In a surprising feat of planning I had actually looked up the directions in advance and saw that I had to go through Atlanta. Well, not really had to, I could add a half an hour and go through Greenwood to hit 75S, but I tried that when I met up for that long ride with the endurance peeps and had gotten horribly lost in downtown Greenwood. I opted to go the more direct route and lose a few hours of sleep.
Fortunately, the drive was pretty boring. Anytime I am hauling the trailer, I shoot for boring. It took just about 6 hours and 5 hours and 50 minutes of it were great. A little traffic through Atlanta, but nothing terrible and I didn't get lost once.
What happened to the last 10 minutes? Ah. Well....that was not so boring.
The ride flyer directions were simple: take GA-300 to Camp Osborn Rd right into camp. My TomTom disagreed and had me make a left on some random road about a mile before Camp Osbrn Rd. I should have stayed with the flyer directions, but my brain was half dead by then and I just made the left. I immediately saw the error as the road was a mushy, sloppy mess. What was probably once an easily passable dirt road had been rained on too much, too recently and was now a treacherous mess. But I was now committed since it was too narrow to turn the trailer around and either side was bordered by a nice water filled ditch. To make matters worse, about 100 yards in and around a bend was a one lane rickety wooden bridge spanning an overflowing swampy pond. I seriously worried that we would sink. Had I not been so darn scared, I would have snapped a picture for you.
I made it over the bridge and slogged along white knuckling the steering wheel. I had slipped the truck into 4wd, but had no clue if it should be 4H or 4L, so I alternated to see what the effect would be. Mental note: learn the difference.
About a half mile in and with over a mile to go before turning onto what would probably be another sloppy mess of a death trap, I saw an entrance to some saw mill or something. It looked wide enough to turn around in, so I took a deep breath and hoped nobody else was stupid enough to travel down this road and turned around. Of course that meant another trip across the one lane bridge. Once back onto GA-300, I turned the stupid TomTom off and threatened to throw it out the window.
Even with that we arrived in camp safely, if a little mud splattered, and looked around. Camp was in a lovely pine forest and was pretty empty. There were maybe 3-4 other trailers there and I must have looked really confused because someone came up on a 4-wheeler and asked if I had any clue where to park. I said no.
It was only 1030 and registration wasn't until 1200, so I had plenty of time. All the nerves that plagued me and ruined the experience at Barefoot were completely gone. I just went through the motions of setting up camp stress free and it all went extremely smoothly.
|Gem all settled in with a big pile of hay that she ignored the entire weekend|
It all went so smoothly that I still had plenty of time before signing in, so I wandered over to Teddy at Running Bear. I had ordered some things before hand to pick up at the ride to save on shipping. It is awesome having a tack vendor at pretty much every ride. I picked up some lovely red gloves, black fleece stirrup leather covers, some elytes and a brand new red and black breast collar. This was all thanks to my Mum who had given me some cash for Xmas and told me to get horse stuff with it :)
After signing in, I had two or so hours to kill and took a much needed nap.
Gemmie vetted in all clear with a pulse of 36 and a weight of 938, perhaps 936, my brain doesn't function very well anymore. Her hydration status was exceptionally important to me given the slow but steady downward spiral at Barefoot. All looked spot on, although it had at vetting before too. I had made some changes which I will go over in my wrap up post, but I will say that they made a big difference.
With even more time to kill, I introduced myself to my neighbors and had a lovely chat with the guy to my left. He had a very handsome mule who apparently is an Arab mule. I commented on how the mules at rides are the only ones smart enough to lay down and sleep while all the Arabs were running circles in their pens :) This mule was going for this 4,900th mile at this ride. Can you believe that?! What a great accomplishment.
Spoiler alert: he got it!!
So all in all Thursday was amazing. I had time to unwind from a lot of recent work related stress, got to catch my breath over the loss of a dear friend and soaked up some lovely sunshine. The stark difference from the day prior to my first 50 and this one couldn't be more glaring and in general I just felt way more at ease over everything. I even chatted it up with new people over dinner and made some new friends.
It was the perfect way to head into the next day.