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A Tribute To Applejack


11/1/12, Yucca Valley, CA (Coord. N. 34 deg, 11.368 min; W. 116 deg, 25.094 min)

In this lifetime, a man considers himself blessed if he is granted one truly great horse and one truly great dog.  So far, I have been fortunate enough to have two horses that stand head and heels above the rest; my great horse Doc, and my old family riding horse, Applejack.  Applejack was a do-anything-well type horse that helped raised my children to adulthood and taught more kids to ride than any horse I’ve known.  I could place a child on his back and he would ignore input from the reins and listen to my voice commands, even if he was 200 feet away.  A lot of children gained confidence on a horse thinking they controlled him, when it was really a soft voice from me.  Today, at the ripe old age of 32, A.J. passed peacefully to a place of tall green grass and clear running streams. While he did his part to make the world a better place, there are today, other horses that are carrying on where he left off.


My daughter Lisa on Applejack, circa 2008.

After breaking camp, Bob and Doc pulled the wagon back to the highway and started down the road. Shortly after getting started, we had a difficult canyon to cross. The road ran through a deep ravine, with 12 to 15% pitched slopes on each side.  With a lot of effort, the horses slammed their feet into the pavement, got low in the harness, and pulled the wagon to the other side.

Down the road apiece, I pulled into a feed store to stock up on some horse supplies. The feed store was ran by a very nice young couple who went out of their way to see to my needs. The hay and grain were reasonably priced, and the service was excellent. They even went out of their way to see I was supplied with water, fed the horses a huge amount of treats and sprayed them with fly spray.  I highly recommend the feed store in Flamingo Heights.

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The two year old son of the good folks who ran the feed store. With his Halloween custom of a police uniform and green vampire teeth, he still wasn’t too scary for Bill!

I met a lot of good people at the feed store, some of whom told me of another, even larger canyon that I had to cross up the road.

A mile short of the next canyon, I stopped to top off my brake fluid reservoirs and to bleed the rear brakes.  While I was there, I again met a lot of great people. Among them was Phil, who lives near Los Angeles and has been following my blog for 4 years. Phil offered to tow the wagon up the hill on the next ravine and I gladly accepted.

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When I saw the hill leading out of the canyon was very steeply pitched, I was more than happy that Phil had a agreed to tow us up.  As the wagon ascended the hill, I don’t recall hearing any complaints from the three horses that were walking behind the trailer.

After reaching the top of the hill, Phil pulled the wagon into a nice turnout, alongside the road.  What began as a lunch with some new found friends, soon turned into an impromptu overnight location.  With a well supplied wagon and a ‘non-hurried’ attitude, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.  After a trip to town provided some pizza and beer, the afternoon ended up being a great one.

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Phil, standing beside the rig that conquered the second big ravine on Route 247.

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Doc, enjoying his afternoon off.

All afternoon, good people stopped by my camp to visit and bring presents. I couldn’t begin to list them all, but they included families, Police Officers, Firemen, neighbors and other good folk that have come to wish me well.  To all of them, i say, “thanks for stopping by and thank you for your gifts”!

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The morning began with a stunning sunrise, was filled with wonderful people, and ended with a magnificent sunset. Who could ask for more?

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No caption is needed for this picture and the one below it!

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Any which way you look at it, the world is pretty amazing place!