HOW MANY MECHANICS TO CHANGE A HEADLIGHT ?

 

HOW MANY MECHANICS TO CHANGE A HEADLIGHT ?

HOW MANY MECHANICS TO CHANGE A HEADLIGHT ?

Daytime running light out

The daytime running light on the Cadillac has failed so off into town and get another one from NAPA.
Well they don’t have any and it will have to come from Phoenix, and I will have to pay the freight costs
…….. I don’t think so! Next port of call has the light but they only sell them in pairs. No matter 2 will do.

Home and time to fit the bulb, a simple task one would expect…… consult owners handbook and see
the task in hand. Diligently follow their instructions which involves removing the top radiator shroud
and all it’s little plastic pop in plastic plugs of which there are about ten. Next turn and withdraw the
two steel retaining rods for the headlamp assembly and then, lift up, and pull forward……. nothing!!
Too much plastic and body parts in the way. Very close but about 1/4 of an inch of steel and other bits
prevents the headlamp from moving in any direction. No cigar here, and it appears the only way is to
take half the front of the car off to get anywhere close. Well this cannot be! there has to be the “trick”
way or simple solution so rather than ruin anything I’ll ring Cadillac tomorrow and get the official low
down and easy solution.

The Cadillac “Idiot’s Guide”

More lies from Cadillac

Day 2 of the mission and now ring customer support for the remedy as their handbook clearly
doesn’t have the answer. Very polite, but clearly after the opening part of discussion the service rep
knows the square root of f*** all! You need to take it to a dealer comes the reply! I explain I have NO
intention of taking the car anywhere and all I want is the easy option from a technician as to how to
get the lamp out and get access to the bulb. More waiting on hold as dumbarse consults a techie.
Back on the line to get the answer that the tech doesn’t understand the problem and I need to take
it to a dealership. By now my patience is at an all time low…… how bloody difficult can it be to change
a bulb?……… and how do THEY do it ???

Without wasting any more time with this clown I ring Coulter Cadillac in Phoenix who were my
Dealers for many years and get through to a service advisor. He immediately tells me its a real bitch
and usually one light is slightly easier than the other but if that doesn’t work I’m right its half the front
end off and it usually costs around 1 full hour of labor just to change the bulb! Well at least he knows
what he is talking about.

Coulter Cadillac who know the real problem

A lot of effort but out it came!

As luck would have it the one that has blown is on the easier side and now knowing the problems I
can wrestle it out without having to remove most of the front. So $125 saved plus a drive to a
dealership which is over 100 miles away in Farmington NM.

TONY DOWN

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  • 7/13/2009 4:40 AM Jim Beville wrote:
    Tony, nice save. Not much wondering involved as to why GM is in the crapper. All the Best, Jim Beville
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TIME TO GET YOUR ROCKS OFF

TIME TO GET YOUR ROCKS OFF

TIME TO GET YOUR ROCKS OFF

I’m putting my foot down until you get this finished!

Having started to mow the lawn the piece of junk that calls itself a “Craftsman” lawnmower started to
play up and would only complete 2 rows of the Wimbledon lawn before running out of fuel. As predicted
…. fuel starvation caused by the float valve being firmly stuck. Of course with many hours, and
experience of same on trials bikes this was soon fixed and as soon as I suggested that I might buy
a Honda the mower behaved itself and the task was done.

While on break Jim and Lucille turned up to collect some trout from the freezer (so that I can go fishing
again) so the remainder of gardening went out the window and the break was extended. After they left
and I had completed the hour long watering session it became very dark and then started to rain and
this morning it is still coming down with some big puddles outside so today’s activities are of the
inside variety.

The Boss declares “open bar” onboard ship

The second set of heathers arrived yesterday so I’m in good shape to get the bed finalised and get the
rocks off the drive. Weeding of the proposed rose bed is pretty tough but the rain helped to soften the
ground and give my “tennis elbows” a break. Tomorrow another collection of suitable rocks to build the
raised bed for the roses then lay newspaper to retain moisture and prevent weeds and also get rid of
the medium sized stones from the heather bed to hold the paper down. I think by the time I get all the
dirt hauled over I will be ready for a beer or two at James’s Memorial at the Hollywood bar which was
his favorite haunt. James unfortunately met his demise on a drunken Friday evening about 6 weeks
ago when he and a friend decided to go on the Dolores River which was in full flow with all the melt
water. Regrettably they capsized and without a life jacket and the force of the river the result was
predictable. Sadly only a week later a lady tourist met the same fate.

