Yeoldfurt and I have racked up a lot of miles on the highway over the years. I moved from Texas to New Mexico when we got married in 1999 and the move itself involved three or four trips back and forth. I had only been there a few weeks when he got transferred to a location 60 miles further north so we moved again. Five months later, we moved back to Texas. By the time we bought our little place south of Houston, we both decided we were putting down roots. Neither of us wanted to hear the 'M' word (as in 'move') again for a long, long time. For the first few years, we spent many a weekend hauling horses up to Lake Somerville for overnight camping and trail riding. The more time we spent around Lake Somerville, the more we realized this was the part of Texas we really liked. So we started working on a relocation plan. It took us a couple of years and many, many road trips to meet real estate agents and look at different properties. But we were finally able to move up here in the summer of 2006. The property we bought is twice the acreage that we had at the old place and is a brick home versus the singlewide mobile we had at the old place. It has definitely been a step up. But the best part is that the driveway here is only a 30 minute haul to the trails at Lake Somerville. Yes, it has definitely been a good move.
Today, we got to take a road trip down to our old stomping grounds to buy a new hay ring. Yes, they sell hay rings up here ...but choices locally are limited. We could buy a welded steel ring for about $130 but, being steel, it will inevitably rusts apart and become a hazard to the horses. The only other choice locally is a new plastic tubing model that (choke) costs $299! Uh ...not happening. When we lived at the old place, we had a galvanized hay ring that was extremely sturdy and was designed as two pieces that 'pinned' together so it was extremely easy for one person to maneuver. Being galvanized, it was also extremely rust-resistant. We had owned it for over five years when we moved and it was in perfect shape. But we left it behind because we had decided round bales didn't work for us. They didn't work at the old place because that place was only about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and the climate is incredibly humid. Even with seven horses, the big round hay bales would mold before the horses could eat them down. Moldy hay can kill a horse, so we would end up having to burn half the bale more often than not. Where we live now, we are at least 150 miles from the coast and the humidity is much lower. Round bales are cheaper pound for pound and it's certainly less labor to put one round bale out every two weeks rather than wrangling square bales every day. So it wasn't long after we moved here that we decided to buy a hay ring. We bought a steel one locally and it is literally rusting to pieces now, a little over four years later. We don't want to buy a new hay ring every few years or risk a horse getting injured on rusty metal, so we decided to head back to the old stomping grounds today and pick up a galvanized ring. The heavy duty model was only $135 and I promise you, it will be in good shape and still serving it's intended purpose a lot longer than I am! We had to drive down in the big diesel and at $3.49/gallon, we probably spend $60 in gas but it was worth it. We also met my sister and her three grandkids and two other long-time friends for lunch while we down there. Lunch was another $30, but it was also well worth it because friends and family are what makes life special. For me, even the long drive down there and the long drive back were enjoyable because road trips had been such a big part of our early years together.
My dad used to always say, 'the simple minded are easily amused.' Well, I guess I'm simple minded because driving the same old route we had traveled so many times when we were trying to move up here and seeing so many of the same old places along the way was fun for me. The purpose of the trip may have been the new hay ring, but the journey and the time with friends and family is, for me, what made this day truly worthwhile.