Well, the trip was… entertaining… Actually for the time of year and the distances and Triska’s experience level, the trip went really well.
I drove the 900 miles to Missoula, MT in one day. I think my total trip time, including stops, was 15.5 hours. I got pretty good mileage, about 17 when I was driving 75 and up to 20 when I dropped down to 60mph after dark. (Keep in mind I’m driving a big ol’ diesel). I had a great audio book, Kristian Britian’s Blackveil, which I’ve read before but had no objection to listening too. It kept me going the whole trip too. YAY! Kira came along, and she was great in the car, as always. She even wanted to get back into it the next day. Crazy dog. I arrived Thursday very late (or really, Friday very early). Poor Carole waited up for me. She and Mike are my Irish Sailor’s folks and are responsible for Triska being in my life now. Friday we had to get some things done to my truck and gather our supplies. Saturday morning we had to go pick up my truck from the dealership since the work they had to do went after hours friday night. I had to get rails installed in my bed. I can now haul a fifth wheel or a gooseneck trailer. Very awesome! My truck is, essentially, a complete hauling badass now. We also had to run around and get some stuff ready to go, so we didn’t leave to go pick up the first horse until noon… Keep in mind we still have to drive 7 hours to get to our horsey hotel for the night. (We got in at about 11:30 at night. The horse motel was AWESOME!, highly recommended. http://www.equinemotel.com/ outside of Billings, MT) We finally get Lady picked up. We’re taking her part of the way to her forever home. Then We get Triska. Here’s what our caravan looks like at this point: (my truck is the blue one with the fifth wheel)
And here’s Miss Triska all ready to load up. She has no idea she’s in for a two day, 900 mile ride. But she’s ready to go home with me. She was a little surprised to see me I think. I spent some time with her in February and she felt intrigued by me by the time I left, as if she wondered why this human kept coming back. When I came to get her I got that same sort of intrigued feeling from her.
She loaded like a rockstar and off we went. We stopped for a late lunch, early dinner then trucked on down the road to Whitehall.
Lady disembarked there and went on her way to her forever home. We continued on to Billings.
Triska was a little nervous when we put her in her stall at the horse motel, but a bit of hay convinced her that life was fine and she settled in for the night. We slept in the 5th wheel… no hookups = no power = chilly night. I have an awesome sleeping bag so I was just fine. Kira slept in her sweater and a blanket and Mike assured me he was warm too once he piled on the blankets, but getting up in the morning was tough… especially when we woke up to snow. The weather was supposed to be decent. We were supposed to sneak out between storms… snow… sigh… Regardless we got breakfast and then made our goodbyes and headed out on the road. Triska loaded like a champ and ate her breakfast in the trailer. The weather wasn’t bad and the roads generally clear. At this point I’m getting about 13 mpg hauling the giant 5th wheel. Not too bad considering, but I did my part to consume diesel that weekend, let me tell you.
Things went fine until we got to Wyoming… go figure. The wind started to pick up and we stopped and put a blanket on Triska. It’s a damn good thing I had it too. With the windchill and a stock trailer we wouldn’t have been able to travel without it. We got about 40 miles north of Casper when Mike called me on our handhelds and said Triska was kicking the shit out of the trailer. Amazingly enough, this is the only incident we had on the entire trip where Triska threw a fit. We figured out that something about the blanket was bothering her, along with the frigging 60 mph wind. We got the blanket off and got Triska calmed down. I think what happened was that somehow I managed not to fasten the back strap all the way and it was hitting her in the leg, that combined with the wind pissed her off. I can’t really blame her, I was about ready to start throwing a fit about the wind too by then.
We ended up crawling the last 40 miles at about 35 mph and finding a truck stop to park at where Triska could be sort of out of the wind. Semi’s make great wind breaks. WDot had closed the roads to light trailers from Casper to the Colorado boarder anyway, so we were stuck… The weather report said the wind would start to die around 9pm. This was like 2 or 3 in the afternoon. We hung out in the truck stop restaurant for hours. I didn’t take pictures, though I should have. I was too cold. LOL. I checked on Triska every half an hour and she was a little nervous at first but settled in very well and was even sleeping for a good part of the afternoon. I’m sure she was grateful for the break from travel and I did put the blanket back on her and she didn’t have any problems with it after that.
At about 9 we checked the road reports. They’d opened the roads for about 50 miles, so we decided to wait a little longer. By 930pm they’d opened the roads to Wheatland and we hoped that by the time we got there the roads would be open to the border. We had to get home or we’d just get stuck in WY again Monday, so off we went. We avoided the black ice from Wheatland to Douglas (I think) and made it to the border. YAY! From there it was an easy trip to my place. Triska settled in that night and we went to bed, exhausted.
To be continued.