Lana and I left Idaho with the two monsters (Majek and Victor) yesterday morning at 6am for the long drive to Estes Park, Colorado. I have to say, I've never traveled through Wyoming and I was impressed with how desolate it is! The entire state is basically a large plateau of rolling hills in the Rockies. Hundreds of miles of not much at all. We went over one pass where the elevation topped 8600 feet and then went through a signicant thunderstorm where the temperature dropped to 50 degrees. In mid-August!! I can't imagine that place during the winter!
Unfortunately, not far outside of Rock Springs a tire blew out on my horse trailer. I was trying to pass a semi at the time, and heard this loud *bang* which I knew was a blow out. It bent the crap out of my fender and smacked the side of my trailer. Due to my super contientious dad, I found my jack and lugnut wrench and due to all my gym workouts with my personal trainer, I was able to loosen all the lugnuts on the tire. They put those things on tight!! Being young and female has its perks however, so pretty quick we had a highway worker stop to help us and soon afterwards a state patrolman. Watching the cop put the tire on made me think that he spends a signicant portion of his time helping people change flat tires. Wyoming patrolmen probably spend most of their time (1) changing flat tires (2) giving speeding tickets and (3) chasing cows off the freeway.
After stopping at the next town (200 miles later LOL) to get a new spare, we continued on the long drive. Finally we made it into Colorado. But the last 30 miles of the trip just drug on and on...it was up a very winding canyon into the Rockies where I couldn't get my rig above 40 mph the entire way, and many of the turns were 25 or 30mph. Talk about a long ending to a long trip! We finally pulled into Estes Park about 9pm and got the horses all settled in their stalls.
The next day started pretty quietly, we recuperated well from trip and did a little exploring around Estes Park. It is very similar to Sun Valley, being a large mountain resort with tons of tourism, although not quite as upscale. We drove by the Stanley Park Hotel, which was the inspiration for Stephen King's "The Shining". It is an impressive place in person and definitely ominous.
I rode Majek and Victor in the main arena in the late afternoon. Majek was good although a little looky. As I got on Victor the weather was starting to look a little ominous, with some rain clouds rolling in around the mountains surrounding the valley. I had just started walking Victor around the outside of the show arena when I saw a huge lightning bolt touch down a few thousand feet in front of me and simultaneously a HUGE thunderclap cracked overhead!! I jumped about a foot out of the saddle! The other rider and several onlookers saw a bolt of lightning strike one of the lights surrounding the arena, about 20-30 feet behind me!!! I felt it crawl through my scalp and down my back, it was so bizarre. The management ran out and yelled at everyone to get off their horses and get back to the barn NOW!! I, of course, disobeyed by staying on my horse and we did medium trot back to the barn. Good thing, too, because in a minute or so the heavy rain and hail hit. It was deafening on the roof it was so loud. It only lasted a few minutes and then was sunny again.
What was so amazing was how quickly the storm came through. The storms were around the valley at that point, and it was sunny where we were, so I have no idea where the lightning bolts came from. I guess they can travel between thunderclouds? Or move diagonally? Those who were familiar with Colorado storms said that the thunderstorms can move in extremely fast. Evidently they have had riders struck by lightning while riding. Luckily for me Victor has no shoes so he's not a very good conductor of electricity LOL.
The day ended with a very large bug that took a joy ride on the hood of my truck. It had feelers about as long as it was (total length probably 2 inches). It hung on for the drive back to the hotel, so I took a picture (which turned out to be an extremely nice shot!) and posted it on facebook. It's been an eventful couple of days!! Hopefully the next few days are a little more boring. :)