GET’ HER DONE!

GET’ HER DONE!

GET’ HER DONE!

Its a long way up here

  Saturday morning and thinking cap on, better make the mental checklist;
Wash Bus and trailer
Dump tanks
Fresh water
Riding Kit
Tire pressures
Liquids and oils

Then for Monday
Tools and Spares
Load Bikes……. Cub, Ossamaha, and the TY125

Another ONE ???

…………it’s only 0620 and for some strange reason I look out of the kitchen window and I can’t
believe my eyes……   there is another BLOODY HERON!…….can’t find the gun cabinet keys
S***! ….. finally out I go and the bastard must have heard the door and it lumbers into the
sky before I can line up for a shot…… regrettably it had been successful and there were the
blood splatters of at least another one of my fish and all the oil from the evil one floating on
the surface. I thought these dammed birds were territorial but clearly as the patch has recently
been vacated, so to speak, this one jumped straight in and now has possession, but we will
be ready tomorrow. I still can’t BELIEVE IT!

Just the other side to do

 3/4 of the Beaver Enterprize Starship washed and Heron trip wires in place. If that bird gets
another fish then it will have to work very hard as I have criss crossed the standing areas
where it has been along with the previous one.

Job done

Sunday and up very early and not so bright, but today the Evil One is a no-show so now its
time to finish washing the bus down and while Brenda cleans the inside fill up with water. Time
to see how Valentino does first but that leaves a little time before the E-Bay auction fun where
I’m hoping to sell the Honda 250 RTL, the Honda 260 TLM and my Yamaha TYZ. they all have
bids but not up to the reserves yet although there are 126 watchers you never know whether
anyone will actually go for it or just watch out of curiosity. As always hoping for a result and
I’m about due for a bit of luck as this year has not been my favorite so far.

Despite all the calls and e-mails etc the first 2 Hondas didn’t make their reserve but the TYZ
did so thats one sold and unless I get some offers they will be relisted in a couple of weeks
….. some times you get lucky, sometimes you don’t.

The “Liquid” Control Panel…… don’t screw up again

Just wrapping up last night and nearly, all the bays cleaned out,  bus cleaned inside and out,
tanked dumped and fresh water onboard. Collect all the rubbish, old chairs, mats, etc which
have been replaced with the 2008 edition. quite amazing how much extra space there is when
a little more thought goes into packing. Anyhoo, with the trash in the bucket of the tractor I
drive up to the workshop to have the tractor ready to upload tools and spares this morning and
by now it’s getting darkish and lo and behold the giant bird is back!!  It nearly lands then climbs
up again and circles before landing in the paddock. 10 minutes goes by then it takes off again
into a very dark night sky. These birds NEVER sleep.

This morning I’m prepared but once again it plays the no-show card and leaves me frustrated
again. Well on with the tasks in hand, invoicing, payroll etc when the phone goes from the buyer
of the TYZ who tells me he is now having buyers remorse…… and can he back out of the deal if
he gives me an incentive? I accept.

1800 and not a bike in sight

A very frustrating day along with looking at a job site and having to fill in a million forms on
another matter and of course hand in those invoices. By now the time has moved on and its
nearly 1800 before I load the first bike but as it gets dark everything is on board save for clothes
and riding gear.

All aboard, TY125, Ossamaha and the Cub

No sign of Mister Heron, maybe tomorrow or fishes you are on your own for a week,
good luck!

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

OBSERVING

 

OBSERVING

OBSERVING

 OBSERVED SECTIONS BEGINS….. the sign that marked the entry on all trials of my youth and
back in the 60’s the rules were pretty simple front wheel spindle in, front wheel spindle out and
now you are under the eagle eye of the Observer who might offer suggestions, or not, might
tell you how many cleans there had been, or not, and after your attempt might tell you your
score, or not!

Classic Observer, with the big board, pencil at the ready
A very famous rider? On a James????

The dedicated band of enthusiasts known as Observers and now Checkers would
professionally record your scores as you blundered round leafless woodlands, bomb holes,
rivers and moors. They came to the event professionally attired for the worst that mother
nature could throw at them as they stood for hours watching us attempt section after section.
Invariably they had their old Army kitbag at the base of the tree with sandwiches, a left over
bit of christmas cake and a Thermos of hot coffee. Being professionals they often had several
presharpened pencils and a big plastic bag to go over the vital evidence of the section score
card. No individual cards and punches in those days just good old pencil and paper.

The Observer is pencil ready to score another “Famous Name?”

Back then there were only 4 scores available the Clean for a 0, the Dab for the 1 point and
then for more than one dab, footing which scored the 3. Failure, breaking tapes, going the
wrong way, missing a gate, or when “the front wheel ceases to rotate in a forward direction”
was deemed a 5. However in all my years, coming to a brief standstill with feet on the pegs,
was never penalised and was not considered to be a “fault”.

A not “So Famous” rider with a left handed Observer

Moving on in years there came the 2 dabber which made sense for all those hard luck stories
of the giant woodland climb or the long water filled muddy ditch where you could often dab on
entry and then ride the 50 yards+  without fault only to dab again at the exit and collect the
same score as someone else who had sat down at the start and paddled like a centipede all
the way through.

All seems well on the trials front until the introduction of “arena trials”  and riding over VW
Beetles. Suddenly a whole new level of “trick riding” enters the sport and feet up backing up
on corners until the line is just so becomes the norm and goes unpenalized…… and then the
hopping begins and goes on and on until nearly all of our modern trials consist of leaping
about doing nose wheelies and flicking the back end around.

A Scottish Observer with the armband…. he must have seen the dab?

