RALLY, RALLY, RALLY

RALLY, RALLY, RALLY

RALLY RALLY RALLY

Time to get those “Beemers” and “Harley’s” out there!

With all this mountain driving over the past few weeks Brenda and I are now heavily into planning a
Motorcycle rally for real! yes, we are going to have our first own BMW bike fest in August  which leads
into the Dolores town’s Escalante Days. Later on, maybe in very early October I hope to have a 3 Day
Trials Camp if I can persuade the Town Manager to let me use some pretty neat land around the back
of the cemetery.

Back to the Rally then, no speed involved here….. Yeah, RIGHT ! This will be a 2 Day affair with Day 1
planned as something akin to the Amazing Race that is on TV. You know the one……… “Travel to
Mancos and find the Colorado state flower where you will receive your next clue.”  So day 1 will be
riding the Ouray loop counter or anti clockwise and then Day 2 will be the same loop the other way
round. Day 1 will also be the Poker Run so in addition to the route clues you get to draw a card at each
location you visit. There are a couple of “interesting” Road Blocks around the route and I’m sure there
will be some interesting pictures of them after the event. Of course I can’t publish any of the clues in
this article just in case any of you readers are Harley or Beemer people and fancy the event.

The Ouray Loop, with the $1,000,000 Hwy from Ouray to Silverton

Uphill out of Silverton

Ouray-Silverton, no guard rails, bit of a DROP, better get the corner apex
right !!!

Locally there is plenty of accommodation, namely our place Cozy Comfort for RV’s and bikes, plenty
of hot showers and tent camping on the front lawns in front of the shade garden which will also double
up as the bar with good beers from the Dolores River Brewery on tap and no doubt the fire pits going
full cry. Check out www.cozycomfortrvpark.com  and there are other motels in town as well for the biking
fraternity that rides but doesn’t camp.

Nice fast sweepers, Mancos-Dolores

So planned arrivals can crawl in on Wednesday 11th August and get the prime slots or even earlier if
you fancy some free riding. Thursday is the Poker run with Amazing Race clues and then Friday will be
the Treasure Hunt or Scavenger Hunt for those who like brainteasers and then to get over the hangover
there is all the fun of the town’s Escalante days on Saturday with the parade, chain saw logging
competition and the fiercely fought ladies arm wrestling. A little later is the Duck race on the Dolores
river before the bands crack into action. Sunday you can slowly drift away at 35 mph under the ever
watchful eyes of our town Sheriffs.

Yesterday was a beautiful day and with the ski season fast coming to an end time to get up to Telluride
to make the most of it. They had enjoyed another 2′ earlier in the weekend so the slopes were in
unbelievable condition with new white virgin snow.

Another crap day in paradise !

Fresh snow everywhere

Half way down and getting thirsty

Time for a Bloody Mary at Telluride Beach

An outstanding day and with this new fall very hard to understand why they would close the operation
after next weekend?  The first 60 miles is of course part of the routing for the Treasure Hunt so another
bunch of clues were found while sailing down clear roads. Just the section from Telluride to Silverton to
gather clues for so a good excuse to get the Beemer out for a springtime ride in a few weeks time when
hopefully the sweepers will have been out and got rid of all the winter gravel and maybe the county road
workers will have filled in the frost damaged potholes.

TONY DOWN

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MORE DRIVING

MORE DRIVING

MORE DRIVING

Another 700 miles of mountain driving coming up !

A week of training Enumerators last week who will be doing all the ground work for this phase of the
Census. 4 days at the Cortez Service Center and my crew, which was initially 16, then whittled down to
10 as the task diminished, and then on phoning became 8. Eight is still a little on the overkill side but
within 30 mins of starting one got up and walked out. So the Magnificent 7 endured 4 days of me
talking to them and are now ready to leave the nest and start counting.

