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THE LAST TWO WEEKS …..

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First fire of the season

Only 2 weeks until all the excitement  begins and I’m off for the Thanksgiving Week. Tasks to get under way before then are the last loads of firewood, and some work rewiring some of the older  Xmas figurines for the balcony and a couple of deer that go out by the Waterfalls and then my do it yourself Christmas tree for the Rose Bed.

The week gets off to a good start with load No7 from the wood yard which is all nice dry stuff, although it took a long time to sort through and load into the car. Worth the effort and extra time but that left me no time for a ride.

Tuesday, very cold, with frost on the car and a day in the 40’s. Time to get the Walmart stuff including another “Santa” and I weakened with  a Darth Vader. I did get the lights, a few ornaments for my downstairs garland, some extra electric cords, and a fistful of cable ties.

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Another Santa ……. couldn’t resist

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Darth Vader ? am I losing it????

After unloading and breakfast a very short 10 miles, but every mile done today is one less for tomorrow.

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My new furry boots arrive and are a great replacement for the ones I wore all last winter driving the bus. Wednesday is “Early Release” day so only 13.78 for a quick 1 hour ride.

Improving weather on Thursday and high 50’s with little wind so a decent ride and 25.65 gets done having gone out to the 10 mile point before coming back into town.

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Friday and with no elementary kids today a 1 hour long lie in and another 1 hour later afternoon start means its time for the last load of fire wood …… and maybe a ride?

Seems Aspen Wallwood are still cutting fresh green Aspen which will take a couple of months stacked and drying so I’m sorting through the cliff for the dry fir which they cut back in May/June. About an extra hour to find it and toss it down to the car but I’m back in time to stack it and get out there pre lunch and knock out a few miles.

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After lunch another 13.24 joins the total which now stands at 3469.20 and if I knock off another 10 tomorrow 20 on Sunday should be easy!

With load No8 home and stacked I’m done, and I think we will make it through the winter.

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The Great Wall of Dolores rebuilt

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Front of house stacked

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Wheelbarrow of “Chunky Monkeys”

Saturday and the Ski Swap Shop but nothing we want this year so just sign up for our Telluride Card and be on our way. Nothing happening on the pool front for us this weekend despite a HUGE turnout! I did manage a quick 10 miles before we left so only 20.5 to do on Sunday.

Sunday then! Bloody cold with an Easterly wind and only in the low 30’s this morning but the promise is a high of 58F so don’t complain, it could be snowing!!

Garden tasks that need to be done; cut down the Russian Sages, trim the Rose Bed, and wait for the last of the Maple leaves to fall off.

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The Russians need cutting back

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Serious pruning required

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Always the last to drop

I have a slow flat on the Roubaix so I stayed in town for the 21.70 to take me through the 3500 mile marker.

TONY DOWN

LOGS & PEDALS

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” Is that you Mr Fawkes?”

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Nearly November, no Guy Fawkes for me, but only three weeks to get the last 6-8 loads of firewood and the last miles on the cycling front before conditions become just too unpleasant.

We start the week in a good place with 4 loads harvested and stacked. The Giant Wall of Dolores is rebuilt and now stacking moves onto the front of house.

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The Giant Wall of Dolores rebuilt again!

A bit precarious at the lumber yard working on the towering cliff face where all the nice dry pieces are located like gold nuggets. If you can find a seam of the good stuff a load can be done in around 30 minutes!

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Where is the nice dry stuff?

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Obviously under the dark overhang!!!

With the current changes in the weather I’m having to be very flexible with logging and riding as we now have rain and snow in the forecast.

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First step in the winter clothing addition was the purchase of some thermal riding boots as I remember my feet getting very, very cold last year.

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Should be good with all my other thermal gear but a balaclava might also be a worthwhile addition as most heat loss is through the head.

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The masked avenger rides again!

