Colorado Trip #3

Back to the foothills

Originally I’d planned to continue my Big Trip™ down to Cañon City, CO and do some more dirt passes I’d seen in another persons trip, found here. This person had provided a GPX file that I could import into my GPS and follow his route. However I was tired, and I felt that the routes I’d be taking would be more adventurous than those I’d already taken, as you can see in the photos found in that link, that I felt I shouldn’t try to do them alone with my quite limited experience. So I dropped about two days of travel off my trip and decided to do something a little simpler and relaxing. Ride the foothills.

Actually took this photo to illustrate that even near by where I was staying looked awesome.

I can’t really tell you the route I took as I sort of just went at it and picked roads as I rode. I remember riding Sugarloaf Rd, and Coal Creek Canyon once again, as well as Lefthand Canyon Rd, but that’s about all I remember. I mostly just kept snaking up and down the foothills trying to stay as high as I could because the temperatures down below were way too hot. I should have saved the track on my GPS but I didn’t think to at the time. Oh well, I also know I went along some dirt roads, some quite steep but really didn’t stop for photos, I’d seen too much over the previous days nothing had stood out as interesting enough to bother with unfortunately.

“Bad” Tyres

Having returned from my Big Trip™ I was in need of a new set of tyres. I’d anticipated this moment well before even starting my trip to Colorado and had ordered a set of Heidenau K60 Scouts ahead of time and had them shipped down to my friends house. Now it was time to get them installed, so I went to a local place and had them installed. Immediately the bike felt different, but this was to be expected, the K60s are a completely different type of tyre than what I’m used to, they’re a 50/50 tyre, that is 50% off road, 50% on. What I’m used to is either a 100% on road, or 80/20. They rode smoothly and had an interesting tendency to ‘fall’ into turns when turning which I completely got used to.

The rear Heidenau K60 Scout tyre. The front Heidenau K60 Scout tyre.

Hoping to leave that weekend I made some quick plans with an IRC friend who lived in the area to meet up and grab lunch, meeting them in person for the first time. Riding onto the highway for the first time the bike seemed quite skittish, anytime a car would pass me the bike would wobble in a way it hadn’t prior. I wondered if it was the compound being less sticky or the reduced footprint on the road due to the tread design, or if I was just noticing things too much because of the change. I arrived at the restaurant safely, voicing a little bit of concern to the friend I had met there but passed it off. I brought Horo along with us into the restaurant and set her at one side of the table, not really sure how my friend was going to take this. Turns out he got a huge kick out of it, way more than I thought he would, everyone who walked by who looked over and saw her, the attention she brought, enough that he decided he might get a Dollfie himself (yes!). Eventually one of the waiters was forced, I think, by other staff to ask us what exactly was the point of the doll, what did she represent. I kind of explained but had expected some follow up questions that didn’t arrive, so it ended up being a fairly half assed explanation, oh well, I’ll never see them again anyway.

Perhaps Horo's messiest hair yet, outside the restaurant we ate at. Horo sits sexily on my friends hybrid outside the restaurant.

After lunch was finished we went out to the parking lot and grabbed a couple photos of Horo around and then went our merry ways. I got about 70% of the way back to the place I was staying and then it happened. The bike had been pretty skittish all this time but I was getting reasonably confident with it despite that, starting to ride the bike more how I would normally do so. I passed a big truck and then changed lanes, and the bike went into a speed wobble. One of these:

Now, of course mine was no where near that severe, nor was it at that speed. But I was doing 120 km/h (speed limit), I was in traffic, the car in front of me was braking to slow down, and the bike was uncontrollable, handlebars going left/right/left/right/left/right in much the same way as that video, just slower. I couldn’t brake because of the wobble, if I did it would have been a far worse situation, all I could do was nudge the bike in the direction I wanted and ride it off the road, riding out the wobble until it was gone, then return back to the road. I wonder what it looked like from the perspective of the other drivers, did I just meander off the road to them, or did they see the wobble. Regardless, this terrified me and I wasn’t willing to ride the 2,400 km home on tyres I didn’t trust.

The rear Michelin Anakee 3 tyre. The front Michelin Anakee 3 tyre.

I posted on the forums that had recommended the tyres I’d bought, and got some interesting info, I’d also Googled and got some info as well. I wasn’t the only person to experience this, and I learned that 120 km/h is considered high speed. Despite the tyres being rated to 190 km/h. Still the general consensus was that the tyres were acting within specification and that I’d done something wrong. Perhaps this was true, perhaps not, but I was still not willing to risk the tyres and purchased a new set of Michelin Anakee 3s, which are also a dual sport tyre like the K60s, but an 80/20 variety once again. This whole process took another week of waiting somewhat stranded in Colorado as I wasn’t willing to use the bike on those K60s, I’d been scared too much by them. Unfortunately I didn’t get to test Anakee 3 tyres out much before I headed on my way home so I was a little worried that perhaps it was all the bouncing around in the mountains that had made the bike unstable rather than the K60s. In addition to that, I was leaving as Colorado was flooding, so there was rain and wet roads everywhere, and crosswinds the whole way out of the state.

Comments

  1. Tian says:

    Wow, this was an epic post indeed. You’ve inspired me to plan another road trip! It’s unfortunate that I missed you just as I was gearing up for NDK. That was a good time, and somehow I completely missed all the flooding. Anyway, great photos as usual. You’ve really gotten a knack for sweet landscapes and outdoors photography. Hope to see more!

