Day 1: Just Horsin’ around

Location: Glenworth Valley, New South Wales

Once upon a time, a long time ago, a girl went horse riding on a school camp. She had a great time and promptly repressed the (quickly returning) memory of the horse galloping off away from the group with her still astride. As with most young girls, the idea was already firmly entrenched, and no near accident could sway it. Horses = magic.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm also sitting alone in the cold waiting for a tiny little flame to boil a relatively huge kettle of water so you'll excuse my rambling in my attempt to keep some feeling in my fingers. I considered cooking my dinner within my nice warm van. But quickly decided that gas cookers and confined spaces did not mix.

Anyways! My day started with a mad dash to the shops, as I had forgotten to get cash out yesterday. And if only I could convince myself to be up and out of bed at 6.30am every Saturday I would have a new favourite shopping time - everything I needed was open, and yet there were NO customers! Best parking spot? Mine. First in the queue at the ATM? Mine. First still warm Danish for breakfast from Bakers Delight? Oh yes, that would be mine.

20110702-001 Glenmore Park at 6am

Back home, I had just enough time to throw the last few items I needed in my bag (hate packing) and finish off the last few chapters of my book before Nenie, DD, Uncle Glen and Hannah arrived to ferry me off to pick up the campervan.

The van, aptly named Fish, was running a little behind as it was still enjoying it's start-of-trip bath, but was worth the wait. Painted up both sides I was very happy to be one step closer to driving around in the painted up Kombi Van I always wanted. (And yes Brett, Filmore is accompanying me quite nicely).






My road trip was put on hold for half an hour or so as I was oh-so-close to Denise's house and there was no way I was going to pass that up. I drove the eleven minutes to her house and had to make a circle of her street before I saw her waving out the front. The fact that I had difficulty over an eleven minute trip WITH the aid of James the GPS does not bode well...

After a quick stop in visit - where I met parents and had amazing cake (I was only half joking about stealing your mum, Denise, I could use an on-the-road chef to handle this gas cooker) - headed off in earnest.

First and foremost - I love this van. Really. It drives so smoothly and I love being up so high (a sentiment I would later regret)! And it didn't even take long to get used to the size or the mirrors. In fact the only awkward moment of today's driving was yelling out "I spy water, I WIN!" to the empty passenger seat!

(Okay enough is enough, the water will just have to make do with it's current temperature. Two minute noodles, instant coffee and some diced peaches. Yum! I have a new found respect for the guys making pesto while we were camping - their fire building skills wouldn't go astray either.)

So where was I? Oh yes, loving the van. Quick bathroom break (amid fifty thousand other caravanners) at Moony Moony boat ramp but other than that, straight on to today's destination: Glenwood Valley Park.



And what do they do here? Well, among other things they have horse riding.

And oh look, we're back to one full, stupid circle.

I'll confess: I thought myself something of a secret horse whisperer. I mean horses are shiny, I love shiny things! And they always come and talk to me at the fence and let me rub their soft fuzzy noses. What more to it was there than that? I was set!

Did you know horses are bigger on the other side of the fence?

They walked me over to a pretty little horseling named Suede (which personally I thought a little mean - but I named my cow Stroganoff, so who am I to talk?) I gulped and thought, yup, okay, I can handle this.

Yeah, well then the horse guy (handler? Stable hand?) took another look at me and realised that I was a little bigger than most of the other riders today and wisely decided that a larger horse would probably be best. I'm okay with that, makes perfect sense - better for me, safer for the horse... Except he didn't bring back a horse. He bought back a monster of a creature! I actually checked his hoofs to see if it was a Clydesdale.

Perhaps you're thinking I'm exaggerating. I'll give you that, even I thought I was working myself up a bit. However, no less than four people (two of whom worked there) looked up at me dubiously and mentioned what a big horse he was. Now I ensured that I was under the weight limit before booking so I have to believe that this giant horse was not only to cater for me, and was in fact the universe's way of paying me back for my ill-founded confidence. Either way, message received.

The ride was a guided one with about seven of the ten people being first time riders - so no worries there, but I quickly (QUICKLY) began to regret the two hour time frame. What are these people thinking making their beginner rides go for two hours?? The scenery was beautiful, but I didn't get a chance to truly enjoy it as I was desperately counting down minutes in my head.

Handsome, my radioactive gigantor horse, and I actually got on fairly well. I think he was a bit of a lazy old guy who thought his size granted him right of way everywhere he went - much to the annoyance of the horses he insisted on cutting off. The only issues we had was his apparent dislike of the tiny dappled pony (being ridden by the group's only child) and his tendency to rub his chin on the toe of my shoe, threatening to dislodge me from the saddle. We quickly became a grand team - every time the guide told us to "up, Up, UP!" into a trot, we both gave her matching glares, trotted (him trotting, me holding on to the saddle with white knuckles) until we were in the thick of the group and then slowed off to a more civilised speed. Good ol' Handsome.

After dismounting with a quick hug and a severe case of jelly legs I maneuvered my van into my designated space (so unbelievably glad I was camping here) and went about settling in for the night.

So now that I have rambled through my meal and have but a mouthful of my coffee remaining, I will bid you all goodnight. Or day rather, as I will be holding this post until I find a hotspot tomorrow.

KMs traveled: 80
Bridges crossed: 6 (3 by car, 3 on horseback)
Times I bashed my head on caravan: 2

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