Monday, May 30, 2011
Pennsylvania Long Weekend
Did a different kind of riding on the long weekend just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.
We headed down Friday afternoon narrowly escaping a gnarly looking storm cloud in the rearview. Crossed without incident at Lewiston and rolled on into New York. Driving is much nicer in the US in many regards: people know the passing lane is for passing for example. And the scenery between here and Pennsylvania was just beautiful.
We arrived at G's aunt and uncle's place and they have three beautiful horses (well, two horses and a pony technically). They were amazingly generous, hospitable hosts and we all -- me, Gerhard, G's brother Adlar and Adlar's girlfriend Eva -- were treated to an amazing weekend full of culinary adventures, relaxing, libations and of course, riding!
Dorcus was our mount of choice -- she is a retired harness-race horse, and at 15 she is just at the beginning of her golden years, chilling at the farm. Boomer, their other retiree is about the same age, but he still has some crazy eyes going on revealing a little too much spirit for the saddle (at least for us).
But Dorcus treated us all to many tranquil laps of the paddock. Girlish ideas about wanting an equine friend of my own came back in a rush. Maybe one day, after I win the lottery.
Next, Belle gave us a turn. She's a Welsh pony, beautiful, but bratty. Apparently this is the case for almost all ponies which is kind of funny because they're the toughest to handle, but kids prefer them because they're a little shorter. I guess some trade-offs are okay to make. Welsh ponies were used as pack animals in the mines back in the day. But Belle's working days are over too ... unless you count kids' birthday parties.
Anyway, amazing meal after amazing meal including Pennsylvania delicacies like beef jerky had me gain about 7 pounds by the time we left. I thought I'd bring a bike, but decided against. Bittersweet really -- on the one hand, the roads there would be amazing for road riding. On the other hand, their twisting hilly nature would make it difficult for cars and bikes to get along together safely. Still -- the Tran-Sylvania Mountain Bike Stage Race is now looking like a major bucket list item. SO GREEN.
Huge thanks to our hosts for the weekend, it was definitely one we won't forget -- good times!