Currently our “rules” seem to have lost track with reality! In a modern trial you can take a dab,
fair enough, 1 point, but equally you can STOP with your foot down, take a breather, check
everything and set off again having only lost the same score…… and of course the same is true
for a 3 where you can be non stop footing all the way through the section and come to a
grinding halt and then take a breather while you reassess what to do next and as long as you
don’t go backwards all is well. The other annoyance in a modern trial is engine running/engine
dead where you lose a 5 for a dead engine. Well I suppose if you are one finger clutching and
braking, to stall the engine is poor control and worth a 5. Thankfully ‘No Stop” rules allow you
to manhandle the bike through the ends cards with or without the engine running.

I’m quite sure foot down stationary penalties should get the correct score they deserve FIVE!

Thankfully for us old timers the Twinshock Movement and AHRMA uses the “No Stop” system
which was the norm for the period when the machines were actively competing. That of course
is fine but we often lack experienced observers/checkers necessitating a pre trial briefing and
demo session to bring them all up to speed. Within the sport, and Vintage trials in particular,
it may not be that important that all our checkers are dedicated judges who travel to the ends
of the earth to check for no reward other than the sport itself. We should however acknowledge
their time and effort and not be abusive or argue over a score. Just ask yourself how many
times in your riding experience have you GOT AWAY with a clean when you actually dabbed?

I have had the “new boy” checker Hitler who overplayed his authority when one day I’m the
ONLY rider at a section and having walked it, paid salutations to all, gone back to my bike done
all the usual checks and then ridden around to get in the rythmn and looked up and seeing that
“the observer from hell” is watching I set off, enter, and line up to cross the fallen tree, over
that and into a classic tight turn and now as I exit the turn he grabs hold of my handlebars and
stops me dead in my tracks.
“I’m in charge here, and I didn’t give you permission to enter the section” !!!!!!!!!!! ****!

Another way to go is the “Buddy Check” whereby a group of you all riding the same line all
ride round together and score each other. This can often be a lot of fun and keeps the
competition keen as well as being a very sociable affair. There are of course pros and cons
and some people do not like riding in groups as they like to go at their own pace and fairly
obvoiusly with big groups there is a lot of hanging around and engines go cold during the wait.
Ideal numbers seem to be groups of 3 or 4 and then it flows very well. This system is also
good for some of the novices to get some tuition from senior riders while actually competing,
and a few “claps” go a long way to help somebody’s confidence when they are just starting.

Use ’em or abuse ’em but RULES is RULES

OBSRVED
 SECTION
    ENDS

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 4/10/2008 7:11 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Ah! yes – those were the days, – Nice pics of Sammy and Don Smith – I had a James very similar to the one Sam is riding (1954) this was the Cotswold listed as the Scrambles model, while the 54 Official Trials bike still had a rigid back end.
    Couldn’t agree more about the rules, and the state of the sport today – my comments regarding the World Trials on my blog I think say it all. – These Trials have developed into Xtreme events, which one day will see one of the top riders badly injured ( In my humble opinion)
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

A TRIALS VIAGRA

 

A TRIALS VIAGRA

A TRIALS VIAGRA

 No this isn’t about any little “blue” pills but boy, am I excited or what? I’m just bursting with
enthusiasm for what may, if we get it right, come to fruition next May!

One of Javier’s two James

Yes, it’s the Scottish, or to be more precise the Pre 65 Scottish and already I have been
offered a fantastic machine for the event. None other than a Alan Whitton and Mick Andrews
250 James!!!! …….. all I have to do is get an entry which is where all the finger crossing will be.
Hoping for a bit of luck here, and I’m about due for some, then if I do get in Brenda and I will
turn this into a National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

The pre 65 fun Stop….. Kinlochleven

The big plan will be fly to the UK at the end of April and drive up to Kinlochleven and then do
the Pre 65, then wend our way through England’s fair and pleasant land. Pass through my
childhood stomping ground at Canterbury crossing over to Paris, maybe by train and the
Chunnel that I never saw completed . Do the tourist bit in “Pari” (without the gay!) and then
move south picking up a houseboat/barge and more casual wending down the river stopping
at Chateaus and selected Auberges for muchoo vino collapso! ….. plenty of bread and frommage
aussi.

London to Paris on the Eurostar

?

What did they ever win?

Frommage

Maybe this River?

More cheeses

No doubt a fair bit of this

Post wine tasting……how many chateaus????

Something like this would be nice

About 10 days on the houseboat then dump that and maybe detour into Switzerland before
driving over the Pyrenees to the outskirts of Madrid for the fantastic Robregordo 2 day where
once again the same man will lend me the same James! Having completed that then jump on a
flight from Madrid and back to the USA.

Javier’s other Gorgeous James….. also available for both… I’m spoilt for choice!

So with only 14 months to go things are already at fever pitch as the mind races ahead trying
to plan all the bits and bobs associated with a trip of this magnitude. Better start brushing up
on my French and get some serious practice in on McEwan’s Heavy/Export/Special. It will also
be the first time playing with Euros which may be easier than all the other currencies….. better
check the Passports as well……. and what to do with all these dogs?

My Spanish benefactor, Javier Cruz, known on Trials Central as “Snr Greeves” may well be
competing in the 5 AHRMA Nationals in late August and September and riding my “Glitzmobile”
which I consider a very fair exchange considering what he is offering me!

WHOOOPEEEE!!!

Spoken to Edward and he will get me a Hoseasons brochure this weekend and we can then
look at the routing through France. Got to speak to my cousin Tom at Arter Bros and reinstate
my membership of the Barham & District MC & LCC which was my first club way back in 1963.

