ONWARD

 

Dunton Hot Springs Fleet Cars

Sadly for me the current incumbent of the driving position that I was looking at, that left due to a self inflicted disability, says he wants to come back.  He fell down and ended up needing a hip replacement and now suddenly announces that he is doing well with his rehab and should be back to work in three weeks!

Must stay ever hopeful, although of course I’m not sending any negative or positive thoughts to him. One door, another door etc, as yesterday I bumped into Sharon who is our admin assistant and bus driver sub for Cortez. She told me that Dolores are having trouble finding activity drivers for their current round of field trips so that may be worth a quick visit on Monday morning.

Monday comes and the weather is cold and miserable with rain and hail. It comes to my notice it is Columbus Day and therefore  a “No School Day” so this one will have to wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile over the last week, which I thought would be a no cycling affair with all the doom and gloom of 80% chance of rain every day I still managed 100 miles and the total is now 4301.06 but the weather is forecast to be just as bad this week and even colder.

Wednesday, still cold and wet, no riding so far this week but I did manage to get all the forms filled in for Dolores so now the wait begins on this one.

Still no riding but on Friday up to the bus barn and see the boss man Larry, who tells me the School Board have approved me and gives me the “book” which is getting bigger and bigger every year! Now I must read through 200+ pages of legal rules and other stuff that comprises the yearly test. This test, which started two years ago has a 30 question format with 15 multiple choice and another 15 true or false. Seems to get harder to pinpoint the questions but I’m nearly done on the second read through.

This weekend was forecast as THE BIG FREEZE so much work to get everything ready to avoid disasters. First on the list get the boat sorted and that has its own giant rock right in the way to get the engine upright to drain even though we never got it out ONCE this year! Rock removed, engine upright and about a cup of water gushes out so a good idea that we got that done.

Dead center under the prop!

Deep  enough and a cup of water?

Delicate plants all brought in and off to pool where I got a 1st this week and for the most part was actually seeing the shots and hitting them well.

Plants come in, well we saved some

Figs get replanted

Sunday, more reading of the book, and out to restock firewood from under the damp upper layers. 3 Big baskets later that task is done and onto the next ones on the list. All irrigation turned off, heat tapes all plugged in. A new power cord over to the “Dog Box” for our expensive backwash valve and its house. Move the Safari, put the jacks down and winterize. Wind up all the hoses and disconnect from the siphoning valve that froze last year and had to be replaced.

Safari moved and winterized

Siphon valve disconnected from hoses

By 1600 we are done, and just as well as I look at the morning temp of 19F !!!  ……. there will be some sad looking plant life out there this morning but you can’t save them all.

No riding at ALL last week, I do have the part time job so back to the book and get this test out the way. By 1530 my reading is in serious overload mode so a quick ride in the cold by way of a change. 14.66 goes in the books before I’m getting cold and the temperature is beginning to drop towards tonight’s low of 26F.

Tuesday and back to the Bus Barn and three hours of testing to get the annual requirements up to date. Wednesday and a drive round for two hours in one of the newest buses.  Very nice, some changes to procedures but its a start. Wednesday evening and its back to pool where I take another 1st and Brenda takes the 3rd.

Thursday morning and Brenda departs for Buffalo for her mother’s birthday and niece’s wedding. An awful drive to Durango in the rain at 0400 and still dark when I got back at 0645. Highlight of the day has to be the Denver Broncos actually playing football like they mean it with a 45 to 10 thrashing of Arizona.

Friday and back to the Bus Barn for another hour of “in service” training and get more info on new rates of pay and a nice long trip next week. Another 23.23 done and 12.57 on Saturday morning  before pool where once again I’m on form and win my way through to the final but can’t get the job done so end up with 2nd.

Sunday and Monday manage another 50 miles and crack the 4400 barrier but Tuesday is back to wet and windy and recovering Brenda from Durango in the evening.

On the work front 4 days of riding the Dolores routes which leaves 2 for next week. The scheduled trip for Friday gets cancelled when its discovered that Dolores is NOT playing at Center but rather “they” are coming to Dolores as its a HOME game!

Today is a non school day and it gives me the chance to change the rear tire on the Roubaix which suddenly started to break up.

Rear tire is shot!

It seems they do that without warning after about 2-4000 miles ? I can only assume that when the wear gets down the outer layer just splits and peels away …… looks like a MotoGP tire after one race.

Rear done, now the front

Further investigation shows the front is also on the way out so I’ll change them both.

Happiness is NEW rubber!

All done, now as the weather is picking up a few more miles this afternoon. All sounds good, temp around 60F with a swirling gusty wind and leaves blowing every which way. 16 miles, in need a quick pee, so home and a coffee with the plan to set out around 1700 to the brew pub for a couple of pints and a pizza.

I  don’t believe it!

