Vermont Moonlight 75 2015

I will be crewing for my favorite endurance riders!  If you are interested in learning to crew, come on along and join me.  You will have me all to yourself for hours to pick my brain, get picked on, and have many good laughs!

The drive to Vermont was long but really uneventful.  For some reason, traffic on I-87 would stop and drag for no apparent reason (it’s possible that road fairies were dancing on windshields causing drivers to slow down and watch them in awe … not sure about that, though) .  And then once I got onto I-84, they had construction every three feet so traffic slowed a lot.

I thought I had totally gotten myself off course (and on a totally different continent) when I saw the signs for New Britian.  Due to construction, I had to spend some time working out an escape plan into North Britian.  Once I got us there, I was able to swim the channel and put us into Hartford so we could pick up I-91. I was sure I would miss the ride but fortunately, Poe was a great naggravator and she put me straight.

The rest of the trip was smooth sailing.

I arrived at base camp exactly when the ride briefing was to be held.

No?  Really???

I parked at Kevin’s rig and jumped out telling Poe to pee really really quick so we could get to the ride briefing.  I had not seen the crewing directions yet and I wanted to hear what the ride manager had to say.

Okay, *hearing* was not an option at this meeting, unless you were sitting right next to the ride manager.  We were right along the entrance road to the base camp, and while the meeting was going on there were big rigs coming in, marathon runners cars coming in and going out, two tractors and go carts and a couple 4-wheelers.  Yep, hearing anything was truthfully painful.  All I could hope for was that Kevin, Melissa and Lauren heard what they needed to hear because I couldn’t hear anything.

poe_campingBeing as the ride is a combination of 100 mile runners (apparently 333 entered) and 100k runners (another 78 entered) and the endurance riders (a total of 67 between the three distances) not only was parking at a premium, but dinner was to start at 5:30 pm so they could get all those people and their crews fed.  We quick ran back to Kevin’s rig where I set up Poe for her camping area.  She was quite content all weekend being under the trailer out of the sun.  She could see everything going on and wasn’t getting stepped on.  Shorty on Poe.  She has definitely turned out to be the absolute best camping dog ever.  She’s quiet, she sits and waits for me to come back without whining or carrying on and she never (EVER!) leaves the camping area, even when I forget to properly hook her collar and it comes off!

Poe had several visitors this weekend.  Yes, there were several dogs in camp that were not restrained.  I will call the Jack Russell “Pisser” because he peed on everything in our camp every time he came to visit her.  I must have stepped on Pisser three times while trying to get myself set up after we had dinner.  I was ready to kick him and send him flying when he must have realized what my body language was telling him and he skeedaddled all on his own.

Then a big brown dog (whom I’ll call “Floppy Ear” although I think his name is Max) made himself a nuisance at many camps throughout Friday night into Sunday morning.  He peed right on my garbage bag so I had to rinse it off before I could open it to throw stuff away.  He scared the beejeezus out of Poe when he charged up to her, hackles raised and all stiff legged, to greet her.  We were trying to do a potty walk and after he greeted her (and swiftly decided I was more of a threat than Poe was), she had lost all interest in peeing and just wanted to go back to her camp.  Poor Poe.  She is only 6 months old at this ride.

And lastly a little Chihuahua mix I’ll call “Growler” came over and made a huge fuss at Poe with raised hackles and bared teeth.  Poe sat there calmly watching his little Napoleon Syndrome antics without getting upset.  I, however, was upset because he was in our camp and when I went to grab him, he snapped at me so he DID get kicked … right to the curb and I told him not to come back … ever …

Why do I mention this?  Because dogs are supposed to be restrained in camp and I got my ass chewed at The Glass Rides about my “off-lead” dog sitting next to me, not causing any troubles at all.  Since that time I have become very aware of all the dogs that aren’t following the rules.  (And, you will read about these three dogs again later in the ride, so you need to know who I am referring to …)

After Poe’s big scare, we walked up to Melissa and Lauren’s camp so I could get the lowdown on what they wanted at the holds, how they wanted their horses fed, and what they were expecting.

SET EXPECTATIONS … this is my rule number 1 for life in general, and is most important when working with employees, dogs, children and (yes!) endurance riders.

They were very (very!) excited and between the two of them talking over each other trying to thanks me and give me instructions all at the same time, we did manage to get the expectations set and they promised to bring down their hold stuff later to put in the truck.  I had already been instructed by Kevin and his stuff was in the truck.  I also moved everything from my truck, into his truck, so that I was ready to roll in the morning.

I was also excited to be crewing.  I did learn several valuable lessons from last year’s crewing adventure (read that story here) so I came fully prepared for this crewing adventure.

