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BUILDING NIAGRA

BUILDING NIAGRA

BUILDING NIAGRA

When we last left the waterfall project the ground had been prepared, many more loads of rocks had
been collected, and the final mental picture had been drawn. Now its time to see if I can build what I
had envisaged without ending up with a hernia!

Where we left off……

First stage is to build the splash trap as a lot of the water tumbling over natural rocks won’t go exactly
where I want it and if I don’t re-route it back to the source then I’m in a total loss situation and will have
built myself a swamp.

Splash trap designed and graded

With the ground suitably graded time to get the old butyll liner in and test the system. Well it seems to
work but now I need some channels for the water to flow on its return journey and this is achieved
using a load of the red brick she hates. Now that this looks like it will work I need to extend the area a
couple of feet at the back to get the slope right for the upper falls…… more sod removal …… SOD IT !

In with the liner, and a “test” firing

The operation gets bigger!

Now the heavy engineering begins rolling and lifting the mega rocks that will form the side retaining
walls where the red brick once was. At this stage a couple of the cottonwood tree “bite sized chunks”
are used in the front bed to support the side walls of the lower pond and also give me a couple of
level platforms to work with. Now time to use the red paving slabs to form a couple of pillars in the
lower pool which will support the final falls. With those in place some of the selected pretty rocks can
be positioned and topped out with river rock of all sizes. That’s the fun part and you can see your idea
coming to life.

Pillars and the cottonwood stumps in place

2 X ‘king heavy rocks on the pillars

Edge masking underway along with mega rocks and pebbles

The post lady is now giving me a hard time about the rocks in the drive as she can’t get to the mail
box so much rock moving is required to keep her sweet and ensure the mail gets through!

US Postal not impressed !!

Next phase is the “jigsaw” portion laying out all the small pieces and trying to form a natural edge
over the sides of the black pools. When this portion of the plan comes together you actually feel you
are making some progress. Yet more river rock required so wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow load is
acquired, emptied on the drive, washed, and redistributed to finish off the theme.

Edge work complete

The Frogs and Noah pay a visit

“This will be worth watching….. he’s quite mad you know”

Time for a little “whimsy”  and frogs, Noah, and some fish join the project. Final tasks before more
mega rocks arrive are to form the collesium pillars that will support those big rocks and give the
project height. More big “bite sized”  chunks of cottonwood are hauled over and the last of the paving
slabs are used as the dry under supports.

Supports for the big rocks in place

Waiting………

Time frame wise, I have 2 days left to complete this as she wants it finished for Saturday and our
annual party. I think I’m on time and so far the cost has been zero but a whole load of sweat equity
has been invested.

Getting closer

TONY DOWN

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  • 6/24/2011 11:39 PM Scott Eldredge wrote:
    Recently found your site. Wanted to ask you a few trials questions. Do you have an email I can use? Regards, Scott
    Reply to this
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DRIVING ON

DRIVING ON

DRIVING ON


One week before the schools closed for the summer break we had what appears to be the annual
end of year driver’s get together party…… a sober affair as there was little drinking, apart from myself
who had a designated driver!

While on a smoke break, Joan, one of the other subs suggested I give Aramark a call as they were
looking for drivers for the summer season at Mesa Verde National Park. Sunday morning and I fill in
the on line application. Joan rings a bit after 7 and says I should ring her boss….. NOW !

Monday morning and over at their HQ filling in all the forms and it seems the game is on. Some quick orientation, the mysteries of the “Time Clock”, which I have never once used in my working life and I’m working on Saturday straight off the bat.

The tour buses

Saturday I’m riding shotgun on one of the tour buses so up the mountain and see how this goes. The morning is a 4 hour guided tour with an on board park ranger and we tour various sites with the party
getting on and off and looking at the progression of Indian development finishing up with a one hour
trip through Cliff Palace. The afternoon trip is similar but 1/2 an hour shorter. At the end of all this I get
to drive the bus back down the mountain.

