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2001 XP, Day 4

Today was a great day too.  We hauled to the starting line, from 
Washington, KS and unloaded for a 6:00 a.m. start.  Up on the hillside on 
the way there was a silhouette of a pony express rider galloping over the 
ridge, it was totally awesome to see with the sun rising over it.  Now I 
can say that I've ridden in Kansas and Nebraska, since we crossed the state 
line about 15 miles into the ride.  We were all relieved to be able to say 
that we weren't in Kansas anymore -- goodbye to all of the mud and bad 
weather!  Tho you really can't tell much difference.  It is all rolling 
hills, and rural countryside.  Lots of green everywhere, and still plenty 
of puddles for the horses to drink from.  It'll dry out in another day or 
two though and then we'll have to rely on our crews a lot more.

I am still being really careful with the horses since they aren't used to 
this heat and humidity.  They are dealing with it well though, I think.  I 
won't let their HR's go up over 120 and if it does we slow down.  Mostly 
we're staying in the 90's just because I don't want to have them get 
hot.  So what if it takes us 10 hours.  We are definitely going a full 
distance ride, since our GPS's don't lie.  The GPS's are turning out to be 
really terrific.  I think everybody has them figured out pretty well 
now.  This is the easiest trail to follow with or without the GPS.  Dave 
(crew) has even figured out how to interface his GPS with my laptop and map 
software.  So he can keep it on while he drives, and see in an instant 
where he is and how to get to the next waypoint if I tell him I want him at 
waypoint 87 and 110 with water, he'll be there.  I love this!  All the 
crews are working well together, helping each other out.  We send our spare 
horses to the next camp so they don't have to be in the trailer all day, 
and then the others crew all day.

We probably should have ridden faster in the morning when it was cooler, 
but took 5 hours to get to the 26 mile point for lunch.  Then we had an 
hour hold and had another 6 hours to go the remainder......we did make it 
in with about an hour to spare but it sure got hot later.  Luckily, crews 
were everywhere with water along with really friendly residents who let us 
use their horses to cool our horses and water them.  It has really been 
great for the horses!  The faster riders probably aren't getting all of 
those luxuries though because I doubt they are willing to stop and chat 
with all of the locals.  They are all interested in what we are doing and 
are so nice to us.  They are also telling us where things are, like the 
wagon train ruts, and grave markers.  One guy even drove Pat's husband Bob 
up to the wagon train ruts to show him where they were.  Another lady 
brought us ice water to drink.  We totally cracked up when an old guy in a 
pickup drove by us while we were walking today and said "the real pony 
express rode a lot faster 'n that!".  It was too funny!

The highlight of the day was when, after leaving the vet check.....we saw a 
Schwann's ice cream truck.  The poor driver had broken down and there he 
was stuck.  So we whipped out some cash, and soon had ice cream sandwiches 
in hand.  Boy, ice cream has never tasted so good!! mmmm mmmmmmm

Basecamp tonight is really nice.  Lots of green grass for the horses, and 
plenty of room.  Jack trailered here this morning with Rocky and Sloan 
(Louise's 2nd horse) and set them up, so they got a full day of rest in a 
corral.  We even snuck in after finishing today and vetted thru and got to 
the trailer before my two horses realized that they were both here.  They 
are so attached, it's embarrassing at times.  They are getting much 
better.  The first day Weaver got left behind he was a butthead and 
squawked and pawed and acted basically like an idiot.  The next day I rode 
him, then the day after that we left and he was totally fine with it. 
<G>  So now they have the routine down and by next week it'll all be a 
piece of cake.  I guess Rocky was being the camp clown today, putting his 
nose into a water bucket and blowing bubbles so high that they overflowed 
all over the place.  People were coming to watch.  Whadda geek.  He sure 
looks good and is ready for tomorrow.  Then we get two days off and start 
again on Tuesday.

Some riders have been riding the same horse all week, and others have been 
alternating.  Yesterday 49 started.  I don't know how many today, and I 
don't know how many pulls there have been.  Today Scott Wachenheim pulled 
because his horse wasn't eating, and Beth also pulled to go back with 
him.  His horse is okay now, Miranda (crew) told me that all is well.  She 
seems to be having a good time too.

Karen Nelson's 3 horses are all out right now, so she isn't riding. Sue 
Hedgecock isn't riding either.  She needs a crew.  Other people have one or 
two horses waiting repair then will go again.  I've heard of a few rope 
burns.  I think everybody was tying the horses real long so they could eat 
grass.  Gotta be careful!  Eric Thompson is busy putting a transmission 
cooler in Karen Nelson's crew truck right across the way from us.  Scott 
(??) from Oregon left already to go home and get three more new horses.  If 
anybody wants news of somebody or to send a message to me to give to 
somebody, email me back by Sunday night and I'll do my best.  Use whatever 
email address this post came from (I have no idea which one will work since 
it depends which provider I use).

Tomorrow is the last day of our first week.  I'm riding Rocky and Louise is 
riding Sloan.  I'm still getting a feel for how fast I should or shouldn't 
ride.  Is it better to go in 10 hours and spend 2 hours longer in the heat, 
or should I try and finish in 8?  I guess we'll see how hot it gets and how 
much water we get.......there hasn't been much of a breeze.  On the way in 
today we passed Jim Baldwin and he was looking a little wilted......tho I 
think all of us were to some extent.  Heck, I even held my squirt gun to my 
head and shot myself!  Sure did feel good!!!!

Time for the 8 o'clock ride meeting.  We still have lots to do.  Getting 
about 4 to 5 hours of sleep each night if we're lucky.  But I feel great, 
horses are doing well.  They are even eating their fat pak and all the beet 
pulp I give them.

Happy XP Trails,

& Weaver, 100 miles down
& Rocky, 100 miles down.....1800 more to go!
Photos will be here: 

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