As I said before I was so happy to get to Sue's place. Buddy settled in nicely, but Charlie and Jethro, Sues' Blue Tick hound didn't make friends quickly. Jethro had to make sure Charlie knew his place. No dog fights, but some growling and snapping on both of their parts.
Sue has a perfect place for me to put my trailer, so I unhooked and made myself at home. Sue and I got into a routine fairly quickly. Coffee/juice together in the morning and generally dinner in the evening, we'd either go out or one of us would fix something. Sue brought back Burritos from a local deli for lunch a couple of times, fresh, like home- made even..
Early on, we spent a good deal of time planning and arranging travel for our Alaska trip in July. Sue is going to judge a NATRC competition, I'm going to ride the ride manager's horse and then we are going sight seeing. We will be flying into and out of Fairbanks, Alaska, so wanted to see as much as we could of the rest of the state. We will be there a little less than 2 weeks, so we decided on a train trip to Denali and then down to Anchorage, where we go on a jet boat ride to see a glacier and a float trip back down the river.
We had planned on taking a rental car back to Fairbanks, but, it was cheaper to fly back. so we are going to fly. It was going to cost somewhere around 500 dollars to rent a car for 3 days. Anchorage is only 350 miles from Fairbanks, a good days drive, but it was a bit over 100 dollars to fly back. It was a hard decision to make since I would have liked to have run up to Wasilla, Alaska to see Russia.. Or have coffee with Sarah Palin. When we get back to Fairbanks, we have a few days to unwind, there's a Gold Rush Festival we are going to go to, plus a Riverboat ride that's kinda neat.
I made all of the travel arrangements. I have great fun doing that, I should have been a travel agent.
The first weekend I was there, we hauled over to a local park (Round Valley) close to Mt. Diablo and rode there for a few hours. I saw my first ground squirrel, how cute I thought, long tailed prairie dogs. I didn't think they were so cute once we got on the trail and I saw what kind of holes they dig. Ones that your horse's hooves can go right into. You don't even want to get off the trails there. The place was riddled with holes. You really had to watch on the sides of the trails too. One wrong step.. not good. Not so cute ground squirrels.
Sue pointed at the top of the huge hill and said, later on our way back, we'll go over that. I kinda thought she meant around it..Nope, over it we went. Buddy had his first long climb of many more long climbs to come. Up and up we went, some long climbs, a few steep switchbacks.. He just dug in and climbed, I was a bit concerned on the narrow sections and it was a long way down. I always tell myself I'm going to jump off to the left or right, which ever the high side is, just in case.. I want to have an emergency escape route.
He did good going down hill, sometimes he's very slow on the down hills, but, this day, he was just walking out and he quickly left Sue's mule Henri behind.
Sue said Henri wasn't happy about that and even threw a buck in.. which he never does.
It was a good ride, nice conditioning and a good preview of the trails for the Round Valley Ride to be held in the middle of June.
The next day was Easter and Sue invited me to join her at her Parent's home for Easter Dinner. We had a nice visit and a wonderful meal. It was kind of Sue to invite me and I enjoyed meeting her parents. I did miss my family, as they all get together at my sister's farm for dinner and an Easter Egg hunt, but I called and talked to them all and was able to vicariously share in their Easter celebration.
The days go by so quickly.. soon it was time to get ready to go visit Jane in Auburn. I had wanted to go visit with she and her family and see if my trailer could get in and out of her place. I ran to Auburn on the 28th, I'll tell that story soon, but the next story I must tell, is about riding with the Vaqueros.