Sunday, October 26, 2008

Brown County

We took our first trip to Brown County with the horses this week. Actually, it was the second trip for Zora -- she had been there when she was about 2 years old with the trainer we hired. Everything we had heard about the trails there is true. The riding is fabulous. We wish we had a couple more days at least, but considering our "adventure" in getting there, we are lucky things worked out as well as they did.

We had planned and prepared for the trip for weeks. I had to work 1/2 day the day we left, and of course you never get going as quickly as you think you will. With the sun setting so early, we were anxious to get there to set up camp in the daylight. So after leaving an hour or so later than expected, we got stopped by a train moving at a snail's pace in LaCrosse that slowed us down even more. Then, just before we got to the park, the truck started to act up. The battery light kept coming on. We saw a small brown sign directing us to the horseman's camp (7 miles, so it said), so we followed it. All the way down that two-lane narrow, winding, hilly road the truck started getting worse and worse -- lights fading, power failing. When we got to a "T" in the road with no directional sign as to which way to go to the camp, we knew we had a problem. Our only choice was to go back out to the main road, find a gas station or someplace where we could ask for directions. We did, and started back down that winding road. Our luck ran out on a particularly winding stretch of the road -- the truck died completely! No lights, no power, nothing. All I could think of was someone crashing into the back of us and killing our horses. So I got out to flag people around us. Luckily, the people down there are very nice and helpful. We had quite a few stop to try to help us. A young couple dressed in camoflauge with their faces marked up with green and brown paint stopped and gave us a jump. I asked them if they were in the Army, and they looked at me like I was from Mars. Then it dawned on me what was going on -- "are you hunters?" I asked, and sure enough that was it. They were kind enough to keep giving us jumps until we got to a school where we could pull the truck over into a grassy area. Then a mechanic stopped and assesed our situation. He felt it was the alternator, which he was capable of replacing. He gave us his phone number, and asked us to call him if we needed him to pick up athe part and come and install it. He helped us get to the campground (which is a right turn at the "T"), which took more jumps. At the campground, a DNR guy helped us get to the campsite, with a few more jumps. It was really stressful.

Needless to say, we did not get to ride that first evening. We did get camp set up, and had something to eat. It was a really cold night in the tent.

The next morning we met some of our neighbors who were really helpful. We called the park office, they recommended a local repair shop. The truck got towed away to be repaired and returned later that day. Our camping neighbors told us that on the way down, the spare tire under their truck caught fire somehow -- they were going down the highway with flames coming out of the bottom of their truck! So it just must have been the time for strange stuff like that to happen. These were really nice people from northeast Indiana, and we really enjoyed their company. We talked quite a bit and had some cold refreshments together. They had 2 beautiful Tennesee Walking Horses -- one of them a champaigne colored gelding, the other could have passed for Zora's brother.

We did some great riding the next day. It is so beautiful there, and the trails are so nice. There is something for everyone -- the big wide, ride side-by-side trails, and the narrow, single file trails with a bit more of a challenge. It was really nice. But, we had to be mindful of the time, because our truck was to be returned that afternoon, so we did not get to explore as many trails as we had hoped. After going back to camp and getting the truck situation finalized, we went out again for another shorter ride before dark.

We did not have to check out unil 2p the next day, so we figured we could take a morning ride. We got everything packed up that evening to make it easier for the next day. The forecast said there was a 50% chance of rain, so we prepared for that as well. We had our coffee and some other things we thought we'd need in the tent with us. We felt we were covered. However, nature had other plans. That night, it started raining -- torrential type raining. All of the stuff in our tent was touching the sides, which is not a good thing. We woke up to a flood in our tent and everything was wet -- shoes, clothes, bedding. Needless to say, we threw everything in the truck and got out of there as fast as possible.

In spite of our semi-bad luck, we really want to go back. It is just so great to be around that many horse people, and I really enjoy looking at all the gorgeous horses. We saw quite a few mules (!!) and there were ponies with carts and even miniature horses. It was also a treat to look at all the great trailers with living quarters! Some people have some pretty impressive set-ups! John and I were the only ones there roughing it in a tent!!!

We do plan to go back -- the riding is so nice that we just have to experience it again.

1 comment:

Victoria Cummings said...

HI Regina and John- Thanks for visiting my blog. I think you'll find the horse community in the blogosphere is very friendly and big-hearted. I hope that you'll check out some of the blogs listed on my recommended list and from there, you'll discover even more on their lists - it's an ever growing and fun addiction. That's quite an adventure that you guys had. I'm glad the truck was fixed and you managed to enjoy some good rides. It sounds like you met some very nice, helpful people. I'll be back to see you again soon. Welcome!