Brownie Points

Instead of riding on Sunday, I got to spend 15+ hours helping my aunt pack up her house and load the moving van, as she rather spontaneously decided to move…back to her home town of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, after living on the West Coast (CA and AZ) for the last 32 years.

Lots of familial brownie points were earned in the hefting of boxes, and my ability to pack fragile things and make boxes for pictures. Never knew those years of working in the packing/shipping/mailbox center would come in so handy. This ought to get me off the hook for family obligations for a bit.

Equally spontaneous was my father’s decision to jump in the moving truck with his brother, who is helping their sister (my aunt) with the move. Coincident to this is my grandparents will be moving out of their house and into a retirement community the same week their kids (my dad, aunt, and uncle) are going to be back there. Well, maybe not so coincident, as that was the hope that was how it would all play out, but very handy to have my aunt’s house and grandparents’ house sell at essentially the same time and to be able to time the move in such a way that they can all help each other out.

Mind you, Dad made the decision to go with them this morning. They’re leaving this afternoon. So much for careful trip planning. The entire morning has been spent running around helping Dad get stuff together, clearing and reuploading music to my iPod shuffle for him to borrow, ironing, and getting the last of the newly-inherited items out of my suburban. That’s why I don’t mind helping people move, since I tend to acquire new things. Among the new toys accumulated: a scanner (score! don’t have to go buy my own once I move), little bureau-top mirror and jewelry drawer, two picture boards (I adore these…they’re the fabric kind, with ribbons stretched across to slide pictures under…I have one that is hopelessly full already). and a rusty iron display shelf. Might not be able to use a lot of stuff right away, but I’m slowly gathering it all for my own eventual move.

Fortunately, we had a good ride on Saturday. I think I have a hot-weather pony, because she has been unnaturally cheerful for the past couple months. Either she loves the weather, or she’s feeling so good because her hocks aren’t bothering her anymore. That in mind, I had no idea they had been bothering her for that long, if that’s the case. She acts like she just turned six, not sixteen. She’s power-trotting up hills and through sand washes, playfully spooking at Pony Eating Birds, asking for more speed (um, no. we’re not trotting at 10mph through the sand wash) and in general, acting like a very cheerful, mischievous pony.

I can’t even get aggravated about her antics, because I’m just so happy to see her feeling so good and acting so happy. Makes me believe we might actually have an enurance career that spans beyond a handful of rides. She’s pretty good at telling me when she’s happy or not, and I figure, as long as she’s happy, sound, and healthy, we’re going to keep going until she says “enough.” Half of our time together has been littered with the echos of the phrase, “you can’t do x.” But that’s a whole other topic that deserves its own post. :)

Saturday was hot, Hot, HOT. 95* by the time we were pulling out of the trailhead after the ride. Still experimenting with packs and various and sundry. This time it was trying to find a way to carry loaded elyte syringes, and if I had a little bag long and narrow enough to carry them seperately (I don’t.) I have visions of applesauce/elyte-loaded syringes exploding all over my saddle packs…I might be able to put together something, but I don’t know if my mom’s sewing machine is strong enough to handle tough, cordura-type of material.

The other thing I was experimenting with was carrying my Camelbak waist pack. Apparently I’m a Camelbak collector and am determined to find something that works, sinceI have three of them — two of the backpack-style, and the waist pack. The smaller backpack I’m not too fond of, as it’s more of a nuissance than it’s worth for the amount of water it carries. Plus, it grabs at t-shirts and pulls them up underneath it. The larger backpack carries more water, but that makes it heavier, and it doesn’t shuffle around as much.

The waist pack carries about 45oz of water — two bottles worth, essentially, and doesn’t seem too heavy. It interferes a tiny bit with the cantle on downhills, until I figured out if I shifted around a bit, it rests against the cantle and I can lean back on it like a back rest going down hills. Trotting, it doesn’t seem to interfere, but I have to keep tightening it as I drain the water out of it. I like that I can carry more stuff in the pack, like more food for myself, and a mini first-aid kit. And with Mimi feeling so good lately, she’s been a little more “looky” and spooky…bad time of year to get dumped in the desert without water on your person.

My lower back is sore today, but I don’t know if that’s a function of the Camelbak, or of spending all day yesterday moving boxes. I noticed a tiny bit of muscle soreness Saturday night, but that could be just needing to acclimate my back and ab muscles to carrying more weight. All in all, definitely worth experimenting with, even if to only use it for the hot part of rides. I do drink more than if I have to fish around for bottles.

3 thoughts on “Brownie Points

  1. I really liked how my elyte syringes held up at Wild West. I only had the wire cap come off of one syringe during the 100 miles we did that weekend. I think it was because I didn’t screw it all tight enough. When it did come off, it only leaked a little – not bad at all. In fact, I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth cleaning the saddle pack…..the caps hold pretty tight – I forget and keep trying to push air out of the syringe with the cap on and the cap does NOT budge.

    Let me know if you want pics and I’ll see what I can get you!

  2. I did get the wire caps on Friday and tried them out — love them! Just had a problem with one of them, where the wire pulled out from the inside of the cap — guess I screwed it on a little too tight. Using these will definitely make it worth carrying preloaded syringes, versus carrying the bottle and empty syringes and trying to mess with that while juggling an antsy pony. Now I just have to find a better way to carry them. *ponders saddle pack shuffling again*

  3. I carried mine in a cantle pack – stowaway – with the ends sticking out. I zipped it as much as a could, and then buckled the buckle thing over the syringes, tight. I kept an eye on it, but I didn’t lose any.

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