CHRISTMAS DAY

 

Here we are again, Christmas morning 2018. Forecast to snow this afternoon and night and  through most of Boxing Day tomorrow bringing about 7″ of snow ….. we will see.

The weather as it is now

As it will be!

Almost time to prep the vegetables, and then if time permits maybe I’ll try for 5 miles on the bicycle as I haven’t been on it for over a month!

Vegetables prepped, swede done and mashed, parboiling of parsnips and spuds done and the lucky ones set aside for roasting. More wood chopped ready for the snowstorm and the cycling project gets put on a back burner again. At the last count I had knocked up 4644.30 miles on my quest to cycle the Equator. Could still make 4700 for the year but looking outside this morning that is looking unlikely.

That good looking beef!

Swedes first

Spuds peeled

Parsnips ready

Brenda likes them roasted

The last of the veggies

Swedes on the rolling boil

As a surprise gift I got a cycling Stein which is strangely delightful and has a “bicycle bell” on it so that you can ring for another.

Ding .. Ding

I also got a full blown weather station so I can compare my forecast with the experts.

The beef rests, the veg are back on the boil and an excellent Red vino is selected to replace the morning’s champers.

Fantastic!

Snoopy and Charlie enjoy their lunch

The eating was as good as the preparation.

Looking in

Time for more films and more classics. we have done Chevy, took on Danny and Bing (always good) so now its Jimmy as George,  and then our huge list of Hallmarks

1600 and a few spots of rain and the weather forecast, which keeps changing, is now saying less than 1/2″ today and 1-3″ tomorrow. Brenda sends out the “Snow Dance Team”.

The rain changes over to snow and very soon the dancers are back inside and take over “Greeter Duties” for the guests that Brenda invited on the 25th by mistake! However we do get an unexpected night stopper.

With the snow really coming down in resort style things are looking very “White Christmas” and Brenda has her wish.

Now this one says it all ….. The Perfect Christmas Night.

However, the snowfall changes over to buckets and the dump is on! Hypertherm can’t take the weight of wet snow and falls over, my new metal trees are bending under the load and team Santakins,  and Claus are none too happy as they try to dock the boat.

SH 1T this is getting SERIOUS

Forced out for dog walking in the blizzard of 2018 we all make it back and get into Hallmark.

By dawn’s early light there is the duty 7″ on the rail and the forecasters are saying less than 1/2″ for today and by 1000 the expected melt begins.

A bit excessive Brenda!

But we did win the lighting contest

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE

 

Brenda decided to have a late brainwave and go for an “impromptu” party tonight and with all the other venues and plans it will be interesting to see “who”, if anybody shows up ?

Some did, and we fed them

Yesterday was a full on action day for me starting with cleaning the activity bus I was using for my 18 hour day yesterday. Duly swept, refueled with 50 gals, and all paperwork completed it was off to Cortez for the Christmas lunch shopping. Fortunately for me I had ordered my Prime Rib as Safeway had sold out unless you had put in a reserve order.

YUMMMEEEEE!

All the usual vegetables are loaded in the cart, leeks, onions, swedes, farticus continus (otherwise known as brussel sprouts), parsnips and corn and carrots at home.

Parsnips, Swedes, and Sprouts all on this section ….. leeks with the onions

Some extra ground beef which is almost the same price per lb as the prime rib!!!

Yesterday we lost our  shivering  polar bear, Polaris, leaving a big gap in the center bed so time to look for a replacement and we now have a shivering snowman to be called, Hypertherm, who is now erected and on duty. On the balcony Olaf got replaced with Snoopy  and Woodstock in the mailbox to go with Brenda’s  peanuts theme.

Happy Christmas to you “Hypertherm”

Olaf spending Christmas with Darth this year

Peanuts gang are taking over the balcony

All wind storm damage rectified, Santakins upright, Mrs Claus back on her feet (“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”) two Teddys back on their steeds and spotlights readjusted.

