Back to work

Dixie was pretty sure she’d retired. I mean, look at what’s happened: she did an endurance ride. Then she was left to her own devices for two weeks in Nevada. Then I loaded her up, took her on a long trailer ride, dropped her off in a green pasture with some amenable buddies, and left her alone. I mean, I did ride once last week, but surely that was a fluke, right? She’s clearly retired.

When I turned up in smiley tights to catch her, she was, to put it mildly, unhappy. I got THIS face:
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And I got ridiculous behavior. For 30 minutes, she acted like she’d never been on a trail ride before in her entire life, culminating in a showdown with a large stump. She walked up to the stump, froze, tried to spin, and threw it in reverse for about 50′ of backing up. I talked to her about the physical characteristics and ecological importance of stumps on nature trails while I coaxed her back up to it. She got to the exact same spot and did the exact same thing – vrooom backwards down the trail. I let her shake and snort and stare at the stump for a while, then I asked her one more time to walk past it – and she made it. After that, she gave up on the silly behavior and was generally her usual solid self.

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We plonked around on the trails in the park for an hour and a half and managed to get 8 miles in. I was more focused on exploring (and helping Dixie recover her brains) than on hitting speed or mileage metrics. I had Dixie slow-trot up hills and on flats and walk down hills.

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When we got back, it was rinse time. Sulky Dixie was unhappy again.
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Back at the trailer, with a pan of mush, she was slightly happier.
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When I got home, I sent in my entry for Hat Creek Hustle on June 16 and 17. Yep, we’re gonna try a two-day. HC isn’t supposed to be a terribly hard ride, so I’ll just see how she feels at the finish Saturday – if she feels good, we’ll ride again Sunday!

That means that I need a long ride this weekend. I’m planning on going to Quicksilver Park, south of San Jose, on Thursday – I can avoid the weekend crowd that way. I’ve got GPS tracks for an 11 mile loop, quite hilly, and if we run that loop twice I’ll be happy.

Two right feet, windshield views, etc

Here’s the view of the Bay from our patio at dawn:
Patio, dawn

And here’s the poor kitten, slayed by a Ray of Death:
Ray of Death claims another victim

RIP, kitten. RIP.*

So I made the trek out to see Dixie and trim her feet today. I’m still mostly well, but last night I woke up coughing and spent the whole night half-awake, coughing once every 30 seconds. I feel like somebody punched me in the throat – but otherwise I’m good! No aches or fever or anything. Just the cough. I figured just a cough meant I can still trim, so that’s what I did.

I only took pics of the right feet, because as it turned out it was Horse Ranch Tour Day at the local school and there were like 40 fourth graders (10-year-olds) running around. Dixie was pretty cool with it, but I figured two sets of pics was enough.

Front right:
Front right before
Front right after

Front right before
Front right after

I just didn’t see much to do on the rears.
Rear right
Rear right

All four feet got tea tree oil cotton shoved in the stinky frog cracks. They all look so different! I think they still look good, but they’re definitely not desert feet anymore. If I can just get out there and do like 15 miles on something hard and get that sole out…

Here’s some random pics of the barn (ranch). I think that whatever we’re first exposed to is our default normal, and the first place I boarded was like a little rundown kingdom, composed of individual fiefdoms that were maintained to various levels of repair and cleanliness. That’s just “as it should be” in the back of my mind – not the kind of full-care barn where each horse has an equally nice, equally clean, equally bedded stall.

One of the nicer fiefdoms – white vinyl fence with a big Appendix-looking QH.
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Stalls with attached pipe runs – some of the ones further down the row have solid plywood or plywood/mat walls, and everybody has a different tack shed of some kind.
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This weekend, someone’s moving their trailer out of the line of trailers on the right, so someone else gets to move from the “overflow” parking on the left to the “main” parking, and then I’ll get to move my trailer (from a nettle patch in the emergency overflow area) to the spot on the left.
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Huge pastures… where they supplement grass and alfalfa. :( Dixie’s in a small pasture, but at least she gets grass hay!
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*no cats were harmed in the making of this post

Moved, past tense

We did it!

I packed the trailer
Fully packed trailer

And the truck
Band of gypsies

loaded the critters, and headed to California.

Getting through the Ag Inspection Station was a huge relief. I had to pull off and go in the building and get my papers stamped. Not a big deal, but I got the shakes a bit when we were cleared to go.

