PARTY TIME & CHRISTMAS

PARTY TIME & CHRISTMAS

PARTY TIME & CHRISTMAS

Its that time of the year again and the party season is upon us once more. Yesterday it was the
Mancos Bus Driver’s Christmas breakfast. Hardly a riotous occasion but a nice gesture from the
school as when they have the Teacher’s breakfast we are still out bringing their students in for
school. Yesterday being Friday was the last day of school for 2010 and was my last drive of the year
and a very quick one it was too with only 5 passengers.

Today after some seasonal white stuff over night its the Hollywood First Winter Pool Championship
and I did actually qualify this year with a good second place back in October. This one is a bit like the
Scottish Six Days, you don’t expect to win but its good fun to be THERE and compete. Rounding off
this weekend Brenda has her annual Solstice Party with poker & pool and fortunately we are not
expected to dress like Druids.

Just another party at the “Henge”

Sometime during the week there will be the other annual event in the town with an on foot Poker Run
around all the town businesses with much egg nog and brownies and other Christmas fare and then
on Christmas Eve a bonfire party which I believe is something new.

The snow continued all day, with about 6″ falling and at times looked very pretty but it was a wet snow
and temps never really got that low so it all became slushy in no time. The Pool competition swung
into gear and although I was playing reasonably well I wasn’t playing well enough! As expected our
local semi-pro was on top form and never lost a game. Further evening excitement when the dripping
snow got into a timing unit on the outside lights and tripped the circuit breaker so another task this
morning.

Full swing literally, with the axe as both fires will be in full flame all afternoon so many, many baskets chopped and brought in during the nonstop body chilling rain… yuk! The conditions are now screwing
up the cable TV with channels dropping out due to the miserable weather. Shame as I was actually
enjoying a bit of Christmas stupidity called “The Santa Incident” when Santa gets shot down and the
govt sends a team in to investigate the aliens.

Not a gunsight solution I’m familiar with !

Not looking too rosey for Santa

Last year the party weather was a blizzard but this time a nice steady continuous rain, and its still
raining this morning. Further up country the weather forecast is for 6 Feet of snow! Won’t that be fun?
The fires are lit and the guests arrive, very soon the noise levels are rising as bottles are emptied and
games are played.

I’ve just been informed what all the digits mean……… how rude!

Pool in progress

Our own resident Santa…… “Hogleg” and Izzie

Brenda test drives the new “obscene” wine glass

I’ll stick with the poker beer glass

Christmas Day and as usual I’m cooking and for the first time I can remember we are on our own.
Maybe just as well as we have no presents under the tree, although yesterday as I was feeling so bad
about the whole thing I stopped by at our local nursery who were having a 75% off all Christmas
decorations and found 3 very simple ornaments for the tree which fairly accurately depict the major
changes in our life in 2010. Amazing that something so cheap could alter my entire day and feelings
for the season. Needless to say this morning I told Brenda that Santa had “been” and she too enjoyed
these simple gifts.

Brenda became a Chef  in 2010 and rolls a great pizza

I became a School Bus Driver

We were blessed with “our” first grandchild, Sophie, 9/22/2010

So with no time frame to make, lunch will be ready when its ready! A few changes to my traditional
offerings this year with some different stuffing and a new brussel sprout  and parsnip dish I saw
Ramsey making. By 1030 the stuffing is done, the dangerous cocktails are brewing, and phone calls
to family are under way.

A new stuffing mix for 2010

The Dangerous Christmas Cocktails are ready

Another nice bird by Chef Tony

Post lunch and silly hats a simple evening by the fire and lights watching many sentimental and eye watering favorite movies on the Hallmark Channel and the day is done.

TONY DOWN

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A BLOG REVIEW

A BLOG REVIEW

A BLOG REVIEW

As another year comes to an end and cabin fever begins to bite time to review the blog ramblings and
see where I’m going or not. If you believe in the Mayan calendar you will know we are already
approaching our penultimate Christmas this year and, according to them, next year’s festivities will be
the last !

What a relief, that explains it

Back to the blog, which was started at someone’s suggestion 3 years ago, I have written 387 articles
on subjects various, and I have 23 subscribers. Now “subscriber” instantly suggests parting with
money which is not the case and as far as I know all that happens if you are a subscriber is that you
instantly get an e-mail when a new article is published. You can register at the bottom of any article,
make any comments you wish, which come directly to me……. and I hope to answer them promptly,
and also hit the “Liked”, “Disliked” or “No Opinion” options if you did, or didn’t, or didn’t wish to
comment. To that end I have had 550 of those, thankfully 525 going to liked, 16 to disliked, and the
last 9 to the no opinion box.

Yes, it really was the nastiest bike ever


How did I manage to overtake someone 9 numbers ahead of me on the road ???????

In the early days of the blog the most popular article was strangely “The Nastiest Bike Ever” the saga
of the Rotten Cotton which the RAF were forced to ride in the 1971 ISDT and then when the “Building
of TYZ” was published it went racing to the top and continues to dominate with over 29,000 reads.

I did a few mods and altered the dreadful color scheme

The one off TYZ

The top two articles look like being unchallenged in the forseeable future but third place is closely
contested and could change hands at any time. The top four are as follows:

1. The Building of TYZ          29,020
2. And the Winner is….         16,133
3. Spring Clean                     11,516
4. That Twinshock Class    11,159

Also climbing rapidly up the leader board is a more recent article called “Frame It” so that will be
interesting to watch in the coming months.

A bundle of Beamishes from “Frame It”

Top articles that people liked and said so are:

1. The Winner is                      17
2. Spring Clean                       12
3. Frame It                                11 with 1 No opinion
4= TYZ                                        9
4= No Excuse Cub                   9
4= That Twinshock Class      9  with 1 Disliked
7. Memories of the Scottish   8
8= Vintage T Schools              7
8= Fred’s Fancy                        7
8=1st Week of May                  7

Then of course there are those articles that some readers disliked, either because their opinions
differed from mine, or for some other reason, which I don’t know, as they didn’t follow up with any
comment which might have resolved any issues they may have had.

A couple that stand out,  but I have no understanding of what they disliked, were “Testing the
Pachyderm”, which was a fun article on testing the SWM Jumbo for which I used some elephant
pictures and wrote some hopefully amusing comments to amplify the pictures.

All I said was “with new bars fitted I didn’t like the flapping hand guards”

The other that defies any explanation was the article on building “Ossamaha” from scratch and
taking an old DMW frame and adapting it to take a TY250A engine and fitting an Ossa front end.
Maybe it was the name they didn’t like ?

The “will it fit ?” build stage

Rechromed frame

Does the name offend ?

