Nice hotel, shame about the non smoking rooms

The ever changing face of the 2010 national US Census never ceases to amaze! The Group Quarters
Crew Leader task that I did back in January was so successful that we managed to work ourselves out
of a job. The operation was completed some 4 weeks ahead of schedule and now we have nothing to
do until the training of Enumerators starts in late March. The Bureau has decided they only need 4 Crew
Leaders of the original 15 to do this task so we are demoted to Enumerators ourselves. Needless to
say this did not please me but you have to go with the flow.

Wednesday this week and I’m asked to be a Crew Leader for another phase called ETL.  Yet more
training so another week long trip to Grand Junction to get up to speed for this one. Same hotel as last
time so at least I know where I’m going even if I’m not 100% sure of what ETL is all about?

ETL = Transit Locations

The week is done! Back to Crew Leader status again for the ETL phase which will see me dashing
across 4 counties in the pursuit of RV parks and campgrounds. I have just over a week to visit about 60
parks and campsites within a 150 mile radius and see if they will be open and if anyone is using them
as their primary place of residence. Then train my team of up to 16 Enumerators and send them out to
complete the task with all the forms and questionnaires. That will keep me busy until April Fool’s Day
and then maybe move into one of the other phases myself.

The course was completed in the hotel which I have to say was very pleasant even though it was a non
smoking establishment so my nicotine levels were at an all time low, but I survived. Having now been
through 3 of these week long training sessions it was a little easier to follow along having seen the way
it is run. However 63 is not a good classroom age but at least this time most of the info was relevant so
sit back and soak it up like a sponge.

Trying to stay awake in the classroom

I’m rather looking forward to all the driving to some of these obscure places once I have planned all the
daily routes to maximize my efforts.

“Team Census” rally cross in the Colorado mountains

With the course complete at around 1430 over to the main Census office and pick up all our
paperwork, books, supplies and so forth and then with a full car time to take on the 200 mile trip home
with a forecast of 5-10″ of yet more snow! Fortunately not a flake and a very pleasant drive home
through the mountains without incident or problems. On arrival in Dolores good news to see there
has been a major thaw and I should be able to get in my workshop in the very near future.

Some very heavy forms

A day off today to play Pool and enjoy a few GT’s as I’m out of working hours but come Sunday right
back into the planning phase. Pool came and went with yet  ANOTHER 4th place! I drew No6 and
somehow got a bye in the first round but then drew Joe, our semi professional, in round 2. Well I got
to break, not that it helped, and Joe quickly set about clearing the table and at this stage it looked as
though I was not going to get a shot but then he missed one and let me in and I potted a quick 5, but
left myself a difficult “all or nothing” double along the bottom rail with the 8 in a prime position. The
double didn’t come off and Joe polished off the last two for his win.

Now time to get out the big map and see where all my assignments are and draw up some sort of
daily routing and see if any night stops are required.

Never know who you will meet in the high country !

Well overnight yet more fun! When I took those nice dogs out it was actually raining but
at some stage it changed to snow and I have yet another 3″ to deal with on today’s southern
loop of the state.


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The Mountain retreat of Cozy Comfort

This Christmas postcard stuff is all very well but its getting a bit much ! It goes well with the Winter
Olympics but we have way more than Whistler and its becoming a bit of a drag. Last Saturday after a
rapid departure from the pool competition I walked home in the falling snow and it continued all day
Sunday culminating in a fierce blizzard Sunday night. Now we have yet another NINE inches on the
ground and digging starts all over again!

Welcome to Dolores

Mid February and 2 months to the next competition some 800 miles away in Oklahoma……. lets hope
its all gone by then as I can seriously say I have had enough and after last weeks pleasant excursion
to warmer climes in Arizona I’m really looking forward to spring.

No chance !

The Census work has dried up again as the game plan keeps changing or perhaps we are too
efficient for the system so I’m left with little to do and once more and I can’t get in the workshop thanks
to the bloody snow! The wiring harnesses for the Ducati Elefants arrived and I’ll be doing that as soon
as I can herd the beasts into the shop.

A few oil changes on the Cub and Gun Carriage are planned although true to form the Enfield like a
Harley seems to do its oil changes a bit like having a self cleaning oven.

Yet more changes and yet more snow! The Census Bureau has changed its mind again, the 15 Crew
Leaders of which I was one have now become 7 and I’m due back in Grand Junction for further training
next week. More snow fell again and yesterday was spent digging through that lot to make a path back
to the workshop. Sooner or later I will be in a position to unload the trailer and get my tools and bikes
back in and get on with some maintenance and then set about the Ducatis.

More digging required !

Today was to be a skiing day but after working last night Brenda has decided her time is better spent
resting. Finally the workshop is in sight and now with daytime thawing and overnight freezing I have a
perfect curling rink outside to try and get the bikes and equipment back in the shop.

A new burst of energy was met with yet another 2″ so its back to hibernation again as the nasty crisp
wind kept me inside watching Superbikes from Aus. Maybe when I get back from Grand Junction this
ice will be in retreat and normality will be the order of the day.


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  • 3/7/2010 9:04 PM James Barnett wrote:
    Good evening, Tony.