Truckee was cloudy
Clouds in the Sierras

So was Donner
Clouds over Donner

Traffic was light, and my rig did great up the pass.
Donner Summit!

I had to stop at the Gold Run rest area to pee and shake some more. There was a ton of construction for about 40 miles on the west side of the Sierras – one lane downgrades, massive machinery jackhammering out the old asphalt, pouring new cement, etc. Transmission braking is a wonderful thing – I hardly had to hit the brake pedal at all.

Anyway, Gold Run. Dixie was not so thrilled that I didn’t let her out.
Gold Run rest area

Then on to Dixon, just west of Davis, CA. I meant to stop at a different fruit stand in Davis, but I did that thing where you drive really slowly right past your stop staring off at it asking yourself “is that my stop or is it the next one hmmm oh shit yep that was it.” But Dixon was ok too.
Dixon produce stand / truck stop

I went in the fruit stand and bought some cherries and carrots, then came out and led Dixie around and fed her carrots and grass for 20 minutes. Then back in the actual gas station to pee, and finally, eventually, back on the road.
A bite to eat in Dixon

So I had an ancient little Garmin car GPS and two GPS apps on my iPhone, and ALL THREE insisted that the best way to get to Portola Valley was to take 80 over the Bay Bridge then 101 through the city, down to 280.

I thought this was a terrible idea. I wanted to cry every time I thought about getting over the Bay Bridge with a trailer. I didn’t care how long it took, I decided to go the long way around.

Last chance to decide: Berkeley right before the Bay Bridge.
Berkeley

I went down 880 to the hopefully less scary Dumbarton bridge. I was really planning on going all the way down to San Jose and catching the very end of 280 and coming back up, but by the time I got to Dumbarton I was too tired to add the extra 75 miles or so, and I didn’t really care if we did die on the bridge.

I had hit the point of maximum stress. Finally, all my rational and irrational worries were melting away, because my brain had run completely out of freaking-out hormones. It was kind of peaceful.

I pulled up to the Dumbarton toll booth – in one of the Fastrack lanes, because I have a Fastrack – and sort of dimly wondered if the trailer would fit through the automated toll booth. I glanced at my mirrors and decided it probably would just barely fit, slowed down to about 5 mph, and squeezed through with maybe 2″ to spare on either side. In retrospect, when towing, one should probably use the far right toll booth with the box trucks.

It was a long approach to a fairly short bridge. I saw a cool car of some kind:
Cool car headed for Dumbarton bridge

Once we made it over the Bay, the GPS’s stopped insisting that we turn around and go back up to 80 and actually routed me through Palo Alto with very little fuss. I met the barn owner and we turned Dixie out for a few minutes in an arena. The BO has had pasture introductions go wrong before, so she wanted to see how Dixie acted at first – I knew Dixie would be fine, but I didn’t even try to convince the BO. Everybody says their precious Snookums-pony is an angel, and it’s almost never true.

So Dixie rolled in the empty arena, then looked around at the other horses walking and being ridden around outside. We got bored watching her do nothing, so we took her down to her pasture and turned her out.

Chillin with her new herd

That was mercifully boring too. The paint gelding came up first, then the two solid geldings, then eventually the oldest mare. There was a little bit of squealing. And I wouldn’t even go so far as to say Dixie struck at them with her front leg, it was more of a foot-stamp. Good girl. Very good girl.

All those stops (Ag Station, Gold Run, Dixon) killed my time. 262 miles in 6 hours – that’s a 43 mph average, instead of my usual one-stop-only 68 mph average. This is possibly the only thing in this whole post that’s applicable to endurance – I drove about 5 mph slower than normal, but I lost 20 mph on my total average because I stopped three times and dithered around at Dixon. Knock a decimal place off, and you can see how crucial it is to get in and out of vet checks ON TIME – a 6.8 mph easy endurance ride could turn into a 4.3 mph barely-made-cutoff ride with just a little extra time in holds.

I dropped the trailer at the barn and went off to see our new house for the very first time. It’s absolutely lovely. G was doing that thing where he kept telling me everything he thought I’d hate about it and I was pretty freaked out about it, but it’s perfect. Well. There’s ghastly blue carpet everywhere, including both sets of stairs, but other than that it’s perfect.

The cats and Cers settled right in like they’ve always been here. Our movers showed up on-time to unload the pods. Nothing was broken. I had to swap out the 3-prong dryer plug for a 4-prong plug, but even my precious W&D work fine.

