Today was the first time we got a sniff of rain. I was out driving the team (glory driving — we had all sorts of media wanting to catch us on the road *grin*) and was getting feedback from the troops on the ground. They were in Leduc already. They said it was absolutely torrential with lightning, thunder and lakes in parking lots. Out on the road, we were looking at ominous black skies, though it wasn’t cold and it wasn’t particularly windy.
And then it hit. Tons of rain. Lightning. Thunder. Antsy horses. For safety’s sake, Rusty and I made the decision to pull the riders off the road. We called for trailers and asked the riders to put three horses in the stock trailer that was already with us (driving “drag” to keep the riders safe). Our riders sat on their horses and decided that there were not three that got along well enough to ride together, so they weren’t loading up! Fine! We unhitched the Fjords and loaded them, harness and all. Slammed the divider and put one more horse in the smaller back section.
And just as we were slamming the tailgate and getting ready to send them to town … as quickly as it started, the storm ended!
So we UNloaded the horses, hitched the team again and away we went.
And then it rained again. Not a big rain. Just enough to make everyone cold and miserable.
Oh, look! Now we’re getting hail! Isn’t that lovely! *sigh* Oh! And now that is over too. It wasn’t big hail, or hard. But it was hail.
The sky was wonderful to watch. Black, black, black to the north of us. Grey to the south. Clouds flying across the horizon. They were moving faster than fast. I couldn’t help but think of Hugh, our photographer, and his love of the prairies. I wondered if he could see them from where he was in Leduc. If so, he must have been enjoying this.
Other than being cold from getting wet, the rest of the ride was uneventful, other than Rusty being interviewed by Global TV and making the 6:00 news.
Into Leduc we rode … RCMP escort and all. We stayed at the Leduc Rec Centre (an awesome facility) and put our horses in the pens that belong to the Leduc Black Gold Rodeo Association.
Showers again. This time I’m talking the mechanical kind, not God’s version. (That’s shower facilities two days in a row. Sheesh! Soon the Hole in the Head Gang is going to start expecting this kind of luxury!)
Once the horses were settled in we were off to Peavey Mart for dinner and entertainment. The manager there (Dean) went above and beyond for us. He brought in a cowboy poet and a guitar picker and singer. He did hamburgers for the general public and (hooray!) chili for us. (We’ve had more than our share of hamburgers along the way!)
The pool and hot tub at the Rec Centre were supposed to be made available to us, but they were closed for cleaning. Oh well, it might have spoiled our riders beyond recognition!
Riders coming and riders going. We’re a busy little tribe of “yonderers”.