THE WEEKEND AGAIN

Need to get King Arthur to pull the Sword out of my tumor!

In the light of all things Cycling & Cancer I have made precious little progress in my “World Tour” of Parallel 37.65N this month. This prompted a visit to King Arthur’s place over at Camelot where I found him at a square table searching Ancestry.com on his computer.

According to some online casino reviews, during the lockdown the online games increased because of the high amount of people playing at their homes.

I think Arthur must have an Oncology upbringing as he was unable to do anything for me even though his speciality is getting swords out of things.

German knives in a King’s Block

He did kindly point me in the direction of Sir Cumference who of course built the Round Table and gave me the formula for my distance around 37.65N

Thanks to Sir Cumference and Merlin of course

The distance as calculated was19,262.00 and so far, including today, I have pushed those pedals to 18,720.44 and I must confess to feeling tired!

Saturday and the weather is fooling with me, too hot, too cold and that wind never lets up! Finally take a short ride to see if I’m still up to it. Better see what’s happening in the Canine department.

First up is a Dalmation? or rather I think he is, well if he wasn’t he is now. Other dogs are having none of this Covid nonsense and are using sanitizer again for the Delta variant.

Some are not too keen on these new car air fresheners either!

Amid all the pandemic crisis others are thinking about changing careers

Just had one little bit of gardening to do on the waterfall bed before settling down to watch the UCI World Cycling followed by the Russian F1 GP and then 3-4 games of football.

Just needed a change in the “flow pattern” and some extra lights

Fixed it !

TONY DOWN

ANOTHER SUNDAY

A wet night

Looks like we had quite a bit of rain overnight but drying up as I write. Not sure what my plans are but it may include a two part ride to knock off a few more miles. Might dead head the roses again as there are plenty of new buds coming.

I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Car goes in tomorrow for that “check engine” annoying light and finally I’ve accepted that I better get that fuel door fixed. Must have been the respray job that kicked me into gear!

Took a little ride but it was windy and unpleasant and the wind was decidedly chilly. Not much done here but I’m not riding to survive!

That sums it up!

Monday and the car goes in while I quickly read my book. 2 hours and it’s done but the paying is difficult as their card reader does not ask for a pin and UK cards won’t function without those magic numbers …… bloody ridiculous!!

Not sure how to deal with this problem, my bank says there isn’t a problem but a series of “Declined” or “invalid” is very embarrassing .

Cold and I mean very cold as the overnight temp went down to 31F compared to the 50F we had been used to. No matter, it’s Load 9 today after another round of sorting out debit and credit cards! Back, unloaded and stacked, not sure what the tonnage for this load was but it was bloody heavy as the wood is “green”. Two more loads max, and then I’m finished logging, maybe forever? but certainly for 2021. Should be able to get back to some cycling and if this weather continues it will be thermals to combat this chilly wind.

The forecast said another night near freezing but the lowest I saw all night was 39F and it subsequently warmed up to 80F while I was out logging for Load 10. All stacked and no more room at this time so I can get back on other activities.

Load 10, home and stacked! No more room
Last few pieces (1/2 load) added to the Great Wall of Dolores

Perhaps time for some humor amid all life’s other setbacks, well how about that chicken ? The saga was brought home to me by one of facebook trials riders who gets his eggs from a local farm in the UK and a few surprises with Double Yokers! My Grandad, WWI sniper, and then full time gamekeeper, had chickens and periodically they would lay the “Double Yoker” haven’t seen one in the US but here we have it>

Not one but two!

Clearly the Chicken Police need to get to the bottom of this

“So what’s with all these double yokers ? The same could be asked of a particular wine ?

I’ll take a case!!

Haven’t had my daily rant about Chemo yet so here is a thought from an Oncology class sponered by the Big Pharma $200 Billion Industry

90% failure rate in ALL Cancer Treatments

A visit from the Hospice Team and a load of form filling as the end gets ever closer. But they do have a counsellor who lives locally who I can have a rant with and maybe release some of this pent up anger. Pain pills seem to be ineffective, sleeping pills seem to be working as advertised, a lot of discomfort with the “bag” which could be constipation?

Getting to be too chilly for shirt and shorts!

Managed a ride yesterday and even though all thermometers showed about 74F the wind from a westerly direction was cold, and I mean , bloody cold. If I ride today it will be thermals!

TONY DOWN

HOW MANY MECHANICS ….?

