Today was another travel day for Monkey, Lana, and I as we made the long trek back across the country (made significantly shorter by flying rather than driving!). The truck was scheduled to be in Gladstone at 5am to pick up Monkey and I, which meant we had to be at the grounds at 4:30am to finish getting everything organized and strip the stall (yes, at this show you have to strip your stall otherwise they keep your $125 deposit). I didn't sleep at all last night, for some reason when I have to wake up super early I have a heck of a time sleeping the night before. So I was pretty zombie-like in the morning!
The truck was pretty much on time, and it was a BIG one. It was an 18 wheeler, and the semi was huge! I've never ridden in a rig like that before. The hauler said he could put 15 horses on it if need be.
Monk was going to be traveling with an elite group to the airport, as several of the other horses from Gladstone were flying back to California. Breanna (Kathleen Raine's GP mare), Fandango (the GP horse Guenter rode), Sundance 8 (Steffen's short tour horse), Royal Prinz (the I-1 Reserve Champion with David Blake), and Pretty Lady (the YR Champion with Brandi Roenick) all traveled with Monk on the same truck to the airport. The truck was packed to the gills with their equipment, it was a good thing I packed relatively light! I couldn't believe how much stuff they had brought. Luckily that truck was big!
This time we traveled to the Allentown airport in Pennsylvania, which was quite a bit closer and easier to get to than the Farmingdale airport (since we didn't have to go to Long Island, New York!). There all the horses loaded up on the plane; it was the same plane we had flown over on with the same group of guys loading the horses and flying with them. Monkey got to fly next to Breanna, I told him he needed to talk to her about piaffe and passage. :)
The flight was totally uneventful, this time I was so tired that I just slept pretty much the entire time. I was prepared for the cold this time and brought one of Monk's coolers (which I never used, since it was never cold!) to use as a blanket. We had a few bumps but mostly the ride was smooth. We did have one horse in the very back (right in front of us, unfortunately), who would kick when he got stressed. So every now and then if the ride got a little bumpy or the engines powered up he'd kick the back board and wake us up!
Once again we landed for a short period of time in Kentucky (Louisville) to pick up a few more horses (racehorses), who were on their way to California and to fuel up the plane. It was about 1 1/2 hours from Allentown to Louisville, and about a 4 hour flight from Louisville to Ontario.
We arrived in Ontario almost an hour early! That was kind of a problem, as my ride for Monk wasn't going to be there until 1:30pm eastern time. And of course the agent didn't call Amanda (from W Farms, who graciously offered to pick me up) and let her know the plane would be early. There was enough to do with unloading the gear, and then unloading all the other horses, which took up enough time for Amanda to get there. It was mildly stressful, as Monk was the only one hanging out on the plane, but he seemed relatively happy and not too stressed out about it. Thankfully, the plane wasn't on a schedule, as their next flight isn't until tomorrow. The ride from the airport to W Farms was short and uneventful, and Monk settled into his stall at W Farms pretty quickly.
From there I had to go pick up Lana, who flew separately on a commercial flight out of Newark to LAX. Her flight was scheduled to arrive in LAX at 4:15, and it is easily an hour drive from W Farms to LAX (in good traffic!). After picking her up, we decided to have dinner nearby to wait for the traffic to clear up (traffic down here is insane!). So we found a nice mexican place on the bay in Marina Del Ray and watched the pelicans and harbor seals and sailboats. Every now and then a fishing boat would go by, and you could tell which ones had been successful, because they were followed by a swarm of birds trying to get at the fish guts being tossed into the water by the fishermen.
The drive back to Chino Hills was long, traffic had cleared up a little, but it was still pretty slow. It took a good hour and 20 minutes or 1 1/2 hours to get back to W Farms. My driving has gotten very solidly urban, I'm sure I'll quickly regress to driving like I live in Boise soon, but for now I do the two-blink signal and slam on the accelerator. Between New Jersey and Los Angeles, I've had plenty of time getting acclimated to freeway driving in major metropolitan areas!
We did a quick evening check on Monk, who looked pretty happy and relatively settled, then off to the hotel. Lana is already asleep, and its not even 9pm!