A SHADE GARDEN QUIZ

The weather changed as we rolled into May and a very pleasant last weekend of April saw a warm day with virtually no wind!  However, plenty got done and a lot of Bloody Mary tastings were the order of the day.

Last Sunday, Shade Garden all cleaned up and here we are at the BM tastings

……and enjoying some crispy fried electrics

It then got colder and a series of wet and miserable storms rolled through ….. but its changed again with temps almost up to 80F next week so “perhaps” we are actually coming into Spring/Summer ?

Time then for the “Shade Garden Quiz”. Here are a series of photos taken as the seasons move through

A little snow

A lot of snow!

Summer dining

Full Summer

More dining

More summer

Bath time

The evening monsoon

Fall again

……. and back to snow

Well those pictures are your “Starter for 10” and we will see if you can spot the difference?    This picture was taken last Thursday morning after my morning drive …………

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Study the pictures carefully and if you can spot it then read on…….

 

Seems my motorcycle transporter which had previously been parked off road, but on our property, has appeared just above the fence line?

Apparently a lady from the town houses on 16th Ave was taking two of her “nice” children to school and they were fighting and being a complete pain …….. she turned round without braking to deal with the problem and this is what happened

Lucky it didn’t come through the fence!

She pushed it off it’s block and 15′ down the road!

Yikes!

We await the assessor from her insurance company

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE APRIL TARGETS & GOALS

April memories from my youth in England

The serenity of bluebells in the woods

My mother had primroses everywhere

Starting the month on 986.22 my “wishful thinking plan” was to see if I could hit 1400 by the end despite some miserable conditions and the infernal wind which can rob the soul.

It never stops at this time of the year!

My watch pops up the battery symbol in the city name window, it always stops at this time of the year!!

With Mercury retrograde a few things start going wrong! First my watch says it needs a new battery and Walmart take the back off but then tell me they don’t want to do it as its an expensive watch!!!! Suitably pissed off I go to the local jeweler but he says I will have to leave it and he’ll call me when its ready …….. with form filling and telephone numbers this takes longer than if he had changed the battery then and there!! When I do collect it he tells me he can’t reset it!…… never mind I CAN!

Meanwhile out on the open road my speedo/odometer quits so  change the sender unit and order another one. The new unit arrives and one day later the other sender unit quits!!

Well no real surprise as they were both purchased at the same time. Battery changes all round as its a simple 2032 battery that many devices use and of course I NOW have plenty. Mercury now spins the right way up and as a bonus the weather picks up with warmer days in the 60-70 range but still windy. Time to remove ONE thermal layer!

During Brenda’s trip to LA to see Phil I managed a 3rd at both 9 ball and 8 ball and she was back on it on her return with another 3rd at    Saturday 8 ball. This week we have the finals of both competitions and on Wednesday I had a good win of $109 for the 9 ball where perhaps I have a very slight advantage with my billiard experience and can see some shots that others don’t take ……. although they are watching! Tomorrow its the 8 ball final.

The 9 Ball “Shark of Dolores” is back!!

Back to cycling, there is a saddle out there that people are generally impressed with called the Infinity. A bit pricey but all the reviews say its worth it.

Good looking seat but doesn’t seem to be available

Might have to be this one in black

Out there on the pedals, as I said earlier, I was hoping to hit 1400 by the end of the month and having made 1318.06 before pool last Saturday the 1400 looked very feasible. 34.50 on Sunday and then 24.26 and 25.52 took me over the target to 1402.34 by Tuesday  night.

Early release on Wednesday and the total is 1420.45 with 5 days to go. Hmmm? is 1500 on the cards?? The post 9 Ball hangover did not sit well on Thursday and there was much thought of a “snooze”, rather than ride, but Wimp got it together and limped in another 15.22 pushing ever closer.

Now Friday and my day off so a ride to the lakes starts the day before leaping on the electrical work that has to be done on Slot 5 in the RV park. The 30 amp socket had been destroyed by the last tenant bigtime!  Off to the General Store but sod’s law they don’t have it so after a small “thinks bubble” I take all the 30 amp circuit out of the Boat house electrical box as that used to be Slot 12.