The tour bus picks up at the Far View Lodge

Monday and time to learn some of the other tasks which I start out on with the Shuttle. The Shuttle is
the employee bus and takes the workers up and down the mountain to their various places of duty.
The morning run starts at 0500 ferrying cooks, servers, bottle washers and uncle Tom Cobbly up the
hill to the 3 mainstay facilities of the operation called Far View Lodge, Far View Terrace and Spruce
Tree Terrace. 5 runs up and down the twisty tight mountain bends on the morning shift also acting as company mailman between all the sites and several visits to the Girl’s Dorm to pick up the
housekeeping ladies and yet more bottle washers. The shift goes on until 1430 when we hand over
to the night “B” shift.

The 22 seater employee Shuttle

The interesting drive up and down the mountain

No surprizes then when I’m shotgun on Tuesday night’s B Shuttle where we do basically the reverse operation in the evening bringing down all the day workers and taking up the night restaurant team
for the upmarket dining in the Metate Room in Far View Lodge. The last run up leaves at 2130 and
then waits until all the staff have finished cleaning up and then we can set off down the hill in the dark
usually ending up at around 2330.

Waiting for passengers at Spruce Tree Terrace

The rest of my week is spent on this B shuttle. The next week I’m on the B shuttle ALL week as the
normal driver is away ……….. and then the schedule comes out for week 3 of my three weeks with the company when I see I’m on this bloody B shuttle AGAIN !!  ………. time for a “meeting of the mind’s”  so
I explain I didn’t join to do a night driving job, don’t like nights…. period, hated night flying when I was
in the RAF,…… and it’s not good for business here at the RV park. I also added that having spent
most of my working life as an Instructor that I thought my services would be best utilised on the tour buses………. eventually that seems to have got through and I now have this Fri/Sat on the tours, 2 days
off and then 2 days on the butt of dawn A shuttle.

One of the stops on the canyon edge

Two days on the Tour Bus came and went and very enjoyable they were too as you certainly feel you
are on the coal face with the customer.  The whole scene, which is open to interepretation, as nobody
really knows what exactly happened or why, is very interesting so after much research and listening
to many Park Ranger’s takes I have formulated my own “layman’s’ ideas.

The Park Ranger gives most of the talk, but I can interject here and there with other points of interest
and best camera shots as we trundle along the edge of the canyon. As many of the visitors are elderly
I tend to assist with unloading and boarding and walk with them and give them the talk if they can’t
keep up with the main party. All this of course can sometimes be reflected in the “tip” which we we
may accept even though the ranger can’t.

At 0745 the daily tour run begins at the Lodge picking up the guest lists and boarding the first group
of clients. From there over to the Terrace where the second group and breakfastees should be. I then
give them a short talk on bus safety followed by personal aspects such as lack of oxygen, 7000′ etc, everything is an effort, altitude sickness, sunburn and dehydration. All this with a bit of humor
explaining that as I’m both British and American I will be driving on BOTH sides of the road !

We then move to an area for a geography lesson, it is called “far view” for a reason, and then off on
the Top Mesa Loop hoping to spot some wildlife along the way. We start at “Pithouse” circa 600AD
which is a home in the ground dug out with sticks. Next on the loop is Square Tower from about
1100AD and is a cliff dwelling. Now time for 3 Cities which is a collection of homes built one on top
of each other over a 200 year time frame. Clever excavation shows all three homes and their
improvements through time. Another stop on the side of the canyon to view all the cliff dwellings and
point out Cliff Palace which they will be going through with a different ranger. Down the canyon edge
and stopping for photo ops at the many spectacular sites.

Cliff Palace from the overlook platform

The Ranger briefs the customers on the “do’s & don’ts”

Another potty break and they assemble ready for their 1 hour tour of Cliff Palace. Meanwhile after
seeing them off I move the bus to pick them up when they re-emerge all puffing and red faced
having climbed all the ladders and stairs to get out of the canyon. Only 30 mins left on the tour and
they are quite pleased there is no more hiking and all the rest will be “drive bys”.

Tour Bus moved and ready for the red faced out of breath clients when
they make it out of Cliff Palace

Being a quick learner the techniques for being a “tour bus operator” and what the customer wants,
and that “extra mile”, are being moulded and so far the results are very promising and lucrative!

TONY DOWN

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DRIVING ON

DRIVING ON


 One week before the schools closed for the summer break we had what appears to be the annual
end of year driver’s get together party…… a sober affair as there was little drinking, apart from myself
who had a designated driver!

