ESCALANTE DAYS 2017

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Saturday 12th August and once more its Escalante Days here in Dolores. Usual format with the town parade kicking things off with it’s run down Central Avenue with horses pooping, candy thrown everywhere, and sirens wailing from emergency vehicles. All manner of cycle racing on mountain bikes on courses from 13 to 50 miles for Novice or Expert.

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….. and they are off !

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No return to the  2 Day trials of the past as the ungrateful group ruined that for everybody despite some great terrain and unusual sections very close to the town center. The ungrateful group, of course, were those that couldn’t clean every section and thus thought it was too hard!

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Me, on the 4th Road Bridge unusual section

Brenda is out on her early run prepositioning bottles of champers at various locations through the town should we end up there. We duly arrive at Carol’s house on Central Ave and take up seats and the first corks are popped.

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This lot were playing in our sprinklers

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The “Log” on its way to its grizzly fate

The parade rolls by, more horses this year? …… not as many floats, but a fun turnout nonetheless.

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Oh NO! there must be Botox in the champagne

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Parade done, down to town center where the chain saw competition will be, some margaritas while we wait and the saw dust begins to fly and once again the master lumberjack, Bill Ragland, wins the 100cc class in convincing style.

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Another easy win for Bill

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Log gets reloaded

The Open Class is not quite a runaway as Bill has a saw malfunction but is given a “redo” and finishes 3rd …….. not bad for an 84 year old!

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The “redo”

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Winners all

The arm wrestling competition will be after lunch so time to wander through the vendor’s stalls and see if anything catches the eye. All the usual foods being cooked, jams and produce, and a host of arts and crafts.

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One stall catches “our” eye and prime targets are a wind chime with RV and a giant ugly ceramic frog. We will make them an offer on our way back after a ride on the Galloping Goose.

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First time for us on the Goose but we do get to ride with the driver and all the clanking machinery.

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In the cabin

Back at the stall the lady makes us an offer we were more than prepared to pay so everyone wins.

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Ceramic frog for me with “the evil eye”

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The RV Wind Chimes outside  the Cozy

Now its Brewery time where bottles have been positioned and we quench our thirst …….. ad then it pours with rain as another August storm rolls in. Nothing for it ……. drink heavily!

The camera takes no more photos but we last until early evening before wending our way home.

TONY DOWN

BIKES AND THE FUTURE ?

As I approach August, my birthday, and my second year having done absolutely diddly squat on the trials or road bikes I’m forced to wonder if I want to ride anymore.

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Nobody cares

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The rot is spreading

The BMW looks like nobody cares with a cracked rider’s seat with holes in it and the rotting leather has spread to the rest of the bike. I need to replace plugs and wires and track down the annoying long standing electrical problem through the horn and brake lights.

The Trials bikes want for nothing and only require a quick once over to put them back in A1 condition. I seem to have lost my “keenness” button here but perhaps with a ride around that might fire up again and have me wanting to get back into competition…….. all rather sad.

After much moping around I finally got my act together and ordered all the parts that I will need to put the Beemer back in top condition.

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Just doing that made me feel 10 times better and perked up my lost enthusiasm. Even got on and cleared up the side of the workshop so quite amazing what one simple action will do.

Friday 4th August the seats arrive from Canada, not “take offs” but NEW OEM parts at a very reasonable price! ……. very pleased.

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New seat for ME !

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New seat for Brenda

Into the workshop and locate the Iridium plugs and the new plug wires.

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New plugs and wires

But first, the Beemer needs a clean and that gets done and I’m ready to start stripping her down but where are the keys?  No, I can’t find them anywhere. When Brenda gets home she produces them in a second as they had been put somewhere else during a clean up phase.

Saturday morning, wet and miserable, so after breakfast I should be able to get going. The last time I had to do this mega operation was on the other side to replace the quick disconnect fuel lines when the nice ethanol fuel ate the o rings and pissed high pressure fuel all over my right foot !

Quick refresher on “You Tube” and the mayhem begins. Mirror, turn signal light, and the clear deflector thingme all off and now try and remember where all these “torx” screws are located. Thanks to the video I found them all and after removal of the tip over bumper the chrome comes free and then the main panel.

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Mirror first, remove another wasp’s nest and need to replace the mirror glass

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Turn signal next then the  deflector

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Secret torx screws under here!

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Another one in here

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The take-off continues

Now remove the crash bar, reverse switch and take off the lower fairing. With that lot out of the way its easy access to the two ignition plates.

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Reverse and lower fairing off

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Crash bar, and ignition plates off ……. I’m in  !

Believe it or not I would have had to have taken the upper fairing off to get at the heated seat wiring so I’ll be changing the seats at this stage. Another interesting point of note is that the HORN electrical connector was undone????? I can’t imagine how that happened and whether that was the cause of the blowing fuse as I’ve never taken this side off before. Very strange?

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Ready for the new seats

The plug wires don’t seem bad but as I have new ones I’ll fit them but the BMW uses a narrow  plug (18mm) and of course I don’t have the right plug spanner.