Brenda has given me an early birthday present in the form of a professional weed sprayer and lawn improver. This will save me over a month on my hands and knees weeding all the gravel areas around the park. Now I must mow the lawn and water it before they come early next week.

Temps must be in the 70’s but now that the electrics are finished I can get to the lawn which I complete with the aid of a couple of much needed beers. Waterfall ponds refilled as the deer are sucking them dry and now get both hoses on the lawn and let them run for 3 full hours.

During the course of all this work the cycling demon has knocked 45.56 more miles off the Equator ride and I’m up to1481.23 for the year and pretty determined to crack the barrier before we set off for the 8 Ball Championship.

Out on the road in pleasant warm conditions and sail through the 1500 hurdle with 23.42 for 1504.65 miles for the year. Pool not so good but can’t complain with my earlier win this week.

Sunday morning, Edward’s birthday, very windy and not looking like a riding day! First call to the UK goes to answer phone …… lets try again. Second call same result. Another birthday thing is that Edward’s birthday is the same as my father’s. I carry on ringing but never get an answer!

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

APRIL …. FOOLS ? SHOWERS? AND MORE FREAKY WX

The month turns, April begins, and the first 1000 miles of the year is in the books.

My cousin in Canada sends me a BBC video of the new colony of penguins discovered actually taking to the air. Quite impressive stuff …….. but Mother Nature can adapt as required!

“Penguin Squadron  Clear to Land”

Weather wise, April always meant showers to me with fresh primroses, bluebells, daffs and tulips as another English Spring arrived. Well up here in Colorado the showers can be snow or hail and the winds get stronger with violent gusts!

Yep!

In my efforts not to be a wimp and “get out there” I have had to endure conditions that question my sanity. The freaky weather has been just that with some mornings temps way up at 55F at only 0530 as I set off to work and then the next day 22F only making a high of 35F. Several bursts in the mid 50’s a few 60’s and just one up there at 71 ………. but every bloody day the WIND is there sometimes gusting over 50mph and on two occasions I’ve been blown sideways and I’ve had severe problems trying to get my cleats out of the pedals to prevent nasty falls!

Feels like this

Nearly ended up like this!!!

Thursday 5th and we set off after the morning drive to get Brenda to Durango for her flight to see Phil, his band, another Disney-do and a quick trip to an “Ellen” show. No riding today but I make 1100 by Saturday Pool time where I get another 3rd to add to Wednesday night’s 3rd at 9 ball.

Good ride on Sunday but Monday becomes a rest day as its wild and windy and very cold again. Recover Brenda, including luggage on time from Durango on Wednesday.

Despite another rest day on Friday as the high is only 37F and winds gusting 45 mph I still make 1200 on Saturday before pool. Brenda gets another 3rd but my play is not so good……… and I break one of my front teeth off and now look mountain manish or full on redneck whichever way you look at it. The week starts on 1202.60 and I make 1318.06 before this weekend’s pool session.

 

TONY DOWN

 

MORE BUSTED SPRINGS

 

That time of the year again when teachers and bus drivers get some extra sleep at last. The body clock still kicks the system into gear but after a quick coffee its back to bed for me!

Yes it’s Spring Break but not bimbos and bikinis up here as they are still forecasting this for tomorrow!!!

Great!

So far only wind but a lot of it and temps in the 40F’s. The nice thing about this break is I’m not up trees decorating or weeding, mowing the lawn, or trying to plant anything as its all TOO early. I can get on and put some miles in the book in my journey around the Equator without feeling guilty that I should be using my time on other things.

Last week, up until the start of the break was certainly one for the Lions with 5 days of misery, hypothermia, snow, blizzards, rain and of course high winds.

First day of the break on Saturday, gave me a chance to turn in a decent ride of 20.15 and still have the ability to talk. Sunday, more of the same with a two part ride of 27.76 and then Monday another two part ride of 35.50 which takes the yearly total to 824.13

My plan for the break was to see if I could make the “900” as the 1000 was clearly a bridge too far with the current weather and those strong cold winds.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday produced some good numbers fighting those winds but 33.33, 33.25 and 30.50 took the total to 921.21 and I still have 2 days left until the end of the month.