BARHAM & DISTRICT on the right, R.A.F.M.S.A. on the left

Showing her age! been on all my cars since 1963

I still have the badge on my car right now! After that it then all becomes hoping and more
hoping that my entry will be accepted. Better not speak to me if I don’t get in!……. and of
course if that happens and the trip gets the “CNX” I would advise staying well clear of Brenda
aussi!

Not forgetting all the foods that I shall be gorging on that you never see in the USA. Oh! for
those “ploughman’s lunches” with pickled onions….yum, yum! Standard pub fare of “Scampi
and chips”….. “fish n’ chips” in newspaper….. “pickled eggs”………. “Walls Pork Pies”…..
“British Bangers”…… and hopefully some of those fantastic “Mallaig Kippers”….. and just
to round off a “Cornish Pastie”…… funny what you miss.

I’m more excited than a 4 year old on Christmas Eve if that’s possible.

 So here is the Route

Since I started writing there seem to have been some additions to my simple straightforward
“Double Trial in Europe” and I’m told to drive into Switzerland, and Tuscany is a MUST! before
moving down to Spain……. anything for peace. As was once said “In an Operation this size
you must accept a few losses”

WHOOOPPEEEE!

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 4/7/2008 7:41 AM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Hey Tony – That will be a fantastic trip for you ( when I first started reading I thought it was for this year & was thinking – thats coming up quick!!) Best of luck and hope things go according to plan.
    Reply to this
  • 4/11/2008 10:18 AM Javier Cruz wrote:
    Also for me thinking in racing 5 trials in the US makes the same effect that viagra……
    Tony; this is all for fun, and as long as I have enough resonable good bikes to let to a classic trials enthusiast as you, be shure there will ready to make their dreams come true.
    I wish all the dreams where so easy to make them come true. Enjoy.
    Reply to this
  • 4/18/2008 9:00 PM Steveo wrote:
    Sounds like the trip of a lifetime,on a James no less!My first bike was a James,so I’ve a very special soft spot for them,and their bullet-proof Villiers.The very best of British luck on the draw Tony,dreams do come true! Steveo
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

THE SEASON BEGINS

THE SEASON BEGINS

THE SEASON BEGINS

Cub Ready!

With all the “rules” talk I decided to ride the Cub in Classic this year, then there can be no
argument, not that I thought there would be anyway. So a full blown attack on that division
this season and at the same time an attack on the Prem Hwy Int Class riding the RE on the PI
line as I’m not yet sure I could hump it round on the 2.

Bullet……. nearly ready

Some new kit including the latest Jitsie Black/White pants and a new semi waterproof pair of
Sidis in White. A new silver helmet would be nice but I can’t find one that I like so stick with the
tried and true. The new kit was purchased to fit the new “body” after an extensive rebuild on
the “nutri-system” diet which it has to be said clearly works and I’m now 20 lbs lighter than I
was this time last year!


The new Jitsie Pants….Ooooooh!

….and a new pair of SIDIs

Choccie puddy too!

I enjoyed the Trialsmaster duties at AZ Cycle Park but would have loved to have ridden, but of
course I did try all the sections so I know what the most likely score would have been. The CAT
opener was alright but I never really got settled on the bike for some reason and although I
didn’t ride badly the results were not as good as I would have expected. The second CAT Trial
went 10 times better and I felt totally in control and the score was closer to where I wanted to
be, save for stalling, on a relatively easy piece of a section when I had it in the bag.

On form Table Mesa

Sunday will be time to prep the transporter, dump the tanks and not make last years mistakes
with the valves. Time for a once over wash, get those tires up to the pressures and then all
aboard on Monday ready for a Tuesday departure. Plan to get to DD’s on Wed night and then
have a pleasant Thursday before the event on Friday. Saturday will of course be sampling the
Po-Boys before the 2 day 1400 mile sprint home.

Last year at DD’s

The Train on time again

Bring on the Shrimp Po-Boys…….

2 weeks and then over to Perris CA where we have a bit of an unknown in so much that there
isn’t much real estate that looks trials like as the motorcross course seems to have swallowed it
all up. A real shame when we look back at what we had at Perris Trials Land a few years ago,
never mind I’m sure Rob Poole will find something to challenge us with.

The superbus “Beaver Enterprize” will be going in for a whole new load of woodwork and panels
as the beautiful inlaid panels have started to peel off. After a “small” discussion Monaco elected
not to have a class action law suit against them and their flagship product so have agreed to
replace 14 panels at their cost! Should have that all in as they are being crated this week, and
about 4 days to fit, before we set sail for the 2 day at Cotopaxi. Tucker Ranch (Cotopaxi) was a
first class event last year when it was just part of the Rocky Mountain series and has now been
upgraded to a 2 day AHRMA National, so maybe a few more riders to make it what could be a
humdinger. Brenda will be on hand taking photographs of all so look for them on her web if you
are riding.

Having fun at Cotopaxi 2007

Ed has also devised a team competition which should add a bit of fun so get together and name
“yourselves” and find one Expert, one Int and one Novice. Looks like the Saturday night will be
similar to the Casper event with everybody contributing something for the table. It really is a
trials perfect piece of land so I’m expecting a great event with some improved riding now I’ve
tamed the Tiger Cub.

Ready and waiting.

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS

 

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS

The current “output” from the Lucas Mag

What we need to power the Bullet

The Lucas Racing Mag is removed from the Oilfield and has crossed the pond to undergo
intensive surgery. First reports from the Doctor who examined the patient state that there are
two different sets of points for these wondrous pieces of memorabilia ….. one set is tungsten
and should be for road bikes, the other is platinum and is the correct one for trials applications.
It appears some shade tree has changed them and I had a half and half with one piece in
tungsten and the other in platinum……not good apparently. Also the modern silicone pretty
wires were too modern for our 1940’s technology.

