Another “weeper”

Nearly every time I look through e-bay at potential wrecks to restore after I have read the
description of how good or bad it is there is usually a little rider of “fork seals weep, I have a set,
but haven’t had time to fit them”…. which invariably means “I don’t know how to” !

The Tools you will need

In most cases the same bike has the front fender mounted backwards (WHY?) or if it’s a S Miller
one, then the stay is  mounted the wrong way…. yes, the longer bit goes forward to allow the
cable room to go to the anchor bracket, and every now and then I see them with the fork legs
fitted in the wrong side to boot! If that’s the case you can guarantee the chain guard has gone
and it’s fitted with knobbly tires and a 14 tooth engine sprocket. I digress, back to fork oil seals…….

Let’s deal with a bog standard Yam from the mid 70’s. Dismantle with care! First drain off the oil
in the legs, The drain plug is on the side on the 74 and on the rear of ALL the later models.

A TY250A leg with drain on the side

Do NOT forget that little washer!

Remove the screw and the fiber gasket, apply the front brake and gently compress the forks to
see if there is any oil left…… BEWARE the oil can shoot out a long way!!! Remove, brake cable
from wheel, then the front wheel, fender (mudguard) complete with brace, and the brake anchor
arm. Now check the crown nuts, on the 175’s they should be proud of the top yoke and are easily
undone with a standard socket. All we need to know is that it will undo at this stage, on the
250’s the nut is recessed so you may have to make your own tool to remove these. Worst case
scenario buy a bolt and two nuts. Put the bolt head in the recess tighten up the two nuts against
each other then use a wrench to undo a couple of turns. Most of these nuts I see have had the
proverbial beaten out of them but just recently there is a company making these nuts to fit the
250 legs with a conventional nut on top. Check them out on e-bay.

Standard ABUSE of the crown Nut

Undo the allen bolts and remove the fork legs. Without damaging the alloy or the rubber, insert
a small bladed device under the “boot” and slide off, or you can wait until you have the leg apart
when you can compress the rubber with your fingers and it will pop off.

The Blunt Penknife Technique

This is now where it can get tricky! Seperating the top and bottom, again an allen bolt in the
bottom of the leg, and to undo it often needs a sharp crack or it will just rotate and never come
undone. If it won’t undo easily then you will need to see your friendly shade tree mechanic who
has a hammer drill, or the air compressor, or both. When the legs are in two pieces, and the boot
removed have a look at the gunge in the leg? Nearly forgot, when you have that allen bolt out
make sure you have the washer! Back to the gunge/water whatever, flush this out, it wasn’t
meant to be there and won’t help the fork action.

Use a Ring Spanner for extra leverage, and a rapid knock

Squeezing the “Boot” after parting the leg

Using an old blunt penknife or similar you will see in the top of the leg there is a wire over a
washer on the Yam system, others use circlips and in some cases nothing but today we have a
wire in a groove. Keeping the palm of your hand over the top of the leg prise out the clip from it’s
detent and catch it before it pings off round the workshop! Usually it will be rusty so a light bit of
emery work to make it fit easily may be needed. Next the seal, and here I use the “tire spoon”
as it has a perfect radius to exert enough pressure to lift the seal without damaging the alloy of
the fork leg. DON’T use a screwdriver for this or it may end in tears!

Blunt Penknife again lifting the spring clip, note my finger is covering the “escape”

The Tire Spoon has just the right Radius

Up she Comes!

Seal out, but keep it for now, and clean out the top of the leg and the retaining groove. Press in
the new seal and then put the old one on top and tap down with the rubber hammer until it’s
located below the retaining clip’s groove. Or use a special tool that fits in the seal and tap in until
you get to the right depth. Having cleaned the clip reverse the take out procedure and push
down into the groove keeping most of it covered or you will spend hours on your hands and
knees playing “hawkeye” !!

Using the “old” over the “new” technique

A simple machined tool to fit in the seal, this one is for a 175 but you get the idea

Having cleaned the top portion time to mate the two again. Hold the top portion upright and
slide the lower leg down onto it and this should prevent the end cap falling off. Do up the allen
bolt (with washer) and also put back the drain plug with it’s washer. Finally slide the boot back
on and make sure it slips into it’s cup.

Having rebuilt the bike time to take out the top nuts, so put the bike on a stand and let the legs
extend. I use around 150cc per leg of SAE 10 but you can go heavier or lighter if that’s your
choice. Pour the oil in SLOWLY or you may get an airlock and lose a lot of oil as you are trying to
fill. If this happens…..don’t guess! Drain it off and start again.

On the TY250’s replace the top nuts and then tighten the top yoke clamp and refit the top
rubbers if they haven’t been lost. on the TY175’s remember the legs fit proud if you are using
standard rear shocks, if you change the length of the rear shocks you may need to consider
changing the length at the front or it will handle like a Harley!

Tony Down

Don’t forget the other 110 articles, find them all by looking in Archives Oct/Nov/Dec

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 So here we are at AZ Cycle Park and we are going to make 11 sections with 4 lines to cater for
all ability and machine capabilities…. we hope! One section is going to be the same for everybody
and I’m not interested in excuses as it’s graded, and then there is always the “don’t like it, don’t
do it option”. It’s been a long time since I last rode a “Graded Climb” so it should be a bit of fun
and as AHRMA want to capture the memories of what trials riding was all about this should be a
fine reminder as we have a piece of land that lends itself to this sort of section.

For those not in the “know” a section like this starts with the normal “Observed Section Begins”
and you now rocket up the hill using everything, a bit like Scotty on Enterprize “C’ptain it’s the
dilithium crystals, we’re giving it all we’ve got!” and the object is to get as far as you can, motor
and little legs an invisible blur, until the front wheel will not go any further.

Thursday and we arrive in good order at AZ Cycle park, our home for the next 4 days. Easy
drive, easy parking and meet up with Ed and Evelyn along with Earl. They have the golf cart
and all the tools on board and in no time we have sections 1 & 2 knocked out which are
continuous and I would rate them as fair to middling in difficulty for the 1 and 2 lines. An average
3 line and quite easy on the beginnners.

1 & 2 Ready for action Thursday night

No3 needs some pruning and a little sawing to get it to our standards. A big old log for 1,2 & 3
just after the start and then only 1 tackles the log again going the other way. 2,3 & 4 get a
break here and only have a series of gentle turns.

Earl gets busy with the saw on an offending limb Section 3

Everything here bites, stabs or scratches! Ed and Evelyn busy with the pruners

4 can’t  be laid out today as it will clash with the cross country course so we move on to 6 and
7. 7 has been eroded a little by a recent storm but after some shovel work we have a section
which could take a few marks from the 1,2 and 3 line riders. 4 line has a nice gentle climb and
then a series of turns to complete the section. For the others varying grades of climbs in and out
of the ditch, but having tried them they are easier than they look.

A bit of shovel work to make the line “doable” on 7

7 all wrapped up “The Grand Canyon”

Over to 6, our only “rocky section”, this is a long pile of road paving chunks which someone has
dumped along a fence line. I like the look of this one, might have to give the checker a box of
band-aids as one side is bounded by a barb wire fence!

Our “rockery” and the fence “they” didn’t like! Section 6

Nearly dark 30 so with 5 out of 12 completed time for a beer!

Section 8 with it’s natural gates for 1/2/3 and coming back to the right of the tree for 1

Friday and 7 sections to set so after a chilly start to the day we set up 8 which is another one
close to the cross country so we have to leave the entry and exit cards for Saturday. A perfect
root spreads out from the base of a huge Ironwood and has suitable knots and twists as natural
changes for the lines. 4 liners need to have their own start for this one. Just to take some marks
from the 1 line riders we come back around the tree and cross another 2 big roots on the far side.

Along the top bank of the motocross track 9 produced a series of in and outs of a natural ditch
which varying degrees of difficulty for all lines.