 While on a smoke break, Joan, one of the other subs suggested I give Aramark a call as they were
looking for drivers for the summer season at Mesa Verde National Park. Sunday morning and I fill in
the on line application. Joan rings a bit after 7 and says I should ring her boss….. NOW !

 Monday morning and over at their HQ filling in all the forms and it seems the game is on. Some quick orientation, the mysteries of the “Time Clock”, which I have never once used in my working life and I’m working on Saturday straight off the bat.

The tour buses

 Saturday I’m riding shotgun on one of the tour buses so up the mountain and see how this goes. The morning is a 4 hour guided tour with an on board park ranger and we tour various sites with the party
getting on and off and looking at the progression of Indian development finishing up with a one hour
trip through Cliff Palace. The afternoon trip is similar but 1/2 an hour shorter. At the end of all this I get
to drive the bus back down the mountain.

The tour bus picks up at the Far View Lodge

 Monday and time to learn some of the other tasks which I start out on with the Shuttle. The Shuttle is
the employee bus and takes the workers up and down the mountain to their various places of duty.
The morning run starts at 0500 ferrying cooks, servers, bottle washers and uncle Tom Cobbly up the
hill to the 3 mainstay facilities of the operation called Far View Lodge, Far View Terrace and Spruce
Tree Terrace. 5 runs up and down the twisty tight mountain bends on the morning shift also acting as company mailman between all the sites and several visits to the Girl’s Dorm to pick up the
housekeeping ladies and yet more bottle washers. The shift goes on until 1430 when we hand over
to the night “B” shift.

The 22 seater employee Shuttle

The interesting drive up and down the mountain

 No surprizes then when I’m shotgun on Tuesday night’s B Shuttle where we do basically the reverse operation in the evening bringing down all the day workers and taking up the night restaurant team
for the upmarket dining in the Metate Room in Far View Lodge. The last run up leaves at 2130 and
then waits until all the staff have finished cleaning up and then we can set off down the hill in the dark
usually ending up at around 2330.

Waiting for passengers at Spruce Tree Terrace

 The rest of my week is spent on this B shuttle. The next week I’m on the B shuttle ALL week as the
normal driver is away ……….. and then the schedule comes out for week 3 of my three weeks with the company when I see I’m on this bloody B shuttle AGAIN !!  ………. time for a “meeting of the mind’s”  so
I explain I didn’t join to do a night driving job, don’t like nights…. period, hated night flying when I was
in the RAF,…… and it’s not good for business here at the RV park. I also added that having spent
most of my working life as an Instructor that I thought my services would be best utilised on the tour buses………. eventually that seems to have got through and I now have this Fri/Sat on the tours, 2 days
off and then 2 days on the butt of dawn A shuttle.

One of the stops on the canyon edge

 Two days on the Tour Bus came and went and very enjoyable they were too as you certainly feel you
are on the coal face with the customer.  The whole scene, which is open to interepretation, as nobody
really knows what exactly happened or why, is very interesting so after much research and listening
to many Park Ranger’s takes I have formulated my own “layman’s’ ideas.

 The Park Ranger gives most of the talk, but I can interject here and there with other points of interest
and best camera shots as we trundle along the edge of the canyon. As many of the visitors are elderly
I tend to assist with unloading and boarding and walk with them and give them the talk if they can’t
keep up with the main party. All this of course can sometimes be reflected in the “tip” which we we
may accept even though the ranger can’t.

 At 0745 the daily tour run begins at the Lodge picking up the guest lists and boarding the first group
of clients. From there over to the Terrace where the second group and breakfastees should be. I then
give them a short talk on bus safety followed by personal aspects such as lack of oxygen, 7000′ etc, everything is an effort, altitude sickness, sunburn and dehydration. All this with a bit of humor
explaining that as I’m both British and American I will be driving on BOTH sides of the road !

 We then move to an area for a geography lesson, it is called “far view” for a reason, and then off on
the Top Mesa Loop hoping to spot some wildlife along the way. We start at “Pithouse” circa 600AD
which is a home in the ground dug out with sticks. Next on the loop is Square Tower from about
1100AD and is a cliff dwelling. Now time for 3 Cities which is a collection of homes built one on top
of each other over a 200 year time frame. Clever excavation shows all three homes and their
improvements through time. Another stop on the side of the canyon to view all the cliff dwellings and
point out Cliff Palace which they will be going through with a different ranger. Down the canyon edge
and stopping for photo ops at the many spectacular sites.