Hoping for a “30” today and another “20” for Saturday morning before pool which is also getting better with a good run at 9 ball on Wednesday finishing in 2nd place.

Friday and my last big day for a ride so I take the ride to the Lakes which is 10 miles at the turn round point. Warmer but the ever present wind is less than pleasant ……. no matter I force on and with determination for a beer at the brewery hit 41.58 for the day.

Saturday, and with not enough time to hit the “1000” I grab another 23.43 to take me up to 986.22 which is 400 more than this time last year.

Sunday, its got to be DONE!!! Supposedly much warmer at 60+ and not much wind as yet. Some Shade Garden clean up to do first then off to the lakes again and bang in 24.39 after sailing through the 1000 mile banner.

Here I am through the 1000 mile banner and off to the Champagne function to celebrate……

Champagne is GOOD …… VERY Good

The banner is now in the dust!

……. and remember I’m doing this for me!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

MARCHING ON

One more week of bus driving and then Spring Break to wrap up the month. I had hoped we were nearly done with the bad weather but today its been non stop blowing snow and about 4″ still on the rail as evening approaches.

An enforced no cycling day today and probably nothing much in the next couple until it melts. So that was Sunday 18th, and Monday was no better with temps at 30F and not even making freezing!! Tuesday it looks a bit better but at only 37F, and with a biting wind, I return cold and hypothermic after just 14.74 miles but ……. as they say

Wednesday and with early release the temps only make 39F  before I can achieve anything  its time to get back to work. Maybe tomorrow which is supposed to make 63F !!!!!

Thursday and indeed much nicer and despite a late start I get out there in demi pleasant conditions at 55F and hardly any wind. Time beats me today but the 18.33 I did takes me over  the 740 mark.

Beware the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing !!

Friday, a very strange day as the temp is 51F at 0530 as I drive to work. It rains nearly all day and then becomes warm, sunny and very windy yet again!

Saturday and having dropped considerably behind my planned miles I need to get out there and get some in! Windy, but I push on and make 20.15 before its time to get ready for pool. Brenda’s day today and she runs out a GOOD 3rd.

Sunday 25th and 7 days left in the month and I would like to crack 900 before we move into April. Need 140 this week so my aim is to crack 20+ every day to give a little “insurance” in case of some nasty weather. Today goes well with a 27.76  so on track at the moment!

 

TONY DOWN

LIONS AND LAMBS

 

As we roll into March time to recall proverbs from English folklore and remember “In like a Lion out like a Lamb” or, vice versa, and up here at 7000′ in deepest Colorado the proverb is usually very much the vice versa variety.

Not been up there yet, but hopefully COMING SOON !

More often than not, and this year would seem to be no exception, the weather warms up, as it has this week, and then we are treated to “Bluebird Skiing Days” and warm 60+ spring like conditions through most of the month before a final snowstorm DUMP at the end of the calendar, usually in the last days of Spring Break.

Central Ave Dolores after a late March dump!!

A few “Lamb” days to start off the month and after being sidelined with cold and miserable conditions, not forgetting the bitter cold wind, I did manage to push on for a few more miles around the Equator.

How true !

So today, Sunday March 4th, we had a “forecast” Lion day and it really didn’t look that bad so I got a few more miles in although the wind was supposed to be gusting 35-50 mph. While I was out the cloud rolled in and it got colder and colder and of course the wind picked up.

Shortly after I got home the blizzard started and lasted a couple of hours and the temp shot down from 40 to 25F. Now early evening, temp down to 20F and the snow is settling. Score for the first 4 days of the month………..

3 Lambs, 1 Lion

Lets see what next week brings.

Monday, very much a “Lion” day, bitterly cold, with a nasty vicious blustery wind which nearly had me in hypothermia ….. and after 11.38 the body said this is ridiculous and we have had enough. It was so cold and windy it was blowing up my frock!

 

Tues-Thurs, 3 Lamb like days, still a bit of wind, but warm enough to get another 52 miles along the Equator without freezing  to the bars or pedals.

