Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ready Or Not...Here We Come???

It's been awhile since I've posted. I'd like to write more but I've been a little busy. We are embarking on a move out to Nevada. Someday I'll blog about that decision and the events that are making that possible.

(Did I mention this was the prettiest spot in the whole world?)

This past Sunday evening I hauled my excavator out to Starr Valley to put in our sewer line and septic system, water line and power conduit. I was planning on returning home Wednesday evening. That time line didn't quite work out. I got home about 3:30 am today.

(This is where we'll setup our camp.)
It was quite the adventure. I had a couple of breakdowns and delays and changes of plans, but all in all I was reminded time after time why it is we're moving out there. It was wonderful to have the support and help of willing and able individuals most of whom were family. From amazing meals to picking up parts at the Home Depot or getting a tire fixed or repairing a hydrualic ram that came apart to back filling a trench in the pouring rain by hand the outpouring of help and support was nothing short of overwhelming.

(Here's our well head and future site of our power pole.)

We have so much to do before we get out there. I would say in terms of the ready part....we're not so much ready.......but here we come!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Big Kenny

I've lost track of the many times that I've got the "You want to do what?" look from my dear wife. As most of you who actually read this know we opened a commercial truck wash facility in Wells, Nevada this past February. As I recall the idea for that also received the afore-mentioned look. Anyway, a few months after we opened we were visiting some friends up in Riverton. As Jen was catching up with Kristen, I was drooling over Matt's restored car collection.

The truck wash topic came up and I told him I would like to get an old classic Peterbilt or Kenworth to fix up and park outside our chrome shop. I described the ideal truck as an old 50's or 60's model Peterbilt with a needle-nose long hood and all decked out in Chrome. I wanted something to be an eye catching billboard but also have the capacity to be driven to haul equipment, hay and of course truck shows. Matt asked me if I was stuck on a "Pete". I told him I wasn't and he asked if I would be interested in a Kenworth. I said sure. He told me he had one parked out in back of his house. My wife just rolled her eyes as we excused ourselves from the house and went out to look at it.

It was dark outside but with the aid of some outdoor lighting you could see the classic lines of a 1969 A model Kenworth. It was a dingy maroon color but the body was in great shape. Matt gave me the details on it and what he was planning to do with it. He said it was going to be fixed up to be a yard truck at his trucking yard up in Salt Lake. They had put a newer 400 Cummins engine with a newer transmission and new rear-ends.

I told him I was interested and we started to discuss price. We went back in the house and my wife could tell I was sold. On the drive home I gave her my sales pitch and why it was such a good buy and how it would help etc. She wasn't an easy sale but she said finally she'd go along with the idea if I really felt that passionate about it. Once I decide to do something she always gives me her unwavering support. That has proved to be such a blessing, time and time again.
In the following week we made a couple of attempts at getting the truck started. We finally realized it had a safety toggle switch that allowed it to start. Once that was found it fired right up. I had never driven a class 8 truck. I don't know if Matt knew that when he told me to get in and take it for a spin around the neighborhood. I got it and promptly stalled it as I couldn't get my foot on the clutch because the steering wheel was so huge and there wasn't enough room for my long legs. I opened the door and put my foot on the clutch and then shut the door and off I went. Again my first time driving a truck that big with a transmission like that. I couldn't figure out the shifting thing very well. I ground the gears a lot and made a lot of noise. I got back to Matt's and told him about it. He said, "Come on, let me show you how to drive it." I sat on a 5 gallon bucket for a seat and he drove. He showed me the art of shifting without using the clutch. We sped down 12600 South by our old house and he threw the "jake brake" on. It was awesome. As you can see from the pictures it wasn't the prettiest truck, but I could see the potential. Matt agreed to re-plumb all the air lines and replace the bad batteries. We settled on a price and he agreed to deliver it to Wells.

I made arrangements to get it painted by a local guy from Wells. I talked to a couple of our chrome distributors and they agreed to front a large portion of the chrome for it as it was going to be our show truck. I spent long hours at the Kenworth dealership getting replacement parts for it. I was hoping to have it all done in time for the car show in Wells, the end of July. Needless to say that didn't happen. In fact it's still not done. It is mostly painted and this past Saturday my dad helped me put a new hardwood floor in it.