 

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Good thermals make a big difference

Monday and load number 5 is stacked in front of the house. Bad weather for Tuesday with rain and snow and between 5-10 inches above 9000′. Just manage a wet 15.83 miles. The new boots arrive but not familiar with this “boa system” so try them on in daylight on Wednesday.

Quick consultation with “Google”  and U-Tube has a video which explains everything and they fit very nicely and are as warm as toast just sitting in the lounge.

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Got my “eyes” on these for bus driving

Miles wise the pedals keep going round and after yesterday’s 15.83 the total is up to 3337.01 so with a bit of determination 3400 might fall by the weekend, and I must get this week’s second load to stay on the firewood target.

Thursday and load 6 is home and stacked. It took time to climb the cliff and prise out the good stuff and throw it down towards the car and then load it and repeat the operation. Not enough time left to get a ride in so try again tomorrow and hopefully collect the last loads next week if the weather holds.

Friday,colder but sunny and that crisp wind! Never mind, thermal on, too early for the new boots but another 21.06 is completed but I failed to get my “23” as too much pre ride coffee forced an early stop back at the house!!

42 miles left to complete this weekend, and now thinking 3700? before winter shuts me down. Of course once the firewood task is done then it will be full swing into the Christmas decs and all the fun of that. As yet nothing planned by way of any new features but there are a few things that need some extra lights replaced.

Saturday again and despite the cold the 70 year old braves the harsh elements and knocks up another 23.13 before afternoon pool.

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This goes better than it has and Brenda beats me for a guaranteed “third or better”. I fight my way through the losers winning all the way and meet her again in the 3rd & Better frame. I win this one and also the first frame of the final but lose the second. Can’t complain as the family takes a 2nd and 3rd !

November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day, and the clocks go back. However, the mileage must go forward so quit whining and get out there and find somewhere wind free to bag another 20 miles.

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Bonfire night in the UK

Back in the UK Edward and Grandson James at the local bonfire and fireworks. Meanwhile I soldier on in the cold and unpleasant windy conditions and grind my way to 20.72 (I could have quit at 12 as I was NOT enjoying it!!!) …….. however I’m now at 3402.52

TONY DOWN

 

PLAYING “FALL” AND CATCHUP

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It always starts very slowly but then a single branch on a tree turns gold amongst all the green and that signal seems to trigger every tree to join in and before you know it the season has changed and you had better get your WINTER act in place!

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First frosts, and some pretty serious cold snaps herald the time to say goodbye to all the annuals and hanging baskets. Tomatoes, cucumbers and delicates are done, autumnal displays need to be built and the quest for winter firewood begins.

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Off to Jones Pumpkin Patch we go, a quick sample of cider, and then the business of pumpkin and gourds selection for Brenda’s tribute to Autumn.

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Plenty of choice

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The Team’s 2017 selection

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Straw bales have to wait until Monday as our local source got the mildew.

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The Shade Garden under “leaf attack!”

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Monday and 3 bales of straw gets Brenda’s build underway. I’m off on my winter quest for 12 “Cadi” loads of firewood from my local sawmill at Aspen Wallwood.

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Two loads home, I don’t think they realize how much wood goes in the Cadi.

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Special upstairs autumn theme for the cat who changes it round as the mood takes him.

 

TONY DOWN

HOW MUCH FURTHER ?

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Having hit the 2017 target of 3000 miles at 7000′ the question is how many more can I do before the weather shuts my operation down?

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Coming soon !

So far, October has been a very mixed affair with rain and strong winds although I did enjoy 2 good days and knocked up 42.67 going out to my 8 mile point, twice, and savoring all the magnificent fall colors along the Dolores River.

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Monday, October 9th,  and its colder and windy and we have to take Plan B in for winterizing having completed the Safari on Sunday. The overnight forecast was a low of 23F and true to form the Coleus in the shade garden are now toast! Still looking at temps to see if a ride is in my wheelhouse or not……… NOT!!

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Tuesday, and our 10th wedding anniversary! Remember we were in Napa at Calistoga, and have been back many times over those 10 years, but fortunately we didn’t go for any wine tasting this year as the place has some dreadful fires raging everywhere. We hope there will be no lasting damage.

