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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.


….. and they are off !


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!


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.


This lot were playing in our sprinklers


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.


Oh NO! there must be Botox in the champagne


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.



Another easy win for Bill


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!


The “redo”


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.


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.


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


In the cabin

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



Ceramic frog for me with “the evil eye”


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.



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.


Nobody cares


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.


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.


New seat for ME !


New seat for Brenda

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


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.


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


Turn signal next then the  deflector


Secret torx screws under here!


Another one in here


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.


Reverse and lower fairing off


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?


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.


Two new birthday poles for me!



Nice simple birthday lunch


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.


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.


The dead Safari shock


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!


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.


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.


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!


Cucumbers doing well


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.


One of those plastic hinges has snapped!


My new “birthday” helmet








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.


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.


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!



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.


Toms a’plenty


Cucumbers on recovery


Scuffy electrics have their own house


New soil and irrigation = new flower


Happy new rose


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.


Wrong one!!

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


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.


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.


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.


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 ?


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!


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.


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!!!


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


……… 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.


The grass is cut, strimmed and edged


Very green from all the rain.


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.


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.


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.


Ready to pop


Cheers, 2 days ahead of schedule

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






The Tour de France is in full swing and provides me with very entertaining viewing for 21 days through the month of July. I love to listen to Paul and Phil taking us through the French countryside with all the stories of Chateaus, Monasteries and  beautiful old Churches as we ride with the peloton beside famous French rivers and through wine growing regions.


The famous duo


During my motorcycling heyday I always loved the “big” events and of course as a trials rider the Scottish Six Days was my No1 event every year, and back in the 70’s we rode about 1200 miles in those 6 arduous days.


1970 into the unknown!

EPSON scanner image

1974, my fourth ride


It was tough as always


Bottom of Ben Nevis


1976 on Edramucky

The Tour is 3540 kms this year which converts to 2199.654 miles on its equally arduous journey from Dusseldorf to Paris and as I pedal my way towards my objective of 3000 for  the year the question is will I knock up the 2200 miles before the peloton arrives on the Champs Elysees.

Today I surpassed my last year’s total of 2031 having ridden 155.40 miles in the last week…… not bad for the near 71 year old up here at 7000′.

Monday 17th July, a rest day for Le Tour, and they certainly need it, whereas I’m at 2106.60 on my quest to get to Paris before they do. 93.41 to pass the finish line so time to get out there and knock off a few more before the afternoon thunderstorms arrive.

Road work signs everywhere as I try to leave Dolores and then the “Flag Man” single lane and the follow me car! Hard work trying to keep up with the pilot car and a lot of wet tar on the tires which are picking up stones and gravel. Two stops to clean tires but hit another 25.08 in pleasant conditions. However, need to ride somewhere else until they finish resurfacing this 2 mile stretch.


The plan for Tuesday will be to try and get up the hill out of Dolores for the first time and this will no doubt force me onto the 39 tooth ring! Well, steeper than I thought!!! 3 stops and down to the next to lowest gear, but I finally made it without a heart attack. No K.O.M. shirt for me in the near future.


The top of Dolores Hill

While doing some Tour de France research I noticed that in the early years when the roads over the mountains were little more than cart tracks riders carried their own tires and tubes, much like the two tubes I carted round Scotland on my 8 rides.



Of course in the post war era just about everybody was a “smoker” and many riders were often seen smoking while riding and stopping for a drink or two. Sounds more like my sort of event!!



In my experience people who drink and smoke don’t have much need for drugs and doping.



Can’t see Chris Froome doing this for me but a lovely idea

Wednesday and after yesterday’s mini mountain climb I’ll be back to my standard ride down the valley towards Telluride. Only a smidge under 50 miles to go to Paris! After watching the grueling ride up and down the Alps I’m feeling quite tired just taking in other’s efforts!  I’m late out of the start and forced to cut things short after 21.23 miles but I’m just outside Paris at 2171.51 although storms are now part of the daily forecast.


Serious hail and then heavy rain

Thursday and another gripping run through the Alps but then it gets pretty black and the thunderstorms arrive for a NO RIDING day. The rain carries on all night and Friday’s forecast is not any better and is currently cool and cloudy.

Never mind off I go, I’m not going to be defeated when I’m this close and 25.71 goes in the book which leaves me at 2197.22, or 2.78 miles from Sunday’s finish line! ……………………… Well the afternoon thunderstorm has arrived although today its just light rain after the cracks and booms of the early afternoon. I also need to get up to the light on the sign and fit the new tubes I bought at lunchtime. It does look a bit clearer out to the west so maybe one beer and all will be well?



