A wet morning, but not actually raining, as we get into the last 10 days before my summer epic of the Dolores Escalante 2 Day Trial. Today’s forecast is not sparkling but I need to press on ……. biggest concern at the moment is who will work the sign up and score table as we don’t have any volunteers ???

Out at the site Day 2 is nearly finished save for the split cards and start and ends boards. A little route marking left to put in to guide everyone round and the last bit of work on the Graded Hill.


“Spuds” 2, same as last year, maybe a bit easier for the 1 line

Day 1 with its 15 sections needs a little more work and I’m ready to start taping once I’ve found a replacement section for my overly ambitious one. Remainder of the loop marking to be set as I stumble through the jungle. Final clean up on Rolling Stones and Catface. Need the Walmart trip for a few hundred plastic bags as I know it WILL rain before the off !

New graded hill marker boards all stapled up in their new colors and if the storms hold off might get them out this afternoon. Storms came in but I was able to get up the graded hill (on foot anyway) and find a way back down. What started as yet another easy task became an all afternoon affair and still needs finishing off. Well that will be a Wednesday job to wrap up Lost Canyon and then switch back to the Day 1 sections for Thursday.


Graded Hill marker boards ready and planted out on Wednesday afternoon

The Wednesday plan comes together, LCC gets the last of the loop marking done and the Graded Hill and recovery trail is complete.


The strimmed path and the easy way in to section 1

Some grass mowing today and then the start on the Cub rebuild before slipping into town for the changeover of the axle bolts on the Safari.

So Thursday will be a trials free day apart from first go round on the Cub. My attention will then switch back up to the Saturday sections up on the cliff getting them taped and the last portions of the loop marking in place….. it never ends!

Section start boards are more or less ready to be done during any wet phase with only a few more pics to be printed. All the Walmart goodies were purchased yesterday so bagging and stapling are just around the corner.

Lawn gets mowed, Cub rear wheel out and tire off and lo, the security bolts or rim locks have fallen apart!  Looks like its building up for a boomer so a good day to make a start on the Cub.


Great start! The rimlocks have lost their rubber!!

Time to set off for the bus barn and get the axle bolts changed by Jack the mechanic. Try to set off early as they are repaving the main road into Cortez but as with most things this summer …. yet another problem and the bloody bus steps will not come up!! Well its not going to get better so off I go with steps deployed.  Jack and I try and find the problem but it looks like the motor has failed. Undo the pin and wire lock them up. Bolts get replaced and I’m on my way again.


3 done, 1 to go

Back home and just enough time to try and rebuild the rim locks after some cleaning. They look like they will hold after some heavy duty super glue


Before and after


I think they will hold

Back to the Day 1 sections tomorrow……. only 1 week to go.




A Graded Hill you say ?  What pray is this jewel in the Trialsmaster’s Crown ?  Well going back in time when there were NO lines or split markers in sections and riders were either Experts or Novices once in a while the Clerk of the Course (Trialsmaster) would include one of these beauties if the terrain permitted.

I have always found them a bit of fun, especially the comments that they generate most of which can’t be printed here due to the excessive number of expletives!

With Vintage Trials we try to create similar sections from the 60’s and 70’s era so for the Dolores event there are a few that fall into the “as it was” category. We have a classic “one line for all” a “double sub” and the “graded hill”.

This year’s offering is called “Saddam” and uses one of his famous catch phrases “…… the Mother of all Graded Hills”


Keeper of the Graded Hill, Saddam,  will be at the start board


A handy map shows the layout of the hill as its too steep to walk!

With most graded hills riders look at it and mutter ” it can’t be done”, “should never have been included”, “what was he thinking?” “nobody will ever get up that!”………… and then as the event progresses more and more riders make it to the top……..  The rules are very simple, stay inside the boundaries (if there are any) pass between the 5, 3, 2, 1 and ENDS cards using everything at your disposal …… and your score is recorded as to where the front wheel ceased to rotate and forward or upward motion came to an end. Stop between the 3 and 2 and you score the 3. Stop between 1 and ENDS and you sir have a Dab.

Common mistakes or this sort of section are:

Poor Planning

Wrong Gear

Trying to ride it ALL feet up

LOOPing !