Evelyn busy with the tapes on 9

10 needed a bit of cleaning up the eroded climb and after a couple of test rides I decided to take
it all the way to the top as I felt it would ride in after the first loop. The cliffsides are a little steep
here so a “Passage Control” was set up to ensure the less experienced rider’s safety. Some nice
big pie plates with the 1,2,3 and 5 standards were hammered in and “cheater lines” on this one
wouldn’t be an advantage as far as we could see.

Sherpa Ed takes a break between Camp 5 and Camp 3

Fred checks the final assault on the Summit of 10 while Dan checks the run in

11 was a classic down and up affair with the 4 line terminating at the bottom of the hill, while 1,2
and 3 lines attacked the loose crumbly adverse uphill before splitting to their own final gates
before the exit.

Mid point on the way up 11

Bottom of 11 after the downhill Slalom, just the upper gates to put in

In the other corner of the track 12 was set out by the base of the big cliff with 4 liners just
running an uphill adverse over bumpy ruts. 1,2 and 3 had  various turns at the bottom before
making their uphill attack with 3 line riders staying close the cliff and the 1 and 2 riders slipping
through a dogleg before the final ascent and just one more bank for the 1 liners as the “sting
in the tail”.

Looks OK! Bottom of 12

Time for the Blue boundary 12

By 2.30 we are wrapped up with only 4 and 5 to set after the cross country event.

4.30 and off we go to set up 5 which needs a lot of pruning and sawing of branches. We are
joined by “others” and at this stage, although helpful, some people can be disruptive and slow
down the operation. 5 gets completed but it’s 6 pm and most people have had enough so 4 is
left for Sat morning and should be be an easy affair for Ed and myself.

Saturday morning and Ed and I lay out 4 which is in the deep wash sand that is actually hard
work to walk through. A straight line attack for the 4 liners, a simple dogleg for the 3 and a couple
more twists for 1 & 2 just to keep them on their toes.

The Arizona equivalent of mud…. good deep wash sand, Section 4

Gates set on 3 and 8 and we are all done with Ed doing a very fine job on the route marking.
By now riders are circulating and looking at lines and best approaches and of course the
“expected complaints” start!

6 is too dangerous with the barbed wire.

No one will ever get up 10. Do the 4 line riders attempt 10?

11 will be a disaster as you can use a cheater line…. GO AHEAD MAKE MY DAY!

12 is too hard for the 4 line.

1 & 2 will be a bottleneck, you can’t use continuous subs.

It’s too Hot, it’s too Cold, what about chopping out 4 sections?

We want to finish early…… then ride faster!

GENTLEMEN, GENTLEMEN……..just wait and SEE!

Tony Down , with lots of help from Ed and Evelyn Peacock and Earl Burrows.

….. and not forgetting the site owner.

Full Event report to follow with lots of photos from Brenda Savage Photography  182 pics up on her web, if you rode you WILL be on film!

Brenda Savage Photography 


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  • 2/16/2008 10:16 PM Fred Martinson wrote:
    You should have been at our first AHRMA national, when we announced that
    the event had 15 sections, and 2 loops,
    the creeks ran high.

    Reply to this

  • 2/18/2008 6:21 PM Dave wrote:
    What’s the deal with barb wire and trials? There is that nasty downhill at Chehalis. Straight down and if or when something goes wrong, right into the wire you go. There were some nasty crashes there (not all by me) and so far I haven’t heard of anyone hitting the wire. Motorcycles and barb wire is a bad combination.
    Reply to this

    1. 2/18/2008 9:54 PM Tony Down wrote:

      Just to set your mind to rest, we lowered the fence and in reality your handlebar didn’t come within 18 inches of it on any line. There were a lot more other nasties in the desert to rip your arms to bits.

      Reply to this

  • 2/21/2008 8:20 PM Caulkboy wrote:
    Thanks for posting the pics Tony. That sandy mess can not be easy to ride on/in/thru.

    Is Ed making Evelyn work with a couple busted ribs? Man, he’s tough on her!

    Hope to see yall in Dickson.

    Be good
    Reply to this

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 It comes back with new fuel filter, a complete new air filter, and lo, the bar is in! Next mission is
Cotopaxi in Colorado and the first leg is via I17/I40/I25 up to Trinidad in Co, for yet another
Walmart night stop. Why Walmart you ask?…. very simple, RV parks may have all the amenities
but with a coach this size so do we! Secondly a 60′ long rig takes a lot of manoevring after a 700
mile leg and I for one am quite happy to have the entire Walmart parking area to turn round in
and enjoy their lighting.

An uneventful run and day 2 we set off for the double nighter up a mountain in Colorado. The
road in is very scenic as we wend our way down the Arkansas river and arrive for the uphill
section into Tucker Ranch our destination and location of the Rocky Mountain 2 Day Trial.

The uphill section is slow and steep and we find the dirt turn off without the problems of having
to turn round. The way in causes the co-pilot to throw a wobbly as the bridge and helmsman are
full locking in both directions to stay on the narrow and bendy track. At one point the trailer
wheels were over the inside edge but warp power slid the underside along until the track was

Tucker Ranch Cotopaxi Co

The event was a lot of fun, Doof enjoying some free running, and me in a two day event and
getting to know the Tiger Cub. Brenda, however was not having fun as her little bike was
inexplicably playing up and somewhat gutless.

Section1 Cotopaxi Sunday

Sunday afternoon and we regain the road after negotiating the single track mountain path back
to civilization. Decision is to come home cross country as its 250 miles shorter and come over
Wolf Creek Pass and night stop in Durrango Walmart. A great run and very little traffic anywhere
and we make good time arriving in Durrango at around 8 pm.

Wolf Creek Pass and Bighorn Sheep

Monday morning just 450 back to home on familiar roads so this will be a breeze. We leave
Durrango and there are a few snow flurries, but hey, it’s still winter up here and we are in ski
country even though it’s late April. Out of Cortez and onto the Reservation and all is well but
approaching Kayenta it’s looking dark and grey up ahead.

Oh, Oh! Kayenta AZ in late April ?

Over the lights at Kayenta and then the road narrows through some cuts and at this point it
starts snowing heavily and the road is completely covered. Well you know by now whats coming
….. yes, a few of the familiar der…der der.. then DWANG! another salutation from the wiper and
the other one stops in sympathy. Within a minute the entire windsheild is covered and we slow
to a stop and search frantically for the hazard warners to no avail. Now who in there right mind
would hide them??? You would think that with every which way switch on the wheel you would
have an EMERGENCY thing easily coming to hand. Not so, at it must have taken another full
minute to find them. Know your Bus!

This is NOT Funny!

Brenda dresses for her space walk and departs the air lock and gingerly removes snow from the
sheild as more and more of the stuff comes down. Amazingly the wipers haven’t blown the fuse
and she replaces them and they work. Now with the weight of snow on them they stay on the
screen and we gingerly proceed through the storm.


20 miles later we emerge into a clear air mass and drivers coming the other way can’t believe
what they are seeing as superbus hurtles towards them with chunks of snow and ice flying off
all surfaces like the space shuttle throwing heat tiles!

No more really bad weather but back at the ranch Monaco have another earfull to deal with and
they eventually say there is a “mod” and they will send us the part. It duly arrives and I fit it
although from an engineering point I can’t see any major difference to the part I have just taken
off. Never mind, they should know their stuff.

Two weeks later back up to Milliken Colorado and this time it’s exceedingly windy and as we
career along I40 against the crosswind the driver’s mirror starts moving, initially I can control it
but eventually I can see nothing and we are forced to stop and adjust. More calls to Monaco but
can’t understand what they are talking about. Finally after 2 more stops a bit of a cigarette
packet is shoved in the gap and secured by that well known all american silver tape. Really
impressive on a 1/2 million dollar bus! At Milliken I find the way into the system and all is secured
for the run home. Yet another fridge unloading during a left turn and I also fix that by drilling
through the top of the fridge doors and secure it with a pop pin as the crumby piece of plastic
is now weak and just flips off under the slightest load.

