GOING WEST

GOING WEST

GOING WEST

“C’mon pilgrim get on yer bike, we’re going West and we got a lot to do” 

With over 2200 hits on Trials Central, 54 comments, and almost as many on this blog it does seem
that for the most part the Ahrma “true” trials membership is totally dissatisfied with the lame duck
schedule that is currently on offer.

While waiting for the RMTA to come out with their series we have explored the possibility of an ITSA
WEST chapter and so far things look very favourable in all directions. Rather than start a whole new
vintage org it seems sensible to expand Bob Ginder’s empire and come under the umbrella of an
AMA sanctioned body and give those current ITSA members more places to ride and enjoy true trials
without all the hassle and nonsense of combined events and ….. dare I say it, not having to wait until
some other discipline has finished before WE can start.

So at this early stage from the mainstay org we have myself, Ed, and John Holbrook on board with
Jimmy Allison in NM also keen and some riders in SOCAL who were disenchanted when Ahrma
rejected all their proposed work for an event.

Rivers, rocks, mud and banks in August ? …. it must be Casper!

Looking at other venues first I would personally like to see Casper in there within whatever schedule
we devise as it must be one of the best places in the USA with perfect vintage sections. It has been
done before when “non Ahrma members” rode in a combined event, in fact 2008 was the year when
Bob held one of these at his place in TN.

A very tight “B” section at Bob’s joint  Ahrma/ITSA event

Locally I have Bull Hollow on my doorstep just across the CO/UT state line and I think this land is
perfect for an ITSA 2 day event. Ed has a 5 year BLM piece of land at Turkey Rock CO and NM had a
great event to finish the year in November at Roswell where Jimmy is. Right here in Dolores I can
approach the Town Manager to see if we can use their land and the adjacent BLM offering for a week long Vintage Trials School culminating in an ITSA weekend. We might even be able to ride the bikes
in the town and have a section or two at the town watering hole if the Sherrifs can be persuaded. Well
with just those we have 8 events plus Fred and Dan’s Casper event and we haven’t even contacted
the So Cal riders for their input.

Bull Hollow has great variety

Turkey Rock just lends itself to trials

Not wanting 2012 to be TOO big as a starter a schedule might go something along these lines:

April            SoCal

June           Bull Hollow

July             Turkey Rock

Aug/Sep     Casper

Oct              Dolores + Trials Camp

Nov             Roswell

……. and for the future we still have Tucker Ranch Cotopaxi Co, the Sipapu Ski Area in NM and two
really good sites in AZ at Alto Pit near Prescott and Holbrook on I40. So time to hitch up the wagons
and roll into 2012 aboard the ITSA West train.

The ITSA wagon train leaves the Ahrma badlands and heads West

TONY DOWN

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  • 1/1/2012 2:26 PM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    For whatever reason New Mexico Trials Association has vacated their first weekend in Nov. so that works for us. Don’t forget to include John Dowson and John Bergener in the NM crew. Let us know how we can help. A two day would best for most venues don’t you think?
    Reply to this
  • 1/1/2012 6:37 PM Fred wrote:
    Our application hasn’t been sent in yet, still flipping the coin.
    Reply to this
  • 1/2/2012 8:22 AM John Holbrook wrote:
    A Nov. trials in Roswell is great, however would recommend the second weekend so as not to conflict with the NMTA event at San Ysidro on the first weekend. We should try to schedule so as not to go head to head with other clubs, some of the modern riders will then be able to ride both events.

    Fred, I am a member of both ITSA & Ahrma so which ever way the coin lands is OK. But would sure like you with us.

    John, Sec./Tres.
    Mtn. West Vintage Trials Assoc.
    Reply to this

  • 1/8/2012 3:28 PM Lee Robison wrote:
    There is a great trials location in Cedar City, Ut. It is an OHV designated area and the Utah Trials Association has a couple of events there each year. Last year I rode here in the Utah Summer Games – Yep they have a Moto Trials event in the Utah Summer Games and it was awesome. I would be happy to help work on an ITSA event for this year in this location. Interested??

    Lee Robison
    Reply to this

    1. 1/16/2012 3:09 PM Jose Bustamante AC wrote:
      I would have a very keen interest in Cedar City. The Area is SPECTACULAR. Like being in a John Fird movie on your motorbike!. Let me know about further plans. Vintage friendly, right/
      Reply to this
  • 1/11/2012 7:41 PM Christopher Johnson wrote:
    subscribe me — thx
    Reply to this
  • 1/16/2012 3:16 PM Jose Bustamante AC wrote:
    all these look good to me. Maybe So Cal is the only one that is too far. Got people in Arizona, to visit. Going Feb.2 for a combined event at Wittmann, AZ. Some of us do want to ride CR Country or Vin MX; I do not see an inherent conflict, but I see your point about Trials only weekends. That is what I have done the most.
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CHRISTMAS BEGINS

CHRISTMAS BEGINS


CHRISTMAS BEGINS

Twas the afternoon before Christmas Eve, and nothing did stir, the wife was at work and the dogs
were all here.

Schools were all closed and no driving was needed, so time for some Solvol and necessary cleaning.

He grabbed the wheel he wanted to fettle, but my God it was cold, and his hand stuck to the metal.

The spokes are corroded but beautifully laced, the bearings are crap and must be replaced.

Wire wool and Emery were on hand at the ready, as Startrek repeats played on the telly.

Spoke by spoke they are polished, each to perfection, the bearings alas, only fit for rejection !

With 36 done, both fore and aft, Shadetree cries “more coffee at last.”

On raising his head, he sees a new trick, now where’s the camera?  “I must have a pic.”

The cat and the dog have now become one, well Luna and Cadbury, isn’t this fun?

More Solvol and cloths are brought to the fight, and soon the rim is gleaming and bright.

But now it’s the season and time for a beer, so off to the brewery to quoff Christmas Cheer,

a carol or two brings on a tear, and to all,  “MERRY  CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR”

So, save for the bearings the wheel is done and now time to move on to the two sets of forks that were
both sprayed in period red. I can never understand why anyone paints alloy! They were both dragged in
from the workshop which is now off limits as the temps are below common sense working levels. The laundry room will soon rejoice to the smell of paint remover.

News of other wheels for the TY set looks like an early YZ wheel will fit ? it would seem logical that
Yamaha would use the same wheel when they came back to trials bike building for those TY air
cooled monos.  Ed tells me he knows a man who swopped out his drum mono wheel for a disc
version and Jimmy Allison says he has YZ wheels…….. so looking good here.

Christmas Eve and other than some wrapping I’m ready. An evening of golden oldies with Chevy
Chase in Christmas Vacation, always good especially the lights! and then Wonderful Life to finish the
night.

A surprize visit from Santa

Christmas Day and up early and light a roaring fire and get the carols on. Presents by the fire this
year and Santa was very good to me, with a new Canon camera and lots of other goodies to delight.

Presents by the fire this year

Now the ritual begins and very soon stuffing is done, bird washed and prepped and ready for the
oven. Dogs walked, tons of firewood hauled in and now veggie time. Spuds and parsnips first then
the bullet hard swede and finally leeks and brussel sprouts. Bird in, Christmas cocktails poured the
duty global phones calls are made.