Friday and still windy but much warmer and the wind doesn’t feel as cold as it has been. Day off for me so a good lie in this morning then out there for a two part effort knocking up a pleasurable  39.32 on my giant circle ride of the Globe.

Still windy but doesn’t feel as cold

Saturday, a bit of a Northeasterly but I’m off to my 8 mile turn round point and well pleased with the ride until the last 3 miles where the wind hit me smack in the face. Never mind I make another 21.90 on the quest. The yearly total now stands at 605.41 so I’m 3 weeks ahead of last year’s tally but of course the weather could still shut me down at any time!

After the first 10 days of March the score is now Lambs 7 Lions 3 and on the Pool front a 1st at 9 ball and 3rd yesterday at 8 ball.

Sunday, clocks changed. Weather overcast with a threat of rain and not exactly warm at 38F. Don’t be a wimp!! Get out there and do something!

I did, despite being so cold and only 4 “lambish” days the week ground on and the yearly total climbed up to 707.65 in less than truly pleasant conditions. However, another 3rd place in 8 ball to wrap up the week.

Ides of March, gone, St Patrick’s Day, gone ……. and now another Lion rolls in with at least 4″ which is already on the rail!! ……… there will be NO CYCLING for the next couple of days but temps will be back up in the 50’s by mid week.

Final score Lambs going well with 2 weeks left

TONY DOWN

 

WHEN WILL THIS END ?

A very dismal week on the weather front, freezing cold, snow every day and bitter cold single digit nights …… all combined with that knife edged wind! Friday finishes up the working week with a little “sting in the tail” snowstorm for the last school run and the drive home.

What fun !

Homeward bound

Saturday morning, storm gone, bright and sunny, but only 15F. Should be back in the 40’s next week so maybe I can get going again on my Equator Quest. Another snow shower overnight and only 8F this morning, and of course the “nice” wind is still here although it is bright and sunny.

Time to get the wood stocked up as more snow is forecast for tonight and I won’t feel like swinging the axe after pool this afternoon.

At the ready

Something about a real log fire

I think not !

Tempting thoughts of a ride as temps crest 32F but as I pick up a load of fallen branches from the last 50 mph winds but then a couple of severe mind numbing gusts brings me back to reality.

Conversion sets for the NEW road bike shoes

Time to fit all the cleats to my new cycling shoes as its officially an inside day.

Mucho bling Gaernes

Works well and both sets fitted but as yet untried due to this windy cold weather.

Looks good

Thank goodness I had a better than average education!!

I recently bought a bicycle chain cleaning tool and eventually it arrived from China ! …….. along with the easy to follow instructions!

The pedals are waiting

 

TONY DOWN

 

ALL AHEAD STOP !

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ALL Ahead STOP

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So it starts snowing while we are playing pool on Saturday and here we are on Tuesday and the storm is still with us and looks like staying until Thursday …… so zero chance of getting the bike out or making any progress “Around the World”

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Here I am on Thursday, and the weather is still miserable with showers, melting snow, and a crisp cold wind …… not my kind of cycling conditions! Maybe tomorrow.

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Friday then, bloody cold, and its lunchtime and just made 30F so not a cycling day for me. Saturday, will I get a ride in at all this week?? Looks nice outside at the moment (0830) but the temp is only 13F. They say its going up to 47F so I’ll start thinking RIDE…… it all comes together, windy, so it feels colder than the 44F on the Bank’s sign but I struggle on and crack 20.13 before the afternoon pool where I manage 4th.

The weather once again has the upper hand, windy and then a lot of snow over the next few days and temps as low as 3F and not even reaching freezing as the daily high. A Sunday “hard effort” in high winds but 24.50 goes in the books creeps me up to 395.86 for this year.

Monday morning, President’s Day, and so far none of the forecast “doom & gloom” has arrived. At the moment still dark (0600) but temp at 32F, no overnight snow, and the severe wind is currently calm.

I venture out as wife looks on in disbelief ……… battle my way down to the school and get pelted by the first shower of hail …… up ahead its BLACK!  ….. VERY BLACK!!! …… the wind picks up and I realize  the futility of the mission and return chez moi !

