Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Motorcycle ride to South Park Colorado

Monday morning, while I was having my first cup of coffee and thinking about how I should spend the day, Todd called and asked if I wanted to go riding. I didn't need any convincing and said yes. We agreed to meet at Cheesman Park at 9:15 AM. A third guy was a no-show.

We rode west on US-6 then took I-70 west into the mountains. We stopped at the visitors center in Georgetown to look over the map. We started up Guanella Pass road, fortunately it was closed and a forest ranger told us it wasn't paved all the way, the road exceeded my skill level. We came back down and rode on to Breckenridge.

We stopped at the Blue Moose Cafe in Breckenridge and had a late breakfast. We met-up with a friend of Todd's that works in Breckenridge unfortunately he wasn't able to go riding with us. It was about 12:30 PM when we started south on CO-9.

The road south from Breckenridge was in good condition and a fairly easy ride. There were a couple of hair-pin curves - just slow down before the turn and look where you want the bike to go. The road goes over Hoosier Pass which is on the Continental divide. We stopped and took some pictures at the pass. Todd put his camera on time delay and took a picture of us together in-front of the Hoosier Pass sign (I hope he will send me a copy.)

We continued south from Hoosier Pass through Alma into Fairplay. We stopped in Fairplay in-front of a tourist site called South Park City; it is a tourist site built from old historic buildings and artifacts collected from the local area. In reality, South Park isn't a city or town, it is the name given to a valley between the east range of the Rocky Mountains and the west range of the Rocky Mountains. There are three such valleys - North Park, Middle Park and South Park.

We gassed up in Fairplay then continued on CO-9 to Hartsel where we turned east on US-24. My bike took 2.2 gallons of gas and the trip-meter read 108.5 miles (49.3 miles/gallon). We stopped at the junction of CO-9 and US-24 and snapped a couple of pictures of the South Park valley. It was so green and lush - just beautiful.

We stopped for a rest and a drink at the Thunderbird Inn in Florissant before continuing on to Woodland Park. At Woodland Park we turned onto CO-67 and rode north through Deckers to Conifer. This road took us through the Pike National Forest and the 2002 Hayman Fire burn area. It is still beautiful country even with the fire damage.

We dodged a rattlesnake crossing the road north of Deckers. I've encountered many prairie rattlers but this was the first timber rattler I've seen. We ran into a little bit of rain too but got out of it when we reached Conifer.

We came down US-285 from Conifer back into Denver. We ended our trip at Charlie's of Denver (6:00 PM) where we had a couple of beers. We traveled 262 miles in 8 1/2 hours (5 1/2 hours in the saddle.) I was completely exhausted but had a really good time and saw some beautiful country.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Denver 2009 Gay Pride Parade

I rode my motorcycle in the Denver 2009 Gay Pride Parade Sunday morning with the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club and the Denver Dykes on Bikes. After the parade I made one loop of the booths then headed home. I snapped a few pictures with my little camera unfortunately they didn't turn out very well; most of them are out of focus.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dazed and confused

Last Sunday I needed to get out of the apartment so I went for a motorcycle ride. I rode through Commerce City and circled around the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge and came back into Denver on Tower road. I ran into a little bit of rain on the north side of the Refuge but got out of it when I reached Tower road. It was a short but pleasant ride and I got to try out my new helmet. After I got home I remembered I was expected to be at the Wrangler to help the club pour beer. Oh well, going for a ride beats the hell out of pouring beer in a crowded bar.

I've struggled this week to decide which event to participate in this Sunday: the Atheist meet-up, the Denver Burn Camp Motorcycle Run and Firehouse Rally, or the Gay Pride Parade. I really want to go on the motorcycle run but feel like I 'should' ride in the parade. I made up my mind to ride in the parade Thursday morning after someone said something to me that made me think they might be 'questioning'. As twisted as it may sound I decided riding in the parade would be a form of role-modeling. I'll be riding with the club at the front of the parade.

I'm taking this week off; I go back to work on the 6th. I plan to do the parade on Sunday and take a couple of half day trips during the week. I plan to ride up to Estes Park CO and see the Stanley Hotel. I also plan to hike through Castlewood Canyon State Park then ride over to Elizabeth. I'm thinking of circling Pike National Forest via Fairplay, Woodland Park and Deckers but that looks like a full day's ride - we'll see.