The New Trailer

Now it’s summer and Donner is next in mid July. It gets so hot that the ac cb’s keep flipping off
so, once more Monaco enter the loop and send us new ones despite the fact that Brenda bought
some locally.The new trailer arrives and the lights work, but the spare wheel is a real lash-up.

Leave more or less on time with a first leg to Mina Nevada, a mere 580 miles and tonight we will
be in a RV park. On the way to Kingman as we were entering the Joshua Tree area I casually
remarked “Do you know this is the first time this week that I have sat down without sweat
dribbling off my nose or running down my back?”

The heavens open and the big finger points down and with that the Generator shuts down!
Yes it will restart but shuts down with an overheat caption after 5 minutes. More frantic reading
from the library and phone calls to various Onan dealers on the route. Stop at a truck stop to
see if there is anything immediately obvious and top off coolant and oil just in case. Pull into an
Onan dealer at Kingman and now with the temp up at 115 degrees wait for the one toothed
mechanic to finish his icecream. He informs me that it’s an overheat problem! Yes, I know thanks!
No, he can’t fix these new fangled thingeys, try Cummings at Las Vegas. They “might” be able to
get to it tomorrow or not. Try Cummings at Reno, “Just drop it off and we’ll have a look at it”
“Excuse me this thing is about the size of a small pick up truck and it’s part of the bus!”

Well the decision is press on as Donner itself will be 70 by day and 40 overnight and we do have
50 amp at Mina. So with Brenda armed with her mister and wet towels for everyone the wet and
bedraggled dogs and myself are continually hosed down as we cross the empty and ‘king hot
Nevada desert.

We arrive in Mina and it’s only 112! never, never has AC felt so good! 50 orgasmic amps rush
through the bus and cool the crew. The following day we reluctantly break camp and make it to
Donner Ski ranch where the temperature is a little more comfortable. Brenda has made some new
friends on the RV forum and they join us mid afternoon.

Without a generator and with a lot of partying the starship is running low on dilithium crystals
and the following morning Brenda starts the main engines and for some reason you would have
thought we were doing engine runs on a Rolls Royce Spey with afterburner! Some of our
motorcycling neighbours start behaving like school children and then without listening to reason
change their position in the parking lot….. strange people?

Donner Ski Ranch at the back of the Lodge

After a weekend out of Robin Williams’ RV with the “friendly family” who have tried to repair
everything on our bus, including a leak under the sink, providing aux power we couldn’t use, and
an awful lot of advice on living and the world in general, we leave and head back to 50 amps at
Mina NV. Only way is to leave and take the punishment on the chin and make it as far as we can
before we melt. All well until the duty inspection nonsense going over the Hoover when the
Inspectors board the coach and also melt! Finally we are home, wet and hot!

Cummings take the bus and tell me it’s the fan belt and we couldn’t have changed it anyway,
and there is a retro fit to do away with the 2 belt system and fit an idler pulley and serpentine
belt…… and it’s ALL covered under WARRANTY!!!

We take the bus to RV Rennovators in Mesa, and boy these people are good, and by now there
are several annoying small things that need fixing. The dump pumps are not doing all that they
should, there is the leak  under the sink and the water flow on 2 galls/minute is a pain unless you
are filling at home. Also the drivers screen doesn’t always come up when the power is on. Well
“supertech” shows me the screen technique which blows me away ……. take a unbent paperclip
or any small device and push on the small red led light?????? and up comes the screen!

Halfway through the season and Chehalis next, a long, long way but they tell me you just have
to do it. First night back in Mina NV and meet the “toothless ones” and a clown who has just shot
himself! Not to worry it’s the third time he’s done it. During a dumping session at the RV park one
tank dumps and the lights don’t come on for the other and they seem to be for the wrong tank?
Well maybe it was the wine?

Let’s Go, I’m Thirsty

Another nightstop at Walmart Eugene after a long detour thanks to the navigation system,
definitely the road less travelled! 2 nights at Chehalis and another 20 points in the bag and now
a 350 mile drive to Medford to see Brenda’s son, Phill. Sunday morning and time to dump tanks
and nothing! Another phone call to Monaco and after going from one side of the coach to the
other on a “treasure hunt” to find the manual tank valves while holding the phone and trying to
get tech support to describe what I’m looking for. Eventually after playing “the what’s it look like”
game I find 2 flat black things with an allen key in a holder. They have a reverse thread! but I get
them opened and all is well and we are dumped and pumped. Back to the other side of the coach
and the lights have come on! Don’t ask it’s a RV.

The run home is uneventful and our next outing is Casper Wyoming at the end of the month



Don’t forget the ARCHIVES for the other 100+ articles.

If you rode at AZ Cycle Park at the AHRMA National photos are up on Brenda’s

web or use the link on the top left of the site. Some

Great pictures of Section 10

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Another “Gem”, this one had the split link on backwards!

 Just about every machine that arrives for rebuild is in need of new sprockets and a chain. Never
in the world of sprockets and chains just change one item ….. change the LOT! Most 70’s
machines that I get are still on their original factory parts and therefore one way or another they
are shot.

The tools we need

Let’s look at all the usual problems going back in time to the 60’s when nearly all bikes were not
fitted with chain tensioners, and when they first arrived on the scene people were a little unsure
how tight to run the chain with this new fangled device. Then there were often huge chain guides
to try and keep the chain on the big sprocket and of course if they got bent on a rock the chain
would come off and invariably come tearing forward where it would “double up” and smash the
forward casing. Many machines of the 70’s were modified to facilitate getting the chain on the
engine sprocket and the Ossa stands out in my memory as being difficult especially with my
“watch makers” fingers. Many others were cut as rectification after chains had damaged the
forward cases. Nowadays we often see the engine sprocket running bare and in all my years
riding I have never seen anyone get their foot in the sprocket so I guess we really don’t need
that protection.

So what goes wrong in this area? old chains would always stretch and it was quite common to
have to take a link out after 3 months running on a new chain. The only ones that didn’t stretch
were Renold “Racing Chain” if you were lucky enough to get your hands on one. As the chain
stretches it will start to “hook” the rear sprocket and has a similar effect up front where the
grooves become elongated. An old test was always to take hold of the chain about midway
round the rear sprocket and pull back, if you could see the teeth easily then the chain is toast!

Just like Golf he “Hooked” it

Advanced Hooking, and now the teeth are breaking off and the chain will soon run round the

Another way was when the chain was off, turn it on it’s side and see how much curvature from
the horizontal there was, again if it was a bit “grannyish” it was time to go.

Curvature on a “used” but not trash chain

Curvature on a new “Renold Racing” chain

Another false economy is the practice of reversing the sprocket after it has become hooked.
I have one in the workshop which is the worst case of “shade tree” I have ever seen. This came
off a 74 Yam TY250A and boy wonder had turned the hooked sprocket over and then managed
to rip off some of the teeth before the chain went whistling forward and smashed the timing side
cover. No surprizes there as it’s a dished sprocket and would have been running at least 1-2
inches out of line with the engine sprocket.

Some elongated engine sprockets…. soon they will make that “CLACK  CLACK” noise

Going back in time, in trials where they was traditionally a lot of mud and water it was essential
to have your chain well lubed and older bikes all had “chain oilers” fitted but they did however
make one hell of a mess! After 3 events it was necessary to boil up the “goop” and with an old
coat hanger wire through the last link let the chain sink into the hot liquid and then when the
grease had penetrated all the rollers you would hang it up and let the excess drip off. Bit messy
but it did a good job. There is a new product on the market which does just this in a spray can.
Other lubricants out there you might think twice about using, some are good while others do
little more than wet the chain and fly off at speed all over the bike. Others exacerbate the
problems by acting like flypaper and attracting all the fine grit and sand such that it sticks to the
chain and then acts like emery paper on the rollers and bearings. Since being in Arizona I have
now opted to run my chains on the drier side and have had less problems.

