February 27 2012
Well, back from Blazing Saddles endurance ride in Laurel, MS. Ride management of Jack and Terry Price…..and just happens to be my favorite ride. But I think I have mentioned that before. Seems that this was a weekend from truck troubles, started with me, then spread to Angie McGhee and then on to Peggy Clark, both had issues on their way home. Joni and I were on schedule to pull into camp on Thursday, evening about 6:30pm. A little over an hour away, just hitting Meridian, MS we hear a popping sound under the hood, then a flapping, then smell burned rubber. The battery light goes on immediately, and I told Joni, we’re screwed. Started watching the gauges, not running hot, nothing looked off, but we know there is something wrong. When you drive a truck that is literally 24 yrs. old, my ’88 F-350, fondling referred to as “the old grey dinosaur”….I suppose you can expect something to go wrong. But, this old girl has been a good one, with right at 200,000 miles (yes, that’s right) it has had very little in repairs over the years. And more than once, I have passed way nicer/newer trucks broke down. But anyway, we go about 2 miles, and get off the interstate at a gas station, coming down the exit ramp, I find out we have NO brakes. YIKES. Standing on the brake, I get it stopped, pull into the gas station and start calling Joel. He DOESN’T answer the phone….repeatedly. Say some bad words (just a few), Joni calls her boyfriend, Hunter Burden, and I talked to his daddy. Yep, it was the alternator and the belt. I asked the nice guy in the station where an Autozone or something was, he tells me there is one only 1 mile from us. What luck !!!! So we drive very slowly to the Advanced Auto Parts, and pull in and park. I go inside and this really super nice guy, named Mark, comes out looks and he starts calling us a mechanic. We sit and wait, and I am beginning to wonder if it can be fixed that night, it was 6:00pm by then. He comes back out and informs us that the mechanic is out of town, but he knows another one. Turns out the second mechanic a really nice man from Panama can come look at it. So, then I start trying to call camp, thinking I may need someone to come gets us if we have to leave the truck overnight….and by the way, we were in like the worst part of town. The minute I pulled in, a homeless guy hit me up for money, to which I said, “Look, I need all I have to get my truck fixed…sorry”. Second thought, I should have given him a sandwich from the trailer. My bad. We counted 6 ambulances, and 3 cop cars, all with sirens going while we waited. Lots of “bad looking people” walking past too.
I had started trying to call camp, to find ANYONE that could help us. I tried Terry Price, no cell service, I tried Samm Bartee, nothing, but did leave her a message, I tried Fred Myers, nothing, I tried Steve Huffman, nothing, we had the computer with us, so I got on there and was trying to remember who would be in camp on Thursday, I thought of Mike Everett, looked up his number from the AERC page, and called him. YEAH!!!! He answered !!! I told him I needed him to do me a big favor and that if he could go find Mr. Steve (Huffman) I needed to talk to him because we were broke down. He did, and Steve called us back, and was kind enough to unhook and drive 70 miles to come help out. About the time he got there the mechanic did too. What a nice guy this mechanic was, he was the most jolly little, happy man, he even dragged his wife out who was on bed rest, and 9 weeks from having twins. Very sweet folks. Turns out that the parts place didn’t have an alternator for my truck, and the plan was: A. rebuild the one I had, and B. order one that would be there that evening (Friday at 4:30). Ok, that means leaving my truck in the ghetto overnight. So, now, we have to unhook my trailer, and move all my stuff that was on the bed of the truck into Steve’s truck and hook to his truck. And when I say move all the stuff, the word from the parts folks was, “If you want to have it in the morning, you better take it with you”. Spare tire included, empty my tool box under the bed, etc. So, the sweet little mechanic jumped in and helped us transfer all the stuff. Got ready to go, I had an adaptor for the lights, yes, LIGHTS !!! Started to pull off….brakes lock on the trailer. Well, Joni and I had this problem before when we pulled my trailer with another truck, so NO lights. On the way to camp, we passed about 3 cops on the interstate….good thing they were hungry for tickets. Whewww.
We get into camp about 11:30 pm or midnight, and there sits Fred Myers, Alice Smith, Benny, Alice’s right hand man, and Jana Smith. They all had waited on us to get there and then jumped in to help set us up, I didn’t have any water, because my barrel was on the truck …inMeridian. Alice gave the horses water, and tucked them in and was ready for bed at about 1 am. Next morning, I get a call from the mechanic, we’re in luck, the guy that re-builds alternators, has one that is re-built already and will fit my truck, so it will be fixed in a hour or so. He calls me a while later, and it’s ready to come get. Yeah, but now I have a problem of no cash really to pay him. I had $110, and the bill was $291. So, I walked over to Suzanne Solis’ trailer and Cindy Young, I tell them that I have some cash on it’s way, but if they had some could I borrow it for a few hours. Boy, endurance people are the BEST. Suzanne shelled out $120 and Cindy finished up what I needed, $80. I had $300 and was ready to go get my truck. Good ole Mr. Steve again was willing to haul me back to get my truck, I did put gas in his truck (to which he protested, but I won). Got my truck, got it back to camp….ALL was well now. Keith Kibler told me I should’ve asked him for the money and he would have given me whatever I needed. Again, another super nice endurance friend. I really do love these people, they are all there if you need them in a pinch. Mr. Steve has pulled my butt out of a crack or creek more than once, and he was rewarded with a nice chair from Jana Smith at the awards, in honor of Stephanie Waddington for his good deeds. I’d say he earned it this past weekend.
As far as the ride went, Mr. Marty, the most loved horse did an easy 50, completed with nothing but A’s on his card and was so cute sleeping in his hay nest and eating hay that night. Storme, aka the Lame horse, looked great all day in the 100, was pulled at 85 miles for the same thing that seems to be her nemesis. Left, rear lame. I spent some time talking to Dr. Dee Dee, and she and I kicked around that maybe she has some chiro issue there. So, the next morning, I had Dr. Ike Nelson (who does Marty’s chiro work) work on both of them…BTW, she was sound then. Turns out her RT front shoulder was really jammed up. He seems to think that she is compensating for the shoulder and causing the issue in the rear….and that she can be FIXED !!!! Wonderful, because she was really on her game.
This is the best ride, best management, best trails, BEST food !!!!, Best vets, people…everything. Thanks to everyone who helped put it on, and to everyone that helped me and Joni out this weekend. Endurance is the BEST !!!!