Artwork complete and now the lights are on

Brenda has been up the scaffolding and painted the name and redone the hummingbird to great effect. Finally it stops raining and starts drying up so I can get those new tubes in the sign lights, all done and ready for dog walking and a short ride to the Brewery for beer and pizza. Another 4.45miles clicks over so I’ve made Paris before the Peloton.


That’s me in the blue shorts on the far left


Done it!




The peace and tranquility of a Groundhog Sunset

After our short, and much needed  break to Groundhog, it was back to the garden and finish up all those projects.


Where we left it

When we left we had just started the irrigation trenching for the front bow beds around Scuffy and the side rose beds. Those are now priority 1 for completion.


Driveway and the stretch to the Maple done!

Second project is the main Cozy Comfort sign which had developed a very nasty “lean”. Many contractors had been approached to get this sorted but none had come through with any realistic bids. Cliffie our painter from last year had the job done in 3 days.


The Leaning Sign of Dolores


Looks like a job for Cliffie


Come-a-long pulls it back to “Plumb”



New concrete and collars

Now the sign is back upright the painting of same needs to be done and Brenda has this in hand with new lower signs and then painting of the upper half. I will be replacing the neon lights when she is complete on the paintwork.

Weather wise still up close to 90F and just coming into the start of Monsoon Season which is a variable feast with afternoon thunder storms and dark skies. Sometimes the storms move on and don’t dump until they get up the valley and have Rico in their sights.

Sadly for everyone our local bar across the road continues to be an unmitigated disaster. The layout is awful, it lacks any sort of theme, and the service is virtually non existent. They say the are starting pool competitions on Thursday evenings but have two tables crammed in a tiny room and NO LIGHTS over either table!! They even plan on charging a $15 entry compared to $6 everywhere else, why, oh why, don’t these people ask???

Therefore we don’t go there and continue our pool at the Montezuma where I’m still top of the leader board with a win last week and second this week. In other pool stories………….


“Hey guys, can I get a shower around here?”


“Damnation, that’s good!”

Cycling is now back on the menu for morning riding before the afternoon winds and rain arrive. 25 miles a day is now my target number and currently I’m at 1927.71 which is a bit behind my planned numbers on the 2017 quest for 3000.

Before I can knock those numbers up I MUST finish this irrigation job and after review I have some more serious maintenance weeding to do.

After much watering the grass is greener but the weeds are enjoying it too! The Cone Flower bed gets done and I finally manage to plant a catch crop of radish and little gem lettuce.


Cone bed ready


Little Gem and French Breakfast are in !

With all my current weeding tasks done back to hiding the irrigation pipes and freshen up the Scuffy beds with some nice rich topsoil.


Pipes and tube everywhere and now the “hiding” begins

More trenching and under the steps and onward through the rock piles but eventually the main pipe has gone and fresh topsoil can be added to the rather lack luster sand and gravel.


Passing the first set of steps and new soil goes in


All hidden through the rose section


Looking good as I get to the “bow beds”


Scuffy irrigation done

Well finally its all done and Brenda’s friends say it looks good so I guess my work on this one is done!

While this has been going on the cucumber which had taken a beating from the high winds has made a comeback and is in full leaf mode again so hopefully we will get more fruit in the future.



Very pleasing to see new growth

Not to be outdone our free gift “Tom” has put out a couple of trusses and has fruit forming.


Freebie going well

Didn’t get my tomato pie up at Groundhog but it was on the menu as soon as we got back and it was ……….DELICIOUS!!!







Almost there, new tags for the Safari, extra coolant, and booze onboard. Brenda working overtime getting the bus spick and span ready for Friday’s departure.


Ready to roll

The only garden task for Thursday is an irrigation  system to be installed across the driveway and out to all the Scuffy beds. If I can carefully lift up the Christmas power cord to the Maple I can make it into a utility trench then bury the last section when we get back.

Of course there will be the mega shopping and loading with enough food to last a week even if we are only away for 3 nights. I will be on wood, the fire pit and fishing items and after last year’s complete underside clean out I hope this will be easy.


Trench complete, cable and pipe in, my, its only 2015!!!

The utility trench gets completed, more and more “stuff” goes on the bus but I still have much to load but I’m good on wood, and there seems to be plenty of room for fishing stuff and the fire pit.