What’s not to like ?

Somebody didn’t like the “Wooly Ossa” either, perhaps he or she doesn’t like stories of elephants ?
or the thought of them being stuck in a snow drift or glacier…….. and more recently the applecart was
upset with “Crystal Balls” which was perhaps a too pointed view on predictions for next year’s Ahrma Championships?

Recovered from the Glacier ???


Yes, it IS made by Lucas !!

The “no glove” prediction

Another that got a “veto” was “Pheasant Hunting in the US of A” where despite trying to portray a
balanced view and my appreciation of the wonders of pointing dogs I did show my colors when it
came to gun safety and shooting technique. I stand by what I said and this photo says it all in MY
opinion.

 Let’s review this AWFUL shot !   Too fast, off balance, a VERY poor gun
gun mount, and WAY TOO close!  What went wrong ? From his body
position I suspect this bird flushed from his feet while his right foot was
coming forward. He shuffled his left foot to parallel, tried to mount the
gun too quickly and with this “right to left shot” and left foot too far back
the gun butt came up too low on the shoulder and the stock is not in
contact with his cheek …….. he might just as well have fired from the HIP


The blog will hopefully continue, though it must be said that with declining resources and a lack of
riding I have fewer and fewer trials to report on. Of course while I’m sitting aimlessly looking at the
screen for inspiration a reader will often write in and ask my opinion on something from the past or
present to get the grey matter kick started again. Its been pretty easy in the past rebuilding at least 5
bikes a year and riding the 10-12 Arizona events on top of about 12 rounds of the Ahrma
Championship but alas the recession and other things can change all that in a heartbeat!

Other weird things occur from time to time as comments come from strange sources which are
difficult to process as either genuine or a scam and I therefore decline to publish as I can’t tell
whether they are from a real enthusiast or some sort of agency trying to promote their own goods.

Overall the blog does provide me with a lot of amusement finding appropriate pictures to go with the
text and then linking them together in some readable form with the occasional slip into UK spelling!

So to all that frequent the site I wish you a Very Happy Christmas & a Prosperous New Year

Looks like Christmas will continue after all ! Have a GOOD one

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 12/26/2010 10:22 AM Ralph Foster wrote:
    Tony. Your articles are always a blast to read. I really enjoy your humor. Vintage trials is my passion at this time in my life and your stories keep me motivated.Keep up the good work. See you in Az. in a month.
    P.S. Thanks for the kind words in your crystal ball article.
    Ralph Foster
    Reply to this
  • 12/26/2010 2:43 PM Jim Crain wrote:
    Hey Tony, Thanks for all of the posts. I enjoy them all but of course, some more than others. I hope that Sylvia and I get to see you and Brenda in the upcoming year. We are planning to make several events in the upcoming season. As usual, I will be focusing on MX and racing with the boys from Roswell on their Gold Stars. I hope to get my BSA twin flying again and maybe build a heavy weight BSA trials machine from an Alloy Clipper that I have. The good news for me is that I have left the corporate world and am making my way with our rental properties. Also hope to compete in the 2011 Cannonball rally in September. We will see if I can get my ’27 BSA on the road for this and see if the event actually happens. Should be an interesting year. Thanks again for the interesting articles and I hope that you all have properous new year! Jim
    Reply to this
  • 12/26/2010 7:09 PM Marc Price wrote:
    Hello Tony
    I wish you all the best, I enjoy your blogs so keep them going!
    As a Tiger Cub owner I enjoy the articles on them and also your rebuild articles.
    My regards
    Marc
    Reply to this
  • 12/26/2010 8:37 PM Scott wrote:
    Hope you had a good Christmas Tony!I enjoy your articles and they have given me the trials bug.I hope to get my 1970 Plonker finished this winter and ride some events this year.I really enjoy the stories of your time in the RAF or past riding in the UK.Keep up the good work!!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2010 10:39 AM Dave Rhodes wrote:
    Hey Tony Please keep up the good work – like you I write a daily blog which gets a lot of hits – interestingly they come from – in order – Canada,France,USA,Italy, UK. I think Trials fans are always thirsting for something to read, and with most web-sites never updated on a regular basis, the one that do ( such as yours and mine) will continue to be popular.
    All the best to you and your readers for the 2011 season ( We were out playing in the snow yesterday – Boxing Day) – any of your followers interested in clicking onto my site can go to www.outlawtrials.com
    Reply to this
  • 12/28/2010 7:48 PM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    Thanks for explaining the 2012 issue.
    Reply to this
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TIME FLIES

TIME FLIES

TIME FLIES



My last RAF tour on 5 Squadron with the F3 Tornado

Twenty years ago at the begining of August Iraq rumbled into Kuwait and the World stood back to see
what would happen next ?  At that time I was at RAF Coningsby flying the Tornado F3 fighter, Monday
to Friday and then at the weekends up, up and away on the Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial
Flight to all the summer airshows.

Personal plans were for me to start work as a Flying Instructor for the Royal Saudi Air Force in
September and prior to that I was going out to Cyprus for a couple of weeks doing Air to Air gunnery
and then come back in time to have my swan song with BBMF on our annual end of season jaunt to
the Channel Islands.

So I’m at BBMF looking at the details of this last trip when I bump into the Station Commander who is
also on the Jersey trip with me. I asked him if he had any word on the Kuwait Invasion as from a
personal experience I had been involved in a near full scale attack on Iraq back in the 60’s when an
Iraqi platoon had crossed the Kuwait border. The UK has always had a treaty with Kuwait so I was
surprised that we were as yet uninvolved. Thinking back to the horrors of what might have been in the
60’s certainly put a little chill down the spine.

Early one morning in Cyprus the sirens start wailing and very soon the station is ablaze with lights as everyone is up and getting to their place of duty as quickly as possible for what we are all expecting is
just another NATO exercise. Arriving at the Squadron things are not quite the same and I can see
armourers loading full pods of rockets and conventional bombs instead of the nuclear monsters which required jacking the aircraft up to get the nuke in the bomb bay. All very strange!

RAF Akrotiri Strike Wing Canberra in Cyprus

A little while later all four of the bomber squadrons are addressed by the Wing Commander who tells
us the big picture. Being a very junior member of the squadron, and knowing roughly how many
serviceable aircraft we could muster I’m pretty confident that I won’t be going anywhere but that all
changes in a flash when the running order is put up!  Each squadron has 10 aircraft and allowing for
those in servicing and deep rectification I can’t see us fielding more than about 30. The plan is 5 flights
of 6 aircraft with one of my mentors, Brian Stokes, leading the first wave. The Wing Commander is in
full flow when Brian interrupts him and says one of the crews on his flight is currently in the UK so he
is one crew short……… “Well, take Down then”…………GGGGuuulp!!

