Wednesday, Sept. 29.
We arrived in Carson City last night. It was dusk, so we hastily parked in Michaeleleah’s driveway and all went to Mexican dinner.
Since her husband’s death a few years ago, she’s responsible for the whole ranch. Fences, corrals, garden, dogs, horseback riding into the mountains by reservation, handling the horse trailer, the truck, the house and its contents, and let’s not forget she’s a competitive distance horse rider. That means she spends most weekends adding more miles to it on horseback.
Carson has become a megalopolis and the traffic is shocking since our last trip through here. New freeways under construction add to the clutter. While Mike goes to work the next day, we did housekeeping, shopping and car washing.
And today Abby met a real dog. Shorty is an Australian Shepherd. Abby made the mistake of assuming all dishes on floors are her domain. But alas, Shorty had to straighten her out about that. Abby ran to the trailer and didn’t want to come out for the rest of her life.
After dinner, it had become dark, naturally, and when we turned in we opened the door to the trailer. We hadn’t realized the closest corral fence was about 18 inches from our open door. As I said, there wasn’t much room. Darrel jumped a foot when Rascal, Mike’s half Arabian pinto whuffed in his ear then nickered at him. Inches behind his head.
We celebrated my birthday again with more cake on Tuesday, then Mike made us breakfast--an amazing steak dinner on the front porch, where the stove lives. We were instructed to go out to the garden and do a little digging to gather our potatoes, which was something I’d never done. Then I was presented with my birthday present--a sure-to-kill-them fly swatter. I didn’t know there were flies large enough to justify it. But it will not get lost.
The next day we took Rascal out of his corral to have a good talk with him without all the mules stampeding us while we discussed the weather. Rascal is extremely social and had taking up staring in our windows asking us to come put and play. We brushed him and took some pictures, fed him carrots. He’s not very big as horses go, but he’s an endurance horse with a documented 50 miles ride on his resume. He’s 18 years old, born where he stands, five gaited and darling. If it hadn’t been so much work to get him brushed, saddled, bridled, stirrups adjusted, we would have taken him out for a little ride.
Thursday, Sept. 30.
We got on the way north to Cedarville, a little place located right in the corners of Oregon, California and Nevada. You can stand in the middle of the old volcano valley and see all those states at the same time. We’ve got 200 miles to go up I-395.
Passing old desert homes, we preferred the front door, so to speak. Gerlach is all we’ll miss, and there is so little traffic this way we’d already gone 100 miles by 11:00. The temperature is a lovely 74 degrees. There are truck weigh-ins from time to time. Darrel thinks there should be people weigh ins too.
The valley near Susanville spreads flat and golden all horse farms. Alfalfa farms, great squares patch the whole valley in farmland. Dotted for shade around the houses, are glorious clusters of trees. Which, of course, makes me homesick for the used-to-be.
Just before Alturas the land is volcanic rocks, soft gold grass, short pines and sagebrush. We were climbing--8000 ft and 82 degrees. The old train track that used to run beside the road has been removed--at least the greenie Californians have taken the asphalt away.
But its old track bed is still there. It’s probably a wonderful horse path. I don’t know who “Lardass” is, but he’s apparently responsible for a store that’s too close to the road, according to the sign out front.
With 35 miles left to Alturas the trees are dense and taller. We got over the edge and started down into Alturas’ volcano valley. The town of Likely boasts a population of 200 and is straight ahead at 5000 feet elevation. All that’s needed for a perfect picture is a tribe of Modoc Indians riding by on their pintos.
I ate my peanuts and watched the circling hawks shopping for lunch. Ha! Now we passed the “Most Likely” Cafe. I love fun words. We passed the school with two cars in the parking lot at 12:20. A volcanic rim surrounds as, as I already mentioned. But to see it seems kind of moon-walkish. We saw a radio tower but no radio station beneath it. The pond covered with ducks was more interesting to watch.
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Melody D. Scott | www.MelodyScott.com