Teddy back in the saddle

New trees with baubles

“All aboard its Christmas!”

But look ……. it’s The Christmas Star

Now it is Christmas Eve and time to relevel the pool table which means I get to lift the huge piece while she slips some shim plates under two of the legs. Yes, pool tables are bloody heavy but my qualification for World’s Strongest Man is in with about 10 lifts to get her level !

Yes it feels like this!

One last visit into the loft for Christmas gift bags and clear the halls of a box of my old RAF Squadron Shields and trials trophies. Another load of wood to be cut and the last few items to go back in storage, just in case someone shows up tonight?

More guests

Well since the Lighting Contest Judgement Day of last Wednesday the Chamber has been very quiet despite returning to the previous  judging format with well qualified Senior judges. No more school children, thank goodness!  …… So today, Monday, we are told we have officially won. However, in time honored tradition, and in a final tribute to last year here is that little song …….. for the Chamber or is it Chamber Pot ?

Well the lights have all come on, glass in hand, carols playing, let the fun begin! …….and then there’s a knock on the door …..

“I canner decorate every bloody tree in this forest “

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SCUFFS UP !

Several complaints from Elves, Team Santakin, and of course Father and Mrs Christmas. Every time I venture into my workshop its a stream of non stop questions as to when the ship will be ready to put to sea.

Its the lights I tell you!

The forecast for tomorrow is good, 47F and a light wind so NO excuses as the Broncos are playing today. All seemed simple and I even managed to get my Mojo working at pool and finished in the money at Pool …… about time! Sunday however, did not go at all to plan as I slept nearly all morning in front of the TV and by the time the Patriots were playing the Steelers I declared a rest day.

Monday and a morning fighting with my bank over the telephone re the NEW cards they had sent. I had followed their instructions and destroyed the old one only to find the NEW one keeps coming back Declined!!! Despite 3 phone calls and more instructions, from the last phone call it transpires the bank had put a block on both cards and we now need Brenda to give them some more info to unblock!

During the afternoon much transporting of boxes of goodies sent out to the dock and keel lights go on, replacement multi colored  strings are set and with the majority of snow and ice removed. 3 of team Santa are in their seats.

The Red lights go on topped with the whites

NEW multi colored lights on the top and 3 Santa from the crew in place along with 1st Mate Teddy

Tuesday morning and I now have one day to complete Scuffy as the Christmas Lights judging is tomorrow. So far the bank has now said the blocks are off! No real idea what that was all about but having spoken to many of the customer service agents it seems the bank had to send out these new cards to comply with some UK rules.

I start at the back of the boat and build the present racks and set up the boxes. Some candy canes and the 4 moving Santakins army are added along with Goofy on top of the engine.

Getting there!

Giant bells and ornaments fill the space. Spotlights on the boat and the Lazer House built on both sides, and after an hour untangling all plugged in and working.

The final blue lights for the wake and the gold ones for the engine on those gold rocks and the shimmering blue for the moving water effect. Timers reset !

Trees and friends in place

Deers and Teddy ready for switch on

Darth is now on site

“Hello Gringe” note the red berries of the ground cover and white lights, Dolores version of Holly

How it looks from the balcony

All done and ready for Judging

Short Activity Drive for the school and home at 1500 in time to see what damage the gusty winds have done …. not too bad, a Teddy Bear blown off his deer and a Santakins on his side but good enough for the final judging and then on Thursday night I’ll have a walk round for this years final pictures. Fingers crossed on the judging!

Well judging done ….. not even a comment from the Chamber!! and now its Friday and school has finished although I’m taking an all day trip to Colbran tomorrow which is about 250 miles away and I won’t be home until around midnight!

Sad news of the day is my shivering polar bear blew a fuse and tonight despite several fuses I fear the motor is shorting out and beyond sensible repair!

Let’s see what was revealed for the judges (assuming they came)

What you see from the main road

……. and now in more detail as we wander through the winter wonder land………

The Lazers

The Effects

Walk with the Reindeer

There’s a lot of them!