Cliff Palace from the overlook platform

The Ranger briefs the customers on the “do’s & don’ts”

 Another potty break and they assemble ready for their 1 hour tour of Cliff Palace. Meanwhile after 
seeing them off I move the bus to pick them up when they re-emerge all puffing and red faced
having climbed all the ladders and stairs to get out of the canyon. Only 30 mins left on the tour and
they are quite pleased there is no more hiking and all the rest will be “drive bys”.

  

Tour Bus moved and ready for the red faced out of breath clients when
they make it out of Cliff Palace

 Being a quick learner the techniques for being a “tour bus operator” and what the customer wants,
and that “extra mile”, are being moulded and so far the results are very promising and lucrative!

TONY DOWN  

   

THE WATERFALL

THE WATERFALL

THE WATERFALL

I have to say that when the NEW “project” was announced I was not too keen on the idea. However,
since destruction/construction of the old fish pool has begun my enthusiasmn has increased and I’m
now ready to give it my “all” and see what creation can be achived from the “mind’s eye”.

Early stages of deconstruction

Initial preparation of the site has been completed with all the previous plants and weeds removed and
the less than perfect pond layout levelled!  A new edge has been cut and now my next task is to create
a border from which I can grade the splash trap to collect all the water that won’t go exactly where I
want it. Once the butyll liner is in place for the splash trap then my plan is to use several of the large
bite size chunks of trunk from last year’s removal of the dreaded cottonwood tree thereby saving on
collecting tons of rock. The bigger pool will have central pillars covered by some largish rock and
hopefully the final effect will be a sort of mystery “where does all the water come from and go to ?”

Relevelled and ready

On the rock side the prime commodity will be sandstone interspersed with river rock. There will be planter “holes” left for suitable plants which will be container grown such that they can be moved
periodically to change the effect, a bit like Louis XIV at Versailles who had his 1000 strong force of
gardeners change the entire layout every night so that he could see a “new” garden every morning.

Changed every night !

However, getting on with the project seems to always be one step away as weeds are flourishing everywhere and once again we have a seasonal mess requiring my immediate attention. Some
progress over the weekend and the front is looking more like it with only the driveway to do before yet
more mowing and strimming to stay one jump ahead of the grass.

Hanging baskets acquired, brackets resecured, mainstay weeding nearly all accomplished and  with
a few days off on the horizon time to get back to the task. In the mean time rocks keep arriving out front
and a whole load more have been “earmarked”……. it continues!

Suitable rocks join the pile

Something like this with a few more water sources

Two days off, the grass is cut,  time to get on with it !

TONY DOWN

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THE WATERFALL

THE WATERFALL

 I have to say that when the NEW “project” was announced I was not too keen on the idea. However,
since destruction/construction of the old fish pool has begun my enthusiasmn has increased and I’m
now ready to give it my “all” and see what creation can be achived from the “mind’s eye”.

Early stages of deconstruction

 Initial preparation of the site has been completed with all the previous plants and weeds removed and
the less than perfect pond layout levelled!  A new edge has been cut and now my next task is to create
a border from which I can grade the splash trap to collect all the water that won’t go exactly where I
want it. Once the butyll liner is in place for the splash trap then my plan is to use several of the large
bite size chunks of trunk from last year’s removal of the dreaded cottonwood tree thereby saving on
collecting tons of rock. The bigger pool will have central pillars covered by some largish rock and
hopefully the final effect will be a sort of mystery “where does all the water come from and go to ?”

Relevelled and ready

 On the rock side the prime commodity will be sandstone interspersed with river rock. There will be planter “holes” left for suitable plants which will be container grown such that they can be moved
periodically to change the effect, a bit like Louis XIV at Versailles who had his 1000 strong force of
gardeners change the entire layout every night so that he could see a “new” garden every morning.

Changed every night !

 However, getting on with the project seems to always be one step away as weeds are flourishing everywhere and once again we have a seasonal mess requiring my immediate attention. Some
progress over the weekend and the front is looking more like it with only the driveway to do before yet
more mowing and strimming to stay one jump ahead of the grass.