Tuesday, and with the marker boards redone time to struggle up the face and see where we can go. My first time up it and there are multiple choices of lines and while I might have my idea where I would go it might not be how you see it. Suffice to say it will be a good workout. Its steep, its wide, its loose, its rocky and it goes on and on!


NEW marker boards ready to go

Some time later I crest the summit and now need to find a way back down. A path is found and undergrowth hacked out of the way to get back on the lower trail.

Set off on the 2nd ascent armed with marker boards and hammer but the weather is rolling in and as usual its taking much longer than expected. Black skies, thunder and now it starts to spit rain. Not a good place to be so after planting 5’s and 3’s time to retreat to base camp and go for a repeat climb tomorrow to finish the job and complete the way down marking.

Wednesday and I’m on it and I will crack this graded hill one way or another. Much struggling and humping but I’m up to the top again. I’m beginning to think I’ll give anybody a “3” just for WALKING up it!

Well lets see it in all it’s magnitude…… you have walked it, can’t believe it, called me every name under the sun, but now its your chance to shine!


You arrive at our cheery dictator tyrant and study the map……. you look ahead……..


That’s the 5 board


Passing the 5 the 3’s come into view


Is that the 2 board ?


Blue sky and the 1 boards


“End of Hill” …….. who will get to see these?









My it comes round quick! Just two weeks left and time to get the mind round what’s on the trial shopping list. From the 27 planned sections only 4 left to clean up and cut. However I still have a bike to build for the event and if USPS do their job the requisite bits will be here at lunchtime.

Over this weekend I want to tape up the last 5 sections in LCC and start work on “Casey’s Caboose” and then the one you are all waiting to see “Saddam” the mother of all Graded Hills.


Spuds strimmed and cleaned for 3 & 4 lines across the adverse


The strimmer took a stroll up the 1 & 2 line over the big rock


The NEW second section of “Spuds”

If that can be achieved then some tidy up duties, final route taping and grass strimming where required for the Day 2 Trial. Split cards and Start and Ends cards will be saved until the last week or I risk them being washed out in afternoon storms.

By Tuesday of next week I should be switching back to Day 1 and start taping up sections. I have one section I may change as it could be too ambitious ….. we will see. Need the yellow tape on the 2-way sections of the loop and maybe hack out some more offending bushes.

Need Kirtis and maybe a few others for some test riding and then recalls to our local riders to light the enthusiasm fuse. We could be looking for some volunteers for the start and score table ?  If you know anyone who likes doing this very important duty please let me know ASAP.

Work goes well and 10 sections are cleaned and taped, the NEW exit from the creek is cut and strimmed and the long grass is cut back for the way in which is the same as last year. So just the two left with some lines to devise on last year’s graded hill to become a section and then the big question of where to place the “boards” and how high up do we want to go on the NEW monster “Saddam” ?


NEW way out from the creek after “Croc’s Back” now all strimmed and ready for some tire tracks


The entry to “Casey’s Caboose” …… fun begins just around the corner!


Part II of Casey’s   ….. 1’s go round the bush top left, 2’s & 3’s between the two lower bushes…. 2’s straight on and up, 3’s go right joining the lower 4 line

Sunday and work continues inspecting the start boards that were made for last year. One or two went missing as souvenirs so a few more required and a dive into the Honey I’m Home house provides about 6 more. Casey’s Caboose gets cut and taped and will be interesting to see how it rides with the loose dirt adverse. Good one for Kirtis to ride in for me!


Last year’s start boards need a redo

Big change in the weather with heavy rains and flash flooding for the next couple of days which doesn’t please me but I’ll soldier on with the task. At least I have a wet and a dry program and one or two other tasks to complete. Bolts still need to be replaced on the Safari axle and now the Cadi has an annoying power steering leak that I can’t find.

Odd ball sort of day …….. very humid and 60% chance of storms but I can get on with those start Name boards, redo the  graded hill numbers which have faded, and cut some stakes for the boards.

While I’m waiting for Cub gaskets to arrive I need to turn the back tire (tyre) for that extra “edge”. Always something!
















5 sections done so now to wrap up the last 7 in Lost Canyon. Current plans are 2 in the creek itself and “Croc’s Back” with some sort of out route in that area. That should lead us back to the start of last year’s graded hill and this will now become a section called “Casey’s Caboose” and will lead into this year’s spectacular edition of “Saddam” …… the mother of all graded hills.

