E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.

If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?

Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!

I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.

So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.

You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.

I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.

That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!

We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.

Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.

After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.

With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.

All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.

So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.

But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.

EPIC.

Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.

I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”

I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!

The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.

To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.

Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.

The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.

We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.

The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.

For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.

We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.

We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.

They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!

On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!

We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.

Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.

After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!

Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.

I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.

I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.

We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.

On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.

We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!

We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.

We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.

We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.

We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.

A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!

Mahalo.

E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.

Walk in love, dear readers!

I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

God’s Country Ride

Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.

Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.

I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!

I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!

There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.

R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.

Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.

Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM. 

Lito in his road gear. Am I ridiculous? Maybe, but I do not care.

The drive was going smoothly enough.

Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.

Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?

Spoiler alert, there were incidents.

This was the first incident. Blown tire.

Doesn’t that just look like a party?

There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.

That was the first part.

Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.

Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.

I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.

The point is, we were and are still OK.

I have shown you this cross before.

I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.

Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.

We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.

Lito wanted to make donkey friends, but they were not so inclined.

The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.

I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.

Lito and one of his many girlfriends, Jazzy.

The longhorn wanted to make friends too.

Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.

I have shown you this cross before too!

We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.

At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.

Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.

It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!

However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!

I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!

And fun we did have in a big way.

Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.

Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.

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We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy RiverGreat movie if you have never seen it!

I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.

Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.

We rode the hills together.

Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.

We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.

We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.

We hung out in the river and watched the fish.

Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!

We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.

We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.

I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.

I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.

My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.

I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.

We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!

Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.

Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!

By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).

I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!

Walk in love, dear readers! I sure missed y’all!

 

Teaser

Y’all. I just can not help it. I have a little teaser for you. OK, maybe not so little…I am sorry I am not sorry! Just a little stroll down memory lane, if you will.

It is just that…

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We will be headed to our yearly ride in a little over a week and I just want to go through photos and memories until we are on the road! So, I am going to bring you along with me!

A photo summary of year 1…

Year 2…

Year 3…

How will I make trough the next week???

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I am so excited to see what this fourth year will hold. A little older. A little wiser. And no less in  need of it!

Lito is just as excited as I am, even if he can not tell me so in English.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

 

 

 

Merle

So, I did a thing and now I have a story to tell.

There was a hole in my heart and it needed to be filled.

If you have been following along on that social media thing (it was fun, you should give it a try), the pup is already out of the bag…but, if you have not been…I have some news!

Just when you thought I was going to share yet another Merle Haggard song (which I actually am because I slacked on sharing those and they are worth sharing), I am going to share a little something about Haggard’s new namesake, Merle the puppy! Likely soon to be Merle Man and Merle Dog and any other logical nickname. My favorite of those nicknames so far is Mighty Merle. It suites him!

So, without further adieu, I introduce to you, Merle, my new wingpup.

Naturally, that begins with where he came from. He comes from the same place Darcy’s sire, King, is from. And, King is actually one of Merle’s grand relations. This is all a full circle deal full of connections. Signs I tell you. The only difference is I did the drive this time instead of C and J. But this Merle’s story and it could not have been any other way.

This is his dam mamma, Nugget. I call her Nugg. You know how I am about nicknames.

A good and proud mamma she is.

After the pups were weaned, she escaped multiple times to get back to her pups. I love that about her.

This is the proud sire, Scotch. Handsome guy.

My Merle man seems to take after him.

This is a Merle pup from early on.

The cutest stinker.

He looks like a thinker.

Here is where the adventure part comes in…We flew up to North Dakota to pick him up! We almost missed our connecting flight, but we made it right before they closed the doors. And then…rented a car and drove all the way back to the great state, special package in tow!

If you are thinking I may or may not be crazy and that whoever would choose to come with me on such an endeavor is equally as insane…you may or may not be right! Let me tell you though, it was indeed a grand adventure and we had fun seeing parts of the country we have never seen before. On top of that, Merle is already a road tripper just like Darcy!

Friday evening in North Dakota we enjoyed watching the sunset after a taking a tour of the kennels. Sunsets in North Dakota are pretty! It was so great to be with the people that made my Darcy girl and Merle man happen.

