Road Less Saddled – Day 4
We’ve loaded the horses and set out from Albuquerque at 7:30 am. Feist is doctored, cold hosed and all the winter blankets are exchanged for lighter show sheets. The forecast at our destination of Cave Creek, Arizona, is predicting 21 Celcius this afternoon! As we change out the blankets, we realize our palomino mare looks gaunt, despite having a large bucket of fresh water all night in her stall. Clay and I chalk this up to the probability that she didn’t care for the taste of the water for some reason. Thankfully, all the other horses were fine with it. We give the mare some paste electrolytes and start the last leg of our journey.
Approximately a half hour into our day we begin to pass Casinos, small towns and open desert. In addition to that, there are several roadside signs warning drivers about the dangers of picking up hitch hikers: this is a high prison area. Other roadside billboards discuss sad but poignant issues such as Crystal Meth, abortion, child and animal abuse. I am in unfamiliar territory.
As Clay and I roll farther west on I40, we find a spot to pull over to offer our palomino some water. The electrolytes should have had a chance to work by now and we are hopeful she will drink.
During this stop, my husband also checks our rig: the tires, lights and axels. This is a routine practice of his, however what’s not routine is the protruding piece of metal sticking out the top of one of our trailer tires. This particular tire’s sidewalls are also very warm and a lot of axel grease has leaked out here.
We consider our options: keep going and hope for the best? Or should we just change the tire right now? Either way, we are in a bad place to change a tire so we decide to set up the road a little farther and see what we can find.
Clay drives for a few more miles. And just as we are both getting really nervous, the next bend reveals a huge commercial truck service station! What luck, eh?! We pull our rig up to the Bosselman 24 Hour Boss Truck Stop near Ciniza, New Mexico (I think).
The mechanics there immediately instruct us to pull our rig into a large service bay, horses and all. Turns out, we had picked up a nail in the tire, however, it hasn’t quite punctured through the tire’s inner tube. Yet.
It is at this point that I realize: what a blessing in disguise it was that our mare appeared gaunt this morning! Giving her electrolytes required us to stop and offer her water 30 minutes later. If we hadn’t needed to do so, it’s possible we may not have noticed the nail otherwise. And instead, the crew at the Boss Truck Stop took us in immediately, fixed the tire and our axel grease problem and sent us on our way. What a huge relief!
On the road once again, we count the driving hours remaining. We cross the Arizona stateline and immediately, there is a Port of Entry we have to visit.
One more stop.
Clay is driving me crazy with his whistled version of “Bonanza.” Up ahead there’s a sign boasting another tourist trap approximately one hour away. There, it might be time for a pit stop. And hey, you can get 50 per cent off meteorites today! Excellent.
We arrive at our destination in good time and unload the horses, first thing.
I think they were happier than we were to get to Arizona!!