Back to quarters and pack a few things, write a quick note to Mum and Dad, and a lot of thoughts of
“Why Me?” and of course a large number of ramblings on would I still be alive at lunchtime? At 0550
out on the runway and last minute arming of the bombs and rocket pods when a landrover comes
roaring down the runway lights flashing and arms waving  ……… several bodies leap out and heads
poke in the doors and tell us the good news……… “It’s all over lads, they have apologized !”

The B15 Canberra in 32 Squadron markings with the AS30 missile

Sometime before 0700 the Officer’s Mess bar is opened and the duty free flows freely and apparently
I was still alive at lunchtime as the party and carnage went on all day !

August 7th 1990 and still no word on anything so at 0400 on my birthday morning I’m airborne
en-route to Cyprus for the planned Air to Air. Usual first night arrival party and meet up with our sister squadron who are flying back to the UK tomorrow with the tankers that have just brought us in. 2100
and everyone is in a jovial mood when the two Squadron Bosses arrive looking very grim faced.
Seems 29 Sqn aren’t going home tomorrow and we will all be leaving on Saturday for Saudi Arabia.

5 Squadron en-route to Dhahran

Saturday and we arrive in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Sunday morning we are flying up on the Saudi
– Iraqi border. For the next month the military build up is unbelieveable as the might of  the USA and
UK forces arrive. Our F3 fighters join the Saudi F3 outfit, also called 29 Squadron, and this is the
Squadron I’m due to join in September.

Dhahran arrival……. so this is it, my home for the next 4 years

29 Squadron RSAF Tornado F3’s ready to go

September arrives and now I need to get back to the UK to go to Britsh Aerospace at Warton in
Lancashire to get all my documemtation done including a Saudi visa in my passport. The only way
out, as I don’t have a passport, is to fly military so still fully armed with my PPK and two clips of ammo
its a Hercules flight back through Cyprus and then on to RAF Leeming in Yorkshire.


Armed and dangerous in Yorkshire

Having worn a shoulder holster for the last month it tends to become part of you so on arrival in the
UK I’m wondering what everybody is staring at everywhere I go. A car ferries me back to my old base
at Coningsby and I now need to hand in all my RAF flying kit and anything else I’ve acquired in 30
years of service…… Socks, aircrew, green and many other military descriptions are reeled off as we
diligently go through my loan card until I’m left with the weapon and ammo. I was issued with this in
Cyprus before leaving for Dhahran but the paper trail hasn’t caught up with my loan card so they have
no record of it and won’t take it back. Eventually get someone in charge to accept it and I’m weapons
free at last !  Another amusing finish to 30 years of loyal service to Queen and Country is that when you
leave the “Company” YOU get to give THEM a WATCH !!  ……. yes, they want your aircrew watch back !

After 30 years service you give THEM a watch !

A week later, now with a Saudi visa in my passport,  I’m back in Dhahran and join 29 Squadron RSAF.

Operation Desert Sheild is now gaining momemtum and more and more forces arrive including the
French who we have to explain to that their only use in this phase will be to fly as targets for us as they
are flying the same aircraft that they sold to the Iraqis ! Needless to say they didn’t take part in the
conflict that was to come.

Patriot missiles…….. the noise they made was horrific!

Very soon Christmas looms on the horizon and I’m looking forward to be going home and enjoying
the festivities and some great winter pheasant shooting. I also have to complete my RAF service
retirement documentation as I’m retiring on January 1st and will now be a civilian flying instructor
doing exactly the same job, and on the same salary, but will also get my RAF pension as well.

Clearly Saddam isn’t backing down, so a conflict is in the offing but now we have a different scene.
When I was in the RAF you just went where you were told, flew the missions as required and that was
that as it was what you had signed up to do. As a civilian there is NOTHING in my contract about
conflicts or going to war with anyone on their behalf !  Likewise all the groundcrew for all the Saudi
Squadrons are all ex military and also civilians. Therefore we all make some SERIOUS inquiries as
to what flight we are ALL booked on as when the war starts the civilian part of the airfield will be
closed.

Last flight out on Saudia……. when are you leaving ?

Upper management, also civilian, make some rapid phone calls as they realise what we are saying
means the entire might of the Saudi Armed Forces will come to a grinding halt !! The answer comes
back equally quickly…….. “How would it be if we TREBLED your SALARY ???” …….. we replied that
“That” just might crack it ! For once it seemed I had made the correct decision as my brothers in arms
who were still serving did not enjoy our pay rise as mercenaries.

The war, Desert Storm, comes and goes, we are bombarded with nightly news from CNN which
must have given away secrets on both sides as some of the reporting was too close to the truth.
Reporters from Baghdad, a drunk on the rooftop of the Hilton in Jerusalem, and our local clown in
Dhahran at the airport hotel…..”There are fighters overhead and we don’t know whose they are ???”

Nightly reports from Christiane Annnnannaaapooour or whatever her
name was

We did have a few Scuds flying by and bits of one fell in the swimming pool outside my front door and
the only one that did any damage landed about a mile away. Prior to the conflict we did not expect our
Saudi hosts to take part but by now having gotten to know them there were several reasons they
fought and fought very well they did.

“Feeling lucky punk ? ……… go ahead make my Day !”

For those not in the know prior to the invasion of Kuwait Iraq had been at war with Iran for eight years!
As both Iraq and Saudi are Sunny muslims Saudi Arabia had funded Iraq for this conflict as they were certainly not fond of what they viewed as a menace just across the sea. Saudi had given Iraq enough financial support to equip everyone of their own armed forces with a personal M1 Abrahams tank.
Quite rightly they were less than impressed when they saw all the Iraqi hardware lined up on their
border and posing a huge threat to their oil. Saudi paid for the Gulf War by increasing the flow on their
main pipeline from 1/2 to 5/8. WE never quite understood Saddam’s logic of flying nearly all of his
best aircraft into Iran seeking sanctuary……. “the Mother of all dumb moves!”   did he really think they
would give them back ?

Of course we can report all wars any way we wish and of course we are always right as WE have
God on our side but perhaps we should give this some thought……….. If you have a tiny nation and
pave the streets with gold through your oil revenue what happens when your little bucket of oil dries
up ? Well by the 1980’s we don’t have to drill straight down and if your neighbor has an even bigger
bucket you can drill down deep enough then drill sideways until you strike it rich……….. but what do I
know, I was only there, and if nothing else the TREBLE pay was well used on a very nice new kitchen,
and some rather expensive days pheasant shooting. Of course I got TWO of these, one as Squadron
Leader, and the other as Mr ! I guess the paperwork was a bit slow catching up with my retirement.