Mighty Merle had bath time Saturday morning before hitting the road!

A dirty puppy is a sign of a happy, playing, outdoor puppy.

Look at all those spots under there!

He took pretty well to the road tripping and developed his riding preferences, like they do. The initial shotgun riding position that makes for a good dog.

The pretty Dakotas through an increasingly dirty windshield.

Driving.

The preferred shotgun riding position which makes for a great dog!

Pretty!

Posing or taking care of business?

Boop!

Driving some more.

Keep on keeping on.

Really so very pretty. All I wanted to do was ride a horse here…and clean the windshield.

The only evidence of Nebraska was a picture of a sleeping puppy.

Merle met some bikers headed to Sturgis.

By this point it was just put the pedal to the metal and get us all home.

Somewhere in here was Kansas…zero photo evidence. Just trying not to speed.

We finally made it to Oklahoma and the big dog had a big dog time! He was in two different random photo shoots with random people we ran into. There were two girls in a car that screeched to a stop in the middle of the street to jump out and ask if they could pet my Merle.

There was speeding from this point on to get us back to Texas.

We are finally home now and playing during coffee time. Learning what are toys and what are not toys.

He is already a brave a smart boy. Exciting times are to come!

Walk in love, dear readers, and enjoy both Merles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado

You know what? It is hard to get off mountain time twice in one month.

Ha!

What a statement! Can you believe I can say that? I certainly can not complain about it one bit.

This summer has been so great and it is not even over yet.

The thing is, I was too busy being in the moment, breathing in the mountain air, and enjoying just being in the mountains that I did not take very many pictures.

However, we went on a little hike after an attempt at yoga on the mountain and saw this sweet, little big view.

There was a lot of stunning storm watching. You know how I feel about storms.

There was a lot of marveling at God’s creation. How can a person not in a place like this?

We went on a bike ride to eat lunch.

And. We saw a rainbow. What is it about this place and rainbows? I see one every time I am here.

I blinked my eyes and here we are back in Texas. Is not that just the way?

Trying (not really THAT hard) to get off mountain time and back into real, adulting life for a few days. No more than that though because there is something exciting happening at the end of this week.

I told you this summer was going to be an adventure. We have been on two so far and the biggest one is yet to come! Here is your hint (ha! What a hint!). There will be a song for each day leading up to the big reveal. You do not want to miss this, I promise!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Are Y’all Ready?

I know I am!

Today is going to be a good day! I just know it. For me and for you.

We also had an adventure last weekend. We hauled down the road for some fun. He loaded like a champ and worked like a champ!

It was hot, but it was fun!

We had a cold front blow in last night. All the way down here in the southern half of the great state of Texas. In late July.

What????

It must be a sign.

I know, but indeed stranger things have happened. Too bad I am not at the farm right now to ride. Although, all my horses are probably farting horse kites this morning.

I took the city dogs to go be farm dogs.

They liked it.

 

I have been dog sitting at my Aunt M’s house since I have been back from Montana. I awoke long before 6 AM and decided to just get the day rolling. That is how many a good day have started long before time (or at least long before this little space of the internet). This fine day (and yesterday too in truth) already had a different feeling in the air as I strolled down the stairs to let the dogs out. I opened the door and to my surprise felt a dry, cool breeze sneak past my face. I looked up in question and peered out into the darkness (or as dark as any backyard can be in the middle of a neighborhood, in the middle of a big city, with a pool lit up like a Christmas tree) as if I could see what I was feeling. I stepped outside and smiled as that cool air enveloped my entire being. I felt a giddiness rise inside of me.

Naturally, I had a little dance with a sideways glance from the dogs, turned on some Merle Haggard, opened all the doors, and got the coffee going. Now, I sit here writing to you. A great start to a great day, or any day for that matter.

Can not beat this with a stick.

This day however just so happens to be my Friday. Why do you ask? Well, as I promised, the adventure continues!

I am off early tomorrow morning to fly to Colorado for a long weekend with my parents! Where every morning will be cool and dry and invigorating and filled with the sounds of the Aspen leaves! And, and, and!