When changing sprockets it may be worth lowering the gearing to be in line with the modern
bike sections, and in most cases this will be one tooth less on the front or + 2 teeth on the rear.
Don’t go too small on the engine sprocket as the chain may start to hit the swinging arm. Also if
you are using a bigger chain , say 520, you may find that it won’t run smoothly around a 10
tooth engine sprocket….. so think before you leap. Changing the front sprocket can be simple or
difficult depending on the make. Yams are easy as they use a simple key tab and a nut. Use your
flywheel holder and then flatten the tab and undo the nut and slide the old sprocket off it’s keyed
shaft. Some Montesa’s run on a tapered shaft with a woodruff key and can be confusing when
the replacement sprocket is not slotted to take the key? Some have small screws while others
just use a circlip in a groove.  Use a chain guard where ever possible as the mud, if you are riding
in mud, coming off the rear tire will be deposited on the chain and eventually clog up the front of
the motor.

New Sprocket, new chain

Buy a chain breaker, 2 styles shown earlier, and when you fit the new chain take a little care to
ensure you cut it where it needs to be. Like everything else the split link can be fitted the wrong
way (I see a lot!) curved end faces forward, a bit like a comet with a firey tail.

So having gone to all the trouble and expense make sure everything lines up when you refit the
wheel, also I always fit a new tensioner block and spring and check the assembly is also in line
with the natural chain run.

This tensioner has been out of line and the chain has cut through the block and
the steel

Nice line up on the new block

Finally always carry a spare split link! No good having one at home or in the truck…. carry one!


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It never ceases to amaze me how difficult some people find it to change a tire or repair a tube.
Having witnessed the most awful attempt ever by a member of Central Arizona Trials I thought
perhaps some easy tips from Shade Tree might be useful before the season starts.

Let’s go back to the “worst case scenario” first and I will attempt to explain what happened. It
was at my birthday trial and one of the rider’s asked if he could borrow some of my tools as he
wanted to change his tires. Two hours later and he is still in the workshop so I go to check on
what is happening…….

The scene of carnage took some believing! ……. nearly every tool was on the floor (not good),
and some unusual impliments were in play which had no place in my workshop and I have no
idea what part they played in the “dumb and dumber” procedure. The worn tire was now in
TWO HALVES! (hacksaw) and other bits of rubber, which I assume was the tube were
everywhere? I guess nobody had ever shown him how to remove a tire so lets deal with the
harder of the two wheels the rear.

Step one arrange what you will need.

Two shorty levers
New Tire and tube
Electricians Tape
Security bolt spanner (wrench) 13mm
Spoke key
Liquid soap
Rubber Hammer

Now with the back wheel out, lay it on the sprocket side, this will save the tube from getting
more punctures on the sprocket teeth.

Let out the air if not already punctured using the jaw of the 13 mm spanner, you won’t get it all
but make sure it’s flat.

Undo the security bolts, leave the nuts on, and push inward, may require a “tap” from the
rubber hammer, but ensure they are free to move in.

Using your heel, break the wall off the rim, may require a little effort if it’s a really OLD tire. Turn
her over and do the other side making sure the bead goes all the way down in the rim .

Kneel on the tire which will force it down into the well of the rim and then start at the valve
which should be opposite your knees, and use 3-4 inch bites until you have the cover over the
rim by about 12 inches, now you can take progressively bigger bites or pull it off by hand.

Push the valve all the way in and then pull out the tube. If this was a puncture then locate the
cause or pump it up again and then when you have found the leak lay the tube back on the cover
and mark the cover as to where the leak is, maybe a thorn, nail, whatever that will save hours
searching. Two side by side holes indicates a concussion burst from hitting a sharp edge with low

These are toast!

Remove security bolts and inspect for serviceability.

Remove the old cover by a single tire lever and ease over the edge of the rim with the wheel
upright. Now push down with your knee on the flat distorted area of the tire and it will come free.

Bin the rim tape!

Wire brush all deposits out of rim well and along the inside rim edges where the tire will fit. Old
left over tire deposits sometimes make it impossible to get the fitting line to “pop up” on refitting.

If you are going to “do” spokes now is a good time. I use the every 6 principle and now with the
wheel on the bench just start at the valve (hole) again and gently tighten every sixth spoke until
tightish, DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN, do all 36 spokes and then a bit like a calypso drummer use your
spoke key to tap each spoke in turn and they should all have a nice “ding” any variation to the
“DID” concerto can be remedied with a little more tightening of the offending spoke.

File off any protruding spoke metal that is proud of the nipple. Now take the electricians tape
and go round the rim well about 3 times. Press down and this will now stop the spokes from
coming loose. Find the 3 holes in the rim, valve and 2 security bolts, and with a round file with
a downward stroke only, cut off the tape covering the holes. (nice neat job!)

If the tire has a direction marker fit in the appropriate direction! Soap the side going on first,
and fit, with a lot of the newer compound tires these will slip on without having to use levers.
Lay the wheel down on the sprocket side having loosely fitted the security bolts. Inflate the tube
with enough air to seperate the sides, now insert in valve hole and as a temporary measure fit
the valve nut.

Push the tube into the cover and make sure it is over the security bolts.

Soap this side of the cover and start at the valve again take small bites 3-4 inches and the cover
will pop on. Use your knee to hold it in place as you go round the wheel. As the tire starts to
offer a little resistance STOP!

Check the security bolts and push them in and then push the walls of the tire down into the well.
The resistance will have reduced and now take those last couple of bites …… and finally the last
8 inches or so will just pop on.

Check the secuity bolts AGAIN and the cover goes down in the well both sides. Now inflate to
around 20 lbs and as you pass 15 or so the fitting line will come out equally and on both sides.
Tighten up the security bolts, deflate to the pressure you want and throw away the valve nut!
Fit the dust cover and, you Sir, are done!

That was easy wasn’t it ? and just remember we used to have to be able to change a tube and
be on our way again in 4 minutes if you wanted a place in the British or RAF Teams!

Shade Tree

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  • 2/24/2010 1:37 AM Tires wrote:
    Thats great, I never knew before this blog.
    Reply to this
  • 2/24/2010 1:38 AM Tyre exporters wrote:
    Thanks for such a nice blog post….i was searching for something like that.
    Reply to this
  • 2/25/2010 4:24 AM Ross wrote:
    Hi Tony
    Good article, I would (personnally) add a couple of small points.
    I always keep the value nut, but have it very loose.
    Might be worth mentioning elongating the valve hole to indicte that the tyre is creeping.
    Reply to this
  • 3/9/2010 4:39 PM Howard wrote:
    I was always told to start and finish at the valve, as this way you can push the valve in so that the tube does not get pinched by the levers as you ease that last hard bit over the rim. Enjoy all your articles, keep the blog going. All the best from the UK.
    Reply to this
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The Second LOOK at the 2006 Marquis

The phone rings and a gentleman annouces he is from Holiday Motorhomes and has a price on
the 2001 Beaver Marquis. We listen and he quotes a figure of $******.00 !!!! but says they
might get more…… I ask him to run it by me one more time just to make sure I hadn’t misheard
and he comes back with the same figure …….Not quite sure what is going on here but after 15
months of useage and another 12,000 miles they are going to offer us $40,000.00 more than

Another visit to Holiday Motorhomes is required at this stage!

Brenda now arms herself with notepad and prepares the “fix it” list and also the “freebie wants”
list. Mighty fine negotiator, and they wilt under feminine charms and business acumen and
surrender to all her demands.