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A lot of smoke

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Not looking good!

The rest of the week was pretty miserable for the cyclist with very cold mornings and a biting cold wind increasing as the day went on. However, after collecting Plan B on Friday morning I managed a shorter ride around the town trying to stay in more sheltered areas and did the same again on Saturday before our 8 Ball Competition where I eventually did a little better and qualified after 6 weeks of dismal performances. A third place was very welcome!

A poor week overall with only 50 miles achieved in my three rides but next week looks a bit better with warmer temps and much less wind.

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Sunday morning, very cold, at only 25F but I’ll be pushing for a 20 miler today!!   ………. and then we will be pumpkin hunting along with some straw bales for the autumn display in the shade garden.

Denny’s for pumpkin pancakes and then Walmart for a few oddballs and off to Cliff Rose Nursery for the straw bales. NONE ! their supplier lost them to mildew so looks like IFA on Monday. Time for the Jones Farms pumpkin patch and we make the most of the selection.

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Monday and 3 straw bales from IFA has everything ready for Brenda to set about the Shade Garden. I push on and clock up another 16.10 in town miles to add to yesterday’s 22.77 run after the pumpkin task.

Tuesday and onto other tasks, and with temps on the way down as we move into mid October time to think firewood. Off to Aspen Wall Wood and $5 later a full Cadi returns and the stacking begins.

Usually I plan on 12 loads for the winter. As they told me many moons ago “a man’s net worth is judged by the size of his firewood pile”

Wednesday does not lend itself to a ride, but Thursday after a little motivation goes well with 27.30 to crest 3200

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We are in bear country but, thankfully I haven’t had this happen!!!

Friday and another load of wood wraps up the work week and although Saturday morning is now here and its cold and blustery I would like to get a “20” before pool.

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I think 4000 might be pushing it a bit but 3500 I see as “doable”

 

TONY DOWN

THE 2017 TARGET ?

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Thanksgiving Morning 2016 and the last cycling ride of the year down to the Dollar Store before winter set in big time and closed me out for the year on 2031.22 miles achieved.

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With this new taste for cycling the Roubaix was added to the inventory and by the time we set off for Vallecito Lake at the end of August  2802.39 was in the books …….. but then along comes the bloody cold again and its another 3 weeks of misery until various pills and antibiotics finally kill it. Now with weather changes as well its been a struggle to get anything done as time never seems to be on my side and strong winds and pouring rain are not to my liking!

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I’ve had enough of this !!!

Due to all of the above I’ve been struggling to get to the 2017 target of 3000 miles, and I’m almost there but not quite!!! Today should have been a nice recovery day as it a day off from school bus driving and after all the awful fall weather from earlier in the week today was forecast to be back in the 60F range with only a 20% chance of rain.

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1500 done!

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Tour de France and 2200 in the bag

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My  71st birthday and 2500 done and dusted ……. now for 3000

The day started well and after the roads dried up a bit 13.41 was done before lunch. Before I could get out and get more done yet another storm arrived with torrential rain and kept me inside as I’m now waiting on a party of 4 RV’s to arrive around 1600. (Thinks bubble) “I could ride up and down the main road and see them as they come through the town??”

Another 7.23 done before the next big shower, and I’m forced to admit defeat. They arrive at 1730 and I’m with them setting up until 1830 and its now cold, wet and miserable!

Saturday morning and it has been raining again so a small wait for it to dry up a bit and warm up. Now I’m limited time wise as its Pool this afternoon but I push on and reduce the numbers by another 15.31 taking me to 2976.27 which I’m determined to finish this weekend.

Sunday, cool and still damp, but its got to be done. 24.73 to hit that 2017 target, so with a nasty sharp cool westerly gusting 25 mph time to plan how it will be done. Plan is to go for a morning run and hit 16 and then a second outing for the remaining 8.

