Because we travel with horses, we were nearly two months late departing snowy Colorado for sunny Arizona. I wrote about my gelding’s fractured splint bone surgery and the edict that he was unable to be trailered for 6-8 weeks. We love living in the Colorado Rocky Mountains… in the summer. We were so very anxious to get to our Arizona home. We finally made it, but not without some challenges.
First, let me update you on how Kadeen’s healing is progressing. He is, after all, pushing 21 years old! I thought the day would never come, but on December 1st, my mobile vet braved the winding access road to our mountain home to take films of Kadeen’s leg.
What did we see? Good evidence of callus formation, but definitely still evidence of the fracture. We were cleared to travel a maximum of 300 miles per day. That was fine, as we try to limit our motorhome travel to that amount anyway.
Kadeen still faces at least another 8 weeks of stall restriction. We have the next set of radiographs scheduled for the end of January. We won’t be doing any Arizona riding for awhile, although I do plan on spending some time working Alan’s mare. At least Kadeen’s rehab will be much easier in warm, flat Arizona sand.
Day One of a very challenging trip
As I have mentioned previously, getting off on a trip when one lives on a mountain is challenging in and of itself. We do not even attempt to take the motorhome up the access road. We did manage to find an overnight spot at an RV facility at the bottom of the access road. That made loading the coach much easier and closer to home… about a 12-minute trip each way. As an added benefit, we had water and electric hookup, so the coach was warm and the fridge was cold.
I had all of our food loaded the day before. The morning of our departure, we needed to feed the dogs, do some last-minute buttoning up of the house, and get the horses down the mountain. I should note that our Ford F350 and our old bumper-pull horse trailer were already in Arizona. That meant that the coach was pulling the new trailer, and I was following behind in our Honda. We used the 4-Runner to get the horses down the mountain.
The RV facility is small and full of RVs and vehicles. We managed to find a place to park the 2-horse with room in front to maneuver the coach. Our first challenge came when we tried to unhook the trailer from the 4-Runner. The trailer hitch lock key broke off in the lock. We had a second key, but it didn’t surface until after Alan simply broke the lock. (Not very reassuring as to the effectiveness of the lock itself!)
Alan had to use a 20-ton hydraulic jack to raise the trailer high enough to attach it to the coach. The horses, of course, were not in the trailer at this point, but tied to the outside of it. We finally got the trailer and coach ready to go.
The next step was to return the 4-Runner to our garage, hook it up to the trickle charger so the battery didn’t die over the winter, and head back down the mountain in the Honda. Somehow, the Honda was locked while parked in the garage with my purse and set of keys already in the front seat. I never leave my keys in the car, but I had put my purse there as I was preparing to vacate the house!
The only way the car would lock with my keys in it was if the other set of keys locked it. We don’t know how that happened. However, the other set of keys were already in the coach… so Alan had to go back down the mountain to retrieve them. Another 25 minutes gone…
We finally got back down to the coach and prepared to pull out a little after noon! Not an efficient morning to say the least. As we were preparing to leave, we realized the camera monitor was still in the Ford truck… in Arizona. As badly as I wanted to be able to monitor how Kadeen traveled, I would not have the ability to do so. That was very frustrating.
A partially dewinterized coach
If our Colorado/Arizona schedule works the way we want it to, we never have to winterize the coach. We have a full hookup in Arizona, so even if the nights get cold we have the ability to keep things from freezing. The coach is stored at an RV facility in Colorado. We had to winterize it in late October. We did manage to flush out the antifreeze when we were hooked up the night before we left.
However, there was so much to do to get on the road, not every detail was resolved. Alan has winterized and dewinterized the LQ trailer, but not the coach. When we arrived at our first night’s destination, we realized we didn’t have hot water. Some valves still needed to be turned to fill the hot water heater.
After repeated trips in and out of the coach into the chilly Colorado air, my handy husband resolved the issue. However, he also figured out that our poor water pressure had to do with calcium buildup in the faucets. Therefore, he had to decalcify our faucet heads after getting hot water flowing throughout the coach. We finally had hot water and decent water pressure.
Did I really just see what I thought I saw?
About an hour before arriving at our first night’s stop, we had a close encounter of the wildlife kind. I was following Alan at a close but appropriate distance behind the coach. We were tired and anxious to arrive. We were still in Colorado, after having passed through some beautiful and high elevation passes.
Suddenly, I see a stout buck with a decent rack bounce off the horse trailer! I can still see the startled look in his eyes! No doubt it matched the same look in my eyes. It was all over and done within a few seconds. I fumbled for my phone to call Alan. Very soon after the incident, we were able to stop on a large asphalt pull off right at the junction of two Colorado counties.
Alan thought the trailer had run over some object. He felt the “bump” but didn’t realize what had happened. He had to pry the bumper off the tire so that the wheel would rotate freely. We ended up contacting a county sheriff, as my main concern was for the buck. I wanted someone to see if he was lying on the road mortally wounded. I didn’t think so, but still… Additionally, the police report will help with insurance. The closest Cimarron dealer is in Phoenix, 3 hours away!
The Diamond T Ranch in Alamosa, Colorado
Obviously, when you travel with horses it requires a bit of planning over just finding a place to park the motorhome. Not to mention the fact that we were traveling with a healing horse. At the end of our first 300-mile day, we planned a stop at the Diamond T Ranch in Alamosa, Colorado.
Tish and Jesse Mortensen are the proprietors of this terrific overnight facility. (In reality, for those equestrians who live nearby, it is far more than an overnight facility.) The driveway and parking area for our massive motorhome made maneuvering easy. The horse facilities consisted of a stall and adjacent run. Tish provided a panel to fence Kadeen in the stall area, as he is not cleared for running up and down a run!
Tish and Jesse could not be any more personable if they tried. They were quick to offer whatever assistance we needed. They excitedly told us about their plans to create a full RV hookup camp on their property. As it was, we had electricity which was all we needed for an overnight. They charge $25 per horse and $25 for the coach. Therefore, our bill was $75. We will definitely be back.
Not only was the Diamond T a great place to overnight, but Alamosa is a cute town. After our challenging day, I was ready for a glass of wine and Alan needed a margarita. Somehow, the tequila from our Colorado home didn’t make it into the coach, so I made a liquor run. My GPS got me to the liquor store that was barely more than a mile from the Diamond T. I knew how to get back, or so I thought. I went the wrong way on a one-way street, but only for about a quarter mile! The local who honked at me was not impressed. What a day we had!
Next week I will finish the tale of our journey home. See you then!