FOOD … last year there were three crew members and one rider.  This year there are three riders and two crew members (Melissa’s son, Justin, was doing the rounds with me at this ride)  Last year, I had plenty of food for me, but the other two crew members completely forgot to provide themselves with food and drink enough for 24 hours.  Fortunately at that ride, I was able to ration out my own food stores and keep all three of us from starving to death.  This year, that is NOT going to happen to me, Justin or any of the riders.  I had Marc cook up a huge batch of chicky fingers and grill up some zucchini for finger food.  I also baked a batch of homemade blueberry brownies, bought a large bowl of veggies and dip, had a bag of Oreo cookies and brought tons of power bars and snack bars.  Oh yeah, I was the hit of the party!!!!  And through out the day, between the five of us, we managed to eat every bit of the stuff I brought!  No leftovers to take home.

(note from Melissa from facebook about the brownies … “I cannot stop thinking about the Blueberry Brownies and I am KICKING myself for not grabbing another one before you left!!”)

ENTERTAINMENT … seeing as how Justin was coming along as the “tote and carry” kid, I wasn’t worried about entertaining myself.  Justin is hysterically kooky, loves to ask questions, and is great company.  Plus, at this ride there are many Pit Crew (PC) stops along with the multiple Vet Check Holds, so I didn’t think I would have any time to get bored.

Finally, we have everything thrown in the back of the truck.  I told the riders to forget about organizing, I would do that after the first hold when I had it down what they needed.  The back of the truck is pretty ramshack but I know in my brain what’s in there so it’s all good.  Time to sit and have some chit-chat before bed time.

This is a MOONLIGHT ride, although there isn’t going to be a moon this weekend.


So the 100 mile runners will be leaving at 4:00 am – (must be finished by 10:00 am Sunday) we can expect the base camp to get very lively around 3:30 am and there probably won’t be much sleeping after that


the 100 mile endurance riders go out at 5:00 am. (must be finished by 5:00 am Sunday)

the 100k runners go out at 9:00 am. (must be finished by 6:00 am Sunday)

the 75 mile endurance riders go out at 9:15 am. (must be finished by 3:15 am Sunday)

and last but never forgotten …

the 50 mile endurance rider go out at 2:00 pm. (must be finished by 2:00 am Sunday)

The weather looks to be very volatile for Saturday’s ride.  They’re calling for thunderstorms in the morning, thunderstorms in the afternoon, thunderstorms in the evening.  And yes, I did pack my rain gear, enough for me and Justin plus extra for one of my riders, in case they needed it.  Oh, and I bought Poe a yellow rain coat, just in case.

I watched the runners go out from my nice comfortable bed, then laid back down for some more snoozing.  No sense in getting up, my Three Stooges do not leave until 9:15 am so there is plenty of snoozing time available to me.  It was neat to see the runners headlamps bobbing away into the dark, diminishing into tiny pin pricks of light before completely disappearing from sight.  I remember the three times I rode here, riding along side the runners was way cool.

At 6:00 am I get up because (1) Poe is begging me to take her potty and (2) I can’t sleep much past 5:30 on a good day, 6:00 on a bad day.  While walking around camp, “Flop Ear” ran up to Poe again, scaring the beejezus out of her (again) and I was ready to boot him to the curb when I heard my name.

I look up and Michelle is coming towards me holding her belly.  She’s crying and telling em she needs help.  She said she got up and everything was fine and then suddenly her belly started hurting and she didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know what to do, either, but the runners had EMT on site so I took her over to the medical tent and hooked her up with the runners people.  They quickly jumped to action and I bowed out of the situation.  I saw an ambulance come and get her.  We all tried guessing what happened to her during the course of the day until word was finally apssed down that she had an ovarian cyst pop.

OH MY FREAKIN’ GOSH … I know exactly what that feels like, no wonder she was crying so much.  (read my second book, there is a whole story in there about that.)

I was sorry she didn’t get to ride but I am thankful is wasn’t her appendix or gall bladder rupturing.

I am writing this story HOLD to PC to HOLD per the directions given to the crew – I had the absolute best time crewing for The Three Stooges and I have to say I was a bit challenged caring for three riders on a 75 mile ride but Justin was a most excellent tote and carry guy, and these riders were pretty self sufficient, so I really just got to enjoy the ride from the other side of things.
Out on trailThey all tacked up and got out on trail at exactly 9:15 am.  Czar is looking like Czar.  Chillaxed and “Whatever”. He quickly took over the lead heading out on trail and looked very good.  I cheered them out on trail and was watching the sky at the same time.  It was getting pretty dark to the west of us and I knew that we were going to get wet sooner than later.  I was hoping it would hold off until I could get into the first hold and set things up.  We had a couple e-z up canopies, so I was prepared to get those going if we would need them.  I also made sure all my rain gear was in the truck because I was sure I was going to be needing that pretty soon, too!
melissa_outAlthough I have ridden some trail with Lauren, so I know how her horse Getcha goes, I have not ridden with Melissa since she got her new horse, Emu.  I have no idea how he goes or what he likes or what he does.  I will figure it all out after the first hold!  Lauren and Melissa were smiling and joking and singing as they left the hold out on trail.  I did have a brief moment of jealousy for them to be riding without me, but then I remembered that this was going to be just as fun from the ground!  I was READY to become a master Strapper (what they call crew chiefs in Australia – I learned that from Paul at this ride.  It took me a while to wrap my mind around that word, but I did finally get it.)

