In which I ride with lions and we break trucks (but I think we're done now)

We took the Reindeer to the shop for a routine tyranny flush and the mechanic said "Uh-oh."
So I called Darlene and asked to hitch a ride with her to the Cross-state Ride.
(My truck is fixable AND under warranty, but it would not be fixed in time to launch.)

So, that was the first truck.

Darlene was tweaking me for buying a Dodge instead of a GMC like hers. Then, hers gave a warning light and slowed to a crawl at the top of the pass.

We limped it to camp, and she called Triple A.

So, that was the second truck.

But the trailer needed a ride to the next camp. Triple A got a tow truck for that, too.  Then, the hydraulic system on the tow truck went out! So the tow truck and trailer went to the shop to get the hydraulics fixed.

And that was the third truck.

Triple A won't haul a rig with horses inside (US Rider will, though) so we decided that the Dragon and I would pony Lola down the trail to the next trailhead while Darlene coped with all things mechanical.

I cannot rememb…

In which it was a good news-bad news-good news-bad news kind of Tuesday

This post has no photos.  It also has no cuss words. You'll just have to use your imagination.
The truck was at the transmission shop for a tranny flush before we leave on the Cross-State Ride in two days.  But the mechanic opened her up and said "Uh oh."
You never want a mechanic to say "uh-oh."  
The Bad News:  The transmission needs work.  Maybe a lot of work.
The Good News: I bought an extended warranty for this truck, and it will cover most of the repair cost!
The Bad News:  The work might take a week.  We are supposed to leave on Thursday.
The Good News:  Darlene will let Fiddle and me carpool in her rig!
The Bad News: Darlene's rig will never be able to negotiate our driveway.
The Good News:  Darlene's rig can easily negotiate the driveway at Fish Creek.
The Bad News:  Fiddle is at home, not at Fish Creek--and my truck cannot haul her there because it's in pieces at the transmission shop.
The Good News:  I can borrow Duana's truck!
So the (new) …

In which I'll be gone for a while, so here's a place to find some good books

I'm always grateful to regular readers of this blog. But now I'll be away for a while.  What are y'all gonna read?

Well, I thought of that for you.


I wrote a post full of book suggestions.

Please visit the link (it's HERE) and "vote it up" for me, okay?

Did I miss your favorite book? Please tell me about it in the comments!

In which Santa Jim builds a special toy just for the Cross-State Trail Ride

Santa Jim has been busy!

I knew that I didn't want to put up and tear down a tent every night during the Cross-State ride.

Our tent is comfy, but it's a lot of bother for one person for one night--and we move almost every morning, so I'd be constantly messing with it.  No, thank you.

I *could* sleep in the back of the trailer, which is also pretty comfy

There are at least two days that we will have to portage horses inside the trailers, which would mean special set-up and break down of the bed to make room for the Dragon.  Nope, nope, nope. 

That leaves the back of the truck, which we've camped in during cold weather for years. 

The only drawback to that is that it's hard to get dressed in tights when you are balanced on the mattress!

A bunk in the back of the truck seems to be the perfect solution.

Jim took pictures of the whole process.

When I get home from the ride and need to use the truck for stuff like hauling gravel, 

we can pull out the bunk and take it ap…

In which I am not getting-rich-fast, and I seek help from my readers

I've been looking for a new venue for articles and seeking new audiences.  This blog has been active since 2008 (!), and I wrote both the Endurance 101 book and the Sex in the Library book in 2012 (although SITL took longer than E101 to get printed, it was all written and edited at the same time).

And then...I took a break.  I still spend every November scribbling out NaNoWriMo projects, but there hasn't been anything in recent years that really got the creative fire roaring the way it did when I was writing two books at the same time.

Recently, I discovered a new horse-centric website hosted by Featherlite Trailers that publishes articles for and by equestrians. And, ta-dahhh:  article authors get paid $15 per piece, once it meets a (currently low bar) of popular success.

"What the heck?" I thought.  So, I submitted some stuff.  (You can see it all HERE)

And hey:  it's working!  I'm getting paid!  Not tons of cash for each piece, but it's starting to add…

In which we return to Cowboy Camp and there is Much Sensibleness

"Come to Cowboy Camp and ride with me!" said Darlene. So, we did.

Darlene's friend Mikayla and her dad Mike joined us--and they ride STANDARDBREDS! 

I haven't seen Mikayla since she and Darlene attended the Caribou Gold Rush ride and parked next to Sirie and me in 2013!

We talked about trails, we talked about the track, we talked about gaits.

There was trail, there was road, there was mud, and some creek crossings

there was blue sky, and speckled sunshine


it is Good.

In which riding in the pouring rain is the better part of the day

Darlene's mare Lola was still lame, so Fiddle and I were solo on the trails  Sunday morning.  The forecast was "scattered showers", but reality was RAIN and lots of it.

When I got back to the trailhead, forward movement stopped happening. 

US Rider to the rescue...again!

We have learned from long experience that when truck batteries begin to fail, they will will pull the alternator down with them.  The reverse is also true:  when the alternator starts to go bad, it will foul the batteries.

The US Rider tow truck showed up promptly and hooked each of the truck batteries to a jump box (the standard jump box will NOT lift a truck battery, these were heavy-duty).  Wait a few seconds and...VROOOOOM. 

Vroom. Vroom. 


So yeah:  the alternator too.


Jim came out to the trailhead to verify the diagnosis (and to deliver chocolates to me and to the tow truck driver).

Then he drove his van over to the auto parts store, procured new batteries and a new…