    I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you at TEAM Arizona for over a year now, and was curious as to your current status. I truly enjoyed reading your “Tails of Woe” section. Having had labs (Syrinx and Chrissy) in the past, I am quite familiar with the affection that comes with the priviledge of owning them. Had I known that you also enjoyed hunting, I would have invited you out to see my Braque du Bourbonnais work his magic on quail and ducks. He is one of those European “versatile” breeds. As it is, I’m still in the process of restoring my wife’s old ’74 TY-250, with plans of riding a vintage trial or two, as time allows. With best wishes and hopes that all is well with you, I bid you a good night.
    Reply to this

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My wonderful bitch, Snoop, who was known as “That Nice Black Dog”
at all the Lincolnshire Farmer’s shoots

A reader asked me how it is traveling to multi events on board the RV with a sled team of dogs ? Well
of course there is a one word answer but that wouldn’t make for much of an article.

Snoop Dog who didn’t take up shooting till she was 5 but had 10 great
years at the sport  R.I.P.

Several years ago my faithful black labrador Max had to be put to sleep and for many of you animal
lovers out there you will know the heart wrenching trauma of having to sign your best friends death
warrant. Now Max was a huge lab who came with a pedigree that would make Royalty jealous. He was
from a pairing of an all Americas Show Champion who was mated with one of the Queen’s best
hunting labs from Sandringham. The combination of all the hunting lines and the show dog stature
indeed produced a wonderful looking dog. In the main, the rest of his litter was sent off as Sniffer dogs
for the Police and UK Customs and when I came across him he was the last of the litter and I bought
him on the spot.

Max at 6 months, you can tell by the paws he will be BIG !

Having had many black labs over the years he was a perfect, or so it seemed, replacement dog for my
recent loss of Schuler my 3 year old bitch. Schuler was an excellent dog and never needed any training
at all as everything in her life seemed to be inbred, including first class obedience to go with her
perfect hunting skills,tell her or show her once and she had it.

Schuler in her prime

Regrettably she licked up a winter puddle while out on a Sunday afternoon walk, contracted
Leptosperosis and died within 36 hours while I was on a NATO exercise and uncontactable.

The Finest hunting lab I ever had, Schuler, who died at 3   R.I.P.

Max was a very headstrong dog and pulled like a steam engine on the lead until the benefits of walking
to heel were explained to him via a small ash twig. Max never had a nasty thought in his head, infact I’m
not sure that he had many thoughts in his head at all! Being such a beautiful dog I decided that I would
send him off to the best gun dog school I could find and away he went for Gun Dog boot camp. Within 2
weeks the school rings and asks me to come and collect him as he is deemed untrainable and just
wants to turn everything into a game.

Not being deterred by this minor setback I try and train Max myself and he responds well to all “sit and
stay” games and the retrieving also goes well. However in the field it is a different matter as passing
pheasants are too much to resist. “The pefect dog” will not sit at his master’s side at the shooting
stand and wait until the drive is over before recovering all the downed birds, first shot fired and he is

Various other methods are employed including the use of an 18 inch steel tether with a corkscrew
that you wind into the ground and secure your unruly beast to. ” Bang” ……… no dog!………. no tether
either as he has pulled it straight out of the ground like a tent post. Oh well, another good idea that
won’t stop 100lbs of hunting keeness……. lets try my son Edward as the handler. Next shoot with my
local syndicate in Hampshire,.. First drive and I’ve drawn  No 2 so I’m down at the edge of the wood in
a small clearing. Edward is briefed  “Whatever YOU do under NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER
let go of that  dog’s lead !”…………… first birds come in high over the 40′ beech trees planing down to
land behind us. I take the stance, produce an elegant swing, allow about a five bar gate’s worth of lead
and fire……… classic head back, wings in, the bird crumples and falls….. excellent ! ……. at this point my
daughter screams ……. DAAAAAAAAAAADDY…………. and I turn to see Edward’s green wellingtons
disappearing through a laurel bush while he grimly holds onto the 100lb tractor which is off in 4 paw
drive and hot pursuit.   This was Max’s last visit to the hunting field.

Maximus, never a nasty thought    R.I.P.

When I decide to take up residence in the USA Max comes too, but he is too big for the standard airline
dog box so he has to have a “custom” one built. I arrive at Heathrow with faithful companion who is
carrying his favorite toy, a blue teddy bear, which he won’t go anywhere without.  The girl at the desk
says he is not allowed to have blue teddy as he may suffocate……… “Does he look like he will EVER
suffocate ???”  some time later Max and the blue teddy arrive in Phoenix.

Max, the worthless gundog, but a very faithful friend

A few years after his death Brenda suggests I have a new puppy  and a chocolate labrador is found
and joins the household for Christmas. She is duly named Cadbury after the famous chocolate
makers and takes her place and does what all labrador puppies do……… chews things……. shoes,
slippers, furniture, TV remotes and anything else she can find. A beautiful dog but unbelievably
disobedient ! Well they do say Chocolates are different but I have never had a dog like this before!
Everything is on HER terms and she will come back when she is good and ready but not before.
5  years later and not much change in that department.

Being a chocolate labrador, Cadbury, or Doof to her friends, is a water lover and during the summer
months there was no way to keep her out of the pool. She became an extraordinary diver and her
favorite game was “fetching the collar” which if you were unlucky enough to be a participant in was a
“Game without End” and no matter how deep the collar landed in the 9′ deep end she would retrieve
it without fail bringing it back to your sunbed before the refreshing whole body shake! Should you not
wish to play she would take it to the deep end herself and drop it in and wait until it sank to the bottom
before diving in for the deep water retrieve. No wonder these dogs could kedge anchors!