Friday morning, last minute shopping items and after an age loading we finally depart. First portion up the hill (which one day I will cycle up) and then the bumpy road until the sign saying “Pavement Ends” which last year was awful as it was non stop washboard which the Safari hates!! Clearly they have graded it and about 10 miles of a reasonably pleasant surface and my mind is already thinking this is GOOD …… but then its back to washboard for about 8 miles with the speed way down at 10mph. We roll into our reserved slot a little after 1400 and survey the scene.


Out of Dolores, nearly the same shot as last year, but today its not pouring down with rain

Time to set up camp so out with all the tables and chairs despite the strong westerly wind. Many tales of GOOD fishing and bag limits, now need to get some info on good areas and what they are taking as bait.


Weekend set up complete

The duty walk round to collect nature’s flowers and her display should last a couple of days. Humming bird feeder out with the cat on duty!


Natures free bounty of flowers at 9500′

Many margaritttttttas later, its supper time with lamb chops and our very own mint sauce, delicious! An excellent film “Sully” completes the evening and tomorrow we will try the fishing thing one more time.

Nice morning but a dose of apathy in my camp. Pleasant enough but more than happy to just relax this morning doing absolutely nothing! A little snooze, amazing how tired gardening can make you, and being up at 9500′ there is no rush to do too much.  A walk round and people have been catching some good looking trout and the bait is our old friend “power bait” .


Custom made rod rest by a bored stone mason!

After lunch and some bloody Mary’s I stumble down to the lake for a couple of hours. As I arrived people either side of me catch a fish but then absolutely nothing until I leave at 1800 so another zero for me!

Brenda paid a short visit along with beverages and now I’m back on the BM’s. The celebration fire that was for the 4th has already been started by the idiot Redneck fraternity and has now burnt out to the annoyance of the organizers who were planning on a 1930 start time!!


The “Big Fire” destroyed by rednecks playing Horseshoes!

With no fish to fry (again) its ribs which are just about ready and smell wonderful.


Ribs and corn …… Yumeeeeeee!

Try the fishing game tomorrow when there is a competition (not that we are doing it) …… a bit odd as they have changed all the boating regulations so you can only launch a small boat with a 20 horse motor or less and then have to pay $20 when you take it out. Other choices are two “party barges” at $200 a half day or the mini fishing boat we tried last year at $70.


Decidedly pissed off campground owner has the embers rekindled and the fire is off again and more wood arrives.


The day finishes with more drinks and a dog film which is amusing and touching if you are a dog owner.

Sunday, a bit cooler and not so much wind, back to bloody Marys and our last bowl of Brenda’s chicken liver pate and some cherries before a session of “revenge cribbage”.


These are GOOD, what’s for lunch ?


The last of the pate!


Cribbage time

As we finish the decider there is a sudden change in the weather, skies darken and the wind suddenly increases to about 45-50 mph and people are taking cover and trying to protect their belongings.


Getting windy……. note the flags!!!


Whitecaps on the lake and tents lifting off


Not good!

Tents and easy-ups are taking a hammering as helpers try and get awnings and covers stowed. Lightning and thunder, whitecaps on the lake and some ominous black clouds.  After about 20 minutes it blows through and peace returns. …….. the bar-b-q is lit and we shall have steaks, and if she gets her way SMORES.


Now that’s a GREAT steak!




Smores it is then

Monday morning and not too windy so after breakfast time to load up and be on our way. Within a couple of miles there is a Jeep upside down where it has rolled after some incident on a straight road?



Finally off the washboard road and the high speed rednecks in their super vulgar Dodge pickups.


Free Prime Rib ?

Almost home, only 90 minutes on the return trip, …….. a pleasant break from all things and now back to it.


Glad you are back




One week until the start of the Tour de France but I’ll be cracking on now that the bloody awful center bed is behind me! 8 days non cycling in the past 2 weeks has done nothing for the distance totals and even less in the hill climbing section.



Next Friday we will be taking a break from cycling and gardening as we will be at Groundhog Reservoir which we enjoyed very much last year. That means sorting out the Safari in the coming week prior to departure around 1000 Friday morning.

With all the weeding complete in the center bed time for some miles but something is not quite right? Is it headwind? Am I getting worse at this cycling thing as I can’t seem to get going? My speed is down 2-3 mph And I’m feeling every bump and stone from the back wheel! I even look down at the back wheel but all seems well so I put it down to my wimping. I struggle on but its hard work and the headwind seems to be with me whichever way I’m going. I press on and by 23.16 I have had enough!!!

