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Things Are Coming Together

5-16-14, Valley Falls, OR - We plan on pulling out for Trip #5 between May 28 and May 30.  With less than two weeks to go, we both are staying pretty busy. The home projects are just about complete, the wagon and trailer are ready to go, and the team is getting in shape. No matter how many times I take off wagoneering, it seems like the last two weeks are crunch time, when a lot of last minute chores and activities crop up.

Right now, Iím taking the team out for a two hour run, 3 or 4 times a weeks. With an ever increasing weight load, theyíre holding up fine and should be in pretty good condition when we start the trip.  Iím trying to work the Belgian more than Doc, as heís already in good shape. On my last hitch, I put all three up front in a Unicorn hitch.

As part of the horse training, I put the horses in a Unicorn hitch.  Doc is a proud horse out front. He always tries to out pull both the Belgians combined.  On longer hauls, I use pressure on the lines to shift the weight of the wagon back and forth between the leader and the wheel team.

The wagon improvements are working great.  The front, drop down windows provide a lot of protection when they need to, while having little effect on my vision when Iím driving. However, I did have to reenforce the latch for one of the trailer rear doors. The latch fell off and the rear door flew open on one of our training trips. By the time I noticed (1 1/2 miles down the road), the door took quite a beating and required some extensive rework.

The dogs love the little windows I put in so I can see the evener. They know I put them in just for them.

My last big home project before the trip was to set the fence posts so we can fence-in the RV park.  As part of this project, we decided to build another paddock out front for the mini horses and mini donkey. All the posts are now in and the paddock is complete.

Gone are the days when I would pick up a post hole digger and hand dig 36 holes. A place in town had a skid steer for rent that has a hydraulic drive auger.  This is the slickest setup Iíve ever seen for drilling holes (other than some wild teenagers that need to work off some wild behavior).

The llama and the minis enjoying their new paddock.  Next year, Iíll put some water on this piece to keep in green all summer.

In a couple of days, we take off with the wagon and team for a three day fishing trip in the mountains.  This will act as a trial run for the team and as some relaxation time for Jacquie and I. When we get back from the hills, weíre going to load up the car and take a three day scouting trip for the Trip #5 route. A pre-scouted route is a first for me, usually I just pick out a likely route on a map and charge.

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