I don't like getting older. Getting older does seem to have some advantages unfortunately one can not accept the advantages of age without giving up the privileges of youth. My Cholesterol and Triglycerides are off the chart, all of my joints ache, I have hemorrhoids, I can't remember squat, and now I think I'm having flash-backs - I've been listening to Led Zeppelin again. Ah, great times.

Blog buddy Nick of 5wonderfulthings blog completed his End-to-End bicycle trip from Land's End Cornwall UK to John o'Groats Caithness Scotland. It sounds like he had a lot of fun and saw a lot of beautiful country. I think completing the tour is quite an accomplishment.

I am saddened by the death of Michael Jackson though I am not all that surprised. His Anorexia and misuse of prescription drugs was fairly well known. Still, I was a fan. I followed the Jackson's through most of the 70's but really took notice of Michael after 'Off the Wall'. I had a crush on him through the 80's but it faded as things got weirder. I was skeptical about the allegations made against him but had to face the truth after the TV interview he gave where he admitted it. From that point on I knew his time was running out. All humans have their demons but I think it's odd that the most creative and talented also have the most demons. Having never met the man, I will still miss him, demons and all.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Molly-Dharma motorcycle run for MaxFund (updated)

[ Update: 6th Annual Molly-Dharma Run for MaxFund, Sunday June 10, 2012, Registration $20, 9AM, The Platte River Bar & Grill. Pre-registration now open: ]

I took part in the 3rd annual Molly-Dharma motorcycle run to benefit MaxFund - a no-kill animal shelter in Denver Colorado. Over 300 bikers participated.

I met-up with Vince and Todd at The Platte Bar & Grill - the rides starting point. There were already about 200 bikers there when I arrived. The Platte served everyone a free breakfast burrito before the 10:30 start time.

The ride was very well organized. They had 2 different routes planned out. The main route, the one most riders took, went west into the foothills. The alternate route was much easier and went east onto the prairie before turning back into Denver. I was planning to take the easier alternate route but Todd convinced me I could handle the main route without difficulty.

The main route went south on Santa Fe, west on C470, then US285 into the foothills west of Englewood Colorado (south west of Denver), over Turkey Creek Road through Evergreen and Bergen Park, and over Floyd Hill. We stopped at Kermitts Roadhouse and took a break before riding back on US 6, through the tunnels, into Golden CO and back to Denver. (Here is a map)

The trip took about 2 1/2 hours. It was a blast! I didn't have any difficulty with the route. I paid extra attention to turning my head, slowing before entering the turns, and took the turns outside-inside-outside.

The run concluded with a block party outside the MaxFund facilities in Denver. We listened to live music while eating Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches. There were also prize drawings.

I had a great time! I look forward to the next one.

View photo album. There is a short video clip there too.

Some of the sponsors, but by no means all of the sponsors, include:

Monday, June 08, 2009

Family of Foxes in central Denver

We have a family of young foxes living outside the apartment building in central Denver.

I took this video from the balcony of my apartment Monday evening June 8, 2009.

Friday, June 05, 2009

More than a day trip

Jack Broomall of 2wheels2alaska arrived at Anchorage Alaska Thursday. This completes the 1st half of his motorcycle ride from PA to Alaska to raise funds for The Austin Hatcher Foundation. After some time off he will start his return trip. He has been blogging and posting pictures at and Tweeting at I made a donation to The Austin Hatcher Foundation this morning.

My Blog buddy Nick of 5wonderfulthings blog arrived at Monmouthshire, Wales UK on his bicycle trip from the southern most tip of England to the northern most tip of Scotland. A quick look at the map I'm guessing he is about 1/5 of the way there. He has been Tweeting and posting pictures at

I imagine taking a trip like these guys someday, maybe, but the truth is they have a lot more stamina than I do. I'll stick to the half day trips for now.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

2008 Suzuki Boulevard C50 Gas Gauge

The Suzuki Boulevard has a funky gas gage on it. It's a little hard to tell how much gas you've used and how much is left. The owners manual isn't much help; it tells you that all 5 LED's will be lit when it's full, the left most LED will be lit and the right 4 LED's will be out when there is about 0.9 gallons left, and the left LED will start flashing when there is about 0.4 gallons left. That's not very useful.

