THANKSGIVING WEEK

THANKSGIVING WEEK


THANKSGIVING WEEK

Pot or pardon ?

A week off as schools are closed so time to enjoy a little more bed time in the mornings and venture
into the workshop and start all the mental planning for the 2012 season. All the forecast bad weather
seems to have drifted by and it just cold and crisp.

For once I seem fairly well prepared with good stocks of firewood and chainsaw at the ready to tackle
some big mothers in the other pile. Post Turkey Day it will be Christmas decs and this year I’m one up
on the lights having bought this classic little repair tool that supposedly repairs strings that are not functioning……. we will see. Like Quartzite in Arizona another of life’s mysteries as to why fully
functional lights that were working when put away should now be toast on their next outing. Either last
year or the one before 11 out of 14 strings refused to play ball when they were brought out to light up
the town.

The answer to the Maiden’s prayer

Locally I qualified at Mancos for their pool competition and though I say so myself I was actually
playing pretty well so I’m feeling fairly confident I should qualify over here in Dolores in the near future. Brenda’s game is improving as well and I expect she will surprize a few of the locals …….. we had
better get practicing as they are all good!!

On the local  scene I saw the Black Goat, not just once but 3 times! The last time we actually had the
camera at hand and Billy Goat cooperated for a few nice shots. This goat is wild and has been up on
the town cliffs for many years and as far as one can tell is completely on his own.

More local news from the Cortez bus barn comes in the shape of 2 routes suddenly looking for
drivers as on one, just before the break, there was a fight which the driver had to break up and now
one of the parent’s is claiming excessive force! Not sure of the details but sounds like the driver has
told them what to do with the job. On the other route the driver has resigned and it looks like I may be
driving that one for the forseeable future until someone bids for it. Good for me as it is one of the
three routes that the new buses were allocated to. Only problem with driving a new bus is that when
the activity trips come round yours is one of the first to be hauled off and you get a “once round the
globe” spare!!

What will be my “New” bus come Monday

Talking resignations there is a “biggy” coming up on the Ahrma front so watch out for it as we cross
over into December.

Another good thing that happened this week was with HM Customs & Revenue with whom I had not
been corresponding for some time. Their annual tax returns never arrived to me in time for filing as
they were always sent via Malmo in Sweden 2nd class seamail!! Anyhoooo, now that I’ve started my
UK old age pension they were in touch and I now see they are still sending stuff 2nd class via Valetta
in Malta. Seems I haven’t filed a UK tax return, although I’ve been paying the taxes, for many,many
years. A phone call reveals lots of late filing charges…… but now I can file on line ……… and if I file the
last 7 years before 31 Jan next year all the charges will be washed and I may even get a refund ???
Some more phone calls to find all the missing P60’s from the RAF and BAE and some more to
financial institutions to get all the insurance premiums I’ve paid were all amazingly easy and caused
no grief at all so I’m well pleased.

Now I can do this on line

Tuesday and a warmish afternoon so time to get on with it and tidy up the workshop. Much humping
and dumping and putting things away and then dusting and hoovering and the workshop is ready
for work.

Nicely returned to engineering

Let the Enfield project begin

Beemer battery comes out and this time is happily taking a charge ready for action when called for in
the spring or even January if AZ Cycle Park is on the Trials calendar.

Beemer battery on charge and green light flashing

Final chopping of wood and the day is done…… maybe Fish n’mushey peas tonight? Then it will be
Turkey in all shapes and sizes for a week.

Ready for couch potato time

TONY DOWN

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CLEANING UP

CLEANING UP


CLEANING UP

Time has come to start some projects and get my mind in order for the 2012 trials season which I will
be contesting with a new vigour and determination.

It’s currently snowing and my workshop is a **** tip with a LARGE amount of “her” gardening bits in
there!! Well clearly gardening and engineering are not compatible in the same shed so ….. pots and
bags are going to find a new winter home and the work bench cleared once more for fettling and
polishing.