Sunday and a morning shopping run after Moto-GP and F1 and with lunch behind me time for a ride. Rear tire is soft ? ….. well maybe I was right, …….. only 25lbs so that would account for the bumpy ride and the extra drag. Pump it up and its a funny shape!! Not only that but there are surface cuts and holes in the tire. While I carry spare tubes and tools this tire is likely to EXPLODE.


Cuts everywhere and a strange shape ?

Out with the Giant and ride 20.36 on what feels a very strange bike after many miles on the Roubaix. Better get into Cortez Monday morning and see what the experts say.


NEW tire goes on

Still got the center bed edge cuts to do and then start work on the Safari. In Cortez, tire is toast so new tire and tube and back to the edge cuts which take until 1930 to complete but they do look good. Another non riding day but gardening will now take a back seat!



You might remember this ….. which transforms to ………



Edge Cuts complete ………. !!!!

Tuesday, and the last few tasks out front with tons of water to bring back the lawn to green. Need to plant the “Miranda Lambert” rose before I forget and end up doing a Walmart on it.


Miranda in the ground


Other roses approve

Miranda is in the ground, mini weeding around the property, water spraying on the grass and now time for the Safari. Just as we left it, a gallon of coolant and a quart of oil the engine is ready. Brenda fires up the generator now time to de-winterize the water system and switch the lines over for the hot water heater.

This operation takes longer than usual as calcium is blocking all the threads in the heater. CLR gets the job done, the pink flows out and fresh water comes onboard.

Jacks up, engine running and I notice all the winter damage to the fence that was on my “to do” list and I had completely forgotten about. Maybe later?

Into town and visit the Bus Barn to use their high pressure air line and pump the tires up to 100 in the back and 110 in the front. Now use the pressure wash to get rid of the winter grime. Home again and into slot 1 for the next few days while Brenda sets about the inside cleaning and restocking.


Slot 1 for internal cleaning

Too windy to even think about a ride so after a refreshing shade garden beverage time for that fence ……….. find exactly what I’m looking for and several repairs are completed.


Main problem solved, but there are others


No cost fence repairs……. Done!

Meanwhile hop and pumpkin training continues!



Meanwhile a few new plants are going well



Some replanting of two shades of lobelia


The Morning Glory seeds have made it



Death Valley National Park

Here it comes again!

This hot weather (for Colorado) has diverted me from some of my main objectives as the summer sun has been sapping my strength and energy!

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Need another one of these


Lunchtime and even hotter

True there has been progress, but I need to push on with that center bed and get out there on the bike first thing in the morning and get those numbers ticking over again. If I can get back in my summer routine then there is a good chance I can try for some hill climbing in the afternoons and maybe catch up on my distance targets.

The morning goes well despite the uphill headwind for the first 3 miles but a solid 25.25 completed and now ready for yet more weeding in the big front bed.


Bloody hard work ……. but worth it!


Smothered plants enjoy the sun once more

Back on track and into the main bed after a little maintenance weeding around the garden for those that I missed. 4 beers and 3 margaritas later I’m up to the cottonwood stump and have uncovered some really nice plants smothered by my number one enemy the “arsebine” !

Wednesday  and another 25.30 ticks over before weeding kicks in and its horrible! Still a long way to go but some more progress in the jungle. At least I’m now coming to an easier stretch where for some reason this dreadful creeper weed has not taken over. While I struggle with this mess time to look at the “pretty bits” in the garden as with all this heat everything is bursting into full flower.



The shade garden is fully stocked and a delightful haven for a cold beer  and along the front the clematis are loving summer to the full.





The roadside weedbed plants are back every year, and the mint that I planted is taking over but smells wonderful when the hose is on it.


………and of course with all these flowers the butterflies are out and about


……..something to enjoy, but for now its back to the non stop weeding and the voyage of discovery to see what plants are still alive under all the non desirable vegetation.

Onwards from the cottonwood stump, around the corner past some surviving yellow ice plants and down the side hill with all the fir trees an odd heather or two still alive amid the wild strawberry plants. Two self seeded firs of unknown type and some small pinks choked by the infernal creeper.


Ice plant with self seeded fir trees


Wild strawberries


Last year’s pinks hiding in the weeds

By day’s end I’m left with one last push for Friday and the end of Weeding Round 1. The ground has been severely watered and I should be through the jungle by lunchtime, all being well.



Not looking forward to this!!!!!!!

Well that didn’t go as planned! Very, very slow pulling out this lot and hard on the hands and shoulders. By lunchtime I’ve hardly made a dent in it. Brenda has some new water lilies and gets them in before leaving for work.


