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[RC] Tevis Completion! - Evelyn Allen/Patrick Allen

   Well it’s Friday morning in Robie Park for the Tevis Ride and I am going to start writing my story and will finish it as we go along, a dream come true to be here. Kind of ironic that the tablet I picked up before we left has the story of our first attempt at going to Tevis.

   Some of you might remember our disastrous  attempt at getting here in 2004 when our MFH (motorhome from hell) broke down on Mt. Watson Rd.. Well it’s taken us 2 years to recoup financially, mentally and emotionally, but we made it this time. In February of this year on the return from the Fire Mt. Ride in Ridgecrest, the old MFH practically fell apart on us. We just barely made it home. We knew we had to bite the bullet or close the business. So we bought a new motorhome. It’s license plate letters are…..HEW…., so I affectionately call it…….Baby Hewie. It is a wonderful addition to JUST FOR HORSIN-ROUND. More storage than we need and the ability to pass anything on the road, a feature that Pat loves.

   We really didn’t make our decision to go to Tevis this year until after the first of July. We got word in late June that Pat’s Disability Retirement claim had been accepted. This knowledge for both of us had been such a lightening of the heavy load that has weighed us down now for more than 8 years. When we got Baby Hewie one of my first thoughts was of taking it to Tevis but I didn’t say anything to Pat about it. Knowing Pat would have to be doing the driving and his physical limitations I left the decision up to him. We made a few trips for ourselves and out of the blue Pat asked me if I wanted to go to Tevis? My YES couldn’t have been louder. Endurance riders and their horses train for years with the goal of Tevis in mind. I had less than a month to sew for Tevis and get the orders out I already had. I am out of school for the summer and to say I sewed day and night to get ready isn't much of an exaggeration.

   We left Monday morning with great expectations and more peace of mind in our ability  this time to get to Tevis. About 4 hours out we decided to stop for something to drink and I went looking for our money that I had put in my kit bag. COULDN’T FIND IT! I’ll stop now and say to each and every one of you that if you are in the habit of doing something, don’t change it unless you tell someone else what you have done.

   Panic started to set in as I began looking through everything in the motorhome while Pat made notes about the trip mileage. Oh my gosh, how was I ever going to tell Pat I had left the money at home on the floor in the living room in my kit bag???????????? The look on Pat’s face is one I never want to see again. At this point I gave in to hysterics and it wasn’t pretty. Pat said maybe we weren’t supposed to go to Tevis. I said oh yes we were and we had to go back home. Told him he could call me every name in the book and some that he could make up on the spot but we were going to go back and get the money. Won’t do no good he replied we still have to go back and so we did.

   We started for home, knowing we were headed back into afternoon work traffic and that we would have to turn around, 4 hours down and 4 back, immediately or we would loose our reservations that were already paid for. A thick wall of silence, anger and shame on my part separated us in the cab. I sat there in tears feeling so bad. I started going over everything I had done in the last two days before we left, trying to figure out how I could have forgotten to take our money with us.

   About 80 miles down the road I had a brain thunk. I tapped Pat lightly on the shoulder and asked him to turn off at the next exit because I thought I had one more place to check. He didn’t wait for the next exit, he just turned to the side of the freeway right then…….can’t blame him for not wanting to go back any further than he had to. To bring this part to a closure, I found all of our business and travel monies in my credit card satchel. I remember putting it in there reasoning that I would only have one bag to carry instead of my normal habit of taking two bags.

   To all spouses out there who have forgiven your spouses for silly, accidental, unintentional mistakes , I bless you and very much urge those that haven’t to do so. In the past Pat has given me many pieces very expensive jewelry with comments of my deserving them for putting up with him. Well, I think we are just about even……almost. We turned around and made it to Lone Pine for the night and on to Reno Tuesday and then up to Robie Park on Wednesday morning.

   We both had flutterbies in our stomachs knowing we would pass by the site of our 2004 crash.  As we approached it Pat said there it is and Baby Hewie just down shifted and trotted up the hill. There is good and bad to be found in everything that happens and once we got to the park we realized how lucky we were to have broken down where we did as that was the only place we could have turned around. Any further and no one would have been able to pass going up or down. We joked about having to dismantle the MFH and throw it over the side of the mountain.  Pat kept saying look at all the dust behind us. It was a white knuckle time for me and I only had eyes for the narrow, twisty, winding road ahead of us.

