GETTING HOME

 

With all the chaos of bad driving and winter storms the millions of travelers press on regardless in their new quest of getting home! Phil who has been with us since Dec 23rd was due to leave yesterday at around lunchtime with a two part trip out of Cortez to LA via Phoenix.

His day was nothing short of a disaster caused in my opinion by poor planning and yet more airline stupidity. I thought that our local “puddle jumper” airline, Boutique, was better able to cope, but clearly not!

Another empty Boutique aircraft

Updates during the day with a diversion to Grand Junction, then some crap about crew duty time, then a fresh all female crew, then weather holds, followed by “boarding” or rather from one room to another and TSA …….. then Ooooops! sorry the flight is now going to Denver with 2 passengers!!!!!!! Sorry, by the way we don’t give you a hotel or rebook your flight and ……. they are ALL full for the next three days anyway!!!! WHAT A SHAMBLES.

My next trip to Denver for the surgery will be out of Durango!

3″ of snow overnight but they make it to Durango and Phil finally starts his return journey, and after a 6 hour layover is airborne for Burbank.  …….. “Time to spare, go by Air”

A very cold week with temps in the minus range overnight and not quite making freezing point during the day.

Meanwhile, in other news, Santa is still having trouble with the “V8” power of the sledge with a minor crash, by his standards, on the roof and a test flight down to New Mexico which didn’t end too well.

After all these problems and a recent bout of airline and private crashes Santa has opted for some more flying lessons from Frosty who is a QFI

Making it look easy

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS 2019

 

Yikes! he’s back!…….. and still not very good!

0830 and everyone still asleep. 2″ on the rail overnight so we are up to a White Christmas. Fire lit, TV yule log on so stereo time at the fireplace.

Its a BEEF today, with all the trimmings. Seems I’m on trimmings so I’ll be peeling and chopping vegetables shortly! …… mind you these Mimosa’s are quite DELIGHTFUL!!!!

Turns out to be my perfect Christmas drink!

Swede’s done and on a rolling boil, potatoes, parsnips and leeks all prepped and ready to par boil before roasting later on,  so my part of the operation is near done.

WHAT A BEEEEEEF!

It sa 7 POUNDER!

My part with the veggies

Pressie from Sally now up in a window ……. looking good, thank you.

Lunch came and went, forgot to take pictures, but it was superb one of the best, if not the best beef I tasted in 2019! Couldn’t finish it but plenty for Boxing Day along with Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, neither of which I had any room for.

Santa lands at Cozy

Side effects caught up with me around 2000 so off to bed and wake up to another fresh 2″of snow but very bright and sunny and no wind.

Brenda and Phil take a trip to Telluride as it really is a “bluebird” day, while I stay at home with the energy sapping side effects that I was hoping would be diminishing by now.

Forecasters keep issuing storm warnings but so far not much to slow everybody down. Currently down to 2-4″ by day and another 1-3″ overnight.

Well I made it to Christmas, hopefully a few more to come

 

TONY DOWN

 

BADGES, BAUBLES, BANGLES, & BEADS

Here’s the deal rabbits, I need a new sleigh from either Jaguar  or Range Rover, preferably with a V8

 

Not bad!

Oooooh, now that’s some accel !

Sadly some of the many Christmas presents I would have liked had to be put “on hold” as I’m still undecided on which vehicle to go for when I have finished all this medical stuff and surgery. If I survive the battle I can order what I please.

However, I do want to badge up the grille again along the lines of my earlier exploits when cars were very important to me and all the work involved keeping them in A1 condition both inside and out.

Quick refresher of “My” Range Rovers after a look at the Audi

My Audi pre the Saudi experience

RR1  Pre Gulf War for something to do

RR 2  Post Gulf War l bargain

RR 3 after arrival in Phoenix AZ

RR 4  …… before it started snowing!

If I continue down the RR road then the Shaq mobile would accept the badges without any problem to the grille.

Special grille, no problems for badges

The 2010 model I’m looking at could be improved with a chrome grille for a bit more WOW factor

I’m sure chrome would look better

A lot more POP!