With the deal done just before the new year we wait for them to complete the fix it list….. then
they want the 2001 brought in so they can move it on, we comply and we have given them until
late March to complete all the tasks including the new wine bar that Brenda has talked them into.
The 2001 is delivered and after waiting for them to bring the 2006 alongside so that we can
transfer all our goodies we note that 4/5th of f*** all has been completed on the fix it list!

The rear mudflap is still hanging on but the bolts haven’t been tightened, the festering flat
screen TV will still not come down and and annoying overly long screw still rucks the close out
carpet. The Beaver logo which had some stone chips has also still not been repainted. Oh well,
early days and the transfer begins and I discover there is another huge mudflap, still in it’s box
in one of the underbays. Also the tow bar extension had not arrived, great!

Very nice inside

King Size Bed with sleep number mattress (Brenda doesn’t like the colors)

Finally, after 4 wasted hours we depart with the 2006 and they say they will come and get it
when the parts are in. At the end of January they come and collect it and away it goes to be
sorted, apparently this is quite normal for something costing $625,000.00! We wait, we wait,
and we wait some more……..

3rd week of February I drive by the establishment and drop in to see the progress…….. NONE!
The shop foreman and I have a one sided conversation and it appears none of the “goodies”
have even been ordered, but this they do as I stand there. The great thing about the Beaver is
that Monaco (the builders) know exactly what was fitted to every single vehicle that they make,
and who fitted it, and what the serial number of the component is.

Brenda has a long and forceful conversation with the owner of Holiday Motorhomes and
expresses her displeasure along with my sentiments that they couldn’t organise the proverbial
in a brothel!

First week of March, and now just 2 weeks to departure on the maiden voyage, time to check
where the wine bar is? Oh yes, it came in but it’s the wrong one and is for a 2007 model!!!! and
needless to say doesn’t fit! Did it not occur to you to re-order the correct one???

Clearly this is too much for them to handle and Brenda takes over and deals directly with the
service/parts manager at Monaco who will personally get her one made from scratch and that
should take about 10 days, and we settle on 4 as we are running out of time ….. and they WILL
overnight it. The 4 days elapse….. yes, it’s ready! Day 5 check with Holiday Motorhomes….”did it
arrive ?”……… ” did what arrive?” …….. “Monaco, where is it?…..sorry it missed the flight, but it
will leave today”.

Day 6 it arrives and unfortunately the fitting panels are not with it and now it’s Friday. “Ok,
button it up and have it ready to roll Monday morning as we are leaving on Wednesday.”

In Our Yard

Monday morning the coach swings into the yard and Brenda attacks same with tons of stuff to
be loaded and other things that have to be “just so”. A new gas bar-b-q fits in a bay and a gas
line is made to run directly off the coach LP gas. During the course of loading and cleaning Brenda
trys the entertainment side, and true to form the TV refuses to come down again! They say bring
it in and we will fix it, WE say you get your ….. out HERE and fix it!

Great for Entertaining. The Light (top right) is where the Bar will be!

Tuesday they come out and attempt to fix it and eventually they do fix it and also sort out the
central locking. Things now seem to be going to plan until having loaded the trailer I try and put
the flat 4 pin into my GMC 7 pin adapter and connect to the coach 7 pin? It won’t fit and this is
getting beyond a joke, 7 to 7 why won’t it fit? So another trip downtown and wander the aisles
of Pepboys looking at plugs and such …… and there is one that says 7 pin RV! It appears from
the aisle that every manufacturer makes their own sodding 7 pin plug….WHY?????

New Colors

Doof is suitably impressed

Back to the yard and now I have trailer lights and at about the same time the all too familiar
heralds to announce that yes, we have TV, but now we have no sound?……when does this ever
end? More in depth conversations reveal nothing but we are GOING so we will deal with this later.

Depart on time for the first 700 mile leg through southern AZ, the bottom of NM and into Texas.
All goes well until halfway to Tuscon with no music, just me and the dogs and traffic, when all of a sudden ..BWWWWAAAAAAAR!!! DINg-a Ling….   I’m at the front row of a rock concert and
blasted out of my seat by 200+ decibels! It transpires that Brenda couldn’t get any power to her
computer and went into the bathroom circuit breaker cabinet and found one that had tripped.
Who would think that the Bus had an audiocb! ??? Another piece of the RV jigsaw!

Doof do you want a go?

No further incidents and park at Walmart somewhere in Texas. Why Walmart you ask? , well with
a 60′ rig and after a 700 mile drive the last thing ,I, as a driver want is a complicated docking
procedure in a RV park so Walmart with all it’s parking and lights is easy and free.

The next day the forecast is good and should be a pleasant drive to the LA border and Diamond
Don’s. Approaching Houston the sky looks pretty black ahead and then I can see the flashes and
shortly thereafter it comes on to rain. On with the giant wipers on the new panoramic one piece screen…der…der..der..der…
and then the rain gets harder and I’m watching the driver’s wiper getting periously close to the
edge of the screen with every wipe …… then before I can comment on it it sails off round the side
of the coach and slaps me on the side window, at which point it blows a fuse and stops! …Great!
So in the rain we exit the freeway and park on the exit ramp which is a bit narrow so I have to
position the bus on the angled hard shoulder. Out in the pouring rain and open the bus fuse
panel by the driver’s wheel. Inside there are 10 rows of multiple fuses in every color, a bit like a
chocolate box assortment….. now where are the wipers? Eventually find it (last row bottom left
of course) and by now the rain is bouncing up about 10 inches and the underside of my bum is
getting wet!, enough of this and beat feet for the door with head bowed….. as I round the front
of the coach and approach the entrance door I meet Muhammed Ali with a straight jab from the
giant wing mirror which knocks me flat on my back!  …… Meanwhile Brenda has seen my running
form dashing across the screen and is puzzled as to why I’m still out in the rain? I arrive, wet,
covered in gravel and mud clutching my head….. another RV lesson, mind those giant mirrors!

A little later I have the wipers back in place and a new fuse in. Fresh coffee, time to go, up to the
intersection, turn left with 60′ and as I do so the fridge and freezer doors open sending cans of
beer and soda, amongst other things cascading all over the floor, some of the cans go bang and
it’s sounding like a firework display as the coach slowly continues around the turn adding more
fuel to the fire. Right turn , doors shut, lots of screaming and yelping dogs, and I’m back on the
freeway ramp accelerating as the cabin staff clean up the mess. Der..der…der… der… and as we
enter the freeway and hit 50 mph DWANG! the driver’s wiper says hello again!  Fresh out of
fuses I elect to continue and tell Brenda it’s just like riding the Beemer in the rain and we are
pushing on.

At Dallas we pull off at a truck stop to pick up some fuses, water, fuel and dump the tanks ready
for the weekend. So here we learn yet another RV lesson,……  NO MULTI TASKING! At the fuel
stop there is a “special” place for RV’s, ever wondered why?  We pull in, shut down and Brenda is
on fuses and other supplies, I start refueling and then the plan is to set up for dumping and taking
fresh water on board. No sooner have I locked the diesel handpump in place and I’m about to pull
out the hosepipe when the diesel dispenser jumps out of the tank, stays locked on of course, and
as I try and grab the writhing monster it rolls on it’s back and hoses me down, head to foot in

Refueling done, Brenda monitors the oncoming water while I clean the screen and replace the
fuse and reset the wipers. Good! now for the dumping which I have to wait for as a Winnie is
hosing down into a square receptacle which I assume is the dump station. The water is taking
for ever, about 2 galls a minute so we are going to be here a while. Get out the giant hose and
this is very neat and position it near the square ……. I’m ready and as Winnie completes I hit the
dump button and the force coming through the pipe is pretty impressive and as I open the valve
so is the rate of delivery! I no sooner open it then I’m closing as the force and volume fill the
square. It’s also bloody heavy so now I have this giant Anaconda over my shoulder like a firefighter
bracing for the force. Just getting to the end of this operation when out of the corner of my eye I
see the REAL dump station hidden in the long grass! Pack up this operation and check with
Brenda who says we have 50 galls on board so we will quit at 65 as the queue behind us is
getting longer and longer. Finally 65, and I get the signal and nauseatingly hit the electric hose
rewind. V clever, now deselect the fill and put on the pump, but obviously some switch error here
as loud shrieks from inside indicates all is not well. I run round to the door and now we are
pumping overboard at around 30 galls a minute and by the time I’ve deselected switches pumps
and anything else we have a large lake under the bus with all my excess diesel floating on it!
35 minutes to get up to 65 gallons and ONE minute to get it back to 35 again……… we leave
quickly to cover any further embarassment. Practice these procedures at home to avoid public
humilliation. Amazingly we get to our destination without further incident with me smelling like
a tanker driver.

