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GERA: a short tail

My plan was not to get caught in that Atlanta traffic with my new truck.  So 
I started loading my giraffe of a horse into the trailer at 9PM, which I 
figured would put me thru Atlanta around 5AM.  My horse, Dance Line, takes 
his first few steps up the ramp just fine.  I'm thinking this is gonna be 
easy.  Now, just put your head down Dance Line and we'll get going here.  And 
he does.  Wow.  And then he flings his head up, dents my trailer and we're 
off to the races.  Backwards!  He pulls me back so hard, my shoe slips on the 
metal side of the ramp, which is damp from the Florida humidity at night,  
and down I go.  

90 minutes later I load his stupid ass.  I won't tell you how I did it, but 
let's just say if it didn't work I would not have made the ride and would 
probably be munching on horse steak.  By the time he was in the trailer, he 
was totally sweated up (it's still miserably hot down here in Florida), my 
clothes were dripping and I had three bruises & a raspberry on my big ole 
butt.  A little blood was dripping on my shoes from somewhere.  Loading in 
the dark of night, with a horse who is too tall for my trailer, is a lot of 
fun.  I'm already wore out and we haven't even hit the road yet.

I hate to camp.  My first ride (like I've done alot) was at a primitive 
camping site and I hate that feeling, after two days or more, of not bathing. 
 Now if this were a clean sport it probably wouldn't bother me, but this 
ain't a clean sport.  So, I go into the house and take a quick shower and get 
out of my sweaty clothes.  Put on a few Band-Aids and one butterfly and I'm 
ready to go.  My temper had come down and I'm just gonna put on my favorite 
song as soon as I climb into my cab and forget this bad start.  

I kiss the wife good-bye (she'll be helping me next time I load) and off we 
go.  Toby Keith starts singing "Shoulda been a Cowboy" loud and clear, I 
light up a smoke and think about having a beer, but pick the gator aid, and 
away we go.  I love the sound of a diesel engine at nite; should have gotten 
one a long time ago.  (One of my favorite things to do is to pull up 
alongside someone driving, who is, also talking on a cell phone, at a stop 
light.  I put the truck in neutral, and rev up the engine, just to annoy the 
hell out of them, cause I remember all the times someone sitting next to me 
in a movie theater just has to be talking away on their damn cell phone right 
before the movie starts.  The person in his car usually gives me a dirty look 
and some even motion that they can't hear anything.  They point to their 
phone and then to their ear and mouth the words "I can't hear" to me.   I 
motion back by pointing to my ear and mouthing the words "I can't hear you 
either, isn't it great?". At the same time I usually rev up the engine even 
louder, just to add to our conversation. Revenge is a good thing)

I won't bore you with the details of my drive except to say that going thru 
the Agriculture Station at the Florida border, with a horse in tow,  has 
always been an unpleasant experience for me.  It's probably cause I have to 
call the vet out a few days before, to get that stupid Health Certificate, 
just so I can visit some guy with arresting authority who is dressed up like 
a real cop and thinks he is one.  I try and be nice, "yes sir, he's my horse. 
 yes, sir, I got all my papers, registration, marriage license, birth 
certificates, and here's a picture of me, the wife, kids, and notice the 
horse in the background?  He's mine alright."

Well this wasn't good enough, so we had to go out and take a look-see.  This 
Yahoo has noticed a smudge mark on my coggins from a carbon paper, and wants 
to see the horse's tatoo.  "He doesn't have a tatoo," I say, "it's a smudge 
mark on the paper."  I guess I don't have an honest looking face.  So now 
this clown shines his big ole flashlight into my "don't like trailering" 
horse's face.  Dance Line freaks out, backs up and the guy says "lift up his 
lips so I can see his gums."  Now if this person weren't wearing a gun I 
would have said something back, but I didn't, so I reach my hand thru the 
metal slats and try and honor the silly request.  He continues to shine the 
light into his face, and my horse backs up as far into the trailer as he can.

OK, enough of that.  We made it thru, finally, but next time I'm getting off 
the damn Interstate and taking the back roads to Georgia.  I look at my watch 
and realize my plan thru Atlanta is not going to work.  We should get there 
just around 7 or 8 AM.  Just great.  Well, how bad could it be?  I mean, I've 
driven thru Paris and even Seoul, Korea, and lived to tell about it.  But 
never with a horse and trailer.

By the way, you can get diesel in GA for a buck a gallon, 20 cents cheaper 
than in FL.  Gas is about the same price.  I'm one of those few who actually 
likes driving at nite, it's cooler for the horse, and there are less nuts out 
on the highway trying to drive 80 MPH and stare at your horse at the same 
time.  The long drive gives me time to reflect on how, maybe, this will be my 
first endurance ride where I don't make get lost (I'm three for three so 
far), don't set my trailer on fire (I actually went out and bought a tent at 
Wal-Mart), don't anger my camping neighbors, and don't make an ass out of 
myself at the vet checks.  I like thinking positve about these things.

I finally make it to Atlanta.  Started out not too bad, got about six miles 
on the loop around town and then, I'm surrounded.  Six or seven lanes of 
traffic, all backed up, and I have about 30 miles to go before I'm out of it. 
 And I'm tired from the drive, changing lanes with a truck and trailer is 
getting a bit frustrating, and if another guy cuts me off and slams on his 
brakes in front of me I'm gonna get out my gun and shoot out his back tires.  
Other than that, I'm really enjoying myself in the big city.

I finally get out of town without a dent or scratch and get out into the 
country with rolling hills and curves and all kinds of things we just don't 
have in FL.  And I see that GA clay and know I've left the beach and sand 
country.  I actually make it to camp without making one wrong turn, and I 
even stopped and talked to some guy checking his mailbox along the road,  
just to make sure I was going the right way.  He looked at me kind of funny, 
probably wondering why a guy would stop on a highway to ask for directions 
when he could get slammed from behind at any time, but he answered me anyway. 
 He did point to his ear though, so I had to yell out my question a second 
time.   He yelled back at me that I was going the right way.  I love diesels.

OK.  Getting a little tired here, so I'll try and finish it tomorrow.  
Somewhere I'll get to the actual ride.  Or maybe I'll just cut and paste 
Angie's story and see if anyone notices.  ................

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