Another Dead Mag

That’s the progress report apart from the jaw dropping cost of “platinum points”……..$120!!!!!
However they sound as though they know what they are doing so now that the UK long Easter
holiday is winding down maybe the armature will be winding up so I’m fairly sure it will not be
available for Diamond Don’s and just maybe it will have it’s first US competition at Perris in mid
April.

No more of this!

A Brilliant Blue Flash

So in the interim its back to polishing and replace the decompressor along with the new fuel
cock, which I’m assured won’t leak and takes a better run to the carb and is out of harms way
from the exhaust. Not much more I can do to the beast as I have no electrics ……..?

The New Decompressor with the TOO small hole

Fit the new decompressor after wrestling with the top clip to release the spring and it screws in
perfectly but, wait for it, the hole where the cable goes in is too small for the nipple! I’m trying
to remember the last item that fitted first time without having to be “slightly” modified.

New petcock with a 90 degree feed

The new petcock went into the tank and looks like it will work but as with most Enfield things
tons of space everywhere else but in the critical zones all on top of everything. Well I do have
yet another petcock if this one doesn’t work out.

…..and so I wait for the day when by surprize a Lucas Racing Mag will light up my workshop
and just like biblical times he didst say “Let there be light…… and lo, you could see for
……king miles!”

Alone in the sea of Vintage Royal Enfield darkness!

Tony Down

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 4/7/2008 5:12 PM Fred M wrote:
    What’s the status on the RE? Did you
    ever get the mag back and the bike started? Would a electronic system offered for the “RE’s” work with your bike?

    Fred
    Reply to this

  • 4/18/2008 8:37 PM Steveo wrote:
    Hi Tony,finally put my new rubber on the TY,it works great,thanks to you,I now know the difference that fresh tires make,now if I could only figure out how to freshen up my riding abilities,first trial,I finished in the middle of the pack.The weather’s nice here,humming birds are back and I’m overwhelmed by the number of projects,stacking up around me,like getting a garden together,putting a custom deck onto my ride-on mower,building a new woodshed,cutting fire wood,running the sawmill,putting an addition onto the guest cabin,c/w running water for my trials destination vacation plan,looking after aging folks,building a sauna,taking time off for the odd trial ect.Hope that it’s not getting too hot down your way yet,all the best to you and Brenda,Steveo
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

MORE SCREAMING BIRDS

MORE SCREAMING BIRDS

MORE SCREAMING BIRDS

Man, that’s one BIG tire!

 Madam has now recovered from the last ride on the Deuce but with a vast array of Hardley
Albeson clothing suggests we look at the V Rod as maybe with the big fat rear tire, just maybe,
the seat will be wider and a bit more comfortable.

With all the “goodies”

……..and so it was, or nearly, the trade is done and the new parts ordered which include a
bigger and better seat, remove the rear billet pegs and replace with floor boards similar to the
Beemer, a backrest and roll bag carrier, and some decent exhausts to give it a bit of personality.
HD are unable to sort out an intercom system so that will be a do it yourself.

The machine is prepped and we go to collect it and they start it up and it’s about as noisey as
a singer sewing machine….. a quick look at the pipes…….”when are the new ones coming?”…..
“you don’t like them?” ……”They are OK but they are not what I ordered!”…….”Hmmmm”

The new Arais with Screamin’ Eagle Motif

3 days later I roll it out complete with the new pipes and it now has a bit of a rumble but
without overstating itself and setting off car alarms like the Deuce used to do. The new Arai
helmets are color coordinated to match the bike along with a pleasing decal that fits the bill
perfectly. So another $30,000 sets off on the voyage of discovery……. but we did get 2 free
Tee Shirts!

A few local area rides to get some running in done and an almost continual refuelling as this
thing only holds an egg cup full of fuel in the under seat tank. The digital led fuel display you
can physically watch descending as you ride along so I’m guessing I have about 80 miles
between stops. Again a very pretty bike and perhaps a little more user friendly than the Deuce
but with all the normal heavy metal of the Harley marque.

We have to put 1000 miles on the beast and then it goes in for revamping and tuning the
performance side of the engine, whatever that entails….. all I know is they gave me a “little
black box” said don’t lose it and bring it back with the bike when you have 1000 on it. So the
plan is to take this one back up to our Cozy Comfort RV Park in Dolores and have a gentle
ride round the Ouray Loop.

Ready to roll with the wet gear at Dolores

The New SE jackets

Setting off from Dolores it’s lovely and sunny and we glide along the route going up to
Teluride and decide to take a smoke break at the new bar in Rico. While we are there we
meet a couple of Harley riders who have just come the other way and they tell us the weather
is a mix of rain/sleet and thick snow!……. and its only September!!

Following the Dolores River

We look up the valley and see the huge black clouds blocking the pass and the odd flash and
boom. Hmmmmm, I don’t think so, and the plan gets changed and we beat feet back to
Dolores, put the bike back in the trailer and spend the rest of the day in the Hollywood bar.

Next outing is our trip to Napa Valley, a trip to the bay, over the famous bridge and back up
the Valley for day 1. Day 2 will be the wine tasting, then up sticks and head south to Hollister
Hills for a day off and a trial on the Saturday. The Friday plan is to run down to Monterey and
visit Clint Eastwood’s Hogs Breath for lunch. Part one goes well with the trip into San Fran,
the duty lunch and the ride over the Golden Gate but then everything gets horribly congested
on the long way back but at least we can cautiously use the California rules to get through
the traffic. Miss a turn during a road works diversion and end up on a road I have no memory
of…. 5 miles of this and chilly too, a quick turn around and back to Calistoga and the bus.