 My Enumerators after 4 days in the classroom

On Friday the assignments arrived and I’ve allocated them by geographic area and the odd balls I will
pick up myself. Permission to go on the Reservation has been obtained so another 170 mile round trip
to see whats there today. 2 places that I visited during the Rocky Mountain Rally have to be done again
even though they are closed but I have to hunt down the owners so another 200 miles of mountain
driving there. The last one, which I had planned to do myself anyway is at Telluride so wife and I will
enjoy one of our skiing days first, and off the clock of course, but the Bureau will pick up the mileage tab
and my driving time.

If my master plan comes to fruition then we should have this phase wrapped up by Thursday night.
Then what ?

Pack your bags team!

Brenda is regrettably sick with a nasty cold so the skiing trip has got the CNX but I still have the 140
mile round trip today to add to the 300 already logged from Monday and Tuesday. Looks like the
Enumerator task is getting difficult in the Durango area as my colleague Bret, the other Crew Leader,
tells me he is down to 4 for his phase and predictably won’t be able to cope so next week we will be on
soup kitchens, shelters and the like.

Still on target to finish by tomorrow night and get it all to the courier for onward transmission to the
office by 1300 Friday. Fortunately the nasty weather has slipped by to the north of us for the first time
this year and is dropping about a foot of the stuff over Denver but we have escaped with just a hard
frost.

The round trip to Telluride took only 3 hours and they had just had a dusting from last nights storm.
The road itself is badly in need of repair in Telluride old town and is a disgrace for a World Class Ski
Resort and one would have thought that with their overpriced fare the local taxes could have provided a
surface to drive on! The Hotel where I was visiting is a mere $400 a night !!!

Telluride Old Town with a dusting of overnight snow

Today the weather is good and I’m off on another 200 mile + trip up the other side of the mountains
back to Silverton. Should be able to make good time up to Purgatory but then its those bendy passes
over the Molas and down into Silverton. a quick visit, 180 and back to Durango and collect all last
night’s work. Check ever thing for accuracy and then get it ready for the courier.

Silverton with a bit less snow…… but the drop offs are just as nasty !

207 miles under the belt and all missions completed. On the run back from Silverton I was able to knock
up some “clues” for a BMW rally I’ve been thinking of organizing for August. 2 days of mountain riding
around the “Ouray Loop” with a Treasure Hunt going one way and a Poker Run, but more along the lines
of Amazing Race going the other. Could be a lot of fun.

Here is one of the clues for this strange roadside thing?    ” Early American Policeman, and a Belgian
Road Race Circuit ? ”

Pinkerton Hot Springs (Spa)….. and I have another 19 clues to go with this one to keep riders and rear
seaters thinking.

The tasks are all complete on schedule, we are moving into soup kitchens and shelters as a group and
then I’m told we will ALL be moving into another phase which might last until mid July. This will no doubt
mean another trip to Grand Junction for me and then more training for them at the end of April and once
more the Magnificent Seven will ride again.

TONY DOWN

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WELL BLOGS !

 

WELL BLOGS !

WELL BLOGS !

Some time ago someone suggested I started writing a “Blog” on trials and motorcycling with a touch
of vintage flavor and perhaps a sprinkling of life’s experiences. That was 2 years and nearly 5 months
ago and now we have no less than 308 published articles containing over 340,000 words and some
3500 pictures to brighten up the dull text.

Favorite articles have come and gone, and in some cases a few surprises to the Author, but now after
2 years + there are some definite popular ones out there which the readership seems to enjoy.
Currently the Top 10 are as follows:

1   THE BUILDING OF TYZ
2    AND THE WINNER IS…….
3   THAT TWINSHOCK CLASS
4   SPRING CLEAN
5   THE PRE 65 DEBATE
6   COUGHING IN THE SECTION
7   AHRMA VINTAGE TRIALS AZ CYCLE PARK 2008
8   ADVANCED BIKE CLEANING FOR BEGINNERS
9   ADVANCED RV’ING
10 THE LONG ARMS AND LEGS OF THE LAW

As time has moved on the most popular article was “The Nastiest Bike Ever” for many months
which was the saga of The Rotten Cotton that we were forced to ride in the 1971 ISDT which was
truly a disaster on 2 wheels !  My good friend and RAF Team mate, Dick Clears, reminds me that
“his heap” did make it to the finish which in itself was a remarkable achievement.