One thing I'm not is patient. When I was a kid and I got model cars to put together, the glue just didn't dry fast enough. I wanted to finish it all in one shot. I hated waiting for parts to dry. Putting together Big Kenny is much the same for me. I've finally decided that parts of this truck will just be a work in progress.
Most people still think I'm crazy for doing it. Even my wife admits she still doesn't have the vision for it but trusts it will turn out to be an amazing project in the end. My dad who is very practical thinks I'd be better off spending money on a real sign. Once it's done, if it's ever done, they'll see what I've envisioned for the past eight months. I hope it turns out. I'll keep you posted as it comes along.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Like a Caged Animal

As the election nears and we hear the candidates for president spout their plug for change, it makes one wonder about the direction that change will go. This week began with a big change in the financial markets that I'm confident left many worried who or what might be next. About six weeks ago I received a letter in the mail from a small community bank explaining that their two offices here in Utah would be closing down effective October 31st, 2008. They are part of a bank based out of New Mexico that is reeling from the effects of an inflated real estate market turned upside down, inside out and every direction in between. Due to defaulting loans and the subsequent higher reserve requirements, their bank, like many others is attempting to liquidate and consolidate exposure to remain solvent.

Eighteen months ago I was introduced to a new banker. I was dressed in my finest suit and tie. I was nervous. From my banking background I knew I needed to impress and wanted to look the part. I was looking to finance a multi-million dollar truck wash facility. We met in a board room on the second floor of their office in Salt Lake City. It was a nice board room, complete with fine wood furniture and accents and plush leather chairs. My new banker was wearing a polo shirt and slacks but no tie. His boss was there also and similarly dressed. My banker seemed genuine but a little shifty or uncomfortable. They fired questions at me and I answered the best I could. It seemed to be going well. Near the end we made arrangements for another meeting to further discuss details. They told me not to dress up so much that it wasn't necessary and they always dressed casually. Over the past eighteen months I became close friends with my banker. I came to trust him and I confided a lot in him and he helped me tremendously to accomplish my objectives with my project. We transacted other business besides the truck wash. Through the course of construction I visited him on occasion in his office wearing work wranglers and an old shirt. He had a great office with huge windows and great views of the city and the mountains. I was always comfortable in his office. We developed a great level of trust.

I was surprised when I got the letter. I called my banker immediately to find out what the deal was. I could tell he was stressed. He'd been interviewing for other jobs and didn't know what direction he would end up going. He still asked about my project and my family and how things were going. I told him to let me know where he ended up. It brought back memories of when I departed the banking industry to get my real estate license and be my own boss. I remember the panic that came when I realized there wouldn't be a check every two weeks, and oh yea pay your own health care insurance and enjoy your now non-paid holidays. A week later we found out we were expecting Luke. Was I crazy? Could I make it self employed?

Weeks later I heard from my banker. He had taken a job with one of the largest financial institutions in the country. The big bully on the playground of small community banking. I could tell it pained him to tell me that he had landed there. But as he said they're solid and I've got to look out for my family. I concurred that was important. Last week I contacted him about doing a line of credit for one of my business ventures. We had to meet to discuss some items today so we arranged a meeting at his office downtown. He told me to park in the parking structure to the east of his building and he was on the 11th floor.

As I walked into the huge glass and granite building to the elevators I passed the KUTV Channel 2 news suite. I was sort of awe struck and I felt a bit under dressed. I was wearing some wranglers and my white Real Estate Group polo. I felt like an idiot when I got on the elevator with several people in fancy suits and didn't realize until we were headed up that they had an odd numbered floor elevator and an even numbered floor elevator and I was on the wrong one. I got off and found my way to the right one. I had to be buzzed into the suite. I bit of a snobby old fella looked me up and down judging that I probably had no business being there, and asked me what I needed. He then led me down a hallway and into a large room with probably 50 cubicles stacked all together. He led me to the very center to my banker's cubicle. He stood up to greet me. He was wearing a button down shirt and a tie. He looked uncomfortable and miserable. I can't adequately describe the look in his eye when we met there today. He looked like a caged animal. Don't get me wrong the cubicles were a nice grey color and the top 3 feet or so were glass, presumably so you could see who was where. I said, "Hey nice building." He responded, "Yea do you like my space here? Not quite like my old office is it?" No it definitely wasn't. We had a good talk. He was adjusting to it all but I could tell he wasn't the same happy guy I had always known him to be. At the end of our meeting he led me through the cubicle maze to get validation stickers to cover my parking from a very grumpy lady even deeper in the maze. He walked me to the elevators and we made arrangements to meet again.

