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June 22, 2014: Solstice Ride

I always do a Solstice trail ride – this is sort of a self-tradition. In the past I’ve taken off around 11 p.m., by myself. This year the solstice ride was different, but more memorable than past rides. This time Pete was with me, and we went out earlier than usual. I would have ridden later, but the weather was intermittent. The day started out rainy, cold, wet, but by mid-afternoon was partially sunny.

You have to strike while the iron’s hot around here if you are a trail rider; this is what I told Pete. So off we went, on what turned out to be a residential neighborhood ride. We planned on going

to the far end of Ridge Runner and seeing if Mimi, a local gardener, would be willing to house sit for us in a few weeks. It subsequently turned into a longer and more interesting ride.

We initially went to our intended destination. Mimi is a real gardener. She’s taken a large plot of uncultivated land and turned it into an agricultural mecca. Everything she’s planted has flourished, including green onions, the tops of which are now knee high. She’s even put in an irrigation system so that the plants get constant water.

She wasn’t at home (she’s living in a wall tent on the property), so we headed over to our friend Karen Hoppe’s place, getting there via gravel road, paved road, trail, and dirt/gravel road. Karen wasn’t home, but we took a close look at her garden. Mimi’s garden is in the ground while Karen’s is in raised beds. As with Mimi’s garden, Karen’s was weed free. It was very humbling, seeing both gardens. Don’t know how people do it.

We next headed down road, with the intention of turning onto a local trail that would take us in the direction of home. But we headed straight after I took note of a garage sale sign. My thought was that perhaps whoever was hosting this sale would have some tack for sale. I was on the lookout for a rain blanket – I’m going to need two for the competitive trail ride. This, I knew, was a longshot but worth giving a try.

As it turned out, the yard sale was being put on by neighbors Dale and Bonnie Zirkle, area horse people. They’re in the process of relocating to New Mexico, so another neighbor’s horses were occupying the adjacent pasture. We tied all three horses to nearby trees, where they could then watch the other horses.

Much to our surprise, numerous neighbors were present. One of them, Tony Kavalok, was selling some of his tack – and lo and behold, he just happened to have a rain blanket on hand. What were the odds of this? Pretty slim I’d say. I purchased it. It’s like new, needs two back straps. But it will keep one horse dry and warm.

We hung out for a while and had some pizza, and then continued on our way like travelers of old, the saddle blanket tied to the back of Pete’s saddle. Pete had picked up a black cowboy hat – he wore it for a bit then put his helmet back on. Our horses were clearly eager to get going. In fact, Raudi had a difficult time containing herself. But she did, verifying that she’s now a reliable trail horse. As I said to Pete, she by default has become my number one riding horse. Signy is no longer with us and now Pete is riding Tinni, so I have to ride her. The timing is good, for I now consider her to be trustworthy.

We returned home, coming up Murphy Road, the road we started out on. My only regret was that the three hour solstice ride wasn’t quite long enough.

Next: 172 6/23/14: Ryder’s Injury