Without doubt,  “The Nastiest Bike Ever !”  The Minarelli Cotton ISDT

My stories of the SSDT did well but perhaps for some of the younger riders out there they don’t see
the comparison as modern bikes only cover about 1/2 the distance we used to ride and with modern
bikes being A1 out of the crate they perhaps do not see the need to completely rebuild and prep the
bike before the event or carry the same number of tools and spares that we had to back in the 70’s.

The start of the 1974 SSDT with the 1st Production TY250A

1974 SSDT with all the tubes, tools and spares on Ben Nevis

The end of the 74 and the long ride back to Edinburgh

Several stories and memoirs of my 30 years flying and fun time in the RAF and a whole load of
gardening exploits over the years from pool building to current projects at Cozy Comfort which will
continue when this “white stuff” finally melts.

A misty morning take off from Stanley in the Falklands

My Favorite Fighter……. the mighty F4 

The “Nearly Jet” the Tornado F3 just before Gulf War I

Of course most articles these days are the trials reports, section by section, from the Ahrma
Championship along with the build up, the getting there, the trial itself, and then the fun of RV’ing on
the way home.

Section by section reports from the Ahrma Championship with Brenda
taking a ton of photos

Old friend, and still my “Trials Idol” Mick Andrews rides my Superglitz
Yamaha at Sandia in 2008

Initially it was a case of writing and getting enough articles up and running to generate interest and
thinking of what to write about next. Then came the rebuild series using old photographs and linking
stories around the pictures. Since then of course, knowing there would be articles on each machine
as it wended its way through the shop it has been relatively easy to take the pictures in a more logical
progression.

Building and painting my “Rothman’s Series”

The one and only Honda 260 TLM in Rothmans colors

My first love in Vintage, The Yamahas, and here Superglitz in the build
phase

The completed “Superglitz Blackcat Yam”

From the most popular article “The Building of TYZ”

The latest creation, and a load of articles on “The JPS SWM Jumbo”

Then there were a whole bunch of demi-technical articles in the “How to” series where I tried to make
things simple for the would be shade tree mechanic, and believe me, even in the Vintage trials world
there are an awful lot of riders out there who still know very little in terms of routine maintenance or how
to complete some of the simpler tasks.

From the “How to Series”

The Blog itself has “subscribers”, no, that doesn’t mean they actually contribute or pay anything to
anyone as all it means is that if you subscribe then you get an automatic entry to your e-mail every time
a new article is published. There are sections where you can add your comments or thoughts about
the item and hopefully you will get a reply to whatever you have written. Some of course, due to content,
do not get published but those are few and far between. There is also another section, and not really
part of my requirements but part of the domain organizers stats for the Liked/Disliked/No opinion
comments, which can perhaps be useful for me to see where we are going and what the readership
prefers to read about.

Several readers write and ask for specific articles and usually if I know anything about the subject
matter I’ll do my best to respond with factual info and personal experiences. Sometimes this is good
for me during the winter months when I’m staring at a blank screen trying to dream up a new article,
……… so keep the requests coming !

TONY DOWN

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  • 3/21/2010 9:27 AM alex wrote:
    Tony, just a short note to thank you for writing all this stuff and to let you know there are people out here that enjoy reading it.
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CARBS

CARBS

CARBS

Good carbs, bad carbs, the glycemic index? I don’t think so!  No, not an article on weight loss, although
get it wrong and you may lose weight through stress and frustration, this is about the liquid and
gaseous bit of the go faster equation.

