Well folks, although the Free Range Rodeo of over a month ago is very different from the Free Range Rodeo of today, we still thought you may be interested in hearing a piece of the past that will help to catch us up to the now. It is well known that Sea left for a week on February 7th to visit with the family in Florida. What is less well known is what took place concerning the Free Range Rodeo in her absence, for without access to the internet we were unable to tell of our adventures, So here’s the belated scoop.
Live from the Lucerne Valley’s Lazy Lizard Ranch, a special Free Range Rodeo report: Following a grueling 25 something mile trek over hills and up river beds, down dusty valley roads and finally the long race alongside the desert highway, giant storm clouds encircling the valley on three of its cardinal points and scatterings of hail on our tail hastening the trot:
Cowgirl carrying Gryph and Jesse with his guest passenger arrrived at night fall to the opulent retreat of lazy lizard rancho. Jesse and Cowgirl where eager to reunite with the rest of the herd who had expediated up the road with R Rescue and had for most of the day been living it up in their own stall. Also were our two protagonists excited by the scents and sights of many other mares of different extraction all lounging in spacious stalls, the light dust of alfalfa hanging low to the ground.
Gryph & guest where then graciously located to one of the on-site guest accomodations and a dinner of roast chicken and potatoes with soda pops provided to ease the discomfort of their 8 or so hours in the saddle.
The days leading up could not prepare us for this ride, but at least hinted that we could indeed handle such a thing. From S’s, on Smoketree road, we rode out healthy and energized from a restful few days waiting for our McClellan saddle to be repaired. A long day down Smoketree to Baldy Mesa, south into an enthusiastic desert plains wind and eventually to the overpass taking us across the dreaded highway 15. As the sun lowered into the hills our thoughts turned towards setting up camp, the road led us to a fenced dirt lot where we rested our ponies and ourselves that night. Our host M brought us wood for a campfire and we cooked up a feast that could not be beat. We put up our tent and the whole herd contentedly grazed together.
The next day was when the wind started in ernest, and on it blew through the night. So, it came to be after a cold night of Hesperia Parks and Recreation’s hospitality: the horses in wind-swept, trough-less stalls, and the humans slumped amongst their belongings in discreet array, huddled from the wind in an ancient aztec dome, the temorarily re-constructed Free Range Rodeo waited tensely and helplessly for the imminent and ominous dark clouds approaching….
The light of morning came at last, breaking the cold drafts of that night’s sleep, leading us to face a whole new day: Our dear Saint Finehorn was feeling disagreable in her front hoof, making it clear to us that she was not fit to do the miles the coming day commanded. We had to think fast and figure out a working plan for how to move down the road: staying there was not an option. Trail Angel R answered our calls and came to our rescue in the nick of time. We had our two fine packhorses snugged in a 2 horse trailer and transported ahead of us.
We led our two remaining saddled steeds across the vast mojave river bed, sand devouring each step and dust blasting our eyes. We pushed on against the wind, looking behind nervously at dark storm clouds blowing closer. We were also taking in the facts: we were not crows, and as the pony flies we had a 25 mile day in this weather to complete before we could rest. We took back roads most of the way: long winding dirt roads weaving up and down hills and showing us a breathtaking view across the Granite Mountains and Dead Man Hills. Our special secret guest, escourted by Cowgirl, and Gryph on Mr. James, took in hoof the long roads crisscrossing the dusty valley. For hours the wind was high, but we managed to always stay one trot ahead of the great shadow lashing hailstones that loomed behind us. Taking paths that parelleled the highway, we made it to Lucerne Valley just before dark, and just as the rain and hail was catching up with us.
J met us in his truck to ensure that our progress was almost complete, and that we had a warm shower and wholesome meal awaiting us at the ranch. That good reassurance is what kept us going through the last 5 miles, soaked and cold and hungry. We arrived to destination in darkness, turned in the horses to rest and munch on some well- deserved alfalfa, and retreated to a warm dry room. Blessings on the Lazy Lizard Ranch.
The next morning, well rested, we awoke to meet the ranch in full light: a full sweeping view of the valley to the grandiose mountains beyond. The shadows and light played off the desert surrounding us, and Joshua Trees danced around the low slung western style of the Lazy Lizard Ranch: a place where horses reign happy, people rest easy and the lizards are lazy.