As you can probably guess, driving a thousand miles across the country could be adventurous enough on it’s own, right? Then throw in a horse trailer, a dog, and 5 horses, and you’ve got yourself a lot more adventure. On a previous trip to Texas, one from say from November, last year, I had not one, but two blowouts on my horse trailer. One someone stopped to help me change- the other, well little ol’ me was on her own. We made it, but needless to say I was tired. Since I started hauling horses on my own, I’ve had at least one blowout a year. A few years ago, I had three in about a one month period of time. So you might say I’m the queen of tire troubles. I can’t, unfortunately, blame my tire troubles on Mother Nature, which I would otherwise attribute to my current spat with her. No, this can be attributed to the Mysterious Tire Guru who has had it out for me for years. Or if you ask Zach, he’ll say it’s because I log thousands of miles on my tires, both truck and trailer yearly. He has a point. My truck is 600 miles short of rolling over 250k. Thank God for diesel engines.
The first leg of the trip went fine, save for the fact that I didn’t get left until 11:15am. And I cried on and off that morning while I finished my packing because I already missed Zach and the ranch and I hadn’t even left yet. Silly, I know. He reminded me as he kissed me goodbye that the trip is about having fun, and riding my horses, and enjoying the things that I love to do. I landed that night in Kearney, Nebraska, a town named after the evil army Colonel, Stephen Watts Kearny that was responsible for the massacre of countless Indians. They fail to tell you about that part of their history on the town Chamber of Commerce website. Go figure.
The second day started out fine. I got my horses loaded and we were on our way by 8:30 am. We stopped for fuel at around 10:30 and I decided I wanted to wait until I got to Salina, KS to eat. Well, I flew through Salina, and the next easiest place to stop was Newton, KS. By this time, for whatever reason, looked back at my driver’s side tires on my pickup. The outside tire (I drive a dually truck) looked like a really funny shape, so the first thing I did when I pulled off the interstate and got stopped was feel my tires. The outside one was warm. The inside dual, well it was warm too. But it was also flat. Crap.
I ordered myself a burger and milkshake at Braums and decided I’d see what the Google Application for my Blackberry could do for me in the way of finding a tire shop. I figured even if the thing had a hole in it, there was no point in just trying to air it up. Not only was it on the inside of the truck which is obviously about the hardest to get at, but it’d take me four extra hours to get home because I’d be putting air in it at every service station. No, the thing to do was to find a tire shop in town that could accommodate a big trailer and would either be able to work on me hooked up or have room for me to unhook (which is my least favorite thing in the whole world. Hooking and unhooking my trailer).
Google came through again, in a big way, as there was a tire shop nearby. I called and the guy if he had room for my trailer and he said he did and that I could either unhook or I could stay hooked up. Regardless they could do it. I took down directions, but was confused by them, and so I asked a man sitting at the booth in front of me. He explained them again, and this time they sank in. Then his wife chimed in with “do you need a place to put your horses?” I was like, well maybe. She proceeded to tell me that there was a riding club arena on the way to the tire store and that it wasn’t locked up and I could put them in the pens there. Hallelujah!
The riding club was just maybe 1/2 a mile down the road from the Braum’s restaurant. I unloaded two horses and for some reason when I unloaded Gump, his little brother Dino had a freak out and fell down in the trailer. I hurried to put Gump and Sonora in a pen, and then ran back, knife in hand, ready to cut this colt out of his halter if need be. He was quietly laying in the trailer, and I was able to free him from his halter, untie the lead rope from the trailer, and then re-halter him when he got up. He returned to his regularly quiet self immediately, and climbed off the trailer like nothing had happened.
I got my other two horses off-loaded and went to the tire shop.
They had me in and out in 45 minutes; they checked all my air pressures and repaired the hole that had been caused by a teenie piece of gravel. It had worked its way all the way through the tire. They even helped me hook up my trailer again because well, small-town folks are good like that!
When I got back to re-load my horses I started filling hay bags first. It’s nice for them to have something to munch on while they travel. A nice woman pulled up with her two grandkids in tow and wanted them to see the horses. So I told her if she’d wait for me to finish filling my bags with hay, I’d get one out and let them pet it. Nukie (WDX Nukem- one of the ranch’s stallions) was the first horse loaded into the trailer which meant that he got to have two boys, age 2 and 3 pet him. They were very excited. I love when I can make a kid’s day like that. She thanked me and went on her way. Nuke got loaded. Then Camo. Then Dino.
Now remember, Dino is a coming 3yo. He has 10 rides and he is quiet and friendly and otherwise I love him. His first time to get into a trailer was Thursday morning when I left the ranch. It took about 5 minutes, but he loaded right up. When I stopped for the night, he got right off, and went right where I put him. He didn’t even look around. For a young horse, that’s saying a lot about the work I’ve done with him. He’s focused on me, trusts me and is laid back enough to just be “ho-hum” about all the things that lots of young horses find to spook at (the laid back attitude can be attributed to our breeding program). I think however, his fall that he took in the trailer scared him a bit. Because it took me 30 minutes to get him loaded as opposed to the 2 it took that morning. He’d put one foot in, and then step out. Or he’d put both feet in, and then paw and back out. Or he’d only partially put a foot in and paw at the ground. He just needed some time to reassure himself that it was safe. But I stayed patient, rubbed on him a lot and love him even more now!
Then it was time for Gump and Nora and we could be on our way, again! Neither of them gave me any trouble at all because they’ve been up and down the road and across the country several times.
The rest of the trip was uneventful save for the CRAZY drivers in Oklahoma City, OK. Other than seeing my life flash before my eyes a couple times we made it to my parent’s place, safe, sound and none the worse for wear- though I can’t say that about the trailer lights. Those shorted out, on the trip home, and while I had taillights, I was blinker-less and that’s something else my dad will have to fix for me.
There’s more updating to be done, but I figured I’d share the most major parts of the trip, first, and work on updating everyone as we go through our first week of warm weather!