Over the Golden Gate

The trip to Monterey gets the veto, as it’s not a sore bum this time, more a sore head thanks
to the volume of fine wine…. well it had to be done! …… since then a couple of local runs and
now after nearly two years we are up to nearly 700 miles….. WOW, now that’s a lot of motoring
and the Eagle is SCREAMING for more rides.

I’m better now

Tony Down  with a Screamin Eagle

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

The Evil One

 Storm clouds gather over the pool and terrified fish take refuge from the assault from the skies!
The Heron have discovered the pools and now we have a major problem on our hands.

The time is November 2007 as the first of these aerial invaders arrives and lurks around the
garden and pool area. It doesn’t consider human life form as a major threat and, will if disturbed,
casually take off, circle the property, and land back somewhere else.

About a week of this goes by and we enlist our Squadron of Fighter Hawks who are only too
willing to harrass and buzz big birds encroaching on their hunting territory. They will zoom in
and distract “Big Bird” while another lines up for an attack from a different direction. However
the B52 size of this dammed bird is more than the Hawks can bring down.

INCOMING !! TAKE COVER!!

Scramble, Scramble, Scramble…. The Hawk Fighters launch

Attack from above…… “BANDIT 10 o’clock low”

The Bandit Departs

The Fighters Land

Eventually this huge bird alights on the electric pole and protected species or not I give it “one”
from the high powered air rifle. It lumbers off the pole and takes a low flight across the paddock
and dissappeared onto the neighbors property never to be seen again.

The Hawks on QRA (Quick Reaction Alert)

2007 comes to an end and the fish are happy in their habitat and the “blitz” has passed but
then one day in January 2008 another monster from the skies arrives in the form of the  Great
Blue Heron. This one is very different from the earlier bird which had a white head and forebody
with dark blue wings. The newcomer is in “air defence grey plummage” with a black crested
head and an evil yellow beak. It must stand 3.5 feet tall and is a very, very determined bird.

It landed on one of my Sections!  How DARE you!!!

This predator seems to have an all weather capability and must be equipped with night vision
goggles as it will frequently arrive before daybreak and also at dusk. Initially it would arrive at
dawn and would fly off as soon as I opened the door to walk the dogs. It would then fly a little
way and stay on a neighbors shed and just sit and wait. In the evening it would swoop down
and land in the paddock and stand there motionless before slowly creeping forward to get to
the ponds.

Not again!

One night I’m backwashing the filters when this thing arrives, yes I did have my gun with me,
but I can’t get closer to him and in the half light he is making no attempt to come in. When do
these bloody birds ever go to roost? Eventually I’ve had enough and give him a warning shot
but at that range I don’t think it was a life threatening blow.

Clearly this dammed creature from hell has designs on the lower pool and every time it gets
in there is an oil residue on the surface. Another giveaway is that it always knocks over the
model Titanic on it’s entrance. So clearly the fish need protection and I get in the pool and
make some shelters using upturned drawers from an old Craftsman tool chest. The fish
quickly adapt to their new “hardened shelters” and seldom venture out.

I try a new tactic and position the car close to the pool and try using it as a hide……. sure
enough the bird arrives and after about 30 mins it comes in close enough for a shot. I take the
shot and give it a pretty hard thwack but it flies off into the dark. 2 days later I’m doing
paperwork at 0600 and need something from the car and as I turn to come back in the
house this festering creature is now sitting on the chimney. I manage to get the gun and
sneak out again and this time give him a hard hit in the beak! He tumbles off the roof and
vanishes.

6 weeks have elapsed since then and now the bastard is back, or if not then it’s another one!
This one is also clumsy and also knocks the Titanic over but regrettably seems to be a better
hunter and on Friday morning killed one of the largest Goldfish and may have eaten another,
and all this before dawn.

Right friend, this is now getting personal! Friday afternoon some old 135 lb fishing line from
one of my sea reels from Saudi Arabia is strung around the entry point to the pool which if it
doesn’t get tangled up in it should act as a deterrent. Saturday morning and I’m up at 0630
and as I make a cup of coffee I see the monster take off from the upper pool…….Bastard!

Out to the pool and there are gold and red scales and quite a lot of blood and now this
venonmous creature has taken at least 2 fish from my upper pool. More fishing line on the
upper pool and alarm set for this morning. By 0530 I’m in the “hide” and by 0645 it’s broad
daylight and Mr Heron is a no-show……. very clever!

The game continues…… Monday morning I’m established in the hide and I sit and wait as the
sun comes up…..rabbits and big fat quail saunter by, early morning crows pass en-route to
their feeding areas, doves come down to the pool to drink and even a humming bird flits
around the waterfalls, but again BIG BIRD is a no show! Do we have a security breach? is
there a spy in the pool, which side is the turtle on? Well the air defence forces remain vigilant
and we are on a high state of readiness to remove the threat…… for now the skies are clear
but what will happen…….. stay tuned to this channel for further news as it breaks.

Tuesday dawn and an error of judgment as I was topping up the pool last night and forgot to
turn the water off so thousands of gallons wasted as it overflowed. Still no sign of “Bin Laden”
…. either a very clever bird or it didn’t like the oriental sushi and has gone back to bass. Maybe
somebody else gave it a wallop or it’s found an easier feeding ground. We stay on a high
readiness state and await further developments.

Wednesday and the hide was moved as the deviant bird has been a no-show for the last 3
days, however at 0700, just a little later than normal, there was a total eclipse of the sun as I
looked out of the window. The monster approached the pool with evil intent and then quite
inexplicably it suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and fell down dead!

There was a large cheer from the pool and fish were jumping and there was much merriment
and singing in the babbling brook. The reign of terror is OVER!