What a tip !

This lot does not belong in here

First up all the garden chairs need their soggy cushions cleaned off and stored to dry in the boiler
room along with 5 bags of top soil that have sat on the path since spring. Various plant pots have mysteriously gathered in front of my big tool chest along with bags of potting compost.

Wet and soggy into the boiler room to dry

With winter officially here the Beemer which has been in regular use through 2011 must now seek
shelter in the trailer and have it’s battery put on winter charge. Trailer is secured to the Cadi, as we
don’t want the trailer standing up (yes, you learn from your mistakes in this game) and then time to
wait for a break in the weather as the diamond plate can be pretty slippy with 850 lbs of bavarian
beast to ride in. The rain eases off and Beemer is stored once more. Method to my madness here
as in previous years I put it in the workshop but it took me 2 days to dig out enough snow that I could
turn it round and put it in the trailer to go to Arizona.

Time to put you into hibernation

Previous winters have revealed the workshop in not the place to put the
Beemer when “she” wants to take it to AZ in January!! 

A day’s digging to get it out

By 1600 I’m wet and cold and another two baskets of logs are humped upstairs so enough for one
day and a good start to winter ops.

Next week schools are closed for Thanksgiving so I should have a few days to think Christmas lights
and all the rituals involved as once again we go after the covetted town lighting prize. However I’m
mentally geared up to start work on the bikes and see how I can improve that gun carriage Enfield
thing. If only the front were lighter.

A lot of work to do here on neglected bikes

My trusty little chainsaw, purchased in the UK in 1976, is now refurbished and ready for logging
action, so with some pinion limbs and logs that were too long for splitting last year time for some
Christmas cheer in the fireplace to be different from our normal Aspen……. of which our stocks
(investment portfolio in these parts) are enormous!!  Might even try to burn some of that bloody awful
Cottonwood which has been drying for 18 months.

My 1976 saw ready to go

In Colorado a man’s net worth is judged by the size of his woodpile

All this for $30…… but wait theres more

Some aspen, pinion and that bloody awful cottonwood!

Meanwhile on the bike front parts have been sourced in the Canadian wilderness for the next project
and now they need to be ferried to the mainland. Might have to get Santa’s sleigh out which is currently
on lease to Fed-Ex prior to its year end seasonal run.

I wonder where this is going ?

TONY DOWN

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CLOSED AGAIN

CLOSED AGAIN


CLOSED AGAIN

The Guests arrive

With fall seriously upon us and winter waiting in the wings the annual “Closing the Shade Garden Ceremony”  was duly arranged, trustworthy guests invited, and was conducted in time honored
fashion.

An offering to the trees is made

Taking in one of the last warm days of fall the table was laid, more cheeses selected and some
suitable bottles from our cellar offered up for the guests to savour.

The table is laid

Some selections from the cellar

Unlike last year they turned up on time and very soon bottles were cast aside as the tastings began.
With Brenda at the helm, no “light pourings” here!

“For what we are about to receive”

Much talk of the Napa Experience and tales from the garden with next year’s plans as wine was
consumed, music played, and the leaves continued to fall. Now all that remains is the rescue act to
save some of the plants from the second bout of frost which we know is just around the corner.

With ritual dancing completed and the guests now talking (I assume that was what it was) in their
own druid jiberish the Shade Garden is now officially closed until next spring when all those leaves
will be bagged and life and growth returns once.

It begins !

Definitely fuzzy !

By now things are degenerating fast and I fear our guests will not make it until nightfall and see the
Shade Garden lights one last time. In fact looking at things at this point some are not “seeing”
anything!

……… “and another thing”

……a little later…..

focusing is getting too difficult

All too soon the “fun police” arrive to put an end to all this merriment and debauchery, although
some did stay for a glass or two.