Escape from the Graded Hill will be to the right on fairly open hillside rejoining the trail down to “Tin Can Alley” and then a variation of “The Grassy Knoll”. The loop will then run by Bottle House up to the new trail and sections in the “Poke in the Eye” circuit before crossing the road at Honey I’m Home and completing the two “Spuds” sections.

A stormy day but eventually get out there and attack all the tree debris that has been washed down Lost Canyon Creek over the winter months.  The build up was under the bridge where the natural constriction was the start of the problem. With rising water the big trees snapped off at their roots and created a “pick-a-sticks” scenario for the trialsmaster.


Small problemee!

Two hours of lopping and chainsaw activity and the first two sections are opened up for the 2014 event. The great thing about a canyon is that you don’t require boundary tapes as once you are in  you are in!


Lost Canyon open for business


The view from under the bridge

The rain begins which is quite refreshing to the lumberjack but some close by thunder terminates the day after a quick survey up “Croc’s Back”. Should be able to climb out on the track with any luck after the section ends cards.

Friday, and coming down to the 2 weeks to go point, today kicks off with the local reporter and then onward with the mission. Looks pretty black again this morning but currently dry so if luck is on my side might finish 5  before tackling “Casey’s” and “Saddam” over the weekend. Quick check on the weather forecasts and scattered thunderstorms all the way through next week as we pick up the monsoonal flow over the mountains. Time to monitor the river levels and plan my workload accordingly.

The Cub parts, after several problems and delays, are in the post and on their way back. If they arrive tomorrow then I should be able to start the rebuild and get some running in time prior to the event.

Today a meeting with the local reporter, who did a good job last year, and we will see what he comes up with for next Thursday’s edition.

Off to LCC in the very near future and see what I can get done this afternoon before the storms roll in. Some rock rolling in the creek for a better start to section 2 and then finish “Croc’s Back” and maybe tape up Grassy Knoll” and “Tin Can Alley”.

“Croc’s Back” cleaned and a NEW way out cut up the side which will make life a lot easier for everybody. Just needs a bit of strimming but looks good.


The Scales on the Croc’s back as seen from above


The way out which needs 5 mins with the strimmer

Man it is HOT and I’m fading fast as the image of foaming frosties occupies my mind. Plough on with the task and tape Tin Can and the Knoll but frostie WINS !

Hot, drenched in sweat and VERY, VERY thirsty!






Now down to 3 weeks and time to link up all the exploratory work and trails, turn that into a loop, and then turn the whole thing into the Day2 portion of the trial.

Well still lots to do and the clock is ticking.

Enough ranting, must be the weather + old age. Anyhoo, the Day 1 spectator sections all got strimmed, clipped, and debranched so should all ride well. We will be taking different lines under the bridge as the 1 line didn’t quite have enough control room for standing up so that should be much improved. As the last 3 public sections can’t be laid out until the  Friday (or we risk children and fishermen  destroying them) but at least they are ready and waiting and only require some rock rolling under the bridge when I can see the final water levels.

Over in Lost Canyon first dose of work on Section 11 which is a hill side climb and turns affair …… and no rocks! It is shaping up well but heat and fading arm strength got the better of me yesterday and I gave it best but should finish today.

Order of Battle will be finish the NEW section 11 and then clean up and strim 12. Get those done and see if I can finish the NEW trail out to 8,9, and 10 (wearing safety glasses of course). If that can be achieved then it will be down in Lost Canyon Creek and out with chainsaw to clear a load of fallen willows and aspens which now block last year’s 1 & 2.  Its all shaping up in my mind but everything is taking longer.

Time to get emails out to all those sitting on the fence and motivate them to join us, need some daily updates on faceplant and social medias and see what the local papers are saying.

Early start at LCC section 11 and this is anything but easy! Bushes seem to have a million sharp thorny branches and a ton of long grass to add to the fun. At 12.30 the job is finally done and this little beauty has taken four hours + to knock into shape but its ready to tape and card. Section 12 only takes 45 mins to strim  and looks very much like when we left it last year.


4 hours of hacking and strimming and its ready !