The bird goes in..


The bird comes out

The Chef and guests are well pleased, another Christmas Day complete

TONY DOWN

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  • 12/28/2011 8:00 PM Don Hale wrote:
    Hi Tony -It’s been a while since I posted anything. I enjoy your writing so keep at it. I totally agree with you on the AHRMA crap. Too bad we don’t have more open minded people like you on the board. Have a great new year…… Don
    Reply to this
  • 12/29/2011 9:09 PM Scott wrote:
    I agree with Don,keep at the writing,I also enjoy it.I,m looking for a TY front end to put on my Ossa-good to know that YZ bits will work.
    Hope you and yours have a happy and healthy new year!
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NEW QUESTS

NEW QUESTS


NEW QUESTS


Christmas lights, decorations, cards and presents all done, save for the wrapping ritual, the mind is
already thinking holy grails, bikes, bikes and more bikes with modifications that no longer need to
comply with Ahrma regulations.

First on the list is to find a TY mono front wheel from the 80’s. I have everything else I need to change
the front end of my TY250A  Superglitz but I’m missing that front wheel ! Anybody who has one sitting
around that needs a good home please let me know.

All the TY mono front end……… just missing the wheel !


Once a wheel is found the rest can go straight on. Engine out and redetailed, in yellow and black,
all tubes replaced in yellow  and all cables “yellowed” for the final effect. The forks of course are not
staying red, and maybe some of those magical springs ?

Some slimline “bling” for upstairs

More neat bling

All the parts for the Enfield are here and as soon as school closes for Christmas I shall be in the
workshop working on that one. Should be interesting to see what the weight savings are and if the
fork action is a quantum jump ahead, again might fit some magicals in these.

Cub wise not very much to be done other than refreshing all the oils as it didn’t get a solitary ride last season. It does need a new clutch cable as I remember!

Today Ed and Evelyn are at the RMTA meeting so I await news with interest as to what events are on
the table and how they will run. Even without the RM input it does seem from all your comments that
ITSA is the way to go and while I have no intention of doing an “Ed” and driving 20,000 miles a year
and spending litterally weeks at various venues setting sections and putting up loop marking when
nobody stepped up for Trialsmaster duties I would expect to be doing my good share of the work
setting up ITSA West if that’s what the customer wants. We could even have that Vintage Trials School
here in Dolores culminating in an ITSA event to round off the week.

Well if the choice is ITSA then maybe time to build up another special? I did see another of the DMW
frames that I used on “Ossamaha” up for grabs but obviously some people have had similar ideas
and the frame was selling at around 1300 GBP !!

A 1970’s DMW frame like the one I used to make “Ossamaha”

Ossa front end, DMW frame, Yam engine, exhaust and rear wheel

…… and it worked !

I’m thinking of a rolling chasis from one of those RTX things. I did see one that had a Cub engine in it
and a really nice all round job made of it. Something to consider here. I did once have a ride on the
two models. A gentleman in Phoenix had a lock up with about six in it and I tried both. From memory
they weren’t tuned up but they seemed to handle OK for a cheapie…..from memory the forks seemed
a bit frail, but what if some better forks and shocks were added ? and then a decent trials engine ?
again from memory the frame seemed well enough designed and I think you could make most
vintage engines fit with a bit of work…….. who knows it might just be a winner !

I think the frame could take most motors ?

Neat job with a Honda motor

?  …….. just what I’m looking for…… with a Cub 280cc ?? 

Then of course as I have never ridden one there is the Fantic which all owners tend to rave about.
Might be worth persuading Ed to let me have a test ride on one of his that are tucked away in the
Arvada Bat Cave.

This one looks good

……. some serious drooling !

Lots to think about and put on my Santa’s wish list

……. and on that note, whatever you do …….. have

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS

TONY DOWN

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  • 12/24/2011 9:07 AM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    tony, does it have to be a TY wheel. I have several YZ wheels. It’s interesting to see your projects. Can you help me with info on what spring rates for forks and shocks to use on my Sammy Miller Bul? Have a Merry Christmas.
    Reply to this
  • 12/24/2011 9:39 AM Jim Roberts wrote:
    Tony: Good luck on your new project and the development of a western TSA! I’m also working on a Cub engine. I’m seeking a 250 cylinder. Any leads would be greatly appreciated. Do you know if there will bee a trials meet at Arizona Cycle Park this Feb? Merry Christmas — Jim Roberts
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THE VALENTINO BUS

THE VALENTINO BUS


THE VALENTINO BUS

Just prior to Thanksgiving week I get a panic phone call from Lena the Cortez Transportation Director.
As they say in Yorkshire, “There’s trouble up at mill lad” ! It seems that 2 of the regular drivers have
had enough!!

Driver No 1 had a fight on his bus between elementary boys and after stopping the bus and breaking
up the fight the father of one of these children claimed the driver used “unreasonable force” whatever
that might have been!  The driver said he won’t drive that route again, and who can blame him.

Driver No 2  was a caregiver to a little old lady and other than his school bus driving lived with her rent
free, did all her shopping and cooking, and attended to her every need. She unfortunately died in
October and now with settlement of wills, probate and the selling of the home Ben found himself
homeless and unable to sustain life as a single man on just a bus driver’s pay and was therefore
forced to resign.

I have now taken over Ben’s route which was the last one to receive a “new” bus. The School District purchased three new Thomas buses last year and they were numbered 44,45, and 46. 44 and 45 are
71 seaters and were pressed into service straight away while we waited for 46, a 65 seater to arrive.

The two new 71 seaters arrive

Two weeks into driving the “new” bus and it is quite delightful with all its new bells and whistles. A
couple of “gotchas” It has auto lights like the Cadilac so you must remember to turn them on for
normal daylight driving and another one is the door switch. The switch is 3 position, open, closed and
a sneaky little mid position. Should it be in the mid selection then when you operate the warning
ambers you get the red stops instead and some very surprized motorists!!

This one’s mine…….. Number 46, well hello Valentino !

The engine compartment is much better than most with all liquid containers, power steering, coolant
and windscreen washer all of a “see through” type so no more dipping fingers in holes and wrestling
with caps. Worst thing about the bus which surprized me is a huge blind spot on the driver’s left side
with the upright pillar and the two huge mirrors.

Clear view power steering

you can see the coolant and this one is red

What you can’t see!

The 71 seaters have heated driver’s seats whereas mine doesn’t,  extra flashers in the grille, ejection
seat handle flashes on the bumper, and the bigger buses also have a “forced” walk through system
whereby you can’t leave any sleeping child on the bus by not doing your post trip walkthrough.  From
the time you remove the ignition key you have 30 secs to get to the back of the bus and hit the door
switch or every bell, light, warner and horn will go off!! Mine doesn’t have this feature either.

Worst thing about having a new bus is every time that a major activity comes up then it gets stolen
or allocated to the activity and you end up driving an old spare. This can be bloody annoying as we
HAVE two purpose designed activity touring buses sitting waiting!!

Nice tour buses!!…. don’t keep pinching mine.