…….and now a run down the Center bed …..

Before my polar bear lost his motor

Gringe and friends

The new sleigh and helpers

New horse and carriage

and now, over to the dock where Santa is powering up the mighty Mercury 100HP motor to get Scuffy out to sea

One hand on the throttle and one of the wheel they look as though they are leaving

CAST OFF !

All hands on deck from the Santakins and Goofy

Moving away from the dock

“See you on Boxing Day”

There they go then …..

That’s all for the 2018 Decs, back to the house and hang up stockings

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS DECS PHASE II

With the vicious cold and 8-10″ of snow from last weekend its time to get outside of house set up but its taking a lot of time and made difficult with all the snow.

All ready for layout in Santa’s Workshop

Temps well below freezing time to uncover the fir trees and boat so that I can get some lights and cables in place.

Hard work clearing all the snow off the trees

A melt helps on Wednesday but on Thursday its snowing again and forecast for another 2″ tonight so I’ll give it best today and try again tomorrow.

Friday and as No School Day and the weather is nice! First up clean all the snow off the new balcony ….. and there was a lot of underside ice but its all broken up and over the side ……. let the melt continue!

Snow and ice off the balcony, now time to get the shooting stars and their associated ice lights checked over. All up and working but as yet not on timers. Twirlers next for the 5 balcony upright pillars with their bright LED lights and then the lower row of ice lights which are determined to tangle themselves and also have several lights out and sections not working at all.

By close of play on Sunday ALL front lights are plugged in and as a bonus the rose bed is lit up as well …… now the wait for 1630, then, all being good it should fire right up.

Rose Bed done

Monday, still bitter cold overnight but when the sun comes up it feels warm as there is no wind. Today its an Activity trip up to Ridgway School which will be a pleasant drive but no time to get the front bed finished which is my next task. Home around 2200 and I see a couple of sections of the old ice lights are out!

Tuesday, and the morning is lost to ice lights, now repaired, and checking all the lights for the center bed. An afternoon in the bushes with strings of lights and cables and at 1720 the final plugs, Chevy Chase style, without the drum roll, but, “Joy to the World” as it all lights up and deers start moving.

Main House with the bigger balcony

Wednesday, more in the center bed as more cables are added and the last items, including the Horse & Carriage, now on their own wooden bases, and the two new trees go in along with some spots on special areas. All looks good then the wind gets up, temps drop and it starts snowing again!

Thursday and another activity trip so just time to stand up anything that the wind blew down.

Friday, a little tired after yesterday’s trip and off as a Sub for 4.5 hrs so not much happening outside as the nasty wind is back again. Bus back in it’s slot and home to take some shots of the 2018 center bed display.

Standing guard at the “Backwash Kennel”

Deer and Santa at the Waterfall

Different angle

The Big Picture

The NEW “Horse & Carriage

Shivering Bear and NEW Sleigh  and Trees

Lots of helpers in the sleigh

Center Bed looking towards the Waterfall

Even got a “tree topper” this year

Boathouse Shooting Star

Front Door favorites

With that section complete all that remains is Scuffy for the weekend…………

TONY DOWN

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS BEGIN

Much preparation after Thanksgiving Day’s dusting of snow as now the two weeks of lights and staples begins in earnest. Yesterday was the clean up of the Russian sages to expose the waterfall bed and get some clear space for the deer and blue Christmas tree.

Russian Sages on the Waterfall bed

Evidence of Russian Hacking !

Next on the menu was all the soft cushions and seats before the snow ruins them all. Somehow the lights in the boiler room had been wrenched apart but a couple of new connectors and all is well. All soft cushions stacked, chain saws and strimmers to the tool shed and the Workshop tided and carpets cleaned with the shop vac.

Last of the dead and dying summer long plants dumped and nice pots saved for next year. More wood chopped and ready for the fireplace.