No changes from last year, strimming done and ready for tapes

Several refreshing adult beverages later time to set off for round two which is loop and trail marking out to 8,9 and 10. This is NEVER easy in this infernal maze! Stumble around for about 30 mins trying to find the trail I cut a couple of weeks ago……. no luck! Eventually come across some of it but no idea where it came from….. find “Poke in the Eye” and set about branch and brush removal. After 1 hour hacking and bashing sit down for a break and then it occurs to me that the section will be better run in the other direction. So sections will need renumbering and I’ll try and crack those 3 tomorrow with a reversed loop (assuming I can find it!)



OK, I’ll reverse it then!

Eventually find the “way in”, which was the “way out” after poking myself in the eye 2 weeks ago and of course with watering eye I wasn’t that concerned about marking tape. The NEW trail is cut and is wider and better and will suit everybody, but to cut 100 yards through the maze took 3 hours. Well I’m now at the sections so I should be able to get them cleaned up this afternoon and then be ready for chain sawing in LCC tomorrow.

“Barney’s Rubble” gets cleaned and taped and now its on to find the next section and a way in and out. Find a superb section and then much soul searching and beginner “what ifs” and eventually come to the decision that they will ONLY ride 10 sections on the Sunday and can return from “Barney’s” down the two way trail which has double color marking of red and yellow.



Not a bad little section called “Barney’s Rubble”

I really like the NEW section I found and this will be a ONE line for everybody section. Should get this done on Wednesday morning and then link it over to “Poke in the Eye” which I managed to finish and tape yesterday.

Kirtis from Mancos has a new toy in the form of one of these flying spy drones with the go-pro camera. Might get him to fly the routes and see how the aerial shots look ?

Wednesday morning and its 80F by 0930 but a lot of work to be done on my NEW proposed section which will be called “Musketeers” and as the famous saying goes “all for one and one for all” so, just as it was way back when, a single line section for all with no split cards and beginners don’t ride this one or “Poke in the Eye”.

More jungle clearance and I’m in to the start point. Low branches and oak thickets get the heave-ho and now one more big tree gets removed before the uphill right in loose dirt and sandstone. Good run out areas and this year I’ll settle for the lower exit. After this gets bedded in and in subsequent years there are options for higher exits. Section cleaned, and more loop work to get back to “Poke in the Eye”. Now 2 bottles of Gatorade down, sweating beyond belief it is once again time for something VERY COLD and of an adult variety. Time 1330 and I’m done as its 93F !



From the start of “Musketeers” up to the fir (used to be 2) and turn right in the loose to the exit


From the firs corner up and over the sandstone exiting up by the grey rock (top right)

Well, I like the section so now the last bit of the loop over to “Poke in the Eye” and here we have splits at the rock with 3 liners going right, 2 liners going long way round in the rubble to the left and 1 liners going for a full frontal on the slab and then all wiggling up the exit.



Exit of “Poke in the Eye”

Thursday and time to get back in the creek with that Chainsaw and clear a way through the fallen trees.


Chainsaw time in Lost Canyon Creek

More on the other sections coming soon and the first look at “Saddam” …….. the mother of all graded hills




Turkey Rock came and went, or in my case not! ….. so the show goes on and once again its my turn and as usual another solo affair. All the sections are identified, a few spares up the sleeve, about 70% are cut and cleaned so still a fair bit to do.

Up on the cliffs a little more trail marking to link up the sections and then strimming out grass and weeds on Cat Face, Griswold 1 & 2 down by the river, the linking path to Enchanted Garden and the section itself which is 3′ high in  grass again. A quick strim though that Black Rock or “Alcatraz” and then the last of the Saturday spectator sections at Logo Land.

Over at Lost Canyon, which is the Sunday Trial, a load of fallen trees need sawing and shifting. Strimming on the way in and clipping and lopping in the 2 “Spuds” sections. Work required on Casey’s and more trail widening down to “Poke in the Eye” and clean up on Barney’s and Fred’s.


She sits and …….. waits!

Hopefully something should happen with my Cub this week as that MUST be rebuilt and run in prior to the event. Once I’m in the 85% done stage I’ll get test rider Kirtis over for a day or two to ride some of them in and play Devil’s Advocate and see if they are too ambitious.

