Always thirsty Humming birds at Tucker Ranch
With the current phase of the Census now completed in my Crew Leader District we were put on
notice to be ready to travel TODAY to be sent into areas where other crews were running behind. That
was last Friday …… and so far NOTHING. Almost like the military with a clandestine op …… you would
think we were going to be dropped behind enemy lines, no info on where or when, and very strange
with a holiday weekend coming as I would have thought a lot of the people that should have been
interviewed will no doubt be away. We wait!
On the home front I’m planning on leaving Thursday or Friday to get up to Tucker Ranch Cotopaxi,
and give myself a much needed days riding. Prior to that the coach is having the flooring done after
the winter flooding and then the whole thing will need cleaning along with the trailer.
Still a lot of work to do on the Elefants but if there is no census work at least I can get in the shop and
get on with them. Brenda’s little TY125 still needs the “go over” fuel draining and and carb go through
or the photographer will be very grumpy if it fails to start and run at 8500′.
A load more work on the Census front arrived which requires about 200 miles a day driving to go and
get the remaining 155 interviews. These are in some pretty remote areas of Colorado so several of
my team were despatched yesterday to get on with the mission. I will personally get out there today
and do a few before loading the bikes.
Yesterday was a mixture of census/bike prep/cleaning. The trailer got a quick once over to remove all
the winter grime and the BMW which has been in there since January had the battery recharged so
that I can get it back in the shop. Major reshuffling in the workshop to get the trials bikes to the front,
shove the mighty Ducatis to the back and sides so that the recharged Beemer can get back in its
Today a host of “old” fuel drains on everything and then get Madam’s little jewel up and running.
Game plan to get it all loaded by nightfall and then get on the road by lunchtime tomorrow and aim for
an evening arrival at Cotopaxi on Thursday now that Madam has got someone to cover her shifts for
the weekend. Yesterday morning things were not looking good and it seemed the trials rider would be
having yet another missed weekend!
Thursday and a ton of things to do. Census paperwork all done so after meeting with the
enumerators time to brief them on their work and who’s doing what while I’m away. Meanwhile fill the
coach with water, unload the Beemer from the trailer, take the trailer off the car and now drag the coach
round and get connected and start loading. Off to Cortez for some shopping errands and then back to
load the bikes…….. time is slipping away and I have one “soft” tire on the coach which needs air.
Finally the dogs are ready to board and off we go with a stop at the Post Office then another stop to
inflate the tire. 50 miles done and we are at Durango but Brenda wants to stop and get videos for the
weekend. Now find myself in a difficult one way system but make it back to the main road and Bayfield
to refuel and take on LP gas. Time to adjust an annoying mirror and off we go again with the time now
5 o’clock and only 70 miles of the 270 done! The chances of making Cotopaxi tonight are looking slim
and there is no way I’m driving this thing in there in the dark!!!
Creeping up Wolf Creek
Up Wolf Creek Pass at a snail’s pace with the bus continuously trying to upshift only to find it can’t pull
the higher gear on the never ending gradient. Finally off the mountains for a while and turn North for
Salida. Looking at the ETA our best bet is a night stop at Walmart, get all the food and leave early
Friday morning to make the start at around 10’ish. Oversleep after an exhausting Thursday and now
need coolant and oil for the bus along with funny funnel to pour it in. Another task done so only one
more stop to get some fresh gas for the bikes. Beautiful drive down the Arkansas Valley with the river
in full spring flood and finally here we are for the last uphill to the ranch. The drive in goes well with no
incidents and we make it to our berth by Ed and Evelyn on time at 10.
The Arkansas in full flow
10 o’clock Friday…….. made it!!
Bikes out and time to set off and see what Ed has in mind for Saturday. 9 sections all laid out and
No1 seems to be very similar to last year and not too hard providing you stay on line. Good fun ride
out to the end of the property with section 2 being a reverse of the one used 4 years ago where the
picture at the top of the blog was taken. 3 & 4 are together at the end of the cliff face and should ride
well unless you apply too much brake on the crumbly granite.
Section 1, Saturday … nice gentle opener
Saturday 2, “Split Rock” where the blog photo was taken coming down
Saturday 4 with some twists and climbs
Nice trail ride to 5 which Ed has called “The Maze” with some interesting tight turns in the pines with
loose dirt and a few tree roots. Down the tough narrow crumbly track to the Ranch and across the
road to a loop through 6 and onto 7. 6 has a turn with 2,3, and PI riders all going through it which
could cut up and get tricky. Out of 6 and arrive at 7 from an unusual direction. 7 itself is all solid bed
rock so shouldn’t change throughout the event. Back on the main track and down to 8 above the
garage. This is an interesting section and should be the mark taker on all lines!! Make your way back
to the start and the traditional section at Wehling Falls and this year a little easier from what I can
First turn of Saturday 6 which I think will get nasty !
Quick drink and lunch and time to see what Ed has in mind for Sunday. No1, called the “Horseshoe”
has a drop into some wash sand and then a 60 turn in it for all lines, then climb up a bank before
coming off at an angle down a very soft dirt slope into the top of the horseshoe with a very tight turn
out for the 1’s and a steep climb for the 2’s. Lots of marks will be lost here I’m sure.
Sunday 1 which could be a real problem !
No 2 has an interesting start, slightly downhill with a twist between 2 rocks and a choice of a wide
line or turn tight into an uphill to pass through a gnarly tight gully before a 90 left turn and then simple
run out to the finish. Very undecided on line for this one!
3 & 4 could be tricky and several lines in both. Might be worth seeing how these ride before trying
5 requires a bit of thought with a longish meandering downhill over the shale crumbly granite into a
gorge from where there are many choices of how to get out. Straight up the dirt looks good but I’m
told it is very soft or two lines over solid bed rock with turns before the climb out to the cards.
Back on the fun loop to 6 for an over the big rock into a series of very tight clutchy type turns on loose
dirt. Rideable now, but could cut up on the turns. Then back to the loop for 7 called “Nukin Futz” which
is a great full bore climb up a hillside in the small shale rocks into a series of turns line dependant
before coming back down to the end cards.
A fun uphill blast on Sunday 7
Another short sprint round the loop and back to the start for another go on the reverse of Wehling
Friday night is party night and much talk of “daring-do”……. fire pits going, beer a’plenty….. lets see
how they ride tomorrow.
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