Friday, June 01, 2012

a trial run (er, drive)

Now, some of you know that Ed and I will be spending a few days next fall in Acadia National Park. We are going to take Duke with us and drive the carriage roads around the park. These roads were put in by the Rockefeller family for the use of carriages and our Duke used to be a horse that pulled the public carriages there. We figure since he spent so many summers there , he will be able to "show us around". We are already preparing for this trip, working on our driving skills and getting Duke conditioned for it all. I have been driving around the farm, but we need to practice "away from home as well", so last Sunday I called Becky and Butch and made a plan to go to their house and do some driving with them. They have a wonderful dirt road that they drive all the time and I figured it's a good place to start. So.... we loaded everything up and headed in their direction.

We've been to their house a number of times, and know how to get there, but I said to Ed, why don't we put it in the GPS.. just in case. Well, we're driving up the highway, talking and have a good time, and go right past the exit we're suppose to take. I said to Ed, we were suppose to get off there, but the GPS said differently. And since we had missed the exit, we decided to just follow what it told us to do. MISTAKE!!!!! There are two ways to Becky and Butch's.. the "main" road or the "back" road... guess which one the GPS chose... the back road!!! Which isn't a bad road.. it's the one that they drive the horses on... it's just that it's dirt, it's narrow, it has bridges that have no sides... oh ya... it also has water that very often goes over the road. And when we came upon this - not knowing exactly how deep it was (and pulling our horse trailer).. well... I had a melt down. But since there was no place to turn around... we took our chances and drove threw. All I can say is--- I'm glad we have a good strong truck!!! and we made it safely to the other side and FINALLY got to Becky and Butch's....

Duke was no worse for the wear, he hasn't been off our farm since we bought him, but handled everything like he's done it a million times. What a good boy......

Becky made a nice lunch for us, and then we began to hitch. Butch is working on this young team, and with all of us going out together, took advantage of it.

All hitched and ready to go, we started out on our drive. As I said, they drive on the dirt road that we had just come threw.. so as we started out, I knew what we were in for. Three bridges.. one cement and two wooden. Those had me the most worried. We came across other cars.. no worries, people walking dogs.. no big deal, a camp that had a generator running... no trouble.

And then came the bridge!! Elevators and bridges... I just have "something" about them. To be honest, I almost got out of the cart and had Ed drive Duke across. But, there are alot of bridges on the carriage roads, and I know I need to conquer them.. so, I held my breath and over we went. Duke was thinking the whole time "what is your problem???" We drove the whole road and yup came to the water, I wasn't even worried about that... but Butch's little team certainly was. Now we have know Becky and Butch for a few years, and one thing I have learned.... don't tell Butch what worries you.. or you'll be finding that you're doing it. And that's what his little team discovered. They said... "we don't like the water, we can't cross it"... And Butch said " let's go swimming!!!" He has such a great way with horses and by the time they were done, he had them in up to their bellies, and they were actually enjoying it....Duke was "mr cool" when it came to the water. He plodded right in and then enjoyed standing there watching the team have their lesson. The day was fairly warm, so he probably enjoyed cooling his feet and was thinking ---- better them than me. It was such a fun day, the drive was eight miles and took us most of the afternoon, and we got exactly what I wanted. Lots of different "things" and a drive away from home. Now, it wasn't without some "small issues".. Duke was very hard on the bit, so Ed and I had to take turns driving... he pulled on us so hard. However, we also found that we needed to make some adjustments in his harness, so with that being figured out, I am excited to get him out again and see what differences that makes. He also is going to be needing shoes, especially if we continue to drive this much over the summer, so that will be addressed very soon. And we defiantly going to make more treks to Becky and Butch's and practice our driving skills up there.

but overall it was a grand day, and what a nice time to spend with good friends and your horse, traveling threw the woods. Was it a lot of "hard work" packing, harnessing, unpacking... yup... was it worth all that... Of course!!!!