Cadbury in full flight for another Deep water retrieve

Now Brenda has never been a dog lover but over time these things change………. and so it was when
one day she announces that as it will soon be Valentine’s……… she would really, really, really like a
King Charles Spaniel of her very own. The dog duly arrives and as its Valentine’s Day is named
“Valentina Rossi”. Which of course is Rossi for short.

Hello, I’m Valentina….. but you can call me Rossi

Now we are TWO !

One year later and another Valentine request comes in and she would really, really, really like a boy
dog so that she can breed from them. He is found and is a very placid tempered dog and never does
anything to upset anyone and continuing in the road racing theme of the period he is named “Hayden”.

I’m Hayden  and I’m here about the job ?

Now we are THREE !

The first experiment with breeding doesn’t take long and Rossi is soon waddling around while Brenda
gets a “Jack the Ripper” medical bag and we armed with every known medical implement to assist.
Surprise, surprise when the morning we are due to leave for the Ahrma event at Milliken Brenda
awakes to some soft mewing heralding the arrival of the first black and white puppy born on the pillows
between us and all perfectly cleaned up and feeding happily. Being an only pup there is no way she is
leaving and is called Milliken or Millie for short…….

A black and white mole arrives on the pillow

I’m Millie and you can’t sell me !

Now we are FOUR !

Rossi and Hayden have more litters of the normal size now we have learnt to keep them apart while
Hayden “recharges” and they are all normal and healthy and depart for their new homes. The last litter
which was born in Colorado was a different matter. All puppies arrive without any assistance and are
all black and tan. Millie who has been watching the operation with interest hops into the basket when
Mummy Rossi vacates it to go on break. Strangely Millie starts lactating so the pups are now double
dipping from both Mamma and big sister ! From about 4 weeks on one of the males is the first to do
“everything”, first to walk, first out of the basket, first to find an escape route  “cheater line” and as they
continue to grow, first to venture up and down stairs, jump up on things and so on.  By 8 weeks he is
slightly bigger than the others, but not that much, just the Alpha dog of the pack. As the others depart
for their new homes he is noticeably bigger!…… and when prospective owners arrive he jumps up by
me as though he is already part of “this family” and has no intention of leaving………and so it was, he
made his wishes quite clear and was happy with his current surroundings and was going Nowhere!
Now we have FIVE !

Double Dipping !

Now whether he trod in some Miracle Grow in the garden or whether it was the “double dipping” as a
pup we will never know as he just continues to grow!   He is now approaching 14 months old, is
THREE times bigger than his mother and TWICE the size of his father. He is named Hercules and
I’m wondering what his labors might be ?

Mummy Rossi on the left, Daddy Hayden on the right, and their giant
offspring HERCULES in the middle

So now with the history lesson complete I can perhaps answer the original question of “How is it
traveling to the events with all those dogs?”   Well they know, they look forward to their mini vacations
and road trips and go completely nutty on the day of departure until they are aboard. As they see all the
food, trials clothing, boots and helmets going out the door they know and chaos begins!  The Pre
Boarding walk is little more than a joke as the only thing they are interested in is getting on the RV.
Constant crying, yapping and pulling until the door is opened and the team crash over each other to
get the best seats. Once on the road normality returns with most of them taking turns in the front seat
whether Brenda is using it or not. During en-route breakfast I have a line of sitting customers all
waiting for something to be donated to a worthy cause or to show their prowess as vacuum cleaners
should anything fall from my grasp. We used to stop and let them out after about 4 hours but all that
ever happened was a whole load of sniffing so now they have decided we should just push on to the
venue or night stop. If cooking is taking place they will join in as sous chefs or just do what dogs do
and sleep.

Cadbury will assist as the relief driver, quite useful as Brenda doesn’t want to, so having taught her to
steer its simple enough to select “cruise control” and let her get on with it while I’m eating. She tells me
she wants to take her CDL A in the future and fancies being the first dog to drive the “Dalton Ice Road”.
Regrettably the others are too small and they can’t reach the wheel with their short legs.

Doof at the helm of the 42′ 525 horse power Beaver Marquis

Doof holds the line as an 18 wheeler hammers past the Safari

On arrival they start eating and then parading along the dash barking at all unleashed dogs that come
anywhere near the coach. At bedtime they see no reason why they can’t all fit in the bed and seem to
have established their own spots although Doof, who weighs a ton, is kicked off and generally sleeps
on the couch until dawn when she manages to sneak up.

Dashboard Patrol

Hercules wakes me with a wash

Walking a 5 pack can be problematic but I’m seriously considering the Iditarod in the future now that
they are fully snow trained after this year’s Colorado winter. Until then its a “woof” fom him and a
slobbery kiss from her.

The team have enjoyed their Buckeye trip and are looking forward to the new venue at Terlton, OK but
until then its back to their regular routine soaking up more couch potato time.

….let sleeping dogs …….



Here is an interesting pic which is offered as as a test. How many dogs are in the picture?
Bonus points for being able to name them.