Quick chat with Ray in CA, ref  Cub bits and the progress on the “Hand Basket” that had gone to hell. Looks like it might get into UPS by the weekend. New tires coming for the Beemer (and they aren’t cheap!) those grade 8 bolts to be fitted to the Safari which is currently getting the shower plumbing repaired after being switched off for 2 years after another RV Guru failed to correctly winterize the system.

Just heard WE are getting some FREE prizes for the top riders to the Brewery which has TEN bands playing on Escalante Day’s Saturday.

The week has not gone to plan!! ….. but I soldier on undaunted, and now as I get to Friday I need to get my proverbial in gear as I feel I’m drifting a little behind but I’ll be out there today and hopefully be making some serious progress.


Ready for action

Big strimming plan this Friday morning but on arrival things have pushed on and grown out of all recognition. The simple task is any thing but! Well at least the river has gone down and allows me to use what I want. 4 lines are picked through the double section of Griswold 1 & 2 and now its branch and bush removal and then hand weeding and now I have 2 prepped sections….. I’ll still strim them and crack on with enchanted garden which is 3′ high in grass.

When I was blundering around on the river banks looking for sections it was like the Christmas Vacation scene of the Griswolds looking for their tree……



……..and here it is right in the center of all 4 lines!

The afternoon goes better and paths are cleared down to the river and then through Enchanted Garden


Clear all the way to the river and Griswold 1 & 2


Enchanted Garden needs some extensive strimming



Cleared and ready to lay out

The battle continues!








With all my gardening tasks completed, other than standard weekly maintenance its time to rethink the 2014 event up on Casey’s land. Much gung-ho talk from last year on trail cutting, even before the winter snows and then again more talk from April onwards, but as usual its only talk and no sign of forest bulldozers or people? Did I expect more ? Perhaps, but once again its down to the small team of ME, ably assisted by ME, and once in awhile joined by ME.

Posters for the event are ordered and are already out and about in the prominent places. Town Mayor comes round and tells me to see the new leader of the Chamber of Commerce so all the ad work and promotional stuff is in hand with the now usual write ups in the local rags to come.


2014 Posters printed and out and about

Of course last year was the first attempt to use this land but it has its own problems in so much that its pretty steep and difficult up on the cliffs. Some fantastic sections are available for the upper classes but I would have severe reservations about getting Novices and Beginners to them. Last year being an ITSA National the sections were slightly harder but this year they will be more “user friendly” while still offering a safe challenge.

Paths and trails that I cut last year have not grown back so my task was a little easier getting into the maze. In the absence of Casey my task was to find a way down to the second tier of cliffs and see what that had to offer. Long term it would be nice to link up the cliff paths with something that will join the lower reaches down on Lost Canyon Creek but for this year its outside the “one man band” work schedule !

Overall plan will be 36 sections a day with Day 1 having 2 loops of 15 sections then riding the last 6 which are all spectator sections down by the river and the 4th St Bridge. Day 2 is 12 sections and 3 loops of a smaller course.

The outbound section from the cliffs that we used last year will now be 2 Way but I have cut a nice new wide trail down from the power line where we came out last year which runs us down to our first section called “See Forever” and for those that came last year you may remember being able to see that enormous black storm coming in from Utah.


The WAY IN from the Mesa


NEW wide trail from the top of Power Lines


Wide and safe and NOT too steep!


Section 1    “See Forever”


Current line up of Day 1 Sections is as follows:

Section 1          See Forever

Section 2          What does the Fox say

Section 3          4 in a Row

Section 4          Groovy Canyon

Section 5          Good Luck

Section 6           Staircase

Section 7           Rolling Stones

Section 8           Power Lines

Section 9           Cat Face

Section 10        Griswold 1

Section 11         Griswold 2

Section 12          Enchanted Garden

Section 13          4th St Bridge

Section 14           Alcatraz

Section 15           Logo Land

Day 2 sections I was hoping to expand if the trails had been cut, but of course that hasn’t happened so another voyage of discovery into more unknown mazes. Still a little water in Lost Canyon Creek and a lot of fallen trees that need clearing and sawing.

Current thinking will be a couple in LCC and then Croc’s Back before popping out of the creek in the Bottle House area. Last year’s graded hill will become a modified section and be a good lead in to this year’s NEW Graded Hill called “SADDAM” (The Mother of all Graded Hills)


This year’s Graded Hill    “SADDAM”

Whether or not you achieve fame and fortune on this one,  its a gentle ride over to the Knoll and Tin Can Alley.