Parked at Diamond Don’s

The event takes place, all works well until the aftermath when the sooper dooper new shower
is tried….. lots of water but all cold. Hot water everywhere else but not in the shower! TV works
and this time sound so no problems for the rest of the weekend and we leave Sunday morning
for the first leg of the return run. Incident free and driving this “mega bus” is very pleasant, and
today no rain.

It drives better but I can’t get more than 1500?

The last leg back to the Phoenix area starts well and then after refuelling we are on the USA’s
fastest freeway where we are whipping past all the 18 wheelers and are up in the 80’s
Some road works and the restriction is only 60 so slow and through we go ….. at the end of the
work area press on the warp pedal and all that happens is the bus downshifts to 5th and all I
can get is 1500 rpm ? I now have to wait until a downhill before the speed picks up and it will
up shift to top and then accelerate. Any rise and it downshifts and all that is available is 1500!

With all other instrumentation normal my assumption is a partially blocked fuel filter. Ringing
ahead not a soul has one, they all know what we want, can get one in a couple of days etc etc
……and so the painfully slow 55-60 mph journey continues for the next 600miles! HOW

……. and referring to the mega bus library we find the phrase ” a blocked fuel filter can spoil your
whole day”….. always carry a spare. Now, if this is something that is considered the “norm” I
would have thought this would be a major briefing point, or even a freebie when you take
delivery. My normal humour is not to be triffled with on this leg of the journey.

The following morning I tell Holiday Motorhomes to come and collect it and bring it back when
they have fixed everything properly

New fuel filter
New airfilter as the canister was broken
Hot water in shower
Water leak under sink
Fridge Security?
The mystery wine rack and cabinet
The ongoing TV problem

It duly returns and you think …….what’s next?

The next installment in this rivetting series will reveal more……..

Tony & Brenda      Still Learning the hard way! … and Cadbury as “Doof” the dog.

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The time has come, it looks pretty, but  now it must be released and see if it will fly again! Only
3 weeks to the opening event of the season and time to get the tires dirty and see if all last
years work was worthwhile.

It will get a gentle return to trials riding on the PI line as it is so ‘king heavy. Still I think I can
blunder through the sections pushing everything aside rather like a road roller and create my
own line. So far, testing has been little more than firing it up and attempting to lift the front
wheel a couple of times, so today it’s on with some boots and helmet and out for a full test to
see “what is” and “what isn’t” going to be possible on the 48 year old veteran.

If it works well I may have to take it over to the PITS Club “Geritol Trial” where rider age and
machine longevity are combined as part of the handicap….

Today’s project has been put on hold as everybody in the world seems to be screwing me
around and the thought of operating mechanical machinery could most likely follow the rest of
the day.

Another week has elapsed and all that has happened is that I put fuel in the tank but I
suppose that is some progress. 3 days later, and a step back in progress as fuel is leaking out
of the 48 year old brass petcock! Never mind I have something else so off with the tank, drain
the fuel, and in with the new tap. All back together, refuel and still more fuel……. it would appear
there is a small weep up front in the new lovely tank from Spartan! Thinks bubble? welding ?
…….. no, no, not on this gorgeous alloy. What about Kreem?….. good idea, it worked on the
Ossamaha so let’s give it a go……. dam! I’m out of the etching fluid so off down town for
another bottle. The tank has now “overnighted” so today I can put the Kreem in and then by the
weekend I can get the test done.

Another couple of hours with the Kreem and hopefully all will be sealed. Must not get impatient
so I will leave it for the prescribed 24 hours before attempting to put fuel in again. Hoping, ….
hoping, hoping! Well while I’m waiting the replacement Mikuni with the flange turned up so I was
able to refit that to the Ossa that had been denuded to get the Oilfield running. Share and share
alike, but I don’t like unfinished projects. Now it’s come on to rain!

2 days later and try and get the show on the road, take out the old fuel cock, replace with new
and refit the tank. Fill up with the last of the gas and now I can’t seem to get any fuel through
the new petcock? Off with the tank again, but at least it wasn’t leaking and try and get the new
petcock off, which is now all gummed up with the Kreem! Obviously there was a little pocket of
the stuff lurking and of course it washed straight into the tap and now has it completely blocked.
Nothing for it, back to the original tank and rebuild the brass cock. All done and after some fun
work with tubing it eventually fires up and I have my test ride, but my photographer has gone

First results:

Bloody Heavy
Turns well, with and without the clutch.
Powerfull but not instant, could be good in mud.
Second is pretty quick, but won’t rev out so perhaps a bigger main jet?
Pick up good, so pilot is fine
Leaks a LOT of oil! don’t know from where?
Burnt a hole in my trouser leg!!!! and that was just changing gear.

Back to the other tank tomorrow and a full clean of the carb and change that main jet.  However
it is now pouring with rain, in Arizona? So I will be reduced to cleaning the carb and and starting
it up.

Carb all cleaned, rejetted to 190, new piping on and also the very nice Spartan tank but it’s still
raining and carries on all day and most of the night! Now it’s a swamp and far too wet and
miserable. Tuesday and only a week to go and for once I’m busy and can’t get to the bike so
Wednesday is the DAY!

Today’s the day….. stand back! well, if it could go wrong today then it did. First a simple job up
the road redo-ing a lady’s wash which had been destroyed by the storm and in the process of
doing this we hit an underground power cable and do $4000 of damage to the electrical box and
then get a $2500 fine for not having a desert wash “bluestaked”!!!! ……. and now the RE refuses
to start, spark yes, fuel yes and it was running yesterday so I’m giving up today while I’m not
breaking anything else.

Cleaned everything, lots of spark, lots of fuel, new plug…….NO START……I’m running out of ideas
and time. Just one last thing to try…..maybe that Kreem stuff contaminated the fuel? So today
before it rains, change back to the other tank, try yet another plug wire and clean the carb for the
third time…. all very frustrating.

Still no progress, cleaned the carb one more time, new fuel, new tubing and just to be sure
another new plug lead. Lots of spark, lots of fuel and lots of kicking and NO START. Well I’m out of
ideas for this old lady. I guess I will have to consult an expert on this bike!



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  • 2/6/2008 10:39 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Good write up Tony – You must be a patient guy, – sounds like a lot of frustration.
    Reply to this
  • 2/6/2008 11:43 AM Alan nc AHRMA wrote:

    Reading your Blog on the ES. I just had to laugh; I have had the flywheel off the Sherpa T I’m working on so many times I’ve about worn out the nut. Whoever designed the method of timing this bike is probably laughing his ass off (in the grave).

    Reply to this

  • 2/6/2008 3:53 PM Alan nc AHRMA wrote:

    When you were riding Sherpa T’s did you ever put an electronic ignition on one? I have a Femsa Ignition from a later 250 that physically fits my M92. Any idea if it would work.

    Reply to this

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Oak Flats on the 77 Yam

After all the traveling of the AHRMA season it was somewhat refreshing to only have a 80 mile
drive to the start of  the Arizona Trial. I have always had good rides at Oak flats through the
years and today I’m taking the Cub as she hasn’t seen this terrain before.