I got two of these, one for the Squadron Leader, and another for Mr Down

Santa, please can I have another can of World Peace ?

TONY DOWN

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THE BLUEBIRD CUP TRIAL

THE BLUEBIRD CUP TRIAL

THE BLUEBIRD CUP TRIAL

(a bit of Christmas fun)



The very nice trophy, “The Bluebird Cup”


So what does everyone do now that the trials season is over ? For many of us its time to get some off
road practice in the School Bus as we are well disciplined and taught in adverse driving conditions
and from a lot of the routes that I have seen we spend a good time off metalled roads.

Once again Bluebird, the makers of the school bus, have sponsored the event and it will take place in
the period while schools are closed for the Christmas break. This year they will be providing some of
their test vehicles for us to use and comment on. Their jet propelled model is still in development but
shows a lot of promise for keeping angry motorists behind you post a pick up or drop off spot.

The Bluebird Jet

Children held in by “g” force

Bluebird have other futuristic models on their drawing boards and although not available to test we
were able to see the concept design of the “Shuttle” which should be available in 2050.

Still on the drawing board, the “Bluebird Shuttle” available in 2050

I was particularly impressed with the new “Rollover” model, and others that are worth a mention are
the short wheelbase “Homeowner” edition that parents may elect to use to take their own children to
and from their place of learning. The “Heavy Duty” version was noisey and would no doubt be
expensive on tires but did have a good all terrain capability.

The new “Rollover”model

Nice feature, the full width door in both directions

The “Homeowner” edition for DIY school runs

The “Heavy Duty” or “Redneck” available in southern states only

Also available were the “Katrina” for post hurricane school runs and the stretched Bluebird version
of the Honda Goldwing for the “Special Needs” students.

“The Katrina Duckmobile”

The “Special Needs” stretched Honda Goldwing

For troublesome urban areas the new “Armoured Yellow” stood out as being ideal for making sure
the “buses only” slot stayed free of cars or they could be flattened without upsetting the bus occupants.
They are available in two versions either with machine guns or the more traditional turret fitting.

The “Bluebird Armored Yellow”  Browning Edition

Convential turret is optional

With the testing complete machines were put through scrutineering, divided into their respective classes, and then put into “parc ferme” for the night. Some really nice machines, alloy wheels, a lot
of “bling”, and some of the “specials” with wide tires and extra ground clearance.

Scrutineering begins

A lot of variety in “parc ferme”

Very snazzy with alloys

Color coordinated powder coated rims and ejection seat handle bumper

4WD and extra ground clearance with the big tires

Overnight there was a little frost but this should be a good test of reliability, starting efficiency, and
of course the all important heater. Chains are not allowed in this event but are standard issue for
all normal driving when conditions become adverse.

A spot of overnight frost

The event got underway on time (as you would expect) with the first section of “Snowbank” causing
all sorts of problems until a good line had appeared in the deep snow.  A simple entry in the trees,
over some hidden roots,across the clearing and up the bank onto the road with a left turn finish to the checker. Several “5’s” from the early runners. Snow bank is always a popular section for the children!

No Cheating! … the checkers told 131 to take his chains off

An early attempt before the line was established

First clean of the day on Snowbank

Moving down the mountain on the loop we are nearly out of the snow for the next section of “Ditches”
which is another of those multiple in, outs, and around the trees, before a tricky climb back onto the
road. Very delicate throttle control required. Some drivers tried the “lofted turn” bouncing off the
opposite bank and trying for the exit on 3 wheels, while others polished the adverse and slid back in.

Delicate throttle gets 92 out for his clean

A good try at the “sidecar” technique, but a 5 !

Too much power in 1st ….. and the back slid away

“Low Branches”, Section 3, was next and after exiting the road a “S” turn through the trees before a
slippery climb out on an adverse bank for a tight right turn onto the main road. Some good driving here although the adverse caught out many sending them over the double yellow line boundary for a 5.
My turn comes and even with the long wheelbase I’m up and on the road for the clean! Well they do
have a fantastic turning circle.

Out on the road,  but he crossed the double yellow for a 5 

Done it ! A nice clean with the 71 seater

Further down the hill we are now in the deep mud sections of  “Goop Delight” and line was the key
here and good momentum blipping the throttle in 3rd seemed to be the answer.

Hard work to get through


The Lightweight Class struggled for grip and were lucky to get out for
a working man’s “3” with a lot of legwork

One of the visitors in the Touring Class shows how with a 3rd gear attack
and a lot of throttle blipping

The next mud section of “The Esses” was perhaps the “gimmee” of the day and few drivers had any
problems here unless you crossed a boundary.

A nice simple section for most

Section 6, “Sandhills” was a series of “up & down” on the soft banks so full in 2nd was the answer,
followed by an idle tight turn into the downhills and a chance to show your skills with the 4 stage
retarder, a bit like the decompressor.

My favorite for another good clean with the flat in 2nd approach

At 7 & 8, a double sub,  called “Flip” the entry was difficult and needed a wide turn on the far bank or
a front wheel would hit the big rock hazards causing the front to lift violently. If you got through that
it was slow and steady through the tight streambed to the very muddy and difficult road exit.

Yes, he hit the rock hazzard and “flipped”

Tight and twisty in the riverbed of 8

With the “Ends Card” in sight 8535 struggles to get out of 8

Out on the loop there were some mystery checks for documentation and logs and one or two drivers
were penalised for missing items or incorrect procedures.

Checkers didn’t like this from No 3 …… No lights and driving with the door open

Surprise documentation check !

Section 9 “The Grassy Knoll” was perhaps the hardest section of the day as the long grass and wet
bank caused a lot of 5’s for all apart from the early runners. Some said it was like driving on wet
spaghetti !

Unless you were early, pretty much the standard result on the “Knoll”

The next section of “Watersplash” was number 10 and the last on the open road before coming
back into the arena where spectators, children and sponsors were all gathered.

Cautious entry to the water

Slow and steady to keep her dry

Very confident about his waterproofing the Flying Dutchman enters 10

However it wasn’t all plain sailing at 10 with several drowning motors and others going off line
and finding the big hole. Fortunately the “Katrina Duck” was being used by the checkers and all
were recovered without mishap, although a little wetter for the experience!

The big hole at 10

Checkers were quickly there with the “Katrina Duckmobile”

34 creeps up the ramp for her clean on 10

Into the arena and as a tribute to “Handcrank”, the bus driver’s equivalent of the “Kickstart” series we
have the ever popular Section 11 called “VW” . This is mainly for the “Modified” class and the long
wheelbase standard bluebirds have the 2 line option around the crushed beetles.

