Wednesday, February 14, 2018

TLC for the TW200

Two weeks ago my 2009 TW200 received some much needed attention.  Thank you Troubadour for taking care of the wee beastie.

As you might have read in my previous post (link HERE) the chain came off the rear sprocket the last time I rode it in January.  On its way off it managed to bend a few bolts.

(Bent bolts on the TW200)
With great effort, Hubby was able to remove them.  I think he used a BFH.

(The top two are bent, the bottom one has smooshed threads)
In doing research online, Troubadour discovered that the word on the street forums is that the stock chain is crap and should be tightened after every ride or swapped out for a better quality one.  And, if you were to go from the stock 50 tooth rear sprocket to a 47 tooth, the gearing would be a little better for the highway without losing too much torque down low for the off road bits.

Done.  A chain and sprocket were ordered and delivered within a week.  Ordering the sprocket and chain were easy compared to finding proper bolts locally.  We needed a shorter shoulder on them since the new sprocket was a smidge thinner.  After searching several places we finally ended up at Wilco and bought the correct bolts.

(Left - old rear sprocket - Right - new rear sprocket)

(New chain and new rear sprocket)

(Ta-da, shiny new chain and rear sprocket on a very dirty bike)
Now, I do have to fess up. It was quite chilly the day that Troubadour wanted to work on the TW, so I was a wimp and hung out in the house where the ductless system throws out nice warm air. My time spent inside was not in vain.  I made scones for my mechanic.  If it was summer I'd pay him in cold beer, but for now scones warm from the oven do the trick.

(Lemon blueberry scone)
Now I just need to find some time to take the TW out for another gravel road adventure. Troubadour took it on a short shake down ride for a few miles and filled the tank for me.  Thank you Troubadour.   I am race ready.  Well, as fast as a TW200 can race.

- Au Revoir

"  We can do no great things, only small things with great love." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Last Sunday of January Hike

On Sunday January 28th Troubadour and I decided we needed some exercise and hiking sounded like a fine idea.  As usual, the hardest decision was figuring out where to go.  We knew we didn't want to drive too far away and rain was forecast to the south.  We chose to hike in the Oregon State University (OSU) Research Forest, aka McDonald-Dunn Forest.  It is located north of Corvallis and contains nearly 11,250 acres of forest.  We've been up there many times on our mountain bikes and hiking too.  

On this day we chose a gate located off Tampico Rd.  It is one we've not started from before.  We were going hiking in the Dunn Forest starting on Rd 400. The parking area is the 'P' just to the right of center of the photo below.

(Hiking in Dunn Forest)
We have a book called Corvallis Trails: Exploring the Heart of the Valley, that we reference for hikes in and around Corvallis.  It describes this one as moderate and not busy.  We were thinking of one other trail, but it was listed as difficult and we haven't been out walking much lately.

A 1/4 mile up Rd 400 and we turned right on Rd 420 to do the loop counter clockwise.

( A perfect day for a hike in the woods)

(Notice the mist down the left-hand fork)
We took the left fork thinking it was the correct way.  It ended a half mile down.  As we turned around Troubadour noticed a snail shell on the ground.

(Hello Snail)
We walked back to the fork and took the right hand road.  It is all gravel roads in this area and not trails, but they aren't always marked very well.

The mist was on the move and soon we were in the midst of the mist.

(Misty morning on the mountain)
As fast as the mist rolled in, it rolled on past leaving the sunshine to stream through the trees.

(Sunshine lighting up the forest)
The forestry program at OSU does active logging in both the MacDonald and Dunn forests. Certain areas show evidence of past harvests.

(Nature is reclaiming one of its own)
At one point we turned onto Rd 300 and it was along there, I think, that we came upon a drainage pond of sorts.  There were many salamanders in and near the water.  We had to be careful of where we stepped.

(Salamander heading in for a swim)

(Hello Mr. or Mrs. Salamander)

(Even the Woolly Bear Caterpillars were out - odd to see them this time of year)
Along Rd 300 we came to a ridge where we could see all the way across the valley to the Cascade Mountain Range.  At first we could see the Three Sisters to the southeast and then Mount Jefferson came into view when looking a little further north.

(Left - Mount Jefferson / Right- the Three Sisters)

(A zoomed in view of Mt. Jefferson)

(And the Three Sisters)
At this point we were about half way and at another fork in the road.  We stopped for a few minutes and snacked on Lara Bars before turning to go down Rd 400, which would loop us back to the trail head. 

(Troubadour making a wooden cairn)

(A picture of Troubadour taking a picture)

(Had to have at least one selfie - photo by Troubadour)

(Panoramic by Troubadour)
As we started walking down Rd 400 you could see further north and Mount Hood came into view.

(Left - Mt. Hood / Right - Mt. Jefferson)
We'd been steadily climbing since the trail head.  By our estimations we were about half way through the loop and the gravel road started its winding path down the mountain.  This is where we'd wished we'd have brought the trekking poles with us to make it a little easier on the knees. It was quite a steep grade at first but eventually leveled off to an easy walk down.  There were little uphill rises here and there but it was mostly downhill.

We came upon a little stream running through a culvert under the gravel road.

(Winter rains bring rushing water - a look down stream)

(And a look up stream)
The above picture was taken after Troubadour was down by the water.  He'd spotted something bright pink on the stump.

(Treasure?  Out here in the forest?)
Occasionally when hiking we will see a rock someone has written a motivation phrase on or painted brightly for someone to find.  Troubadour found himself a pink elephant.  

(Smile or 5-mile?  Either way we smiled and were about at mile 5 of our hike)
I played around a little in iPhoto, I think I like the black & white version better even though it isn't as vivid.

(Same photo in black and white)
Another push up a hill and back down again.  Last picture of the day was on one of the uphill sections to show the scale of the trees.

(Tall trees in the forest)
We made it back late in the afternoon.  When all was said and done we'd hiked 7.2 miles (11.58 km).  Not bad considering we forgot to warm up or stretch before setting out.  And yes we were a little sore the next day or two, but it is the beginning of the year and the hiking will get easier.

- Au Revoir

" And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." - John Muir