Some time ago a gentleman in AZ who had just been to Laguna Seca gave me a Rossi hat, not that
I ever wear baseball caps (ever) but as it was a very expensive souvenir of the race I accepted. I
suppose I could wear it on the last day of school with some antlers as well?…….. time to get out my
CD of the Winchester Cathedral Choir and give the children a blasting of Christmas carols.

Valentino in Christmas spirit

This isn’t going to happen again! (ever)

TONY DOWN

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MARTHA COMES TO DOLORES

MARTHA COMES TO DOLORES

MARTHA COMES TO DOLORES

….. and here’s one I made earlier…… Ho, Ho, Ho

Just as I thought I had finished the 2011 electrical nightmare of Christmas lights and decorations my learned colleague requests a shooting star ? A shooting what ? ………. according to Martha (she says)
they are easy to make from bits of wood or bamboo. The pleading goes on for a few days and
eventually I ask what it is supposed to look like.

Thanks Martha

Come Sunday morning I try and devise something suitable using metal coat hangers……… the idea
looks sound in principle but  looks like I’ve thrown out all the metal ones apart from three.  Well yet
another visit to the dreaded Walmart for more coat hangers and plain white lights and this time I DO
need white wire. Seems like the less than helpful employee was right after all as Walmart are almost
OUT of ALL Christmas lights!! Now how dumb is that ?

Searching through every shelf I find one set of 70 new LED type lights and a 300 box of white with
white wire on 2 x 150 strings and they are the last! Yikes, over to electrical for white extension cords
and I get the LAST two 15 footers……. its lunacy, what is everybody else going to do………… no lights,
no cords??

Home again and graft two hangers together with cable ties …… might work ……. make two more, now
place to make a 5 pointed star and use an entire packet of ties securing the “thing” together. Now
bind on the 70 LED set with yet another pack of ties and just when I thought I was done add about
another fifty lights from one of the strings which will become the longest trailer from the said shooting
star. Now add the last string of 150 which can be adjusted as the two smaller flaming trails. Enough
for Sunday!.

A new star is born

Monday morning after the school run climb into the loft once more and fight my way through to the
eaves vent and now lower rope to attach the star and haul upwards into position and secure. Out side
once more and with extending ladder fully extended secure the flaming trails……. stand well clear and
wait for lighting up time.

It works, Brenda likes it, but before the annual hi-tech pictures can be taken there is a small matter of
4″ of snow to be delivered. Monday evening and Brenda is suitably dressed in her full Ute Indian
costume and prancing round the fire humming the “Snow Dance”………. sure enough Tuesday evening
we recieve the  “White Christmas” deluge and during a lull in the storm tripods and camera are placed
for the shoot.

….and lo, there was a new Star in the East of Dolores……. and they came
from afar to marvel at its light

The Competition is judged on Friday night……. lets hope they ALL stay lit !

TONY DOWN

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FULL OF IDEAS

FULL OF IDEAS


FULL OF IDEAS

Is this what happens ?

That time of the year again and time to start planning bike mods for the 2012 season. Well dear
readers you will have seen the disaster the Trustees at Ahrma have made of the Trials season and
I’m quite sure the year will be the worst turnout ever with the exception of Chehalis.

A few comments here, a few there, and some on Trials Central

Well as I won’t be riding any Ahrma events where shall I go ?  Three events that stand out to ride are
Dave Rhodes Outlaw Trial in Canada on their May long weekend, and for that I’ll be returning the
Superglitz to riding status as soon as I get it back from Ed. Should look fantastic in it’s “new” livery …….
and the parts are on their way!

Superglitz as she is

A lot of co-ordinating to do in retro yellow

June and I’m equally determined to ride the Enfield at Steamboat. The parts for the mods arrived this
week and on Friday I unpacked them and on first look I think it will all work.

Just how much does that front end weigh ?

To Fantasize an Enfield

August and this year time to take either Superglitz or No Excuse on an outing at the Ute Cup.

With regard to the rest of the year I’m waiting on the RM meeting next week so I should know what
they have up their sleeve for 2012. Perhaps the only trial on the Ahrma crap calendar that I will go to is Casper as I love the event….. what a shame that those trustees have no idea of the difference between
a trial and a parade. But they did find a use for the deep wash sand at AZ Cycle Park !!

The Ahrma board of trustees reviews the Twinshock proposal

Having rejected it they now move on to A.O.B ….. but a good use of AZ
Cycle Park sand !

By the look of things, and from all the comments on Trials Central as a follow up it would appear there
is considerable interest in an “ITSA goes West” chapter. Now for those not in the know about ITSA it
covers ALL machines up to mono shock and they only have to have drum brakes, an air cooled motor,
and fairly obviously TWIN SHOCKS. You can build any special you like as long as it complies, so
converted early monos are in if you graft on a couple of shockers. The Ty’s from 84-86 are prime
candidates as are the early Honda RTL’s ….. hmmmm, now theres a thought.!!!!

ITSA or is it ? well it needs a drum front brake

With regard to the sections and riding…… this is how it goes……… 25 sections are laid out around the conventional loop and are clearly marked as Sections A,B,C,D and E and there will be 5 of each type. Normally each section will be bounded by red and blue ribbon and you can go where you like within
the section, as there are no gates or split cards, and the marking is conventional no-stop rules.

Just a red and a blue, no splits

For ease of comparison with Ahrma sections 1 line riders ride 5 X A sections and the 5 X B sections.
2 liners go for the 5 X B,+ the 5 X C. 3 liners or Novices ride the 5 X C and the 5 X D while beginners
take on the 5 X D and the confidence building 5 X E. Most checking is done on the “buddy-check”
system and the groups circulate at their own speed stopping between loops if desired, of course any volunteers are welcome to be checkers/observers and add to the fun.

You may think this is one hell of a lot of work, especially if its a 2 Day and 50 sections are required.
Well in truth, not really because as any Trialsmaster will tell you some sections just don’t lend
themselves to 4 lines but are excellent tests in themselves for certain ability levels. Also you don’t
have to spend hours banging in stakes and mounting split cards and then playing devil’s advocate
with the section trying to stop “cheater lines” and blocking them off. So you can have 25 sections that
are challenging and straight forward or 10 sections with 4 lines which effectively means you are
laying out 40 sections!! ……. and once in a while you CAN have section of SINGLE LINE FOR ALL if
the terrain lends itself to it or you have a suitable safe area for a Graded Hill. Remember, even the
SIMPLEST hazard is a section once the BEGINS and ENDS cards are up and if you don’t believe me
ask ANY Scottish Six Days rider if they screwed up the joke section of Town Hall Brae at some time
in their riding career ?

IT’S Beginning to look a lot like ITSA !