Going back through the years your trials machine came most likely fitted with an Amal or perhaps an
Amal or in some rare cases an Amal. It was made of zinc alloy with a host of brass fittings and for the
most part was functional when new. A few had choke mechanisms but for the most part they did not
and the sequence to start was to flood the float bowl until fuel squirted out and went all over your nicely
polished cases. A couple of kicks and the motor would fire but would sometimes need the “tickler”
held down until the cold engine could cope with it all. The “tickler” as they were always called was of
course no such thing but actually a means of depressing the float in the bowl to allow even more fuel
in until it escaped through the overflow. I have seen several frustrated riders punch the tickler up and
down furiously and in the worse case I have known some who actually punctured the float itself.

The Amal “tickler”

Looking at some basics we need a super enriched mixture, and I’ll talk about the “other mixture” later,
of fuel and air to get the machine started and then as it warms up we can reduce the amount of fuel as
the engine will now fire on a vapor produced by Venturi and Mister Bernoulli in the bowels of our
carburettor.

The following is offered in pure layman’s terms so that at least the “shadetree mechanic” has an
understanding of what is happening and where to go if the machine doesn’t ! Back to some real basics
then in the fuel system. We have our fuel tank, a petcock, hopefully some sort of other in line filter, the
carb itself and some sort of breathing device of air cleaner or filter.

In order for good performance all the ancillary parts also need to be up to snuff to have that fun day
out so lets look at some common problems starting with the tank. Is it clean? was this machine a
“barn find” with a steel tank ? A quick inspection and a rattle or two may have a whole handful of rust
deposits in your hand and of course if you fill up this unit the rust flakes have only one place to go
and that will be through the petcock ! So a good cleaning of the tank is a prerequisite and while working
on the tank we may as well undo the petcock and check that over for functionality and leaks. Most
petcocks are of a 3 position system with ON, OFF and RES. Upstairs the petcock will have its own filter
of gauze often soldered together and of course through the years this may have got bent, ruptured or
have been removed altogether. The fuel cock allows the fuel in down to a set level and when you are
getting low it will let you know and you switch over to RES to get some more from the lower levels. The
cock often has a rubber washer with holes drilled in it to allow the fuel to pass as the lever is moved.
The rubber often becomes hard or the holes get “pinched” and fuel now dribbles everywhere and can
be annoying. Sometimes all that is needed is to let everything warm up and let the fuel penetrate the
rubber which will then swell and the leaks will go away. Reminds me of flying the F4 phantom after the
Christmas break and on day one the flight line was a mass of leaks from all systems until they all
magically sealed themselves after some prolonged running.

If you experience poor flow from the petcock, or none at all, then most likely our little piece of rubber
with the holes in it is all gummed up. You might be lucky and get an airline on it and be able to blow it
through but the gummy resin can often set rock solid and needs a little more persuasion to get it out.
Some old dentists tools are useful for this operation.

Fuel lines and filters are inexpensive so I always junk what is on the bike and start afresh. You may
find that some of the modern tubing needs a little stretching to get over the carb fuel inlet which is often
bigger than the petcock delivery side. Here I use a suitable Phillips screwdriver and put it in the pipe
overnight so that it will ease over the carb union when I’m ready.

Don’t forget the fuel cap and the vent system. Cork sealing washers may have shrunk or dried out or
may have been lost and never replaced and like the fuel cock the vent system may benefit from some
high pressure air to blow out any grot and prevent vacuums in the tank.

…… and finally here we are at the source……. THE CARBURETTOR !  Now I know a lot of people like
Amals and if you are riding the Pre 65 Scottish then you are more or less forced to use them………… but
if there is a choice then depending on machine, in my opinion, the only carbs that give the performance
that I want are the Mikuni and the Del Orto.

The Mikuni VM 26 idle screw side

Strangely, and perhaps we should mention it to the Pre 65 Scottish purists, Mikuni used to make Amal
under license for some time post WWII, so they too made Pre 65 carbs!  Anyhow, rather than mess
around trying to rebuild your Amal, which is generally lifed at 5 years why not save yourself a lot of time
and trouble and buy a Mikuni correctly jetted for your bike and application. If I’m rebuilding, then unless
the carb works first time after extensive cleaning I fit a new VM26 jetted with a 150 main and a 30 pilot as
my datum for just about all 250 motors of the the 1970 vintage. Of course my bikes have all been
predominately Yamahas and I’m riding between 2000′ and 10,000′. Go higher in altitude, go lower in jet
sizes.