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No overnight rain this year so Day 2 of the Buckeye Bonanza or St Valentine’s Day Massacre starts out
warm and sunny. I’m doing my Trialsmaster duties today, but I may ride a few sections as “demos”
after yesterday’s epic on the Graded Hill. The cards are repositioned on the new hill and I’ve allowed a
cheater line on the bottom portion, but turn too early and your tires will get covered in some very sticky

Today’s Graded Hill with “Team Becker” checking

Today everyone wants to check so we have an observer overkill with 2 checkers on most sections.
Yes, its a family affair. After all the usual pre start delays we get underway more or less on time and
today I’m letting the big bikes start furthest back so that at least when they arrive at the “Hill” some sort
of line may have been established.

Section 1 is back in the Pit and rides well for most people providing you follow the split cards and
yesterday’s MC Exp Winner Jim Wagner fell foul of that.

Len Sims still on the “rigid” Cub having sold the other one for a Scorpa ?

Bob Strohman borrows Dan’s Stealth Cub and cleans Section 1

Section 2 is more of the Stumps group and this seemed to be to most peoples liking being fairly
simple up and over logs followed by some flowing full lock turns. Of note here was Ed who managed
a 5 when the log flicked him into neutral and Jim Wagner who once again missed a split…. boy he
must be really mad now !!!

Good steady riding from Shawn Warner in MC INT on Stumps 2

Winter Trials Perfection as Don Kelley enjoys the flowing turns of Stumps

No problems this time for NC Ed on his way to a good Second place
finish in MC INT

Section 3, The Ironwood is easier this year and all slip through here without problems.

But now its mark grabbing time! Section 4 rides exactly as I hoped for with the turns in the deep loose
sand providing a real humbling challenge for all. Not a single clean recorded on the first loop on any
line. YIPEEE!!!!!

Some rare lost marks from Dan Straka in the Sea of Sand

The Palo Verde and rock wall of Section 5 is taking random marks but generally its not too difficult
and will not change on any line

Out in the boondocks Section 6 with Debbie Poole seems to ride well with just a few errors.

Bob makes little of “Don’s Delight” Section 6

Back across the booney and into tank slapper wash and we are back at Rockery 2, Section 7 which
again is only catching a few but beware those split cards.

Which brings us back to Doh !  The Graded Hill MK II of section 8, and here chaos reigns supreme.
Its already a blur of centipede legs and some wild wheelies as grip is suddenly found.

John Dowson, fresh off a win yesterday, having moved up a class to MC INT gave us a spirited attack
but had a few moments with an aviating front wheel before finally getting out and Derek Belvoir found
that you can “loop” a Velo which it did right by the 5 boards! No damage to the bike but a serious ego
dent and a sore back of the head. The following pictures do little to show riding prowess, more to give
the reader an idea of the severity of the climb…… but do bear in mind footing IS allowed all the way and
is not penalised….. just where the front wheel stops.

Not a good idea to go in that mud !

The Greeves front end doesn’t like it

Centipede style works

A good test for the boots

A fine attempt by Eric with just a few dabs

Pushing on …….

Is Bob’s leg long enough ?

John has a better controlled 2nd attempt with a sneaky dab

Hmmmm, 4 stroke power from Rick Wolff

“These boots are made for footing….”  Rob Poole en-route to a Prem Hwy
Class Win

Eugene with 2 of his best rides ever… What a great weekend for him !

Even Jim got those boots working

Of course I’m not riding today but  once again someone says ” Bet you can’t ride that feet up!”  Here we
go again…… Day 2, Scene 1, Cameras, …… Action…….”Geico commercial, take 1″

“Does Tony Down ride a mean Graded Hill ?”

Just enough power to scale the first climb

A bit of “Body English” to drive up the groove 

A little “lift & flick” here and there

Plain sailing from 3 onwards if your feet are still on the pegs

” That’s how you do it Son ! “

I have to say I really enjoyed that and today it appears I definitely have my “A” game on.

Up top the last of Ditches is Section 9 and Jim has found a cheater 1 line. Looks more difficult to me
but he uses it to good effect. Section 10, The Cliff  with Hugh and Jan in charge, is riding well and only a
few are losing marks here so for the most part the trial will be won or lost in Section 4 “The Sea of Sand”.
The second loop are all through here and still no cleans, the best being planned dabs or 2’s.

Back at the Hill Steve Richardson from Canada has a much better ride

A more stylish attack from Jim Wagner

By loop 3 the Graded Hill is broken in and I’m seeing a few feet up rides but over at the Sea of Sand
only that man Eugene Waggoner and Kelly Shane have achieved it. Stop for a chat with Jim and Silvia
and then I give it a go as I LIKE sand!  First corner good and now the reverse and the front starts to
plow but I manage to keep it weighted and drive sideways into the big hole and out for the clean…..
a lot of effort but very satisfying.

Dan all at sea in “Sea of Sand”……. but I cleaned it !!!!…… need more of
these next year !

The day is done as is the weekend, smiling faces and awards given out. Those that are traveling are
on the road by 1430 so should put a big dent in their journey by nightfall. Meanwhile O’ beer 30 has
been declared and this will not be good as the Irish contingent are in full swing already.

