Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Adventures in Trailering

So there we were, coming home from NM, loaded down with a camper on the truck and pulling a 4 horse trailer, when we taken surprise coming over Raton Pass and hit snow in Trinidad! I called Phyl, as we'd arranged, and she sounded a bit concerned... Do you want to stop? Or just head home? Well, home involved 4 additional hours of driving, at night, in the dark and snow. We weren't all that fond of that option, so we headed on to Canyon City. We did capitulate, however, on taking her out to dinner and offered instead to pick up take-n-bake pizza in town.

Dave was driving - I knew there was a reason we'd saved the last leg for him! We toodled along, keeping an eye on the exterior temp as snow shifted to rain and back. We passed through one little valley that must have been extra cold as there were half a dozen cars slid into the median. It was around this time that we discovered Katharyn's truck is 2WD. Hruh?? Oh right, she lived in TX when she bought it!

But we got to Canyon City without incident, found the pizza place and placed our order. Called Phyl said we were on our way! Just 10 miles to go, how bad could it be?

Bad. The snow started coming down in that huge flaked, hypnotizing patern where your brain does its best to convince you that the truck is sitting still and the posts on the side of the road are going by on their own. Soon enough the road frosted over so that picking out driveable surface beomes a challenge, much less your own lane. Oncoming traffic was rare, but actually welcome because that was the only time we could see the other side of the road. It was around this time that we were really wishing the truck was 4WD.

All the road signs were plastered with snow, but finally the bilboards for the camp sites and rafting outfits at the Royal Gorge were unmistakeable. It was just beyond this, I knew, where we turned and then it was just 2 miles to her driveway. By now, though, it was hard to see OUR side of the road. Guard rails were our friends! It got pretty surreal when we said surely this is where we turn... Only to have to abort at last minute figuring that was another $%@*&^ Rafting outfit! Called Phyl again, concerned we'd passed it - but she said no, another 1/4 mile. Found it!

Hwy 9, now, is an even less used road. Someone was following us, but we let them creep behind as we weren't speeding up for anything.

One last hill (I thought) and the truck was starting to skid. It was exactly this time that we started cursing that the truck wasn't 4WD. Fish tailing, Dave just kept leting off the gas to regain control - but we were still climbing the hill and wanted the momentum. Also praying that the horses didn't decide to start freaking out and tossing the trailer around. Luckily they continued to be troopers and rode quietly throughout. Finally we topped the hill, crept down until the mass of mailboxes at her turnoff unveiled themselves out of the snowy blackness. Thank Goodness, seriously. We were all ready to be out of that vehicle.

~~

Two weeks ago we had another adventure - this time coming home from the Toys for Tots event down in Denver. We took 3 horses (in our own trailer), and had stopped along the way to pick up a 4th. Stopping to drop her off back home, she helpfully suggested we take a different entrace to her barn to avoid all the sharp corners that I had struggled with earlier in the day. Only, the alternative route was dirt road, Translated: one long muddy mess.

We were beyond the point of no return (yes, really dear we are - we even walked back to check!) and we hit an icy patch after a muddy patch meaning the truck, even in 4WD-Low, couldn't get the trailer through the mud. GUH. We started to have thoughts of taking Erin's car to go to Sears to buy chains.

Since we had to drop one horse off anyways, we unloaded him. But still no luck. So we took them all out of the trailer -- and thankfully that lightened the load enough. I told Dave to just keep moving once he got clear and we walked the horses out to the main driveway.

Relating this story to Mike that night at home, he said "Good! You know more about the limits of your vehicle now." Uh Huh. Guess that's one way to put it.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Birdie said...

Boy, better you than me. I know how to deal with sand and water, having grown up in Florida. All of my accidents up here—well, all two—have been due to ice.

12/30/09, 12:13 PM  
Blogger Spike said...

gah. This makes my stomach tighten just reading it. Glad, so glad you guys made it home safely!

12/31/09, 12:22 PM  

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