Another 120 lbs of free rock

1/2 way through the rose bed and time to go rock hunting and complete both beds. I was going to
smother the remaining weeds but sheer bloody mindedness has determined they will be removed
prior to construction so that of course is taking longer than expected to get the job done. Pressure is
now coming with the classic “When do you expect to finish the heather bed?” Well, of course if I
wasn’t dog walking, cleaning, watering, cooking, shopping and humping and dumping I might have
an easy answer.

“All the weeds are gone……”

Over in the rose bed the last of the awful weeds have now been removed, 3 large loads of rock brought
round the front and having taken a well earned rest to watch Rossi win his 100th GP I had intended to
start the placing and building of the dry stone wall around the rose bed but events in a bottle overtook
other things as a party, including the fire pit all burst into life in the shade garden and before you could
say  ….it was bedtime……. no matter up here in the mountains there is always another day.

First Night Party in the Shade Bar

So a determined effort to get on with these last two projects and then I can turn my attention back to
rebuilding and selling the baby Superglitz TY175. What a cracking little bike that was and another one
that I will personally find hard to part with but in these hard financial times, like many other things, it just
has to go. Long time since I’ve had the 175 engine apart, and in this case its new main bearings. I
seem to remember the Phillip’s screws can often be a real bitch to get undone but apart from that it
should be another simple task.

Rose bed done! Only need to fill it with some free dirt and that task will be complete. Now time to
“plant” some rocks for the heather & fir bed and then the planting of same can be done……. and with
any luck I might get after some trout before the week is out.

Rose Bed DONE!

Best intentions!……. after watering and dog walking I went after World’s Strongest Man moving the
“Atlas Stones” and then with the majority humped over to the bed one attempt at the 500 pounder. I
managed to get my hands under it but even with a huge effort all that happened was little feet spun in
the gravel, Yogi bear style, and I went headlong over the rock ending up face first in the gravel as I
couldn’t get my hands out in time. It looks like I’ve been on a Quail Hunt with Dick Cheney as my face
looks like I’ve been hit with a 12 bore blast. Anyhooo if they could move giant rocks from South Wales
to build Stone Henge I ought to be able to get this mother off the driveway.

Some of the “Atlas Stones”

First round goes to “Rocky”

Another day, and time to plant those rocks but first how to get the 500 pounder off the drive and across
the lawn to the bed? Using an old fork tube I manage to move it about 4′ but the tube is too short and I
really want to roll it. With a superhuman effort I get it up about 6” but the pole is too short and slips out
from underneath and the rock enjoys gravity falling back to mother earth like a deadfall with my right
foot and toes under same! Much hopping and cursing and then the realisation that I too may soon be
wearing one of these Black Booties! Not being a wimp I decide not to take my shoe off to investigate
and spend the rest of the day limping. By now me and the rock are not getting on too well as the first
two rounds in this epic battle have definitely gone Rocky’s way and I’m reeling on the ropes.

Over to Megan’s, the local lady welder, and borrow a giant crowbar. This is more like it and now I can
get underneath and get it nearly to the upright and finally persuade it to roll over. The morning
continues until I have “Rocky” in his corner where the final knock out is delivered. The rest of the rock
planting goes well and by 2 the job is done and refuge is sought once more in the shade garden and
some test driving of Miller High Life takes place. Much later after final dog walking the sock and shoe
are removed ……. looks like something from the Discovery channel, a bit like the pictures you see
when an Everest climber has made it back to Camp 4 and is now suffering from frost bite. Yes, it is
well and truly smashed, and as my old Doctor used to say “In a case like this young man my advice
to you is Drink Heavily!”

Rocky Balboa finally put to rest after the epic 10 rounds

Drink heavily!

Today must see completion of this project but requires a little topsoil from Walmart and then firs and
heathers will adorn main street Dolores. Dirt duly acquired and after lunch time to get these plants in
the ground. Initial layout completed and no changes ordered so planting begins…… and then Jim and
Lucille arrive and once more the Shade Garden Bar is officially opened. A pleasant hour and then it
starts to rain. Guests depart, the rain stops, and planting begins again. By 7 p.m. I finally have the
hose in my hand and the new bed is FINISHED.