If you have been following along on the AHAmoments Facebook page, you have known about this trip for a couple of days and have been reliving the last time we were there. If you have not been, well, you can do that here too! I am just so nice that way!

Good Morning From The Mountains!

Wonders

Satisfaction

Just Another Mountaintop View


There is just something about the mountains that brings you closer to God. In more ways than one. But alas, more on that later. The morning is going quick like and I need to get going with it. The house is now cold (how is that a true statement???) and it is time to get ready for work.

It is going to be a great day and we are going to make it such together! It is our choice. AHAmoment.

One more work day, a packing session, and a sleep…AHAmoments is off to Colorado!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Montana

Want to know where this gal was last week checking out? I guess the title up there kinda sorta gives it away…oh well!

Montana. And well, some of Wyoming too actually. 

I sat by that trout pond and listened to the birds sing and frolic. Those swallows how they play while catching bugs! We watched the cotton of the cottonwood drift on the breeze while the green grass swayed. We watched the dynamic mountain storms come and go from a porch rocking chair and felt the change in the air. 

I myself am partial to my Texas skies as I am sure y’all already know. You know they do not lie about that Texas sky, but man oh man, the Big Sky country of Montana is pretty dang special.

I am not the only one who feels this way either. Many Texans have strong feelings about the Montana and Wyoming skies, no matter where they call home. Especially from the back of a horse.

 

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I got to cover some country on the back of this Quarter Horse named Flash. He worked his magic and got us some fabulous weather to be out in and to watch. We rode to wide open hills, the sides of mountains, down in the valleys, and up in the trees.

Hard to not see the Lord at work here.

 

 

It sprinkled on us a little bit.

You cannot tell what we are doing here, but we were fly fishing the Yellowstone hunting up the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. That was fun! I was sore the next day, I will not lie, but it was so worth it.

Just look at that view. Imagine being here 150 years ago on the back of a horse.

We watched the horses get turned out.

Then we actually rode part of Yellowstone National Park! Who can say they have done that?

Flash getting us back before the storm behind us hit.

Words and photos do not do it justice!

It was such a pleasure to be in new country and be as unplugged as possible on the back of a horse. It does a soul good. I could have used more days, but let me tell you, I actually slept in when I got home!

I will be forever grateful for being invited on this once in a lifetime trip! Thank you!

Summer may be about half way over, but the adventure is only just beginning! Stay tuned for the next one!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Weary Travelers

Best laid plans, right? Long time no talk. Apologies for what is likely to be an interestingly written post.

Here is the thing. I have been sick. For DAYS. Since Monday. And not Monday as in a few days ago this week. I mean Monday as in LAST MONDAY.

You read that correctly. I was a deep voiced balloon head with mucus everywhere. That is probably too much information, but that has been my reality.

I guess I should just start at the beginning. This is probably a spoiler alert, but let me just say that we had been watching the weather and knew that we were going to get some rain coming into our ride. Now if you have seen any of the news, you might know some of what I am about to say.

But first, back to the beginning of the story. Let us not get ahead of ourselves. This was the sunset Friday night that officially kicked us off on our ride vacation. When R and Ronan arrived, we got him settled and decided to just enjoy ourselves and have dinner with my parents instead of loading all of my stuff. We put that off until Saturday morning.

The following morning of loading took longer than normal as my stuff was less organized than I have had it in the past. However, we were in no real hurry and had plenty of time.

We loaded the horses, pulled out of the farm, grabbed kolaches for breakfast from town, and hit the road to make the almost four hour first leg of the trip.

I made Lito wear all the things and he still loves me for it. Although, he did not really need any of it other than the mask since this trailer is so big. Unlike ours.

Once we arrived, we unloaded and got the horses settled before going to find a late lunch for us in town. I swear every time I take Lito somewhere he not only grows, but he loses weight.

Always with the doe eyes.

Telling me how he really feels about me making him wear all the things. He said, “I am a real horse, I do not need to wear all of this.”

The rain had already started and stopped a few times at this point, but we were no worse for wear. We were staying put till Monday anyway. Even though there was a good chance for rain on Monday, we figured we could get up and out and get there before it really started.