2 miles into this portion of the mission and a BLOODY FLAT TIRE!!!  …… in the NEW tire to boot!! Walk home and change same …… somewhat pissed off as now I can’t get the beer and pizza and get home in daylight and I don’t want to be there for 4 hours until Brenda finishes her shift.

Settle for the last 5 miles in daylight, watch TV, walk dogs, NO beer!

Saturday and after a blogging session time to get out there and put some more miles on that odometer. 16.53 in favorable conditions before the standard shower and pool. Once again I’m on it and surge through to the unbeaten final where I’m victorious again.

This week no problem and another 1st.

Home from pool and that throat sensation starts and you know you have a cold starting!!! the joys of travelling with small children. Poor sleep with all the fun symptoms and a pretty miserable Sunday when nothing gets done and by nightfall the cold is in full swing and the nose is running like an open faucet.

Monday morning and decide not to go route riding but then Larry rings with news of another trip to Nucla on Thursday. Quick trip up to the barn and say I’ll take it and finish off the last 2 routes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here we are on a very cold Wednesday Halloween, and no riding since last Saturday and still suffering from the weekend’s cold. The month’s target of 4500 gets missed due to the illness and I’ll finish at 4476.89 ……… snow is falling in Telluride and they had 6″ last night so I wonder how much longer I have on the Roubaix this year?

 

TONY DOWN

 

D-DAY

Not storming beaches, but plenty to do as we finally have our building permit for the new balcony. From the following pics you can see that a couple of the main support posts have sunk, maybe rotted through, and over my 10 years of doing Christmas Decorations along the full length it has to be said that the last few years there has been a noticeable lean as the whole assembly is pulling away from the main building.

Lots to remove, irrigation, hanging baskets, swing, chairs, basket hangers, pots, axes etc

Coming away!

Sunday, cold wet and miserable and definitely a no riding day! Time to get going on the frontage to make ready for the Balcony demo coming next week.

Frontage complete and the crew turn up on Monday and soon have the new post holes dug and the old whiskey barrels trashed. Now we have to wait for an unknown inspector to check the holes before concrete can be poured.

It rains on and off all through the week and is very depressing and now mud everywhere. Today, Thursday, should be the last day of rain and the concrete footers do get poured despite the weather. Last ride was on Saturday so getting keen for a few more miles.

All poured despite the non stop rain

Nothing on Friday as we wait for the footers to harden up. Monday would seem to be the day for the big DEMO and then  the rebuild.

It begins and the upper doorway is boarded up lest we try to escape like lemmings. Saws and pry bars soon have the vintage balcony in the truck.

Getting serious

Nearly done

What balcony ?

All looking very bare but eventually the new wood arrives and pre painting begins. Now its even colder and raining again!

Next phase is the new big uprights and they have them in place and the main cross beams. Sometime later I look out again and the whole assembly has been taken down again ?

Next day and its all back up with some metal flashing over the back beam attached to the house. Cross beams are added and then we are ready for the flooring planks.

Back up and crossbeams in place

Planking in place

Ready for top beam and railing

With all the planks in place the upper balcony posts are fitted and then the top rail. Now for all the “noodles” or “pickets” that will stop cats and dogs from jumping to their demise.

“Noodles” are cut

Railings go in

Friday afternoon and all the rails are in place, just the step, the window surrounds and final painting.

Ready for finishing

As the “Greeks” (Ted’s team of workers) have left a mystery gift arrives outside the house and main gate of Troy ?

Looks like the “Greeks” have used all the old balcony wood to build this present.

 

TONY DOWN

 

THE HUNT FOR R.E.D OCTOBER

 

The hunt for a Retired Enjoyable Driving job starts in October! So far I have identified a position which I believe to be ideal and perfect for myself.

33 miles up the road from Dolores is  the 5 Star Wilderness Resort, Dunton Hot Springs, which is open year round, and requires full time and part time drivers to meet the resort and guests needs.

Initially I saw this opportunity shortly after I retired from school bus driving back at the end of May. However I was committed to my summer gardening and cycling and did not wish to pursue the post. By the time I was ready the position had already been filled but on checking with their web site they were still in need of a part time driver.

Full of enthusiasm last Monday morning I attempted to upload my application  on the  computer only to discover I was on battery  power as the nice cat had chewed through the power cable!

Not deterred I drove up to find the establishment on Wednesday armed with my most recent resume. I’m familiar with the first 20+ miles of the run as I used to drive it as  sub for Dolores School District. After 25 miles it becomes  gravel road, but well maintained, and smooth. A nice colorful drive at this time of the year. Resume left, I was told to ring later as the GM was in an all day meeting.

The quest begins

Well maintained gravel road

Scanning the terrain  ……. “what are those people doing in that mud hole?”

“Its a hot pool Sir”

“Good God man, …  its an awful color, …..and they pay to do this?”