 

Look what the rabbits found

The grille will be my personal history, RAF and my 14 years at RAF Coningsby, where I served on 29 Squadron (76-79), 64 Squadron or 228 OCU from (79-88), and finally 5 Squadron until Gulf War I in 1989. Then I was seconded to British Aerospace and 29 Squadron RSAF in Dhahran SA until 1994. I was also very privileged to serve on the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from 1980-89. 30 years of my life on a grille!

64 Squadron always stood out as my career “high” as I was made Dep Flt Cdr and then as I was promoted after a stint in the Falklands I took over as Sqn Ldr Trg. Shortly afterwards we moved across the airfield to make way for the F3 Tornado and I then became the “XO” or deputy boss.

Former boss of 228OCU  Gp Capt Chris Coville, and my boss in the Falklands, presenting me with my 2000 hours F4 badge

During 1987 my Wing Commander, Steve Nichol was sent to the Falklands to command 23 Squadron and 9 aircraft leaving me to command 64Sqn/228OCU with 35 Phantom F4’s, 100 students and 55 instructors. They also gave me substitution pay which was a HUGE pay rise as I had more commissioned time than Steve and went to top pay Wg Cdr.

Christmas Eve  morning and a Winter Storm warning in effect until 1800 on Christmas night. Forecast up to 12″   !!!

Nothing as yet so Santa is off practicing ……. looking a bit on the rough side as he really isn’t used to this V8 power. Early morning test flights up and down the 145 in front of the house ……..

Didn’t think he would pull out of that one

Better down by the Town Hall

Better get him in for some breakfast

High speed run down by the church ……. and then some “bomb” runs

Could speed up delivery

……… and then he gets a bit “overconfident”  ………

10 degrees nose down/1000′  MAX!!!

as expected there is an almighty crash and the sleigh gets airborne again and collides with a tree by the school

No, he hasn’t got a V8 endorsement, or insurance for 3rd party damage to private property

They let him off with a ticket, and I’ve added my next year’s wish list if I’m still around. Things I would like in my stocking…….

Either one of these or,

This one will do if this is the choice

My old badges are all painted and ready at a moment’s notice

Other badges are still in the undecided basket but I do like this old RAF vintage one which has a lot of character

Even been pre-drilled for the job

sadly I can’t find 64 squadron in the right size …… these are a bit small at 3/4″ diameter

Next ones up in the range of “wants” are about 4cms

Might look good …. , but can’t find a 64 Sqn

A few Jag trinkets if I go that way ……..

Or another from  Range Rover

Well it did start to rain and snow but nothing much came of it other than the horrid damp feeling and temps down to 36F

The fire is lit, Santa has loaded up and will soon be on his way as here it becomes “Twas the night before Christmas etc, etc”……… seems a reporter from the local paper heard of the “crash” so that will be in the headlines

Meanwhile he has gone until next year,  I think someone has detuned the sledge. Seemed a lot quieter on take off and looked good on the fly by.

Up, up and away

Masterful stuff …… well done Santa

….. and to ALL a good night

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DROPPING TEMPS & PRICES

12/17/19 and its cold! Temperature on the Bank sign as  I drove past at 0600 was 3 Degrees F and on my return at 0800 it was 1 F …… and that’s  COLD!

Down from $19,999 to $17,682

The No 1 Jaguar on my list dropped another $500 and finally I got a message to say the Shaq RR was still available, and this one has been on sale since I first started looking back in October.

$10,000 or best offer

Well that’s all good news, all I need to do today is find my British Ski Instructor badge that I took off my jacket before its planned wash. Emptied the pockets, and its missing!

Now Wednesday, and colonoscopy part ll, drunk all the fluid, two days without food, so I’m looking forward to some lunch when this is all done.

Well done pineapple!

The rotating pineapple  works it’s way through and after only 30 minutes the job is done. Dr Maddison says it all looks good all the way so time for a nice lunch at Ocean Pearl.

and thoughts of Christmas pudding

Day off from medical stuff tomorrow so maybe I’ll find my badge ? Then Friday drive the School run in the morning and zoom over to Durango for the dreaded banging and crashing of the MRI and finish off with a CT scan to complete the day and the 2019 school year.

More banging and clanking!

