Friday, December 13, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Mollycoddling Central

Molly "Mo Mo, Slo Mo, Mighty Mo" Wolcott-Dailey joined the family over the weekend. She was a gift from a wonderful couple in Riverton, Wyoming - Gary and Anna LaPierre. She's a border collie who is about 13 weeks old.

DATELINE DUBOIS, WYOMING --- Molly "Mo Mo, Slo Mo, Mighty Mo" Wolcott-Dailey joined the family over the weekend. She was a gift from a wonderful couple in Riverton, Wyoming - Gary and Anna LaPierre. She's a border collie who is about 13 weeks old. That's the biggest news from the Wind River. Apartment construction going well - Don's working his tail off to make it really nice. My mom came for a visit. We grilled a lot, museum-ed, fished a wee bit and also visited Don's peeps in Jackson. Bobbie and Mike had great details from their two-month Alaska adventure, as well as some very tasty salmon and a beauty of an ulu gift for our kitchen. Slow and steady and a simple life here. Anyone headed to Tetons or Jellystone has an open invite, anytime. Thumper remains king and is here to receive ball tossers twenty-four-seven. Weather beautiful - sunny and warm with regular afternoon rains. Hopefully a nice ride is on tap soon...
Hope all is well with all...
Hol, Ding, Thumper and the Mol 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A sentinel's report from Dubois, Wyoming

Before a packed crowd and under both sunny and rainy skies, the Wyoming Cowboys upset the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 6-man football June 29 at the Dubois High School football field. I hope it's a metaphor for our life here at 7,000 feet.
DATELINE 102 HOUGH STREET, DUBOIS, WYOMING --- Back in the day when I was a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times, I had a weekly column called The Sentinel. Stopping short of plastering my mug on city buses and park benches, the paper vigourously and regularly announced my upcoming dispatches with quarter-page ads that shoved my face into the reader's and proclaimed I was scouring the underbelly of society, discovering cold case links and prophesizing pending gang warefare, or wagging tails with high-level law dogs by touting their newest superpowers or praising 'balanced' budgets and non-nepotistic promotions. Armed and clearing a 'house' inside a 300-degree simulator with the CHP was cool, as was learning close combat Krav Maga from a burly, attractive sheriff's sergeant. I can live without ever being tased again or watching two tons of pot get torched.

Today, I am a witness of another kind. Behold the pack races June 15-16 in Dubois. Teams of riders are timed as they erect a tent, saddle their rides, load a pack horse (pick and shovel must go last), break down the tent, ride into the hills several miles, return, unload, re-erect the tent. A young duo won the men's division handily, possibly assisted by the fact that at least one other team had been recruited to compete only hours earlier at the closing of a local saloon. All-in-all, a surprisingly interesting sport to watch. Don was a timer both days. I've suggested enthusiasm could be boosted if I, ala Tour de France style, tracked the riders in the hills with a video camera to catch a few of the spills and excitment. Otherwise, Don and I need to consider entering to add a comedic element.

June 27 saw me sitting at a tiny table inside the local antique/book store, chatting with author Mike Kuzara, who's "Black Eagle Down" was just published. A spry and sportingly Western dressed Mr. Kuzara was a long-time columnist at the Sheridan Press before the changing media landscape and differing ideas about what constitutes journalism propelled him elsewhere. We have things in common. In "Black,' his fictional elk hunter protaganist must protect POTUS in the wilderness.

Two days later - in the midst of our on-going remodel of a portion of Ding's Custom Cycle land-based shop - I took in a 6-man football game. My former colleague and celebrated Americana photographer Morgan Tyree would be proud. He's attended and shot these events for years. It's a shorter field and the extra kick is worth two, among other rules. It was great to see skin in June.

In closing, day-to-day life has Don working tirelessly on the warehouse-style loft inside the shop. It's about an 800-square foot space that will soon have a bedroom, living room, kitchen and an almost-done new bathroom across the hall (when I finish, ugh, painting it). There will be tail pipes used as towel bars, heated cement looking-floors, maybe an extra gun cabinet doubling as the dry larder for bulk rice and beans and whatever else we can reconstitute or get for free. Don made moose marinara for spaghetti the other night and it was delicious. I'm reading "Protect and Defend" by Vince Flynn, whose fictional terrorists are fewer and have far easier names to remember than Don's choice of the mid-1800s battle for Afghanistan called "Return of a King." Occasional cribbage, lots of DVD movies and ball time with Thumper round out the life now. It's warm in the 80s and fishing and kayaking beckon soon.

Happy Fourth All and RIP Prescott Hot Shots.
Hol, Ding and Thumper

Saturday, June 8, 2013

We're home

Ramshorn Peak in the Absaroka Mountains in Dubois, Wyoming. This is now our backyard!

