Monday, April 30, 2012

Retackling the Tevis Part 4 at Long Last!

Well, its been 6 weeks or so since I updated my blog!  Time flies when you get busy.  I was dealing with truck issues, etc.   It also rained a lot in April but I managed to get my weekly rides in.  Some of the one track trails became little rivers washing lots of rocks to the surface and making the going rough.  One day I came down the Maine Bar Trail, a steep downhill to the river near Poverty Bar, the Tevis river crossing site, and it was just awful to negotiate.  Sweetie's feet were tender due to all the moisture and she chose to track down the sides of the trails instead of in the middle where all the rocks were.  She was doing crazy stuff on the banks of the trail but never took a false step.  She is so surefooted.  I meant to warn people on the Tevis Google site to avoid that trail but never got around to it.  That would be a really rough trail to maintain due to the steepness, but at least its not part of the Tevis trail.

The above is the two of us going down to
 the river March 21st towards Cherokee Bar.  

I wished I had tried to cross the river back in March when it was so low at Poverty Bar, because a week later it finally started raining and it filled up fast.  It won't be crossable again until June.  There were little waterfalls gushing all over the place along the middle fork canyon.  I've been doing a lot of riding alone since Sue gets busy and can't always make it.  This is good practice for Sweetie, it builds her confidence.  She tries to spin around and go home for the first mile or so, then gets over it.

This is also the same day down at the emerald green river.  

I knew we were going to have a wet Spring.  I'm glad I got in so many good rides when it was dry.  The few times I got rained on I didn't really have the greatest rain jacket, and one more hour of rain would have soaked me.  One day I even borrowed Sue's good jacket and it kept me nice and dry except when I had to jump off to answer the call of nature and experienced rainfall on my butt for the first time.

We are not giving Sweetie much more than hay, she does get some pelleted grain mix, and we are still trying to figure out what grain to feed in the long run.  It turns out horses shouldn't get much grain.  The only grain they get in nature is what is on the grass stalks they eat.  They are not really built to digest large amounts of concentrated grains the way we feed them.  We found one grain with a beet pulp base, but Sue said she already fed beet pulp at rides and didn't want to double up on it.  I like the high fat grains made for high performance.  One brand has served me well through the years, so we're going to try that.  Luckily, Sweetie is a very easy keeper and we don't have to feed much.  

This is coming up from the river April 14th

Same day, in front of a little waterfall at Cherokee Bar

I have been limping a GMC S15 pickup back and forth through the 6 mile windy canyon road, an 84 mile total round trip to Sue's for the past couple of months.  I was told by my mechanic that it was about to throw a rod.  He said not to even drive it once over there and back.  I asked how I could buy some time and he recommended oil conditioner to replace one quart of oil, this really thick stuff that coats all the parts.  It served me well, because he it held up for two months.  Along the way, one of my back tires gave out, and was not repairable.  I declined to buy a new one and only had one of those small mini spare tires.  I actually drove on that bicycle tire for several weeks.  Then I thought the master brake cylinder was going out, but I only needed brake fluid.  I pleaded with my truck to not die on me yet.  I changed the oil, kept putting in conditioner, etc.  

I had it for sale on Craigslist, along with my F150 that blew a head gasket last year and has been parked ever since.  Then someone contacted me and offered to fix my gasket for only $250 using this new technology with liquid ceramic.  He not only did that, but flushed out my radiator, which was a rusty dirty mess and all clogged.  It didn't make sense, because I had replaced it only two years before I parked it and didn't do a lot of dusty roads or anything.  I figured out that my old mechanic had taken a used one from his junk yard next door.  I'm turning him into the Bureau of Auto Repair.  Its why it blew in the first place!  I'd heard rumors that he did that but didn't believe them.

So then I sold the GMC for $350 to a guy who was turning two of them into one.  They're apparently hard to find and weren't out for very long.  It had 240,000 miles on it!  He drove it off, all cockeyed (the truck , not him) with the tiny tire.  So then I registered and insured the Ford and now have a good running truck.  But with the horrendous gas prices I can't afford to drive it and want another 6 banger.  So it's for sale too.  Its an '87 302 EFI current on registration and smog.  It has 178,000 miles on it which is nothing for a Ford truck.  You can't kill 'em with a stick.  It gets 15 mpg.  I'm asking $1,700.  Has newer tires in front and a longbed with a bedliner.  Its 2WD automatic, regular cab.  Spread the word.

A few weeks ago we had a funny incident with Sweetie.  We got back from a ride and the little Standardbred mare that Sue has been boarding for someone was apparently in heat.  We, or at least Sue knew this because Sweetie started acting all studdy as soon as she walked up.  She sounds just like a stallion, deep voice and all.  I joked and said, "I didn't know you were a lesbian Sweetie!" and Sue said, "more like a bull dyke!  I once found her bleeding out her nose because she had tried to mount a mare and got kicked in the face!"  Well, at least that means she's a lead mare type, which is good for competition.

Oh, we had another bear incident too.  A couple of weeks ago we were going up a new trail north up the river canyon towards Georgetown.  It had spectacular views, especially of Rucky Chucky, a huge bolder stacked waterfall on the river that was just roaring.  The river rafters, needless to say, have to portage around it.  Then I passed some young hikers, one with a bag of Doritos which Sweetie tried to check out.  We came to a waterfall and creek crossing and Sweetie suddenly spun around.  I made her go back around and coaxed her over the creek.  She was really hesitant, and I wondered if a bear had been drinking there recently.  Sure enough, a few hundred feet later, there he was ambling up the trail ahead of us.  Not a very a big one.  It didn't seem to know we were there.  We stopped and watched it till it disappeared around the bend.  I said, "We've gone far enough down this trail today!" and turned around.  The way he was going we would've caught up with him and it wouldn't have been nice on the side of the canyon if Sweetie and the bear both freaked.

Next blog will have the exciting details of dragging the American River 50!  Plus pictures!  Stay tuned!


  1. I'm thinking between all the things you've written about Sweetie talking to mares, and her very cresty neck, that possibly she has a hormonal issue going on. Like, maybe residual testicular tissue so there's an excess of testosterone? Has she ever had that evaluated?

  2. Not that I know of. Her owner agrees that she most likely has some kind of hormonal imbalance. Even at the 70 mile stop on Tevis she spotted a mare that had been staying at her place and was in heat, and as tired as she was she started in with her stallion like behavior nickering to this mare, who had no interest in her at all. I had to tell her to give it a rest and save her energy! I've always ridden geldings, so this kind of behavior is new to me. Gee, maybe its good practice in case I ever get a stallion.