As I exited the elevators and strolled by the fancy office suites I stopped for a moment and took it all in. People were running here and there. Things were moving, things were happening it was all very fascinating. I was reminded of several trips down town to interview with the higher ups at Zions Bank when I had applied for management positions. I remembered the fancy buildings and the excitement of it all. Did a part of me miss it I asked myself? Mmmmm......... Not even a little bit. I loved that I was heading home to change into some dirtier wranglers and a t-shirt so I could go and stack a rock wall for an older lady from Tennessee with a cool accent. I loved that I received three calls on the way home about real estate listings I have and I didn't even have to dress up or down to take those calls. It's a bit of a scary time these days in this current market we find ourselves in. There are many factors that play a part in the uncertainty we face. There's not a simple solution to any of it. There are days a secure job at the bank and a steady income sound really appealing. Today just wasn't one of those days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Golden Mud

I guess all my posts about my buggy are a bit too boring. At least that's the gist I got from my wife's comment on my last post. She asked, "Are you just going to write about your buggy?" I thought maybe I would, but I guess I won't. So here it goes on another topic.

Golden Mud. One of the many pleasures of owning car washes is the sludge you get to deal with. I like to call it golden mud. To think of it this way makes it less annoying when you have to do something with it. Unless you've handled it before you're probably wondering what on earth I'm talking about. Next time you wash your car in a self serve bay or an automatic look at the floor in the center of the bay. There you'll find one of the treasure chests that holds/collects the golden mud. It may look like a storm grate you see in a city street. You can drive on it, stand on it, drop things in between the metal bars, some people dump their used motor oil in it late at night, some don't even wait for night time. It's basically the local dumping ground for liquids and small items.
These treasure chests all vary in size. Most of them are about 3 to 4 feet deep by about 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. A pretty good size treasure chest if you ask me. They are usually made of concrete and have a 4 or 6 inch pipe coming out of them near the top where the water drains off to another series of even larger treasure chest buried under asphalt in the parking lot/drive way. These larger treasure chests fill up much slower because the idea is that most of the gold mud will settle in the first chest. However as the dirty water flows from chest to chest it carries with it bits and pieces of debris that settles along the way.

As time goes by this golden mud builds up and gets deeper and deeper until it can eventually block your outlets. This results in a flooded bay because the water cannot properly exit the system. When this happens you know it's time to clean out the treasure chest. Most car wash owners will hire a pump truck company to come and pump it out and dispose of it properly. We like to do ours ourselves. Not really, but it's cheaper and you can't beat the smell of it all. Believe it or not this is something you want to have happen as often as possible because it means you're washing a lot of cars. Thus comes the term "Golden Mud."

My first experience with this golden mud came in the summer of 2007. We had owned our car washes for about 3 months and then our bays started flooding. We thought it would be handy to just clean them out with a shovel and a five gallon bucket. That may be the hardest most back breaking work known to man. Not to mention how sloppy, dirty, messy, smelly it is and there is no way in the world to avoid getting it all over you. That worked as a short term fix to keep the water flowing.

I like to run equipment. I always have. From a very young age I liked to run equipment to do a job. I remember using my Tonka front end loader to try and clean up the Christmas tree pine needles off of the floor when my dad hauled it outside after the season. It didn't work very well, but it was better then doing it by hand. Anyway after unclogging 4 of these clogged bays with a shovel, I thought to myself, "Self...there's a better way." I rented a mini-excavator and used it to fill my skid steer bucket and then dumped that in a vacant lot down the street. It wasn't any less messy, in fact it splashed probably a whole lot higher, but the back breaking work was removed and you can't discount the entertainment value of getting to run equipment. That worked marvelously. We did it that way probably 3 or 4 times over the past year. When I got into the excavation business a little more this past spring I bought a dump truck and a mini-excavator so I don't even have to rent a machine or dump it illegally on somebody else's lot.

A week ago, we discovered that whenever the automatic ran, water would shoot out of the sewer man hole which is the lid on one of the buried treasure chests in the asphalt. That is a bad sign. That means that your treasure chests in the parking area are full of mud and nothing is draining to the sewer system. Dealing with this problem isn't so easy. While these are larger treasure chests, the openings are 24 inch round sewer man hole covers. The only way to clean these out is to suck the mud out. Just for your information, a trash pump is not the best way to do this. It's fine for the water, but it takes forever to get the mud out. My brother Tabor and I cleaned out a large underground settling tank like this at our truck wash, so I knew it could be done. We gave it a whirl on this tank/treasure chest and it wasn't so easy.

