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Shakedown Cruise Day 2


July 20, 2008 - The second day of the shakedown cruise started as a beautiful sunrise over a misty lake. After getting some coffee and updating the website, I went out to feed the team at sunrise. The next couple of hours were spent enjoying the morning, getting the team and wagon ready for the trip, visiting with our hosts and tightening up Deedee’s rear shoes. We pulled out of Phil’s at 8 am for the trip back to Deerfield.

7-20-08 Shakedown Cruise Day 2 Morning Feed Phils

The first six miles of the drive back to Deerfield were very uneventful. The traffic was light, the scenery was beautiful and the people I met were terrific. To give you an idea of the amount of interest the horses and wagon generate, during the first six miles of the day’s drive, I counted 8 people stopping to take pictures, 4 or 5 stopped to chat and whole lot of people waved or just looked at the horse and wagon with a puzzled look on their face.

The first stop was again at the Joyce Yeaton farm. Wonderful people who keep cattle and horses and still farm on the family place.

I almost hated the thought of leaving, when after an hour rest, I backed the team on to the pole to hitch up and drive for home.

The next four miles were uneventful, but I noticed the team was getting pretty tired.  About 2 miles short of the house and about 200 feet short of the crest of the last hill, they finally played out.  When horses play out, there’s not much you can do to get them pulling again. 

With the help of a very nice couple in a four wheel drive truck and some friends, I unhitched the team and ground drove them the last two miles home.  The nice couple in the truck pulled the wagon home the last couple of miles.

7-20-08 Shakedown Cruise Day 2 Nice house from wagon
7-20-08 Shakedown Cruise Day 2 J yeaton and I
7-20-08 Shakedown Cruise Day 2 Backing Team to Wagon

I learned a lot on this initial trial trip; first and foremost is that there are some wonderful people in the world. I also learned that the whole trip is dependent on the mares.  Where the wagon goes and when it gets there is completely dependent on them.   They’re professional athletes that require training and conditioning to reach peak performance.

The wagon weighs about twice the weight of the training wagon. They pulled it 22 miles in two days. This is nearly twice the distance they had been pulling - what a team.

As I start this journey, we’ll start slow. Since this is a trip without definitive goals, I don’t have to be anywhere within a specific time frame. This will give time for the mares to get in shape and time for me to enjoy the people and country along the way.