Moonlight in Vermont 75 pit crew directions


These directions get you there with minimal driving on trail.

Ride Hold #2 (75 miler Hold #1) Highbrook Farm – mile 18 -Opens 9:45am closes 1:30pm 45 minute hold

Crews leave base camp no sooner than 10 minutes after horses leave. Please park as directed.  [from camp to Hold #2 it is about 8.3 miles about 20 minutes driving]

WHOO HOO, riders are out on trail and everything is in the truck so I have time to go pee, let Poe do her business and find Justin.  He’s harder to find than a black cat in the dark woods.  Everytime I was looking for him, all day, he was somewhere that I wasn’t.


Maybe he was tired of being called a Crew Minion.

I get around the corner walking with Poe towards the porta-johns when here comes fierce ol’ Floppy Ear.  I put on my best “Go The Bleep Home” body stance and he took one look at me, turned around and slunk back to his trailer.  He looked his owner right in the eye then shot up the hill towards someone’s camp.  I heard Cate yelling for him to come back.  Cate promptly took him to his trailer yet never once fussed at his owner.

Hmmmm –

hold1Fifteen minutes after The Three Stooges hit the trail, Justin and I put Poe in the back seat and we headed for Vet Check #1.  The crewing instructions were perfect.  The sky is looking mighty grim but the view from our parking spot is absolutely breath taking.  I started unloading things from the truck and setting them up when Justin suggested putting up one of the canopies, “Just in case”.

Great idea because shortly after we arrived, the sky opened up and it was a torrential downpour, complete with lightning, thunder and darkness.


We sat under the canopy waiting for The Three Stooges and Justin began to become worries that his mom (Melissa) would pull at this hold.  She gets very cold very easily and then her hands and feet ache.  It was a very cold rain and it was drenching everything with very little effort.  It also did not seem to want to let up, just poured from the sky like the cloud fairies were dumping out buckets of wet joy.

hold1_RAIN1Soon our soaked riders came into the hold and quickly vetted through.  We all stood under the canopy waiting out the rain while the horses ate every bit of their food I had set out.  The only peep we heard from Poe all day was at this hold when she got stepped on by Melissa.  Melissa felt so badly about it all day that every time she came into a hold she greeted Poe first and gave her a hug.

And they’re off.  Melissa surprised Justin by taking some hand warmers and venturing back out on trail.  The rain did start to let up as they were leaving.  I heard two crew members from another team say they heard the rain would stop until late afternoon.  I was hoping they were correct.

Yes, this is the third time I “eaves dropped” and I did that all day.  It was how I managed to stay informed!

Now, we pack up and go to the first Pit Crew (PS) Stop.  Before I continue, let me say that having all these PC stops kept the day moving quickly and without any boredom.  I really liked all the PC stops in between the holds.  At a PC stop, we simply work off the tail gate with munchies and refill saddle bags or camel backs then the riders go on down the trail.  it’s a nice little break from the trail work for the horses and a nice break for the crew to be able to see their riders all the time.

Now, here I am going to mention that I was not happy with the small amount of food that Melissa and Lauren gave me for their horses.  I had read the crew book, knew how many stops and holds they had, and knew that I had two very large horses to keep happy.  I started right at Hold #1 rationing their grain sores so they’d have enough for the entire ride.  I felt like Scrooge at every hold and PC because I felt like they should be given more than I was giving them.  Miss Daizy would have kicked me in the head if I had rationed her food so frugally at a hold.

PC#4 – Smith’s (mile 24) Crews only, no spectators.

DO NOT BLOCK trail. [from Hold #2 to PC#4 it is 4 miles about 8 minutes]

True to their directions, I arrive in 9 minutes (I am a slow driver, I got called “Granny” all day.  Guess that made up for me calling Justin “Minion” all day.)

Nice thing was, I got to see a couple of the 100 mile riders at this PC, one of them being Kyle.  I am so very proud of him and his life.  I got to hug him and give him a “Good Luck” kiss on the cheek.  I probably embarrassed him, but oh well.  I love him and he’ll get over it.

tailgaitingThe Three Stooges arrived about three seconds after I got the tail gate prepared for their arrival.  None of the horses were really interested in anything other than carrots, the riders (however) were ready for some snacks and Lauren stole my cigarette.


I was Lauren’s hero all day for keeping her nicotine levels acceptable.

Now we pack up and move on to their second hold.

