Virginia

iding down highway 50 from Clarksburg to Virginia and on into Washington D.C. was a trip I will not soon forget. As we rode at the break of day, we could see mist rising up from the many rivers and streams along the route. I saw wildlife at every turn.

On the way through the town of Upperville, I passed an apple cart selling apples. The apple seller said: “You aren’t from around here, are you?”

“No, we’re not. We’re from Arizona.”

He laughed and said in a sarcastic sort of way, “Looks like you rode from there, too.”

“Now why is that?” I asked.

“All these riders from around here ride in English saddles and look like they just came out of a magazine for some clothing company. It’s disgusting. Now you look like you’ve put some miles on that saddle, and the way you’re dressed it looks like you’re prepared to go a few miles more."

I had on Nike 990 running shoes, with burrs in the laces probably from as far back as Texas. I wore two pairs of running tights, white over black. Holes in the white ones revealed the black tights showing through behind the knees and in the crotch. I had on white ankle socks, a purple bandanna around my wrist and another around my neck. I made quite a fashion statement!

Sea Ruler had sweat stains down all four legs to his ankles. I had been riding in some tall weeds this morning and obviously picked up some big burrs which were tangled in his mane and tail. We were a bedraggled pair and, as the man said, looked as though we had put in the miles.

I turned to him very slowly and, in a very serious and deliberate manner, said, ”We did: we rode the whole way from Arizona and we just got here today.”

He stopped laughing to see what else I was going to say. I waited about five seconds– seemed like an eternity–and then laughed and said “No, I’m just kidding. You’d have to be crazy to ride a horse that far.”

He laughed with me in agreement and said, “You’re right, damned straight, you’d have to be plumb loco to ride a horse that far. For a minute I thought you were serious.”