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Keith County Fairgrounds, Night One of Equitrekking 2022

We recently embarked upon our first trip pulling our new bumper-pull 2-horse trailer behind our new-to-us motorhome. While we haven’t yet sold our LQ trailer, we plan to soon. The biggest limitation of this arrangement is, of course, no wheels in camp. However, we have a rental car arranged for two destinations during this 3-week-long trip. We are traveling through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas.

Our first night out was a mere 221 miles from our home in Colorado. Our destination was the Keith County Fairgrounds in Ogallala, Nebraska. However, it is very complicated to leave our mountain home and get on the road with the coach and trailer.

Hanging out in the RV storage facility

The coach is stored in a facility about 45 minutes from our home. Neither the coach nor our LQ trailer can navigate the switchbacks to our mountain residence. Therefore, we load whatever we can into the coach the day before, nearly everything except refrigerated food.

The morning of our departure, we loaded the horses into the trailer and piled the dogs into our truck. We headed down the mountain. Our RV storage facility has a locked gate. It was a Monday morning and I wondered if the facility manager happened to notice that the horse trailer was occupied…

We parked the truck and trailer behind our motorhome and let the horses hang out for a few minutes while I loaded food and Alan disconnected the tow dolly from the coach. Eventually, we unloaded the horses, disconnected the trailer, and pulled the truck into our coach space. Next, we hooked the trailer to the coach and reloaded the horses. The horses couldn’t quite figure out what all of those big vehicles were, but they weren’t at all stressed.

Within 30 minutes of getting back on the road, we narrowly averted disaster. We were approaching a light when it turned yellow. There was not sufficient time to stop the coach and trailer without putting the horses on their nose… or so we thought. A young woman shot past us in the left lane, pulled over into our lane, and stopped! Alan slammed on the brakes and barely got the coach stopped in the right turn lane! Thank heavens there was another lane option. It took me a while to get my blood pressure back to normal.

Monitoring the horses

Before we made the decision to travel in a coach and pull the 2-horse, I did a ton of research. To be able to effectively pull the weight of the trailer and horses, we really needed a diesel pusher. I made sure there was no issue with the diesel exhaust. Of course, we had to have a brake box installed, which we managed to get accomplished shortly before we left.

Additionally, I wanted to be able to see my horses. My brother has a motorhome and he pulls a “toad”, which is RVer slang for a tow vehicle. He has told me that something could happen to that “toad” and he’d never know it. That thought freaked me out when it came to the horses. Therefore, we installed a camera system.

I researched options on Amazon and settled on a bluetooth system that was reasonably priced and had good ratings. I ordered a single camera and a monitor. The seller had a special going that allowed me to order either a second camera or a signal booster for free. I opted for the second camera. However, I took comfort in knowing that I could get a signal booster if the camera struggled to communicate with the monitor through the 37-foot length of the coach. It turns out that it doesn’t need a booster, so I was glad to have ordered the second camera!

Alan had previously installed the single camera into our old 2-horse trailer. It worked quite well. We never installed the second camera because we had a new trailer ordered. When it came time to install the second camera in the new trailer, we couldn’t get it to pair with the monitor. The company is sending us another camera. The plan is to install the second camera in the back of the horse trailer as a backup camera. I must say, however, that Alan is an absolute pro at backing up the trailer using the motorhome! Unbelieveable!

The camera system provided me with incredible peace of mind to be able to see my horses behind our massive coach. I pay more attention to how they are doing now than I did when we pulled them behind the truck and I could see the trailer!

More USPS woes

Although I did recently write a 6-part series of blogs about our incredible Grand Canyon rafting adventure, the vast majority of my blog posts are about horses, dogs, or veterinary medicine. However, I did write a post about the horrendous “service” we are forced to endure from the United States Post Office. Nothing has changed…

For the second time in as many weeks, I found myself hounding the post office for a package that tracking information said was delivered, but which was no where to be found in my post office box. Both times it was medication for my GI-compromised German shepherd, Mica. We were preparing to leave for 3 weeks and I didn’t have his medication.

After 29 consecutive calls to the Estes Park post office, they finally answered. They deferred me to the Drake Post office, which had not been consistently staffed at all for weeks. After 27 consecutive calls to the Drake Post Office, Michael finally answered. He promised to find it. Alan stopped there twice the next day… no box. That was Saturday, before we left on Monday.

We left without the medication. After additional hounding, the Estes Park clerk informed me that Michael had, indeed found my box… in a parcel locker. Nevermind the fact that no key and no notification was ever left in my box. They wouldn’t overnight it, so my only option was to have them forward it. I never received a tracking number, and as of this writing, I haven’t received the box either. It has been nearly a week.

Keith County Fairgrounds

It was late afternoon when we arrived at the Keith County Fairgrounds. Carmen is the woman in charge, and she instructed me to call or text 30 minutes before my arrival. I had arranged for our stay well in advance. However, she indicated that she was expecting a large group of horses associated with a Wounded Warriors event. She wanted to get us settled.

The large group of horses never materialized. I got the impression that the inquiry was somewhat last minute and uncertain. It worked out well for us, as we had the place to ourselves. It is awesome to be able to let dogs out without worrying about other people or animals.

We had a 30-amp hookup and access to water. The corrals were typical fairgrounds fare… very sturdy and safe. It was easy to get to the fairgrounds and turn our large rig around as needed. Carmen pointed out a restaurant within walking distance, but I had plenty of food in our fridge.

I am a member of several horse groups, and I often see people suggest staying at local fairgrounds. Alan commented about how positive our few fairgrounds experiences have been. It was quiet, private, and secure. It was also relatively inexpensive, costing us $30 for the hookup and $15 per horse.

Keith County Fairgrounds

Next week, I’ll talk about our second night of camping in Nebraska. On our third night, we found a real gem of a place in Iowa, although it was a bit out of the way. Stay tuned… much has happened already on this adventure!

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