First keep in mind these chests have about 300-400 gallons of water in them on top of the mud. We had it set up to pump into my dump truck but we were letting the water just run by into our storm drain. We pumped and pumped and pumped until we finally discovered that the outlets for our larger treasure chests were located about a foot off of the bottom. Which explains why they filled up and clogged so easily. What a horrible design.

I was on my hands and knees, covered with mud and muck working on keeping the pump primed so it would keep pumping when all of a sudden I heard someone yelling at me over the roar of the motor running our trash pump. I looked up and there was a little old man that was bright red in the face with anger. He kept yelling at me about filling up something and how I was going to clean up something or he was going to kick my beeep-beeep or see my beeep-beeep in court. I was really confused in the first place to be startled like that out of nowhere, but then this little old man who maybe tips the scales at a buck 10 soaking wet standing over me threatening me...well I finally had enough so I stood up and asked him to explain a little clearer what he was so upset about. The top of his bright red head hit me about a little below chest level. He toned down quite a bit, but still was visibly disturbed. We walked over and he showed me the source of all his red fury. The water we'd been pumping out had filled up our storm drain and it was now spilling over and running down the street and it had filled up a drain box that collects water off of the back street behind our wash and then distributes it out into a modified french drain. He apparently thought our pump was doing a better job then it was because he was certain we had filled his tank with mud. Besides being really mad he was snapping pictures of everything and here I was looking all a mess for the photo shoot!

I argued with him about the mud issue and assured him it was just filled beyond it's capacity with water. He threatened to whip up on me again and I told him he better not pick a fight he couldn't win. Then he told me he was just going to sue me. That sounded like fun. Then before I knew it the Mayor of Payson showed up, followed by several public works employees for the city. They were also taking a bunch of pictures. Had I known we were going to have a city council meeting I would have brought some of my proposals for the strip mall we want to build down on our other car wash sites. Most of them didn't find that very humorous as it was about 7 pm when this all transpired and I'm sure they weren't just wrapping up their days on the job. Anyway I told Mr. grumpy that we'd pump his tank out and he assured me he would be checking it.
So after we pumped his out, we pumped our storm drain out and then finished our other tanks. All and all it was a blissful 14 hour day and our car wash should be ready for the dirty hunting season. I love dirty four wheelers...those guys spend a lot of time cleaning those up. At the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with a little golden mud.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Fix

It's been awhile since I last posted. My buggy was down for a day or two but is now repaired. On the suggestion of my wise father I decided to rebuild the broken brace from scratch. Complete with tenon joints, the same type of wood and I'm still trying to match the stain. In an effort to get it back on the circuit I worked a late Saturday evening and had it ready to assemble for use on Sunday afternoon.

I took it for another quick trip to make sure it would work and then loaded up the whole family and off we went. Isaiah was a little nervous about riding in the back. Luke was oblivious to it all and Jen held Savannah on the seat next to me.

One minor but important detail was still left unresolved. The quarter straps that keep the buggy from running up onto Dan won't stay tight around the shavs and therefore require the use of the brake to keep it from running Dan over going down hill. This can be tricky while driving with one hand, holding on to a squirmy Luke with another and trying to apply the brake with a.... some thing's gotta give...what a buggy ride. We made it fine until we passed by the Hazard's and saw my buddy Scot outside his house. I drove up his steep driveway without considering the fact that we'd have to come back down. After all this was an opportunity to show off the new rig. My wife probably uttered some words of hessitation...caution...etc...but I wasn't listening. We had a nice talk with Scot, then I turned the buggy around and saw the steep decline which was cemented this past spring. Nothing like having your most precious cargo loaded on an old relic buggy with limited braking power going down a roughly 9% grade... You guessed it...Jen suggested she and the boys and Savannah get off and they'd walk down the hill. She handed Savannah to Scot and off they all went. I nervously looked down the hill and thought to myself, "Self, what are we doing here?" No time for hesitation now, down we went. It wasn't that bad. With less overall mass in gravity's favor, we did just fine. I rode the brake and Dan did great. At the bottom of the drive we reloaded and off we went. As we went down hills Dan's natural reaction to get the buggy off of his rear end was to try to out run it. This was fine with Luke and me (remember he was oblivious) I thought I can drive him as fast as he can run, but to Isaiah and white knuckled Jennifer it was...well...sort of a buggy ride! A little uncomfortable at that. We all made it home fine and it was really a good time. I took pictures of the fix I made on the buggy. I've made a few modifications since these photos to strengthen the brace and to eliminate the running over aspect of the hills. My brilliant father made some rings that we attached to the shavs to secure the quarter straps too. I haven't yet tried them out as Dan is a bit sore from his injured leg. I hope to get him back out on the buggy trail again this week if he's feeling up to it. The weather is absolutely perfect for buggy rides.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Maiden Voyage