TONY DOWN

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  • 12/15/2011 9:30 AM jimmy allison wrote:
    Tony, Thanks for the info on how ITSA events work. I love the AHRMA cartoon because it is so true. Merry Christmas.
    Reply to this
  • 12/15/2011 10:56 AM John Holbrook wrote:
    As usual you have cut to the meat of the issue. Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy, Happy Trials New Year!!!!!
    Reply to this
  • 12/16/2011 8:44 PM Tim Jackson wrote:
    Tony, Ed & Evelyn resigning has been a big blow to vintage trials. Bless their years of good work! Points to a main problem being events are far flung & working dudes like me in Eastern Idaho barely have time to travel to meets, let alone volunteer. Do give Steamboat a try this year. Good sections, even though you have to put up with us crusty “multiple discipline” MX/trials blokes. Me and Idaho pals for years have urged AHRMA to “do it all” — offer vintage trails (yes, with a twin shock class and even a modern support class), VMX & Post-VMX all rolled into a series of action-packed weekends in the West. I love blasting a moto on my B50, hopping on the Sherpa T for a few sections, then back onto the BSA. Spread them out on the calendar so we can save up gas money & vacation time to attend such venues. Heck, I’d even work a section here and there! Point is, we old dirt bike freaks need to cooperate. We ain’t breeding as fast as we’re dying off!
    Reply to this
  • 12/27/2011 10:07 AM Fred wrote:
    AHRMA has just made a big mistake, just go back and put their head in the sand, like it was in the early 2000’s
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AHRMA OBSERVED SECTION ENDS

AHRMA OBSERVED SECTION ENDS

 
AHRMA OBSERVED SECTION ENDS

As 2011 draws to a close it also heralds the END of many things on a trials front. Sadly for all of us
on the vintage trials circuit Ed and Evelyn Peacock decided to resign after a long tenure of office as
National Trials Coordinator for Ahrma. Well we have all profitted from their stewardship and enjoyed
a lot of seasons with excellent trials laid on by trials riders for trials riders.

Looking at the 2012 calendar of events things are not looking at all good unless you are a “multi
discipline” rider who likes to ride VMX on Saturday and Trials on Sunday. I wonder who this might
be? For those of us who have ridden most facets of motorcycling but decided our prime interests
were in one aspect of the sport we are now left out with ONLY two 2 day events in the whole season.
Also rather surprizing is that there is NO announcement of the incoming Trials Coordinator and
clearly this “program” has been made by the trustees without any reference to the membership as to
what they may like or dislike. Worthless events with entries less than TEN are back on, regardless
of the previous turnout, and like 2011 there will be more “worker points” than actual competition
scores and results!

Well as the “board” once again failed to listen to reason for the introduction of the Twinshock Class,
but there again if trials is not your primary interest why would you?  Instead of working for the
memberships interests it is once again clear that “they”, our unwisely voted in trustees, have their
own agenda and wish trials to become less of a  true competition and more of a parade showcase
for old Brit Iron.  They will only have themselves to blame as the trials membership will undoubtedly
fall with this non existant program and their failure to listen to the membership. If this is the best they
can offer I’m afraid there is no point in renewing my membership for 2012.

2012 may well be the death knoll for Ahrma trials as after reviewing the season there are not 7
events that I, or anybody else for that matter, could realistically travel to and thus go after any
Championship. I’m sorry but 1 day events over 1200 miles away don’t crack it no matter how good
they maybe, and very few Ahrma events ever fall into that category.

3 fun and proud years as Trialsmaster at Buckeye AZ

The year starts off at Az Cycle Park in January and for the first 3 years of its running I was
Trialsmaster and thoroughly enjoyed setting up 12 sections a day for the 2 Day event. I was very sorry
not to be there last year but financial circumstances were to blame. This year it is down to a 1 Day
event and I certainly will not be volunteering my services for layout,  nor will I be dragging the Safari out
of hibernation to go down there for just one day. No doubt the “one day Dick Mannites” will enjoy riding
the easier old sections I devised from previous years and all finish on a zero score!  No more deep
wash sand, major tree roots, the barbed wire fence or the graded climb.

No, they don’t like deep wash sand!

Not keen on tree roots either

….and they really hated this one by the fence!

Never heard of a “Graded” hill !

Well, here’s another one

……… and this is how you ride them

Diamond Don’s has sometimes been a great trial as it often rains in Texas and can make trials
riding like it used to be in the bayou mud. Don has always said he would like a 2 Day but this has
never come to fruition and the Trialsmasters tend to use old sections over and over again despite
800 acres of prime trials land.

With no trials, let alone 2 day events in AZ, CO, UT, OK or NM the only thing on offer is the Donner 2
Day in CA  which was always a good event in a near perfect setting. So another 1200 miler won’t get
ridden as I can’t make the magic 7 events from the current total of only 13 compared to previous years
20+ offerings. I suppose if you really want a Championship then buy a rigid or a girder machine and
go and compete by yourself at the minimum 4 events!

The back end of the year doesn’t look any better with old friend Chehalis still there as a 1 day, but
again too far to travel, despite its excellent turnout normally in the 80’s. I have always thought if you
have that many riders in one location why not give them more events ? …… You might even attract
some of the Canadian riders down to compete.

……. and then we come to Casper! perhaps the best trials venue in the USA and for the past few
years 3 days of excellent vintage trials…….. so why then has this event been reduced to 2 days? I
believe the organisers haven’t even been consulted.

My favorite Ahrma section “The Waterfall” at Casper

On line for the clean

Same section, different year

A proper trials section!

TTC and Milliken don’t feature but while you can argue, purely from a trials stance, that Milliken is not
the best terrain the same can’t be said for TTC ! On a regional basis, as yet, I haven’t seen what the
RM region is planning.

A new beginning ?

I would imagine the RM region may well combine the best of Wyoming with those run by New Mexico
and a 2 day at Cotopaxi along with another organised by the Oklahoma trials riders. This would
indeed make for a very worthwhile Championship for dedicated  trials men. We will see ?

So to sum up the Ahrma “disgrace” a great program if you like VMX and Trials at one venue but if you
are a Trials only man time to look elsewhere for your chosen sport. With that said I think I will be on the blower to Bob Ginder and see about setting up a CO/UT/AZ chapter for ITSA where we can promote
Trials for Trials by Trials   …….. and at least we CAN have all those gorgeous post 79-85 twinshocks riding……… the more I think about it the more I like the idea and I can easily see 4 two day events on
my backdoor.

Without any difficulty we could run 2 days at Alto Pit Prescott in AZ, or Holbrook again in AZ on I 40,
Tucker Ranch, Cotopaxi and or Turkey Rock in CO, Tooele in UT and also Bull Hollow lend
themselves to trials and right here in Dolores land is or could be available. I shall be interested to
hear comments.

Prime trials land bought for trials use by Cliff Tucker


Tucker Ranch Cotopaxi CO

The Mayans calendar stops in 2012, maybe an omen for  Ahrma Vintage Trials in the USA……Until
then as far as Ahrma Trials go its  “OBSERVED SECTION ENDS !”    R.I.P.

The END of vintage trials as we know it , thanks AHRMA and in particular
the Trustees that we naively thought were looking after our interests.

TONY DOWN

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Comments
  • 12/11/2011 9:36 AM John Holbrook wrote:
    Tony

    Great post, I am in total agreement we need a CO, WY, NM association under ITSA. Count me in to help set it up, will due what ever I can.

    Email or give me a call at 575-430-2079.

