Friday, May 1, 2009

What's Your Specialty?

"Specialty" is a term we use to cover any number of rides, and the only thing they have in common is that they're not routine.

For example, the Gardner Village "Ride With A Witch" gig last October was a "Specialty". So is the Quinceanera that Cliff is doing out in Wendover next month. Ro is doing a specialty on Saturday, and after I attend my League of Utah Writers workshop in Springville I'll be rushing over to the east side of town to help her out with that, although by the time I arrive she will have done most of the work, which involves grooming/tacking/loading/trailering the horse and carriage over there.

Anyway, Specialty's; we have another one this Saturday; it's the celebration of 1894 at the city/county building downtown. The building is an old one, requiring a seismic retrofit several years ago, and our job (well, not me, I'll be shuttling wedding guests from a parking lot to a reception with Ro) is to take Vis-à-vis and deliver five past and current mayors of Salt Lake to the celebration.

We have two Mayors, a city mayor, Ralph Becker, who I drove in the Gay Pride Parade two years ago, and a county Mayor, Peter Carroon, who I have never driven anywhere.
To prepare for this event the five carriages need to be spruced up, which is not a big deal (except for #3 which is a POS, but that's another story) so Ro worked on them yesterday. But also included in the celebration is the display of some of the antique vehicles that the barn owners collect. And that's where it gets fun, at least for me, because I love the antiques.

(Side note: I watch "Antique Road Show, and Mr. Slave Driver states that he can tell the appraisal price of an item based on how ugly I think it is. If I like it, it's worthless; if I think it is the most hideous f*cking thing I've ever laid eyes on, it's priceless. This is especially true if it's an old clock, or French, or an old French clock. He believes I should hire myself out as a "Value Barometer" when someone goes treasure hunting at an estate sale or flea market. I'm more accurate than a guide book.)

So while Ro, Kar and I spent Friday at the barn helping make ready the display carriages I took some photos of them for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed vacuuming out the ½ inch thick layer of dust and mouse crap.

The hell with swine flu, I've probably contracted the Hanta virus.

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry..."

This is a Landau; the top opens down the middle and it becomes a convertable.

And the interior of the Landau

The Stagecoach is very big and tall. Carriage Driver Kar is 5'9". Here she is standing next to the rear wheel.

This is a Clarence Growler Brougham

This is called a Dray

One of my favorites, the Victorian

And the one I do NOT want to go for a ride in...the hearse.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! The surrey is cute, but the brougham is gorgeous. Makes me wish for italics. Gorgeous.

I rode on a stage coach once, when I was a teenager. It slumps over when you climb on it, even if you're not all that heavy, and when you get into the shotgun seat and look D O W N it's kind of scary.

You have such a cool job/hobby/obsession/whatever.

Anonymous said...

Landau! Landau! Not brougham. yeesh, ddusty. Get a clue.

Griffox said...

can you write vis a vis phonetically? It drives me nuts every time I see that word and don't know how the hell to pronounce it. Is it french? This is like a spelling bee. What is the language of origin? haha

Lisa Deon said...

pronounce it lika "Visa-Vee". It is French and it means face to Face, for the way the seats are, facing each other instead of facing forward.

Nice to see you back again.

Griffox said...

ahh! Thank you. Now if I ever have to actually say it aloud, I won't sound like a fool.

I'm not "back". I've been here all along. I'm just very sneaky. ;-)

Lisa Deon said...

Slumping over stage coaches- they are built on a sling frame, because it was easier on the horses to pull them. I cannot remember the exact terminology, buy the swaying was better for the horses than if it had been stable.

On the downside, the swaying gave the people motion sickness...Imagine, if iyou will, a time before air conditioning, toothpaste, deoderant, and Lavender scented Tide. Imagine being stuck in a small box on a dusty bumpy road with strangers in a vehicle that sways forward and backward, and occasionally rocks side to side going a whopping 12 mph to arrive at your destination.

Ahhhh, the "good old days".

Sagebrusheq said...

Is that the stage coach that used to be on display at the Wells Fargo bank down town? The trim is similar.

Lisa Deon said...

Nope, that's ours. The one in the WF building looks similar but I believe it's a little smaller.

IrishLassie said...

Getting to help wash and polish the various vehicles was a wonderful experiance. Not something one gets to do normally and well worth the long day. Wish Id been able to get pics of us driving up with each mayor but can't be in two places at once.

Lisa Deon said...

Irish Lassie, I sent Vince Horiuchi an unhappy email about his lame article in the SL Tribune.

He did'nt mention the carriages at all, and really only talked about what was missing (good weather, crowds, and the hot air balloon ride)so I hope it all went well I would have loved to be there.

Lisa Deon said...

And of course Ro was all atwitter because she had us for company all day and we got free pizza for lunch!


Neb said...

I've been hunting for pictures of a wagon like that ancient hay hauler all over the net, and found your blog. We just acquired and almost identical one, and I'm curious about it's provenance. Does the owner know the history of this wagon? Thanks so much, Nancy F