Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Lazy Man's Way to Crew Tevism- Victoria Thompson

I stopped going up to Tevis years ago for a myriad of reasons, but one of the main ones was my parents no longer lived in Lake of the Pines (12 miles north of Auburn). Well, they moved back. I love visiting my parents during Tevis - the ride is an excellent excuse to "get out of Dodge" while in Dodge. I especially enjoy it now that they live about a mile from the finish line. So convenient, so cheap, and I don't have to share a bathroom. Who could ask for more.

Well, this year I announced my plans to my husband that I was going up to Tevis and I told him the weekend. He said rather matter of fact, "You can put the top down on the Mercedes. Have fun. I'm going fishing ... in the truck." I was rather dumb struck. For people that know me they understand that this is almost an impossibility. Me? Lost for words? Inconceivable. I sort of just stared at my husband blinking. He reached up and closed my mouth. Then he reiterated, "I get the truck that weekend." Well that just put a huge chink in my plans. How am I suppose to visit my parents when I have no escape plan? I'd have to figure something out.

My horses are boarded at Chris Herron's Bar H Ranch. When I heard Chris was going to do Tevis again this year I told him I'd drive out to Foresthill and help him out. I wouldn't really be much worth as a crew person, but I could at least get away from 'Dodge' for a few hours. Then Kat Swigert told me Melissa Margetts was coming out from Colorado to do Tevis and could I help her out. I met Melissa and her super cool Paso Fino, Cabo, at the Main Divide 100 in March. I Emailed Lissa to see what her plans were and found out that she had no crew what so ever. So, there I am perfectly able to help out and I'm stuck in a sports car that chokes at the first sign of dirt.

Thank God for Ridecamp. I put out the SOS and got more responses than I could dream of. I needed people to go to Robie Park to see Lissa off in the AM and drive her rig down to Auburn. I asked for, and got, a separate person to go to Robinson Flat early to avoid the rush and get a good spot. I would go to Foresthill and get a spot there. I asked and I received. I hated writing the Emails to all the other volunteers to tell them no thank you. But, I'm glad I did (no offense to anyone). I wound up with ladies that had ridden Tevis themselves and could answer all of Lissa's questions with first hand knowledge. Too cool. Now it was just a matter of logistics. How to get gear and passes transferred to their respective people in a timely matter. Piece of cake.

Oh, did I mention I've been having Eustachian tube problems since May and have been a Dizzy Dora all summer. No, silly me. I can't make any sudden moves or turn my head fast without having a bout of dizziness (hey, I'm not landing on my butt anymore so things are improving). And I'm going to go crew Tevis. On top of that, I was told that my sister and her husband would be at their Meadow Vista home and that my brother and his family would be passing through town on their way to Lewiston Lake. What a great time for a family get together. We haven't all been together for at least 7 years. Wouldn't this just be wonderful. Blah, blah, blah. Make the parents happy. Yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. I'm doomed. I'm going to try to crew Tevis. This was going to be an interesting weekend.

The countdown was on. Only a week to go and my husband announced that work has ruined his plans and I can have the truck after all. That just made things a whole lot easier. Didn't get me out of my familial obligations, but I now had room to carry gear.

So here was the plan. Lissa and Cabo arrive in Auburn on Monday and ride the trail from No Hands to the finish. Then they go up to Robie Park on Thursday. I drive up from SoCal on Thursday via the eastern side of the Sierras through Reno (the long route to Auburn, but the short route to Truckee). I stopped in at Robie Park to see Lissa (and Chris Herron). I pick up all the gear Lissa wants at Robinson's Flat, the crew passes, hay, grain Etc. Then head on down to Auburn and the warm embrace of my family's bosom. First thing out of my mother's mouth is, "Why do you cut your hair so short?" Nice to see you too mom. Friday afternoon/evening I transfer all that gear plus people food and drinks and buckets and crew pass to Nancy Corbelletta who will go to Robinson Flat. Joanne Gwin and her mom and friend Mary and their children will drive to Robie Park on Friday, find Lissa and help her. I continue to remain with my family trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. I speak only when spoken to. My sister's husband showed some interest in the ride and asked a lot of questions - his son runs the WST Run, came in third this year. All in all a quiet evening. Saturday the family gathers at my parent's house for breakfast. Meanwhile, Lissa has begun the ride, her rig is being transported down the mountain, Nancy is waiting at Robinson's. And I'm sleeping in, showering, clean clothes, big breakfast. Ahh, crewing at Tevis, this is the life.

