Eastern Oklahoma has a totally different feel. Coming into Arkansas you can smell the moisture in the air. We’re just ahead of a storm the whole trip so the wind follows us. I get very excited crossing the Mississipi into Memphis, which looks incredibly dramatic at night, and reminds me a bit of Sacramento with the golden arches of the bridge, the pyramid to my left, and the riverwalk below. Sacramento houses the Delta King, a twin to the Delta Queen, so I wonder if this is by accident or design. Tonight’s goal: Nashville, TN
Arizona: windy. New Mexico: windy. Texas: windy. Oaklahoma: windy. From Eastern NM, it feels like one, continuous, never-ending state. Incredible moon rising over the ranchland, signs for fried pie outside of Amarillo, dozens of shooting stars in Oaklahoma. Tumbleweeds and reservations. We are excited to cross the Mississippi today.
Tonight’s goal: Nashville. TN
Some fleeting impressions: Tule fog down the 99 dissipated into some sort of haze/smog combo as we left Bakersfield to head into the high desert, making it almost impossible to see surrounding hills. CA has crap for air-quality and it’s way overcrowded, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Windmills clumped in the hills like a crazy geometry experiment. The vast emptiness of the desert under a full moon. Flagstaff like a popsicle at 7000 feet. I am sick and getting increasingly urgent looks from the lovely b/f suggesting we get on the road. Tonight’s goal: Oklahoma City.
…the snow feature for the holidays. It’s my random state of mind.
So, with the boys gone and the reality of the move set in, I’ve been packing and sorting and listing and fixing and scurrying and wringing my hands. I couldn’t sleep last night, which isn’t like me. I’ve found my atlas, and mapped out distances between stops, and just mulled over what it means to move from one coast to another. The beauty of it is, it isn’t snowing here, and won’t be snowing there. Just on the blog.
The boys left for North Carolina today.
Early, 5 am, a phone call that the truck is an hour away. Fumbling for clothes, through the Starbucks drive-through, make our way to the track and lead the huge tractor-trailer down the shed-rows. Tico takes one look at it and thinks he’s headed for Mexico. Mojo loads easily and then decides he doesn’t like being in the trailer all by his lonesome. All the racket makes Tico even less inclined to go up the ramp. His eyes are huge. I have discovered, in the last week, just how sweet and sensitive he is, how much he loves affection, how gentle a horse can be. I adore him.
Mojo seems to have grown – is that even possible? He’s 7 years old! He really is almost topping the 16hh mark now and all the months of running around the 4 acres of the ranch have made his big, quarter horse butt, well…. big. Bigger. The big red caboose. Tico looks like a pony next to him. They are the first horses on the truck, which makes a layover in Colorado for three days, and once they have each other and their hay bag they both settle in nicely. Now it’s me that’s anxious.
The horses leaving makes it real. I am really going. I didn’t know if I could pull it off, but now I’m committed. Say some prayers for us.
I finally added a page about Tico to the “About Us” section. It’s been a long time coming but since there is but one computer in this house, with four adults, I almost never have enough time to write. That will all change in a month and I am so relieved. Having quiet time again…. ahh…..
I am moving to North Carolina. In a month. YIPEE!!!! I accepted a position as an intern at a mid-size hunter-jumper barn about an hour from the north coast. It’s a very rural area and not at all a snooty show barn, but it’s just the right kind of barn for me to get back into shape physically, emotionally, and mentally after this incredibly fatiguing year. I am shipping both of my horses back with me (now, more than ever, I am kicking myself for buying another horse, but then I know I just couldn’t leave Tico in his previous situation, so….) and it feels weird to think about that, being as I’ve seen them so little in the last six months. Like we’re all going to show up in this place we’ve never been before and look around and see each other – hey, fancy meeting you here!
I have gone up, down, and around about this move emotionally but ultimately feel really good about it. Folks who know me only moderately well keep asking, WHY would you want to move THERE? Besides the fact that I have been drawn to NC for about 5 years now, it’s pretty easy to answer: The people are nice. The air is clean. The property values are reasonable. The land is beautiful. The weather is moderate. And there are lots of horses. Capiche?
I saw my boys the other day and they have turned into shaggy ponies. Mojo has rubbed the same part of his mane out that I have been trying with little success to grow for two years now, so I am seriously considering roaching the whole thing and starting over, which is basically where he was at when I got him. When I moved him to the ranch back in March, I had just trimmed his mane and tail into a reasonable semblance of an English horse, but there’s no hope of that now. Tico’s roan markings are more pronounced with his winter coat but the furry look doesn’t help his general lack of refinement. If there ever was an Appaloosa who fit the stereotype of “Indian pony”, he’s it, albeit with a pretty great tail. Ah well….beauty is as beauty does. I’m just wondering what the barn will think when these two Western boys step off the truck a few weeks ahead of me… Like, Dear God, what did she bring us? (Actually, it’s the South, so they would probably say, My word! I am really going to have to practice not saying the Lord’s name.)
I should get there, after a cross-country drive via the southern route, a few days before Christmas. I’ve spent Christmas alone before and didn’t mind, but this year I have a special trip in mind – a pilgrimage to find the wild Outer Banks ponies:
Hopefully I will be able to take some photos of my own. I have missed the ocean so much since I moved from the North Coast of California down here to the dusty and dry Central Valley, that I am just very excited to be able to spend time by the water, on beautiful beaches, looking for wild horses….
*click on images for more info