11 Trees, and 32 Heathers later…….

The finished article

TONY DOWN

 

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CONFINED TO BASE

CONFINED TO BASE

CONFINED TO BASE

Sadly Brenda’s accident has closed the door on any trials riding for the next 6 weeks or so as she will
be on crutches until she can put weight on her foot. I will therefore be missing Steamboat, but I’ve
never done it anyway, and of course one of my season favorites the Donner 2 Day.

2007 Donner Section 1 behind the lodge

Looking back at Donner I have always had some great rides there even if the sections and event is on
the easier side. The sections always look daunting but tend to ride a lot better than they look. Over the
years, 2006  being the first, it has always been very close on the scoring and a single mistake can often
mean the difference between success and failure.

2006 was the first go and I was riding against some stiff opposition with Rich Palmer and Dan Straka
all after the MC Int Championship. It had been a “nip and tuck” season but I was holding the lead after
the first 3 rounds at Wittman and Perris. At Wittman I rode the Ossa and had a good ride beating Rich
by a couple of points on one section that the Ossa was in it’s element on.

On form at Perris 2006

Moving to Perris for the 2 Day at the old site we all had “clean rides” on Day 1 which resulted in the
Age Tie Break rule coming into effect. With 4 of us putting in zero cards it was decided on the age rule
with me having a 10 year advantage. Rich and Dan were both 49 so it then came down to the month
with both of them born in May. Still tied so down to the day! Turned out Dan is 2 days older so a big
7 points Championship wise between first and third with a ZERO score.

Where the “dab” was lost Day 2

The second day at Perris was the same with Rich and I once again level on 1 point. So with the tie
break in force again I leave the event with 40 points and Rich and Dan with 29 a piece.

The magnitude of the sections at Donner

At Donner I managed a very clumsy dab in the very first section but then rode the rest of the loop clean
and see Rich drop one on the last section by the lodge so we are equal going into the second loop
where we both go clean. Third loop and still clean coming to the last. I’m no sooner in the section
when the back wheel finds a roller and I take a miserable tippy toe dab……… Rich enters and hits a
rock with his front wheel nearly stopping him dead but miraculously manages to shoot over a
completely untried and unwalked line and fights his way through for a very well earned clean.

Day 1 where it was won and lost

Day 2 and on about section 4 Rich goes the wrong way and misses a split which the checker was on
immediately. Dan and I clean the first loop and all of us get through the first 9 of loop 2 without incident
until Dan stalled the little Honda on the last section. So going out on loop 3 I have a 5 point lead over
the others which as it transpires I don’t need as I end up with a clean card for the day. Rich and Dan
are tied again on 5 points and once more the tie break drops Rich to third with that 2 day difference.

Day 2 and a zero card 2006

2007 and the first year on the Cub having a crack at the Premier Lightweight Expert Class. The Cub
was still in the development stage but on reflection had no bearing on the results here, so all goes
well until a two line section comes up and I can’t make up my mind  having cleaned both options on
the earlier loops. Take the “wrong” one and the front plows losing a silly dab. Nick Turner has ridden
well for a zero score so second place today on 1 point! The next day the tables are turned and I secure
the win.

2007 and the “one point ” day

2008 and with all the Cub mods now done I sail round 3 loops for a zero score then take the big
Enfield out for another faultless ride on the easier PI line. Day 2 and the Enfield completes 3 loops
for the loss of a single point. With 7 rides at Donner and only having lost 7 points in all those rides
I’m somewhat peeved I won’t be there this year.

2008 and another zero card

The big Enfield still on a zero run

Next event for me will be Cotopaxi at the end of August and then the Casper 3 Day Spectacular, and
then depending on how the Sandia debacle goes maybe a 1 Day there or a 2 Day at Bull Hollow on
my doorstep and then all being well the trip to Napa and finish off the season at Hollister Hills in
October.

The last of the current round of garden projects is now underway with the creation of the front Heather
and Conifer bed. Its been a while but I’m getting there!

Let’s all hope she doesn’t break anything else.

TONY DOWN

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  • 6/29/2009 11:12 AM rich wrote:
    What a difference a day makes!