    John
    Reply to this

  • 12/11/2011 2:44 PM Steve Elms wrote:
    Tony,
    You have some great ideas to help vintage trials. How about, instead of leaving the AHRMA, you work toward incorporating those ideas into the AHRMA trials program.
    I think you’d make a great coordinator.
    Steve Elms
    Reply to this
  • 12/11/2011 6:23 PM shawn willis wrote:
    Great post Tony.
    It’s a sad day for vintage trials. Sad that Ed and Evelyn will no longer be heading up the trials. That is what happens when members representatives do not listen. As for Steve’s comment. Why would Tony want to volunteer his time and thousands of dollars to take on a position that the previous coordinator left open because of the lack of the organization listening to its members ideas.

    RIDE SUPPORT CLASS!
    Shawn on my “MODERN” 1984 Fantic
    Reply to this

  • 12/12/2011 12:49 AM trev wrote:
    nice one tony, you always tell it like it is. i thought particulary these days, classic and vintage trials were well, like the old days….when there was no bullshit and hidden agendas.looks like times move on and not always for the better. stay true to the cause, best wishes from new zealand.
    Reply to this
  • 12/12/2011 10:25 AM Bob Ginder wrote:
    Hi Tony,

    Ed and Evelyn deserve a big thank you for their efforts.
    I had that job for 16 years and know the time and dedication it takes.

    ITSA would welcome a chapter in your area. Feel free to call me and we can discuss what is needed to get you established.
    Anyone interested ITSA’s web address is: www.twinshock.org

    Bob Ginder
    Reply to this

  • 12/12/2011 4:24 PM Donnie Schmutzler wrote:
    Tony,
    You are right! My brother and I had decided to come out of retirement in 2012. But it appears that there isn’t anything to un-retire to.
    I guess that now I am in the market for 2 modern bikes. Or do you think that a Gold Star would make a good bike for the local district’s vintage class? I guess not!
    Reply to this

    1. 12/13/2011 7:10 AM John Holbrook wrote:
      Donnie, Gold Stars would work great, we have several in use and they do as well as I do on my TY. So un-retire and join in the new adventure.
      Reply to this
  • 12/12/2011 8:46 PM Jimmy Allison wrote:
    tony, I think you pretty well summed it all up. Please don’t forget new mexico. We can setup as many days of trials as you need for the series.
    Reply to this
  • 12/13/2011 1:48 PM Robert Cline wrote:
    I would like to know why the trustees will not allow a twin shock class.
    Reply to this

    1. 12/14/2011 10:16 PM Shawn Willis wrote:
      Robert,
      Most of the AHRMA board members no nothing about trials, so they rely on the suggestion of Matt Hilgenberg, who tells everyone to vote against adding the “twin shock” class. The same Matt that owns Speed and Sport, the sponsor of the AHRMA Trials Nationals. I was actually involved in a very heated email debate with Matt over the “twin shock” vote before the board voted this year. All the members were copied in the emails. Believe it or not, the vote in the past was always 2 to 10 and this year it swayed to 5 to 5. I think some progress was made, but like Tony said, it may be to late.
      Reply to this

      1. 12/15/2011 3:24 PM Robert Cline wrote:
        Thanks for the info.
        Reply to this
  • 12/13/2011 11:17 PM Lee Robison wrote:
    Thank you for your efforts on the Black Cat website, Tony. Fun stuff and informative!

    I too want to give a big big thank you to Ed and Evelyn for their work in AHRMA. They are champs!

    I see that the latest Trials schedule posted by AHRMA has a more appealing calendar of events for 2012. The screams must have been heard, eh?

    Interesting how AHRMA has evolved to meet the market interests for the RR DT and MX members (I was one of the early members back in the mid 80’s so I know how it all looked back then. Aint even close today!) AHRMA is missing the boat not to evolve with Trials too and meet the members interests. After all is said, the members are the ones that should be driving the organization, not the board. The board is supposed to be listening to us and effecting appropriate changes to help the org/sport grow…etc.
    I think adequate talking has been done over the past few years to get meaningful changes in AHRMA’s approach to Trials. Perhaps its time to stop talking and just go do what WE see as the most beneficial action for our sport.
    If you are interested in ITSA events in Utah, I would like to help in any way needed. I know of several awesome sites with easier access than Tooele. Sites as fun and interesting as Donner, Turkey Rock and Mostellers. Lemme know.

    Lee Robison
    Reply to this

    1. 12/14/2011 5:50 PM lee robison wrote:
      OOPPPS. Silly me. The schedule posted on the AHRMA site is still the 2011 Schedule…..”Your honor I wish to retract my earlier statement in the third paragraph, about the screaming finally being heard”.
      Sorry for my confusion. I fived that section, eh?

      Lee
      Reply to this

  • 12/16/2011 9:01 PM Scott wrote:
    As long as Matt Hilgenberg has a say it will not change.Him and his ego DO NOT help AHRMA!!!Great article Tony and I believe you,ve gotta do what you,ve gotta do to keep it vintage trials aliive.
    Reply to this
  • 12/18/2011 9:59 PM Jose Bustamante Alvarez C wrote:
    Thank you Tony. As always, a keen insight. Since you mentioned it; I do happen to have a Girder Lightweight, and I have thought about preparing it for Competition. I want to do it for myself, not because it is a popular class.
    Having acquired Wolfy’s 350 Sherpa T, I also look forward to riding that machine. If AHRMA doesn’t receive enough money from our Trials events in our Region, ( They plainly do not), and if they ONLY want to support combined TR and VMX +VMX; it will be their loss when we migrate to other associations.THAT IS WHAT I AM PLANNING TO DO. However, to be clear, I am anticipating the 2012 Team Bultaco event in Missouri, which combines EVERYTHING, and has a separate Track for Classic and Premier MX. I have machines for all of the above. INCLUSIVE is always going to gain ground over EXCLUSIVE. From the submitted comments, it looks as if our region will certainly come out of this crisis very well indeed.
    I regret that , due to circumstances, you could not participate in the 2011 Competitions. Ron Pocher missed you, and so did I.
    Reply to this
  • 12/19/2011 12:13 PM Jay Lael wrote:
    I think your statement is unfairly biased. I ride regional events in AHRMA and sleep quite well at night without an AHRMA national championship on my wall. The regionals provide me with all the fun and excitement I want and all the travel time I can afford, or vacation time I can get. Perhaps a nice old scrambles bike would suit your needs. If you need two days of riding, join the club and ride some mx. I am certain the quality of people involved in AHRMA will never be surpassed elsewhere. Those SWMs, Italjets and Can Ams will continue to rust away for all I care. I like English bikes and I like AHRMA.
    Reply to this

    1. 1/4/2012 7:05 PM John Dowson wrote:
      Jay,
      It is not a case of wanting to be riding every other weekend, some of us dont have many vintage events in our areas, regional or national. Being from New Mexico our season opener was a 14 hr drive to Buckeye, AZ. However is it worth it for one day? The next rounds within reach were the Colorado rounds… not this year, then Diamond Dons on the Louisiana border, finishing at the 3-day Casper event…now 2 days. I also ride VMX but still cannot justify the costs and time involved in one day events so far away. I also like AHRMA, it got me back riding after a 28yr break from trials, but as for your comment on letting the non-british bikes rust….no comment.
      Reply to this