The effects of altitude and temperature, wherever you are on the graph
multiply the result with your jets to get the correct one ie; 150 X .92 = 138
so fit a 140 main and from a 30 pilot come down to 27.5

While dealing with just the main jet if you are using this VM 26 on anything other than a 250 motor it will
need to be increased on a 2T if you increase engine size and decreased if you are using it on a bigger
4 stroke. To give you an idea the Yamaha Majesty 320 needed a 290 main whereas the 350 Enfield
takes a 90.

Now before entering the world of “fine” tuning lets take our brand new VM26 which was purchased
prejetted for trials. It will have the 150 or 160 main fitted and a 30 or 35 pilot. The needle clip will be in
the central position and the slide will most likely be a 2.5 cut off. The mixture screw will be around 1 to
1.5 turns out on this carb as it controls AIR. If the carb you are using has this screw located towards the
front then it controls FUEL and works in the opposite sense.


The needle and clip positions

Assuming all other factors are good, such as ignition having been correctly set and all units fully
functional, a new or newish plug correctly gapped and some fresh fuel mixed at 40:1 we can begin
tuning once the engine is warmed up. With experience you can do this by “feel” but another way is to
adjust the IDLE screw to a faster than normal setting and now screw the AIR screw in until it bottoms
out lightly. Then back it out to the datum of 1.5 turns, so note where the screw head is when it bottoms
and come out in 180 degree portions. Again allow it to idle and then adjust until you get peak revs with
the airscrew. You can now reduce the IDLE screw to your preferred setting which in my case is zero.
Now you can snap or flick the throttle open and check for that critical response off idle, if it isn’t instant
and perfect you may need to change the PILOT jet. If you have opened the airscrew more than the 1-1.5
turns then your pilot jet is too big and you can’t get enough air in the system so come down 5 on the
pilot and try again.


A simple diagram showing the airscrew and pilot jet

For the main jet or WFO this really only comes into play at settings above 3/4 throttle and is not often a
player in trials but if you are having problems in this area you can take off the air filter and then mark a
datum on your twistgrip for closed, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full. Put the filter back, take her out and see where
the problems occur. If the problems are in the 3/4 region change the main, if somewhere else it will
most likely be a combination of needle jet and clip position.

Now for the most common trials related problems:

Bike refuses to start  = Blocked choke or fuel enrichment circuit, remedy clean and blow through with
compressed air

Bike starts but will not run cleanly without choke = blocked pilot jet, remedy clean and blow through with
compressed air or change the jet if it is still
completely blocked.

Poor pick up off idle = bad airscrew setting, adjust

Poor performance at altitude = incorrect jets and airscrew, change and adjust, or lower the needle by
raising the clip position

Poor performance = old fuel! the newer gasoline mixes from the pump seem to go “off” after about 2
months so start afresh.

Erratic performance = water in the float bowl, remove the bowl and see if there is the globule of water
running round like a ball bearing in the fuel caused by over zealous washing!

