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Monday, August 31, 2009

To plan or not to plan...part 2

On Sunday I knew I wanted to go riding. I just didn't know where. Actually, I didn't really want to go riding. I really wanted to spend the day on the couch. But I knew I should want to go riding as the days are growing short and my weekends are very full for the next month.

Idea #1: My first thought was Red hills. In fact I was so certain that this was going to be the place I brought lots of extra water (see below), loaded up the waypoints and tracks in the GPS, didn't bother bringing small change cash (it's a free location) AND left my Ohlone trail pass home.

After walking the 25 yards from my apartment to the truck, I decided it was too hot to go to Redhills.

Idea #2: I'll go to Livermore Del Valle (maybe...)! This might require the Ohlone trail map, so I went BACK up the stairs and grabbed my trail pass. I loaded up the horse and off we went. I still wasn't 100% sure where I was going, but I had narrowed it down to 3 choices: Del Valle, Sunol, and Dinosaur Point. Redhills was officially off the list as I was going the opposite direction....

Livermore was attractive because I could play in the lake and cool off. I'm bored of the location though, so I decided I would do the ride bareback. I briefly entertained the thought of checking out Sunol, but figured I would be tired of driving by the time I got to Livermore.

Idea #3: Once I reached the exit for Livermore I realized I was still enjoying the drive so on an impulse I decided to continue to Sunol. The Ohlone trail connects the 3 areas - Del Valle, Sunol, and Mission Peak - and is a great area for trails, hiking, camping, bird watching etc. I have thoroughly explored the Del Valle/Livermore side and it would be exciting to check out Sunol.

My low gas indicator went off. In the middle of nowhere. Well, maybe I can make it.

I get within 4 miles of the trail head. I decide to look up where the nearest gas station is. I realize that it is going to be cutting it REALLY close to drive to the trail head, and then drive BACK to the nearest gas station. Especially because I've already gone 15 miles since the light went off. New bright idea:

Idea #4: Get gas. I stop, put the rest of the gas from the gas can I carry in the back of my truck in the tank, check on the horse, and then turn around. The nearest gas station is actually further up the highway than where I exited. Of course, I can't make the left turn that my GPS tells me to which means I take a scenic tour though a residential section, complete with speed bumps (burning MORE gas...) before making it into the gas station.....where I discover that, due to construction, I cannot PULL THROUGH. I'm desperate though so I get gas and then back out of the gas station, through the parking lot, etc. with the trailer. Then I look at my map. It turns out that I'm actually now *very* close to the Mission Peak trail head!

Bright Idea #5: As I hate turning around and retracing my steps, I thought that this was the perfect solution....continue down the road and explore the third Ohlone trial head!! I can't make the left turn out of the gas station (concrete barrier precludes this....) I make a right and once again tour the neighborhoods of Fremont before ending up on the same road, in the same direction, that I can in on. At this point I'm looking at the clock since I got started later than I wanted. I figure I have time for 1 hour of riding. I arrive at the trail head. It's a parking lot. Full of cars. On asphalt. Supposedly, in addition to parking, this is an equestrian staging area. Uh huh.....The parking lot is complete full. I can't even park. Even if I could I would have to unload on asphalt. If the parking lot was more empty, I could have, with creative parking, wrangled my trailer against the curb and unloaded on dirt. What a stupid staging area. So much for the trail labeled "horse heaven". I wonder how it could possibly be "horse heaven" if horses can't even get to it! I leave my truck idling and grab a free trail map from the information kiosk and explore my options.

Brilliant idea#6: Drive home. I briefly entertained the notion of swinging by the Sunol staging area to make sure it didn't have similar limitations but decided I was officially sick of driving and I just wanted to go home. After being in the trailer 4+ hours, I'm sure Farley was shocked when I opened the trailer doors and she was back home. 200 miles, 4+hours, and 0 hours of riding.

I went home and knitted socks.


  1. lol. At least you got to work on your backing skills.

  2. Haha, some days you just cant seem to be able to pull it out!Why dont you think you are going to do DVE?!?

  3. I guess that speaks to having a plan , otherwise, things kind of unravel... thanks for the great story, I got a good chuckle out of that because I have been there!

  4. Hey Zach -

    I probably won't be going to DVE because of how it falls during the week. Last year part of it fell on a weekend, which meant I didn't ahve to take a lot of vacation - This year I would ahve to take 4 vacation days. I get 2 weeks a year (10 days) so this would put me VERY tight on vacation and would mean I might have to miss some other rides (like Tevis). I'd also like the opportunity to do Shellbourne (if they have it again) or some of the other duck rides, but if I do DVE, then I can't (because of the vacation days again....).

    I want to do 20 MT 100 in February, so I'm going to ahve to figure out how to keep Farley in shape from the end of November to the end of February with no rides....

  5. yikes that 's a true example of plan a, plan b, plan c... at least you're flexible... something i wish i was more of

    happy trails

  6. Thats a funny and also frustrating story! I have those days as well, all the time in fact! Althoug I am usually not driving 200 miles while continually changing my mind!
    I am pretty good about deciding what trail I am going to go on before I head out, espeshally since my favorite trails are at home, but Lu and I get pretty tired of the same old same old.
    I think its funny that you were suprised at the horse staging parking lot being asphalt, almost all the trailer parking at my local parks are asphalt. In fact only one comes to mind that isn't! Its pretty much a non issue for me!

    So maybe one of these days we will get to meet up to ride! When your not quite so busy (is that ever?!)

  7. Well i hope you can make it! I am soooo glad that i have winter brake that same week, so now i have no excuse to miss it :)

    I also want to do 20 mule, actually our ride calendars are pretty much the same!! :)

  8. Well, at least you got to go for a drive, with your horse! Cute story.
    That wouldn't be fun to run out of gas hauling the trailer though.

  9. This is why a woman should always have a plan :) Good early morning chuckle Mel. ~E.G.

  10. Haha...this is great!! I love how ideas transformed into Bright and even Brilliant ideas :P


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