They look pretty good

More and more grass  gets removed along with the creeper and dandelions a’plenty and by 1645 I’m finished and the battle is won!


…. from this ……..


…….. to this



Now time for a few beers and then water, plant up, and water some more.

All that remains for completion is cut the edges and mow the lawn and I’ll be done for this stage.


The beers were good and, I believe, well deserved, and I get the thumbs up from our pumpkin who is singing “The pumpkins got his hat on …… hip, hip, hip hooray”


Most people get syrup from Maple trees but we get cucumbers and tomatoes?





The Owl & The Pussycat get ready for summer sailing

Sunday, lovely warm weather and time to put to sea again. First get the fishing licenses and some bait. McPhee is full to bursting so not sure how fishing might be but always worth a try. More to celebrate Father’s Day and the fact that Brenda has so many memories of boating with her father.


The Captain says that after further review she wants to delay 24 hours to ensure everything is ready.


Fishing tackle checked

I weed the boathouse and surrounds and make a small start on the center bed before “the beer” calls and then not much gets done from that point.

So, Monday morning and all’s well, new lights are checked, tools loaded along with rods, tackle, refreshing beverages and a light lunch.

A day away from weeding and biting insects will be nice but Brenda has discovered another use for “Off”


It seems this stuff might, or might not work on mossies but it sure is good on faded headlights and does the job without grinders and whirling electric drills


Now you see me

So we arrives with our sparkling headlights at the lake and see they have changed the sequence and directions in and out the inspection and parking area.


At Inspection and making ready for sea

Through inspection, plug in, and down the ramp to the water. Yes, as expected pretty full lake after record snow falls in the mountains over the winter.


Plan B is clean again

Boat released smoothly and I await the arrival of the Captain. Plan B starts, and following a little engine exercise we put to sea. The lake is VERY full and we ride round and cruise up to House Creek where the other boat ramp is which is only open now at the weekends.


Working well, thanks Reliable Marine

The water is SO DEEP that you can now clamber ashore pretty close to your RV site


Deep in thought

Nice to see the Captain so happy and all those memories flashing through her mind.

Back to our fishing area towards Dolores and the depth finder tells us its 10 feet  deeper than last year.


You can but try

Fishing begins but not even a single nibble which in view of the time and conditions didn’t really surprise me.

Back to the dock and once more through the system and home we go. Plan B back in her boathouse after a good testing of all systems. Now time for some adult beverages.

Day1 success !







With the 1500 in the bag now time to experiment with some hills and see if I can get up them. Until I get some confidence I’ll be using standard shoes as the thought of having my feet locked on the pedals does not sound too good if I run out of puff and need to put a foot down!


Really ?

Now into June and week 2 of the bus driver’s holiday begins. The weeding has once again given me “The Jesus Blister” in the palm of my hand but the results of what caused it are very pleasing with the driveway, rose bed surrounds, and the driveway side of Scuffy all free of the winter weeds. I now need to repair the irrigation tube I poked a hole in and the main water faucet which is also toast!


Let’s see if you can break this one!

Today’s tasks repair the plumbing, and de-weed Scuffy and all the rock areas around her.


Irrigation repaired


Scuffy side beds weeded


Ready for “bow beds” to be cut 

The jobs get done, everything  ready for a couple of extra beds in the “bow area” which becomes the weekend task. Prior to that a quick maintenance ride of 22.84 going out as far as the 8.5 mile marker despite the uphill headwind. Tonight it will be time for the brewery and a couple of beers so swap over to the Giant and ordinary shoes and bang in another 10.29 which I have to say felt a bit strange after a road bike.

Saturday and “Hanging Basket Day” but after all the shopping and unloading I finally get out there and take it out to the 9.6 mile point before finishing up at 23.62 for the day. New total 1560.59 as I head for the 2000.

Sunday and Monday are no ride days as the garden tasks take priority but Tuesday out to 9.9 and another 23.34 is completed and now its Wednesday once again and today its the full 10.00 miles before the run home  topping out at 24.41 taking me over the 1600 marker.

Thursday and out to 8 miles in pleasant conditions for a quick 23.39 and now they are forecasting high winds again for the next 3 days!



Bow beds cut and planted

Gardening first then review this wind situation and see what I can do in terms of mileage. Need to finish the Rose Bed, then move on to the main front beds and waterfall zone. Rose bed done without too many cuts from the bushes and now finish all the repairs to the rock surrounds which the dumbarses keep driving into!! Water now on the lawn to soften things up. Out for the ride and not quite as windy as expected. turn round at 8.5 today and finish on 23.74 bringing the total to 1655.47 miles for this year.