I got to Foresthill about 12:30. Spotted Chris's big rig and pulled in next to him. Since Lissa wasn't a top ten contender I had no doubt that most of the cars would be gone by the time she got there and we'd have plenty of space. I was right. I wandered around saying hi to people I knew. Looked for Hal and Ann Hall's crew but never did find them. An old friend was crewing for them and I wanted to see her, but it just wasn't meant to be. I was up by the in-gate when Nancy arrived from Robinson's. We talked for awhile down by the truck. We found some shade and she made us the most wonderful mojitoesque drink. Need the recipe, Nancy. We finally wandered back up to the in-gate and there were Joanne and Mary and Mary's daughter (sorry, I forget her name) along with Lissa's dog Wilson. So we sat and waited and watched all the horses come in. And we waited, and we waited some more. Joanne and Mary decided to take a bucket of water and a sponge down the road and next thing you know there was Lissa and Cabo. Mary slugged that saddle around like it was made of gold. She wouldn't put it down all through the vet check. Cabo did great. Chris was just leaving his vet hold when Lissa arrived and she was allowed to use his LQ to change clothes. Nancy, Joanne and Mary just jumped in to work. We parked Cabo in front of a bunch of hay and water and let him munch. I sponged him clean. Lissa ate a little bit, but was asking if we should saddle him up to go. I told her she still had 40 minutes left on her hold and to sit down and be quiet. Fat chance. She tried, but it didn't last long. Between Nancy, Joanne and Mary I pretty much just stood back and watched. I swear the most I did that hold was sponge Cabo off and hand the glow sticks to Nancy. I LIKED it.

For all the groaning Lissa was doing about her um ... chaffing problem, she was walking pretty darn good. Nancy brought her Monkey Butt cream (but it wasn't Monkey Butt, something else I don't remember). Had Lissa purring like a kitten. With glow sticks taped to Cabo's rig it was time for Lissa to go. The others saw her off to the out-gate while I cleaned up. I separated everyone's gear and loaded Lissa's into my truck. Things were going to get a little interesting after this.

Joanne and Mary were off to find Joanne's mother and sons. They lost them. Joanne's boys got very sick Friday night and Joanne's mom took them to a motel Saturday morning. The problem was they didn't know what motel they went to. The motel where they SAID they had reservations never heard of them. Joanne's mom got a new cell phone and the number wasn't in Joanne's phone. Joanne's phone was dead. Mary's phone worked, but she didn't have the number nor could they be found in the motels. Mary's phone was getting low on power. They had to go.

I now had the dog and had to go to the fairgrounds to find Lissa's van to deposit said hound. I also had to eat. It was 9:45 PM when we all pulled out of Foresthill. I was going to drop the dog off and join Nancy for some dinner. Then we were going to go to the barns and fix up Cabo's stall. Then Nancy went to get a few hours sleep. I went back to the parking lot and walked the dog and unloaded the rest of Lissa's gear into her trailer. It was about 1:30 AM and I tried to get a couple hours of sleep, but there was a guy in the LQ next to me that was barfing his guts up. Poor thing. Doesn't make for pleasant bed company. I went to the arena instead. Did a little walking around the barns. Then went to the finish line about 4 AM. Nancy met me there. About 4:45 - 4:50 a bunch of riders came in with Lissa and Cabo among them. Cabo looked great. Hugs, tears and a big drink of water for Cabo and we were off to the fairgrounds. We handed Cabo some food while he waited for a vet to see him. Then he was trotting out for the vets and they said, "Yep, gaited horse. Lame on all four feet." Cabo passed with flying colors. Lissa climbed back aboard for her victory lap and the announcer said, "Would you look at that guy go. What is that?" Cabo just zoomed around the arena. We let him eat a little grass and then walked Cabo back to his stall. We cleaned him up and left him alone.

Nancy, poor thing, left to begin another very long day. She had to drive back to Palo Alto and then go to a baseball game with her husband and mother-in-law. She probably stopped at every Starbuck's between Auburn and San Francisco. What a trooper. I took Lissa to her van and waiting dog. They left to go to their motel. I went to my parent's house. Since they were still asleep I just parked out front and read a little Harry Potter and waited until they got up. I laid down about 8 and asked to be woken at 11. My father obliged me with a very loud knock on my bedroom door.

I showered and went back to the barns to walk Cabo. Cabo thought I was nuts when I asked him to walk with me, but he came along peacefully. He would much rather have been left to eat. He was a little stiff and sore, but not too bad. He tolerated the bath he got, but just barely. He had some sore spots, but nothing really bad. His legs looked good and his eyes were bright and alert. All in all I'd say he managed those 100 miles quite nicely. Lissa arrived during his bath. She had showered and changed but hadn't slept. Too wound up. We went to the awards ceremony/banquet and listened to other people's ride stories, had a good meal and watched the presentation of the Haggin Cup. After watching all those horses John's deserved it, hands down. I was still kind of out of it because while standing in line to get food I looked out and down a hill and there was this big poster of my colt Hawkeye (AHA has it spelled Hawk-aye). Right next to Hawkeye was a poster of Lynne Glazer's gelding Q. Now I'm giving these posters a good look thinking to myself I know all those pictures, what on Earth are they doing there. Uh, duh, there's Lynne and Christy Cumberworth in their booth letting people know where they'll be able to find their Tevis pictures, and selling some posters too. I'd been walking all night passed Lynne's truck and didn't even see her. I'd of banged on her door too if I'd noticed her sleeping there.

Lissa and I had breakfast on Monday morning before I headed on down the highway. She was finally able to sleep, but the dust had done a number on her voice. She and Cabo were heading back to Colorado on Tuesday. Her last words were, "I'm never making Cabo do another endurance ride again." We'll see.

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