HOLD #3 (hold #2 for 75 milers) Mitchell’s –mile 35  Opens 1pm closes 6pm
50 minute hold  (watch speed limit signs!)  [from PC#4 to Hold #3 it is 7 miles about 13 minutes]
This is a long hold, 50 minutes, so I knew they’d have time to eat lunch and get hydrated and sit down for a bit.  I chose a perfect spot under a huge pine tree so they would have a ton of shade.  Justin and I got out all the chairs and set them up, put the food stuffs for the horses in appropriate places and set the coolers on the tail gate so the riders could get at the food easily.
We had a little time to wait for The Three Stooges so Justin and I had a great conversation about guns (he loves guns, have to hook him up with Marc someday) and school (and how terrible going to school is) and poodles (Poe took over the conversation for this subject).
We ate our lunch and got all fueled up for when the craziness started.  Because I chose a spot so far away from the timer and vets, about the time I thought The Three Stooges should be coming in, we took water buckets, sponges and some feed pans in the cart up to the entrance.  I am SO GOOD, that we arrived there about three minutes before they came in.
The sun had come out about a half an hour before they arrived and it spent all it’s time stoking up the humidity fairies.  Those freakin’ fairies were on over drive, sprinkling around the humidity into every inch of the air where we were waiting in the hold.  The air was getting so thick it was hard to breathe.
As they rolled into the hold, I told them to just drop their tack right there and start sponging.  Justin and I kept their buckets full of water from the tub the ride management (conveniently) set at the entrance to the timer tent. Unfortunately, I was very busy at this hold so I did not get any cool pictures.
Kevin was the first to go into the pulsing area and Czar was at 64.
And then he did his trot out, which looked perfectly “Czar-like” to me, but the vet wasn’t happy about it.  he had A’s and B’s on his vet check and then the vet told Kevin that they were holding his card for a retrot.  She wasn’t happy with his trot.
Okay.  I took Czar and left Justin to pull the cart full of saddles and tack back to the hold area.  Czar and I ate some slurry, picked at some grain and he was kinda sluggish.  I told Kevin to go eat and drink and I would let Czar have some grass while we waited 20 minutes to take him back for a recheck.
I found a tasty section of grass in the shade and Czar started munching away.  Melissa and Lauren had Justin holding their horses, who were slurping up their food like crazy.  Then they hit the food.
FOOD!!!!!  I smiled all day from these two ladies.  They loved the chicky fingers.  They loved the brownies.  They loved the oreo cookies.  They ate at every hold and they were happy all day.
We take Czar back for a retrot and he passes fine.  Kevin thought maybe he put him to the vets a little quick.  I thought maybe The Three Stooges were moving too quickly down trail because they came in a full 20 minutes before I expected them to come in.  I said something to Kevin about it and they had a Three Stooges meeting.
Unfortunately for my own entertainment value, they did not do the meeting in an official “Three Stooges” manner.
Long hold, everyone ate, drank, peed and hydrated.  The horses actually emptied all the buckets we set out and then a little bit.  Czar didn’t clean up his pan and Emu didn’t eat his apples so I started a “leftover” bucket.
Soon, they’re all saddled and mounted up and ready to roll again.  I am feeling pretty miserable in the heat and I suspect they are, too, but I never once heard a single complaint out of any of them.  They were the most amazing riders to crew for.  And by the end of the evening, it made me ashamed (again) for being a butt head at Old Dominion.
There is no PC between Hold #2 and Hold #3.  They are riding a short ten miles, but it is a brutal uphill ten miles.  I remember this ten miles very well, it is the ten miles that kicked me and Connie’s butt on our first attempt at the Vermont Moonlight back in 2004.
HOLD #4 Tuacknback – (hold #3 for 75 milers) mile 45 -Opens 3pm closes 9pm 45 minute hold, Someone will tell you where to park, parking will be tight so please follow directions. Is it time for lighted & reflective gear yet???
[from Hold #3 to Hold #4 it is 10.9 miles about 20 minutes]


That’s right … the riders have ten miles to travel and we have eleven miles to travel.  I knew this hold coming up and it’s a pain in my ass.  You have to park way far away and then lug everything you need to a spot where you can set up for crewing.  It’s okay if the crew has one horse to lug for … but THREE?

OH MY!  Justin better stop hanging out with the hide-n-seek fairies and help me get all this stuff moved.

Since the sun is shining so hot right now, I take time to spread out the sheets and coolers that were drenched at hold #1.  Kevin’s truck got buried under blankets.  I made sure to cover the windshield, too … to try and keep the inside of the truck cooler.  We were doing okay in the front seat with the windows down, but poor Poe int he back seat did not have a window to go down.  She was getting hot traveling this time of the day.

It takes us two trips but we got everything over there.  I was lucky!  I got a nice spot in the shade right where the timers were checking in riders.


