I had packed up a lot of the booth stuff on Sunday, so Monday morning, Cindy's (our hostess in Lexington) boyfriend Dennis, came and helped me finish packing and load up. Thank goodness for helpers, as it would have taken me much, MUCH longer to get everything squared away. I hugged our neighbors (make sure to watch "The Greening of Whitney Brown" when it comes out) and headed back to Cindy and Dennis'. They were great hosts - I was there the entire time, plus setup (so 19 days?), and they had people coming and going the entire time. Cindy was 'ground zero' for horses and people coming in for the International Equestrian Festival, that took place in downtown Lexington. We had Tekes and Teke people coming and going from October 3rd to the 10th, which is when the IEF took place. It was great fun to see OPH (other people's horses) and get to chat with people I usually only talk to via email or phone. We didn't get to visit nearly as much as I would have hoped, as I was alone most of the second week and off to the booth around 8 in the morning, getting back at 6 or 7 pm. Tatiana Ryabova, Tito and Natasha Pontecorvo, Milena Stoszek and some other people came by the booth the last Saturday night. Tatiana gave a talk during the day on Saturday and did an inspection at Cindy's on Sunday. Unfortunately, I missed both, as I was at the booth, promoting our horses.
Anyway, back to Monday, take down day. Dennis and I headed back to their place and Dennis helped me pack up and I was headed out the gates around 3:30 pm. I decided to drive for 5 or so hours and stop. Silly me. There are NO parks, campgrounds, gas stations, you name it from about 4 hours outside of Lexington heading SW until you get to a park in the middle of nowhere Indiana or Illinois. I was panicking by the time I finally pulled into a gas station at 10 pm at night...I was driving on fumes, starving and so very tired. Happily, I gassed up both the truck and myself and found a campsite at a deserted state park. Locked my doors and went to sleep. Next morning, I tried to find where to pay (never did), so after about a half hour, I headed out. I made it to April Pruente's place around 4 or 5 pm and spent the night, after admiring her horses and a great meal at the local buffet.
Next day, I drove, and drove, and drove. I think I did 15 or 16 hours and made it to Jas and Shannon's place in Colorado. Thank goodness for audio books! I was really wanting to be home, so the very long day was worth it. Next morning, I waited for Tatiana, Tito, Natasha and Milena to show up and instead of heading out as I planned, I spent the day talking and talking. It was lovely visiting with Tatyana, as I hadn't seen her in at least 8 years. We all talked and planned and looked at horses. Then, we headed out to dinner and it was bedtime. Next morning, I got on the road and drove until 6 or 7 pm. I spent the night in Idaho or Oregon...can't quite remember which. I was really itching to be home.
I pulled into my home driveway on Saturday, October 16th, around 6 pm and basically hugged everyone, was leaped on by the dogs and then sat and drank a beer. 29 days on the road...whew. I think I'll wait another 10 years to do this again. Fantastic, one in a lifetime journey, but LONG.
I'm still cleaning up, unpacking (almost done!) and finishing up WEG thank yous and getting back into my normal routine. I have had my butt in the saddle since I got home, almost a month ago, but it's still sporadic. I'm trying to do all the stuff I usually get done in Sept/Oct now, before it really starts getting nasty. Almost there! Galen is sure that he's been totally neglected, as we still haven't gotten out on the trails. Soon...I finally have the horse trailer unloaded completely. My family was amazing - the kids pretty much took care of the barn, poor Larry had to do his job and mine and the boarders helped out too. Thank yous all around!
I'm glad I went, but I'm really glad to be home.