Saturday, January 25, 2020

2020/1/25 Chinese New Year of the Rat ride in Nipomo with LPTR & MeetUp

 If you squint your eyes just right you can see the Pacific Ocean in this first photo, right between Tobe's ears, looking from our staging area across Hwy 1 and vegetable fields to the edge of the continent.

Today to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Rat a group of 6 riders met up in Nipomo to take a stroll around the Mesa, the highly developed Trilogy zone that was once, in the lifetime of several of the riders, entirely vast forests of eucalyptus.
We rode for 6 miles in 2 hours, following the trails that weave through the manicured landscapes and the remnants of the forest.
Every ride starts with the gathering of the tow vehicles and trailers in the appointed spot. Here we see my SubUrban and the BrenderUp trailer that Tobe travels in. The boat winch on the SubUrban is how I lift the very heavy and wonderful Australian saddle onto Tobe, and the hay in the bag will be his lunch later.

The best parts of riding Nipomo are the stands of giant trees that are still left, lining the roads, and the horse and human trails that have been carefully built into the landscape.

It is certainly not wild, but it isn't entirely civilized yet, either.

It was disturbing to see many signs advertising large plots of land for sale, and clearly time is running out for the grasslands and trees.

From every path there were houses visible, and golf courses.

 WAY out on this golf course we saw a white heron strolling placidly, avoiding the flying balls.

That little blip is a man sighting down his next stroke.

Because their movements are erratic the golfers are fascinating to Tobe. 

Recent rains have caused a fine crop of mystery mushrooms to spring up.

I once ate every toadstool my Russian adopted grandfather harvested from random lawns, I proceeded with faith. And at one time I thought of myself as somewhat of an accomplished amateur mycologist. Funny how you change... there's absolutely NO chance I would taste any of these!

Tobe and I just give them a look, and leave well enough alone.

Even on the forest trails the fallen trees are evidence of how fragile  their 100+ year old stands are now.

Nice there wasn't much wind today. It was warm and sunny, just like we prefer California to always be.

 The trails adjacent the "planned community" are quite pleasantly landscaped. It was a  pleasure to see dog walkers out for a stroll. There are shared trails, and ones separated for walkers and riders, and bicycle paths as well.
I rode Tobe up ahead a bit so I could turn back and capture a group shot coming along the trail. What a fine mackerel sky!

Then I saw  this absurd velociraptor in a yard and went up an embankment to take a photo of it.
Which was not a smart idea, since the hill was extremely soft, and Tobe's feet sunk in it and it was dangerous.
Stormy & Pico came to help us down.
Then around the corner another of the Disney-look Trilogy details. A water feature to mark a crossroads.

Then it was back to the paths between estates that have vineyards for lawns.

The problem is
that every inch of the flat land has been filled with stucco houses that look as if they are meant to last 2-3 decades at best.
I look out and try to imagine that the strip of forest on the horizon fills the whole valley. I am sad for these ghosts of trees I never knew.

But no point in being nostalgic,
I'm happy that as they transformed the landscape they worked hard to incorporate the equestrian trails, and make it easy for the inhabitants to walk their dogs and ride bikes.

And I'm glad we are welcome to come and roam around and experience it all.

Then it was time to end our ride, so I asked everyone to pose in front of a stand of eucalyptus for a souvenir portrait.
Here is Jamie on her Quarter Horse Woody.

And Stormy on her Peak Performance Arab Pico.

And Jo on her cantankerous mule JohnBoy.

And Nancy on her Paso Fino Jugeton.

Lisa on her Rocky Mountain gelding.

And Tobe Mule and I, happy to have spent the day in good company.

But are we forgetting something?
The symbolism of the special day?
The beginning of the Year of the Golden Rat needed a visual.
And what could be better than Jamie's chihuahua who stayed guarding her tow vehicle as we rode out.
Rodent Dog!
Happy New Year!
Feliz Año Nuevo de El Miguelitó Rattón!

2020 Chinese New Year is on January 25, 2020. That is the 4717th Chinese year. The zodiac sign of 2020 is the Rat. According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2020 is the Male Metal Rat year. The color of Metal in Chinese Horoscope is connected to white or golden. Therefore, 2020 is called the year of the White Metal Rat or Golden Rat.