Another VW “Passat” goes under the hammer

“Drums” or section 12 was more a demo section weaving through the tightly placed obstacles of the
standard roadwork  systems which are never quite wide enough to get the vehicle through and
usually cause a bigger hazard than the one they are supposed to be marking!

No 1, comes safely through “Drums”

“Cones and Poles” which are a bus driver’s nightmare was the “nadgery” of section 13 & 14 and
showed the steering lock to good effect and how to use the big fish eye mirrors.

16 works the fish eyes and full lock for his clean on “cones & poles”

77 gets through with just 2 touches……. is that Evelyn checking ?

Section15, “The Truck Jump” was only for the Champ Class with their minders and was an all or
nothing section even with the kicker of a crushed pick up. Personally I’m not a lover of arena style
events but the crowd seemed to enjoy the spectacle.

Close, but not enough lift even with the “kicker” of a squashed pick-up

Another good attempt and as the Minder shows us he was just teetering
on the top before sliding back


Full power and a good lift and a clean is in the books…… well done!

With the event all wrapped up for another year just time to tot up the scores in the individual classes
and hand out the hardware and the Bluebird Cup.

As expected the event was won by one of the early runners and for 2010
the Winner was MUSTAFA CRAP from the Constipation School District

TONY DOWN

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THE THICK PLOTTENS

 

THE THICK PLOTTENS

THE THICK PLOTTENS

About this time last year on the way out of Dolores and heading for Cortez there was a hand written
sign on the fence by all the Dolores School buses saying “Drivers Wanted”. Well at the time the
Census work had not kicked off and as nobody knew when this would start I decided to investigate
the driving job.

A run into Cortez, as they are the controlling authority for both school districts, and fill in all the
required forms. All seems to be running smoothly until I’m told by the Director that they have had
their budget cut and the position I’m looking for has been axed ! Great !!

Never mind, the Census kicked into gear in January and kept me employed until August with a ton of
driving and as that phase dried up  the school bus driving job reappeared but this time in another
local town of Mancos. With schools out on summer break  cranking up was slow but after the Casper
event things started to roll with Mancos paying for a host of things including another DOT physical and
drug testing. Since then I’ve been driving for them and usually end up driving about 50% of the route
runs on a weekly basis. I’m also told I’ll be getting some of the Activity and Sports team runs in
January on the touring coaches.

My favorite drive to date, the 71 seater Bluebird with all the bells and
whistles

Anyhooo, last Saturday Dolores had a little Christmas Craft Fair so Brenda persuaded me to go
along and see what was on offer. At the first stall a lady politely ask me how I am and all the other pleasantries and then asks if I remember her? To cut a long story short, I know I have seen her but
can’t remember the “where and when”. It turns out she is the drug testing lady and tells me that she
has just been doing a few for Cortez School district as they are hiring again.

Another trip to Cortez and yes, they are hiring and especially in Dolores. Hopefully this should now
all be easy with all my Mancos qualifications done all that will be required are some photo copies
and then the game should be on as all the weirdo/pervert background checks have obviously all
been done. In this day and age you can’t be too careful and thank God we have bus cameras to deal
with the “he said, she said” scenario or vice versa.

So, either a full route with Dolores, or acting as a Sub for both schools for the variety would be good.
Dolores buses are parked only 2 miles from the house so that would be excellent as well. As both
my Director, Wes, and senior driver Sharon, are away this week I’m hoping they will have all the
copies done by Thursday morning so that I can get the Cortez/Dolores ball rolling and maybe get a
few routes done before schools close for Christmas.

Ho, Ho,   Ho

Thursday morning and back into Cortez to the glass shop to replace the entire arse end of the
Cadilac ! last Thursday I left the house just before 6.30 in the morning and it was ‘kin cold so I put the
rear defroster on and with scraping wipers set off. When I turned the ignition off at the Bus Barn there
is an explosion and the whole back window departs in a shower of small fragments. Very odd ! It has
taken a week to get a new one and been a bit like driving a sports car but they put it in this morning.
That gave me a couple of hours to waste so I elected to WALK, yes WALK, the 2 miles to the School
Bus Depot and hand in the copied paperwork.

With 2 miles of cardio completed the Director, Carol, says she wants yet more finger prints and
another drug test. Smile sweetly, say nothing, and get on with the task. Start the next 2 mile walk and
drop in at the drug testing station and once more meet up with Roberta who had started me on this
quest last Saturday. She rings Carol and says the last test IS good, so back to the glass shop where
the car is all finished. Off to the cop shop which I know only does finger printing on Tuesday and
Thursday afternoons and its only 1100 so better set the charm meter on FULL !  The charm meter
glows at max and by 1115 I’m all washed up and on my way back to the bus barn with another set
of FP’s.

Carol is suitably impressed and tells me she has a Dolores route opening up immediately after
Christmas and wants me to do the route “drivealong” on Monday and then come in for some Cortez
Training on Wednesday……..  so far so good. Only problem I’m having is loyalty as I’m split between
the two school districts, but, as Brenda just pointed out this is 4 times the money and a vast
reduction of fuel expenses as the round trip to Mancos is 40 miles versus the 4 miles to the Dolores depot……….. + I will get to drive the activity and sports trips without having to wait for someone to give
me one they don’t want.

Small change in plans as Cortez ring and say wait until January!  With Mercury in Retrograde I’m
hoping this isn’t a repeat of last year.

Rotate by Jan 4th !

TONY DOWN

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CRYSTAL BALLS

CRYSTAL BALLS

CRYSTAL BALLS

“Is this bloody thing made by Lucas ?”

With 2010 Ahrma Trials behind us, and a lot of the Championships decided on age, time to get the
Crystal Ball out and see what predictions can be made for “The Year of the Rider” in 2011. With 21
possable events it would seem that less people will be able to walk away with the prizes without
actually coming into “head to head” competition at some time through the season. Well at least I
hope so !

Crystal of course !

In 2010 we saw a lot of the old classes uncontested with nobody riding sufficent numbers to qualify
and even if they did they were for the most part unopposed in their quest. However, rigids and girder
fork machines seem to be a dying breed and unless Marty Paulson and Len Sims enter a few events
the only other riders who ride rigids will walk away with the prize in 2011 for just 4 rides. So my first predictions from the “ball” are;

Rigid Lightweight Int                Jim Lipscomb

Rigid Heavyweight Int              Rob Stickler

Of course in these hard financial times you never know who will be able to keep turning up and flying
their banner in their chosen class. The “Three Amigos” from Wyoming fall into the same dilema I had
back in 2008. All of them are Tiger Cub mounted in the Premier Lightweight and Classic divisions but
also like to ride Modern Classic on their other machines. All are perfectly capable of riding their Cubs
on the 2 line, but if they upgrade their Ahrma cards to Expert then they are forced to ride the 1 line in
Modern Classic, which clearly they don’t want to do. Maybe one day Ahrma will let us have our card
stamped by Line Number.

