Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I just got back from a pretty amazing vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley so I am adjusting to hitting the ground running and getting back into the swing of things back home again.  I have never been to SF and this was our first real vacation in over two years that didn't have something to do with horseback archery or endurance so it was a real treat.

Our original plan was to go for a Charcuterie class (that is a whole other chapter or blog) in Napa  but we decided to  make it a week since we were going. The class was great . Learned a ton and got to sample and make some pretty amazing salty pig bits.

The first day we arrived we drove from San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge and did the walk across it.  Somehow, we managed to not get run over by the many bicyclists that also share the walkway, which seemed like a small miracle. Most  looked like they had not been on a bike in years but decided it would be cool to rent a bike and ride the bridge, putting themselves and many others at risk. From there, we mozied onto the town of Saucilito where we had lunch at The Barrell Room .  I had the most amazing Kale and Stone Fruit salad, while enjoying a view of the bay. I did have one small mishap here when we were first seated. A pigeon attacked me and just about knocked my sunglasses out of my hands and into the bay. Apparenly, he needed some shades. We were seated on the stools overlooking the bay which was really nice. I miss the ocean so anytime I can soak up sights and sounds of the ocean, this is a happy girl. We did have some additional moments of entertainment  while waiting for the food, (if the Pigeon incident wasn't enough) Apparently, an odd looking boat with no identifying stickers and painted dark green had entered the bay and was being escorted in by the Navy. It looked like some Russian war ship..  and it definitely got the attention of the authorities.. Not sure what happened but it was fun to imagine what might be going on. It must have been nothing too major because I never saw anything in the news about it. Probably some guy who decided to build his own boat and lost on a dare with some buddies to drive it into the bay just to see what happens..

After lunch, we walked around Saucilito  and saw what there was to see, We again, had to dodge more unbalanced bikers and witnessed two wrecks. Can't people ride bikes at home?? What is the draw to do it in strange , narrow roads?

We eventually made our way to our hotel in Vallejo. I was bummed to find out their pool was  in the midst of deconstruction for a future update. So much for lounging by a pool for this trip.

We spent the next day taking the Baylink Ferry to SF, doing the Fishermans Wharf  and seeing all the typical touristy type attactions like Lombard Street , the Pink Ladies and the Trolley. I really really really wanted to see Alcatraz but had been trying to get a ticket for months with no luck. Apparently, you have to buy tickets 4-6 months ahead of time. Nonetheless there was enough sights to take in . By the end of the day, we were exhausted because we walked ALL day along all the Piers and the streets of SF . We planned to take the trolley car back to the ferry building but they were all full so , we had to walk .. again.. from Pier 39 to the ferry building, only to wait in line for 45 minutes for the ferry. By the time the we made it back, my lower back and feet were pretty well done for.

We spent the remaining time going into Napa Valley  and visited three wineries. Castello Di Amorosa, Mondavi and Sutter Home. We did the Castle tour and it was totally worth it. I highly recommend it but be forewarned, the other wineries will pale in comparison so do this one last if you have several you are planning to tour and visit.  My favorite town in the Napa Valley had to be Yountville, (I must clarify, pronounced YONTVILLE, not YOONTVILLE) mostly because of the Bouchon Bakery (OMG is all I can say) but partly because it was just buzzing with excitement and fun shops, even if everything was ridiculously overpriced. Lots of money floating around that Napa Valley area and attitudes to go with it but it was fun just the same.
One of the other highlights of the trip was getting to see Jack Londons (author most widely known from the book White Fang) estate, It is his old home/farmstead that has been turned into a State Park.  We spent the majority of the day here, hiking around the ruins, reading the history, seeing the sites, staring at Eucalyptus trees  and realizing Jack London was  far more  interesting man than most people probably realize.  He was way ahead of his time when it came to farming, animal husbandry and machinery. I really had no idea. If your ever near Sonoma, it's worth the extra drive to hunt this place out . Sonoma was not at all what I expected..Not much going on there at all except a few Spa Hotels and one the day we came through,  the fundraising 5K race.  Oh, and it did have a Whole Foods market so that was a nice treat if your on the hunt for something to eat. It is a sleepy little town but it did have more of a commerce feel than Napa.I am not sure what someone would do there if they were staying for any length of time. I would have gone mad myself.

 Overall, the vacation was great but I was ready to get home. 6 days is enough to be gone. I think one of  the best parts about going on vacation is the renewed appreciation of what we have here at home. We really have a great home and get to live in a great place. Sometimes I forget. The royal welcome from the puppies is always my favorite part!

So while I adjust back to "real " life, I am  also adjusting to other things as well. It's been several weeks since Maggie has left Acer Farm..No actual "main riding horse"  here for me anymore.   It's weird. But Maggie is doing well in her new home. She is now called Archer by  her new owner and if your interested you can read all about their adventures here on their new blog. They have a couple of Lippitt Morgans now and a rescue mare they are working with named Thistle. Its pretty cool to read what they have been able to accomplish with her.