The herd of reindeer are brought down from the workshop loft and given their yearly service! As usual with Christmas lights, some are out and easy to replace while others are major sections requiring a lot of individual searching to find either the missing or broken bulb. Four new deer are purchased for this year and are now on their stands. The old golden one with its sleigh was in poor condition and the sleigh got the heave-ho and a new one joined the fold. While I was waiting “Goldie” got some repairs but will be sleighless  this year. I did find some “eyes” for these poor creatures and will fit them today.

Waterfall “Herd” ready for layout

“One blind deer, ………. “

“Eye, Eye,  Captain Santa “

A couple of  new metal trees will join the display this year along with a big Cinderella carriage, yet to be unboxed and built.

Upstairs all the boxes came down from the loft and Brenda has been hard at it getting the indoor decorations up. The tree has been a pain for the last two years as the lights have been causing problems and it is getting to the point of major frustrations and once again has had a complete rewire.

The Tree and garlands are done

Garlands look great

Outside progress seems slow but as always there has been a lot of things to patch up and check over. The Stump of the old cottonwood where the shivering polar bear has stood all these years has rotted through and needed a new “table top” to secure the decoration.

More checking of lights and other pieces are now ready for the front beds. Polar bears in place and all the deer now on the rockery. Darth gets some glue and the Scuffy crew of Santas get inspected.

Snoopy in place, lights to come

Herd in place not yet connected

Snoopy joins the team for 2018 and appropriately takes his place by the dog kennel frost protector for that “Backwash Valve”. Running out of time I manage to take down the Gazebo and get that put away before tonight’s first real dump of snow.

1st dump of the season

Friday 30th November and 3-4″ on the rail so very pleased with my work on the Gazebo yesterday. Its a heavy wet snow and the forecast says a lot more to come in the next few days.

Saturday morning and now into December and the advent calendar is up along with the house’s shooting star. All the decoration boxes are now back up in the loft and one last deer gets a quick set of 50 lights and work begins on the new “Horse & Carriage” that Brenda got from Home Depot.

Horse complete

More snow overnight and about 6″ on the rail this morning and another 4″ to come from this storm. Obviously the cycling has come to a stop while other missions take center stage and a daily “Plan B” is at the ready, as I still have downstairs to do as well.

Just the final tidy up of wires and things and the carriage will be done which leaves the two new brown twig trees for the center bed and then construction should be done on the new stuff.

Sunday morning and snowing again and 2″ already. Time for the final building of new things, a bit of NFL and some more skiing to catch up on. It snows just about all day and after yesterday’s melt back to zero we have another 4″ back on the rail but overall about 8-10″ on the lawn swing and picnic table.

Last bit of glue on the leg braces

After the horse & carriage the trees were a breeze!

All the NEW stuff is complete!

A bit TOO deep for layout this morning so I need a bit of a “melt” before I venture out in it.

Yesterday, snowed nearly all day

No better in the afternoon

This morning, 4-6″ and only 8F !!!

Monday morning and it will be downstairs in the office/lobby area and back inside the Lodge Room.

Lodge Room complete and now a ‘holding stable” while we wait for layout conditions

Carriage in waiting

Fireplace complete

Deer, deer me

Lobby garland complete

It warms up to about 21F but now at 1730 its back down to 16F with a forecast low of 6F !!! Downstairs actually got finished so now I’m left with about a weeks work outside and really waiting for a bit of a melt before laying out cables and goodies.

Tuesday morning and VERY cold!     1F !!! and a high of only mid 20’s so I don’t see a lot getting done although I would like to do the sides of the Shade Garden and Boat House beds and get the shooting stars working. Might even knock some snow off the center bed trees and Scuffy.

Snow knocked off

Hard work banging off the frozen snow and exposing the front fir trees so that I can put the lights and cables on as I’m plunging around in up to 10″ of the white stuff. Driving D31 on the Rico run this afternoon.

Wednesday and the sun is shining and the melt starts and I manage to get both sides of the house complete with working ice lights and shooting stars.