    Sadly I will miss Donner (again) -this time to attend the MotoGP at Laguna Seca.
    Get well soon Brenda – good wishes to all.
    Reply to this

  • 6/30/2009 7:42 AM Jim Beville wrote:
    Hello Tony, Have recently found your blog and am enjoying your writing immensely. I recently got back to offroad riding after a 20 year hiatis. I rode motocross and vintage motocross for many years and then quit to mess with antique airplanes . Just started riding vintage trials with Mid- Atlantic vintage trials this year on a 1981 SWM. Sorry to hear of your wifes’ health problem, hope she recovers quickly. Since you have some down time, would you please do a article about bike controls(bars,levers,ect.) and the best way to set them up for vintage trials.Thanks, Jim Beville, Linden ,Va.
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SOD, ROCKS, FIRS & HEATHERS

 

SOD, ROCKS, FIRS & HEATHERS

SOD, ROCKS, FIRS & HEATHERS

Somewhere along here ?

The last of the current round of garden projects is now underway with the creation of the front Heather
and Conifer bed. Its been a while getting to this stage but finally, the crew, yours truly, broke ground
yesterday armed with the faithful pickaxe and wheelbarrow.

First layout

The upside down paint had survived the hailstorms and all other excuses were exhausted. A dolly
came to hand and a collection of various rocks from the jungle at the rear of the property were all
dragged round the front with much huffing and puffing. I was washing same off when one of our
guests asked what was happening so I told him I was just about complete apart from one rock that I
really liked but couldn’t, as yet, work out how to transport to the new bed. A beautiful giant rock
weighing close on 500 lbs had caught my eye but was too heavy for the borrowed dolly. The Stone
Henge builders had only been able to roll it over after a double hernia and it had crashed through the
undergrowth taking everything else with it ending up in the ditch along the side of the property.

First batch of heathers and pretty rocks

Some time later the guest and friend appeared at the new bed location to announce the arrival of said
giant stone which they had hauled round the front with his Chevy pick up! Not quite sure what I’m going
to do with it now but I guess where ever I decide to put it I had better get it right the first time.

The 500 pounder arrives!

Sod cutting was the order of the day and as night approached 25% of the task was complete. Not the
fun part but it has to be done so I’m looking at another day and a half at least before rock positioning
and planting can continue. Another item on the “to do” list came to light and it seems the two pool
recliners were assembled by two different carpenters and believe it or not one has the arms on
backwards!! so much for quality control on expensive teak poolside furniture. The even stranger thing
is having had the furniture for nearly 5 years I had never noticed it either!

Spot the difference

The “Friday afternoon” chair

In other news the fruit bed, which was looking fine, is now a sorry sight for the eyes. Not sure whether
the cold strong winds have fried the plants or whether the new sheep manure compost is not to their
liking. Questions are being asked and we are waiting for America to vote and see whether the
compost gets the heave ho or we wait and see if its a combination of transplant shock and cold
winds. Personally I think its the sheep sh1t ! The new little “tree bed” is looking the same and that is
also full of the same base compound for planting……. as always we live and learn but somehow never
fast enough.

Try again…… minus the SS

Opinion has it that the compost is too strong and is frying my new plants so today they must all come
out, be washed off, SS removed and replanted in ordinary low grade soil and hope for a miracle that
they will pick up and come back. The Sod removal continued a pace and by lunchtime I was at the 50%
stage. Bloody hard work and for some reason this pickaxing is making my elbows very sore?
Fortunately Jim and Lucille arrived and my “break” was extended into a pleasant afternoon in the
shade garden. Plans are now made to remove the SS compound in the morning but, that plan is now
“on hold” as ever helpful Brenda went to another guest last night to fix his computer but on leaving the
RV managed to slip off the step and now can’t place any weight on her foot. Strangely it has not
swollen up as you would expect but its another trip to the ER this morning and purely from a personal
point of view any plans I had of doing Steamboat this weekend are now canceled.

2nd visit to the ER in 6 months!

Sure enough she has broken her foot, not one bone mind, but the 3 big ones leading up to the toes!!
Last time it was her finger which she shattered……. I’ve heard some excuses for not walking the dogs
but these last two are a bit extreme. Fortunately the new casts, or big booties come in her size and
even her color.

Crutches and the new black bootie

The week moves on with double duty on everything including dogs, shopping, cooking, cleaning,
watering her gardens and running round after all and sundry. The garden tasks seem to have slipped
but I did manage to remove the blackberries and replant those. Still two more rows of raspberries to
do but I fear for their mortality.

All the raspberries are up and in intensive care soaking in water after a shower to remove all traces
of the dreaded SS. The new tree bed was replanted and is now looking good. In the veg patch the
new peas are up and have a good color and the mystery parsnips can now be identified and seem
to be going well.