Singing “cockles and muscles alive, alive, O”

Tony Down    Protector of the Koi

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

I’VE BEEN THROUGH THE DESERT ON A HORSE WITH NO NAME

 

I’VE BEEN THROUGH THE DESERT ON A HORSE WITH NO NAME

I’VE BEEN THROUGH THE DESERT ON A HORSE WITH NO NAME

Now that’s a pretty paint scheme!

A couple of years on with the 1340cc FXR2 Harley and now its time to start lOOking again and
now from the same dealer there is a drop dead gorgeous “special” that they have prepared for
bike week. I gaze longingly at this beauty and about 2 weeks later wander down there again to
maybe investigate a deal? Lo and behold it’s got a sold sticker on it!! I say nothing, look it over
one more time and leave cross with myself that I hadn’t come to a decision earlier.One month later I’m back in the dealership to talk to my friend Jim Wagner about trials when
I notice the “special” is still there and the sold sticker has been removed? Make the usual
enquiries and it turns out the buyer couldn’t get the finance ….hmmmmm!

At home before the mods, snakeskin seat, shotgun pipes, braided cables, special paint

Two days later the deal is done, I get more for the FXR than I paid from the same dealer and
I’m on the new machine. Love the color, don’t like the forward controls, and I have a couple of
minor mods that I liked from the FXR so I have them planned to do when I take it in for the first
free service.

Service time and in it goes and now there is a special deal on the “1550cc” conversion kit as
that was the way the engine was designed but then CA decided is was not allowed in their
state so ALL counter balanced engines had to be downrated to 1450cc! For $1000 Harley will
replace the barrels and heads back to 1550 and the warranty is still good. Now that’s a cheap
deal. Apparently it is a lot smoother and performs much better so that is being done along with
my other planned extras.

The service writer notes all the scheduled work and just as I’m walking away the Harley men
say, “Oh by the way have you thought about putting Baisley Heads on?”
They explain that as the bikes in pieces it’s a one for one swap and no extra labor charges.
They show me the difference, one will take a clementine through the inlet and the other a full
jaffa orange!…. “Ok let’s do it”
…….”Oh, Sir, if you are going to run these heads on this motor you should change to the bigger
Mikuni as the stock carb won’t be able to keep up, and you should change to the bigger spark
system and then you will have a real winner.” Having agreed to all that lot on their advice I’m
about to set off in the car with all the other stock parts when I’m told “By the way we will have
to change the Petcock as well as the stock one can’t match the fuel flow to the carb”

Ready for Brenda, big seat,backrest,luggage rack…… not forgetting the Vance&Hines pipe
the BIG motor, big mikuni, new air cleaner etc, etc

3 days later and $3500 poorer I collect the bike along with the Vance & Hines 2 into 1 pipe,
which apparently gives another 10 horses, and off I go…….. very impressive! and in traffic it
feels like you are taking a badly behaved labrador for a walk and it is constantly pulling………
the slightest tweak of the throttle and it will be off!

Under headlamp turn signals

Towards the end of the “running in” period I’m coming up the big police free hill out of Rio
Verde and elect to see what I have under me. A couple of downshifts and a fistfull of power
……. WOW! 60+ in second, take it up to about 85 in third and change up to 4th and on passing
90 both feet lift off the forward pedals as my boots are now acting like aircraft wings in this
ridiculous 45 degree posture.  Well remember that for the future and must lock my boots under
the shifter and brake pedal for any “hi-speed” riding.

Some time later the Harley crowd decide to do the “River Run” and I join in as I’ve never been
to any of these big rallies so time to experience one before comments are passed. We leave in
a group of 5 including one Novice rider who doesn’t really want to ride faster than about 60mph.
2 of the group want to ride at around the 85-90 mark so there is bound to be some friction. By
mid morning on day 1 the fast group are beginning to get on my nerves as they keep shooting
off at high speed and then as you crest a rise in the middle of the desert there they are by the
roadside having a smoke 2 miles from a village with a bar! No sooner have we stopped and lit
up and they are away again only to stop in “that” village and refuel? Some time later we have
to stop again as “Super Rider” has filled up with low octane fuel and his bike is “pinking”…….
well what a surprize!…… now we try and stop at every shed, garage, store he can find to try
and buy an octane booster.

Say nothing! …… and now we ALL stop at the same place for a late lunch with just about 60
miles to our nightstop. On leaving the lunchstop “Super Rider” and friend remark that they might
see us at the destination as WE can’t keep up. I know, I know, I should have let it go but ……………..

Really?

We come up to a T junction and with no traffic I let them go and give them about a 100 yard
start…… Right then! we will see WHO can’t keep up, and with that the Horse with No Name is
released and off we go, up through the box and catching up pretty quickly on the “pair” who
have stabilzed at around 90, change into 4th at 95 and lock tootsies under the rear brake and
toe in under the shifter ……… a “S” turn through their offset as I change into top and let her
have her head and rocket away from them……… I look down to see what the speed is and can’t
see the needle? as I slow I see the needle pointing straight down at my vitals and the 120
indicator is in the 4 o’clock position!!! It transpires there is no end stop on a Harley speedo so
speed for this dose of insanity remains unknown. However after this demo the “pair” rode in
harmony with us for the rest of the journey.

Matching(nearly) His & Hers

Another ride, another bar

Post Jerome and back in Prescott

The Deuce completes 7000 miles in Arizona with multiple runs to Jerome for the “bends” and
after several seat changes she has to go as the passengers rear end can take no more and
she is spoilt by the luxury of the BMW K1200LT. One final bash around the Ouray loop out of
our place in Dolores (available to bikers) up through Telluride down to Placerville, the big
sweepers to Ridgeway and then the straight road into Ouray before tackling all those mountain
bends and drops crossing over to Silverton. From there more bends down to Durrango then
the fast ride back to Dolores through Mancos and all the hi-speed sweepers. Once round in
each direction was the plan but Madam’s rear end said otherwise and so it became a one way
mission! …….and the last for the Horse with No Name, but we shall call him DEUCE.