Amigo 1, Bob Strohman 2010 Classic Int Champ

Amigo 2, Dan Straka with a 140 point season and 2nd place in Premier
Lightweight Int

Amigo 3, Fred Martinson  2009 Champ on the Cub in Premier Lightweight
Int and a switch back to the Yam for another title in Modern Classic Int
in 2010

Bob Strohman ran out an easy Champion in Classic Intermediate while Dan Straka would have
certainly won Premier Lightweight Int had it not been for a severe age disadvantage to Jeff Smith who collected his 7 wins on the other side of the country. Fred Martinson, who was riding the 1 line a few
years ago changed back to the Int division but clearly found the PI line not challenging enough on the
Cub and rode his much modified trusty Yam to yet another victory in Modern Classic Int.  He didn’t
have it all his own way and John Dowson pushed him all year until it became obvious that John
couldn’t get round the age barrier either. Fred as we all know has been fighting this “C” bug thing for
the last few years so I’m not sure where he will be for 2011. I rather suspect he will have the Cub all
modified to his liking and take on Classic Int which I think he will win with ease.The Ball predicts…….

Classic Int       Fred Martinson

So what will Bob and Dan do? My Crystal Ball goes a little cloudy here (probably needs an oil
change!) but I think they will both contest Modern Classic Int for the first half of the season and then
switch back to their Cubs to grab some wins and points in whichever class is more open. I know
both of them as fine riders and they both would dearly like to win the Modern Classic Int Title which
they have come very close to in the past and if Fred isn’t contesting it, and John moves up to the 1
line, 2011 could be their time. ….so the ball says……..

A bit cloudy but……..

Modern Classic Int         Dan Straka

Staying with the Modern Classic class and starting with our Expert division what do I see here? Well
my old Ossamaha has now won the title two years in a row, this time in the hands of Rick Daniel.
John Dowson says he WILL be riding this class and Mike Buc has a nice newish TY 250D or may get
round to finishing his Suzuki. Other contenders are of course Rick himself, and good friend Ron
Pocher who gets better with every outing. Possable challenge coming from Ralph Foster, now fully fit,
and if he can find the resources he could rise to the top of this class. Absent throughout 2010 Dave Lindeman could easily upset the applecart if he comes back on the scene narrowly missing out on
age back in 2007 when he had his 140 points in the bag!

John Dowson set to move up to the 1 line for 2011

Will talented Dave Lindeman be back in 2011 ?

Current Champion Rick Daniel will be pushed in 2011

Fast improving Ron Pocher

Iron man Mike looking to regain his title

Ralph Foster has the talent, does he have the resources in 2011 ?

After much debate, and further review, the Ball predicts a close affair and says……

Modern Classic Expert          Ralph Foster

In Modern Classic Novice there are a host of potential winners and some who COULD win but do not contest enough events. Messers Doyle and Richter could win at any time and then I felt sure that Gene
would win in 2010 but he just fell short. I was equally confident that a member of the Arndt family would
be sporting the Champion’s jacket but that didn’t happen either ! The Ball became confused and
shattered at this stage but after much super glue predicts……..

Too many winners but……

Modern Classic Novice                The Arndt Family !

The Ball says all the other Novice Championships will be retained by the 2010 winners.

I only typed in “Big Bangers” !

The Big Banger class of Premier Heavyweight looked to be won by Dave Dewonia but it seems as
though Rob Poole is the older rider and another tied result goes to the elder statesman. I rather think
this class will see more competition next year as Dave will be hot on the trail and looking for some
“head to head” competition but I think Derek Belvoir who has won the Championship on numerous
previous occasions has decided only to ride local events rather than follow the Ahrma circus. Others
who may well be in there if travel funds allow are Graham Foster on his beautiful Ariel, although
looking at it I’m NOT sure it is class legal, as the front end looks a LOT later than the 1974 cut off!!!
Travelling companion Mike Parsley could be in with a shout on his big Matchless and who knows if
there will be a newcomer in the class on a Royal Enfield ????

2010 Champ on age,  Rob Poole

Dave Dewonia out for revenge in 2011

Multi Champ Derek Belvoir won’t be doing as many rounds in 2011

Graham Foster with his gorgeous new toy…… but is it LEGAL ????

Mike Parsley with the Matchless

New boy on the block ??

The Ball is pretty confident that Don Kelley won’t be moving class and predicts another easy victory in
Prem Heavyweight Int but became very confused in the Expert Class even though we managed to get
Don to do the prediction, as he is a soothsayer (part time)……. and the winner is……

2009 & 2010 Premier Heavyweight Int Champion Don Kelley

Soothsayer Don (in his other helmet) predicts……….

Premier Heavyweight                      Graham Foster   (disqualified!)

“Sorry Graham, under Ahrma regs you must use a Dick Mann machine!”

  Well assuming the Montesa forks (circa 1980) really caused the Rules Committee to give
Graham the big “D” I asked Don to look again and after much beard stroking he came up with
another winner



Premier Heavyweight                      Dave Dewonia

The Ball I was using, by now was changing color and I have to think there just might be something
in that as an omen ?



Looking a bit PURPLE to me ?


 Premier Lightweight Expert is an interesting affair with current Champion Hugh Campbell at the top
of the Christmas tree. Other potential class winners of Graham Foster, Mike Parsley and Bob Ginder
have all dropped out of the class apart from the odd appearance and Mike Buc decided not to finish
off the 5 wins he had as he knew he would lose out to Hugh on age. Previous “winner”, and I use the
term advisedly, Len Sims, did not compete in 2010 and the only other top rider not there was
California’s Nick Turner. Another entrant might emerge with “No Excuses” having failed to win in 2007
by not doing a checking duty which would have wrapped it up.

Current Champ Hugh Campbell

A determined Mike B, difficult to beat in any class

Nick Turner

It might be back in 2011

The Ball says…….

Premier Lightweight Expert              “He with BIG hands and no gloves?”