We were only 20 feet away from the vetting area.  In the shade.  And we had a great view of everything going on.  I saw a couple horses get pulled at this vet hold.  One of those horses was Kyle’s  horse.  The horse had thumps.  I have heard about it, read about it, seen it in YouTube videos but had never witnessed it in person so I “abandoned post” to pick the vet’s brain and to visibly view it and touch it for myself.

Very educational.  Synchronous diaphragmatic flutter (SDF), or equine thumps, presents itself as a rhythmic thumping noise in a horse’s flanks. The phrenic nerve, which runs across the heart, controls contraction of the diaphragm, but, during episodes of thumps, this nerve is hypersensitive.  Usually due to a metabolic imbalance of dehydration combined with low calcium.

HOLD3I had hoped that the meeting between The Three Stooges went well and they had really agreed to slow down.  I knew this loop well and figured them to come in around 5:00 to 5:30ish (if they were taking their time) … right on time, here they come.  Now, I’m not sure if they were getting delirious from the heat, or if they smoking something they found out in the woods, but they came in laughing and giggling … and they pretty much stayed like that throughout the entire hold time.  I was cracking up at their antics.  What a lot of fun I was having today, to be sure!

Czar presented to the vets and I heard the one vet tell the other vet, “Wow, 44 HR, that’s the lowest we have seen all day here.”  And his CRI was 44/48 and the other vet said, “Wow, that’s the best CRI we’ve seen all day.”

czar_hold3GO CZAR.

And now that Czar is a rock star, he is demanding attention.  Get me this, rub me here, where’s some hay, what about a massage on my shoulder, need some kisses and hugs, stop looking at Poe and get over here Lady …

yada yada yada … what a swollen head HE got from those two vets comments.  I swear, I think that the horses were allowed to smoke something out in the woods before this vet check, too because they ALL had the munchies something fierce.

Remember that leftover bucket of goopy slurry, soggy feed and mushy carrots and apples?  Well, I sat it down with the other stuff, not thinking they would eat it, and Getcha cleaned it up.  ALL OF IT and then proceeded to lick the bucket clean.

Well, ride management cannot fuss at me now!  We were instructed “DO NOT DUMP LEFTOVER GRAIN IN THE HOLDS” because we were on private property and the home owner’s dogs would eat it then get the diarrhea on the carpets and … well … you get the idea.

LAUREN_HOLD3Lauren was so amazed at how well Getcha was eating at every hold.  I told her it was my magic feeding routine.  Czar taught me how to measure and load the corners of the round pan with individual feeds so they could pick out what they wanted to eat.  Getcha really liked his smorgasbord of choices and  happily ate everything.



This was my all time favorite hold.  The Three Stooges were in high spirits, Justin was in sight almost the entire time, Poe was all the volunteers favorite visitor and we were having a blast.  It was also the last time I saw my riders dry and in the light.  They all set up their night time riding gear and were ready to conquer Vermont in the dark when they left the hold.  I was sad to see them leave because it was like the party died.

Oh no, now I have to truck all this stuff back over to the truck.

And I miss The Three Stooges.

On to the next Pit Crew Stop.

PC#5 –Smoke Rise -(mile 52) – (CREW VEHICLES ONLY, ROAD CLOSED TO ALL OTHER VT100 TRAFFIC) [from Hold #4 to PC #5 it is 6.8 miles about 15 minutes]

We arrive at this Pit Crew stop and thank goodness we were the second rig there because although the person guiding us into this driveway said we could go up and turn around, she LIED.

LIAR!!!!  Maybe in a car I could turnaround … but turning this big ass dually in this skinny ass driveway … not happening sista.

I did it only because there were no other rigs in here to shack into.


justinIt’s getting dark quickly as we put stuff out on the tail gate.  Dark because storms are moving in and it’s sprinkling on and off.  I can hear rumbling from far off and judging by the cloud moving swiftly across the sky, I know what’s coming … and very soon.  I have a short story about this picture.  I was putting stuff out and Justin sat in the chair.  I gave him the mommy WTF look (remarkably, he understood that coming from me) and he said to me, just as serious as could be ….  “Yeah, it is my job to keep this chair dry.”

Okay, I will admit that cracked me up.  Because it was sprinkling and I was sure the sky would open up and any second, I left Poe in the truck.  It’s the first time I didn’t unload her when we got out.  She very quietly (and ladylike) and patiently waited on my seat.  Oh yeah, she figured out how to clamber over the mountains of dry gear we had stuffed in the back seat to plop her little fuzzy cuteness in my seat.

Now it’s raining so Justin gives up on his dry chair job and gets in the truck with me.  I pulled out my rain slicker and get ready for our guys to come down the hill into the PC.  I had the windows open because it’s stinking hot out, but soon the rain was coming in so we had to close them.

Arghhhh … it’s steaming up in here pretty quickly.  I asked Justin and Poe to stop breathing but they ignored me.