“tally ho……. the entrance”

A phone call on Friday to the GM and I’m invited back for a chat type interview on Saturday morning. Sarah, the GM, tells me she has the owners coming Sunday through Wednesday so please give her a call this Friday when she will have more time. Having spent an hour with her I’m quite hopeful.

The main building

The weather has gone into rain mode and we are looking at the left overs from “Rosa” a Pacific storm that is currently pounding Phoenix with torrential rain and moving Northwards towards the Four Corners and should be with us for the next 4 days. As I’m not riding in the rain I’ll continue with my story and some in depth research.

On arrival at the site impressions are not of a 5 Star Resort, mainly due to the rustic appearance of the buildings. Indeed it has that look of an abandoned ghost town until you research a little of Dunton’s history and upgrades into the 21st century.

Tuesday was indeed wet and miserable with a steady rain and then periods of heavy showers. More rain overnight and now bright and sunny so perhaps a ride might be in my future. Currently the total stands at 4229.72 for the year.  The day warms up nicely, the wind stays calm and quick 15 miles pre lunch and a second helping in even warmer conditions in the afternoon topping off at 25.65 miles. So, two unexpected rides in what I thought would be a busted flush week weather wise. Seeing Facebook pics of Phoenix it would seem Rosa decided to linger a little longer down south and there are some unusual pictures of “waterfalls” on Camelback mountain, something I don’t remember seeing in my 13 years in the city.

More overnight rain and a brief lull before the next downpour at 1000 and then windy and blowing leaves to remind me once again its only just October.

The Bathhouse and hot pool

Back to Dunton then, an interesting read of all that transpired through the years from 1880 when mining for gold and silver began and the miners built these buildings, and finally stopped in 1919. More history up until 1990 when the current owner bought the property and spent 7 years rebuilding and changing the ghost town to its present luxury high standards while retaining all the charm of an age gone by.

The bar has kept a lot of the history, and some say the names carved in the bar top are supposedly genuine dating back to 1885 post his first bank raid over in Telluride.

It could be true ? …. after all his major hideout was just over the state line in Utah at Monticello and the mountains just behind the town.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

FALL AND OCTOBER THINGS

Fall colors again

September flashed by and now some serious work needs to get completed and a part time job found to stop me becoming brain dead watching TV.

This last week has seen the finals of both our 8 and 9 ball series which have been running since early January. The 9 Ball Final was    on Wednesday but unfortunately Brenda was out of it with a vile flu like cold. I started well with 2 good wins and with only 16 qualifiers only needed that 3rd win to be in the money!

I’m now playing Nancy (a regular tournament player) and I win Game 1 and we are playing best of 3. She wins Game 2 with a super combo on the 9 and we start into Game 3. No opportunity for a combo shot anywhere along the way and Nancy is in good shape for the win. She has the 9 parked midway along the top rail and just needs the 8 and a follow on with the cue ball for the 9. She sinks the 8 but the cue ball is rolling along to the top left pocket. I have visions of the cue ball going in and getting “ball in hand” for a simple pot on the 9 but, the cue ball stops right on the lip of the pocket and is behind the corner lip of the cushion. Again I can’t see her hitting the 9 let alone making it but somehow she just brushes it ???? Well no matter I have a relatively simple shot …… highish angle and 9 tight on the rail. Remember all the good advice and keep repeating the sage words to myself over and over again. “Don’t aim at the ball aim at the cushion, ……. don’t aim etc” Nice soft shot and it rolls to the pocket but bounces off the jaw! I can’t believe it!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, Benda is better and I’m still fuming over my 9 Ball loss, but here we are for the 8 Ball Final where I’m the No1 seed. As such I get a “bye” in round 1 but win my next two games. I need one more game to get in the money but can’t sink the Black on my first attempt and the opposition cleans up for the win. I win two more games from the loser’s bench and finish with a consolation prize in fourth place, but at least I got in the money!

The weather forecast is all doom and gloom for the coming week with a lot of rain for five days. We have a lot of things that must be done as there is also a threat of the first frost. The No1 job is this awful backwash valve thingmejig that we were forced to install or the Town will turn off our water!

It’s marked it’s spot!

After spending $2000+ on this ugly little bugger we now have to build a “Doghouse” that it can shelter in and keep it from freezing with heat tapes and mega insulation. Newest development on this nuisance valve is that it also has a pressure relief valve which is constantly in flow so more expense as we need another drain so that it doesn’t soak all the insulation.

Second job is replace all the Shower and RV Dump signs before the hunters arrive for the first session of rifle season.

Badly faded and buckled

Bent and wind ravaged

They have lost their colors and have been subjected to mega winds and look decidedly tacky!