I did a simple experiment to find out how much fuel each of the 5 LED segments represented. I filled up each time another segment went out then recorded the fuel and mileage. The gas gauge is not liner and should be used in combination with the motorcycles trip odometer. My findings are shown below.

Click image for a more readable view.

2008 Suzuki Boulevard C50 (VL800) Gas Gage
4.1 US Gallons. 5 LED segments.
Empirically verified.
The gas gauge is not liner; it is a rough guide.
Use in combination with the trip odometer.
Click image for a more readable view.

Specifications call for regular unleaded gasoline with a minimum pump octane rating of 87 ( (R+M) / 2 method ).

All 5 segments will be lit up while there is more than 3.1 US gallons in the tank. The 5th segment (far right) will go out when the level has dropped to about 3.1 US gallons.

The 4th segment (2nd from right) will be lit up while there is more than 1.95 US gallons in the tank. The 4th segment will go out when the level has dropped to about 1.95 US gallons.

The 3rd segment (center) will be lit up while there is more than 1.33 US gallons in the tank. The center segment will go out when the level has dropped to about 1.33 US gallons.

The 2nd segment (2nd from left) will be lit up while there is more than 0.84 US gallons in the tank. The 2nd segment will go out when the level has dropped to about 0.84 US gallons.

The 1st segment (far left) will be lit up while there is more than 0.40 US gallons in the tank. The 1st segment will start flashing on-off when the fuel drops below about 0.40 US gallons.

The gas gage is not liner. The gage should only be used as a rough guide and should be used in combination with the motorcycles trip odometer.


May 4, 2009: As I left work the 5th segment went out; I was close to a gas station so I pulled in and topped off the tank (the 5th segment came back on as I pulled up to the pump.) It took 1 gallon to top the tank off. The gas gage is not linear.

The odometer read 40.1 miles which yields a better mpg than the last 4 tanks and a whole lot better than 29mpg. The last 4 fill-ups have all calculated to be less than 40mpg.

The 40.1 miles above was comprised of 20 miles at highway speeds (>50mph no stops) and 20 miles city traffic (<40mph>
May 10, 2009: On the way home from a group ride and picnic the 4th segment went out (2nd from right). I was close to a gas station so I stopped and topped off the tank. It took 2.15 US gallons. Segment 5 (far right) represents about 1 US gallon used and segment 4 (2nd from right) represents about another 1.15 gallons used (total 2.15 gallons used) leaving about 1.95 gallons left in the tank.

The odometer read 74.8 miles (34.8 miles/gallon); not quite as good as last time but about 64 of these miles were stop and go city traffic. Still, I think I should be getting better mileage.

May 18, 2009: On the way home work the 3rd (center) segment went out. I was close to a gas station so I stopped and topped off. It took 2.77 US gallons. Segment 5 (far right) represents about 1 US gallon used, segment 4 (2nd from right) represents about another 1.15 gallons used, and Segment 3 (center) represents about another 0.62 gallons used (for a total of 2.77 gallons used) leaving about 1.33 gallons left in the tank.

The odometer read 82.7 miles (29.8 miles/gallon.) These miles were all stop and go city traffic and also included 4 hours on the ABATE practice range. Never the less I think this is piss poor mileage - time to take it in for a tune up.

May 31, 2009: The 4th segment (2nd from left) went out this afternoon. I drove for another 1 1/2 miles before I was could stop and gas up. It took 3.26 US gallons. Segment 5 (far right) represents about 1 US gallon used, segment 4 (2nd from right) represents about another 1.15 gallons used, segment 3 (center) represents about another 0.62 gallons used, and segment 4 (2nd from left) represents another 0.49 gallons used (for a total of 3.26 gallons used) leaving about 0.84 gallons left in the tank.

The odometer read 119.4 miles (36.6 miles/gallon.) About 20 of these miles were at highway speeds, about 5 miles were on twisty mountain road, the rest were in stop and go city traffic.