Irish Bridget reads John palm

Everything loaded for an early departure time to reflect on today’s results. In MC Experts Jim threw it
away with some dumb 5’s missing splits until he got in the groove so Rick Daniel ran out the winner
on 13 to Jim’s 22. In MC Int John had another fine win on 6 with Ed Peacock runner up on 12. Steve
Richardson had another 3rd place on 15 winning the tie break on most cleans. The MC Nov class
swapped wins to John Shadeck on the tie break with Jeff Latimer. Dan and Bob continued their class
wins astride Dan’s Stealth Cub and in Prem Hwy Rob Poole had another win over  Kelly Shane. I have
to ask myself how I would have faired if I had been riding today. Best guess would have been about 3
lost in the Sand Sea and perhaps a dumb dab somewhere else so about 4 would have been my
projected score. Well roll on the next rounds and no more Mister Nice Guy with Eugene!

Finally, Evelyn gets to relax after a hard working week

stories of the “hex” by Bridget

Once more the party is in full swing and man, that Irish Lady Bridget is funny, but don’t get the wrong
side of her or she will put a “Hex” on you !!!!

Oh No, they have started dancing……….


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The Sections are ready!  …… are you ?

Warm and sunny with no wind, so all is looking good for the planned 1100 start. During Friday evening
riders from all manner of places have been arriving, the Wyoming group is here minus Fred who is
working, Eugene from NM along with Jimmy and son in law John. California has all the usuals, some
new in the form of Rick Daniel on the Ossamaha recently purchased from Mike Buchholtz, some
unexpected players namely Derek Belvoir who said Casper was his last event ! Some missing, Mike
Salsman, Ralph Foster, and Nick Turner. Some who were planning on coming may have given the
weather best as indeed I nearly did. A new fun group from CA  are here and tonight I’m sure will be a

We finally make our 10 checkers and they are briefed and on their way and now the normal problem
of trying to keep the “MotoMouth” MX announcer quiet for more than 30 seconds to have the rider’s
meeting. 1 & 2 will start on 9, while 3’s can open on 10 and 4’s and the PI contingent can go to
section 1.

Some squirrelly rides on the 1 line of 9 from Jim and Rick  but they are through unpenalized. The 2 line
has been marked a little easier than I wanted but it rides well enough although it could break down
towards the exit.  Over at 10 where Debbie Benson is in control, things look easy enough for all lines
but I manage to put the rear wheel on something which dislodges and takes me for a silly dab.

Ossamaha makes tight turns easy in the hands of Rick Daniel

Jim makes it look hard, but a clean is a clean

Section 1 in the Pit rides easily enough and round the top of the motorcross track to section 2, Stumps.
A few tight turns to line up on the big log crossing but there is plenty of grip and a good recovery zone
on the other side so it also rides better than it looks.

The first of the major sand sections has already packed in to a “main road” when I arrive which is very
annoying…… thinks I must throw a “S” turn in this next year to keep it really loose. Oh well, they can have
this one as a confidence builder or the Ahrma “gimmee”.

Next up its the Grand Canyon which this year we have reversed and is a good section for all 4 lines. I
see a collection of marks going out the window here caused by not staying bang on the line.  A steep
and tight drop down into the chasm, then around the island for a squirt up the bank exit onto the upper
plateau before lining up to drop back in at the steepest part before a sudden uphill onto an off
cambered downhill turn to the left. Run wide here and you are toast as you won’t get a line up for the
up/down right hand exit. A choice here of high up the bank and a later turn or turn early at the bottom
for an easier line up on the ends cards. I take the latter option and it works well.

A little cross country and back across the deep sand tank slapper wash to Section 5, the Rockery. This
is a mixture of very soft sand and loose rolly rocks. 3 liners and PI’s have what looks like a simple turn
but it is catching most people for a dab or worse. 1 & 2 enter and stay right on the tape before lining up
for a gentle uphill into a soft sand turn around a big boulder before entering the rock jumble and making
a 30 degree cut at the ends cards. I’m going well but a roller takes the front while I’m concentrating on
the upper turn and a tippee toe dab is recorded much to my annoyance. The upper turn rides well and
the front creates it’s own berm and holds the line.

The Rolling rocks and deep sand are not to Rob’s liking

Over to the Graded Hill and as expected there are some centipede rides as riders struggle up the hill
using max leg power as the only score is defined as when the front wheel stops moving forward.
Several out of breath riders crest the top with big smiles and red faces.

First trial ever for Jan but the Trials School helped

Steep and tight on the first turn by the 5 boards

Lots of leg work en-route to the top

Onward and upward !

Don’t give up now

At last, the End cards come into view

I’m assuming it was a joke but someone in the waiting group challenged me to do a “clean demo”
Well as I laid it out  I had to accept …….. here is the result………

 One more look at the section. Bumpy slow entry into steep uphill right
hander in loose crumbly dirt by the “5’s”, long climbing wiggle to the “3’s”
more wiggles and steeper to the “2’s” & “1’s”……….. OK !

Accelerate and throw her up right with inside weight coming back

Bit of “Body English” after the turn at 3, weight forward to stop the front

Straightening up by the “2’s”

Up to the “1’s” controlled run out to the Ends

Well after the “demo” I’m pretty cock a hoop and clean  Ditches 1 & 2 to complete the loop. The Ditches
sections seem to be riding well unless you go the wrong way!  Steve Richardson please note !  A first
loop total of 2 but well possible to go clean with a bit more thought and application.