Dismal Thursday, overcast, slightly warmer, but snowing and now starting to settle which is annoying and upsetting my layout plans, but what can you do?

TONY DOWN

TH, TH, TH, THANKSGIVING

Lots to do, cccccc’old, and windy but bright and sunny. Monday and in to Durango and return the left over packs from the flooring project which is 10 times better than the previous attempt from 4 years ago.

Tuesday and time for the first load of wood and a quick ride but I’m not enjoying it and finish at 12.26 and I’m VERY cold! However, the total is now at 4634.10 and I feel the weather is closing in on me!

Load 1 home and stacked ($5.00)

Yes, all that for $5.00

Wednesday and I’m trying for 2 loads today and then I can assess where I need to be on the firewood pile.

Load 2 home and stacked

Seems everyone wants firewood this morning but the dozer driver up’s his game and digs in deep to uncover some older dry wood. When I get back I can hear the loader but I can’t see him and there is nobody here?

Stand clear!

Here it comes

Very soon all is revealed and he is shoving everything over the cliff! I find some nice dry white, barkless aspen and some big chunks of fir for load 3. Too late and too tired to unload tonight so leave it for Thanksgiving morning.

Impressive stack for $15.00 when you think what you get at the local gas station!

All unloaded and up to the window line so I think 2 more loads will do it for this year’s winter heating …….. total cost will be $25.00 !!

Upstairs the cooking ritual begins, but we are not feeding a “caravan” unlike the arrival of the “Mayflower” all those years ago when undocumented pilgrims arrived, found ears of corn, in what English farmers call a Clamp, and then proceeded to kill off a load of the local Indian’s turkeys! Being religious people they never even thought this was STEALING, but PROVIDENCE, provided by the LORD. Then to add insult to injury invited all the same Indians to a “Harvest Supper” which eventually became “THANKSGIVING”

That about sums that up!

Today my contribution is “swede” and “parsnips” while Brenda will deal with all the traditional fare. This year the dangerous  cocktails will be banned and we will be on a “Champers Day” as lunch will be late, very late!

My swede at the “rolling boil”

Parsnips at the ready

Just remember you could have been eating some of this!

….. and so it is, nearly 5 pm  and getting dark but , ohhhh   so worth it plates are loaded, let the Thanks begin.

What a gorgeous moist bird!

The ALL day drink

Worth the wait as always……… Yummeeeeee

plenty more of this

With our late Thanksgiving lunch complete, time to light the fire, walk the dogs, recharge the glass and plunge into the first of the Hallmark Christmas movies. Oh, by the way its snowing.

First dusting of the season

An overnight dusting and a bit chilly at 16F this morning but now for some holiday jokes, especially the wine drinkers

and now for dog lovers

loved them!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

 

ONE AND A HALF LEFT “I THINK I CAN”

 

November 15th  2018, and winter is closing in on the older cyclist. Only a matter of time before it becomes too unpleasant or too dangerous and the season will be closed.

However “I think I can, I think I can” said Thomas but it is becoming a struggle to get out there and click over those last miles of the year. With 46 days left to year’s end, and assuming I could struggle through 10 miles a day I could add another 460 miles onto the total of 4544 and just crack the mighty 5000 ??? Well, better get out there and see what can be achieved !

Of course there are plenty of other tasks that will need my full time attention in the coming weeks. Not least, Christmas Decorations and some late trips to Aspen Wall Wood for a few loads of firewood which I normally get in October but couldn’t this year as the work on the balcony took priority.

C’mon Thomas …… you can do it!

All the fun of checking the Christmas decs next week and the mind is thinking 4 good loads of firewood unless Thomas can haul some in. The riding task and goals are getting harder and harder to achieve with every passing day as the wind seems ever colder and sunset gets earlier and earlier. The mind over matter motivation is not fully functional and a roaring fire and hot chocolate seem preferable to the mind numbing cold. By Friday night the yearly total crested 4574.08 and hopefully I’ll be through the 4600 mark by Sunday. If not I’ll take up drinking  “I drink a can,  I drink a can”

Pool day again and I did a bit better at 9 ball this week with another 3rd place against some stiff opposition. 8 Ball started well with two good wins and then with a 5 ball advantage I watched my opposition clean up the table! Oh well, there’s always next week.

