Made It Home in 1 Piece. Almost.

First, please let me  start by saying – April 20, 2010 was probably one of the most hellish days I have ever had, traveling with horses. Okay, now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll give you a hint as to why it was so brutal…

Does this picture trigger a little déjà vu...?

Clay and I, along with our 8 horses in tow, really racked up the miles since Sunday, April 18. In only a few days, we had traveled from Katy, TX, to Cave Creek, AZ, and by the wee hours of Tuesday morning (April 20), we had made it as far north as Kayenta, AZ. An interesting point to note about Kayenta is, while the state of Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time, this place apparently does.

Clay had driven for so long but fatigue started to overtake him around 4 am, April 20, so it was time to pull over. We steered the rig into a lighted parking lot and my husband promptly got some shut eye in the living quarters of the trailer. I on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink – due to some sketchy activity in the parking lot. Some guy even took a picture of our rig… Perhaps he was working on a blog of his own, but it made me kinda nervous.

Then after only a few hours of sleep, Clay woke abruptly to the shrill whinny of stud chatter. One of the Misters in the trailer got a little excited about a mare peeing…

So we decided to get up and feed the horses their breakfast. And in the 15 minutes it took us to do that, we were approached by a peddler who wanted to sell us a digital watch. “No THANK-YOU!!” was my over-tired response.

He backed away quickly.

<Yeah! Hear me roar! I am tired. And grouchy. And I haven’t been able to brush my teeth…>

Just outside of Kayenta, AZ.

We hit the road again at 7:15 am. And the countryside here was absolutely stunning!! It was a beautiful morning driving through the redlands.

The landscapes are absolutely phenomenal here.

But what wasn’t so cool were the 8-10 percent grades we had to take the 8-horse, fully-loaded rig down… My finger nails were etched into the dashboard.

I used to think 6-8% grades were bad...

After that, we entered into Utah and hit the I70. We decided against going through the 4 corners (a region of the United States where the boundaries of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet at one point), so there would be no way we could even get close to New Mexico – considering the restrictions Canada has imposed on horses moving from there, due to piroplasmosis.

By the time we reached the Port of Entry for Colorado, we realized our back axle was leaking grease. So, at Grand Junction, CO, we had to drive around to see if someone could help us replace the hubcap and repack the axle with grease. With 8 horses in tow, we tried to find a shop. Eventually we found 2 – but both absolutely refused to help us. One place wouldn’t even give us a phone number to someone they recommended – even though they saw we had 8 horses on board!

Desperate, Clay and I called into our account with Equi-Pass and the kind lady on the other end named Barbara directed us to Pine Country Trailer Sales in Grand Junction, CO.

This shop is full of kind people and they offer amazing service!

Grant Knowles and his great people there allowed Clay to pull our rig inside – still loaded with horses! Since we had no place to offload 6 mares and 2 stallions safely, the mechanics carefully put our rig up on jacks and took a look. The axle was repacked and the hub replaced. And the good people from Pine Country even helped us water and feed our ponies!

We left a bit of a mess in their shop, but they sent us off with smiles. Thanks Grant – you have an excellent business! And you know your stuff.

Thank goodness, Grant insisted on fixing our axle and hubcap properly. He had told us the next leg of our had a few more steep grades as well. We just didn’t realize how steep, until we got there.

Here is a typical sign along that route towards Denver…

And just when you think things are gonna smooth out…

And the kicker…

By the time we hit Denver, I was ready for a glass of wine. But of course, there was no time for that. Our schedule had been put so far behind because of the axle repairs. We hit High Line Stable in Nunn, Co, unloaded and bedded everyone down. And that’s when Clay realized my mare, Selena, had something in her eye. As he tried to get it out, she swung her head rapidly and bopped him in the face.

Clay’s nose was broken.

I suppose it was a fitting conclusion to a day riddled with bad luck. But on the other hand, Clay was pretty proud of his “hockey player” appearance. At least he had a good story to tell.

Comments

  1. Ouch! So sorry to hear about this. Jenn, I just wanted you to know that my quiet mornings usually start out with tea and your blog. Keep up the great work and I totally get the thing about brushing your teeth.

    Cheers,

    Valerie

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