First turn in 7 “The Ditches”

Back at the start first loop totals are not yet up so out on loop 2 sailing round clean until section 5 the
Rockery where I lost a dab last time. Walk it again and can’t see the problem where I lost the 1 so
press on and go clean to the upper turn but the front skips over the berm and I can’t hold it and have to
take another annoying safety prod. 6, 7, and 8 all clean so back to Rich Palmer in the Asphalt and see
what is new here. 2 lines have developed here at the exit  but I stick with my original line and all is

The exit of 7

The big handful Triumph 500 twin on Ditches

Another shot of a pretty Big Banger

Over to 10 where I lost my first mark of the day and things look better and have settled down with a
new simpler line established where I lost the dab last time. Debbie tells me there have been a lot of
marks lost but I don’t really see anything that looks like a problem. As the front wheel crosses the final
ridge and I set up for the exit the bike comes to a sudden and unexpected stop and despite a lot of leg
work she gives me a 5 !! Damn it ! thats 6 for this loop and 8 for the day and really I should still be

Very close to the win in MC Int, Shawn Warner on Slabs, Section 10

Off on the final loop and this time all is well and no mistakes through the first seven. At 8, the Ditches
the Cub spits badly on the final turn and whiskers a plug dropping me yet one more. A fresh plug and
sail through 9 and the troublesome 10 for good cleans. One of those days I suppose and once back
at the table and waiting for the MX men to take out as checker I see Eugene Waggoner has had an
inspired ride and finished on 1. Well I don’t know what he was drinking last night but I would have to
had a clean card as he is older than me ! Last year when I lost 6 he and Rick Wolff both lost 33.

By 1600 we have all the results in and Eugene really has put it over everyone on the 2 line with the
loss of just 1 which would have meant a clean card for me to take the win. John Dowson having
moved up to MC INT after winning the MC Novice Championship last year had a great ride to finish on
5 just ahead of Shawn Warner on 6 and visiting Canadian Steve Richardson on 7. Jim Wagner took
Eric’s “beaten but proud” trusty Yam to the win in MC Experts for the loss of just 2 way ahead of Rick
Daniel on 21. Hugh Campbell had an uncontested win in Prem Lt Experts although was not happy
with the Cub. Dan Straka and Bob Strohman won their Int classes with ease and Derek Belvoir took
another win in the big Heavyweight Expert division. Jeff Latimer won MC Novice with the loss of just 3
and both riders in the Beginners class finished after attending Friday’s School.

Time to light the fire and open something refreshing and get ready for the Irish contingent to entertain
us, which they do until the evening cool sends us all home.


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Despite the awful Arizona roads nothing has fallen over

Thursday morning, a little damp after yesterday’s rain but time to review where we are for the upcoming
weekend. Ed and Evelyn have been hard at it with 14 sections already taped using the old “tried and
true” locations from previous years. Hugh and Jan Campbell have been toiling alongside so things are
looking good on first survey. Due to time and our new “Checker Rule” we will just go for 20 sections this
year so I’m searching for the final six. Two of these will be the “Graded Hill” which the entry now seems
to enjoy as this is the only venue in the calendar where they get to see it. Only difference is we now have
the “2” boards which of course were not in back in the 60’s.

The graded climb usually starts hard but then with the passage of riders tends to become a bit main
roadish with nearly everyone cresting the summit. What was a graded hill on the first day could easily
be used as a standard section on day 2…….. maybe next year ! Two areas are identified side by side so
that will make changing the boards easy for Sunday morning.

Saturday’s Graded Hill

Sunday’s Hill with a “Cheater Line” at the bottom

The area I thought could be used in the rocks has actually all been retained with wire cages to stop
erosion so we had better stay well clear before someone sues us for destruction of property. Well still
sticking with Plan A, I’m looking for two “Sea Of Sand” sections just to test balance and throttle control
and given a couple of turns they could stay nice and loose without packing down.

The last two can be found in the Asphalt Jungle and in the concrete pile which now has a load more
flooring slabs added, although Ed is very worried about some re-bar.

I join Ed and the team and we move round the identified 14 sections which all meet with my approval
so work commences with all the split cards and entry and exit boards. I’m on a tight deadline today as
Brenda has big plans for seeing her gardening friends and then we have a visit to Red Lobster
planned as there aren’t any up here and we are feeling seafood deprived.

I tell Brenda we need to leave about 1515 or 1530 at the latest as its best part of 75 miles to where
she wants to go. With the Beemer all prepped and ready we finally leave about 1545 and arrive amid
rush hour traffic at 1700. A quick tour of Barb’s gardens and all her pools some of which are filled with
giant Koi in the 8-12 lb bracket. I wonder what ours would have been like in the 18 months since we
closed down our water gardens.

Barb meets us with new puppy for the garden tour

A tick in the box for the garden visit  so off to meet up with her other gardening friends at some Mexican
joint. We are of course not eating so just a couple of pleasant Margarittas to pass the time. 1900 and
another “tick” and off we go to Red Lobster at Metro Center just off I17. Similar dishes and those great
little rolls and in no time its back to the bike for a chilly 70 mile jaunt back to Buckeye.

Friday morning and I’m busy on pie plates but now the bloody generator won’t turn over. Is it those
batteries again? Well not today ….. a bearing has come to pieces and is locking the shaft and no
known solenoid is going to turn that! Not quite so bad when you know what the problem is but now
Brenda is seriously not happy as we have no heat, TV or computer!!!!

The Trials School comes and goes and those attending did well soaking up the info like a sponge
and by the end of the afternoon they were tackling sections which I eventually told them were actually
2 line standard. A quick run round the Saturday sections to walk the 4 line and they were very confident
that they could ride and clean everything!