    • Aka says:

      Yeah, it’s too bad it didn’t work out, but I’m sure I’ll be there again next year or something. Too many things I’d like to ride still.

      Landscape photography is so much easier than people photography lol. You can just keep shooting until it works out, people you have to catch just right or ask them to pose etc… I feel the same way with dolls as well, have to really think out the pose, which I didn’t do too well on the trip. I think I got better as time went on but maybe next time I’ll be good.

      Missing out on the flooding isn’t a bad thing, especially if when you returned your place of residence was fine too.

  2. Smithy says:

    Looks like you had quite the adventurous trip!

    Gorgeous photos of that stunning scenery and some lovely shots of Horo too. Impressive!

    • Aka says:

      It really was quite an adventure. I still think it’s crazy how much ground I covered though on my “Big Trip” part, it was just destination after destination after destination. Was really hard to piece it all together after the fact, the only way I managed was I’d saved the GPS tracks so I could track back each day and break them apart.

      Hopefully next time I go, I’m a little bit more competent with my posing and can make Horo look a little bit more into the trip than sitting all the time. Still, I like the photos, it adds something over just plain landscapes I think.

  3. Rajura says:

    Great pics man!

    Looks like you had you had a great trip!

    I loved the Horo shots… I was kind of scared for her in a couple of them, but I know you made sure she was safe before you left to take them.

    Also, regarding your experience with the kid, I am glad to see there are other males out there that like her fluffy tail almost as much as me.

    Pros of your shots: It’s Horo, shots from behind… loved seeing her tail in all its glory and that she was unabashedly showing it off, new outfits for Horo.

    Cons: Human ears visible at times (that’s the only con… doing pretty good there)

    Oh, and those images are coming your way soon.

    • Aka says:

      Was a great trip indeed! I miss the state already.

      I did try and take as much care as I could with all the placements, but once I walk away there’s no telling what could happen. Would one of her joints give way, would the wind pickup, I am on mountains after all where weather changes rapidly. So many uncontrollable variables, I just had to give way and try anyway.

      As per your con, I’ve actually become to accustomed to the ears being there, that I don’t notice at all or even try to hide them ever. It’s just not something I care about so much at this point. Perhaps in making her ‘perfect’ in the end, but right now I care more about getting her tail attached properly and perhaps better matched to her hair, and shrinking her ears and putting magnets in them so that they’re easier to deal with on the road. The human ears really are the last thing on the list since it’s such a destructive mod.

      Interestingly, the people who seem most disapproving of Horo (and Dollfies in general) are anime fans and figure collectors. They seem to feel the doll is too much of the uncanny valley or RealDoll vibe. Which strikes me as really odd, since every doll meet I attend, and every outing I’ve been on, average people seem so interested and complimentary.

      • Rajura says:

        Wow, that is weird… my philosophy… the more real Horo looks… the better!

        I would that “average people” liked her more than a niche group.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Aka says:

          The more real the better, yes. But in terms of what’s more important to me right now, the human ears are like the bottom of the list. Her tail and animal ears bother me more that they’re not right. The human ears require destructive modification that can’t be undone.

          Think you missed a word in that second line, not sure what exactly you meant. Could go many ways if I try and read into it.

          • Rajura says:

            Sorry tried to go a little long more older style on that comment… read it as “If I had my way, more average people would be interested in her.”

            Also, the “weird” part I mentioned pertained to your comment about people who were seemed more likely to not like the current approach to Horo. Keep up the good work; fix those wolf ears and that tail to your standards.

          • Aka says:

            Ah I see. I’m alright with anime being a niche thing. I don’t think it’d be as fun if everyone knew.

            As for the weird, I think there’s just some stigma about dolls, and they don’t want to be caught liking one.

      • CptNerd says:

        Beautiful job, the few times I’ve been to CO the scenery was fantastic (I was there during the flooding, my great-nephew was supposed to get married that weekend in Estes Park). As for your Horo doll, you have to understand that every person has their own “uncanny valley”: for example, I have no problem with the CGI “Appleseed” movies, but my friend can’t watch more than a few seconds of them, because they fall into his discomfort zone. Your version of Horo is okay by me, but there are some aspects that are just on the edge for me. I have to say there are quite a few dollfies that I’ve seen that I can’t see, they’re just too far “into the valley” for me. But then I was always creeped out by the “sad kids on black velvet” paintings…

        • Aka says:

          I find they’re far less creepy in person. That added dimension I guess really helps. And once I’d seen them in person, I found most of the photos to be less creepy than they were beforehand. I think it’s the unfamiliarity perhaps.

          I suspect I’ll be making a habit of visiting Colorado… I just hope there isn’t a disaster every time. There were the fires, and then the floods… what next?

          Anyhoo, glad my Horo is ok by you! 😀

  4. Otakusan says:

    Have been seeing all your instagram pictures ^^ looked like you had a lot of fun this trip ^^

    • Aka says:

      Started taking the shots with my phone just to get the GPS coordinates of each location. Ended up posting them on Instagram because I couldn’t wait to share haha.

  5. B-Sabre says:

    The air base is Buckley AFB (http://www.buckley.af.mil/) and is home to the 460th Space Wing (Air Force Space Command). There’s also Colorado National Guard and Air National Guard units based there.