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Liberty Run II, Part One (yea, another long tale from you know who)

After my wife discovered that there are way toooo many women and too few men 
at my endurance rides, she informed me that if I want to continue in this 
sport (my wife works weekends so she cannot go with me to supervise my 
behavior) I had to start taking my ten year old daughter, Jennifer, (the only 
other rider in our family) with me.  My wife knows that Jennifer has an 
excellent memory, a big mouth like her Dad, and will inform on anyone if 
there is a reward to be received.  The word "ratfink" is not part of 
Jennifer's vocabulary.

So, Jen and I started training.  Me, on my giraffe of a horse named Dance 
Line, and she on this Arab I have that will not pass other horses on the 
trail, even during an endurance ride.  The Arab's name is Rebel, a nickname I 
gave him when I broke him (actually he broke me).  He had this habit of 
making a God awful noise that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up 
anytime you tried putting a saddle on his back.  Plus I think he knew I was 
born a Yankee and posing as a Southerner (reincarnated carpetbagger)  so he 
dumped me hard the first time I put the leg over the saddle.  Rebel 
positioned the throw so that I landed in the only area of my pasture that had 
those thorny bushes.  I came out all scratched up and bleeding. My glasses 
were twisted and one of the lenses had popped out.  I've lost more pairs of 
glasses, because of my equestrian activities, than I care to count.

I was on a men's softball team at the time and had invited all the "guys" to 
come over to my place and watch me play cowboy. The entire team showed up for 
the event; I figured either I was more popular than I thought or most of them 
were hoping I'd break my neck.  One of the ballplayers was recording 
everything with his video camera, and after Rebel dumped me, the horse 
proceeded to chase everyone all over the field, bucking and snorting and 
really carrying on.  This made all these, normally, very macho men scatter, 
climb trees, and run like someone was shooting at them.  You should see the 
video, especially during the chase.  My favorite part was when the cameraman 
dropped his expensive video recorder to save his own skin and made a scream 
that was almost as loud as Rebel's.  You can hear him yell, "Don't kill me 
you stupid horse, Shiiiiiiii*******, I'm gonna die here."  For the rest of 
the softball season I had to listen to the jokes about my horse and 
horsemanship and the tales of the BULL RUNNING WILD at Howard's house.  

Jen and I have ridden together for about two years, so it didn't take too 
much training to get her and Rebel ready for a 25 mile endurance run.  As our 
departure date got closer and closer for the Georgia Liberty Run II ride, 
Jennifer got more and more excited.  I tried to explain to her everything I 
knew about the sport (this took me about 3 minutes).  I concentrated on her 
staying behind me during the ride and tried to tell her about some of the 
rude behavior I had previously seen at the rides, especially with buddies 
riding together, so she and I wouldn't repeat any of it.  Since Jen was 
riding a horse that refused to pass another one I wasn't too worried about 
her taking off on me.   

As the day for departure got closer and closer, I found myself packing up the 
trailer, taking stuff out and repacking, and getting Jen involved as much as 
possible.  Traveling with two horses and a ten year old just added more 
stuff, and I have yet to figure out a way to do this efficiently.  At my 
pace, three days before departure is not too early to start loading.  Since I 
had planned on another of my nighttime road trips I persuaded Jen to go to 
bed early, and told her that the next time she awoke we would all be on the 
road heading towards our destination with the sound of the diesel engine 
humming in the air.

I loaded up both horses, picked up Jennifer from her bed and put her down in 
the back of the cab without awakening her.  Man is she getting heavy.  The 
trip was uneventful except for that pain in the butt Agricultural Station at 
the Florida border.  I would love someone to explain to me why Florida is the 
only state on the East coast that has this silly stop for horse owners (they 
will never wave a horse trailer thru even though I've seen large truck rigs 
with trailers that could be carrying a huge load of horses being waved while 
I wait in line to answer Bubba's questions).  What really irks me is the game 
of let's pretend the guy in uniform has a clue to the breeds of horses being 
transported and knows what he is doing with respect to looking at the papers 
I hand him and being able to identify the horse with the paper.  Everytime I 
go outside with one of these "officers"  I feel confident the two of us are 
playing a game of "let's pretend I know what I'm doing here."  I have yet to 
be convinced that this bureaucratic procedure serves any useful purpose 
whatsoever.  Sorry for rambling, but whenever I leave or reenter Florida this 
stop bugs me.

After over 6 hours on the road I saw a sign that said to Fort Gordon.  This 
is a huge Army post, near Augusta, GA, where the Liberty Run II ride is held. 
 The MP waved me and my rig right on the base, never asked for any ID or 
anything.  The post was huge, I got last three times cause I came in a 
different gate than was advertised by the ride management.  As I pulled into 
ridecamp the sun was just beginning to rise.  I parked my rig and got out to 
look for my OLE Georgia buddies, Bernie, Randy, Kay, Robert & Beverly.  
Jennifer was up and I asked her to wait for me in the cab.  She was half 
awake, but I could tell she was very excited to be here.

I found Bernie's trailer and saw him feeding his Tennessee Walker.  I snuck 
up behind him, reconnected his electric box, turned it on and then and hid 
behind a tree.  I wanted him to be "Shocked" to see me.  Haha.  And he was, 
ZAPPPPPPPP, when he touched the wire.  Man did he cuss.  I came out from 
behind the tree to see his hand smoking from OLE sparky and yelled, "gotcha." 
 Too funny, but I knew there would be a payback from him sometime over the 
weekend.  He had saved me a spot next to him, so I went back and got the rig.




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