 Hanging baskets acquired, brackets resecured, mainstay weeding nearly all accomplished and  with
a few days off on the horizon time to get back to the task. In the mean time rocks keep arriving out front
and a whole load more have been “earmarked”……. it continues!

Suitable rocks join the pile


 
Something like this with a few more water sources

 Two days off, the grass is cut,  time to get on with it !

TONY DOWN

  

A TRIALS SABATICAL !

A TRIALS SABATICAL !

A TRIALS SABATICAL

My favorite Ahrma section, “The Waterfall” at Casper which sadly I won’t
get to see this year

There is a major difference between retirement, loss of interest, and or, ability and having something
forced upon you. Regrettably I’m suffering from the latter as I find myself unable to go to my nearest
Ahrma event at Turkey Rock this weekend. Not being able to compete due to lack of finances does
nothing for ones morale and is a far cry from my riding heydays pre the recession.

Recent repairs to the RV were expensive and now it needs 6 new tires at around $1500-1800, and all
this before refuelling at around the $4.20 a gallon ! ………. so this year I might as well sit on my arse and
give the trials scene a complete miss as I can’t get anywhere close to qualifying……. all very, very sad.

However life is not all doom and gloom as I turn 65 in August so I will pick up another couple of
pensions which might just finance my trials riding in later life. The bikes are still keen, and so am I, so
maybe this year I’ll just be a backyard trialer and ponce around doing figure of eights and pretending
they are $ symbols.

This morning up bright and early only to be reminded I’m not 8000′ up a mountain at Turkey Rock and
I’m not in an RV and getting ready for two super days of trials that Ed will have laid out. The only time
this venue was on the calendar was in 2009 and I’d just come off a clean card at Milliken post my
return from the Scottish Pre 65 Silver Jubilee. Day 1 went very well with 3,4 and PI riders going out in
the morning and the rest of us checking for them. With roles reversed my afternoon outing produced
another zero card and I seemed to be on top form.

Day 1 on top form

Plenty of “Ups”

……..and downs

Day 2 should have been another perfect performance but a nervous dab on the first section spoilt
that plan and then for no rhyme or reason I went the wrong way on a very simple section for a dumb
5 ! Well that was something I hadn’t done in a long time so I then had to get the act back on track but
after cleaning the hard part of the next section I stalled the engine on a turn and finished the first loop
on a dismal 11.

Up the hardest part of a Day 2 section

Looking good until I stalled the motor…………. DUMB!!

The next two loops went as planned with a zero score and fortunately for me my opposition was
faring even worse and racked up scores in the 20’s.

Happiness was cleaning loops 2 & 3

I’m sure the Enfield would have done well there this weekend but we will never know.

TONY DOWN

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A TRIALS SABATICAL !

A TRIALS SABATICAL

My favorite Ahrma section, “The Waterfall” at Casper which sadly I won’t
get to see this year

 There is a major difference between retirement, loss of interest, and or, ability and having something
forced upon you. Regrettably I’m suffering from the latter as I find myself unable to go to my nearest
Ahrma event at Turkey Rock this weekend. Not being able to compete due to lack of finances does
nothing for ones morale and is a far cry from my riding heydays pre the recession.

 Recent repairs to the RV were expensive and now it needs 6 new tires at around $1500-1800, and all
this before refuelling at around the $4.20 a gallon ! ………. so this year I might as well sit on my arse and
give the trials scene a complete miss as I can’t get anywhere close to qualifying……. all very, very sad.

 However life is not all doom and gloom as I turn 65 in August so I will pick up another couple of
pensions which might just finance my trials riding in later life. The bikes are still keen, and so am I, so
maybe this year I’ll just be a backyard trialer and ponce around doing figure of eights and pretending
they are $ symbols.

 This morning up bright and early only to be reminded I’m not 8000′ up a mountain at Turkey Rock and
I’m not in an RV and getting ready for two super days of trials that Ed will have laid out. The only time
this venue was on the calendar was in 2009 and I’d just come off a clean card at Milliken post my
return from the Scottish Pre 65 Silver Jubilee. Day 1 went very well with 3,4 and PI riders going out in
the morning and the rest of us checking for them. With roles reversed my afternoon outing produced
another zero card and I seemed to be on top form.