And now I’m sick. I feel like I have the flu, actually – periodic fevers and body aches and a sore throat, but no sneezing or coughing. I’m glad I held it together til I got moved, and I’m pretty sure I’m just sick from all that stress. I feel pretty spacey and I’m just plunking along alternating unpacking a couple boxes at a time and then resting.

So there’s your update. Not one of my best posts, but you know we made it safe and sound.

Oh and yesterday, I went out and rode for maybe half an hour. Hoping I feel better tomorrow and I can go out again. Dixie says it’s fine with her if I leave her in that pasture for the rest of her life 😉
Post-first-CA-ride

Moved, past tense

We did it!

I packed the trailer
Fully packed trailer

And the truck
Band of gypsies

loaded the critters, and headed to California.

Getting through the Ag Inspection Station was a huge relief. I had to pull off and go in the building and get my papers stamped. Not a big deal, but I got the shakes a bit when we were cleared to go.

Truckee was cloudy
Clouds in the Sierras

So was Donner
Clouds over Donner

Traffic was light, and my rig did great up the pass.
Donner Summit!

I had to stop at the Gold Run rest area to pee and shake some more. There was a ton of construction for about 40 miles on the west side of the Sierras – one lane downgrades, massive machinery jackhammering out the old asphalt, pouring new cement, etc. Transmission braking is a wonderful thing – I hardly had to hit the brake pedal at all.

Anyway, Gold Run. Dixie was not so thrilled that I didn’t let her out.
Gold Run rest area

Then on to Dixon, just west of Davis, CA. I meant to stop at a different fruit stand in Davis, but I did that thing where you drive really slowly right past your stop staring off at it asking yourself “is that my stop or is it the next one hmmm oh shit yep that was it.” But Dixon was ok too.
Dixon produce stand / truck stop

I went in the fruit stand and bought some cherries and carrots, then came out and led Dixie around and fed her carrots and grass for 20 minutes. Then back in the actual gas station to pee, and finally, eventually, back on the road.
A bite to eat in Dixon

So I had an ancient little Garmin car GPS and two GPS apps on my iPhone, and ALL THREE insisted that the best way to get to Portola Valley was to take 80 over the Bay Bridge then 101 through the city, down to 280.

I thought this was a terrible idea. I wanted to cry every time I thought about getting over the Bay Bridge with a trailer. I didn’t care how long it took, I decided to go the long way around.

Last chance to decide: Berkeley right before the Bay Bridge.
Berkeley

I went down 880 to the hopefully less scary Dumbarton bridge. I was really planning on going all the way down to San Jose and catching the very end of 280 and coming back up, but by the time I got to Dumbarton I was too tired to add the extra 75 miles or so, and I didn’t really care if we did die on the bridge.

I had hit the point of maximum stress. Finally, all my rational and irrational worries were melting away, because my brain had run completely out of freaking-out hormones. It was kind of peaceful.

I pulled up to the Dumbarton toll booth – in one of the Fastrack lanes, because I have a Fastrack – and sort of dimly wondered if the trailer would fit through the automated toll booth. I glanced at my mirrors and decided it probably would just barely fit, slowed down to about 5 mph, and squeezed through with maybe 2″ to spare on either side. In retrospect, when towing, one should probably use the far right toll booth with the box trucks.

It was a long approach to a fairly short bridge. I saw a cool car of some kind:
Cool car headed for Dumbarton bridge

Once we made it over the Bay, the GPS’s stopped insisting that we turn around and go back up to 80 and actually routed me through Palo Alto with very little fuss. I met the barn owner and we turned Dixie out for a few minutes in an arena. The BO has had pasture introductions go wrong before, so she wanted to see how Dixie acted at first – I knew Dixie would be fine, but I didn’t even try to convince the BO. Everybody says their precious Snookums-pony is an angel, and it’s almost never true.

So Dixie rolled in the empty arena, then looked around at the other horses walking and being ridden around outside. We got bored watching her do nothing, so we took her down to her pasture and turned her out.

Chillin with her new herd

That was mercifully boring too. The paint gelding came up first, then the two solid geldings, then eventually the oldest mare. There was a little bit of squealing. And I wouldn’t even go so far as to say Dixie struck at them with her front leg, it was more of a foot-stamp. Good girl. Very good girl.