Couldn’t find my badge! so that just leaves D11, my normal bus, which is away undergoing repairs. Having published an earlier article with the “overpriced” RR someone suggested it was ME, ME, ME! so I invited the current owner to give me a better price and as a starter he came down $2000 just like that!! I haven’t even entered the race yet or given him my first offer.

Color still unknown … needs the CHROME grille

Over to Durango at 1200, nice easy drive with a few idiots who don’t seem to understand traffic lights and go straight through on RED even after stopping!!!

The hospital deal proceeds as planned and I’m finally out of there at 1630. it has to be said the Durango MRI is much nicer, quieter and even comes with a sound deadening headset…… what a difference.

Now we wait to hear the surgeon’s opinion and when it will all happen.

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY OWN CHEMO BELL & CHANGING PLANS

The Bell was rung on Friday 12/13/19

Brenda found a very sweet little chemo bell which I have been ringing ever since the last poison bag was taken off at lunchtime. It seems this is a tradition that people do when they have completed their last chemo treatment.

That completes the 12 sessions which have taken best part of 6 months to get through. Now time for other things and a few Christmas decs for front of house and inside in the office and lodge room. Of course none of this may happen due to raging storms blowing in for the weekend. All that seems to be on the table is yet more log splitting before the storms roll in.

Tree looks nice as always

My favorite area

On the health side another visit to Dr Maddison and time to finish the colonoscopy scheduled for Wednesday lunchtime. More fun and games on Friday afternoon with yet more MRI scans and a CT scan to finish off the day, which also happens to be the last day of school before the Christmas break.

Plans for changing my mode of transport may go on hold until other serious pending matters are resolved. The surgery looms in Denver but, as yet no dates are set as the surgeon is awaiting the results of these scans …… and then there will be booking of flights etc to get the job done with a week in hospital to recover. Can’t say I’m looking forward to any of it although getting a “new exhaust”  and rid of the other bag has its attraction. Will have to look at life expectancy  to see if a car change makes any sense but looking forward to it was fun!

BMW for some reason never featured on the list despite all my praise for them and my road bike, the K1200LT, which I recently rebuilt and had repairs done.

All repaired and now maybe time to sell

Time to go ?

Can’t be buying one of their car’s if you have to go through this…….

????

So now having gone full circle I’m back to looking at Range Rovers again as they seem to offer more of what fits my requirements as I get older and approach the Pearly Gate !

Currently, 3 of the RRs take my fancy, first up an unusual, but very colorful 2010 model, overpriced at $20,000, but nice, ……perhaps a bit TOO flashy?

Blue or purple ?

Very flash wheels with the bigger rims

Yes, flashy

A good looker and supercharged

Interior, OK, not my favorite

Choice 2 is a blue one down in Phoenix, nicely detailed, same sort of mileage, but over $10,000 cheaper.

Comes with a warranty and nicely detailed inside and out

Very clean engine compartment

Well detailed internally

Woodwork could be changed for a bit more WOW factor

Would look better with a Chrome Grille for my badges

Nice at the price

Last choice in the current list is the Shaq mobile over in CA which had several upgrades to the bodywork, flash wheels, and internal upholstery. Also only priced at $10,000, or best offer, and from my studies they have had it for at least 3 months. Would cost around $1000 to have it shipped up here.

In black with front badges removed and new grille and motif

 

Well detailed, special exhaust and more flashy wheels

Upgraded upholstery

More waiting then until after Christmas and the New Year and all the surgery!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAST OF THE CHEMO!

 

That just about sums it up with the side effects

Since this little body debacle started back at the beginning of July I have endured 12 treatments of this awful Chemotherapy which would and will NOT feature on my Christmas list. God knows what cancer actually feels like but the “cure” side effects are NOT in any way pleasant!   …… and there is the understatement of the day!!!!

So yesterday was session No 12 and (as far as I know) this was the last one which has taken best part of 6 months. The good news is that having been taken off the debilitating recently added drug that the new Doctor ordered many of the side effects are better or getting better, my eyes have nearly stop running, the pins and needles in the fingers and lips have stopped, and the hand cream has repaired my cracked finger tips. Seems there is a caner/chemo bell in these hospitals which you are supposed to bang when you have had your last treatment?