Lito made a bunny friend. We think she had babies hidden somewhere near by. I also believe she was sick.

One of the pretty and clear moments of the weekend. Promising and hopeful.

A moment of being tired of the rain and being stuck in the stall. That is Scooter back there.

Lito being a grumpy gandpa telling the others to quit their shenanigans. Funny that he was the youngest horse. Ronan was very upset about something out in the trees.

This was Saturday night’s sunset. It was beautiful. That is kinda when it all started to go downhill.

This is what we woke up to on Sunday morning. Ominous looking out there, but oddly peaceful at the time on top of that hill.

This is a little summary video clip from the whole weekend. It was quite fun until Monday rolled around.

We were able to take the horses down the hill to a flat area on Sunday evening to get a longe session in. They all needed it. Between all the things we were doing and the rain, fitting in an actual ride just did not happen. So, for your mental math, the horses rode in the trailer for about four hours and then were basically stuck in a stall for the rest of the time till Monday.

I had the pleasure of also longing Scooter, the blaze face bay horse in one of those pics. He was basically a horse kite.

One day, Lito may grow into his hips. His shoulders are starting to finally fill out.

Lito acted like he was fine with the whole being stuck in a stall thing. He was straight up lazy on the longe and really just wanted to graze. Grazing goes a long way so I let him.

This is when everything kinda starts to run together. Literally and figuratively. At some point Sunday night or Monday morning…or maybe some other time, I am not quite sure…It started to really rain somewhere. Here. There. Everywhere. All the creeks, streams, and rivers started to fill. Monday morning rolled around and we were not sure we were going to be able to get to our final destination for the week an hour and a half down the road. Or that we would be able to get back to where we were if we tried.

I also woke up that morning with that tell tale feeling of getting sick.

A lot happened on Monday. None of that really matters. What matters is the AHAmoments…Wait. Do not be in a hurry. Wait for data and facts from reliable sources, non opinions. Keep your emotions low and do not worry about what you can not do anything about. Difficult in this kind of situation? You bet. That is life.

The long story short. We found a window that afternoon when it was not raining, the roads were clear, and we knew we could go. So we went and got there safely. Who cares that we were later than planed.

Then it rained some more.

Then Tuesday morning rolled around. And it rained more. Everything started flooding again. The barn became a flash flood at some point after this video and the below photo.

Water, mud, muck, and shavings everywhere is the gist. I would not quite use the word disaster, but…

I stopped taking pictures and started trying to move water and get as much as we could off the ground.

When the rain finally quit, we took the horses and tied them up at the trailers for the rest of the day to do what we could to remedy the situation. Dig more trenches. Shovel out shavings. Try and get the ground to dry.

Lito’s stall got bad, but not nearly as bad as many of the others.

By the end of Tuesday we were all wet, muddy, and tired.

By the time Wednesday rolled around…I felt like…um…bad. Really bad. And decongestants make me feel even worse. I was weak and tired. And the horses had been in stalls, dry if they were lucky, for two more days at this point.

We only got to ride for a couple of hours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday each because of the conditions. And honestly, I do not think I should have ridden more even if we could because of the way I felt. It was still pretty though.

Lito had a couple of young horse moments. One because I was honestly too weak to even mount up on Wednesday and another on Thursday when we got buzzed by a plane. He really did not like that last part.

There was more rain coming at some point Friday evening into Saturday with more possible flooding. We decided it would be best to pack up and clean up early on Friday so people could leave that afternoon or first thing in the morning on Saturday given what the beginning of the week was like.

R and I left with the horses on Saturday morning as early as we could with the rain. And it rained on us most of the way home.

Needless to say, Lito and I were happy to be back at the farm, even if we had to unload most of my stuff in the rain and wind. I was going to stay at the farm Saturday night, but I was so tired, wet, and crummy feeling. I booked it to town to stay at my parents house with my dog since she was there.

Not quite the report I wanted to give, but such is life! We made the most of it and had a good time together (even if it does not quite read that way!). We are all stronger for it. Albeit a bit tired as well, but stronger and closer.

