater.

The landslide was caused when a wall of dolomite boulders broke loose, and the boulders and everything behind them slide down the valley.

When the rising levels of Earthquake Lake threatened the dam upstream, the Army Corp of Engineers created a spillway for the new lake:

When the lake filled, many of the cabins in the valley began floating on the surface. As the water level fell, a Ghost Village was formed by all these damaged, abandoned buildings.

Along Hebgen Lake, there was a small resort that was partially submerged when the land shifted. There's a rather dramatic story posted about how one of the buildings was occupied by a woman and her dog who were dumped into the lake. While escaping, the dog saved her from falling into new fissures that opened up, some as deep as 15 or 20 feet.

In all the times we've been out here since I was a kid, I can't remember ever visiting this area before.

On the way back, we stopped at the Campfire Lodge Resort for lunch. I ended up having breakfast, and it was excellent. Its a very small resort/resturant along the highway, and its worth taking some time to grab a meal there.

We're heading out in the morning, so the rest of the day is probably going to be packing and getting ready for the trip home, dad headed off to Idaho a bit.

Posted by rich ( Aug 17 2006, 04:47:30 PM CDT ) Permalink

20060816 Wednesday August 16, 2006

Artists Paintpots and Geysers

Rode into the park in the morning, and took a walk through the Artists Paintpots.

I eventually made it over to the Norris Geyser Basin. This first photo is of Steamboat Geyser, followed by various shots around the area.

Little Timmy after he fell through the surface?

A very tiny geyser:

After that, I rode up to Mammoth, and found elk wandering through town:

These are of Devil's Thumb:

On the way back, I took a 7 mile detour down a gravel road known as Blacktail Plateau Drive.

A petrified tree:

This next photo is of a female osprey, and two chicks. They were across the canyon from where I was, the male was circling overhead keeping a bald eagle away.

This is Tower Falls:

My dad swears there's a rock missing from the middle of the falls, I haven't had a chance to try and check on that. I was really irritates though when I seen this sign - the view from the bottom of the falls is wonderful, and I was looking forward to going down there all day:

The best part of the day by far though was the ride from Tower Falls down to Canyon Village. It was a freshly resurfaced, windy, twisty mountain road. I may have to go back tomorrow and find an excuse to take that road again.

Posted by rich ( Aug 16 2006, 09:59:04 PM CDT ) Permalink

Firehole Canyon Road and Rain (Tuesday)

We took a drive in the pickup through Firehole Canyon Road in the morning. Just after entering the park, we saw an elk:

Here's a picture from the canyon:

And this little guy was hanging out there, too:

We also stopped at the Fountain Paint Pots, here's a few:

On the way back, there was a female Osprey circling over the Madison River:

I caught an incredible sequence of her diving in the river, grabbing a fish, and taking off again. Here's one of the photos, you can see the fish hanging under her:

After going back to the cabin to pick up my bike, I returned into the park. Caught a photo of a buffalo:

And the Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River:

This is one of the Sulfur Caldrons:

Found this guy wandering through the Mud Volcano parking lot:

Here's Yellowstone Lake, taking from a hill next to the Fishing Bridge, it was starting to get very windy and stormy:

And here's the Fishing Bridge:

Do I even need to point out the irony?

And here's the last photo for the day:

I started back from Fishing Bridge, with the intention of stopping at all the various points along the way. Instead, I was greeted with a 2 hours rain storm, that included very cold mountain rain (not like we have in Iowa in the summer), lightening and high winds. The rain gear worked well, but I didn't have my waterproof boots or gloves on, so my hands and feet got very cold.

It was still a fun ride in the rain though, I was really impressed with how well the bike handled - I'm really going to hate coming back to the boring roads around home.

Posted by rich ( Aug 16 2006, 09:29:31 PM CDT ) Permalink

I'm Riding in the Rain

I'm sorry there was no update yesterday, I rode down to Fisherman's Bridge mid afternoon, and just after I started back, a thunderstorm hit. I spent the next 2-3 hours riding in heavy rain and lightening. I did have rain gear along, but after getting back rather late, I really didn't have time to put together the usual posting.

Yesterday morning, I managed to catch a sequence of photos of an Osprey diving into a river to grab a fish, it was incredible to see.

We're headed to Earthquake Lake this morning, and I'll try to have something for yesterday and today posted this evening.

Posted by rich ( Aug 16 2006, 07:50:01 AM CDT ) Permalink

20060814 Monday August 14, 2006

Life at Eino's

So this is where we're staying now:

Here's the building:

And finally, here's the view from the porch:

Its incredible.

We made it into Yellowstone National Park Today:

And one of the first things we saw was this bald eagle sitting in a tree:

Followed by Elk:

We took a quick trip over to Old Faithful:

You can see what happens if little Timmy wanders off the walkways:

This is runoff from Excelsior Geyser, I love the colors in these photos:

This is the Grand Prismatic Spring, 200 feet across, and the water temperature is 160 degrees:

I happened to catch White Dome Geyser from a distance when it was erupting:

And finally, this is Firehole Falls:

Posted by rich ( Aug 14 2006, 10:45:04 PM CDT ) Permalink

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