The first run has plenty of headwind and now with falling leaves at least you can see where the wind is coming from. I elect a town ride to stay in what shelter I can find. The wind is easterly to start with but swings round to westerly as I’m halfway through. Never mind I take it a bit further than planned and knock off 18.25 leaving me 4.48 for phase II.

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Getting there ….. another 18.25

A few household tasks and some lunch after the Bill’s win, and I’m ready for the Bronco afternoon game. Brenda needs to catch up on Outlander before we can watch today’s episode so at halftime, I’ll ride and she can watch, and we will record the Denver game.

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“By jove, I think he’s done it !”

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Yes, its 3000 in the bag !

The wind is now really gusting and it is hard work so more hiding and shelter is the name of the game but its great when you turn round! With Brenda’s TV I can stay out a bit longer so I hit 12.55 for good measure finishing the day on 30.80 and in doing so crash through the 3000 mile target.

Now what ? you ask …….. carry on pedaling until winter shuts me down.

 

TONY DOWN

 

WHAT A VEULTA !

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Seldom have I seen a Grand Tour like this one. Normally I watch the Tour de France  on a daily basis and the days conform to what you would expect, either a GC day in the mountains, or a massed sprint on the flat stages.

So this year I decide to watch the Veulta a Espana and I’m thrilled from start to finish. The race gets underway with a short team time trial with BMC winning and Chris Froome’s team of Sky in third place.

With a very high number of mountain top finishes and some other very lumpy stages its easy to see why most teams have left their sprinters at home.

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Chris takes the lead on Stage 3 by a mere 2′ but takes every opportunity to grab time, even taking bonus seconds on an intermediate sprint!! By Stage 7 he has increased his lead to 11′ and then has an impressive win on Stage 9 surging out to 36′ on a very nasty uphill finish.

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First Stage win

At the end of Stage 11 Chris has a commanding lead of 1.13′ over Nibali but of course now the commentary team of Paul Sherwin and Bob Roll are advocating that he should give away the jersey and save his team from doing all the daily hard work of grinding down the opposition.

However, Sky has the team to crush the opposition and by setting the tempo they can wear other teams down who then can’t support their stars on breakaway attempts. With a Grand Tour of this type with climbers going to win the overall every second counts and the smallest error in any department from hydration, feeding, to going into the red zone, or a mechanical, or even a crash can wipe out all the hard work in one fell swoop.

Stage 12 sees that scenario come to life as Overall Leader Chris crashes on a simple left downhill turn for no apparent reason. The levers get damaged on this crash and he take a spare bike………..

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Simple crash but bents the levers

Within a very short distance on the next right hander the front wheel slips away and he is on the ground again! He wasn’t really up to speed when this happened and apart from the mental feelings he was able to dig deep, and with the aid of two team members made it to the finish only losing 20′.

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How did this happen?

With his lead down to 53′ the numbers flip flop on the next 3 stages and as he enters the individual time trial his lead has crept up to 1.01′. Time trialing is one of his strengths and he wins Stage 16 with his overall lead up to 1.58′

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Second Stage Win

Stages 17 and 20 are the two toughest climbs for everybody and as they start up the tortuous climbs of Stage 17 it appears Chris has put too much out there on the Time Trial. He loses most of his gains to Nibali and finishes with only a  1.16′ advantage. This is really “edge of the seat” stuff and on paper it all comes down to the fearsome Angliru on Stage 20.

Alberto Contador is on his last professional ride of his career and has spent the last week breaking away whenever he could and clearly wants a win on this tour.

Stage 18 looks like the GC riders should all finish together and save themselves for the “big one” of Stage 20. Like the rest of this race more surprises and Chris gains another 21′ on this stage  which he maintains on Stage 19.

Special gearing for this big monster and once again Contador hits the break and very few can stay with him and he is clearly a man on a mission. Chris and a team mate set off and as they approach the top they are not that far behind as Chris further extends his overall lead to 2.15′ and I must confess I’m somewhat relieved after 3 weeks of nail biting stuff.