I’m Ready

Nice early start and we are riding by 0830 and the loop is fairly short. Section 1 is close to the
start and if you don’t get through fairly quickly it can be a bit of a log jam.

A lot of “Body English’ from Don 2006

Today we are coming in over the opening rock and instead of turning right into the big rocks it’s
straight on up the big face and then a left turn on the top. Either side of the tree and I elect the
wider line as there is just a chance the inside line could grab the front wheel for a dab, or even a
“A over T” with the Cub. Flawless ride for a clean and on to 2.

No 2 has a daunting vertical step before a left turn so just the right amount of power to get over
the step and stay in the section, keep the turn easy then back across some big rocks keeping the
front light and then idle power through a “S” to the exit. Round the outside of the section to the
start of Carl Miller’s Section 3.

A steep climb onto a ridge then stay right just inside the tape for the descent before a wriggle
through some loose rocks to the choice of exit, either straight up and over a big rock, or go round
it over a rocking flattish slab. I take the slab, it rocks, so do I!

Section 4 is also a Miller family section with a turn through brush in soft sand then down a flight
of rock steps to a tight left turn exit. Just take care not to run the rear wheel over the tape.

Ride up the road to 5 at the base of the big hill outcrop. Simple entry but an adverse climb
across a rock crack which could end in disaster if the wheel slips then ease along the ridge to a
turning downhill exit. It rides easier than it looks.

Brian Crawford Oak Flats 2006

Bob Reese is on 6 which looks fairly simple as long as you don’t lose concentration. Very easy to
take a dab on the loose rubble while lining up for the next hazard. Simple wander through the
bushes following the trail then uphill across the big rocks to the exit.

Find Section 7 hiding up a crack in the rocks and can’t help but think that the approach would
have made a better section!  A fun ride downhill to Matt Barton on 8. This is the hardest section
of the trial and takes careful planning and the execution goes well on lap 1 and 3 but a careless
dab on loop 2 ruins a clean card for the day. This is good, it’s only 1030 and I’m finished and they
have plenty of checkers so I’ll scuttle off home as Brenda decided not to come today.

Rich Palmer

Jim Wagner “Showboating” on Eric’s 175

Jim on his regular mount Oak flats 2006

Looking at the rides today Rich scored a clean card on the little Yam and Jim Wagner, having
already wrapped up the Senior Intermediate Championship, switched back to Twin Shock and
was out again on Eric’s baby Yam for the 5th ride of the season….. I see a sale coming on here?
…… and what about Don Tropepe?   4 points????  Boy, oh, boy has Don come a long way this
year since moving over to the smaller bike. I can remember Don’s early efforts and you could see
that total look of under confidence every time a major hazard was encountered. Well that’s all
gone! 100% more determination, a definite “will to win” and a whole new outlook and the
results to prove it! For my money the Most Improved Rider of the Year. I hope he wins it, it will
be well deserved. Keep it up, and if you can’t, stick with trials riding!

Most improved Rider of the Year     Don Tropepe Oak Flats 2006

One more Central Arizona Trial (CAT) and the season will be over.

The Sage & The Steed Table Mesa 2006

The planned trial at Table Mesa for December 2nd gets postponed as it does nothing but rain
leading up to the event and washes out all the sections built and laid out by Mike Meschede
and Jim Wagner. I was looking forward to it as it is similar in terrain to the Scottish and the
thought of being wet and slippery made it even more appealing. All set to go again for December
9th, there is a change in the weather…… it gets WORSE!

Now the road has washed away and the route in is not passable so regrettably this one moves
to 2008 and will no doubt be sometime in March. Keith will rebuild the road, don’t underestimate
what a one armed man can do!

One Armed Keith


Cold, wet? snow on the ground? settle in and read Oct/Nov/Dec articles in ARCHIVES

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My local pheasant shooting establishment in Arizona was forced to close it’s doors after several
years of hard work building a fine facility when the landowner decided to sell it as more Yahoo
Cowboy 10 acre ranchettes. About as useful as another Golf Course in Phoenix!

Oklahoma, not that good!

I ventured a little further afield with a trip to Oklahoma but in all honesty many of these
commercial shoots just don’t get it and leave me a little cold. Trips to the Dakotas were also
ruled out as there is a daily bag limit is 2 or 3 which doesn’t make for much of a day if you are
used to left and rights on a regular basis.

What’s to do ? after a lot of searching through shooting  magazines I find “The Flying B” and
they send me a video and the brochure. In with the Video, and after the views of the ranch,
accommodation, dogs and some shooting clips up pops a spokesperson in the shape of
“Stormin Norman” of Gulf War fame……. well as the General was my overall boss during the
conflict ……if it’s good enogh for Norm, it’s good enough for me!

As Good as it Looks!

I book a 3 day shoot and make the flight arrangements which involve a trip to Seattle and then
a puddle jumper across to Lewiston in Idaho where I will be picked up and transported to the
ranch. Despite all the nonsense of airport security the transportation of guns couldn’t be easier.
Arrive at airport, check in and declare the guns. They then give you a RED label on which you
declare the guns are empty and then put the red label inside the gun case and lock it? Now I
would have thought the label should go on the OUTSIDE, but apparently we don’t want to draw
attention to the fact that it is a gun case!!………. don’t argue…… just do it.

Arrive at Seattle and venture outside for a smoke and watch all the friendly Police towing all the
cars away, these boys mean what they say about “no parking or waiting on the airport drives”.
Back to the puddle jumper and 1 hour later I’m in Lewiston and transport is there to meet me
and after a pleasant drive through Idaho I’m at the ranch in time for lunch. Wow! what a
fantastic lodge, roaring fire, every ammenity, superb decor, a shop, and the gun room at about
5 degrees over ambient to dry out wet guns without warping precious stocks.

1800 and hors d’oeurves are served as the bar fills up and there is much talk of the shooting to
come and many introductions. A generally affluent society and so they should be as this is costing
a $1000 a day, but as is true with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

1900, and “Gentlemen, dinner is served” and we proceed to the dining room to experience a
gastronomic feast, accompanied by some first class wines. An evening of heavy drinking following
my Doctor’s advice and so to bed.

Gorgeous room and a fantastic shower, that was adjustable, and had the force of a fire hydrant!

Breakfast to order in another dining room and then ready for action at 0830. My guide today is
the wife of the estate manager and she normally trains the dogs which number between 70-90
and are pointers or german short hairs. Of course English shooting is normally “driven” with
labradors and springer spaniels in attendance being controlled by the “picker-uppers” and the
only unruly dogs being in with the beaters. I had never previously worked with “good” pointers
so I was a little unsure of what to expect. Off we go on a purpose built shooting vehicle with 4
dog crates on the back, inside seating for 5 or outside seating for 5 as well. We are on an area
which is called “Lower Flats” and we no sooner unload and just watch these loopy dogs tear off
in all directions at incredible speed. Our pair are racing about all over the place and then suddenly
stop! I’m told where to go and we close in on the dogs who are stock still. The guide gives the
command and a dog flushes the bird which I can now shoot. A second breaks cover but stays low
so I raise my gun and let it go. Molly gives me a strange look and says nothing. During the course
of the morning she tells me I can shoot hen pheasants as I had been letting them go without
even mounting the gun. By lunchtime I’ve shot about 30 with a mix of Pheasants, Partridge or
Hungarians as they call them and some fast moving Chukkars which were quite testing.

Cindy on point with the custom Shooting Truck in the background

A great light lunch and about 2 hours to unwind before we are off again to a different area for
even more fun. Back to the lodge around 4 and after gun cleaning it’s cocktail time and lots of
shooting stories as the other teams come in. 6 o’clock and “nibblies” and then another superb
meal and wines to round off a near perfect day.

The Brown one is on Point, the Black one is honoring

After 2 more days of this and a bird count around 180 its time to go home but now of course I
have been truly spoilt and I will be back for more.

