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Home on the Range

Home on the Range was great.  JJ (my horse) and I had a great trip over on
Friday, well...except for a short "lost" period in Pasco.  We left Newberg
(Oregon) about 11:00 a.m., stopping every couple of hours for a few bites of
grass (for the horse!) and a potty break for the dogs and I.  We arrived at
camp about 4:30 p.m. or so on Friday evening.  We nearly missed our turn-off
on highway 17, well actually I saw it too late and rather than test JJ's
patience, I opted to pull to the side of the road and make a u-turn, which
can be quite a feat with a long truck with trailer attached, but we managed
to squeeze around without falling in the ditch and headed down the right
road.  The dogs had been locked up in the truck all day, so I let them out
of the truck and they loped along the side of the truck, jumping random
sagebrush and chasing smells up to the turn off for camp.  The they hopped
back in the truck, much satisfied and happily panting.  After scanning the
area, I found a nice hollowed out spot to park, thinking it would make a
nice wind block for JJ.  I set up the corral and got things temporarily laid
out and then took JJ to vet in.  JJ was in a great mood and cantered and
crow hopped beside me on our trot out much to the vet's amusement.  The only
thing I was concerned about was tripping on the uneven ground and falling on
my face but I hear someone else took the honors!  (That wasn't a prize I
wanted anyway!).

After vetting in Jay and I traipsed back to the trailer only to find our
nice little place was right in the middle of an unmarked part of the
incoming 25 mile trail! Oooooppppsss! But no fear, I was able to move over
about 30 feet and get the truck and corral off the main thoroughfare.  My
neighbors to the right had just barely enough room in between their tent and
truck to accommodate the trail.  For safety sake they had to look before
crossing to the other side of their camp or risk trampling.

Friday evening was very windy but dry, Sara had a drawing of the trails
LARGE enough for us all to see easily.  The turnout more that poor Sara
expected I'm afraid, but she was good humor. The ride consisted of two
loops.  The first loop was 15 mile loop, which included a turn off for the
50's that extended the an additional 5 miles, making it 20 miles for the 50
milers.  The second loop was a 10 mile loop which was extended to 15 miles
for the 50 milers.  The 50 milers completed loop 2 twice.

Jay and I started at 6:30 a.m. and we had a few snow flakes to send us off.
I was reminded briefly of "Circuit Rider" hummmm.  This time however I had
wet weather gear along.  The snow was brief, followed by a few rain drops
and then overcast skies until early afternoon when the skies gave way to
sunshine.  The trail was wonderful, very few rocky spots and lots of varied
terrain, intermixed with multiple lakes and water crossings. Jay wanted to
travel at warp speed as usual, but grudgingly kept to a reasonable pace.  We
had a 15 minute hold after the first 20 miles, but I opted to hold him about
an hour to let him eat.  He hadn't eaten much on the ride over on Friday so
his gut sounds were a B, so I figured the extra eating time would do him
good.  After an hour or so, we headed out on our first 15 mile loop.  Here's
when I discovered that I had inadvertently created a "trailer sour" horse.
Jay who loves to go out, wanted nothing more than to go back to the trailer.
Every chance he got he would try to swing around and head back.  Then it
occurred to me, that all winter long, when we do training rides, we had
headed back to the trailer, untacked, and gone home.  So he was thinking
what the **?! are we doing?  Food for thought.  In the end though he forgave
me, let it go, and trotted forward down the trail.  In fact, he never even
tried to turn around when we traveled out on the second 15 mile loop.  Good
horse.  Lesson learned (by me).

Sara did a wonderful job managing with the unexpected turnout and aside from
a longer than usual wait in the vet line, things seemed to go without much
of a hitch.

It's been a long time since I trotted all day, so of course I could barely
walk, Sunday morning when I got up.  I did manage to get packed up early and
head home.  Getting home about 1 p.m. just in time to shower and head to
work.  It's tax season and I was grateful to get Friday off to go to the
ride.  Sunday came in trade.  But it was worth every mile and every hour on
the road.  I'm mentally refreshed, although body weary.  I think I'll make
it the April 15th now.

Great ride.


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