The poison bag comes off this Friday and then on Monday I see the colonoscopy surgeon who then needs to resume his work as the “flue brush” couldn’t get passed the tumor he found. So on Wednesday its back into hospital for “Colonoscopy Round 2” and another dose of the rotating pineapple!

Last of the poison bags

No more of this!

Just one more dose of the “flue brush” and rotating pineapple!

Friday back over to Durango for yet another MRI followed by the  CT scan. These results will then be available for the surgeon up in Denver who will do the surgery sometime in January if all looks good…. and that means a week in recovery in hospital up there.

 

TONY DOWN

DASHING THROUGH THE LISTS

“dashing around with a smoothing iron” ….. as it was F4     !!!

Beginning to think I’m becoming obsessed with this CAR thing as I survey car after car looking for all the things I like and want……… and of course the “thing” I’m likely to sit behind is the DASH which is very important to me! Hence “dashing through the lists, on a one horse open sleigh”

This IS exactly what I want and lives in here>>>>>>

PLEASE!

Slightly older with different trim

Next up is the cheap XF with the super shine detailing

Can’t beat the bodywork detailing on this one

……. and I DO like the dash as well

Also pleasing to the eye

Some other trinkets have not escaped my eye and for those who can detect the bezel ring color? …… it seems to match?

Color wise very similar to the No 1 choice

Make it so!

Mucky morning in Dolores this Sunday with 90% chance of rain and snow, and we have had both already! No matter, plenty of GOOD football on today along with early season skiing of all varieties.

Need to get all the upstairs boxes back in the loft and wait for a dry day for the balcony decs.

Boxes all back up in the loft, upstairs and tree complete

Seems that the RR in California which was my No 3 choice has gone or I can’t get any sense out of the seller. However several more have popped up………

An anniversary model for something in the 2003 era ? Nice in candy apple and only 100 miles away.

OK as a cheapee

Not quite sure what the color is here? However, its down in the phoenix area, very pretty but maybe overpriced in my opinion.

…….. another one in blue with a pleasant inside and reasonably priced down in Phoenix

So, still plenty to choose from and the Shaq mobile is back again

Be patient !

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE THANKSGIVING STORM

Still waiting! Saturday morning, 11/30/19 and it seems they got it wrong this time, although the TV pictures show disaster on the road and quite appalling conditions.

Friday morning followed the forecaster’s story and the first belt of snow took over from a steady rain coming up from Arizona. Within 30 minutes 1″ was on the rail and the roads were soon covered.

Into  Cortez to get rid of the Chemo bag and getting slippery before the downhill to 4 Seasons where it usually clears up, but the wind is blowing like hell, and its drifting across the road. By the time I’m on my way back, after a little shopping, the roads are fairly clear and another session of plowing is in progress.

Nothing much for the rest of the day apart from a few flurries until 1730 when it becomes “whiteout blizzard conditions” but only lasts for 1 hour before becoming clear.

Yikes!! that is serious

Just up the road at Telluride its snowing and whiteout conditions which all the locals want for Thanksgiving weekend and opening day. Looks like they got what they wished for.

Our 9″ for Friday never materialized as I suspect that Storm 2 coming up from Arizona went by to the South of us and Storm 3 coming in from Utah diverted to the North leaving us in a cold tunnel in the middle.

Meanwhile, I carried on with my restoration of my 2 favorite car badges…..

Now for some paint.

A lot better and 3 coats of clear varnish

THIS badge was on ALL my motorcycles since 1964 and the next one (RAFMSA) took a beating alongside (BARHAM)  on the grille.

Needs a little more of that varnish

Now all I need is for Santa’s Elves to source a few more trinkets and then maybe, SANTA can make a personal delivery, post my cancer surgery in the New Year   ?

After 30 years this would be a nice tribute

This was my Lincolnshire Base at RAF Coningsby where I spent 5 tours……(14 years!) lets see if you can guess what I might be putting them on ?

Time will tell but it can’t hurt to dream can it?

I …………. wwwwwwwwwiiiii sss hhhhh WISH

 

 

TONY DOWN