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 3/22/2010 2:42 PM David Craig wrote:
    Tony, What’s the difference between a four stroke Mikuni and a Mikuni for a 2T?. Does it make much difference if they’re jetted right ?.
    Reply to this
  • 3/26/2010 6:58 PM Tim wrote:
    Tony, thanks for the great enjoyment and valuable knowledge. I enjoy the trials bikes although I don’t use them for competition rather I ride mine on the many rivers and streams I fly fish.
    Reply to this
  • 4/12/2011 5:07 PM Wayne Bucklew wrote:
    Tony,
    I have been reading all your vintage trials articles avidly. Splendid! I have 2 Bultaco M85 Allpinas converted for vintage trials and compete in Roger Annable’s MAVT now MID Atlantic Trials season events. Great fun!
    My reason for the post relates to the Mikuni VM26 carbs fitted to my M85s. I rejetted them per your article. They perform well at low rpms but appear to cut out when 1/4 to 1/2 throttle speed is required. The bikes sputter and stall unless throttle is reduced to idle and then run correctly. My question is if this is normal or do you think there is something I have set wrong? Timing has been set at 2.5mm per manual with points and plug gap at .015. I am running 110 octane CAM2 at 40:1 synthetic blend 2T oil mix. The needles are set to the middle slot and the air screw at 1.5 turns. Any insight greatly appreciated. Keep writing, it is the best I have seen on trials. Best to you. Wayne
    Reply to this

    1. 3/7/2013 6:06 AM Loni wrote:
      I would adjust needle position and ride to check. Sounds like you need more fuel and are starving out at medium throttle opening. Also check/replace your floats if fuel intrusion is causing them to lack buoyancy.
      Reply to this
  • 6/7/2011 12:59 PM Jose Bustamante Alvarez wrote:
    Very useful to have all the information in one place like this. Trying to get the Single and Twins sorted for Steamboat. Do you have more time now that the schoolkids are out for summer?
    Will you be going a day early to Stb Springs? – – I’ve got TD Individual Instruction Trials School in mind. With myself as Tutee. What do you think, Tony?
    Reply to this
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RALLYING THE CENSUS

RALLYING THE CENSUS

RALLYING THE CENSUS

All set in National Colors

54 different diverse locations in five Colorado counties the Premier Winter Census Rally got under way
on Monday morning with blowing wet snow to go with the 3″inches already on the ground from the
overnight fall. First leg to Durango and then onto Bayfield before the first special stage up to Vallecito
Lake. Speeds are down due to the slushy conditions and particularly nasty going by Summit Lake
before picking up 160 in Mancos. On arrival in Durango the roads are dry and they seemed to have
escaped last nights batch.

Another slush filled drive up County Road 501 through the narrow twists with some deer spectating
and on to Vallecito Lake. Everything is closed up here with 4′ + of snow lining the road and the last
part of metaled surface gives way to mud, dirt , snow, ice and puddles. At the check in at Blue Spruce
RV Park there is no sign of life and not a chance of occupation until mid May by my guess and you
won’t be getting any big rigs in there for quite a time! My last port of call would have been another 40
mile leg down into Archuletta County on the Indian Reservation but I’m called on the cell by Head Office
to say that stage has been canceled due to lack of permits. A pit stop in Bayfield for refueling and then
back into blizzard conditions for the 75 mile leg back to Dolores.

Mud and ice from this point on……

Day 2 and yet more overnight snow so another treacherous start heading out on the 40 mile loop to
the back of Mcphee Reservoir where the side road will most likely not have seen a plow. A pretty drive
and I don’t expect to find anything when I get there either. From the start point at CC over the road to the
Outpost Motel and can’t find the unhelpful owner who is downright rude on the phone. No matter, on to
McPhee and all goes well up the hill in the melting snow but 5 miles in and the road is only single track
where a scraper has been and there is 9″ on the unplowed side. Eventually catch up with the Scraper
and decide this is in the “too difficult basket” and turn round and off to pastures greener. With melting
snow and thawing mud tracks things are a real mess any time I venture off the main highway, bit like
trials really !!

A half plowed road to McPhee Reservoir

Too Difficult ! time to come back

Through two more ports of call and down into Cortez for a batch there where most of the snow has
been removed thanks to overnight rain. Mud, mud and more mud on the county roads but with another
65 miles done I’m back in Dolores for lunch and ready to map out the afternoon adventure through
Mancos and up to Bauer Lake.

