We did it!
I packed the trailer
And the truck
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
So was Donner
Traffic was light, and my rig did great up the pass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 😉