Rose bed complete and rebuilt

Saturday and many tasks including strimming and lawn mowing and a load more water on everything prior to those main beds and the ton of weeding that awaits. No ride today!

Sunday and although windy I set off up the long hill to Telluride with  a host of riders coming the other way. Some wave, most don’t even acknowledge my presence (rude miserable bunch!) …..well never mind each to their own. Not exactly a race but a lot of them, some sort of “just do it” event. I knock up 24.68 which takes me to 1680.15 a little under the 1700 I was hoping to hit before the weather went crazy with these 50 mph winds! Finally get into the waterfall bed for the first serious weeding session and now ready to crack on with the task but we have a few other things going on.



weeds out!

Nice thing about summer is evening cocktails in the shade garden with the odd surprise dinner from head chef with much grilling on the bar-b-q.


An excellent kebab


Well done Chef!

Monday and after two other summons for jury duty I’m forced to go! The two previous ones were nipped in the bud as we were short of drivers but, now that School is out difficult to find a “get out” clause.


Through security and now one of the most boring days in memory as the judicial system rolls on. Its a Domestic Violence case and could take 3-4 days with a lot of “he said, she said”. The morning rolls by and now they are privately asking questions of individual potential jury members in chambers. 1130 and the rest of us are dismissed and need to come back at 1415.

The afternoon session is even worse as we now call out 26 people to be the jury pool and the questions begin with the judge going first and dismissing a few. New people join the pool.


Now the lawyers start their hypothetical questions a bit like the TV series Bull. This drags on and on but by 1630 the judge says OK now the advocates can reject up to 6 people each so the rest of you can go!!!! Well I could not have ridden today and its still blowing a gale when I get to the car.


Very tedious!!!

Tuesday and time for another Doctor visit reference that little cold that arrived mid May. An annoying little beast that lasted a week and just when you thought it was gone came back again in full flow. It seems it was a virus and my Doctor says there was a lot of it but they found the answer. 6 days of medication and it will be gone so better get the prescription on Wednesday morning.

Into Walmart for the prescription and can’t resist a few “annuals” in the shape of lobelia and dianthus for the front of the Waterfall bed. A new timer for the waterfalls and oil and coolant for the Safari all join the cart and I’m home by 0930 and ready for a quick ride in what seems to be quite pleasant conditions. Another 24.17 goes in the books and I’m past the 1700 banner with just a chance of hitting that “2000” by the end of the month!

After being bitten by some bugs while weeding, might have been fire ants? it will be long pants this morning as I attack the last of the weeds on the waterfall bed. Would be great to get that finished today but still a lot of work to do.

It gets done, all the weeds, long grasses and other rubbish out so now time for a load of water and then recut the edges, plant up and put the rocks back in. No ride today as this project took a bit longer than expected (don’t they all!)

Today its ride first, then change the lights again on the boat trailer and get back to planting and edge cutting on the waterfall bed. The ride gets done but heavy going for the first couple of miles until I got my second wind then on, and on and feeling stronger and stronger knocking up 27.64 in relatively warm and pleasant conditions. Now for the other tasks.

Lights changed on the boat trailer, battery on charge, now for the edge cutting around the waterfall. By 2015 I’m just finishing up watering and I must confess I’m knackered!

Saturday, a party later in the afternoon, not feeling up to a ride at the moment, and I really want to plant up and get the rocks back in place.


Edges cut and extended and the rocks back in


Fresh “pinks”



Summer climbing up the waterfall


Weed free and blooming


Ice plants loving the sun


Lobelias and dianthus around the edges

Garden takes priority and it all goes together very well! Now I need a few more border plants to go with those that like it in that bed which are salvias and ice plants. A quick start to the main bed but the palm of my hand is getting very sore with all this weeding.


Waterfall climbers requesting “more flow” over the falls!

Sunday and we should have been at the lake but, …… Brenda wants to be totally ready so boating slips a day. I need to get some extra plants and I’m still not feeling 100% energy wise after all last week’s labors. After getting licenses for fishing I’m into 4 Seasons and then a mercy mission to the Walmart Plant Mortuary. I could have had a ride but carry on gardening.


Mercy mission to Walmart for Salvias


Boathouse and surrounds get weeded and fishing kit gets checked over ready for tomorrow’s first outing.

It never ends, but its fun!!!