Contador wins this epic stage and his career on a high note. I do think that perhaps Chris let him have this one as a fitting tribute.

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A great way to finish a career

All that remains is the usual run into Madrid and several laps of the city. At this stage Chris is the leader of 3 of the 4 jerseys and as we get into the intermediate sprint Chris is right up there with the leading sprinters. Some say this was foolhardy as a serious crash at this stage could have ruined all the hard work. The number 2 rider in the Green Jersey competition, Trentin, wins the intermediate but now has to win the stage and have Chris finish worse than 13th. Chris as a GC man never really has a chance at a Green jersey and its pretty clear he WANTS IT!

Trentin wins the stage but Chris finishes 11th and takes the Green. What a race! ….. perhaps the best I’ve ever seen.

 

TONY DOWN

LAKETIME

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We are looking at “5 Branches” No 14 on the map

Its the middle of August and time for an inspection of another Lake and RV Park with slots on the waterline. About 85 miles away, but with more amenities than our local ones!

A Wednesday drive over on a stormy Summer’s Day. We duly arrive and survey the area. Plenty of places to eat, village stores, and of course some waterfront drinking holes. That’s a good start, so what has the RV park got? Plenty of sites on the edge of the lake, launch ramp, tie up spots for adventurous boaters, and plenty of camp facilities.

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The Camp Office and Store

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Bathrooms

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………. and toilets!

Fishing we are told is excellent at the beginning of the season but is falling off a bit now. The rain finally stops and on the way back we stop for lunch overlooking the marina. Very popular and some reasonable fish n’ chips! ……. the venue is booked for Labor Day weekend and I add on a “personal day” to give us the Friday to travel.

Friday September 1st and off we go with Brenda in the Cadi + boat and me in the Safari. Two hours later we arrive and check in. Very pleasant location amid the pine trees with a lot of “set aside” for nature’s flowers and fauna and some other amusing touches.

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Plenty of interesting wild flowers

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Amusing touches on the walk to the Office

We are in our slot but with the electric plug in on the shore line we are in backwards like all the travel trailers ? There has to be a way to fix this.

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In backwards ?

Over at the camp office we find the way with a 30 amp extension cord and after an afternoon ice cream scoop or two the Safari is turned round to face the lake.

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A 30 amp extension cord

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Success and an ice cream

Tables, arm chairs, out and time for lunch with some of my “2nd attempt” radish.

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Now facing the lake

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Fresh home grown radish and cheese

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Fire pit at the ready

Tomorrow we will launch Plan B from the rather steep and narrow boat ramp………. and so to bed ………. up again and a pleasant morning and while Brenda goes through her morning RV clean up ritual I  try a spot of fishing despite having watched many casting away without any sniff of a bite…………. 20 minutes into the mission and a giant take and its “fish on!”

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A 19 inch rainbow trout  for supper

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“Nice one” says Woody

With many “Vet” helpers and camp guides Plan B slides easily into the lake and we set off for a gentle runaround before testing the shore anchor.

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We put to sea once more

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Only 7-10′ deep in this section

Lunch and before we can go out again the weather changes with a few showers, strong winds, and some thunder and lightning. Oh well, get the cribbage board out again and drink heavily after first putting on the new boat cover.

Vallecito Lake is another of these mercury free lakes like Groundhog and the trout flesh is a gorgeous orange color and cooks and eats well.

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Fire pit in action and Smores

We will be back next year, and staying longer as this trip was way too short! The lake is to our liking and we believe it will work very well now we have given it a try.

 

TONY DOWN

GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Friday morning and its cloudy and raining ……..  no riding this morning so alternate plans swing into action. Having seen more Beemer videos time to get the backrest and speaker housings off the top box.

Next on the agenda transfer all the fishing kit into the new tackle box. Well that was all in order so not too much of an issue getting it all located in its new compartments.