 I am trying to add  their blog address  to my blog roll but Google isn't liking the address. I will try to resolve that issue when I have more time. 

I am not completely horseless however.  I still have my old boy Rebel and ofcourse there is JB. Both  are being worked routinely by Tom for horseback archery. Thank goodness. I am so happy that both have a purpose that they seem to enjoy. I have ridden only a couple of times, once on the trail with Rebel and once with JB around the place here.

A hobby and passion that has defined who I am for the better part of my entire 38 years ,  now just doesn't seem all that much of a priority. It's somewhat alarming because I can't make logical sense of it but I am trying to just go with it. Tom is being patient with me, encouraging me to ride when it seems right, but never pushing. I can't explain what this all is. It might pass. It might not. Either way, it's fine. There are other interests to pursue that I have never wholly committed to because the horses always came first. Possibly, I just need to dabble in some of those other things for a while, test other waters. See what else is out there. Somehow, learn not to put so much pressure on me or my horses . The horses will always be there.

That all being said, being down to four head and back to all geldings again is not without it's perks. We  were able to run everyone together for a few days, until Brego started being a jerk again and walloped poor Rebel in the ribs , leaving a nice swollen hematoma brand in the shape of a hoof. Thankfully Brego is barefoot in the back.
Brego and Maggie worked perfectly together. For now, Brego is back to isolation in the north pasture and not happy about it. Too bad .. I can't have him beating up on the senior citizens around here.We will try again in a couple weeks.

With JB and Rebel getting worked regularly for the upcoming archery competition in August, I don't have any stress placed on me to get them exercised. I have to admit, it's kind of nice.

Both have been used in the past for horseback archery but it's been a few years. JB is hilarious to watch. He is so weak in the hind quarters that he really canters funny. Funnier than normal. He has never had a good canter because no mater what , he insists on pulling himself instead of driving with his hind end. It was only exacerbated after his accident but he manages. Tom has been doing some concerted work to help him get in touch with his hind end. It seems to be helping. Before we left for vacation, JB had some canters that looked like he was actually reaching with the front end , and his tail was no longer twirling in a circle with every stride.  He looked way more comfortable for Tom to ride and shoot from. He looked way more comfortable with the canter all around so I think he just needs more time to built more strength and he will be just fine.

As for Rebel , as old as he is, about 26 now, still goes through his shenanigans. He still likes to get up and run and even let out the occasional buck. His lethargy , poor body condition and tripping from last year seems to have all but resolved themselves with a different saddle , senior feed and MSM. He is still going strong and continues to turn in some pretty fast times on the track. He is my old man who will have a home here as long as he wants to stick around.

Everything seems to be falling in place and humming along. I might not be posting much about endurance in the months to come,  but I will still be following along all of your blogs. I will say ,  in all honesty, that if someone asked me if I wanted to ride their conditioned experienced endurance horse in a 50, they probably wouldn't have to twist my arm too much for a yes..

Just sayin....


irish horse said...

Sounds like a great trip! I've never even done half those tourist things, and I've lived here my whole life! I did ride across the Golden Gate as a child, I have no memory of it, my father says it was the most terrifying thing he'd ever done, watching his child teeter across that bridge (there was no barrier separating the sidewalk from traffic back then!)

Jack London State Park is one of my favorite places on the planet. A fascinating man (a new biography came out last year that I'm dying to read), the Wolf House ruins and his simple grave break my heart every time. Glad you got to see and appreciate it.

I think your time off from horses seems fine. I even felt that a bit this summer after the time off from Major's issues. When the right time/place/horse comes along, it will be right. Until then, enjoy everything else. I still like your stories, endurance related or not!

Jonna said...

Thanks Irish horse! Your loyalty as a reader is appreciated! I can't imagine walking across the bridge with no barrier! I don't think I would have done that!
I need to get my hands on that biography as well. He really was a fascinating man.
I had thought I would like to get back into taking on TB's , training them up into nice usable horses for show or trail and then selling but I hate the selling process and after having sturdy Morgans for so long with little to no health issues , like a TB is bound to have, I am not sure I want to get back into all that!

I have never set out on a mission to buy a horse in my life, they all just seem to find me. I am sure another one will at some point when the time is right..

You definitely need to go to Napa if your that close! I could not believe how dry it was there. Scary!

irish horse said...

Something will find you. Something will happen, that's always the case.

I haven't done the SF stuff, but I've been to Napa many times, I grew up just over the hill in Healdsburg! A very cute now very fancy town). The whole area is dry like that this time of year, a little worse this year (they say it's at end of August status). That is why I love any photos of places with nice green landscape this time of year!