      1. 2/11/2012 8:47 PM Jose Bustamante AC wrote:
        Hi JD:
        Last time I saw you we had a nice chat at Mosteller. Very long drive for you indeed. I rode 2 days , because the third day was my travel day, anticipating a work day the following day.
        Recently, another chap and I drove to Phoenix, for the 16th annual Duel in The Desert. And it didn’t disappoint. Rode the Bultaco in Trials on the Saturday, (Feb 4) and the VMX on Sunday. The atmosphere was fantastic, the venue was totally professional, you felt like a “Factory Rider” ! The driving took us from Denver to Santa Fe on the first stint, and from there to Phoenix on the 2nd day. IT WAS WORTH IT. What a way to break up the winter! I can’t recommend it enough!
        Reply to this
  • 1/2/2012 8:17 PM Graham foster wrote:
    Hi Tony,
    I hate to see the negative comments re AHRMA. They have chosen not to allow the later twin shock bikes for their reasons, be it good or bad. Regardless, the events I rode in 2011 were excellent and should be supported by anyone who enjoys real vintage trials. The severity of the sections will always vary depending on the terrain, trailsmaster, and weather conditions, but overall the idea of AHRMA trials is to have fun on old bikes, some of which would be relegated to museums were it not for their events. I ride ITSA events too but some sections just don’t work on the old “British iron”. So ride whatever suits you but don’t bash the other camp, out sport is small enough as it is.
    Graham Foster
    Reply to this

    1. 1/2/2012 10:45 PM Tony Down wrote:
      Subject: Ahrma

      Graham,

      I am in no way bashing Ahrma, rather showing annoyance that our trustees failed to support the memberships wishes for the inclusion of those last twinshock machines. To have a “schedule” designed purely for the multi discipline rider does not help the interests of the trials only brigade. Over the past years I’ve been able to enjoy some excellent Ahrma events and indeed wished to continue this year and hopefully for many more to come. Regrettably with the distances involved for one day events and a four day driving round trip it just doesn’t make any sense.

      To come down from a 25 round series where all parts of the country, other than the north west, could reasonably have a crack at a championship is in my opinion some what short sighted and certainly doesn’t get my vote. Fred and Dan have provided us with 3 super days of vintage trials riding at Casper for the last few years but this year were not even consulted and are naturally rather annoyed at being told its a 2 day and thats it !  For my part I have been Trialsmaster at Buckeye AZ for many years and was likewise somewhat miffed to see it had been reduced to one day without consultation. We have the willing workhorses who will spend hours out there laying out for the enjoyment of others but when we are not consulted it really is a slap in the face.

      As you are aware I’m one of the lucky ones with two pieces of “old Brit iron” at my disposal and I would dearly love to compete on both through the season but the current limited schedule doesn’t make that feasable. There will soon come a time when there just won’t be any more old pieces to rebuild then what?  If Ahrma fails to recognise that and refuses to let all the best examples of the twinshock era into competition then I’m afraid the trial faction will become a thing of the past and become what some of the trustees want, a parade rather than a trial.

      I too rode a few ITSA events and couldn’t understand the hidden animosity that seemed to exist between the two factions. Surely it MUST be possible to have a uniformed front in Vintage Trials ?

      Well I was approached by several interested Trials men in the formation of an ITSA West Chapter so with no other events available I have agreed to join them and hope we can get some good events up and running for all, no matter what they ride, or what org they are members of.

      Best regards

      Tony

      Reply to this

  • 1/16/2012 6:19 PM Dave Wilson wrote:
    Tony,

    The most direct way to help the situation is to step-up to the Coordinator job (even just the Regional Coord. position) instead of jumping ship.

    Also, you might consider the reason that Chehalis has so many trials riders – hint many of them are MX riders first. I, like lots of AHRMA riders was not a trials rider until I noticed the fun being had. I started riding trials on an old Bultaco when Steamboat was big and now I ride Premier heavyweight. I was never a trails rider before AHRMA (and some say I’m not much of a trials rider now , and I know many riders who started in AHRMA MX and added trials later. Some drop MX later due to health or age, etc. So from my view one of the best pool of new trials riders are current AHRMA VMX riders.

    I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ed and Evelyn and all the work they did – why not continue what they started?

    Dave Wilson
    Former RMR Regional Coord. MX and Trials
    Reply to this

  • 2/12/2012 2:52 PM Debbie Poole wrote:
    Tony, all
    I am no different than any of you in having respect and admiration for the work Ed and Evelyn Peacock put into the position of AHRMA national trials coordinators. My posting here has nothing to do with discounting any of Ed and Evelyn’s efforts.
    I’d like to address some statements appearing in posts here:
    THE AHRMA BOARD’S PRIMARY INTEREST IS NOT TRIALS.
    This is true, nor should a trustee have a primary interest in ANY discipline over any others. Ahrma is not exclusively an organization of any one discipline.
    INTEREST IS IN A “BRITISH BIKE PARADE”.
    Even if this were true, how does anything most of you take issue with (multi-discipline events, fewer events, etc.) reflect this? The claim is made, but it isn’t really backed-up with what Ahrma does specifically to make it so. The NW region in which Jay Lael mentioned he participates, and one of the strongest in Ahrma (and which curiously is discounted in an observation by Tony that everyone else EXCEPT that region’s members would have found it easy to get an Ahrma national championship under the 25-event schedule) does have more British bikes competing, but these bikes/riders aren’t catered to at the expense of any other classes. This is evident by the number of event entries we get; everyone seems to be happy with what’s offered.
    ONLY ONE DAY. This has always puzzled me because of all the disciplines, trials riders get more riding time than in any other discipline. MX riders riding 3 classes might get 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours or riding including practice. Would it be justified if Vintage MX riders began to demand 2 days of Vintage MX because it wasn’t worth the drive otherwise?
    CASPER PROMOTERS NOT CONSULTED ABOUT GOING TO 2 DAYS FROM 3 DAYS. This is absolutely not true. National Off Road Director Fred Guidi spoke to Fred Martinson before Christmas and asked if he was amenable to 2 days instead of 3, and he approved doing so.
    ACP TO 1 DAY. With Ed and Evelyn’s resignation and subsequent developments and comments from others it seemed unlikely that they or Tony would want to be ACP trials masters; even if a 2 day was to be planned, there was no one apparent who could devote the time necessary to set it up. The new format of one day trials in conjunction with a MX was followed, and the results showed that the per day turn-out was similar to last year. We had 20 entrants (would have had 21 but one rider opted to check when his bike didn’t start) to the 2011 total of 22 each day.
    None of us who are still in the Trials Trenches at Ahrma wish any ill-will to anyone who feels ITSA is a better fit for them than is Ahrma’s philosophies of history, preservation and providing events for ALL members. ITSA has the luxury of putting on events FOR TRIALS RIDERS, BY TRIALS RIDERS, and that is one of the huge distinctions between Ahrma and ITSA. It’s not a bad thing, and neither organization should be labeled as “wrong” for being what they are.
    Debbie Poole
    Ahrma Western Region
    Reply to this

