Enumclaw, WA to Alberton, MT
C arrived around 7:45 or so to help with last minute packing and loading of the horses. My intended departure time was 8am, but I was not holding fast to it as I was going to wait until Little Cowboy was up before pulling out of the driveway. Got all the last minute details taken care of (mostly just clothes) and C helped by gathering and cleaning buckets for me. Buena and Mercy stood tied at their respective stations. Mercy, to the tie post and Buena to the trailer. Both were happily munching/slurping on their hay pellet mashes. They both knew something was up. Buena was a pill about being caught. Mercy was just antsy while being tied before she got her breakfast.
We commenced with loading Mercy around 8 or so. It was a bit hairy at first. I didn’t even go near the trailer, just did some groundwork. Very UP and very back, but not much forward. Once the forward came, then it was time to attempt the trailer. Just walked with intent up into hoping that Mercy would just go on in. Front feet got in just OK, but that was as far as it got. Cathi drove with a little bit of body energy and Mercy flew backwards. C then went and grabbed a lead rope for reinforcement. In the past, I had tried using a flag with Mercy and I didn’t think that would be a good idea. The lead rope worked and she got better. We did lots of in and out and eventually more in than out. Time for the door. Mercy is real pushy with her hindquarters and every time I would wiggle the divider she would blast backwards out. If the trailer door was there, and closed or held firm, then she would eventually come forward off it. That worked this time. And eventually the wiggling divider didn’t cause a panic reaction. We went in and out a few times. After about the 4th or 5th time, I decided that it was good enough and we secured her in and then loaded Buena. Buena wanted to be nosey over the divider so I ended up tying her shorter than I would have liked, but better that than an agitated Mercy.
Said my good-byes to Little Cowboy and Grandma Montana while the horses hung out quietly in the trailer for 20 minutes or so. Ariel was eventually quiet until I drove past her paddock.
I pulled out of the driveway at 10 after 9. Stopped in Four Corners to top off the diesel. Said my good-byes to C and thanked her for her help (and for the chai) and hit the road.
I made really good time for the most part. I had to stop at Indian John Hill Rest Area to pee because of all the chai I had that morning. I stopped again at Schrag RA to stretch my legs and pee. And grabbed a bite in Ritzville from a burger joint. My appetite wasn’t that great, but I at least needed some fries and more soda. Stopped again at the Flying J in Post Falls, ID to fill the tank. Getting decent mileage considering the load. And made good time over Fourth Of July Pass and then Lookout Pass. I stopped at the RA just on the Montana side of Lookout. The truck got warm and so did the tranny, but not bad. What concerned me more was having to put on the brakes coming down the pass and having it pull pretty hard to the left. There is lots of construction and narrow lanes on the highway, so I needed to get that looked at on Wednesday in Missoula if possible. That was my last stop before arriving in Alberton, MT.
Mercy got the privilege of staying in the trailer and Buena was tied outside. Worked perfectly. I wasn’t sure I’d get Mercy back in or not, so it was better to play it safe. She ate PLENTY of hay overnight (and wasted some onto the floor) and drank a little from a bucket when offered through the drop down feed door. Buena was pretty much quiet and did her usual good camping tied to the trailer right outside Mercy’s window. She spend a good portion of it making snuffling noses at Mercy through the open window.
I slept maybe 4 hours. Nerves were setting in big time already!