Day 1 on top form

Plenty of “Ups”

……..and downs

 Day 2 should have been another perfect performance but a nervous dab on the first section spoilt
that plan and then for no rhyme or reason I went the wrong way on a very simple section for a dumb
5 ! Well that was something I hadn’t done in a long time so I then had to get the act back on track but
after cleaning the hard part of the next section I stalled the engine on a turn and finished the first loop
on a dismal 11.
 

Up the hardest part of a Day 2 section

Looking good until I stalled the motor…………. DUMB!!

 The next two loops went as planned with a zero score and fortunately for me my opposition was
faring even worse and racked up scores in the 20’s.

Happiness was cleaning loops 2 & 3

 I’m sure the Enfield would have done well there this weekend but we will never know.

TONY DOWN 

 

AWAY DAYS

AWAY DAYS

AWAY DAYS

As the school year draws to a close its been a very busy time for sports teams and activity trips. I
seem to have been getting my fair share taking track & field teams from all three school districts to
various locations and over the last week I’ve been on a bunch of “cultural visits” including  a chain saw carving demo, a trip to the Durango-Silverton train, a bit of hairy mountain driving through the Mesa
Verde complex to see the cave dwellings and finally last weekend a 3 day trip to Grand Junction for a
variety of tasks.

The trip for Mancos school to Durango for the train ride was seriously over subscribed with a lot of
parents joining their children for the adventure. The tour bus, which only seats 50 was sidelined in
favor of Sharon’s 71 seater Bluebird and even with that it was crammed full!

My 70 strong load of passengers are away on the choo-choo-puffer

I get to sit, and wait……..

5 hours later they are back

A trip to Mesa Verde was well worth the effort for both the elementary kids and myself. I didn’t realise
it was 20+ miles off the main road up and down some really challenging mountain cliff roads made
even more fun with rain and snow ! The site itself was quite amazing and I took time out to do some
exploring while the Park Rangers and teachers took them round and out on a hike.

The cave dwellings at Spruce House Mesa Verde

Very impressive !


Firepit with reflector plate

The following day I’m off with Cortez Middle School on some sort of cultural visit to Grand Junction
which is also hosting the “Regionals” of Track & Field for all the Middle Schools, which is what I
thought I was going on !

Thursday morning, bright and sunny, with temps already cresting 70 I turn up at the school with
Vonda’s newish superbus. I must admit she does keep it in pristine condition and quite rightly gets
very pissed off when it goes off on activity runs and she has to drive a spare.

Vonda’s fairly new pristine bus

27 students and 4 teachers are on the trip with 2 teachers taking a car with lots of goodies and
sleeping bags. The Day 1 plan is to get to Grand Junction, some 200+ miles to the north and find the accommodation at the United Methodist Church ?  Well, fortunately for me I get a motel room so I don’t
have to endure children 24 hours a day for three days.

Today’s routing will be via Monticello and Moab in Utah and then the freeway to GJ crossing back into Colorado and a lunch stop at the Colorado Welcome Center. One hour in and the first duty pee break
at Monticello and then onward to Moab where the others are now insisting on another bathroom break.
All the wind has gone and its getting quite warm and very pleasant. The Utah portion of the freeway is
deadly dull but the kids manage to persuade passing truckers to sound their air horns as they rocket
past the school bus limited to 60 mph.

Lunch stop complete, trundle on to find the church and get them settled in. Afternoon mission, a visit
to Mesa State University which seems to go well so having run them back to the church time for me to
find my motel and get settled in. 8.5 hours driving today so the bed at the “cheap & cheerful” motel is a welcome sight.

Pulling into The United Methodist Church in GJ

Friday and today is a long one as the plan is the Colorado Monument, picnics, hikes, multiple stops
and then an evening shopping trip to the Mall. Roll up at the State Park entrance and lady ranger
knows all about our trip and says another Ranger is at Devil’s Kitchen and waiting for us. I miss the
ultra tight entrance turn to the Kitchen and end up driving about 3 miles up the switchback mountain
road before I can turn the bus around. Well if its all like this then we are in for some fun!!

Devil’s Kitchen picnic area

Finally back at the Kitchen the group depart on their hike while I enjoy the mountain sunshine and go
rock hunting. I can visualize some superb trials sections from Ahrma through National modern and
walk a few and collect a rock sample which turns out to be 1.8 billion years old !