The next time I went it was not quite the same as I join the “Sporting Gun” fraternity which I’m
afraid was not the safest shoot I have ever been on! Zero Etiquette perhaps best explains it, or
after the “third bit of blatant poaching” let me explain something to you! After 2 of the 3 days I
tell them I do not wish to shoot with these people as they are “king dangerous! In the UK they
would have been sent home on the first morning. I have had birds “poached” which were clearly
my birds, I have seen birds shot on the ground in front of dogs on point, low shots taken over
dogs, had to duck on several occasions as swinging guns came my way and even had some clown
shoot over my shoulder nearly deafening me in the process. Moral, don’t shoot with people you
don’t know, stay clear of anyone using an “auto” as you never know how many he has in it…..
and finally enquire what choke they are using as anyone using full and full is to be avoided like
the plague.

I team up with my new guide, Jim, and have a superb and safe last day. Jim and I get on
exceedingly well and I request Jim on all my subsequent visits to the ranch.

Now watch this!

Lawman goes on Point

Flushed on command and another “perfect” shot

Nice retrieve

Walking in to the Point

My Guide and Great Friend Jim

One of the Finest Gun Dogs EVER……..  “BRUSH”        R.I.P.  Dam , I loved that Dog!

It just has to be the best there is in the USA.

Tony Down

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 Sadly for some and the demise of birthday trials riders, in the spring of 2007 the Sections 3 & 4,
formerly known as a “Touch of Scotland”, were lost to developers.

Sizing the Rocks

All the rocks had been earmarked for the construction of a fish pool. Now this is not your, single
fish dwelling with one lilly but more a mega structure capable of supporting shoals of Koi and
other exotic swimmers.

Initial construction involves heavy equipment and the removal of the mid section and climbs of
section 4. Rocks of all sizes are grouped and left in piles ready for phase II after the drawing of
the shape to come.

The Layout

A simple concept is envisaged with two major pools of 3′ in depth connected by a babbling brook
between the two and a waterfall of Niagra proportions feeding the upper pool.

The design consultant had limited experience in this field, but from his resume’ it was evident he
had completed a smaller task, albeit many years ago. As most of the materials were readily
available on site he was given the go ahead on a “beer for rock” basis.

A bit of digging in the lower pool

March 2007 the layout is complete and the workforce completes Phase I, the positioning of the
first circles of rocks for both pools, a bit like the Druids at Stone Henge. The Huge boulders will
hold back the weight of water and when the lower circle is complete it will be refilled with the
spare dirt. The second circle can now be laid and then the whole thing backfilled to complete the
sides. Very nice! now dig it all out again and the shape of the upper pool will be complete.

Top Pool ready

The Lower pool will require some “dig out ” to get the depth and shape as the ground has a
slope where the pool will be. Use some artistic licence and build the walkway, crazy paving style,
between the pools and shape the babbling brook.

A bit of fine Leveling

A little bit of leveling on both pools and now its time for Phase II the liners! These things are
not cheap but its the way to go when you are dealing with these sizes. The calculations reveal
that the combined volume of the pools will be about 17,000 gallons!! and now of course I need
a pump to circulate that lot and a filter to deal with all the fish crap, algae and decaying plant

In with the Liner

With the liners purchased, the following weekend its time to put them in after first laying 2″ of
sand in the pools and around the edges where the overlap will be. The huge rocks for the
waterfall areas are carefully placed and made ready to fit over the liner when it is in place. All
leveled up and now the edging stones from Home Depot can be placed on the upper layers of
the liner and aligned for that irregular shape. Now put in the water over the waterfall and see
how it looks…… not too shabby!

A rough idea of Niagra, just using a hose

The Filter arrives

The pump and filter arrive and after recovering from the shock on seeing the bill I attempt to
become the master plumber following all the advise from so called “experts”. Pipes and couplers
of various sizes and lots of the pre-treatment goop and glue are ready along with hacksaws
and away I go humping the enormous 75 lb pump into the lower pond. This thing pumps 6000
gallons an hour and sucks up everything and must be on a flat plate or small paving slab.
All connected and now wait the duty 24 hours for it to cure, stand back and light the blue
touch paper. Much gurgling and bubbles in the lower pool and then Niagra erupts through the
three falls…. fantastic!……… but a little later it appears the babbling brook can’t cope with the
magnitude of run off from the upper pool and instead of a babbling brook I have a white water
set of rapids!

Consult the knowledgable people at the pool shop only to find they know nothing and just sell
things with no knowledge of the mechanics or how to control the flow….. brilliant!

I devise a system with a partial return flow to the lower pool and a regulator to the falls whereby
I can control the rate of flow of Niagra. This involves another truck load of 2 1/2 inch pipes and
another load of 90’s 45’s and other assorted couplers. Another day of plumbing and this time it
works beautifully and is now under my control.

Planting continues into the night

Plants and oxygenation are now in and it’s time for the first batch of Kami Kazi Goldfish to test
the water. Plant stools are erected and adjusted for height and now in go the first set of
“fish toys” and some whimsical frogs to decorate the edges which I’m now finishing off with river
rocks of various sizes to give the final effect. As you would expect the water is a little cloudy with
all this activity but I expect the filter to get to grips with it in a couple of weeks.

Drywalling the flower beds around the Patio

Yet another bucket or two of river rock

The left over rock, which is considerable, is now made into a series of raised beds with a
“Derbyshire” dry stone wall edging all around the old horse wash bay which will be the Gazebo,
firepit and outside bar. River rock is continually added, bucket by bucket to improve the overall
look and some more pond curios in the shape of sunken galleons, ships wheels, lifebelts and of
course the Titanic are placed for the fish to amuse themselves….. talking of fish and a batch of
5 small turtles where are they???

The water now clears and there don’t appear to be too many fish and the bobbing turtles have
vanished too……I wonder?……yep! reckon so! the pump has sucked them in and they went
through the unguarded impeller with phenominal ease. You say you are a fish pond expert?
….. clearly you are no such thing, you are a retail sales outlet and know **** all!

The Memorial ……

I now build a wire mesh cage around the pump and on completion of same, another Squadron
of Goldfish and Koi are released to test the waters once more. Meanwhile a memorial to the “45”
is erected in a prominent place but in an operation this size there are bound to be a few losses.
By now plants and fish are arriving from well wishers and members of Brenda’s gardening forum
almost on a daily basis but we also have 100+ baby Koi arriving from Florida by UPS.

The 117 Newcomers arrive

They arrive, we follow the instructions and only one has perished to date when it thought it was
a Salmon and tried to swim up the babbling brook from the lower pool. They said they would
send a “few” extra to make up for any losses from the “100” but 117 arrived, all between 1-3
inches and they are now all in the 6-9 bracket with some of the initial batch that survived the
“mincer” having made 10-12 inches in less than a year!Also some of the larger goldfish bred in
the pond during the summer and their offspring are now in the 3 inch bracket.

We’re getting Bigger!

I continue with the walkway back to the house while Brenda plants furiously. The patio set is
found and after breaking several drill bits it is secured to the concrete and now completes the
bar area which also has it’s own fridge and supply of essential fish watching liquids. …….. and
all this completed during the busiest trials season ever.

Section 4

The Ends gate Section 4

Yet more planting and the addition of yet more river rock and I’m about done. A croc joins the
pool fleet along with colored balls more frogs and 2 x Titanics. The first is sunk and is now
another fish plaything and the second is a working model which, on command “goes down by
the head” then breaks apart and then the stern finally waves “bye bye” and stands up and

Going down by the Head

The Break -Up …. and the band played on

The Final Moments as seen from the “full” lifeboat

The “Maid Of The Mist” sails under Niagra

…..and finally everybody is happy and the sign is up!

Don’t mind if I do!

The Pool against a Monsoon Sky

Tony Down     Pool Builder, Master Plumber, Dry Rock Wall Builder and General Dogsbody

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