O’beer 30 and the party begins.

The fire is lit, let the party commence…..

Line up of Sections for the 2 Days is as follows;


1    The Pit
2    Stumps 1
3    Bunker of Sand
4    Grand Canyon Reversed
5    The Rockery
6    Graded Hill
7    Ditches 1
8    Ditches 2
9    The Asphalt Jungle
10  Slabs


1    The Pit 2
2    Stumps 2
3    Ironwood
4    The Sea of Sand
5    Palo Verde
6    Don’s Delight
7    Rockery 2
8    Graded Hill
9    Ditches 3
10  The Cliff


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  • 2/19/2010 10:48 PM John Bodkin wrote:
    Would be nice to hear some of your tales of traveling the cicuit with the dogs and the problems it involves.Thanks look forward to reading the tails of woe.
    Reply to this
  • 11/16/2010 11:34 AM enclosed trailers wrote:
    Looks like you all had a great time, that hill you did on Saturday looks like a lot of fun. I wish I had the setup you’ve got, that is a really nice trailer, every time I go out and look at enclosed trailers they want to much money for them and finding a used one is impossible. Right now I am stuck with an open trailer that I have to unload every time I go home. I do have one question, what in the world is hanging in the trailer from the picture it looks like either a TV or heater?

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“Snowbird Airways announce the departure…….”

” Welcome aboard our non-stop flight from Dolores to Buckeye……we apologize for the delay due to
circumstances beyond our control,……please fasten your seat belts, observe the cabin signs and enjoy
your trip”

“Captain to crew………”

0600 and the crew are up and ready, coffee served, dogs all early and checked in with boarding
passes in paw. Baggage crews loading goodies and the Safari is warmed up and by 0830 push back
is completed and we are hitched up to the trailer. Minor problem cranking the gene so we may have a
poor quality house battery. The manifest shows 4 extra tons of snow, 3 on the coach and another on
the roof of the trailer which is about 30 inches tall!

0930, one hour later than planned, and 2 days later than scheduled, the Starship slips from her
harbor and completes the first turn but it is clear the 60′ rig will not pass the town snow bank so yet
more shoveling and finally the trailer and rig are ready to roll. At last we are moving and Safari is
nursed down main street Dolores and is now heading South for the Arizona border. The road
conditions improve and by the time we are through Cortez they are nearly all clear. The roads
themselves leave a lot to be desired with huge potholes, a rapidly deteriorating surface and the
underlying core seems to have shifted creating a very ripply finish like a roller coaster.

Driving the Destroyer its like hunting submarines as periodically 3′ high lumps of snow fall off the back
and shatter across the carriageway like a depth charge…… those traveling too close soon find this is
not a great place to be. Crossing the reservation, all is well, the snow keeps falling off, a major melt
has set in above with the heaters on and I have a continuous waterfall of melt water coming down my
sidescreen from the roof.

Church Rock

Four Corners comes and goes and on past Church Rock and into Kayenta where they have had a bit
more snow, and we drop them some more from the roof ! Weather cloudy but so far dry apart from the
constant run off down my sidescreen. Past the Elephant feet and through Tuba City and join the
Flagstaff road at last. Up ahead its looking pretty black and as we approach the next hazard I settle
back and count the 69 Crosses along the roadside on the 55 mile stretch to Flag. Always amazes me
just how many people managed to meet their maker on such a short straight piece of road.

The Elephant Feet

Flagstaff has taken quite a beating from the winter storms and there is more snow on the ground than
I can remember and as we make our way up the hill to Munds Park is starts to snow again. Not settling
but coming down in buckets, not that that affects an Arizona driving lemon who pushes on at 75
regardless and continues to tailgate and lane swap in true Nascar fashion. We drop a few more
charges from the roof and as we come down the big long hill the snow gives way to rain and the
classic rainbow. More showers from some nasty black cells but we press on and make our turn off at
the Carefree Highway.

Back to rain!

Next stop Safeway for the week’s shopping and meet up with my old mechanic who owes me some
money to pay for same. Debt settled, two carts of goodies later and with a PF Chang’s take out from
Pei-Wei we are ready to roll again with the time coming up on 8 at night. Refueling complete, no
propane to be had as its illegal to serve after 6 pm !!!!!! …… we are back on the 101 loop and heading
for Buckeye and the last 80 miles. Buckeye comes into view and we make our final approach for

On final approach to land

We find the exit this year by the prison and stumble into our parking slot ready for the rest of the week.
2 days late but at least we are here and we still have a foot of snow left on the roof!


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The Migration of Trials Riders begins !

Less than a week until the planned departure and things are still looking grim outside…… there has
been some day time thawing but the night time frosts have left a ice glaze over everything making
walking very dangerous and I still have a ton of snow to dig through to get at both the trailer and Safari.

The workshop which is still the biggest challenge is now further compounded by Brenda wanting to
take the Beemer to AZ as well. Not only do I have to clear access to the shop but now a load more
snow removal to get enough room to turn the 850 lb Bavarian beast round before finally loading that
as well ! Of course it can be done but man oh man its going to be an effort.

Let the shovelling begin……. and all because the lady wants to take the
BMW to Arizona

I’d better attempt the task in an order of common sense priorities and first tackle the bus and see if I
can get her started and ready for the road. She needs digging out all round, switching LP gas sources
and then checking the generator, and then checking for leaks from all the water systems. That was all
good and winterized until someone rented her for a couple of months. Hopefully the under floor heater
and the hot water themostat are still working and nothing else has frozen ……. fingers crossed!

