Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Picking Up Ponies

Picking Up Ponies
Copyright Ken Harris 2008

Twin Falls, Idaho. Spring, mid-1960s. Opening day of trout season. My wife and I were trailering back to Twin Falls to pick up two stud ponies. Our intent was to win fame and fortune raising Ponies of the Americas (POAs).

It was a long drive from Auburn, California to Twin Falls, Idaho, made longer by a flash snow storm over Donner Summit. God, I loved crawling on my belly in muck trying to put rusty, borrowed chains on the GMC. Because it was opening day of trout season, there were thousands of motorists lined up at Nyack Garage to buy chains. Who brings chains on a trout fishing trip? Stu Wells, the garage owner, had a grin on his face they could have used to guide airplanes.

We finally got through to Twin Falls when the alternator on the GMC gave out. Slow go to no go. Bought a used alternator that wouldn’t work because the mastermind who sold us the vehicle had reversed the wiring. We stood in the weather while some guy with a screwdriver and a cigar clenched in his teeth tried to fix it. Did you know that there isn’t a single tree between the North Pole and Twin Falls to break up the wind? Not a single one! This happened 40 years ago and I still have icicles on my liver.

We loaded up our ponies, at least, we were assured they were ponies. It was difficult to tell under all their hair because they had been on good Montana winter range until we picked them up. I wondered if someone had slipped in some Ponies of Siberia on us.

Driving back was uneventful except for a brief – it seemed like forever – encounter with black ice in the high desert of Nevada. I'd heard enough about it to know to take my feet off the gas, the clutch, the brake, and just hope the forward inertia would do just that, carry us forward.

Not a pleasant trip. Successful, but not pleasant.

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