Your mission Jim, is to insert this into a Cadillac

Its Daytime Running Light change day again on the Cadillac. My how I remember how easy this task used to be in my youth, up with the hood or bonnet and reach in and remove the bulb, replace with new one, check, job done. Well not so with a Caddi as this involves dismantling the front of the car to get at the headlight! Harder on the driver’s side as I have the windscreen washer reservoir to contend with. I dread to think what GMC charge for the labor on this task?

Nearly time to start and get task 1 out of the way, then change the Y fitting on the water lines at the Dump Station that some heavy handed person managed to break! Also need to replace the Dump and Shower signs as some people have difficulty in READING!

Off we go into headlight changing for beginners and after opening the hood or bonnet time to locate where this running light goes

The running light is the top one and is under the rubber cover

Next step remove the radiator cowl and all the plastic grommets that hold it in place

Cowl removed

Now time for a couple of nuts and bolts that hold the grille and the bodywork together

Bodywork bolt removed now the grille


Now remove the two barn door bolts that hold the headlight assembly in place.

With these bolts removed the headlight can be “wiggled and jiggled” until it pulls forward

The top one you say?

Now we can get to that bulb! Lets see how it looks

Good thing we bought one, I think this is “toast”

With the new bulb in place go through the reverse of everything you did and then get your faithful assistant to start her up and put it in DRIVE. No running lights until you are in gear! This time, thanks to many years of experience it is all wrapped up in around 40 minutes.

Job done

Now for the Y piece on the hose, and on goes “el cheapo” in yellow plastic. It leaks everywhere so replace ALL the washers and no more leaks!

Finish the dump station off with a NEW sign



Time to replace the roadside signs which take real hammering from the snow plows during the winter months. See what can still be used and this time round only one new mounting bracket required.

Four new signs
Let’s hope “they ” can read!



Don’t think “the old Guard” are too impressed with the All Electric quiet Harley!!!

And yet more stupidity as we discover a whole load of locals who still haven’t been vaccinated. All the political bullshit to one side when are they EVER going to Learn????

TONY DOWN

AROUND PARALLEL 37.65N

September 15th

A much improved night’s sleep and definitely a feeling of more energy, a few more nights like this and I could be back on my game.

“Big Wheel keep on turning”

Having lost the first half of the month to gardening, logging, and lack of sleep, it was the day to get out there and hit the pedals again, albeit at the new rate to make the 37th Parallel once round of 19,262.00 . With only 626.97 to go to what may be my finishing line I set off and took a gentle 21.74 off the target. More new pills for pain arrive, but this time WITHOUT the side effects so come bedtime I give them a try.

Another respectable 7 hours, getting to like this!
Couldn’t bear to see it like this!
Poor Jaguar
Never a word about this from the dealership!!!

Energy levels building, a lot of “things” happening today! Jaguar respray done so must pick that up and also get another daytime running light for the Cadillac from the same dealer who is doing the respray.

Here we are at last!

1300 and a planned visit from the Hospice nursing team to fill me in on all the missing details of what happens as I get closer to the “Pearly Gates”. Then another medical zoom meeting with Julie, my N.P. at 1430. It does seem they are beginning to “care” a little more of late rather than the “chuck him on the scrap heap attitude”

Unseen footage!!!!

In other good news my daughter, Sally, has just got engaged and I hope she will be very happy after all her past problems. She NOW tells me this was 4 YEARS ago but Faceplant have only just put it up!!! Well congratulations anyway as I didn’t know or had forgotten!!!!!!!

Yes, you can now reclaim your “SUPER” title
The “Trunk” in American or “Boot” where I come from
Fabulous job!
Pride of ownership restored!

Into town and pick up the running light and collect the Jaguar which indeed is once again the “Super” model it once claimed. The body man said it was a beautiful car and I thanked him profusely for a superb job. Worth every penny of the $775 to be rid of the unsightly roof damage. Start it up and the normal check engine light has gone out!

Louis XIV palace at Versailles

With all the visits complete, just time to mow the lawn and strim all the edges up by the road. The mums are causing me a little grief as they are struggling to retain enough water to flourish. If I’m around when their planting is due again I’ll keep them in their pots, a bit like Louis XIV did at Versailles when the French Nutter said he wanted to see a NEW garden EACH Morning. The gardeners waited until he was in his chamber and moved all the potted plants to their new locations while he slept. Too late for that in my case so I’ll be making some “bore holes” so the water can get into the root balls.

Personally I’ve just finished planting up the hillside behind the house which turned out well this year.
8.5 hours of actual sleep!
Energy tanks set to REFILL!

Friday once more, and the energy tanks are refilling with another 8.5 hours of meaningful sleep. Bit cooler this morning at 44F but when it warms up another load of firewood and then hopefully another 20 miles on the highways and byways of downtown Dolores.