Last week I struggled my way along a lower ridge line, hacking and chopping a trail until some maybe sections came into view. Nice collection of rocks, a fir tree and 4 reasonable lines. However some serious pruning on the fir required and under the lower branches a bit dark so pop the safety glasses on the top of the head to see what needs to be removed and immediately walk into a dead branch which goes straight into my left eye!  Needless to say bloody painful and with eye watering profusely not much else achieved but after all that effort it WILL be in and be called “Poke in the Eye”.


I’ll remember this one!

A couple of gentle sections called Fred’s Flinstones and Barney’s Rubble complete that side of the hill and then we return to the start area at  “Honey I’m Home” for the last two sections at “Spud’s” which are called “One Potato” and “Two Potato”.


More news as it breaks







Lets see,   ……. generator, new jets, new perch……… and the grade 8 suspension bolts. All sounds fairly simple so order the NEW circuit board at about 1/3 of the cost that the Onan dealer wanted. Order the NEW jets for the carb and talk with Bob at BJ Racing about the replacement perch.

Next up have a word with my Cub guru, Ray, who suggests a different piston at 9:1 over the standard trials setting of 7:1 ? Well might be worth a try and the conversation continues with Ray offering a NEW Hepolite piston along with rebored free barrel from his seemingly endless stock. He also suggests I send the head over and he will put it through his new vapor blaster, lap the valves and fit new springs.

Now with Mercury retrograde I should have probably seen what was coming, but no, we struggle on in the faith that everything will all come together by Turkey Rock time, some 5 weeks down the trail.

Well the circuit board arrives on time and fresh in the hope that this will be the answer to the maiden’s prayer it is duly fitted ……. result same as before! Generator Guru is contacted and he will look at it when there are enough other jobs in this area. 2 weeks in he arrives, can’t fix it so wants me to drive it to his house in Farmington NM. Well before I can do that I need Jack to look at the suspension/axle problem. That gets a temp fix with grade 5 bolts and the grade 8 fines get ordered.

The NEW selection of jets turns up and suitable choices for altitude and hot temps are selected and fitted along with the replacement perch for the SG clutch……. things seem to be looking up!

While I’m waiting I give Sammy Miller’s a call about their shitty peg hangers on SG …….. and they agree and tell me they are now made in 5mm and mine are the prototype ones that were in 3mm, and yes, they did bend!!  Order a set without they “bear trap” pegs and now ring BVM in the UK for their Apico pegs.  5 DAYS LATER BOTH items arrive from the UK !!! unheard of, I can’t even get a letter to the UK in that time. Well they fit perfectly, and feel pretty good… things are looking up ….. or are they ?


NEW thicker hangers from Sammy and the Apico pegs


The bendy 3mm prototypes


Great feel

The Onan Man now says its the Voltage Regulator …… OK.

Rays sends some piccies of the vapor blasted head……. things are beginning to come together but we ARE running out of time.

cub head 2

cub head 1

The head post vapor blasting

More bad news on the generator as now its refitted it has NO sparks so it now needs an ignition module…… what else?

Now its 4th July week and the rebore doesn’t go as planned and there is a problem with the piston??? ……. also the head needs new valve guides……… and then on 5th July I manage to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick while sorting sections, needing a visit to the ER……. are we having fun yet ?

Off on trail cutting and section discovery I need to take the chainsaw so arm up with a NEW chisel cut chain which makes light work of anything until………… cutting a tree close to the ground I notice its taking a long time only to discover under the leaves I’m sawing neatly through a giant sandstone rock!!! End of new chain.

Friday 11 July and we collect Safari with rebuilt generator but now its too late to make Turkey Rock so yet another event goes out the window and still the Cub parts are in CA ………










Not my best event of last year but having missed San Ysidro time to get out there and start the season. This will also be another good test on the Safari cooling system with a lot of big hills on some fairly nasty rough NM roads.

Friday morning and we are in good shape to depart on time until the first “gotchya” of the day. Last minute loading is underway and the generator is started or in this case not! It starts, it runs……. but the moment you take your finger off the button it shuts down. Gurus and others are spoken to and from all this wise advice it seems we are looking at a new circuit board………. and we won’t be getting one of those today!