Cold again at 34F and 1030, better try for 5 miles then take a break before the last push. Yes it was horrid cold but I made 12.64 before a hot chocolate stop was needed. Out again and finished on 20.35 for the day. With 4607.58 I’m 1005 miles more than last year. How much longer?  ……. snow can only be just around the corner?

Today marks the start of Thanksgiving Week and for mileage freaks 43 days to the end of the year. Bright, sunny and cold but I could still get a few miles this week. Seems I’m slightly ahead of the target but that could change as the pressure builds up on getting Christmas bits out and in place and then all the household decorations down from the loft on Friday.

Coming very soon

Monday post lunch in Durango, returning left over planking from the new floor, a quick ride in the morning while Brenda was busy shopping for all the Thanksgiving food and goodies.

Tuesday the first load of wood from Aspen, which took some time to find the nice dry stuff without too much of the recently cut “green” which takes a month or two to dry out.

Wood stacked under the new balcony and out for a quick ride but I got so cold I had to give it best …… it might look OK but I’m nearly done as despite all the winter clothing I was dam nearly hypothermic by the time I was finished!

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

ALMOST

A cold and windy week made even worse with my own personal cold so another non riding week. First of the activity trips to Nucla for boy’s Middle School basketball, nothing on Friday but 4 days of route driving next week as one of the lady drivers is away on a hunt for the mighty elk.

Friday at home with complete chaos caused by hunters blocking up all the sewers and even breaking a toilet seat!!! How do they do it?

Sunday and snow in the forecast, need to put the Beemer to bed in the trailer and connect the battery minder. Job done, all tucked up and connected to the power.

Monday and after the morning drive force myself to get out there despite the nasty cold and windy conditions with the 25 mph gusts. Another 16.23 goes in the books before I’m cold and getting wimpy but with only a few miles left I should be through the 4500 marker tomorrow morning.

Rides on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the cold is still with me and although I’m on some fast acting antibiotics nothing seems to be getting better? Thursday and just too cold and windy. Friday is a day off and also very cold with a bitter wind,  and then Basketball again up at Norwood on Saturday.

More Basketball again on Tuesday at Telluride. Sunday and Monday off but the weather is awful! Bitter cold with gusty strong winds and definitely not in my cycling wheelhouse …… I DO like it to be at least pleasant, cold I can handle, but cold winds NO, NO a thousand times NO!

This morning (Monday) only 13F and the forecast high for the day only makes 31F !!!!   I’ll cut some firewood first then see how it is, only 20F at 1030 and that wind is gusting 19 !!!

For the last two years my cycling has come to an end in November and usually this same time of the month as the really cold weather along with the winter winds makes everything truly unpleasant.

I pushed on a little further and scraped another 10.38 to add to the total but despite my efforts I’m ALMOST there!

Tuesday and the Telluride trip is at the wrong time for riding, but again its bitter cold with a strong wind. Wednesday and still very cold but the wind is not such a factor and its ALMOST calm! The wimp is chastised once more and the cold is braved and the final 10.15 goes in the books making the, ALMOST 4544 miles, of the Florence Hurricane track a REALITY !

TONY DOWN

THE GREEKS GET INSIDE!

Some of you may remember the Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, Hector V Achilles, Trojan Horse, Trojan Wars etc, etc. All very much like our renovation work being done here at the Cozy.

The Greeks (Ted’s army of workers) arrived, tore down the old balcony, and precision built a new wider replacement. However, the dammed cat has discovered a way to climb up from outside and appear without notice on the upper portion of said construction!

Ready for the rebuild

The Greeks are hard at it

The task is done

That was easy!