I'm not sure if that's what you call it when you first take a buggy out for a spin or if that title is reserved for sea craft only. I guess I'll borrow the term if you don't mind. This past Monday evening I headed out to Nevada to do some business at our truck wash and to pick up Dan, our buggy horse. It was a productive couple of days out in Wells, NV. I took my harness and shavs out so my dad, who can still fix anything, could fit them properly to Dan. Tuesday afternoon my dad called me to let me know he'd caught Dan to begin the fitting and Dan had re-injured his back leg and wasn't sound. In fact he was favoring it a lot and not getting around to well. I was devastated. Here I finally had my buggy, but now my buggy horse was lame. I came home from the truck wash early so I could see how Dan was and to learn about my harness. I pulled up to my folks home and Pops had Dan tied up and harnessed. Dan is a beautiful dark bay horse. As you can see in the photos he's tall, lean and handsome. My dad came out and he showed me all the adjustments he'd made to make my harness work on Dan. He'd done a lot of work to it and had put hooks on the single-tree so the tugs would stay on. Dan was limping pretty bad. We turned him out for the night.

The next day as I headed into to Wells to spend the day at the truck wash I had a major blowout on the front passenger side of my truck. My front tires were nearing the end of their road but I thought I had at least enough life in them to get me back to Utah. It was a pretty scary couple of moments. I had just entered the freeway at the Welcome exit. I was getting up to speed and something told me I should slow it down, that something wasn't right. As I slowed to about 65 all of a sudden my tire came apart and I was all over the road. I pulled off onto the shoulder and assessed the damage. It wasn't pretty. I learned how to use my jack and the special key that inserts through a hidden hole in the rear bumper to release the spare tire. I'm glad I read the owner's manual. I was about to tear into with my own tools and that could have ended badly. I replaced my over sized tire with the much smaller spare tire and limped myself into town. I decided I needed to replace my tires before heading back to Utah so I took my truck down to Les Shwabb Tires. My buddy Chad sold me some tires that had to come from Elko so I left my truck for the afternoon.
I went with Tabor and our chemical dealer Tommy to see some land and then to my folks house to pick up my trailer and Dan so I could head home when we got back to Wells. As we neared home I remembered that the trailer which actually I'd borrowed from my buddy Jared required a 2 and 5/16 inch ball. I knew Tabor's was a 2 inch. I checked with my dad and he only had a 2 inch. He called my uncle Drew and he had the right one on his dump truck. We headed over their and helped him take it off only to find that it was too large to bolt onto Tabors receiver hitch. Talk about a buggy ride.... We decided to just take it slow and try to keep Dan toward the front to keep the weight on the tongue so as not to dislodge it from the ball. This would have been a little more comforting to do if number one, it was my trailer. Number two if both Tabor and Tommy hadn't rolled trailers themselves with horses in them, and three if the trailer that Tommy had rolled hadn't been the exact model as Jared trailer that we were attempting to do this with! A little stressful to say the least. Did I mention what a buggy ride?

We made it into town with no trouble. I picked up my truck and made the necessary preparations for my journey back to Utah and I left.

I pulled into our yard at about 12:45 am. I unloaded Dan and put him in his corral. I watered him and fed him and wished him well for the evening. He was a good sport through it all.

This brings us to Thursday morning. A tad early I might say. Later in the evening after perhaps 239 requests from Isaiah for a buggy ride, I went out and checked Dan to see how his foot was. I led him around and he walked without a limp. I told him maybe we could take a short ride. I was thrilled that he was sound. I hadn't got my hopes up all day because I knew if he was limping we wouldn't be able to go.