Third and last task (hopefully)  of the day is a LEVEL pad for the Beemer to deploy it’s center hydraulic/electric stand on as it has an onboard sensor that won’t deploy the stand if the ground isn’t level. Germans think of everything!

Slabs ready ……. get digging!

A couple of spare slabs should do the job, now back to the Dog Box for that backlash/wash pest thing.

Section of the floor to become the front door

First step is to cut a section of the floor out such that it will go over the ugly pipe assembly and will also become the Dog Kennel front door to keep the wind out.  Brenda assembles the kennel while I measure up the section to be removed.

Sides and roof of the kennel for our waterhound

Front door which now needs blocking off

The cutting begins but like most things there is always a small problemee insomuch that as fast as I cut the panel the plastic rewelds itself and I have to go over it a second time before it will separate.

Drill the holes to secure the front door but the screws I have are 1/2″ too short. Never mind Brenda will now complete the heat tape lashing to the pipes and then apply the insulation. Well nice idea, but it seems we have used ALL the electrical tape or misplaced ALL of them ??  …… looks like a quick trip to Slavens in Cortez for bolts and tape.

40 minutes later and I’m back and work resumes on the water valve thingey  which is getting a good lashing! In my absence Brenda has replaced all those outside signs so that’s one job complete.

Much better

The Beemer pad was completed before lunch and is now working well.

Done

It seems both wheels have to be level before the sensor will allow that stand to deploy worked on the premise that if it lifts the bike YOU may not be able to push it OFF as it weighs in at 850 lbs.

Back to the dog box and finish the door and Brenda adds a seam of insulation around the doorway to stop cold winds.

Door screwed in ready for final construction

Final bolting up and its an “up and over” and the kennel is in place.

WOOF!

Jobs for the day complete. Now about that part time job?

 

TONY DOWN

FOLLOWING FLORENCE

It seems this monster hurricane had a track distance of 4544 miles as it crossed the Atlantic before crashing into the Carolinas.

Having past my personal 2018 goal of 4000 miles it was interesting to see what 4000 miles looked like on a map and this Florence map intrigued me. As Mother Nature has much to catch up on I think we can expect some serious rain and snowfall this coming winter to make up for the drought and wildfire conditions of this past year. All our local lakes are way down and its going to take a considerable amount of precipitation to address the shortfall.

That having been said, the question then is when? Snow can arrive anytime from October onwards  and indeed our first year up here in permanent residence saw snow on the ground from the end of October to late in May! If that is the case this year, then my furious pedaling will be shutdown in about 6 weeks, so perhaps 4500 is my next reasonable target.

First, back to another round of gardening, yes, the dreaded arsebine is back everywhere, and the edges need cutting along with some pruning of the roses. Strimming and mowing, all get completed and the Waterfall bed gets a once over. Edges recut on the Scuffy beds, but its hurting my shoulder as the ground is so hard. Hoses back on and try again tomorrow when its softer.

This morning and the weather has indeed changed, overcast, much cooler, and now its started to rain and the forecast is 50% chance of rain for the rest of the day! So my planned cycling rest day is now on 3 unless I can get out this afternoon.

Great!

After lunch the skies are a little brighter, but still cool, so long non thermal pants and matching long sleeve with a light weight rain jacket in the pocket. 2 miles into the mission and it starts to spit so time to slip on the rain jacket. A little later at the furthest point from home it gets substantially harder verging on downright unpleasant! Set course for home and arrive just a bit damp but its another 10.86 in the books.

Thursday and its brighter and yesterday’s rain has moved on. Still that awful wind so elect 19 miles around town as I forgot to put my phone on charge. After lunch finish the job off clicking another 25.10 onto the total.

Now time for the first ride on the Beemer since October 2015 when I was going through the pneumonia debacle. Still windy, but 850lbs is more stable than the 16lbs of the Roubaix. Into Cortez, bright, full sun, but very windy. Slaven’s is the store I’m after and now armed with BMW blanks hand the “key lady” a couple and the Beemer remaining ignition key. A short while later she hands me the pair and tells me “No charge!”

Back home one works, the other doesn’t? …… but it was free! So no complaints.

Friday and a better looking day but cool to start with and the infernal wind is still blowing. Again not a day for riding up the main Telluride road as it will be a non stop headwind!

Sunday and to add to the fun the computer is on “low light” which means the power cable has usually come out, but in this case the devil cat has chewed through it!!!    they tell me this is a normal thing that cats do as in the Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation film when the visiting puss eats the Christmas tree lights.

 

Aunt Bethany brings her “gift wrapped cat” for Christmas

The tree catches fire ……   “It was an ugly tree anyway”

The replacement tree

Its a Cat thing!!

“wasn’t me”

The computer goes in for repair and I carry on with the cycling and finish the month on 4202.27 compared with last year’s 2976.27 and now the weather is beginning to change.

 

TONY DOWN