The fun police arrive to stop all this “wickedness and paganism”

“It was only some harmless fun…… honest”

TONY DOWN

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  • 11/17/2011 8:49 PM John Bodkin wrote:
    During the long winter how about an article covering the aircraft you have flown and your opinions about them.
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THE BUCKET LIST

THE BUCKET LIST


THE BUCKET LIST

With the financially enforced Trials Sabatical Year now behind me time to think of the “Bucket List” for
2012 as after all, post the 2012 season, the world comes to an end doesn’t it ?

Friend and blogger Dave Rhodes, who writes daily on his blog spot www.outlawtrials.com has just
come up with a NEW proposed class for his 25th annual Outlaw Trial.  As Dave was the Canadian
importer for Yamaha for many years and of course in the TY heydays he is thinking of a Yam Class.
This would give me the incentive to meet him in person and resurrect the Super Glitz which was last
ridden by Mick Andrews at the 2008 Sandia Classic.

Perhaps the best Yam I ever built ?  … “Superglitz”

Last ride for Superglitz with Mick Andrews

Another place I always have great plans to do is Steamboat and Jenny Ranch. Try after try it just
never seems to happen.

More locally the Ute Cup is usually on my doorstep in relative terms, but again plans dwindle as the
event gets closer.

On the Ahrma scene I would really like to do TTC as the going looks reminiscent of my trials
childhood and even with the long drive involved it might be in with a chance in 2012.

If money were no object, ho, ho, ho! ………. then a NEW John Bull DOT …. another ride in the Scottish
Pre 65 and then after suitable time travelling Europe the 2 Day in Madrid for the Robregordo with Big
John and Javier Cruz . After riding that disgrace of a SM prepped BSA I would dearly love to ride the
Pre 65 on a bike that was personally prepped by ME and one that was set up to ride rock sections
and although the “Mick” variants of the James go well that DOT looks like my kind of bike.

How the Pre 65 ride felt on the SM BSA heap!

It did finish though

The DOT drooler !

What a beauty !

On the home front a major assault on both Premier divisions would be good but funds don’t quite go
that far to ride 14 events so still a big ? as to which one to go for.

Just a joy to ride

Still toying with changing the front end of the Enfield and if Graham Foster can get away with those
“square” 1980’s Montesa forks I can’t see my plans should draw any comments.

The 2011 Premier Heavyweight Champ’s front end

Something out of here maybe ?

Another thing I’ve been planning is of course an in-town Vintage Trials School so whether with
increased enthusiasm that will get off the ground remains to be seen. Plenty of local land suitable
for Vintage bikes, just persuading a few landowners it will be good for town business.

TONY DOWN

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  • 11/8/2011 10:16 AM Dave Rhodes wrote:
    Hi Tony – A bit of a correction required as I only “Worked” for the Canadian Importer – which was Yamaha Motor Canada – recently taken over pretty much by Yamaha USA. – It was a fun period of my life from 1973-1984.
    Reply to this
  • 11/8/2011 7:26 PM Steveo wrote:
    Hi Tony,it’s been awhile.I am simply amazed at my Fantic’s front brake period!After 3 years of riding ,with no cleaning or servicing ,many deep water rides,I can easily lock the front wheel on the road with an easy single finger pressure,better than many disc systems.It took at good year for the brake to glaze up enough to be friendly,prior to that it was a mite scarey.I have a complete front end & wheel,minus the fork crowns.If you are interested I could spin the wheel over and see if it runs true,interested?
    Reply to this
  • 12/12/2011 8:54 PM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    Let us know when the local trials school will be and be sure the bars order extra beer. Gotta support the local economy. Oh yeah, reserve me a spot at your RV park too.
    Reply to this
  • 12/13/2011 5:08 PM John Holbrook wrote:
    I’ll second Jimmy, park me next to his rig. He does an awesome cobbler, and his beer ain’t bad either.
    Reply to this
  • 12/18/2011 11:44 PM Jose Bustamante AC wrote:
    WHENEVER you have a Trials, or Trials School down there, count me in. It’s only 9 or 10 hours one way, while towing the trailer. Less if I haul the bike on the back bumper of the Subie.
    Reply to this
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HEADING HOME WITH A HEADACHE

HEADING HOME WITH A HEADACHE


HEADING HOME WITH A HEADACHE



I’m not enjoying this

Monday, Monday and to complete the holiday its raining! …… alas all good things come to an end so
time for some “loin girding” and get the proverbial in gear. Response is painfully slow and a general
lack of interest is shown by all.

