The best thing about the last vet check at the virtual, which still means pretend, Lower Quarry here on the virtual pretend Tevis Cup Endurance Ride is that there wasn’t no vet check there at all! I ain’t seen nor heard talk of our sweet-talkin but evil vet lady since Foresthill, and that’s the way I like it.
We cruised, which is endurance horse lingo for walkin at a steady pace, right on past the quarry entirely, all the way through these parts here without so much as battin an eye.
This here’s the Google Ranch spinny view of the real River Road between Poverty Bar River Crossing and Lower Quarry if you like such things.
And so, we kept goin, and at our own usual cruisin pace, with only four more miles to go ‘til the finish line. I was still humorin the bucket gal, of course, because a good horse knows whether he’s in the Sierra Nevadas or not, and we most definitely were not.
Total miles thus far of Tevis trail: 98+
The people-day of our last Tevis ride dawned like every other day on the County Island, the same as it did way back here on our first Tevis ride day. Only now, 98 days after the day we first set out, the days dawn a li’l later in the mornin, which means us horses tend to get fed a li’l later too. But the sun’s much more polite about shinin nicely down on all our hides, instead of risin with a powerful glare that could kill a horse or person dead before they knew what hit ‘em.
Only on account of we rode a loop on our last Tevis day that we ride a lot, we circled back past a couple of regular Tevis landmarks, which I gather ain’t standard procedure on the not so virtual ride.
We moseyed back past Deadwood, only most of it was gone now, havin been cleared up since all it was was a blowed-down cactus, and County Island folks like to clean up such “debris” instead of lettin a dead cactus do what it does, which is make a home for all the tiny critters of the County Island.
And we did make it over the real famous No Hands Bridge, only we ride over our County Island No Hands Bridge all the danged time like it’s no big deal, and also every other day that we’d ride across it, the bucket gal would pat me and tell me it wasn’t the No Hands Bridge yet.
The hot time upon the County Island was extra long and extra hot this year, and I reckon it fried some of the brains between the poor bucket gal’s ears, to talk such addled nonsense about a bridge that ain’t even a bridge.
Also, shortly after we crossed it “for real,” it got bulldozed by some of the the foul, giant, noisome machines we encounter sometimes around the County Island that smash the whole, entire desert into tiny bits of dust so that it may be improved upon, which means made worse, and rendered into plots of dirt for people-barns. I hope the same never happens to the actual No Hands Bridge.
We also circled back past the froze-up dairy calf, which me and the bucket gal both dubbed Milk Dud, on account of sometimes me and her is copacetic like that. The County Island had a recent big wind, and it downed poor Milk Dud.
It seems his ranch owners intend to leave him lyin like that on his side with his legs stuck straight out like he’s a goner. At least the good news is no one appears to be enlistin me to right him back on his hooves. My workin days is long done. Sorry, Milk Dud. I guess it sucks to be you now.
So then the strangest thing, to a person, not so much to a horse, happened on our last mile or so back toward home. Sometimes the County Island has loud, huge, buzzy birds that swoop around us, a lot bigger than the bothersome drone-birds. My horse-buddy Original Coors, who hails from the California Ranch, claims the biggest noisy ones are “hella copters, dude!”
Hearin a hella copter critter up in the sky ain’t such a big deal. But this one lit way down by our heads, and tracked us for a while down some of the dirt roads of the County Island. It was bigger and louder than they usually are, and with two sets of whirly round things on it, so I may have pinned my ears at it, but a good horse doesn’t spook at hella copters no more than he spooks at a snake. He merely gives ‘em both the space and respect they’re due.
The bucket gal told me it was a “coast guard” hella copter and it sounded as strange to her as it did to me. The County Island ain’t got no coast at all despite its name, much less one to be guarded by a hella copter. Then, it disappeared farther up into the sky and was gone. We never learned its intentions. Maybe it appreciated a fine palomino ranch horse turned endurance horse and wanted a closer look at such a fine critter who was about to finish his Tevis Cup “journey,” to put it like the young colts do. Not to be a boastful horse.
Right before we got back home, we stopped for a snack. Trail snacks are one of the best parts of bein a Tevis endurance horse.
When we got to our own li’l corral gate as usual, the bucket gal swung down out of the saddle and gave me a big hug around my neck, which truthfully I could do without. But when you’re a mostly retired ranch and endurance horse turned pet pleasure horse, and also owned by a female person here on the County Island, sometimes, you get yourself hugged. She said that today our gate was called the gate into McCann Stadium at the Auburn Fairgrounds, and she called the short walk to the barn to untack me our “victory lap.”
I was feelin all the good satisfaction of a good and virtual job well done, and reflectin on my new career of walkin one mile or so a day to be an endurance horse and havin accomplished such a ride, when I paid attention back to her, as she was still prattlin on to me about somethin.
She said the RIDE was done, but that the Tevis wasn’t over yet at all. It would not be over ‘til TOMORROW.
BECAUSE THERE WAS ONE MORE VET CHECK ONE DAY AFTER A GOOD HORSE WAS ALL DONE DOIN HIS GOOD JOB.
No wonder some endurance horses is still so flighty-minded despite workin over so many miles all the time..
That was some virtual bull you-know-what right there.
TO SADLY BE CONTINUED…
Total miles: 100
Current Tevis Trail section: Lower Quarry Vet Check to Finish Line