The birthday boy buys the correct one, a load of fuses, a couple of new fishing rods and orders the correct 50/34 crank assembly from the bicycle shop. Home again for birthday lunch.

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Two new birthday poles for me!

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Nice simple birthday lunch

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Champers, of course,  …… I could get used to this!

Change the plugs and now discover the battery won’t hold the charge so now I need to go into town (again) and get a new one of those! This is adding up.

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Nothing happening here!

Tuesday morning and an early start to NAPA for the battery only to be told they don’t have it (despite ringing yesterday and being told it was in stock!) Now they say it will take a week. Finally order one from a Dolores store and they say Thursday or Friday.

This isn’t helping the cause as I can’t start the bike, see if the new plugs have done their job, and get on with proving the electrics now I think I know what I’m doing in the bypassing of the alarm.

While I’m waiting on the battery I can at least take the top box off, so after more consultation with the internet I follow along with the “how to” pictures and the top box is off. This will give me access to the alarm system which is lurking under the last panel!

More fun and games, this time on the Safari where the front shock absorber bracket broke in two on our last outing to Groundhog Reservoir on those dreadful wash board roads. The same thing happened a few years ago on one of our many trials trips on another rough road. The next excursion with the Safari is planned for the end of the month at Vallecito  Lake where we have a reservation.

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The dead Safari shock

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My No 1 mechanic from the Bus Barn, Jack, has once again stepped in to help and yesterday stripped off the broken bracket and the “dead” shock. He will weld the mounting plate back together and I’m off to NAPA once more to try for some new shocks ….. wish me luck!

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New shocks from Napa

Still waiting on the battery for the Beemer but the new crank and gearing has arrived for the Roubaix so I should get something done with any luck.

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The new 50/34 set of gears

Into the bike shop after Napa, and they fit the new crank set and pedals in 15 minutes and don’t charge me for labor so once again I’m very impressed.

Try the new ratios and knock up 28 miles and despite headwinds the slightly lower gearing allows me to go faster so I think the change was a good idea.

No sign of Jack this afternoon so back to the “how to” videos and now we are looking at what is involved in recovering the Beemer speakers and backrest. Those parts arrived from the UK yesterday so all I need now is the battery and I can get things moving.

Meanwhile one of our hanging tomato plants has something amiss but the other one is still producing gorgeous fruit and our “free gift” plant in the whisky barrel has started to ripen.

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First fruits ripening

The cucumber has recovered from the storm beating and new fruits are swelling up joining my lettuce and radish which are getting bigger. Annoyingly bugs are attacking the radish so I’ve given the bed a dose of “cedar dust” which I’m told bugs do NOT like!

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Cucumbers doing well

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Radishes dusted

Grim and gloomy weather for Friday and indeed a small shower while I’m walking dogs. Don’t see too much happening although I can start work on dismantling the speaker units, maybe get the Safari done and failing all that change the fishing tackle boxes and even flash up my new cycling helmet.

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One of those plastic hinges has snapped!

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My new “birthday” helmet

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

THE NEXT TARGET

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2017 Tour is done, well earned congratulations to Chris Froome

As the Tour De France winds down and Chris Froome wins his 4th title what can I see in my own cycling crystal ball ?  2200 miles are done and now my birthday looms on the horizon just two weeks away.

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Last year at this point I was hoping to hit 1000 miles by 8/7/16 so this year maybe I’ll try and hit 2500 ?

As always the “summer break” seems to have gone very  quickly again but looking back an awful lot of good work has been achieved including, sign straightening and repainting, irrigation and power out to Scuffy, the usual mass of weeding, and removal of trees and branches.

Monday, forecast is 60% chance of storms and heavy rain, but right now its not too bad so I’d better saddle up and get on with it! Brenda is on side 2 of the sign but doesn’t want pouring rain upsetting her art work so she may be on hold.

The weather isn’t quite as bad as the forecast and I’m on the road at 1015 while Brenda gets into painting. Seems to be hard work for me this morning but no serious black clouds ahead so I press on for the 10 mile turn round point at the lakes. By the time I get back the sign is half way done, and after 4 hours the painting is complete. After lunch the new tubes get fitted and we are done.

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Painting done and the lights are on

With all the afternoon rain the grass and gardens are looking good but those weeds are coming back again!

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Dismal!

Sadly my radish seem to be getting eaten by the ants? Never had this problem before so I’m in the process of building a small bed for them out by the Maple where they can be in company with the toms and the fast recovering cucumber who has generated another 7 new fruits and is looking very healthy.

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Toms a’plenty

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Cucumbers on recovery

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Scuffy electrics have their own house

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New soil and irrigation = new flower

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Happy new rose

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Scuffy side beds looking good, and this time last year NONE of this existed!

After my first attempt at “Hill Climbing” the decision is change the gearing which I bought a little while ago but now need to get that changed this afternoon………….. Not so fast!!! seems I bought the WRONG system so of course it doesn’t fit. Time to rethink this one and maybe get them to order EXACTLY what I need.