The afternoon stage starts well after a slippery off road excursion and soon I’m in Mancos and turning
onto a very wet CR 41, just got the braking done before a nasty “yump” over a waterfilled drainage ditch
and rounding the next turn of the ever upward track there are about 40 turkeys scuttling across the track.
All very big birds and clearly well fed despite all the snow. Past the last dwellings and at this point the
plow driver had decided that civilization stopped here and had just pushed everything into a huge bank
across the track. A bit of slipping and sliding but finally I’m back on a solid surface and complete the
loop knocking up 130 miles for the day.

The return run of the Special Stage to Bauer Lake

Wednesday, THE BIG ONE!……. today its another mountain stage with a hill top finish and night stop
in Silverton. Looking out the window another dusting of snow which will melt, I hope,  before my 0900
start time. I see there is a severe weather alert, right across today’s route, so this may take longer than
expected. Routing today is up the 145 over the Lizzard and into Telluride for a quick stop then downhill
and out to Norwood before turning and coming back up the pass to get over the hills to Ridgeway.
Then things could get really interesting with the run through Ouray and up and over the mountains to
Silverton. No guard rails up there and a pretty hairy ride on a bike in the summer if you don’t get the
corner apex bang on ! Not any different in the car but a scary drive as there are horrendous drops and
no guard rails, huge over hangs of rock and snow with lots of avalanche signs along the route. I’m in
and out of heavy snow showers all the way but eventually I’m in Silverton. A sign at the Motel says they
won’t be open for another two hours! All the fun venues I saw here in the summer are closed as is just
about everything else. My task is soon completed as most of the places I’ve come to inspect are closed
so back to the motel and wait.

5 miles in and it starts snowing big time!

In the clear again but this venue is definitely CLOSED

The Start of the Ouray-Silverton afternoon stage

No guard rails and some huge drop offs !!!!!!!!

The room is little bigger than my garden shed, no coffee, not a plug in sight for the computer so they
lend me an extension cord and at least I can check my email. Venture out in yet more falling snow and
find somewhere open for a bite to eat. In hindsight I think I would have been better moving on and
staying at Purgatory Ski Resort as this is low budget at 5 star prices! Oh well, I hope the roads will be
clear as I have a 50 mile drive down to Durango this morning.

The less than perfect night stop

Thursday Morning and much early activity through the paper thin walls as all and sundry are up and off
to the slopes. I venture out but man it is cold and a crisp -2F along with 3″ of fresh snow and a gusting
wind that chills the very marrow of the soul! As I see no future in this establishment I may as well press
on as its bright and sunny and I could use a coffee. Outside big engines thunder into life as motors are
warmed and ice and snow are scraped away. I take the key back and find,much to my surprise that there
is some coffee and a few bagels and fruit. Start time comes and I venture out onto the very cold ice and
snow covered road. First “Special Stage” is up and over the Molas Pass to 10910′ and flashing lights
say chains are required for all commercial vehicles. Another slow, winding uphill with no guard rails
and huge drop offs and a load more on the downhill. A 20 mph average is the speed for this portion
and although I got overtaken early in the stage I passed him later as he had spun out on a bend.

On the climb to the Molas Pass with Silverton in the sunshine

I’m glad you are working

Another “glass” descent in the shade without guard rails

The start of the last Pass, big drops and no rails

Another pass and then down to the ski area at Purgatory where I have a few calls. The sun is up, a very
beautiful winter ski scene everywhere and at Purgatory no wind so very pleasant. From Purg, a straight
shot on melting roads down to Durango but I miss a couple of my calls and I’m forced to go back and
cover the ground again and in the process stumble across the Silverton-Durango steam train which is
still running despite the conditions up the Valley and over the passes.

Here come de train

Wooo, ah wooooo

By the time I’m in Durango temps are up to 45F and its positively spring like. Through Hotels, Motels
and boarding houses and one final call at some cabins 12 miles out of town on a good winding road.
(this will be nice on the Beemer in the summer!) The cabins are vacation rentals for those that like
snow shoeing ?

The day is done, the Cadillac is filthy, I’m hungry and so its homeward bound with close on 700 miles
driven in the Census Rally, make some sense us outta dat !

TONY DOWN

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