Back to the sod removal which I’m not enjoying but once its done the fun part of placing rocks and
planting out can begin. Another day of toil with my favorite tool and by nightfall I’m closing in for the
kill and at the 80% point.

The bed is ready!

The Sod has gone! Meanwhile a giant trackhoe arrived in the field behind the property and set
about clearing all the trees much to the annoyance of all our guests who rather liked the private
woodland. With the trees all gone he has now leveled everything and exposed yet more rocks for
me to sift through for other raised bed projects. He also tells me I can take any dirt I need which is
sadly lacking on our side of the line.

TONY DOWN

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CULTIVATING COZY

CULTIVATING COZY

CULTIVATING COZY

Drink that and I’ll put you on the grill!

Back from Turkey Rock and being the beginning of June its time for the annual cattle drive straight
down the main road as 300-400 head of Colorado’s finest move to new pastures, one of them seems
to be our front lawn which was decimated last year and they also drank the pool dry much to the
annoyance of the goldfish.

Pool saved!

On the gardening front, the hours are long, the pay is awful and it seems never ending but at about 7
p.m. the taskmaster sometimes invites me into the “Private” garden for a beer. Tasks this week have
been the non stop weeding, lawn mowing and strimming, and trying to ramp up potatoes. 2 rows of
the three completed but its pick axe work in that new bed with a ton of rock lurking just below the
surface.

Walmart had a good selection of Fir trees that I wanted for the new “all season” conifer and heather
bed. Brenda told me they were beginning to look a little moth eaten and stocks were diminishing so I
duly went there yesterday and to my delight they were all on clearance sale at 50% off. 11 trees for $30
so now need to order about 18 heathers then cut the bed to shape and turn it all over prior to planting.

Plenty of “horsey” people around here so should be able to acquire a ton of the proverbial to enrich
the low grade rocky soil. I will need another ton of same when I get the fruit bush bed cleared and go
and collect some bushes from a local source on Craig’s List.

Need to borrow the dolly from the Hollywood Bar to move some giant decorative rocks. What used to
be achieved with the Bobcats and the Mexican Army is now a solo Charles Atlas endeavor but as I
have time on my hands it will get done. Reminds me of a giant Flint Rock I saw when out walking the
dogs at Andover in the UK. The flint was about a mile from the house and was really pretty with all its
little holes and moss and lichens growing on it. Every time I took the dogs out I would lift this Mother
which weighed about 80 lbs and carry it as far as I could until my arms gave out. Slowly but surely the
stone was getting ever closer to the house. Made me think what building Stone Henge must have
been like. Finally after about 2 months it was close enough to the house for the collection day and
was hauled onto the rockery to join other prestigious stones including pieces from Laggan Locks,
Pipeline and The Devil’s Staircase. I also had a piece from Mt Troodos in Cyprus and a few from
those miserable Falkland Islands.

2 rows of spring onions up along with 5 sequential rows of lettuce. No sign of parsnip, but all the
spinach is through, tomatoes seem slow to get underway and are fairly dormant at the moment.
Radish is on row 3 having harvested nearly all of row 1. The beans and peas that were started
indoors were an unmitigated disasters and went all leggy. The second sowing of beans, planted
directly into the garden, are all up and looking much stronger with dark green leaves. Second attempt
at peas will be sown today!

No sign of the replanted peas ?

Phase 2 on the runner beans

Ramping complete, new peas sown and another row of radish and the first spray of Miracle Grow
all done and then “management” allowed me to go to the Hollywood for some Friday afternoon
refreshments and a little pool practice. Today back to the grind with the fruit bed and a ton of
unpleasant weed,grass, rock and tree roots all to be pick axed out. Satisfying work when all those
clumps of weed and grass come out and along with their roots. It all takes time but hopefully the
results will be worth it.

Spuds a’plenty

Half way through the bed and if I put my mind and aching back into it I might finish it this morning.
Finally after another morning of swinging the pickaxe the fruit bed is finished. The new job of working
for the Bureau of Land Reclamation is over even if it isn’t my land!

What will be the fruit bed

What came out of the fruit bed

Fruit bed ready for planting

After watching the F1 race out to get the fruit bushes so now need some compost to dig in and get
them started before turning my attention to the long awaited “Heather & Conifer” bed out front which
will no doubt be another back breaking session with the only tool around here that gets the job done,
namely my pick axe.

TONY DOWN

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