I caught Dan and proceeded to harness him. I backed him between the shavs and Jen held his head while I hooked him to the buggy. Jen captured the experience with her camera. I got on the buggy and we were off...around the neighborhood. I took the first run solo to make sure everything worked out and that Dan was ready for the paved roads of North Ranch. He did fine and we pulled back in to make some quarter-strap adjustments and to pick up my anxious passengers Isaiah and Luke.

Again we headed down the driveway and up the street at Isaiah's requested medium pace. It was wonderful. It was a beautiful evening with a light breeze and a perfect temperature. We clopped along and waved to many of our neighbors and talked with several of them. Isaiah was on the seat with me and Luke was on my lap, between my legs, under the seat and for awhile in the back. It was a juggling act to say the least, to keep the brake on enough going down hills so it didn't run up on Dan, to drive and to keep tabs on a curious Luke. As I pulled up to our driveway I was caught in some indecision as to whether we were going another round or stopping for the evening as it was getting dark. Luke saw our house and wanted to go there. Isaiah decided he'd had enough and I was part way off to another round when I decided to pull into the driveway. We took the turn a bit wide and we nicked the front wheel on the fence corner post. I knew we were close and then I heard a sharp crack and down went the single-tree. I stopped Dan and Jen came out to help me unload my passengers. I unhooked Dan and assessed our broken situation. The tenon joints that hold the brace between the shavs had each snapped. Turns out those two tenon joints were the only thing pulling the entire buggy. Not a real solid design.
I was pretty sad about our unfortunate breakage and what it meant for future buggy rides. I guess at the end of the day it's just another buggy ride.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Buggy Ride

It's finally here! For years I have spent countless hours searching for the perfect buggy. A month ago I found it on and knew right away that it was the one. The only problem was that it was in Colorado and the gentleman I was buying it from was in no hurry to bring it here. It finally arrived this afternoon. Now the only problem is that it's here and my buggy horse is not. Isn't that ironic. As my dear wife suggested, it's like having a new car without the key. Molly's Missile is the name of our buggy horse but we call him Dan. Dapper Dan to be exact. A nickname given by his trainer and former caretaker, aka my dad.

About four years ago I stumbled across Dan and his mother, Crystal's Molly. We had a neighbor in Riverton that had them and couldn't afford to feed them so he was looking for a home for the pair so he gave them to me. They were both very fancy bred Standard Bred horses. Dan's mother died of colic awhile after I took her out to Starr Valley to my folk's place. My dad took a liking to Dan and tried to trade me out of him several times. He started driving Dan and broke him to drive and ride. In the meantime he also utilized Dan's studly qualities and bred his big Belgium mare Goldie to Dan. Dan sired a filly named Anne and a horse colt named Andy out of Goldie. They are a matched pair and will make a nice team for him someday. Little did Dan know, he sort of created a replacement for himself and his presence will no longer be welcome when it comes time to feed hay this fall in Starr Valley. This whole getting fed thing seems to be a theme with Dan. I guess in a way it works out perfectly because we need a buggy horse now to pull our buggy. With the high price of fuel, you never know what may happen. Dan may have a full time job.

Now to the name of my blog. The Buggy Ride. I'm not sure when I first used the phrase. I may have borrowed it from Scot Hazard who often refers to a less than smooth real estate transaction as a buggy ride. It seems that many experiences in my life (especially recently) have been a bit of a buggy ride. That tends to put a negative connotation with the term buggy ride which isn't nearly the case. There is hardly anything more peaceful then a buggy ride down my folk's lane in the evening with my dad at the lines, resolving the problems of the world or whatever issue might be at hand. The crickets singing along with the steady sound of hoof beats and buggy wheels on the gravel road, Boulder Creek passing by, a light breeze blowing the leaves in the trees, the sweet smell of sage brush and wild flowers and a splendid northern Nevada sunset making the horizon glow and the rugged mountains splash with color. That... is anything but negative.

I guess the generalized term of a buggy ride signifies a rough ride, feeling every bump and jolt a long the way and feeling like you've been shaken until you think you may break at any moment. Having experienced both, my preference would be the peaceful version through Starr Valley, but I've probably encountered the latter more often. And so it is, a term with dual meaning. The good version is always good, the tough bumpy version... not always bad but perhaps more challenging. I actually plan on writing a book someday detailing some of my more memorable bumpy rides through life. For now I'll blog away and enjoy sharing them with you, the good and the bumpy.