Load 8, all Aspen, loaded and stacked and maybe another 2 loads to go which I suspect will also be fresh Aspen, but there is enough time for it to dry out before the “burn” begins. Energy levels still seem good so I’m thinking more miles this afternoon.

Off I go again

Out on the road again around 1600 and 18.88 shows up on the odometer leaving 586.35 to 1 lap of the globe at this latitude. Hopefully about another 50 miles over the weekend if there are no setbacks. Tomorrow is another “how many mechanics to change a headlight bulb routine?” No logging as the woodyard is closed and none on Monday either as I’m taking the Jag in to get the last 2 annoying problems fixed

Remove this annoyance on Monday!

No1 the annoying “Check Engine Light” which is an oxygen sensor in the exhaust system. It has ZERO effect on actual performance and might just be the sensor itself.

No2 which is the fuel door opening switch which wasn’t working when the car was delivered and you have to attach a rope behind the carpet in the boot/trunk to make it work.

Something like this!

TONY DOWN

SUNDAY, SUNDAY

Some sleep, but still tired. Lawn needs mowing and the car needs a once over today before it goes in tomorrow to have the sun damage on the roof resprayed. Way down on energy and short of air so don’t feel much like doing anything.

A lot of sun damage

Nothing gets done as I muddle my way through the day with two NFL games and the Italian F1.

Max Verstappen lands on top of Lewis Hamilton In F1

No incentive to do any more gardening and not feeling like riding the bike either, if I could only get some meaningful sleep.

Another Yam brake plate sells on ebay so I’ll be polishing that when I get back from dropping off the car.

I want to continue with another load of firewood to stay on top of that task as I get weaker I might not be able to get many more. A couple of items need listing on ebay as well so I have plenty to do when I feel up to it. Also need to check in with Hospice to see when they will start visiting and apart from the “doses of morphine” what else they provide to speed up the journey.

Six loads now home and stacked so the “Great Wall of Dolores” is complete once more, and as they say up here a person’s Net Worth is judged by the size of their woodpile!

6 Loads and the “Great Wall” is rebuilt

Gave the sleeping pills another try last night but once again after a 3 hour period I’m wide awake and that’s it for the night. Can they not make something that works? Everything seems to come with dire consequences and side effects!

Load 7 home and stacked

The quest for firewood continues and a slow and difficult Load 7 makes it home and is stacked in front of house. Can’t do much else today as I’m so desperately tired. Still no riding but I can only do so much.

More new books arrived and I was straight into one of them as I was just way too tired to even think of other things to do. Last night tried going to sleep normally but that didn’t work so in desperation took the pills again and actually managed around 7 hours and I’m feeling somewhat better this morning as a result.

Got to keep trying!

After my 2 week layoff from riding might just get out there today as the firewood task was taking too long yesterday as they were not cutting anything so it was a search and carry day to get the nicer pieces that I like rather than ratty bits and off cuts which are everywhere.

Keep going old man!

The revised quest for miles has come down to one lap of parallel 37.65N which is 19,260.00 and I’m currently at 18,635.03 so only 626.97 to hit the reduced target. Or for my simple mind around 3000 miles for this year which is realistic and should happen before the end of October all being well.

TONY DOWN

ANOTHER FRIDAY

C’mon daylight

Looks like my hands are in for a rest after all the weeding and planting of those Mums. But as we know you no sooner finish one project and now its back to mowing and strimming.

Should get another load of firewood today and maybe another bike ride if I’m feeling up to it.

Load 5 collected and stacked in this very warm weather, I know he never stops complaining, too hot, too windy, too cold! Into town and Walmart still have the mums so another batch are picked up as they are such good value at $5.97 a plant. These are planned to go in my old seed bed by the Maple where I planted radish and lettuce in previous years, but I don’t have enough teeth left to eat radish these days!! The bed does have irrigation so at least I don’t have to water them.

Some sleep last night without any pills, but I was getting to a point where some changes needed to be made. No fear of the dark but painful for the bum which kept waking me up.

You may remember our Lions who were unimpressed with the tofudebeest and not keen on spamalopes either. Well as the tourists were, like me, past their shelf life, they have turned their attention to a herd of sheep.

Look a bit wiry to me, desperate measures!

Saturday, the watering ritual is complete, next plant the new mums and mow the lawn, finally add a few miles to the annual total.

Still in their pots, but this will be the layout

Sounds easy but I had forgotten I hadn’t used this bed in the last two years and Mr Maple had taken over and spread his roots throughout. Two hours of digging, cutting and pulling and I have a full bucket’s worth of roots of all sizes and I’m finally able to get planting.