A path is cut around the trailer in the 2′ high snowbank and all the underside ice broken off so maybe
the wheels will go round and then over to the Safari to cut through the drifts and set her free. There are
stalegmites and tites of ice all along the underside which I’m hoping are from the roof drip and run off
and nothing more serious but until I can dig out and open the lower side panels I can’t tell where the
water has come from. Once we get the Safari free and give her the once over we will know whether
Buckeye in on or off.

This doesn’t look good !

Should the Safari run and leaks be at a minimum then the trailer can be moved forward into a clear
zone which will give me somewhere to shovel all the snow from the workshop which must be close to
5′ tall as its all the huge avalanches that fall off the roof and just get higher and higher.

The Safari is finally unearthed from it’s snow hole and things are not looking good!  The monster
propane tank has run dry and all heating finished some time ago! Net result water leaks everywhere
and coming through the floor. The woodwork floor has lifted by the kitchen sink so I’m assuming we
have a major problem under there and of course all the carpets are wet. Another major leak under the
rear wheel arch means that the bath may have a substantial leak as well. We could isolate the bath
itself and run without but things are not looking good as I write as I can’t get any response from my RV
guru Howard. However the engine burst into life without any hesitation so think positive !

Today tackle the huge snow banks by the workshop after moving the trailer to give me somewhere to
dump the white stuff. I see myself out there in the dark tonight trying to complete the task. By 1900 and
with aching arms I’ve cut through the 5′ high snow bank and I’m at the house wall by the Gazebo. Still no
sign of Howard but I’m assuming he will be here on Saturday morning. My plans are now on hold until
we know how Safari is and whether any more digging is worth the effort.

The Beemer’s eye view from the workshop door

Howard arrives and calmness descends and he quickly establishes where the leak is and sets about
the repairs. By 12 he has the leak fixed, there is anti-freeze in everything, the bathroom is up and
running and warm air is circulating the cabin and drying things out. Only problem area seems to be the
kitchen faucet which of course is by the window and is frozen solid ! The warm air finally sorts that out
and now we have water at the desired point in the kitchen. The underside will take some time as I must
gently warm the huge ice lump in the wheel arch and free it from some electrical cables. The jacks are
all down but have about 1 inch of frozen ice over them virtually cementing them into the ground as are
the tires. I think I will be out there with my shrink tape electric dryer which I know produces a lot of heat.

Well it sounded like we have a go……….. but this morning there is yet another fresh fall of snow and the
forecast is more snow up to 16 inches today and tonight!!! The chances of getting out of here tomorrow
I would rate as Zero! …… and the thought of 400 miles across the reservation on snow covered roads is
foolhardy to say the least. Common sense is kicking in!

Hours of shovelling and maybe I can get the Beemer out ?

Superbowl Sunday and another day of shovelling. Garden chairs and a table along with various flower
pots are unearthed as the dig continues to find King Tut’s burried Beemer. The 5′ high snow bank is
slowly cleared and enough room made for a turn round area to get the mighty Beemer out to the trailer.
The remote key is located and Germany’s best thunders into life. True to the forecast, and despite a
pretty good daytime melt the snow started falling just as the Big game started. This morning yet another
5-6 inches but that should be fairly simple after yesterday’s efforts. If I can clear that ALL AGAIN then after
cutting through the new snow banks given to us by the town plow I might be able to cut the Safari jacks
free from their ice prison. If all goes well, and the roads are clear, we may be on our way tomorrow.

Monday morning and another 6″

More relentless shovelling and all the new 6″ is removed and we are back where we were yesterday.
Over at the Safari no more leaks but with more melting the ice lake under the coach is getting thicker with
every night time freeze. By 1 I have one jack free and start on the other two. Lying face down on ice under
a coach trying to swing a hammer is knocking the stuffing out of me and by 4 I can’t do any more so we
will not be leaving tomorrow. Brenda brings the carpet cleaner on board but without adding any more
water manages to suck up gallons !

Joy of Joys ! and thats the tire in there

Huge blocks of ice coming down in the wheel arch, imbedded cables and ice all over both tires! More
warming and hammering and a mighty lump eventually breaks free. This still leaves a 12″ high berm in
front of the rear wheels with not a cat in hells chance of getting over it so yet more hammering and the
cold masonry chisel is getting a great work out. This ice is so thick that it won’t break in any nice size
lump and continues to shatter in little pieces and is getting very frustrating.

Ice in your Gin & Tonic Sir ?……….. from the wheel arch!

Tuesday, I break her free! The jacks very slowly retract and after a little rocking the bus escapes its
ice holding area. Let the loading begin!


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  • 2/11/2012 9:50 PM Jose Bustamante AC wrote:
    This year I bought a Two-Stage Snowblower at Sears on the credit plan.
    It has a 26 in. scoop and 176cc of Grunt. (one mor than my Trials bike) Even if the snow has been waiting for a while and has the crust on it, This machine rips into it and can hurl it up to 40 feet. It has no battery! Instead, an onboard Inverter allows you to plug into AC from your garage, and it cranks right up when cold. I call it Top Fuel. Huge treaded tires. I can’t imagine living year round at your altitude.
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