A circuit board….. not happening today!

Brenda rings the ski resort on the off chance they may have a slot and amazingly they do which we grab with both hands. No more problems and we are on our way. Incident free run and pull into our slot at Sipapu right alongside John at the start.

Saturday and its a Cub season so off I go for a little warm up and now the Cub is behaving like the Enfield and its leaking oil ? Well this could be excess oil from the upside down period when the sump was welded …… gently  tighten up rocker covers but it continues to leak for the first 6 sections then stops ? This is the first time I’ve run the Cub up at this dizzy altitude and it really doesn’t like it and is clearly incorrectly jetted. With the current jets it run well in Dolores (7000′) but on a hot day at 8000′ to 9500′ it is not happy…… well should have thought about this in advance.


A jet for everything………. now

The first loop is a bit of a struggle on limited power with the uphills giving major cause for concern so after an uncontested ride in my class I switch to the Yam for a bit of practice and confidence building. The Yam performs well although clearly my confidence is on the low side. Some nice cleans but a lot of unforced errors one of which brought the session to a close.



The Cub is fine on the flats but struggling on the hills


SG has no problems but the rider is “not in tune”

On the section, where I crashed last year nearly breaking my wrist, I had previously had a great clean on the Yam but on the 3rd loop the section came back to haunt me on the final turn when the front wheel broke away in the leaf mold and I was pitched over the bars AGAIN! catching the clutch with my boot and breaking the perch. Yes, I’m beginning to think it might be prudent to drop down a class as this consistent falling off is doing nothing for my pleasure.



A new one of these is now at hand

Sunday isn’t much better so I ride one loop, swallow the pride and go and take some pictures. Dan is riding like a demon and clearly in a class of his own.


Dan riding in a class of his own!

Homebound on NM cart tracks you can see the ripples in the white line on the side of the road and the Safari starts the classic RV bounce……. mile after mile of this at around 50-55 and then a thundering great BANG. Pull over and investigate, can’t see anything but 30 miles later yet another great BANG! A lot more looking but can’t see a problem so assume its stuff in the lower equipment bays clattering around.

Safely home and time to investigate further. Nothing in the bays looks likely to have caused the noise so move further forward. Shocks look good but then I see I’m missing a bolt in the unit holding the suspension to the axle ….. and another looks to have sheared but is still there!!! Jack is summoned and 2 new bolts fitted but these are only grade 5 and I want grade 8 fine.

Meanwhile the Onan expert has been from Farmington (85 miles) and after an hour now wants the unit at his house to fix it.  Might have been a good idea to have taken it to him first ? He reports that the problem is NOW the Voltage Regulator (another $200) ……. and so it begins. With the VR fitted it now has no SPARKS so it needs an ignition module (another $150) but by the end of week 2 it is working and finally correctly adjusted so that it doesn’t surge as it did after the last so called expert serviced it. Picked it up yesterday (Friday) which would have been Turkey Rock travelling day so yet another event missed……. not a good year for trials!











21 May and the last day of school. This year I’m feeling really, really tired and the Pre 65 Jubilee shoulder injury is giving me some jip!

There will now be 4 weeks of non-stop weeding and garden rectification before the “one man band” takes to the hills once more in the quest for 24+ exciting sections for the Dolores 2 Day on Aug 9/10.

Clean up, clean up and yet more clean up but its getting done and all the classic areas start to look 100% better after several weeks of crawling around on my knees in the gravel of the RV park. Several pairs of cheapo knee pads are worn out on this mission but the weeds are leaving!



Hanging baskets are up and looking good, new annuals planted, free toms along the front bed and a tomato hanging basket that is producing more than we can eat. The purple roadside weeds I planted a couple of years ago are having their best year ever and looking very strong.





With all the RV bays done, the drive and the recently replanted rose bed weeded time to attack the waterfalls and rectify the water loss which is escaping somewhere. Finally some extra liner put in and losses reduced to an acceptable level. Now the final weeding of the big front bed.





Last bit of serious weeding

A yard sale next door and Brenda wheels in a vintage custom wheel barrow which gets the “blue” treatment and is suitably planted up.


“She wheeled her wheelbarrow, through streets………..”

With the garden up to snuff and the weeding under control I’m ready to start the planning for Dolores and the 2Day in August.