I only need a mere 4 miles + to break 400 and ready myself to hit 500 by the end of the month if this weather will play ball. Maybe I’ll try again later if there is a break in the weather but the 55mph winds do nothing to encourage my enthusiasm. I know its madness even crazy some would say but I WANT that 400! Right now its as windy as hell and just started snowing again!!

TONY DOWN

19,000 TO GO

w3

What is this you ask?

No this isn’t another massive Chinese Take Away order, but the New overall target for my lifetime. Over the past two years, and following the awful bout of pneumonia and the pronouncement of the not unexpected Stage 3 COPD I’m moving on !

Stopping smoking, a year on nighttime oxygen, and a remarkable recovery to COPD Stage 1, I think I can say the persistence of cycling at 7000′ has paid off.

w2

Trolling through E-Bay I came across a rather nice wind stopper cycling jacket by Castelli with an appropriate logo, front and back, and that spurred on this article after assessing all the feasibilities of whether a non cyclist in his 70’s could achieve the following mission.

w1

Google informs me that the circumference of the Earth at the Equator is 24,902 miles so there will be a fair bit of pedaling to achieve this feat.

When I look at the distance I have already knocked up in the last 2 years, 5634, and subtract it from the 24,902 I’m down to 19,268 and I’ve already cycled 351 miles of this year’s goal of 4000 ….. looks like about 5 years to get “that” bottle of champers!!

This morning’s ride was bloody cold and seemed to get colder the further I went but I hit the desired 14.39 in the time available before our weekly pool adventure and once again Brenda got in the money with a fine 3rd place. I played well and got nowhere!!!

I have also found another couple of cycling items that could easily be with me in the near future.

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Nice World Team shirt by Reebok

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Matching shorts from a different seller

Returning from the morning run I could hardly speak as my lips would not work! The following caption says it all…….

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22089657_318880595244370_5512503566856770935_n beer

…… and some pool too

While we were at pool it snowed like crazy but at least my new bling shoes arrived

gaerne1

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Just hope they fit.

TONY DOWN

FEBRUARY YOU SAY ?

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Superbowl Sunday and things not going too well for my team so time to reflect over the rest of the weekend.

Saturday and while the weather holds its current trend of high 40’s I push on and get those miles in the book. 14.87 takes me up to 243.65 for the year and a quick “steal” on a pair of cycling shoes puts me in the mood for a fine 2nd place in the pool competition.

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Good steal on the Gaernes

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Good 2nd place at last!

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Sunday and I had visions of a two part ride with the hopes of close to thirty miles but it got so windy that I gave up at 17.74, came inside and sat down by the TV for the football.

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Oooops  …… or words to that effect

Monday my next pair of cycling shoes arrive and they fit! Mileage continues to rise and the total is now 278.67

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Tuesday and 0430 arrives along with a dusting of snow on the balcony rail. 0445 and its snowing “Resort Snow” in huge lumps …. ….. 0515 and the car is covered as are the roads!!

Home again and the sun is up and everything is melting. Will it dry up in time for a few miles? We will see. Up the road at our local resort, Telluride, 12″ in 12 hours so they are happy. Down here the temps just crest 35F and I take a very unwise 7.80 in the cold and wind.

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Hoping to get up to Telluride on Feb 19th, my next day off

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Here’s the “Real Deal”

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Just seen a beautiful bike at a ridiculous low price, could be a scam but I’ll watch with interest! Currently 2 bids, and only $404 with No reserve!

Friday morning, cold and bright but forecast to get up to 54F this afternoon. The bike I’m looking at has risen to $419 with 10 hours to go. Hoping to make 350 miles by the weekend although 70% chance of snow so riding may not happen!

The year’s target of 4000 still holds and a NEW overall mission will be to circle the globe around the Equator, a distance of 24,902 miles, and see if this can be achieved in my lifetime or if it kills me in the process.

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Another 4 years to go ?

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I think I can !

Currently  my totals are: 2016  = 2032,  2017 = 3602

So, only about 19,000 to go!!!

 

TONY DOWN