This was just off 580, on the way from Livermore to Napa, but it’s pretty typical of a lot of California. The wine country up here looks just like the Santa Ysabel and San Pasqual valleys in San Diego County.

I took half a dozen wrong turns on the way here. I figure each one cost 20 minutes, to figure out where I was, which way I really would have been going, and how to get back on track. There are few places to turn out, and traffic is really fast on winding roads, so when you see an intersection or fork in the road that you didn’t expect, you just have to choose one, and then pull over 2 miles later to regroup. Oh well. Even with that, I got to camp right at 2:00.

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This is my friend Lisa, who I have known for ages, but this was the first time I had gotten to see her ranch. It’s a nice place, with lots of roomy pastures, beautiful little barn swallows glittering around, adorable dogs, and of course many lovely horses, including several new foals, and a few very friendly beasts who were very happy to get a good back scratching.

Lisa is the friend who handled selling Rainy for me, the horse who inspired me to start training in Aikido. Lisa met me for breakfast, and we finalized the paperwork for his sale. I’m very grateful for all she did to find him an appropriate home. He is stalled at night, and turned out with buddies during the day, which he never had the opportunity to do when I had him, plus he get ridden on trails. Beats the heck out of standing around in my backyard.

Last night I dreamed someone was trying to give me horse. He was a sweet little pinto, well behaved, but needed a little training. I turned him down, saying he sounded too much like Rainy, and besides, I’m not looking for a horse. So I guess that was my subconscious, agreeing with my choice to be horseless.

We had a good visit, and it was nice to finally really close that chapter, to make room to move on.

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Just for fun, here’s a map of the camp. I can’t wait to see it!

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Iron Skillet restaurant, Wheeler Ridge, CA, I-5 northbound. Lunch.

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