    1. 2/22/2012 6:27 PM Ed and Evelyn Peacock wrote:
      ACP TO 1 DAY: “…With Ed and Evelyn’s resignation and subsequent developments and comments from others it seemed unlikely that they or Tony would want to be ACP trials masters; even if a 2 day was to be planned…” “The new format of one day trials in conjunction with a MX was followed…”
      Having already resigned as AHRMA trials coordinators, we did not identify the trials master(s) for the ACP event anticipating that the new coordinator would make that determination. Based on the “new format of one day of trials in conjunction with an MX, it was not AHRMA’s intent to schedule a 2-day event at ACP.
      As previously stated, one of our reasons for resigning was because we did not support the new format of scheduling only one day trials events at MX tracks in conjunction with the other racing disciplines. The majority of the trials riders do not participate in the speed events and do not want trials events limited to MX tracks.
      ”The new format of one day trials in conjunction with a MX was followed, and the results showed that the per day turn-out was similar to last year. We had 20 entrants (would have had 21 but one rider opted to check when his bike didn’t start) to the 2011 total of 22 each day.”
      I would have to disagree; the 2012 results from ACP do not show a similar per day turn out when compared to 2011. In 2012, 19 riders were reflected on the scoreboard and also on the AHRMA website in the posted results. In 2011 the rider total each day was not 22. On the first day in 2011 (Saturday) there were 25 AHRMA riders and 1 support rider for a total of 26 riders. On the second day of the 2011 event (Sunday) there were 28 AHRMA riders and 9 support riders for a total of 37 riders. Bottom line for the promoter there were 63 trials riders in 2011 compared to 19 riders in 2012, a difference of 44 trials entries.
      Reply to this
  • 2/12/2012 6:13 PM John Holbrook wrote:
    Debbie
    As a Trials only rider I have to agree with Tony, “Surely it MUST be possible to have a uniformed front in Vintage Trials”. The real issue is not AHRMA vs. ITSA rather the promotion of Vintage Trials. When an organization excludes some twin shock bikes it limits the number of riders who may compete. If the shoe was on the other foot and all Brit bikes were excluded it would make about as much sense. This reminds me of the big flap in the UK over pre 65 bikes vs. modern twin shocks, all most of us want is to ride good events with friends without all the politics.
    Last year I road seven of the AHRMA National events and enjoyed it very much. I will say that the two day trials only events were the most challenging due to much better terrain. Of the seven I would rate TTC and Turkey Rock the best with TTC coming out on top only because the terrain was so different from what I am use to out west, Diamond Don’s comes in third and ACP last.
    Like a lot of Vintage riders I also ride my twin shock in Modern Trials events, and if the Modern Trials Clubs held their events at MX venues and depended on the crossover rider to fill out their entries where would Trials in the US be?
    So for me it comes down to Trials, Trials, Trials. I will ride all events I can no matter who the organizing group is. Just wish the rules were the same.
    Reply to this
  • 2/12/2012 8:03 PM Debbie Poole wrote:
    John

    I think some of your reasoning is apples to oranges as in the cross over question, using modern trials events as an example. In my view the purpose of a modern trials event is principally to attract those interested in TRIALS, specifically modern trials. People are attracted to these events because they most likely have trials as their main interest. AHRMA is nothing like that and the cross-over theory works well among all OR disciplines.
    However, we are in agreement on two points, and I couldn’t agree more with your attitude as stated when you said you would ride all events you can no matter who the organizing group is. THAT is a great attitude and all any organization can ask of the available pool of riders.
    Your statement regarding twin shock machines that “all most of us want is to ride good events with friends without all the politics” sounds good too, and as twin shock machines can be ridden in Ahrma events in the support class, would accommodate that aim.
    Debbie
    Reply to this

    1. 3/26/2012 8:24 PM Moe Herbert wrote:
      Many who have replied here I have met and I know have given so much of their personal time and dedication to the vintage competition (such as Debbie). I feel honored to have met some of the legends of the sport and am surprised they are easy to relate to. I personally think that AHRMA is not British bike parade, but there appears to be some resistance to allowing newer classes that will attract younger riders. Whether it be twin shock trial or newer motocross classes, some forward thinking should be included. I know at times however this requires painful choices as to classes, tracks, bikes, etc. I still love racing the Premier and Classic classes when I can. I have heard from quite a few vintage friends in the rocky mountain area that they are just “Looking for a vintage race” (or trial) and don’t understand how sometimes these things become so complicated. Thanks for listening.
      Reply to this
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CHRISTMAS LIGHTS !!

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS !!


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS !!


Ho-ho-ho !

Is it just me or does the entire World suffer the same frustrations of lights at this time of the year?
Everything was working on 12th Night, it was carefully put in various boxes and suitably stored ready
for the next festive season. The post Thanksgiving ritual of humping and dumping the said boxes was
duly done and lo, once more fully functional 2010 decorations are now caput ?
Of the outside lights three sets from 14 have failed and Brenda’s new sets for the downstairs tree
may just as well have been tossed when the tree was taken down. My first visit to Walmart to restock
rusults in none of last year’s type being on display ! Well think again Whittington, so lets try 3 forty six
feet long strings of the new LED type and hope they work. Replace all Brenda’s tree lights and return.

With howling winds the outside stuff is on hold but the Lodge Room decs are coming along………. but
one string of the new tree lights only half works!! No messing with the new tool here this lot are for
exchange.

Harley is dressed again

Bambi joins in

Monday, and Brenda is off to town but forgets the “return” set but buys four more strings. Meanwhile
I’m completing my first run of outside lights and find myself about 10 feet short ! As I unload the car
I notice her new lights are different ? Obviously a “pick-up” error as all her new ones are on white wire
and won’t look good on a green tree. Another run to Walmart and exchange everything. The next batch
all work and the downstairs tree is complete and shines brightly once more. While I’m in Walmart I
now notice the lights that I was looking for are back on the shelves!!!

Downstairs tree all done

The “cozy’ lodge room here at the Cozy Comfort

just begging a fire

Tuesday, and between driving stints two more outside runs of lights are completed along the upper
and lower balcony and two more deer are assembled, leaving the final row of lights over the
windows and connecting up for Wednesday.

My this is taking a long time this year but we are not in December yet so don’t despair. Wednesday
and getting colder so Brenda becomes a plumber and attacks all the water spiggots in the RV park
with my Makita and then fully insulates all the water pipes. The final run of upper lights is up, 2 more
sets along the fence then set all the timers and connect up. When I return post the afternoon school
run I’m met with a blaze of color and it seems all those hours with the stapler were worth it.

Not done yet, still the outside garden area to do with the two new deer to go on the waterfall and
some new netting over the biggest outside fir tree. Two more stands are cut out of a board and 8
more pipe clamps are hammered flat to act as the restraints for the legs. More big rocks humped
round to hold the little buggers in place from the high winds and with 15 mins to spare the last timer
is in place before I have to leave for Ouray with the girls Basketball Team.

