Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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.

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 ;)


  1. So glad you made it without mishap! You sure are braver me than me that's for sure.

  2. Glad to see evidence that you are all safe and sound. Yay!

  3. Glad that the move is finally over and that Dixie seems to like her new home. Hopefully that's the last pony move for a while... and I can only sympathize at the frustration at slowness... I usually average only gas stops on my trips and make them 15 minute stops to let the pony rest and me pee.

  4. Yeah! for boring introductions! Yeah! for lovely house! Yeah! for everything but the flu...

  5. Sounds like your move/trip went really well. I would have done the same thing you did on the route. We've driven that straight shot through San Fran and I would no way want to do it with a horse in a trailer! You can always count on adding hours to your drive when going long distance pulling livestock; but it is so good for the horse to get those rest breaks. It makes them LIKE traveling, instead of getting balky at loading. Dixie looks quite accepting of the new circumstances; I'm sorry you've moved further away from us, though. Had so hoped to get the two girls together sometime; OK, so maybe it was Washoe who really wanted to meet Dixie. He got pretty huffy this morning on a two hour dude ride because he had to walk soooo S L O W! Hope you feel better soon.
    Bionic Cowgirl

    1. You'll still meet ME for sure one day! And there's a lot of nice pioneer (5 day) rides in Utah - if I haul over to one of those, what's adding another week and visiting with yall for a couple days? :)

  6. Glad you made it to your new home safely...I can totally relate to the trauma of I-80 over Donner Summit being funneled down to one narrow lane and hauling a horse trailer...did that once nearly two decades ago in the dark heading to Reno, driving my friend's dually because she was so dozy and had such poor command of the lane, I took over to change my destiny from near certain death, maiming and destruction to only probable death maiming and destruction. I had about zero hauling experience then and I swear there was only an inch or two of leeway on either side of those dually tires and the concrete barriers channeling me perfectly scrunched between two big rigs. Hope you are able to rest some.

  7. I'm glad that was uneventful!

  8. SO happy you made it safe and sound and everyone is settled in. Brutal trip.. I would have totally been stressed to haul on those highways alone! Rest up and take care of yourself..

  9. That's great that things went so smoothly! I bet Dixie is enjoying having pasture mates at the new place, and trees:)

  10. I'm glad to hear that everything went well. I'm sure it's nice to finally be moved, even if you're feeling a little under the weather.

    I was curious to hear how Dixie like the new place since she was really an only child at your last place. Does she seem to be extra happy living with a group of horses?

    1. She is DELIGHTED. Fit right in like she's lived there forever, no drama. Not too herdbound when I pulled her out Monday. Yay!

  11. "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 am also familiar with that feeling. Glad you made it!

  12. Glad you made it safe and sound! Now you can relax.. at least about the completed packing and the no-longer-impending move. Hope you're feeling better soon.

  13. Awesome, welcome to Ca! Hopefully we'll see each other at some more rides now. Dixie's boarding spot looks nice and what a WELL ADJUSTED mare :-O

    Oh and you are SO right on about leaving on time from vet checks. My worries over Desire at Cache Creek 50 had me leaving every vet check 10-15 minutes late, and suddenly I found myself racing the clock to finish finally at the very last minute before cut off..

  14. Glad you made it safe and sound.

  15. Stress aside, good to hear it was a generally smooth trip. I bet you're relieved it's all over.

  16. I'd much rather here a boring moving story than a drama filled one :)

    Dixie's new home looks pretty nice, I bet she likes that pasture.

    And oh MY! A 30 minute ride for you must be like me getting on a pony for 5 minutes lol

  17. Glad your move went well. Hope you can teach the flu not to mess with Endurance riders!

  18. Moving is so stressful - glad that's over with! Glad the trip went well - it would have been the mountain passes that worry me rather than bridges, but not going through SF was probably a good idea. Glad Dixie seems happy.

  19. Well, stress and sickness aside, I'm glad you made it. The driving in the city areas must have been pretty stressful. I hope you feel better soon and get back to your normal self!