I got the idea to just drape towels over the doors and open the windows back up.

Whew.  I can breathe again.

And here they come.  I throw on my slicker and jump out to greet them.

Do you know they are still giggling and having a great time.  I am hoping the rain is cooling the horses off because I didn’t set out any sponging water, just some treats for the horses, some water to drink and people drinks for the riders.

They didn’t stick around long at all.  The horses were not interested in drinking and the riders were not interested in conversation.

I wave them off and start throwing stuff back into the truck.

Whew.  On to the next PC.

(told you I wasn’t bored at all!)

PC#6 – Ashley Packenham’s (mile 57 for 75 milers) Turn R out of driveway. Go back up Reeves road and L onto Morgan Hill Road. (I added the directions because … well, keep on reading) [from PC #5 to PC #6 it is 3.4 miles about 9 minutes]
(and it’s only a five mile trot for the riders so we need to hop to it and get there quickly.)

Oh yeah, did I turn left onto Morgan Hill Road?


Did I get all the way out to Rt 106 before I discovered my mistake?


Am I now running out of time to get to the next PC?



I make a U-Turn on Rt 106 and boogey at a whopping 25 mph back the way I came.  Yep, and it’s pouring the rain so I can’t see anything.  I pass the road where I came out of the last PC and then I tell Justin to watch for the next road sign.  Why did I ask him this?

  1.   I am holding a flashlight on the directions so I can read them and drive at the same time.  Very interesting way to drive in an area you don’t know BTW … I advise trying this sometime.
  2. .  It’s raining and I can’t see the road signs.
  3.   It’s getting dark and I can’t see the road signs.
  4.   Justin needs a job, he’s starting to nod off in the passenger seat.

I find the turn and


The rain has turned the driveway and the entrance into the field into a goose grease mess.  And it’s a very sharp turn from a very narrow dirt lane into the field.  This big ass dually is like …

Really, Lady?

I’m like …

“Get your fat ass into four-wheel and get into gear and get up there.”

We are going sideways in the mus, slinging tons of it all over the nice pie plates they have setup for the runners and the riders and I refuse to give up.

“DUALLY!  Get up this hill NOW!”

She groans and moans and slings mud at me through the window but she manages to get up the hill.  I’m afraid to stop moving but there is a runner in front of me, walking, and I don’t want to run him over, either.

“Left turn, DUALLY!”

She shifts sideways in the mud and misses the runner by six inches.  He might have gotten some mud slung at him, not sure, it was dark and I couldn’t see much.

Justin is ash white and clinging to Poe like a life preserver.

The two dudes already in the PC and watching me like I have had too many acid flashbacks.

Another runner makes the turn behind me and throws his hands up in front of his face to ward off the mud slinging fiesta we have going on.

And we make it.  I throw her into park, get out and give her a big hug – right on her muddy front fender.

I look up at the two dudes sitting there (shirtless, by the way – THANK YOU FOR THAT!) and I say …

“Give me four wheel drive and I’ll have fun any where, any time!”

They laugh and congratulate me on not killing anyone within a three mile radius.


It is raining pretty good and then all of a sudden …

s i l e n c e

Justin let’s go of Poe, just in time, too – she almost passed out from his death grip, and he ventures out of the truck into the

s i l e n c e

and I put on Poe’s fancy lighted leash so we can see where the black dog is in the black night.  I put out the stuff on the tail gate and then think that I should actually mix up some grain for the horses.

Very quietly Justin asks me.

“How do you know that we didn’t miss them?”

Okay, is this his way of saying we were lost for too long?

Right as he asked that, two horses that were running about 15 minutes ahead of The Three Stooges came into the PC and went over to the guys wearing no shirts.

How lucky are those girls.  YUMMY!

I tell Justin that we’re just in time.

I am standing next to the dually, petting her and telling her how wonderful she was to get us into that field when one of the ladies says my name “Dodie?”

How’s come everyone knows who I am but I have no clue who they are?

“Aye yup?”

“Is it okay to pee right here by you?”

“Sure … want me to check to color of that for you?”

She giggles.

Only an endurance rider will understand.

When she’s done, the other woman comes over and before she can ask I say …

“No worries, I can check you color, too if you want.”

She giggles.

Justin is choking and asks me why people are peeing next to our truck.  I really didn’t know how to answer that question so I changed the subject and asked him if he wanted some Deet Spray.  The mosquitoes were starting to chew on me.

We sprayed ourselves down but I think the mosquitoes have sstock in the Deet company because they were immune to it’s properties.

We spent the next couple minutes slapping and smacking and scratching.


Then I hear …

“JUSTIN?  You there?”

And here they come.  They are not so perky at this PC and they are kinda limp in the saddle.  They all chose to get off for a couple minutes and let their horses recharge on the thick grass in the field.  I swarmed all over them like I was made of fire ants and asked what they needed, what they wanted, did they drink, eat, etc.  I wasn’t worried about their horses at this point, all three of them were munching on grass.