DATELINE DING'S CUSTOM CYCLE LAND-BASED SHOP, DUBOIS, WYOMING --- It's with a heavy heart but a bounty of hope that I must announce the end of Ding's Custom Cycle American tour 2012-2013. A string of bad weather and low ridership in Texas this spring, combined with a truckload of stress, burnout and health issues weighing on both of us, led to what I believe was a smart decision to land base for a stretch.
I'm proud to say that with the ongoing support from so many people - family, friends and customers, especially Bill and Deb Gray in Hondo - we had one hellava an adventure. We worked at 20 motorcycle rallies over the course of a year, vending in 10 states from New Hampshire to Nevada, and traveled through more than two dozen total. By my estimate, we had in excess of 200 customers who bought tires, oil, T-shirts, batteries and an obnoxious air horn, and we handed out some 1,000 business cards and dozens of cool company magnets made by the Grays. In shops, garages and on fridges nationwide, people have a Ding's memento nearby.
The plan underway has us working and residing at the Dubois shop (Ding currently building us a cool warehouse-style loft), planning regular visits to the Dunoir Valley rustic cabin for occasional fishing breaks, and regrouping for several months. If feasible, next year, we may consider a smaller tour schedule that would have us vending at Algona, Iowa, Sturgis, and possibly a couple in Texas and Oklahoma. We need to wait and watch with hopes that the market can bear our services and fees in the future. Right now, a lot of full-time vendors are struggling to make ends meet.   
I'm cooking and grilling more, which I truly enjoy (shrimp tacos with lime last night); we are reading novels like crazy, and Thumper is back in his "hood," chumming neighbors daily for ball tosses and snacks. I plan to continue blogging occasionally and we will keep the website and Facebook pages going. 
Anyone headed to or fro Yellowstone better stop at the shop for a cup of strong hot coffee, a view of the mountains and stories from us about life on the road and life in Dubois (pronounced due-boys instead of the more authentic French due-bwah). We can still service your ride while you wait. Also, phone numbers and email remain the same.
Have a peaceful summer all....
Love Hol, Ding and Thumper

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I wish it was a ham....

Look closely into the gas can on this chopper. You can see the reflection of Ding's logo and some of our decal work on the BFT. Father handed a son down this ride.  It sits on the rack for work here in Hondo at 85 degrees. South Texas sunsets are nice and make it easy to find something cool to shoot.

DATELINE GRAY COMPOUND, HONDO, TEXAS (many wild flowers to see)---OK Folks. here we are. Business and econ classes notwithstading, we find ourselves at a crossroads. As an aside, the welcome home has been great. It's been King Ranch Chicken after stuffed bell pepper dinner and more.The Grays are foodies and they cook well. Thank you so very much for everyrhing.
The war room is in full use trying to determine the remainder of the season. I won't bore y'all with details about  a one-ton truck that needs to be 2 ton. Should we have done earlier or not? Are we crazy?
It comes down to Don and I deciding - whata fun project$%^^&*

Got so crazy, we lost sight.....more ideas welcome

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Biblical rains, the Hungarians and more

DATELINE SAN ANTONIO/ALAMO CITY KOA CAMPGROUND --- Haven't slept well recently due to the long stretch of bad luck with weather and attendance at some rallies. HOGS of Texas over in Columbus had a nice spread - plenty of room for us, the required power supply and lots of green grass for Thumper. Based on hearing that some 2,000 folks had pre-registered, we were all feeling pretty positive. Well, the rain came and came and came some more. Entire rally, including our vending area was under water for a long time..

Alas, we talked with a team of three guys trying to get a mobile burger joint going - told them our truth and that's that plenty of rallies, regardless of size, need good burgers (and theirs were!) A new fellow in the mobile oil business was based across from us - we shared as many tips as we had and encouraged him to go forth and keep trying.

With lots of rain slamming some cold folks, I sold some long sleeve shirts and also gave a few away. Don did a couple of tires but one of the more interesting meets was a couple from Hungary who are riding this  modified bike around the world. They came to camp and cleaned a carbourator and hung out quite a bit. Not to much English spoken but that was ok.

I got slammed by fire ants, which still consume my legs today. We are at a crossroads with all of this, to be honest. Having to talk long and hard about continuing this. Without more customers, we simply can't make it work. I believe the decision to rally in Texas was a good one. It was just one of those long stretches in which riders didn't ride due to heavy wind and rain. Alas, I would have changed a rally or two to a different one with more history and succcess behind it.

We're off for a couple of days to repair truck, again. Don now has his knee brace and shot. Thumper is good but a little bored and I'm hanging in for the time being. We need to figure out the options and make a plan.

More down the road....Hug from D, T and H

The couple from Hungary are riding this around the world! I signed a note in pen on a vender.