  20. Congrats! Glad everyone made it safely and the spotty beast is settled in.

    "Everybody says their precious Snookums-pony is an angel, and it's almost never true."

    Haha, I always tell them what a nasty Napoleon Peanut is, and with Mona we were really worried about her seriously injuring another horse and so watched like hawks. Makes me a nobody (or maybe just realiztic?)

  21. Glad all went well. I've got to tell you--knowing that route and having driven it myself--I was stressing over your trip, even at second hand (well, I guess I did tell you). But it sounds like you got through it just fine and for sure I would have been shaking, too. Its no wonder you got sick. That's a lot of stress. I hope you can take it easy for awhile. And yeah, I thought I was having a deja vu when I saw the blue carpet. Didn't you just get RID of that in the Reno house?

  22. Welcome to CA! (though you were closer to me in Reno!) Dixie looks mighty happy, friends, new pasture, awesome. Now all the creatures are taken care of, you can take care of yourself. Post-stress induced sickness, go sit in the CA sun and finally relax a bit!

  23. Time to relax!! So glad you and the critters made it to your new home safe and sound - not fitting through the toll booth would have blown my mind btw.

    Take care of yourself. :)

  24. Glad to hear you all arrived safe and sound.

    I had to laugh where you talked about how long it took you to get there. All I could think was, wow, she even drives like an endurance rider!

    Now go do what they say people do best in California...relax!

  25. You're a beast. Enjoy California! All that sunshine is bound to cure your sickness soon. =)

  26. I am glad that you made it safe and sound. Wishing you the best of luck with the new home and barn.

  27. Glad you all made it safe and sound!!

  28. Glad to hear the journey was uneventful and everyone is settling in well. Hope you are soon feeling well and ready to take us on a guided tour of the new abode and surroundings.

  29. Yay! Congratulations on getting the move done. Now crash for a while.
    Dixie is such a good girl.

  30. thanks for the photo tour of your trip. i loved being there with you: ) as you know we also have some very scary bridges in washington state. the tacoma narrows is one i tried to avoid by taking the horses onto a seattle ferry. that was a bad move, as i'm sure i've told you. i wasn't even pulling a trailer when i had a panic attack on the oregon astoria bridge. it goes way up high and i am not afraid of heights but one moment of panic made me realize i'm not so gung-ho about bridges anymore. the floating bridges in seattle are no problem cuz they're sitting on the water and that just feels safer to me.

    i can't believe you're in california! i hope you like it. i see you're in silicon valley. lots of jobs there! i had to travel to redwood shores regularly at my last job. watch for the linux penguin crossing signs: )

    i also have a cherished memory of a company party in foster city that ended up with police involved cuz we were having too much fun.

    i'm throwing these names out there wondering where exactly you are down there! (huh, i say "down" as if i'm still "up".)

    i cannot wait to see your new house. i hope you don't have to go too terribly far to get to endurance rides in comparison to nevada.

    then again...i may never see lake tahoe...

    1. On my "barn tour" trip in April, I ate lunch in Foster City, and I drove through Redwood City like five hundred thousand times! Dixie is a little further down the coast, directly south of Stanford - when I rode Monday I could see that big... radar... dish? thing?

      There are some quite close rides and some that are a little further away. Hoping for Hat Creek to be my next ride - it's 300 miles instead of 135, so it's further but not too bad. And of course I'm much closer to the coastal redwoods rides!

      Come visit me someday, and we'll day trip to Tahoe :)

  31. Glad you made it and moving was mostly uneventful. The flu-ish feel is probably just all the stress catching up with you. Feel better soon and get some rest! Glad Dixie is happy with her new digs too!

    1. Nope, it's a real thing that has been going around Graham's work. On Friday, he was all "coff coff I'm still sick" and I was all "I DON'T CARE KISS ME NOW" :D

  32. Thanks for the well-wishes, yall! :)

  33. oh no! i hope I didn't give you my last month's nasty cold over the net! glad you made it to your new home in 1 piece, i was wondering about you. i woulda freaked with that driving too. now take it easy and get well!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond


Feel free to comment!