A lot of hard work getting the Maple roots out
2 hours and a bucket full

Too warm, energy way down, after the root removal but I get the bike out for a short ride to show willing and remind the body we are still fighting even at times when it feels like a lost cause.

Planted

TONY DOWN

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

When will I sleep ?

Vuelta done, Tour of Britain begins but I don’t think its on TV in the states so its back to the Center Bed for some full on garden work starting with a few days weeding.

The weekly plan will be a mix of weeding, planting, collecting firewood and some light cycling. Quality of life my arse! Get to see my Chaplain tomorrow, hoping for some enlightenment in this mystery, still don’t know the questions to ask.

Cool overnight with temps down to 45F but now on the rise cresting the 70F mark at 0900. A bit of weeding then breakfast to start the day. Edward seems to have gotten over his little bout of Covid and can now be released to the wild.

Work continues on the center bed on an off all day. My rear end is very painful, can’t sit on anything as it feels unpleasant. I hope this isn’t the beginning of the end? The ground is bullet hard and difficult to weed so I transplant some of the annuals and put the sprinkler on for the rest of the day.

Another poor night with about 5 hours sleep. Weed the driveway while I’m waiting for the Chaplain. He fails to show up but his wife is expecting a baby anytime soon! Back to weeding and planting. But before that, load 3 from the woodyard and its all gorgeous dry fir, my favorite.

Not much humping going on here apart from wood!

Wednesday once more, still in a lot of pain, let’s see if the medical fraternity can do anything to help and who knows maybe, I’ll get a decent night’s sleep. Worthless sleep pills, or is it a placebo? Perhaps they are worried I’ll take the entire bottle but I’ll guarantee that wouldn’t work as they are so useless!

Meanwhile, another day of the same, weeding, logging, and perhaps some planting today. Went out early, bit chilly, but topped off the pool and some watering completed. Temp coming up, maybe a little more weeding before the lumber run.

Load no 4 ready to unload
Building the “Great Wall”

Another load of good dry fir, that makes 4 loads so far and looking for 3 more to complete the Great Wall of Dolores and then moving over to the front of house for maybe 5 more.

Ready for those mums

Another area of the Center Bed clear of weeds and with any luck I might get to plant the “mums” either late this afternoon or tomorrow .

SRAM 1070 Cluster 11 x28

My cluster of gears for the Roubaix arrived so off to see Scott and get that done tomorrow afternoon, then back for a rescheduled Chaplain visit at 1600 tomorrow. Into town for the pain pills and some conflict on how to take them. One at night but then I can take another if I wake up. IF ????

A little humor to finish the day concerning Douglas Bader the WWII fighter pilot who lost his legs but carried on flying.

It still makes me chuckle

Awful night! 2 hours tops, but no pain, scared and getting to be frightened of the dark? What the hell is happening?? Ordered some more books on Heaven in the hope I might get some peace. A visit to see Edward one last time would appear to be on hold due to Covid, but it was a lovely thought.

Should finish up the weeding this morning and hopefully get those mums in the ground. Think I’m too tired for any logging activities this morning. Full afternoon with Roubaix new parts and then meeting Chaplain Ian.

Day actually goes to plan with the weeding completed and all nine mums planted. Pictures tomorrow. Pretty hot out there! Short ride to the bike shop to have the cluster cassette fitted and home again in time to meet up with Chaplain Ian and get some more answers to questions of the day.

New rear cassette and chain

Some sleep tonight but, its 0400 and I’m up again typing this and after a warming coffee try for another couple of hours.

Waterfall bed looking good with another flush of lillies and now asters
First time for these huge mums in the center bed
I like them!

Not sure about these pain pills! pharmacist did say it would affect my breathing, and that is noticeable and not good, so I’m not too keen on taking any more of those. Also has a side effect of making me frightened of the dark.

TONY DOWN

TWO DAYS TO GO

Should be a lot harder than it looks!

One more grueling mountain stage and the time trial to go in this year’s Vuelta. With 9 hours restful sleep I’m ready to tackle one more load of firewood to wrap up the first week of logging and then prep the center bed for the Mums.

Off to the lumber yard only to find it is CLOSED! Well we did have 2 days of rain, or maybe they are having a long weekend as it’s Labor Day on Monday. Didn’t get round to weeding as the ground is still a bit wet so read a few chapters of my spiritual books so that “I’m prepared” for whatever is to come. Arranged another meeting with my Hospice Chaplain and see what comes next.