Good horsies!

Poe’s brightly lit red leash was a hit with The Three Stooges.  They loved the glow and Melissa picked up Poe and gave her a hug.

Kevin didn’t want to tarry so they mounted back up and off they went.


Off to the last Vet Hold for the 75 milers.

HOLD #5 O&H Farm – mile 63  Opens 6pm closes 11:45pm  30 minute hold
[from PC #6 to Hold #5 it  is 4.6 miles about 13 minutes]

Now we are in the pitch black darkness that only a country night devoid of moon can provide.  We had been advise at the ride meeting to be very very careful of the runners after dark.  Although most of them  had headlamps or flashlights, some runner preferred to be without them when they were getting eye tired.  We were asked to turn off our headlamps when approaching riders or runners.

I know why!  I ride at night a lot and headlights really hurt my eyes coming down the road, can’t imagine what that does to a horse’s eyes.

So, the above instructions about 13 minutes to get to the hold is a lie.


With the exception of about a mile and a half of paved road, I spent 4.6 miles creeping in the dark with only my flashlight to show me the way on service roads that were the trail portions for runners and riders.  The runners were very thick at this point and I started counting and gave up after we had passed thirty-five of them.  We also passed a couple riders.  Really the first riders I had seen on trail all day.

This hold is a war zone.  Crews are getting tired and they are cranky.  Riders are getting tired and I heard a couple riders fussing at their crew.  (see, it isn’t just me!)  Parking is very very tight.  The nicest part of this hold is that we are on a horse facility with a lighted indoor arena for the riders to get their vet in and trot outs.

I pull out the last of the rations for Getcha and Emu.  I played it well all day and they have exactly enough for this hold.  Czar has enough for this hold and for the next PC and the finish line.  We are pinched in between two rigs with barely walking room so I carefully set buckets of water and feed in line with the dually so we are not encroaching on the neighbor’s crewing space.  This took some mad skill on figuring out how to stuff three horses and riders into a space no wider than a truck and about as long as a truck.  That’s all the space I had for them.

While I am returning to our hold setup after taking Poe for a pee walk, I overhear a crew asking if anyone has tums.  Her rider is nauseous and struggling.  I holler out into the darkness.

“We have pepto bismol.”

From the dark, over to the left I hear a thankful reply.  “Seriously?  Where are you?  Keep talking and I’ll find you.”

I grin in the dark and holler out.  “Can  you see the red lighted leash?  Come into the light!”

“Oh … you’re Kevin’s crew with the poodle.  Coming!”

I give her the bottle of Pepto Bismol and she hugs me tight.  I have no idea who she is, I can’t see her face in the dark, but she was very thankful.

“I promise to bring this right back after I give some to Sarah.”  And true to her word, she did bring it back.  She also told me that she is now adding Tums and Pepto to the people first aid kit.  I told her I also had Imodium in my kit, too … because you never know.

Now I have a rider name.  I find out later that she is our next door neighbor at the Base Camp, and she is on the 100 mile ride.  They thanked me over and over the next day because I saved Sarah.  Now, it is rude to eavesdrop, and I had been doing it all day, but in this case it was a very good thing I did!

Justin is getting very sleepy and is sitting with his head against the dually and his eyes closed.  I flashed the light over him once in a while just to make sure he didn’t fall out of the chair.

The rig on our left packed up and started to leave.  They were cutting their tires way to sharp and were rolling into the area where I had all the buckets set up.  I leap off the tailgate, almost choking poor Poe in the process as her red lighted leash tangled in my feet, and I’m waving my arms and hollering as loud as possible.


They totally ignore me and in the heat of the battle to get from hold to hold, they run over the little orange bucket, it’s guts spilling all over the grass in a dark gooey oozing mess.


And off they go into the dark, totally unconcerned that they have most likely killed the orange bucket that was diligently and faithfully fought the battle of feeding horses all day and had just given up the last of it’s grain to the war effort.

I quickly scoop as much of the slurry guts off the ground as I can and then perform some emergency field surgery on the bucket.  I did save it’s life, however it will bear the scars of the battle wounds received from being run over for the rest of it’s life

And then I hear, “Justin?  Are you there?”

Harumph … what is up with that.  Twice now they  holler out into the dark as they come in for Justin … maybe they don’t want anyone to know I’m in the hold.


They come over and since tack off is an option in this hold, Melissa and Lauren leave their stuff on their horses.  Kevin takes Czar’s stuff off and I ask him if he will be wanting dry pad and girth for the final 12 miles.  He thinks on it a moment and then says, No.

After cooling them down a bit, they head into the arena for the vetting.  I follow along behind Czar.  He’s not as perky as he’d been at the last hold but his tail is still up and his ears are perked forward.  Getcha and Emu look great, still hopping up and down during their trot out.  The vets tell Kevin to come back for a recheck.

