This weekend a group of us braved the heat to camp and ride at Angelina National Forest. The group included the entire Martin family, Christa Bass and her daughter, Michaela, Frances Kenyon, Amy Crane and her mom and Maggie and myself. We had invited some other folks who weren't able to come, and Fran only got to ride Sunday because her truck was in the shop and she had to borrow a horse. I hadn't been there since 2004, when NATRC had their last ride there. Since then they have build real bathrooms and showers and done a lot of improvements to the campground at Ebenezer Park, which is Corp of Engineers managed. The camp ground was very shady and pleasant and we had electricity for our fan. The horses had large pens that could have easily accommodated 2 horses each.
The trails still had some arrows up from the old NATRC ride. The map at the office is an old CP/novice map and had a short loop and a long loop on it. Since most of the party had horses who were just making a comeback to the trail, we didn't ride really long each day. The big group would start out and then as their horses tired they would peel off and return to camp. Maggie and her friend, Michaela, took their horses back down to the beach on Saturday to play in the water. They were gone for so long, we eventually went looking for them, but they were fine, playing in the water and hanging out on the beach of the Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The beach was a crazy, busy place that day. It was pretty wild how many people were there. I was a little nervous when I saw all the people. I had terrible thoughts about what might have happened to our girls. Amy told me just to tell them we got hot and wanted to ride and not to tell them we were worried.
Sunday was really hot, but we rode about 3:30 hours before it got unbearable. Most of the group had to go home, but a few of us stayed to drive home on Monday. By the end of Sunday it was so hot, that I found myself wishing I had gone home after riding on Sunday.
I haven't ridden that much this summer due to the heat, but Liberty was such a good boy. We even side passed a log as well as jumping and riding in all gaits. His P&R's were good. He played in the water, but didn't lay down. Amy Crane discovered that if you ride them in up to their bellies they won't lay down because it's too deep and they have achieved their goal. I found myself wondering why I had never thought about this. On Sunday, Michaela rode her mom's horse (Koda? spelling) and he promptly laid down with her in the water. It was really funny, but she was not sure she enjoyed that experience.
However, it turned out to be a good thing that I had not left in the heat of the day. On the way home, my ABS on my truck went out. Fortunately we were in Lufkin, and not on the Highway. This was fortunate for several reasons. If I had been on the highway I wouldn't have been able to stop the truck and the trailer. Also, being in Lufkin, we were near Christa Bass's house and she was able to come pick up the horses and Maggie while Amy Crane and I sorted out the truck.
Amy was going to go on home via rental car, so we called Enterprise. We told them where we were and the exact address, also mentioning that there was a horse trailer and a red suburban. After an hour we called them back and they said the guy couldn't find us. They claimed he was coming back to get her, but he never showed and eventually we canceled the car request. US rider let me down as well. They told me a tow truck would be there within 30 minutes, but it never showed. After an hour, US rider called me back and said their tow truck driver was on another run and I would be waiting another hour for the tow to the brake place Christa had recommended. I do realize that it wasn't US rider's fault. The local tow company promised services that they did not deliver. Since Christa had taken the horses and the trailer, with Peter's help, I found a brake place and drove the truck slowly to the shop. At the shop, they said it wasn't anything big and mechanical, but instead it was the ABS module, which costs about $1200 new, but wasn't something they could fix. So, they sent me to the GMC dealer another mile down the road. At first I was going to have the diagnostic run to confirm the other brake shop's suspicion, but they hadn't had the proper equipment to confirm the diagnosis. IN the mean time, Amy talked to her husband who said all I had to do was to disable the ABS and keep driving. This was accomplished by pulling the fuse. So, two shops, two mechanics...no money left my hands. My mechanic is looking for a used part for my truck that will cost much less.
On the way to the GMC shop I took Amy by Enterprise so she could rent a car and drive home. I was unaware at that point that I could safely pull the trailer with the ABS disabled. She came back out seconds later, running after my truck...Enterprise didn't even have a car to rent, and hadn't had one all morning.
So, we went back to Christa's until it was cooler and then drove home, and fortunately, that was an easy trip.