Good sections here !

Nearly 80 degrees when the hot, thirsty team get back and the picnic begins. Now time to tackle the “twisties” in the school bus for 20 miles to the visitor center. Quite a challenging road with all the switchback turns up the mountain and then very tight turns along the rim taking you right out to the cliff
ledges with perilous sheer drops if you make ONE mistake. Several stops along the way to take in
the scenery and marvel at the power of water and wind erosion.

The bendy road through the park. Devil’s Kitchen bottom right, Visitor
Center top left

The bendy road takes you very close to some perilous drops

At last the relative safety of the vistor center and the kids are now off for more hikes and a spot of
sketching to remember all they have seen. All students accounted for time to go down the cliff edge
road and get off this mountain. Ultra tight downhill turns and I’m well pleased I have the 4 stage
retarders to keep the speed under control. A brake failure on this road is NOT an option!!!

Back to the church, and let the girls shower and change for the shopping trip. Suitable vetting for inappropriate clothing and now we are ready to depart. Next problem a wallet has gone missing so a
square search of the church begins. No sign of the missing wallet or money……. did it ever exist? did
he actually bring it with him? etc, etc? Everybody chips in and he now has more cash than he
supposedly started with.

1730 and all dropped off at the Mall, time to refuel bus and self. Last night was my favorite Chinese
so tonight something different and lo and behold I stumble into Red Lobster in another section of the
Mall. Well of course I could really use a beer or two but again, not an option, as I’m driving but when I
get the little souls home I have seen a bar that backs onto the Motel and I’ll be heading there when we
are done.

Driving round Grand Junction its a bit like New York with all the yellow cabs but in this case its a sea
of school buses from places I have never heard of all going somewhere or waiting for students to
finish eating, shopping or whatever else was on their itineraries.

All aboard for the run back to the church and its 2115 already. We don’t get far when one girl
remembers she has left all her shopping in Target ! Back we go but it cannot be found. Around 2200
I’m back at the Motel and the bus is locked for the night and I enjoy a couple of well earned beers
sitting outside in the warm evening air.

Saturday morning and back at the Church it looks like the plan has changed as there is little urgency
to get the show on the road. Eventually they, and their kit, are all onboard and its off downtown to the
science center.

Outside a class is experimenting with rocket technology, maybe these boys are off to NASA in a later
life. A whole load of interesting exhibits inside and 2 hours is spent looking at all the wonders.
Meanwhile a mini thunderstorm arrives and washes out the planned picnic lunchstop which now
takes place inside the science hall.

Yes, this is rocket science

The route home will be Delta, Montrose for chocolates at Russell Stover’s, bathroom break in
Ridgway and a final stop on top of the Lizard before rolling into Cortez around 1830. I buy some of
the discounted Valentine’s chocs (3 boxes) and put them with my luggage in the overhead rack
behind me……. more of this later!!

Time for candies and icecream

Ridgway and up and over the two passes and soon we are on the Lizard for final group photos for
what they think was a worthwhile and enjoyable trip.  Shortly after 1800 we pull into Cortez Middle
School and unloading begins including trash removal.

10,000′ up on the Lizard with fresh snow

As we arrive there is much crunching of chocolate box paper and small fat boy deposits same in
the front trash bin. Strange I thought, that he too, would have bought Valentine’s chocolates ?  I check
that all my luggage is still in place including the Russell Stover’s bag which I notice is light by ONE
box of chocs ? It appears “fatboy” has eaten the entire box while sitting one row behind his teacher.
When questioned on the subject he claims someone threw the box at him ?????? ….. this still does
not account for how it magically jumped out of my bag, unwrapped itself and  fell in his mouth ????
The school was taking disciplinary action on Monday as this is THEFT whichever way you look at it. It
also begs the question if you are going to steal the Driver’s chocs you are now also Prime Suspect for
the missing wallet.

The end

TONY DOWN

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  • 6/2/2011 10:43 PM Jose Ludwig wrote:
    Your sidebar about the fat boy and the chocolates had me chuckling. I ‘ve been driving High School Teenagers down from Boulder to Arapahoe County (Private Jesuit School), but it’s only an 18-pass Bus. I feel all better after reading the stories of your escapades on the tight mountain roads.Although teens on a bus present a unique set of challenges.
    See you at Steamboat.
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INTO THE WORKSHOP

INTO THE WORKSHOP

INTO THE WORKSHOP

6 months without much use ….. it’s a mess!