Somewhere on the Ouray Loop

Smoke & refuel stop in Ridgeway

No guardrail and BIG drops,  Ouray-Silverton

The last ride on the Deuce

That’s IT! my ***** has had enough!

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
Leave a comment

 

Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

reCAPTCHA challenge image

Get a new challenge Get an audio challengeGet a visual challengeHelp

 

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

THE AMERICAN HORSE

THE AMERICAN HORSE

THE AMERICAN HORSE

Loud pipes…… make a lot of noise!

 With the building of the Motorcycle it seems that the age of the horse came to a halt as early
settlers transferred their allegience to Harley Davidson. So it was for me when I first came to
America and my first motorcycle on these shores was indeed the mighty Harley and similar to
the horse very little had been done to the beast in terms of Darwin’s evolution of the species.

The “cult” surrounding the “Hucking Farley” has to be one of the most amazing con tricks of
all time. Why would anybody buy a machine like this, spend a fortune on clothing and after
market goodies and still have an evil handling, uncomfortable, ergonomic slum of a bike
reminiscent of the 50’s ??

NOW that’s good advertising!

Well I’m conned into the “cult” and introduced to a vast array of clothing and other stuff that
I had never encountered in all my years of motorcycling. First came the bike and after the
decision to join the club is made I’m off to a local dealership to purchase a really pretty FXR,
maybe one of the few Harley’s that did actually handle!

BBBrrrraaaaaBar…….BBBBrrrrraaaabar!

First impressions, other than the glitter factor of all the chrome, is that everything is big! …..
and there are lots of bits all over the bike including 6 footrests???? This one is in Purple and
has megaphone exhausts like my Uncle’s racing G50’s and 7R’s….. it is taken outside and the
beast is started to a deafening roar. When it has warmed up the exhaust has a pretty
orgasmic sound with the characteristic Harley, potato, potato rumble and during the test ride
the noise is a major selling point, particularly on the overrun …… so I guess the noise sold it!

Other impressions, nice color (Cobalt Blue = Purple…. and I’m a sucker for purple) it’s bloody
heavy, noisey, and the handle grips are huge even for my hands. Clutch is a bit like pulling on
a tug-o-war team, shifter makes a clunk on every change as though you were changing tracks
on a railroad and it steers like a pig.

Having bought the beast it’s now time to get into the Harley world of clothing! First up a helmet
and I buy a Bell 3/4 face in red/black, after all, Bell always made great helmets…..didn’t they?
……..maybe they did, but it appears that their factory has moved to Mexico and after 50 miles
of riding with this “thing” it’s making my head ache. Leather jacket, a must, and this I admit
was, and still is, a good real motorcycle garment. Chaps? what do I need these for I’m not
planning on doing a rodeo…… but they assure me it’s a must!…… and then the vest for summer
riding so that you can sew all the badges on the back and have all the “I’ve been everywhere
pins on the front”. The vest is not really a practical garment as in a normal riding position with
it zipped up it tends to get air under the shoulders and unless you are constantly pulling it
down it starts slapping you around at any speed over about 60. Tee shirts, all black, but today
I actually find 2 that are for this specific bike in Cobalt Blue. One is medium and the other 2XL
but they both fit the same! NB; all Harley clothing must be sized by selective fitting!

The awful Bell, chaps, and vest with “I’ve been everywhere pins”

Generally speaking its a lot of fun and every time I take it out I imagine myself on the
“London-Brighton Run”. The highway pegs are removed, as one of the most worthless pieces
of junk I have encountered. These pegs should be BANNED on all motorcycles as they are
downright dangerous and are not even comfortable. In a land of so many “petty” laws, and I
can quote a couple from Arizona, No helmet required, but you MUST have eye protection and
woe betide you if you are caught wearing the wrong colored lens!! These ridiculous highway
pegs are even more stupid than the fad for “forward controls”. Let’s look at “highway pegs”
for a moment….. located forward and often quite high up, to use them your legs are now
virtually straight and about handlebar width apart. Do you normally sit around in this posture?
I don’t so why would I want to ride like this? Also all the air and bugs and bees blow up the
legs of your trousers or fill up with air like the Michelin Man! Now from a road safety point of
view your feet are nowhere near your riding controls of rear brake and shifter…. ridiculous!..

Would you drive a car with one leg out of the driver’s window??? If we look at a “classic”
riding position which was always referred to as posture then your legs and lower body weight
are supported on the footrests which are traditionally about the center of the machine. Upper
body is supported by the seat and arms are comfortably bent and below the level of the heart.
With these ghastly forward controls/highway pegs and “apehanger bars” all your body weight
is going through your tailbone and your arms are way above your heart…… no wonder Harley
riders stop at every 50 miles or so and then lean on the bar if they can still stand.

The 1999 HD FXR2

…… and while on the subject of this ridiculous garb what is it with these “doo-rags”??? what
are they for? they certainly don’t offer any form of head protection and make a pretty poor
bandage to boot! The bike itself was fun, but the “image” and all else that surrounds the
marque is certainly not my idea of true motorcycling and dressing up like a tramp or pirate of
the caribbean to ride a $30,000 machine just can’t be right ……… but each to their own and if
your bike really has 35 keys then you keep them on a chain if you must!

TONY DOWN   Motor Cycle Safety Foundation Instructor

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • 3/15/2013 11:09 PM Grant Humble wrote:
    You hit the nail on the head with this article Tony. Here in the midwest we call those dew rags shop towels.
    Reply to this
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.