The new deer are placed on Eagle Falls

Flattened pipe clamps secure them to the boards

Predictably it starts snowing just after Rico and by the time we get on the Lizard the roads are
covered and its hard pack over ice……… by Telluride its clear again and no more problems to Ouray
where it is just bitter cold with high winds.

Not nice climbing the Lizard

Dolores win both their matches and we are on the way back just before 7 pm and its plain sailing to
the food stop in Telluride where I check the weather. The pass is open but hard pack over ice with
strong winds! Back off the loud pedal, gentle use of the retarder, and smooth steering inputs and we
make it home about 30 mins later than planned. Bus back in the barn all refuelled and collect Brenda
from the Brew Pub and back along main street towards the “glow” in the East. Cozy Comfort is now
doubling as Bethlehem and is adorned in lights! Closer inspection reveals a section of ice lights out
and about 10 feet of the new guaranteed LED string not working!!!

Friday morning so time to pull down the two offending sets of lights and set off once more for
Walmart. Collect another 2 sets of the ice lights, as we don’t want another failure come Christmas
Eve and try and find an exchange set for the LED ones. Nothing!! ……. back to the desk and ask if they
have any more in the stock room. A less than helpful employee finally arrives and tells me “They are
seasonal goods and when they are gone thats it”……… I point out to dumbarse that this can’t be the
case as its 23 days until Christmas and a good many people haven’t even started their decs yet and whichever way you look at it this is piss poor business acumen if you have products that customers
would buy and you refuse to reorder. Seems Durango have some but they can’t deliver store to store.
Well nothing for it but to drive to Durango after my School bus run at Mancos this afternoon as at least
I will be half way there anyway.

Problem strings stripped down again

Leaving Mancos it starts to snow and soon becomes thick and heavy and I’m now dealing with some
real lemons (or experienced rally drivers) as they hammer past as though nothing has changed.
Finally with the required lights I’m homeward bound and the conditions are much worse and its a bit
like the Startrek scenes as the mini asteroids come straight at you out of the darkness. Home by 7
and the lights can wait.

Saturday and another school bus run taking the girls to Mancos for more basketball. Conditions are
poor to say the least, roads covered and slippy, and snow still falling. Bitter cold, full heaters and
30-35 all the way but arrive alive and 16 little girls get to play again.

Saturday in Mancos and still snowing 

A trudge up main street to a little breakfast bakery and cafe certainly gets the seasonal juices flowing.
The bakery is nearly full and doing a roaring trade with a non stop stream of visitors taking breakfast
and hot coffee……. regular gold mine here!

Breakfast at the Bakery

It snows nearly all morning but by 2 pm the roads have melted and its easy driving back to Dolores
and now pick up Brenda and go to the two Christmas craft fairs. A few purchases including a snow
man and a stop by at the brew pub for supper and a few pints. Back to the star in the east, more dog
walking and log chopping and then Hallmark Christmas movies by the fire.

Sunday and still snowing but those lights WILL go up today no matter what. Bitter cold and I mean
BITTER, some snow showers and a crisp bone chilling wind. The LEDs work and are soon up and
working—— Good! Now for the ice lights and make a critical error and assumption that the string will
be the same length,….. with 3/4 up starting at the same place this string is about 9″ shorter than last
years model!! Finally its up and working and now all that remains is the Father Christmas center piece.
All done, connected up so wait for the timers to all cut in………. 4.30 and the town lights dim as the
mighty surge sends electric meters spinning!

Need a wide angle lens this year

Ready for another “Grizwold Christmas”

TONY DOWN

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THANKSGIVING PART II

THANKSGIVING PART II


THANKSGIVING PART II

As Thursday comes round I have my last rest day so, other than chopping logs and making the
“Dangerous Cocktails”, (limit 3), my kitchen services are not required but of course I have to return the
favor with the traditional all British Christmas Lunch in a few weeks time.

Several small tasks finished while catering worked its magic in the kitchen. By 4 the scene was set
and another first class meal was consumed…… and all I did was a little carving and refreshing of
drinks.

Turkey carves well…..

Today its decorations and all that is entailed in the mega operation. By now having been established
in this household for a few years most set pieces have their place so time frame wise it should come together in a fairly well ordered fashion. Of course the outside lighting is another matter!

As yet nothing new in the stores and no “must haves” to complete the set…….. but of course its early
days. It did occur to me that I could decorate the Cozy sign this year but I’ll see how enthusiasm and
cold fingers get on. 3 planned days to complete the task so up and at em this morning dragging box
after box out of the loft and then after lunch first go at the outside stuff while its a bit warmer. A surprize dusting of snow overnight just to set the scene and delight Brenda who has been secretly wishing for
snow.

Day 1 of 3 goes well with all upstairs decs up in record time and no light failures! Outside time to
make a base for the reindeer which only stands on 3 legs and was forever falling over last year. By
3 pm he is on his stand and other outside goodies are carted out and positioned……. now its getting
cold and bloody windy! Why does that wind pick up every time you want to string lights??…… well they say Mercury is going retrograde again so be prepared for the unexpected.

A windproof stand for the reindeer that looks like the Wooden Horse of
Troy

Back inside at around 4.30 so time for a coffee and a quick check of e-mails…….. hmmmm! The
computer has gone loopey and won’t respond…… a different sort of “Black Friday” in the Down
household.

Day 2 of 3 and a sporting 20-30 mph wind and temps around freezing…… no lighting today! Brenda
toils furiously with my rogue computer and after about 6 hours it now works again, I’m suitably
impressed! Flush with success we are off to the Hollywood for some drinkies and pool. Decorating
can wait.

Well pool certainly is a funny game. Today we have a competition full house with 16 players and with
double elimination what that means is if you can win your first 3 games straight then you are
guaranteed 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Should you win a straight 4 then you are guaranteed 1st or 2nd. I win my
first quite easily and then take on Wayne in round two who has just beaten Greg who would be today’s favorite. The game goes back and forth with some terrible leaves but then I get a couple of super
shots and manage to clear the table. Meanwhile Brenda wins her first when the opposition knock the
black in and then in round 2 when it looks like its all over the black goes in a non nominated pocket !
A bit of luck never hurt anyone! So now we are both 2 for 2 and a lot of favorites are already battling on
the losers side.

As we enter round 3 on the winner’s side we are down to 4 undefeated players of which Brenda and
I are 2. I play Bob who is the strongest and most consistent player and he is on a roll from the break. I
get back in and take 5 in a run but let him back in from a position I should have won from. First loss.
Brenda starts well but her opposition is looking good but then a random ball strikes the 8 and it
wanders into the middle bag and once more Brenda is the victor. She is now guaranteed 1,2, or 3.

Another win coming for Brenda

Over on the losers bench I play again and produce a good game to finish 4 balls ahead so I’m now in
the 3rd or better and 4th playoff. John, a regular winner breaks and knocks down his first 6 but with his
last and the black in a fairly easy position misses. With only one of his balls left I manage to work my
way through mine with some good play and cue ball control finishing up with a reasonable cut on the
black for the game. I take my time and the black goes in the corner bag but even from a soft shot the
white comes off the top rail and gently falls in the middle pocket……… well Crap!!

Fun over back to decorations

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas……..

TONY DOWN

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