No pool, no pets,but I do have some cigarettes! This weekend sees the grand opening of the
Workshop and time to get in there and sort out the bikes ready for my diminished season. Riding
wise with 4 events already completed I’m at a serious disadvantage so time to plan what to ride and
where?

Clean, keen, but covered in dust

Currently on the Ahrma side it looks like Turkey Rock, Casper and Milliken but that is only 6 rides of
the required 7 and therefore makes missing Buckeye at the beginning of the year even more annoying. Would have been nice to do Donner but fuel costs have put a wet blanket on that! Other events that
might get a look are Steamboat where I could sleep in the car and  The Ute Cup which is fairly close
to home by USA standards.

Brenda’s parents are keen on us driving over to New York State for a visit and it just so happens that
there is a Vintage 2 Day event just over the Canadian border and a trials school hosted by old friend
Mick Andrews.

Another trials school helping Mick ?

Before I get stuck in on the bikes there are a few of “Brenda’s Projects” that need to be done in order
for me to have a demi peaceful run at carbs and polishing after a major clean up of floors and
benches and relocating all my tools which have been “borrowed” over the last 6 months.

Tools everywhere

The BMW also needs a charge up on the battery and maybe repair the battle scars from its Napa
experience when it fell over in the trailer. The BMW could get quite a bit of use in the very near future
as I have quite a few sessions over at Mancos where its 50 mpg could save a bundle on daily fuel
costs and of course provide some pleasant morning and evening riding subject to the suicidal deer
population which are on the move big time!

Eventually caught up with Howard, the RV Guru, who was having problems with a new cell phone so
the RV will be dropped off for those rear axle seals. The RV was duly moved to Howard before he sets
off on his annual fishing trip but its still so bloody cold in these parts I am still not that keen on nut
twiddling in the workshop!

The day continued, still unpleasantly cold, it snowed a bit, but eventually I braved the workshop and
set up the cable to the trailer and put the BMW on charge. The forecast is 70’s this week but now its
40, snow, and wind so I’ll wait.

First of the Beemer repairs done

3 days later and the weather improves a bit and time to open up the trailer and get the BMW out. On
opening the trailer the horrid little yellow light on the charger is still flashing rapidly so it looks like the
battery maybe toast! Checking locally the price seems about $125 which I could do without but it is the original and is six years old. Somehow the brain remembered an old sage once said that if a battery
gets too low on charge a standard motorcycle charger will never get it back in action. Battery suitably
removed and attached to hi-tech car charger. Nothing seems to be happening ……. but come Saturday morning a quick look and believe it or not it is now fully charged!

…… and lo, there was light

Refit…….. and BINGO! lights, cameras, action and she bursts into life. That was about as far as I got
with my personal tasks as now Brenda wishes to dismantle the old pond and convert same into a
series of waterfalls using natural rock and be done with fish keeping as they normally don’t make it
through our severe winters.

The next project

But first the grass. Out with the Craftsman lawnmower which is a bit like the Christmas lights. It was
working perfectly when it was last used and put away and you know damn well it ISN’T going to start!
All the usual carb cleaning and blow throughs and then say the magic words “Honda, Honda” …….
and as always when threatened with a replacement Honda the Craftsman bursts into life and the
lawn regains it’s Wimbledon look with stripes a’plenty.

Grass first, then dismantle and stack

By mid Sunday afternoon the rock is all removed, tons of junk in the trash and the area made ready
for phase two. This will be the removal of all the dianthus plants and an ever growing wild strawberry sanctuary. I’ll be sitting down sometime this week designing this next Rodin structure!……. now she
doesn’t like the red brick retaining wall !!!!!!

End of phase One

Rocks removed, sized and stacked

What’s wrong with the red brick ?

Since then two weeks have elapsed and the only progress has been plant removal as it has been
non stop rain, hail  and …………

Tuesday morning, No, not base camp on Everest but our camping area
here at CC with 5 tents full of university students on a “bug hunt”

TONY DOWN

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