My morning started at 1:30am with my alarm clock going off. Then packing, driving to the hotel, and getting all my stuff ready to travel. Hubbards showed up around 2:30am to pick up Monk and Rocco, and after some discussion we got Monkey to back into the straight load stall. Luckily for me, the driver had no room in the cab so I got to ride to the airport in the back of the horse trailer. I have to say I have a newfound respect for the noise and discomfort those horses endure in the trailer, particularly when careening down a Southern California freeway! It was bouncy and extremely noisy.
We arrived around 3am, and after a short wait we were able to get into the airport. The horses are loaded directly from their truck onto the plane (ramp to ramp, so they don't touch the tarmac). So each truck pulls up to the plane, unloads the horse(s), then drives off, then the next truck pulls up. The horses are led up the ramp into the plane, and once up there the tie-stalls are built around them. The horses haul three across in small tie stalls. The stalls consist of interlocking panels that are easily assembled or disassembled. There is a small section in the very back of the plane for passengers (people), there were only 16 seats back there.
The wierdest thing about riding in a cargo plane is that there are no windows on the sides, so you have no visual orientation for where the plane is in space. You go by feel and by the sound of the engines, as to whether you're acending, descending, cruising, or what-have-you. I could tell when we were going down to land, but didn't know if we were actually landing until the plane hit the runway. The flight was generally very smooth, as the pilots make sure not to make any sudden turns or steep inclines/declines.
The horses were a little more nervous and active on take-off and landing, and also if we hit any turbulence. I think it was partially how wierd it must feel to them, when the plane moves around, but I also think it is the noise. When the plane lands and the pilot reverses the engines to slow it down, the sound is deafening and the horses all react to it!
After a short layover in Kentucky to fuel up and pick up more horses, we landed in Farmingdale, NY, and got on a truck for Gladstone. It was unfortunately early afternoon, so rush hour was just starting. The trip was fairly long (probably 1.5 to 2 hours), and I got into Gladstone about 5:30pm (eastern time).
Lana had no trouble on her flight from LAX to Newark, and was able to get a rental car and made it to Gladstone just 10-15 minutes before we arrived. I had a last minute panic about hay yesterday, but it turned out to be no big deal as I had no problem ordering some and Monk rather liked their timothy. I also brought along a bale of compressed alfalfa for him, to try and keep his calorie intake up. Right now he looks like one of those racehorses that was on the plane with him!
All of us are exhausted. Off to bed! Quite the day of travel.