 The Classic Expert Class and I are having a bit of a problem, as after 3 years in the class and 25
wins and 1 second place finish I only have one Championship to show for it !!!  Year 1, 8 wins =
disqualified, as my Ahrma card was stamped “Int”……… so NO Championship points!!! They took my
entry fees quite happily though!   Year 2, 9 rides, 9 wins and a checking duty for the Championship.
Year 3, 7 wins and a 2nd to lose on age to someone I had beaten 5 times on my way to 7 wins? Like
Mike B I couldn’t afford to continually defend 1st place at the remaining events. This could be an
interesting class in 2011 especially if I decide not to ride as James Smith, Rick Wolff and Eugene can
have at it all season long. Biggest wallet wins! Ball says BALLS!……

2011 Winner Eugene Waggoner, “The Grinch” who stole the title


Rick Wolff who took all my 2008 first place points!

 Anyway without more ado time to gaze in the ball and see if there is a clear winner? As I suspected,
this will be decided on bankroll…… and the winner is…….


Classic Expert                   Wallet Waggoner

Well, it will be interesting to see if my predictions come true, but then on a final note as I was about
to put the Crystal Ball away I noticed something very strange…………..

I don’t believe it !  ……….. its a TIE !!

TONY DOWN

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THE BEST OF 7 IN 2011 ?

THE BEST OF 7 IN 2011 ?

THE BEST OF 7 IN 2011

With several of the AHRMA Trials Championships for 2010 having been decided on age, rather than
merit, next year has a slightly different flavor as there are less events available. So if you want a Champonship, and the $20,000 jacket, then you had better be prepared to compete on equal terms.
As we know the organization resists change like General De Gaulle so any proposals to rule changes
would either get the “Non” or be put on a back burner for further review.

For 2011 a few old favorites didn’t make the “A” team and I’m very sad to see Cotopaxi, Tooele and
Jordan Ranch getting the axe, both professionally and personally, as they were all 2 Day events with traditionally strong turnouts in the 40+ numbers on most occasions. The event tally is down to 21 from 26, assuming the TBD mid west venue is a 2 Day.

Perhaps with the tightening of the belt in the number of events this might provide a greater showing at
some of last years more dismal affairs that are still on the menu. In my opinion Elkhart Lake with a 15
turnout and Mountainfest with only 7 entries really have no place in a Championship and if they get a
repeat performance then for the rest of us we are playing best 7 out of 19.

Well enough of the bitching, lets see what we do have for our pleasure. First up is the 2 Day in
January on 22/23 at Buckeye AZ otherwise known as Az Cycle Park. I will be Trialsmaster for this one,
again, and hope to have 12 sections a day as long as we get the all important checkers. I’ll be hoping
to run a Beginners/Novice Trials School all day Friday providing there is enough interest, and to that
end either contact myself via the web or Ed Peacock. Cost will be $30.00 per rider for the day.

A great section “Ironwood”

Hoping to find some more rock sections for 2011

Well, as I can do “these”, there will be at least 2 deep ones a day!

Also at our Buckeye affair we will once again extend the time limits for those riders competing in the
other disciplines and will ride “buddy check” when they have completed their racing activities. Yes, it
CAN be done! For those that haven’t been there yet, excellent level parking on hard core, good weather
factor of around 70 degrees with a reasonable variety of sections but obviously very sandy. I will be
trying for some new ones, and depending on winter rains those graded hills may be back.

The Day 1 Graded Hill which could just be a straight section

Day 2 Graded Hill, but again might be a section this time

With the opening rounds for the West coast over, time to switch sides and for the East coast its back
to Florida on 25 February for the Gatorback Cycle Park offering. Only 22 riders last year so if you want
to see this one continue turn up and enjoy all the hard work that others have put in for your pleasure.

Nothing in March, but then South & Central for the Friday event at Diamond Don’s on 15 April which
did well last year with 44 entries. DD’s has so much potential and Don has told me he is quite happy
to have a 2 Day on his property which I think would be fantastic. In the past, despite 800 acres of
prime trials terrain, we have always been screwed  with the Cross Country and can only hope the
planners get together to ensure their routes don’t cross. I very much like DD’s with all the fun of other disciplines but I’ve seen Trials ruined here with childish behaviour and a lack of thought by all
concerned. If the numbers keep increasing I’d be happy to run a 2 Day there and use some of the
land we don’t often get to use and maybe see a “real” trial in some good old mud !

Always fun riding through ruins

Plenty of seldom used terrain at DD’s

As it warms up we are back in the mountains of Colorado  for Turkey Rock on 21/22 May. Another
venue I enjoyed with shortish loops all around the big hill which I know Ed wants to find an “all levels” rideable loop over. Last time we used this place entries were up in the 40’s and we had some
excellent sections for all riders.

Steep downhills on the pumice

Good fair sections that don’t change

Into June and Road America gets another go on the 12th despite last year’s poor showing of only 15
entries.

Then we have the mid west TBD which could be Marion ? but we will wait and see.

The second half of the season starts will the Donner 2 Day which I have always rated as the “Near
Perfect Trial” and 2 fun filled days on the rocks for 16/17 July. Great temps for summer riding with 70
by day and about 50 at night. Excellent parking right by the friendly ski lodge and some easily watched sections close to the start area.

The “daunting” sections usually ride easier than they look

Plenty of sections for spectators by the Lodge

The “near perfect” start area

Also in July on the 29th we have Mountainfest with a four discipline weekend and last year only 7
riders attempted the trials. My own view here is we can’t afford to have worthless events like this
when we have other areas of the country where we can get a meaningful entry and even make it a
2 day.

August and again the Northwest has the Farm at Chehalis on the 13th and although always getting
the biggest entry, 87 last year, it would never rate as a favorite for me! The NO RIDING rule, before
or after, was strictly enforced by some very surly individuals who made the event less than enjoyable considering the 1200 mile drive, and of course after that there is NO WAY I would ever go back
despite the great old style trials terrain that I grew up with.

Moving into September we have 3 days at Casper on 3/4/5 with excellent sections to suit everyones
tastes and for me this venue has it all. My favorite of mud, glorious mud, rivers, more rivers with rocks
and banks, rocky hillsides and twisty turns through the trees, and still a ton of unexplored terrain if you
fancy something new. After 3 days here ANY trials rider will recapture the “bug” if any thoughts of
retirement were coming near.

Mud & rivers……. YIPEE!

Perfect setting for Vintage Trials

My favorite  Ahrma section, the “Waterfall” at Casper


The turn into the cliff

Up and out !

Still in September on the 17th we have Two Rivers at Milliken Co which can be an easy but technical
event especially if they don’t use the mud holes. The last few years have seen this one get a little too
easy in my opinion and a silly dab can often be the difference between winning and losing. I would
like to see some new sections and the event toughened up a bit.

This was a tough one in 2007

Always in use “The Pipes”

I loved the “Mud Hole” when they used it

October kicks off in TN at the Trials Training Center on the weekend of 1/2 and after all Ed’s hard
work this one only got 21 entries last year which is a big disappointment considering the number of
vintage riders in the area. Well if Bob and ITSA don’t put on an opposing event perhaps it will get a
better showing in 2011.