Meanwhile outside the gates of Troy epic battles take place. Achilles is hopping mad as his relative had borrowed his armor and was killed by Hector. Achilles arrives at the front gate of Troy and challenges Hector.

The duel takes place and Hector suffers a mortal thrust from a broken spear before suffering the final death blow of the single sword lunge.

The end for Hector

Achilles shows his displeasure of the death of his relative by tying Hectors lifeless corpse to his chariot and parading him around the outside of Troy.

As Troy mourned its most famous warrior the Greeks departed over the horizon leaving an amazing wooden horse at the gates made from the old balcony.

Full of flooring materials!

The “Horse” is stuffed with all new flooring and will replace everything upstairs and the one last carpeted room and entrance staircase.

The Greeks set to and have furniture moved and the “rip up” of the old sub standard flooring begins ……. dust and debris everywhere as the “new” goes in section by section.

“Not here”

Don’t see it either     ( “look in the white bucket”)

Some say they are looking for Achilles “Immortal Sandal” hidden somewhere under the old floor.

Work continues all week and mega moving in every direction as more and more new planks are laid. By Thursday we are ripping out staircase carpet and smoothing down areas to accept the new step coverings.

Friday and its all done and looking good save for the ever falling  dust which is to be expected in an operation this size.

Floors and staircase complete

More work outside as Brenda builds new rocking chairs and a full day on the new upstairs grill.

New grill

Rocking chairs in the sun

While “Troy” rejoices in the new balcony and flooring things are not looking quite so good for “Demi God Achilles” as they never found the sandal and in the aftermath Achilles was shot in the heel, and alas and alack, he perished from his near Godlike state.

It would seem that Achilles Mum did NOT follow the Baptism Instructions completely  as he needed a “double dipping” !

STYX and ARROWS

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

ONWARD

 

Dunton Hot Springs Fleet Cars

Sadly for me the current incumbent of the driving position that I was looking at, that left due to a self inflicted disability, says he wants to come back.  He fell down and ended up needing a hip replacement and now suddenly announces that he is doing well with his rehab and should be back to work in three weeks!

Must stay ever hopeful, although of course I’m not sending any negative or positive thoughts to him. One door, another door etc, as yesterday I bumped into Sharon who is our admin assistant and bus driver sub for Cortez. She told me that Dolores are having trouble finding activity drivers for their current round of field trips so that may be worth a quick visit on Monday morning.

Monday comes and the weather is cold and miserable with rain and hail. It comes to my notice it is Columbus Day and therefore  a “No School Day” so this one will have to wait until tomorrow.

Meanwhile over the last week, which I thought would be a no cycling affair with all the doom and gloom of 80% chance of rain every day I still managed 100 miles and the total is now 4301.06 but the weather is forecast to be just as bad this week and even colder.

Wednesday, still cold and wet, no riding so far this week but I did manage to get all the forms filled in for Dolores so now the wait begins on this one.

Still no riding but on Friday up to the bus barn and see the boss man Larry, who tells me the School Board have approved me and gives me the “book” which is getting bigger and bigger every year! Now I must read through 200+ pages of legal rules and other stuff that comprises the yearly test. This test, which started two years ago has a 30 question format with 15 multiple choice and another 15 true or false. Seems to get harder to pinpoint the questions but I’m nearly done on the second read through.

This weekend was forecast as THE BIG FREEZE so much work to get everything ready to avoid disasters. First on the list get the boat sorted and that has its own giant rock right in the way to get the engine upright to drain even though we never got it out ONCE this year! Rock removed, engine upright and about a cup of water gushes out so a good idea that we got that done.

Dead center under the prop!

Deep  enough and a cup of water?

Delicate plants all brought in and off to pool where I got a 1st this week and for the most part was actually seeing the shots and hitting them well.

Plants come in, well we saved some

Figs get replanted

Sunday, more reading of the book, and out to restock firewood from under the damp upper layers. 3 Big baskets later that task is done and onto the next ones on the list. All irrigation turned off, heat tapes all plugged in. A new power cord over to the “Dog Box” for our expensive backwash valve and its house. Move the Safari, put the jacks down and winterize. Wind up all the hoses and disconnect from the siphoning valve that froze last year and had to be replaced.