   We found a place to park next to Henry of Griffins Tack and near Teddy Lancaster of Running Bear, her first time at Tevis also. We took comfort being somewhere new, being among friends we already knew.  When I got out I couldn’t believe how thick the layer of dust was on the motorhome. I was really at a loss as to how to get it off. Special blessings on Tammy Robinson of Trail-Rite Products for letting me use her cart, water buckets and sponges to give Baby Hewie a much needed bath. Pat had talked about getting Baby Hewie washed and detailed before we left but we ran out of time….I sure was glad that time had been on our side.

   I got a chance to walk around a small area of the park early Wednesday evening. The smell of the pines was incredible, like a heady perfume that you fear you don’t have enough lung capacity to take it all in. The park is a wonderful place to be and such a great place for the ride. Many thanks to the Robie family for finding it and letting us enjoy it.

   There were quite a few rigs in camp when we got there on Wednesday afternoon but starting early Thursday morning there was a steady stream of rigs, big and small, circling around trying to find a place to park. People started walking around, greeting each other. It was such a thrill to see my friends and get to meet face to face with those that I have only been able to correspond with by email or on the phone. Finally got to meet Pat Fredrickson, Natural Halter Lady, around the corner from us, nice, nice lady. . It sprinkled during the night with thunder and lightning……please oh please don’t let it really rain, was my prayer.

   Friday brought more rigs and the excitement of the vet in’s which happened to be right behind us. Riders and their horses calling out to each other. Interesting to see the crews attending their riders needs. I’d like to say here that I was really impressed with those that traveled with their riders and those that drove all that way getting there on Friday. My admiration goes to all the volunteers that helped put on the ride, some we found out have nothing to do with horses, just wanting to be of help. Such dedication and devotion is priceless.

   We packed up the business Friday night ( it sprinkled again and again my prayers were for no rain, no rain) and took the short way out back to the fairgrounds in Auburn late Saturday morning. The short way out was good for going downhill, not sure how great it would be going up those hills with the sharp turns. Pat who has driven many miles, as a long haul truck driver,  on I-80 says the USFS 06 from Robie Park to Truckee is like driving on glass compared to I-80 between Truckee and Auburn, such a bumpy road!  At the far end of the fairgrounds is a self car wash and Pat couldn’t stand it any longer . It took almost 30 quarters to get Baby Hewie clean again and that didn’t include the roof as we couldn’t reach it. 

   At the fairgrounds we found a nice spot on the grass and I took my time setting up. Towards evening people started showing up. There was entertainment and the snack bar was open for dinner at the stadium. We could hear all around us…when are they coming in? About 9:45pm I covered everything up and walked to the stadium. I told Pat that I was going to stay up and see the winner come in, wanting to experience all aspects of the ride. Once there I began hearing  of those that had been pulled and my heart went out to them. I knew several who were doing the ride for the first time as well as several veterans that had gotten pulled.

   I found it amazing that the officials were able to predict the time the winner would show up. It turned out they were just one minute off. When John Crandall III came riding down the hill the crown started clapping and cheering. As they came into the stadium there was no indication that either horse or rider had just traversed 100 miles.  They looked like they had a two week vacation and were just out for a joy ride. Both horse and rider looked magnificent. Next came Kassandra Di Maggio and her horse, looking great too. She looked cute in her cowgirl hat and as she came around to the side of the stadium where I was I could see that she had on……jeans…….remember I make riding tights……sigh. Potato Richardson was predicted to come in next  but I had to leave as I was getting very tired.

   Sunday I was able from the sidelines to watch the presentation for BC and the Hagen Cup. Pat had bought 2 of the Tevis Cups and a big Tevis Buckle Sticker. We decided to put the sticker on the back window of the motorhome after the ceremonies as then we would have officially completed the Tevis Ride. We packed up and drove back down to Reno, decided to stay with some friends and just decompress a bit before starting for home. Much of the scenery on the way home looked new to me as I had been too busy the last time reciting the “Little Engine that Could’s”, refrain up the hills and down the other sides. The trip home was wonderfully uneventful and getting Baby Hewie back into the storage lot was a great accomplishment for us.

   Next year is already being talked about and planned for. Hopefully everyone that rode the Tevis will be doing the same thing. We consider everyone that entered to be a winner, just for making such a decision.  My friend, Dr. Cynthia Hamberg, that puts on the Bonita Turkey Trot Ride in November, admonished me before we left that she wanted to hear a happy story this time of our adventures at Tevis. So Cindy, this is a very happy story, one with a very happy ending or should I say completion.

Loves you all,

Evelyn and Pat,