All those stops (Ag Station, Gold Run, Dixon) killed my time. 262 miles in 6 hours – that’s a 43 mph average, instead of my usual one-stop-only 68 mph average. This is possibly the only thing in this whole post that’s applicable to endurance – I drove about 5 mph slower than normal, but I lost 20 mph on my total average because I stopped three times and dithered around at Dixon. Knock a decimal place off, and you can see how crucial it is to get in and out of vet checks ON TIME – a 6.8 mph easy endurance ride could turn into a 4.3 mph barely-made-cutoff ride with just a little extra time in holds.

I dropped the trailer at the barn and went off to see our new house for the very first time. It’s absolutely lovely. G was doing that thing where he kept telling me everything he thought I’d hate about it and I was pretty freaked out about it, but it’s perfect. Well. There’s ghastly blue carpet everywhere, including both sets of stairs, but other than that it’s perfect.

The cats and Cers settled right in like they’ve always been here. Our movers showed up on-time to unload the pods. Nothing was broken. I had to swap out the 3-prong dryer plug for a 4-prong plug, but even my precious W&D work fine.

And now I’m sick. I feel like I have the flu, actually – periodic fevers and body aches and a sore throat, but no sneezing or coughing. I’m glad I held it together til I got moved, and I’m pretty sure I’m just sick from all that stress. I feel pretty spacey and I’m just plunking along alternating unpacking a couple boxes at a time and then resting.

So there’s your update. Not one of my best posts, but you know we made it safe and sound.

Oh and yesterday, I went out and rode for maybe half an hour. Hoping I feel better tomorrow and I can go out again. Dixie says it’s fine with her if I leave her in that pasture for the rest of her life 😉
Post-first-CA-ride

Never let them tell you that they’re all the same*

The One Point Five Year Plan is coming to a close. As you may or may not know, because I talk about it all the time but in indirect ways, last December my husband took a job in San Francisco, with the ultimate goal of moving me + the four-leggers + all the stuff out there in 12-18 months. Now, the 18 months is at an end and we (the Nevada part of the collective) are making the Great Leap Westward.

My dashing husband has arranged the house on the other end of the trip. This was no small feat, and I’m not downplaying his involvement – but if he wanted to tell The Internet about his life, he’d have a blog. I have:

Fought down my Zen desire to throw away all our stuff, and instead neatly packed it.
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Arranged for shipping containers.
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Loaded one of the containers.
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Hired Big Dudes to load the rest of the containers.
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Consolidated and packed all my Horse Stuff.
This is a “mobile tool carrier” from Home Depot, and it’s also a sweet tack trunk.
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The bottom has electrolytes and psyllium. Middle has vitamins/random crap. Upper has trimming tools / more random crap.
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Done necessary truck and trailer maintenance and upgrades.
The truck needed its SHOCKINGLY EXPENSIVE 30k mile service. The trailer needed some minor Dixie-clysm repairs, plus a new spare tire mount. Remember when I made a cabinet? That killed the tack room spare tire mount, so I needed a new one.
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Gotten the cats, dog, and horse UTD on vaccinations and health stuff.
Post-vaccinations.
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^^ Ok, not post-vax, that’s just how he likes to sleep in the bathroom. FOR REALS, post-sedation for tooth floating:
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Not so good at walking.

Arranged for a reroof of the house. Pix forthcoming. SEE? I don’t ALWAYS do it myself!!

Cleaned most of the house (minus the room I’m living in, the kitchen, and the bathroom I’m showering in).

Arranged for Horse Living Quarters (at the barn I liked the most, in Portola Valley!)

Washed the horse’s nasty mane, and took a video that’s too large to wirelessly transfer, and will be the subject of a future post.

Let no less than three sets of strangers potential renters tour the house in various states of horrible disarray.

Tomorrow is T-1 Day. All I need to do is clean the bathroom and kitchen, pick up the last couple weeks of dog poo, hook up the trailer, take the last of the recycling to the dump, load cram all the stuff in the barn into the trailer, return the cable modem, pick up my Coggins and health certificate for Dixie, pre-load the truck, clean the kitchen and bathroom, and sleep peacefully. Then Friday I can feed Dixie, trap the cats, finish loading the truck and trailer, and roar over Donner and into San Francisco with everything I own. Piece of cake.

(Wish me luck!!)

*Going to California, Led Zeppelin