 



  

WE ARE SAILING

WE ARE SAILING

WE ARE SAILING

We aren’t going anywhere until we get more coffee on the Bridge!

0600 and the ward room steward brings morning coffee and from last night’s drunken haze I
remember today is the DAY. we are leaving Jacksonville, Florida for our crossing of the Atlantic,
creeping up the eastern US, rendezvousing with our tanker somewhere off Newfoundland then
up and round the top of Scotland and then finally into the Firth of Forth for the ship to enter a
refit programme.

0700 and all the ropes are cast off or whatever the Navy do and with much bubbling and
churning our Destroyer, the mighty type 42, H.M.S. Liverpool moves away from it’s moorings
and turns to make for the Atlantic. We are all in our best uniforms and Grant and I take our
places on the bridge wings as we slip quietly down the river to the entry into the big Pond.

Now we are at sea and the Navy want to show us all their various departments, first up it’s the
WEO who bores us witless by showing us the inside of every computer cabinet on board. After
lunch we now have total cloud cover and the sea is getting pretty rough. Night comes and the
storm increases and now I can understand what the straps on the bed are for having been
tossed out during the night.

Spend the next morning on the bridge and the storm is now abating and its getting a bit
calmer. Another day at sea passes with more stories and film shows. The following day at
0830 lots of bells, whistles and other nautical mayhem and suddenly the ship takes off in
hi-speed mode and now we are crashing through the waves and hitting over 30 kts from the
other set of engines….. very impressive!

Full power!

The Captain wants to go water skiing

The next evening I am invited to do “rounds” with the ship’s XO as the Navy are obviously
amused that my position on the Squadron is also XO. Rounds is where the XO goes round the
ship every night inspecting all the quarters being piped into all the seamen’s accommodation by
the ship’s Bosun…… I guess this goes back to Nelson’s time. Man what awful conditions, quite
an experience and you have to ask yourself why anyone would join? When this is complete
dinner is served and unlike the US Navy, British ships do allow booze, albeit rationed by the day
and NO Hoarding or stock piling.

HMS Hermione

Breakfast and a lot of banging this morning so venture up to the bridge to see what is
happening and today they have the 4.5 inch gun in operation firing against a “splash” target
being towed by H.M.S. Hermione a Leander Class Frigate. Great shell cases rattling all over the
deck and some bouncing off the hardware and going over the side. Complete Mayhem!

The 4.5 in action

You got it dirty, you clean it!

If the gun doesn’t get you this might

Well that was fun and now they announce that we will shortly be doing a “RAS”
(replenishment at sea) so this should be worth watching. 1000 and now we are in thick fog
somewhere off Newfoundland. I seem to remember this “Fog” from by schoolboy world
geography and can’t help but think this really isn’t the brightest place to plan a refuelling stop
with a tanker. 1100 and we can’t find the tanker! …… well this could be fun, if we don’t find it
we are diverting to Bermuda…… sounds good to me!

S***!….. so much for Bermuda

1130, bad news here is Plum Leaf, the tanker, and now we get to see how this is done……
first get a matelot with a rifle and a load of rope who fires a shell and the rope over to the
supply ship, then the seamen over there haul the rope over and tie an even bigger rope to it
and then we haul it back, and eventually with loads of ropes and pulleys the fuel hose comes
over, meanwhile other things come swinging over on wires and men and material go
backward and forwards a bit like being back in Disney. All complete and wires, hoses, and
ropes all dropped in the sea our motors fire up and the “tannoys” blare at full blast with the
Spinners record of “The Leaving of Liverpool” as the bow comes up and we rocket off into the
fog!

Pull Mateys Pull! Heave Ho and up she rises…..

Grant not impressed with the operation

Another day and plain sailing with the wind behind us so very pleasant on the bridge wings
but by 1730 it’s getting rough and choppy again, one hour later and the ship is rolling violently
and waves are crashing into the sides of the vessel. Attempt dinner which is amuzing with 50
kts blowing across the decks and plates and cuttlery going everywhere. Spend most of the
night on the bridge and it’s not very nice! Venture back to my cabin only to find everything all
over the floor.

6 hours at hi-speed and then the relative plain sailing as we come back to 20 kts on the other
engines but at least we are out of the stormy waters. See a school of pilot whales  and then
invited to join the clay pigeon shoot off the back of the boat. A win for the RAF and back to the
Ward Room for more shooting stories and drinkies.

One week out from the US and now we are on a chart which has the British Isles on it so
boredom is less intense and I’m told we should pass through Pentland Firth around midnight.
By 2100 the ship is pitching and rolling violently as we round Cape Wrath….. you do this for a
living???

A nice “swell” and its getting worse!

Now we have 20 ft waves crashing into the ship and they tell me it will get even worse in
Pentland Firth. Stay on the bridge as it looks like the best place and the coffee is good.

Finally we are coming down the other side of Scotland and the North Sea is a millpond by
comparison. Lots of marine wildlife as we go past some famous golf courses and now as we
slip into the Firth of Forth my “boys” arrive in a three ship to greet me and Liverpool.

The FIRTH

Welcome Home

Now back in the “Firth” all ship’s officers are summoned to the bridge for the “Well done,
Party, end of Cruise Etc”.

The Party begins

NO NEVER AGAIN!

My lookalike Grant Taylor

The following day we are on a train heading south to Lincoln and normality!

Sqn Ldr Tony Down and Flt Lt Grant Taylor on board HMS Liverpool.

What did you think of this article?



Trackbacks
  • No trackbacks exist for this post.

Comments
  • No comments exist for this post.
Leave a comment


Submitted comments are subject to moderation before being displayed.

 Name

 Email (will not be published)

 Website

Your comment is 0 characters limited to 3000 characters.