Safari moved and winterized

Siphon valve disconnected from hoses

By 1600 we are done, and just as well as I look at the morning temp of 19F !!!  ……. there will be some sad looking plant life out there this morning but you can’t save them all.

No riding at ALL last week, I do have the part time job so back to the book and get this test out the way. By 1530 my reading is in serious overload mode so a quick ride in the cold by way of a change. 14.66 goes in the books before I’m getting cold and the temperature is beginning to drop towards tonight’s low of 26F.

Tuesday and back to the Bus Barn and three hours of testing to get the annual requirements up to date. Wednesday and a drive round for two hours in one of the newest buses.  Very nice, some changes to procedures but its a start. Wednesday evening and its back to pool where I take another 1st and Brenda takes the 3rd.

Thursday morning and Brenda departs for Buffalo for her mother’s birthday and niece’s wedding. An awful drive to Durango in the rain at 0400 and still dark when I got back at 0645. Highlight of the day has to be the Denver Broncos actually playing football like they mean it with a 45 to 10 thrashing of Arizona.

Friday and back to the Bus Barn for another hour of “in service” training and get more info on new rates of pay and a nice long trip next week. Another 23.23 done and 12.57 on Saturday morning  before pool where once again I’m on form and win my way through to the final but can’t get the job done so end up with 2nd.

Sunday and Monday manage another 50 miles and crack the 4400 barrier but Tuesday is back to wet and windy and recovering Brenda from Durango in the evening.

On the work front 4 days of riding the Dolores routes which leaves 2 for next week. The scheduled trip for Friday gets cancelled when its discovered that Dolores is NOT playing at Center but rather “they” are coming to Dolores as its a HOME game!

Today is a non school day and it gives me the chance to change the rear tire on the Roubaix which suddenly started to break up.

Rear tire is shot!

It seems they do that without warning after about 2-4000 miles ? I can only assume that when the wear gets down the outer layer just splits and peels away …… looks like a MotoGP tire after one race.

Rear done, now the front

Further investigation shows the front is also on the way out so I’ll change them both.

Happiness is NEW rubber!

All done, now as the weather is picking up a few more miles this afternoon. All sounds good, temp around 60F with a swirling gusty wind and leaves blowing every which way. 16 miles, in need a quick pee, so home and a coffee with the plan to set out around 1700 to the brew pub for a couple of pints and a pizza.

I  don’t believe it!

2 miles into this portion of the mission and a BLOODY FLAT TIRE!!!  …… in the NEW tire to boot!! Walk home and change same …… somewhat pissed off as now I can’t get the beer and pizza and get home in daylight and I don’t want to be there for 4 hours until Brenda finishes her shift.

Settle for the last 5 miles in daylight, watch TV, walk dogs, NO beer!

Saturday and after a blogging session time to get out there and put some more miles on that odometer. 16.53 in favorable conditions before the standard shower and pool. Once again I’m on it and surge through to the unbeaten final where I’m victorious again.

This week no problem and another 1st.

Home from pool and that throat sensation starts and you know you have a cold starting!!! the joys of travelling with small children. Poor sleep with all the fun symptoms and a pretty miserable Sunday when nothing gets done and by nightfall the cold is in full swing and the nose is running like an open faucet.

Monday morning and decide not to go route riding but then Larry rings with news of another trip to Nucla on Thursday. Quick trip up to the barn and say I’ll take it and finish off the last 2 routes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Here we are on a very cold Wednesday Halloween, and no riding since last Saturday and still suffering from the weekend’s cold. The month’s target of 4500 gets missed due to the illness and I’ll finish at 4476.89 ……… snow is falling in Telluride and they had 6″ last night so I wonder how much longer I have on the Roubaix this year?

 

TONY DOWN