NOW WHAT?  Czar’s trot out looked good, dragging his back toes a bit but Kevin says that’s normal.  He had A’s and B’s on everything else.


Crickets are singing in the high grass behind us and all Three Stooges are quiet.  They eat up the last of the chicky fingers, hammer the oreo cookies and drink.  We discuss the next PC which is also a runner stop so it is sure to be full of people.  We decide that they will not need me there and I should go back to base camp and meet them at the finish line.  I am good with that plan.  Justin is pretty groggy and he doesn’t care one way or the other.

Poor Justin, up way past his nite-nite time.

They’re out at 11:31 pm.  12 miles to go and I am expecting them at the finish line around 1:45 ish … time to go.  All day I had been carefully dumping and rinsing and stacking stuff so I could lay my hands on it quickly and efficiently.  Now, with Justin barely moving at a snail’s pace, I decide to just toss stuff in the back and be done with it when we get back to Base Camp.  I have about two hours to get things ready for the finish line so I’m not at all concerned.

PC#7  Polly Smith’s Little Brook Farm  (mile 70 for 75)  We skip this and roll right into base camp.

FINISH LINE – NO TRUCKS AT THE FINISH LINE. – Please leave items at the finish before you leave camp and/or carry items to the designated area. Water will be available at the finish. Riders can go to their rigs before their completion exam. The finish timer will be in the tent at the finish line.  You MUST have a finish time on the rider’s card in order to complete the completion exam.

I park the dually at our base camp and instruct Justin to simply grab stuff I am handing him and stack it alongside for Melissa and Lauren.  I separate out their stuff in quick order.  Justin is moving very slowly.

I then give him the cart and ask him to open it up so we can put finish line stuff in it.  I’m thinking his foggy brain isn’t comprehending my conversation because he leaned the cart on the dually and sat down in his chair.

Oh boy.

I encourage him to move for me a little bit longer and we manage to get the cart opened up and packed with finish line food stuffs.  As the ladies had no grains left, I packed their alfalfa hay bag.  I gave the orange bucket a thorough exam and decided it was ready to go back into battle so I loaded it with the rest of Czar’s grain stuffs.  Now that is all gone.  I pack coolers for the horses and I’m ready.

Justin says he’s going to go lay down for half and hour then he’ll meet me at the finish line.

I just grin.  I know better having raised boys of my own. At this point, once his teenaged body hits the sheets, he’s gone forever until morning.

It’s all good.  Poe is still actively alert and watching everything going on so we’re all good.

I sit and wait until 1:30 and then drag the cart through the swamp to the finish line.  There are three other crews in the finish line area so I set up away from them.  I have to give us enough room for The Three Stooges to spread out.  We are downhill and down wind of the other crews so I sit down on the stool and light up a cigarette.

I no sooner get two drags off my cigarette until Cate is yelling at me.  “Dodie, what the fuck.  Put out that damn cigarette.”

I am totally shocked.  I put out the smoke and I overhear her saying to the other crew person with her, “What is she thinking, smoking in the crew area.”

Oh, wow.


Their horse leaves the crewing area and goes into the final vetting area.  I wait a minute then I light up another smoke.  My thought process is, it’s 1:45 am and I figure if she wants to run back up the hill and yell at me, that’s her concern.

last holdI no sooner got this second cigarette lit when I hear, “Justin?  You there?”


I peer intot he foggy darkness and see very faint glowsticks (the dots in this picture is exactly what I saw!)  I yell back, “No, it’s just me and Poe, sorry.”

I hear Kevin say, “Follow that red light to Poe.”


I direct them to the water tub to get their horses drinks.  They say they had been walking for the past couple miles so the horses should be rather cooled off.  They threw their tack and saddles on the ground and let them eat a little bit then headed through the swamp to the vet tent.  To fog was really thick and was making a wonderful smoky effect to everything at the vetting tent.  I didn’t go down with them as I started picking up their things and stacking them into the cart.

Now I wish I had Justin.  This cart is HEAVY with all this gear in it and I have to drag it through the swamp to the road and then uphill back to our camping area.


I ask Poe if she will help me and she looks at me like I’m nuts.

double sigh.

I am watching trot outs in between stacking gear and then see all Thee Stooges leaving the vetting area with smiles on their faces.

SUCCESS!  They all three completed the Vermont 75 mile Moonlight Ride at 2:00 am, finishing Turtle.


My my my, what a fantastic day I had.

100 – 18 starters 7 finishers. 50- 27 starters 15 finishers. 75- 15 starters 13 finishers.

(note from Melissa thru facebook about Poe as a Crew Member … “OH, and let’s not forget the lovely POE!! I loved hugging and smooching her at every VC!! Best Crew Dog Ever!!”)