The life giving fluid of coffee is swilled, the bouquet enjoyed, but the taste is another thing with it’s
own “wine taster’s” description…………well perhaps I’ll come back to that…..
” the careful blend of coffee beans and yesterday’s over indulgence in Merlot and Cab tanins result
in a surprising taste of sour milk washing over aged cheddar and stilton with just a hint of pate to
set the taste buds alight and ask for more”

The dogs are reluctantly walked and are now sopping wet with dirty muddy feet…… the trailer needs
to be reloaded with wet Beemer and some carpets that were left outside are now sodden and need
to be wrung out and put in a lower bin. Dump tanks and take on some fresh water and with all
ancillary pipes, cables and hoses stowed with yet more head banging on panels we must be
somewhere close to leaving?

I’m the only dry one here

Another cup of coffee, hands washed, glasses on and Miss Garmin given her instructions time to
fire up the CAT and get this show on the road or whatever and see how far we can get. Inside of
windscreen de-dogged we leave and say our goodbyes to Calistoga for another year. It’s wet…..
very wet and Miss Garmin wants us to drive the Silverado Trail and we don’t want to…………her
continuous “Recalculating” is becoming very annoying as we miss turn after turn.

Leaving a very wet Napa Valley

The rain continues and we make I80 for our run out of California passing Sacremento, over the
Donner Pass and down into Reno and finally the wonderful Nevada roads. Miss Garmin finally shuts
up and we continue in the pouring rain and it seems they have actually made an effort to resurface
some areas of this dreadful road system.

Still raining as we approach Sacremento, and I’m happier about the road surfaces but the
navigator wants us to go to Redding and then go south on I95 ??? We ignore her and carry on
climbing the Donner Pass. Some improvements here and we trundle on in the rain and in the
upper reaches see all the recent snow still piled by the road.

Climbing Donner 

Really nasty!

Well some improvements to the roads and not before time, I can only imagine that California have
been shamed into it by comparison to the gorgeous smooth Nevada roads. Down the hill and it
stops raining at last and here comes the state line deliniated by the changeover to smooth
rubberised surface.

Smooth Nevada roads at last

Refuel, check that tire again and press on down fairly empty roads. Last year we made it all the
way across Nevada to Wendover but that isn’t happening today as we were 4 hours behind leaving
Calistoga. Maybe Elko, but even that is a long way today so plan on Winnemucca and call it quits
at that.

Tuesday morning and now running on Colorado time I see I have 698 miles to drive…. joy of joys!
During my walk round checks I notice that a side panel has broken loose but good old Duck tape
has it suitably bodged for the trip.

Nevada is never ending but good driving all the way and eventually we crest the hill at Wendover and
see the salt lake beyond.

The “tacky” town of Wendover with salt lakes beyond

Last refuelling at Tooele and just under 400 to go. The roadworks on I15 are nearly finished so
progress is good and we make the turn off for 6 and Price. They have even improved this section
from Price to I70 so things are looking good.

The pleasant drive through the valleys and mountains along 6

Great scenery and fall colors

From 70 to Moab is still a disaster zone and Moab itself was resurfacing at 7 pm and we are forced
into a slalom weave through the cones which are narrower than the bus, hit 1, ran over the bases
of 2. The last 100 through Monticello and home and once again I’m reminded how pathetic my
headlights are! Must get some of these brighter lamps!!

At just after 9 pm we are home after 13 hours wheel time but Safari has done all that was asked of
her and should be in pretty good shape, with a few fixes for next year’s trials season.

TONY DOWN

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