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The old & the new slightly larger model

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Transfer complete

The battery I ordered earlier in the week has arrived at the Fun Center so I’ll get that and some fresh fuel for the Beemer and then start reading the 208 page School Bus Driver’s manual.

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On time without the 100 mile round trip to Durango

Sunday morning, post Escalante Days and time to get back to repairs and getting organized for the upcoming School Year. Hopefully Jack will be over this afternoon and we should be able to complete the shocks on the Safari.

I have done my first read of he School Bus Driver’s Manual and I’m ready for a ride after all these wet days we have been enduring. Unlike the riding the Manual is pretty dry old stuff! 26.74 joins the log book so I might get close to 2700 by the end of the week.

Monday, the “In Service” first day back to work and just time for Jack to get the new shocks back on which will require final tightening with the hammer drill so a trip into town and catch Jack after he finishes his shift at 1400.

Tuesday’s plan is to get some miles in the book, clean up the branches I cut yesterday that were over the Safari, drive Safari into Cortez and get the shocks tightened and start work on the Beemer.

26.69 in the books taking me through the 2600 banner and into Cortez on time and home again by 1430. Now for the branches and take it from there.

Branches get cut up into bite sized chunks for the trash and more get cut down as the Safari is out of the way. During a beer stop I fill the fountain and haul the hose over to the pumpkin which is actually producing a fruit at long last. No water ? ……. must be a kink in the kink free hose ……. quick tug …….. BOOM! the hose reel flies off the wall and I now have a huge super shower to get through to turn the disaster off.

Wednesday and Beemer time but things do NOT go well and even with the new battery all I get is a semi dismal start but no sniff of an acceleration so even with the new fuel I’m back to square 1 and now need to get the tank off and start again!!

Thursday and the plan is boating although I have an almighty hangover despite another 2nd place at 9 ball last night. Boating goes well, no bites on the fishing gear, and my Nikon camera throws up another new caption basically saying the memory card has had enough! No pictures today!

Friday and now after another 26.39 time to go into town, get a copy of my driving record (again) and pick up the last of the children stop requests before Day 1 back to school on Monday. With everything done in town time to pack up my fishing kit and maybe get a cast after running up to Rico to see if cycling the 38 miles from there to Dolores is in my 71 year old’s wheelhouse ?

My regular daily run has me out to the 10 mile marker with a couple of days out to 11 but that has been as far as I’ve gone. From my bus driving experiences on this road and many winter trips to Telluride I know Rico is at 8972′ and Dolores is 6932′ so basically I drop 2000′ in 38 miles.

The drive to Rico gives a lot of false impressions and a little daunting to the older cyclist in terms of uphill bits but on turn round in Rico and driving back the “zones” that I didn’t fancy did not seem uphill at all?

Saturday and after watching the Vuelta team time trial I eventually get my arse in the saddle and make 23.53 leaving me 14 miles short of cracking the 2700 marker. A good week nonetheless with 131 miles in the account.

Sunday and a last chance to take on the Rico-Dolores run before getting back to bus driving. We leave at 0945 and once again those optical illusions and “false flats” make the mind think there will be some biggish hills on the way back!!   However as I remember Friday the run home seemed very much downhill ?

We pull into the Rico coffee shop and as I saddle up its 62F and no wind with just a few small clouds. The road sign across from the Cozy says “RICO 38 Miles” so with my current riding numbers one would imagine this trip should take about 3 hours.

I leave Brenda to get her coffee and she passes me on an incline about 3.5 miles down the road …… this was quite a little climb and one I hadn’t remembered!!!        Off I go again with speeds up to 30 mph and even pedaling at over 25 mph in places. After 1 hour of this I have clocked up 19.5 miles !!! A little later I find her in the shade garden and she is somewhat amazed to see me as my total time is a mere 2 hours and 4 minutes for the trip which records 36.45 on the odometer.

Well that one is done and for my next adventure I’ll try Lizard Head to Dolores which is about the 50 mile mark.

A very tiring week driving the bus so soon, very soon, it will be round 2 on the Beemer!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

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