Next, didn’t have long to wait, having followed all the instructions to the letter re the sleeping pills nothing! Up and down all night long and maybe managed 3 hours if I’m lucky in fitful bursts of about 30 minutes or less each time. I’m fading fast. Not enough energy for a ride or any gardening so finished the book.

Another awful night’s sleep but a few hours in short bursts, so looking forward to some serious rest.

Last mountain stage in the Vuelta shook things up a bit a and some changes in the GC battle but Roglic seemed to have it under control and came home to another 2nd place finish.

Another 2nd place and just the TT to come

0400 and while I’m up I can think about some gardening tomorrow and maybe get back to cycling next week as I have a new cluster on order for the Roubaix. They need to be changed regularly as they start to “clack” after a few thousand miles and I’m at about that point on this set.

Time trial goes as expected and Roglic wins that one as well and completes his hattrick of wins in this classic. Well done!

Gardening for me with a lot more serious weeding and re-dos on the center bed but it will all be worth it when its finished

TONY DOWN

REST DAYS

Time for a rest and try and pick myself up, which is beginning to get difficult these days. I will try my best but I am feeling I’m losing the battle on all fronts.

Team Jumbo’s Slovenian rider Primoz Roglic celebrates as he wins the 17th stage of the 2021 La Vuelta cycling tour of Spain, a 185.8 km race from Unquera to Lagos de Covadonga on September 1, 2021. (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP via Getty Images)

Today the Vuelta was as I had hoped for with Roglic and Bernal heading the break from a long way out, very impressive and Roglic showed his dominance winning the stage in some cool wet conditions. Sepp Kuss sprinted to the line for a Jumbo Visma 1, 2, taking the second place time bonus from all his team leader’s rivals.

A great second place for Sepp Kuss

Seems the lions didn’t much care for some of the other animals so tourists beware!

Change in the weather, cooler and 100% chance of rain which it is currently living up to. Any gardening plans on a back burner as this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Good steady rain and no signs of letting up, but I don’t have to water anything either.

The day has past, but the night time is giving me problems as once again no matter what I do I can not get to sleep. Ironic that it should be my rest day and I can’t get any!

Night without end! Very uncomfortable with all the “leaking” and constant bathroom visits and I doubt if I even got one hour of sleep. The rain continues but I MUST get some rest somehow.

The bad weather has drifted through, still cooler and I’m tired beyond belief but still can’t get the rest I need.

Night again and I finally manage to get some sleep and from my calculations I made about 9 hours which I needed big time!

Looking good for win No3

The Vuelta continues as predicted and no changes in the Jerseys as we come up to the last 2 days of competition. Roglic looks in a good position to take his third win, barring any major accidents.

Time to get you lot in the ground

On the home front time for firewood load No3 and then weeding and planting of the Moms.

TONY DOWN

LOGGING

Only 35.10 left to crack the monthly target and get through 2300 miles for the year. However there are other things that must also be done, one of which is start the annual logging collection of firewood as we have open fires both upstairs and down.

Last winter the wood pile took a heavy hit with me on constant chemo and then a fire in the wood pile where all the firewood is from. Aspen Wall Wood is where it comes from and I’ve been using them for about 15 years. They charge me $10 a load for the Cadillac full to the window line. I honestly don’t think they realize just how much you can get in a Cadi ! Normally about 12 loads provides all our winter heat and although Oncology say I won’t be around to enjoy it I need to start stocking up now while its in a nice dry condition. First load home and stacked, now time for a beer and attack that 35.10 hurdle.

First load done!

A longer lie than usual to 0730 and feel somewhat better after a reasonable time asleep. Nothing to watch this morning, (No Vuelta) so out for the gardening water ritual and get round to cleaning all the AZ mud off the Jag and put on a couple of decals that were on my “to do list”.

Clean again
A little bling

After load 1 was arranged time to knock off some miles to hit that planned target as I’m seeing some rest days coming as I move into household tasks of firewood and more gardening. Manage 21.52 towards the goal so well placed for the last day of the month.

Vuelta went as expected with the sprinters taking advantage of a flat stage. For the GC men we have two mountain days and the final time trial so hopefully there won’t be anymore dull days of not trying.

Load No2 collected and stacked, lunch done, now time for about 8 miles and then into town to pay the property taxes! This time by check to avoid the 3% add on for using a debit card!!!! If all that goes well home for a top off ride and some well deserved cream ale at the Brewpub!

A quick ride of 9.80 before paying those taxes and then another 16.78 which takes me to 2303.20 for the year.

Monthly, and yearly banner gone through!

TONY DOWN