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Wrong one!!

Home again and just time to finish the new bed and get that ready for my second attempt at some radish.

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NEW veggie bed ready for planting

Wednesday morning, and from the forecast what looks like a better day so today I’m planning on riding a little further down the road to Telluride as a bit of variety. That didn’t happen but I did knock up 26.24 which now gives me a total of 2306.62 so still on track for my birthday numbers.  The seeds go in the new bed and we will see what happens in round 2.

Saturday, and success at last! The radish seed are germinating and popping up in the numbers I would expect. Hopefully the lettuce will do the same in the next three days.

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Much better germination in the new bed

Cycling, a bit of a mixed feast, with some nasty black clouds every which way I turn and indeed I did get rained on yesterday but I still got to my objective even if Friday’s ride got cut short. Hoping to crack 2400 by close of play Sunday.

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Just got dressed up ready to go and of course its started raining! Well as I’ve waited all day for this bleak overcast weather to do something I can now wait for it to stop.

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Out I go and its spitting but I can live with it although it gets worse the further out of town I go. Only 3.8 on the clock and time to come back in and find the drier roads in town. Not very nice but I clock up 14.18 which puts me 11 miles behind schedule but I think I can catch them up in this last week.

Sunday and a much brighter morning so I need to get those numbers back up and close in on the next goal. Post ride it will be sorting out the lawn and a clean for the mower and sharpen up the blade as the grass is a collection of many types with different rates of growth…… but with all the rain its certainly much greener.

Pleasant enough start and out to the 10 mile point where there is a big black cloud and the wind is increasing. In bound and 2 miles down the road it starts raining and there is a lot of thunder. Carbon bikes, wet roads and storms ?

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I’m in the rain until the 17 mile point when I finally get back on dry roads for the run into town. Blue skies overhead but as black as hell up the valley. Push on and finish at 27.32 and a smidge under 2400 having caught up 3 miles of the 11 shortfall caused by the rain days.

After lunch the weather suddenly moved in over the town and it starts raining and carries on right through until the evening. The seeds I planted are loving the rain!

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Radish and lettuce all up

Monday, a better looking day, so off down the road and another 27.28 takes me through the 2400 banner and now I’m only 6 miles behind where I should be.

Brenda wants to take a look at another boating lake at Vallecito some 80 miles away and from the pictures it looks pretty good for all aspects. However, no sooner have I got changed and our old friend the weather starts to become seriously unsettled so that mission is now delayed until Wednesday morning. Oh well, maybe I will get the grass cut after all.

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Here we go again!

Before I can get back in gardening mode the rain starts and then gets really nasty. Above the thunder and pummeling hail I hear the rumble of some Hardly Ablesons and 3 teams of drowned rats or hogs are on our porch. They were attempting the 250 mile round trip and are staying at Ouray so they are about halfway round and of course being classic Harley people they have NO RAIN GEAR and NO HELMETS ….. I say nothing despite my views on the subject!!!

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Absolutely typical! No rain gear or helmets ……. and soaked through and VERY cold.

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……… and that about sums that up!!

Another Tuesday and August 1st, today I will edge closer to that 2500 target and if the heavens allow even get the grass cut. Riding conditions are good and 26.24 joins the total before attention turns to the grass. The mower gets the underside cleaned out and the blade sharpened although after 4 years and mucho rock and stone bashing it is time for a new one. It runs a little better and I’m about 1/3 the way through when the rain arrives!! Not the mega down pour of the last few days so I’m back on it and manage to complete mowing, strimming and edging for a nice finished product.

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The grass is cut, strimmed and edged

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Very green from all the rain.

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The Scuffy marina looking good

Now its Wednesday and plans change again so the Lake trip moves to Thursday and I’ll do a little weeding this morning and take an afternoon ride. Not a lot of time available this afternoon but a pleasant rain free ride notching up another 18.65 before coming in and getting ready for the Wednesday evening pool competition.

Brenda WINS the pool competition and is thankfully now qualified and well qualified at that!

Thursday now becomes a cycling “rest day” on my way to the 2500 birthday challenge. Only 36 miles to go and 3 days to get them in.

Friday and a hard working 26.39 goes in the books for the grand total of 2490.64 so less than 10 miles to the target champagne.

Saturday and a morning working on the Beemer as I’ve got my mojo back at last on the engineering front. Full strip down complete and ready for the replacement units on Sunday.

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Ready for new parts

Champagne loaded in the fridge and the lone rider sets off to finish the task in hand and crack that 2500 mile marker for 2017.

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Fridge loaded!

Out to the 8.0 mile point where its raining so that calls for an early turn back to home and the 18.24 for the afternoon achieves the mission taking me to 2508.88 compared to last year’s 1000 birthday target.

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Ready to pop

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Cheers, 2 days ahead of schedule

Happiness is being alive and a glass or two of the champers!

 

TONY DOWN