If the rain story ended here, that would be lovely with all sunshiny roses and rainbows.

The thing is, the whole of central Texas has continued to receive buckets upon buckets of rain. All up river from the farm. It also got pretty dang cold in there somewhere setting more records, but that is secondary to the rain.

All that water is coming our way and hopefully not flooding.

I went out to the farm yesterday after work for my midweek visit and went ahead and moved the cows up into the horse pasture so they can all get to high ground just in case.

I have spent every evening since getting back on the couch in sweats, wishing I had a fire place while hacking all the crud out of my chest.

Do not even ask me about my laundry. I have not even looked at the mountain.

Go walk in love, dear readers. This gal is happy to be high and dry at the moment!

 

 

The French Countryside: La Fin

I last left you after having experienced the best day on the trip so far, riding along the river and enjoying my finds from the local farmer’s market with everyone. The memories of this day will stay with me forever and I could have gone home happy then.

But, I still had a few days left and they were going to be busy ones. They may have been the last days, but they were certainly not the least ones.

After a Friday of eating croissants and baguette with magic butter and resting up (I did eat other foods…), I took a day trip to the coastal town of Pornic on Saturday, Bastille Day, with a few of the other house guests. We stopped in the city of Nantes on the way so I could peruse through a tack store there. I bought some things I did not need, but I was in France, so I bought them. Why not, right? Side note, this city looks to be pretty cool and has many things to do. If you are in the area, it might be worth looking up. Food. Shopping. Entertainment. Close to the coast.

Continuing our journey to Pornic, we took “the scenic route” trying to get out of Nantes as they were already barricading many of the streets for the Bastille Day celebrations. We all had a fleeting thought that we might not be able to leave! Every time we tried to turn,  we could not and our GPS kept telling us to u-turn. We gave up on the GPS and just started to follow the traffic hoping we would end up somewhere where the GPS would recalculate our journey. Eventually, after much honking and swearing and laughing, we did find our way and continued on.

The kids in the car were starting to get hungry at this point and we still had a ways to drive to our destination. One of them had a fascination with trying McDonald’s in France and it seemed like a good plan to get them some food while we held out for a cafe in Pornic. We asked them if it tasted the same as back home and their comment was that it tasted a little funny. We thought nothing of this and continued on.

We pulled into Pornic, found a parking spot, and set off on foot to the busy harbor. It was a hub of activity and there were people all around with the set up for the night’s celebrations and cafes and shops. If we were not so far from the farm, it would have been nice to stay for the fun, and indeed the original plan was to stay for it. However, after much deliberation, we decided it was best to not stay that late and planned for a nice late lunch, look around, go find the beach, and then head back before it got too late.

Lunch at Le Cap Gourmand was wonderful. A couple glasses of prosecco. A goat cheese galette with honey, nuts, and delicately dressed mixed greens. So simple, yet absolutely fabulous. Sitting outside under an umbrella next to the canal. Good company. It was lovely. After our leisurely meal, we walked through some of the shops before grabbing some sorbet at Glacier Pornic, which was also a knockout. Current and lemon. So so good.

After some trial and error on where and what this beach actually was (the non rock cliffs with crashing waves), we found a good parking spot and made our way down. One of the kids mentioned he needed to use the little men’s room, so our first stop before the actual crowded, teeny tiny patch of beach was the public restroom. Or rather, right outside of said public bathroom with Turkish toilets.

Here is where I might should mention that one should not eat McDonald’s in France. But. S*** happens and it indeed happened that day. In spades. That poor mom and kid! They were both troopers in, dare I say it, somebody stop me, a s***ty situation!

giphy

It was character building! That kid took it all in stride is going to be somebody great!

All is well that ends well, as they say. After the McDonald’s episode, the kids swam for a bit in the ocean before we decided it was time for us to cut our losses and head back to the farm early. These adults needed some wine. We would put our feet in the pool and pretend we were on a beach somewhere with less people and more sand and zero McDonald’s.

We had some good laughs on the way home and after we got back.

Sunday, World Cup day,  began with more croissants and more laughs followed by a ride on the Top Girl in the fields to start the day off right.