Sunday, October 25, 2020

2020/10/25 Pico Tour of Nipomo


The Lucky Seven MeetUp Riders convened to take a Pico Tour of Nipomo. 

Local endurance rider Stormy Knight and her personable Arabian Pico were our guides. Stormy is passionate about the possibilities for recreational riding in the area, and enthusiastic to show others the trails she frequents.

In the lifetime of several of the riders this entire area was undeveloped eucalyptus groves. Their girlhood passion was to ride wildly through the forests, jumping fallen trees, living the rural life. Now they are ladies of a certain age, and the trails run between golf courses and developments of stucco houses.

We parked the rigs at the water treatment plant, and Mosca the Horse Fly had a chance to confer with Tobe Mule about the day's route while observing the ducks floating on the ponds.

The trails run along streets, but because it was designed as an equestrian community from the beginning the trails are well maintained sand, often with fencing separating them from the car traffic. In many places cement bikeways/walkways run alongside, providing separate areas for all modes of transportation.

Visible on the edge of the horizon are the dunes and the Pacific Ocean, and the fresh onshore breeze makes riding here delightful. This road is the Cabrillo Highway, state Hwy 1. 

We were accompanied for the entire 5.7 mile ride by Julian Watkins and his dog Savannah. He took many photos of us as we traveled. Thank you!

Because the eucalyptus trees are home to Monarch butterflies for part of the year, many of the trails are adjacent to their habitat and signposted to be careful not to disturb them.

And then there are the houses in between the little vanity vineyards that serve as front yards.

To my astonishment I saw that on most of these little vine covered slopes the grapes had obviously not been harvested. Bunches of withered grapes were lying on the ground under the vines, covered in wasps sucking up the sweet juice. The vines are all serviced by drip lines, and look quite healthy. Can they really be just for show and never harvested? 

So here's the view, if you owned that McMansion on the hill with the vineyard slope front yard. The whole valley filled with ticky-tacky stucco houses and condos, edged by a golf course, with one stand of eucalyptus remaining in the center.

In several places I saw these ceramic owls on the fences around the golf courses.

But all good things must come to an end. We rode 5.74 miles in 2.5 hours, a route that Pico can trot when traveling alone in half that time! But he and his Mistress graciously led us at a walking pace today.

Here are the photos of the participants:

Stormy Knight 

and Pico Arabian

Noe Alvarez 

and Marcos Andalusian

Barbara Verlingiere

and Oberon Gypsy Vanner

Jamie Buse 

and Mosca Thoroughbred

Devyn DiMascio

and Jake Quarterhorse

Marsha Raymond

and Braxton Vanner

And of course the MeetUp Mistrex

Pat Fish

and Tobe Mule.

          "Eucalypts are unusual in this respect: set pendulously their      leaves allow see-through foliage which in turn produces a frail          patterned sort of shade, if at all.                                                             Clarity, lack of darkness -  these might be called                 'eucalyptus qualities'.”
Murray Bail   EUCALYPTUS



©  PAT FISH 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020

2020/10/10 The Live Oak Good Life MeetUp

 In the Autumnal Glow looking out over the Live Oak Camp trails, toward the coastal mountain range.

And here are two Tobes looking up to that same chalk cliff face from the river bottom below, wondering what route to take for our ride today.

I wasn't up for an ambitious ride today, the goal was just to get me away from the computer. We crossed the Santa Ynez River, now in the dry phase...

and proceeded down the trail with Jamie, Noe and Deborah.

Then the drama started.

We turned up the southern trail, into the brush, and above us appeared a stag. Not a tremendously big one, but pretty impressive for a mule deer. 

We all stood and watched it. I started to try to take a photo and then "Marcos, he go crazy!"

Noe's Andalusian/Azteca stallion Marcos apparently wasn't paying attention, because all of a sudden he saw that stag and had a meltdown. He started to rear up, whirl, and demonstrate his "airs above the ground" maneuvers.

Tobe Mule hadn't been bothered by the stag, but this display of equine freak-out was too much for him, so he spun around and ran down the hillside trail back the way we'd come. I pulled him up after maybe 30 yards, and turned him to face the danger. At that point he calmed, and we watched as Noe rode out the tantrum.

Here I insert a testimonial for the custom saddle made for me by Colin Dangaard, an Australian saddle with poleys both in front of and behind my legs. They absolutely kept me securely in the saddle when Tobe spun, and I was never at risk for falling. Whooooeee!

After that thrill

all the rest of the ride went smoothly.

At the top of the hill overlooking the lake we stopped for my tradition of portrait-taking.

Noe on Marcos, every inch the war horse.
Jamie on Mosca, the avid thoroughbred.
  Deborah on Carbone the Peruvian Paso
And of course Tobe Mule and I, captured having just demonstrated our skill at opening and closing gates.
We continued out onto the meadow, and then I called it a day. Noe and Deborah went on and rode more miles on the lake edge, while Jamie and I turned back to back-track our trail.
BUT who else had been there?
Oh dear.
Thankfully we decided to act as though the bear had been chasing a deer down this sandy trail in the recent past, and was not within worrying distance, and so we continued on back to the trailers and lunch.

This tree draped in Spanish moss with a huge colony of poison oak crawling up the trunk made a properly October-themed spooky sight.

But I'm not scared.

Not with me, my mule and his shadow.



(We are but dust and shadow.)” 

― Horace, The Odes of Horace.

######### FIN::: PAT FISH ########