20. November finds us at the Dixon Fairgrounds. Gryph and I have thrown our bedrolls down in the Livery Stables on a carpeted square platform and the ponies are in the arena for the night. Much has happened in the past 3 weeks, including a change of steeds. Our beloved Vaca Suerte wasn’t well suited to life on the road – her metabolism and an unfortunate tendency to rain rot meant that she needed more food and shelter that we could provide. She went back to the woman we bought her from, with miles under her hooves and stories she’ll never tell. Gryph is now riding Finehorn and Cowgirl carries the pack.
“Cowgirl of 1000 names, Queen of the Rodeo, ’til late one night at the Boonville Fair, up and over she did go. She got a reputation, 3 years later had a foal, met us in Potter Valley then we took her on the road. When Finehorn chose a rider, Cowgirl took the pack. She’s joined the Free Range Rodeo and she ain’t lookin’ back.
(We’re working on a song about the journey – each of the horses has a verse – that’s Cowgirl’s verse – or at least the current version
Tomorrow we are putting the ponies in a trailer and getting into the truck and heading down to Tracy, CA. Getting around the bay area in any sort of safe and reasonable way has proved to be beyond what we or anyone we’ve talked to can figure out and so, having been offered a ride, we’ve accepted gratefully. We finally got the 3G thing sorted on the iPad so hopefully blog entries will be happening more frequently – i’ve been keeping a daily journal and will be posting excerpts soon – and we’re working on figuring out how to post photos – and a map on which we’ll trace our route. We have been blessed with trail angels and fair weather – we’ve camped in walnut and almond orchards, slept in empty grain silos and soft warm beds, walked long miles beside narrow roads and ridden the edges of winter fields. We are all five alive and well, winter is hovering and it’s time to turn in for the night.