One week later and its back to Barber which had a surprizingly good turnout last year with 44
participants so we know the riders are there!

The season wraps up on the 15th at Hollister in CA. This is a good venue but I have always thought
the sections were again leaning on the too easy side. The terrain is good, and plenty of variety, but the section planners seem to go for the easy tried and true sections rather than provide good new
challenging safe sections from the vast array of available terrain.

With finances where they are and seemingly no end to the Recession it is difficult to plan the magic
7 but we can only do what we can do !

Maybe next year I’ll run a 2 Day at Alto Pit in AZ just outside Prescott. This was always used, and still
is, by Central Arizona Trials. It is a decicated 2 wheel off road area beautifully laid out for camping,
RV’s and 5th Wheels. Toilet facilities already on site, park rangers for security and a host of natural
sections for all lines from Beginner through Champ. Everywhere you look is a natural section and you
can easily run 25 sections a day with 2 loops through the woods. Certainly an area that would lend
itself to ITSA style events with 5 each of the A/B/C/D/E severity sections. Of course I might throw in a
few “one line for all” type sections, which is after all what it always was back in the “day” we are
trying to create.

Tricky turns between the pines …. and watch those needles, they move!

Firm set rocks

Giant rideable boulders

A maze in the rockery

Perfect sections for ALL ability levels

You need to plan your line

Scottish type rocks and sections

Big hills, up and down, seldom used by the modern bikes

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 12/7/2010 3:06 PM Dave Rhodes wrote:
    Hey Tony – Good to see you are still keen as ever, although the distance between events will likely be a financial challenge for many in 2011
    All the Best for the Christmas Season – as you might have seen on my site we have already been out “Playing” in the snow, as cabin fever started to set in.
    Reply to this
  • 12/8/2010 5:16 PM Donnie Schmutzler wrote:
    Wow, I hadn’t realized how far entries for AHRMA trials had dropped.My brother and I put on 3 AHRMA trials a year thru-out the 90’s here in Illinois and always had at least 40 entries. By the late 90’s we were getting upwards of 70 entries at White City, Peoria and Casey. Steamboat always pushed 100 entries.
    I might have to get back into Ahrma and see if we can get the Midwest jump started up again.
    Reply to this
  • 12/8/2010 7:51 PM John Holbrook wrote:
    Tony nice preview of next year. Just a comment on Donnie’s post, when a two day event such as AZ cost $120 in entry fees, gate fees & camping its no wonder the entries are down. And that does not even count the cost of getting to the event. I can ride a local NMTA two day for $45 no gate, no camping charges.

    Having had my rant, I am going to give the AHRMA a go this year, so will see you in AZ.
    Reply to this

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LET THERE BE LIGHT

LET THERE BE LIGHT

LET THERE BE LIGHT

The 2008 display that won 1st prize

Friday morning, Thanksgiving done, now time for the next ritual of Christmas decorating and all things
of a lighting nature. Remembering our “Thanksgiving” and some tablets of stone I seem to remember
our good Lord telling us …….. “Let there be light,      and you could SEE for firkin miles!”

Yesterday’s reveller is into the loft and begins the humping and dumping of boxes various and the
upstairs tree. This year only one failure of the last strand of lights on the tree which is a combination
of straight white lights and fiber optics. Last year it was the fiber optic bulb that blew and this year we
have a spare just in case.

Downstairs all the boxes are inspected and positioned ready for the mayhem. Finally the giant lighting
box is opened and the testing begins. Amazingly all last years lights are up and running with the
exception of some strands of single lights that adorn the five upright poles at the front of the property.
Those are 3+ years old so time to change them out to match all last years multi color strands of the
ice variety.

New bigger and better lit ornaments have arrived and once more construction begins and after
several hours of frustration the chinese puzzles are finished. The back end of the ice scuplture polar
bear reminds me of the Hindenberg and it has now been secured to the cottonwood stump and
awaits the UPS delivery of the last part of the jigsaw.

Time for the first sets of lights in the Chevy Chase outside decorations. Five sets up and ready for
the test. True to form they light but despite testing, one string has decided to quit half way through!
Once more up that ladder and replace the entire string. Darkness falls and so does the temperature
and the home decorator/electrician is forced indoors.

This morning its Brenda’s birthday and as soon as I take the dogs out the snow starts falling with
about 3″ to come. Into Cortez for the birthday cake and more replacement lights so another day delay
in our quest for the town prize and this afternoon its party time at the Hollywood although there could
be a power outage as some clown has driven into a power pole in the town and the electric company
are busy digging a hole in the blizzard conditions to get a new one set.

More lights for somebody

I’m 50 !

The day goes as planned for the birthday girl but one of her friends, Vicki, slid off the road coming to
the party and went down a 70′ embankment. She was only shaken but her car may not be quite so
lucky and we have no idea when it will be recovered. The expected 3″  became 6″ and fixing out side
lights is not  looking good this morning!

Vicky joins us from the ravine

The drinks flow

The dancing begins……

The birthday girl is having fun


….and it just keeps coming down

A lot of shovelling off the balcony with Doof the dog grabing the shovel but despite the ever helping
labrador the area is cleared and will be safe enough for ladder work in about 1 hour. UPS arrive on
time with the last of the decorations and this one does not try the patience of Job.

Monday morning and about 6″

Wreaths are up, the downstairs tree has Brenda working full time, and the clack, clack of the stapler
begins again to wire up the last two upper rows of ice lights. In the gathering gloom of nightfall long
leads are connected, there is the traditional roll on the drums and Dolores is once more lit up with
the Cozy Comfort display.

The downstairs tree

Lodge Room complete

As cars slow to inspect the wonder of the lights the half frozen electrician is warmed by the fire and
given hot chocolate for his pilgrim endeavours.

Hot Chocolate for me !

The upstairs tree

However we are not yet done as the “fir and heather bed” is to be this year’s spectacular so yet more
stuff is humped outside and positioned in the 6+” of snow. More cables are found, and with freezing
fingers Chevy connects up to the almighty   “HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH………..HALLELUJAH !”

Christmas display 2010……. done!

The effect is as desired, but the wiring will need some tidying up with better positioned cables and
a lot more stapling of those on the property, but Madam likes it ! My only chore left to do is inside
decorating the lodge room downstairs but compared to yesterday’s artic workout that will be a
pleasure. Now Brenda wants another 2″ of white stuff to cover up my footprints before the official
2010 pictures can be taken.

HAPPY HUMBUG

TONY DOWN

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