As you all probably noticed it has been far too long since the blog was sent out.  Jason and Tawnee have been on a crazy adventure and they finally have a chance to share it with you, although it is far from over.

Monday the 14th DJengo and Bullwinkle loaded up for their ride to their new homes.

Bullwinkle was being adopted to a loving family.  In no time at all he was unloading from the trailer at his forever home.

Then, the long trip to DJengo’s home began, all the way back to Los Angeles.   He was surrendered from the LA area, and was being adopted to another very loving home in the LA area just a couple weeks later.  With an overnight stop at a layover ranch halfway, his trip was quite comfortable.

The gps navigation took DJengo and crew a back way to get to his home, but it turned out to be absolutely beautiful.

There were so many great things to see, tunnels to drive through, all around it was gorgeous.

Near DJengo’s home a cute little statue caught Tawnee’s eye.  It really brought out how hard horses that pulled buggy’s worked.  Now, the buggy’s carry the horses in most places.

DJengo’s new mom and family were so excited to finally meet him.  She said she hadn’t slept at all the night before, just waiting for him to get there.

DJengo was so happy to get out of the trailer again.

Can you tell how happy they are?

Djengo had enough of people for awhile, he wanted to explore!  He is at a very nice boarding stable and his mom just loves him so much.

Jason and Tawnee said “Goodbye” to DJengo and headed back north.  Mile after mile slipped under the tow rigs wheels.  Near the top of the Grapevine (the really steep, long grade between LA and Bakersfield,) smoke started billowing out from under the tow rig and it stopped going forward.  What was wrong?  Thankfully they were able to limp to a gas station, and next door was a motel where they could spend the night.

The transmission was causing all kinds of problems, it wouldn’t shift out of 1st gear, it didn’t have reverse, it was just acting very very badly.  Jason got a filter and transmission fluid, hoping that a transmission fluid change would help.  It didn’t help too much.  Finally though, it seemed to be doing a bit better, so they decided to head to Bakersfield.  It was almost all downhill, and so they crossed their fingers and headed out.

Halfway down the grapevine the transmission decided to shift into reverse all on it’s own.  This locked up the back tire, causing a bunch of noise and smoke, but then it went back into drive and away they went.

In Bakersfield the transmission died again.  More smoke was billowing out from under the van and it was determined it was not going to make it to the halfway ranch near Fresno.   So, Jason and Tawnee sat there trying to figure out the best step forward.  The layover ranch was about 150 miles away.  But how to get a long van and a trailer there?

Finally they decided to rent a Uhaul to tow the trailer and have a tow company tow the van.  After hiking to the Uhaul company, they were happy to meet John.  He went way above and beyond the call of duty to get them lined out in a suitable rig that could tow the trailer.

He was so incredibly helpful!

Soon they were on the road back to the van and trailer, thankful they didn’t have to hike back.

The van was able to move just enough to get out of the way so the Uhaul could back up to the trailer.

Without the trailer in tow the van was able to limp over to a grocery store parking lot, where it sat waiting for a tow truck.

At least the horse trailer was ready to go!

They called multiple tow companies to get quotes.  They got a large range of quotes, from $75 an hour, $75 a half hour, $4 a mile round trip, etc etc.  They finally found one company that agreed to tow the van for $475.  So it came down to just a matter of waiting.

Finally he showed up and started loading the dead van.

Up up up it went onto the flatbed truck.

Then the van got a piggy back ride.

Jason and Tawnee in the Uhaul headed out toward the halfway ranch with the (thankfully) empty horse trailer.

The tow truck driver was actually waiting for them when they got there.  $475 later, the van was off the tow truck and at the halfway ranch.

Thursday and Friday Jason spent trying to fix the van.  Over the holiday weekend it was decided that since nothing positive was happening, Jason and Tawnee headed back north to hopefully get a trailer that can tow the van and another tow rig to bring the horse trailer the rest of the way back to the shelter.

Amtrak was the cheapest way to get north, Tuesday morning found them standing next to the tracks waiting for their ride.

Right on schedule the train was pulling in.

It sure is faster going 80 miles an hour on the train instead of 55 mph in traffic!

In almost no time at all they were in Sacramento getting off the train.

Then they had to find their bus for the trip to Oroville.

Amtrak seems to be an incredibly easy way to get around cheaply, neither Jason nor Tawnee had ever been on the train before, but they both recommend it.

Big bus #3 had “Oroville” in the window, that must be the right bus!

The bus is not as comfortable as the train, but it got them where they needed to be.

Shelter manager Larry soon arrived at the bus stop to pick them up.  We cannot possibly thank April and Larry, along with all the other volunteers they press into service, enough for keeping all the critters fed, watered and happy at the shelter.

As soon as Jason and Tawnee got back Jason headed out one way…

…and Tawnee headed another.  So much to do and so little time!

Tawnee’s first stop was at the Post Office.  Tawnee was hoping the box would be jam packed with donations.

It was pretty full but it seemed to have more bills than donations.

Tawnee made it to the vet where 3 horses had been surrendered at the SAFE surrender site.  This is Handsome, named by our Facebook fans.  He is a 20 year old gelding who is trained to ride.  We are told he was used for roping.

He has a very cute face!

Next we have Andy, he is a 15 year old Appendix gelding.

The note that came with Andy says: “His age is guessed t be about 15, 17 hand chestnut appendix.  We have had him for about 3 years now.  The person I got him from said that he was a jumper and was used a lot.

“In October 2009 he was bit in his left hock by a dog that got in the pasture.  We have not rode him since.  He loves to be brushed, stands for the farrier and is up to date.  He was just trimmed and wormed on 2-18-11.  He is a little bit of a hard keeper and needs a lot of food.  He does have arthritis.  Sometimes getting in the trailer is not his favorite thing to do.

“Andy does enjoy the trails and the arena.  We feel with a little time and a light rider he will be good.”

Next we have Cisco.  Back in December Cisco was listed on Craigslist for $1,000 as a 15 year old Grulla gelding, great trail horse who is very reliable and trustworthy.  They made it seem like he was a great all around horse.  From the ad pictures you could tell he was thin, but the saddle covered up most of his ribs.   Less than a month later another ad appeared on Craigslist: ‘Free grulla gelding, 15 years old, recently discovered he has arthritis, still ridable.’  The ad stated that he is a very easy keeper.

A concerned lady named Diane went to look at him and found a very thin horse.  She tried to fatten him up, but after 3 weeks of giving him the choicest of feeds, took him to the vet as she didn’t see any weight gain.  The vet evaluated him, putting him at a body score of 2, and determined that he is not 15 but in his mid 20’s.  The vet also diagnosed him as having multiple health problems due to old age.  Humane euthanasia was suggested as being the kindest thing to do.

We want to thank Diane for going above and beyond in doing everything she could to help Cisco and being his hero.  She put hundreds and hundreds of dollars into helping a horse she had never met before, just because he needed help.  When it was determined that humane euthanasia was the kindest thing, she brought him to our SAFE surrender site and donated the funds to cover the humane euthanasia.  If only there were more horse heros like Diane.  She saw a problem and stepped up to do what she could.

Jason meanwhile was busy loading hay.  He managed to get 76 bales in the trailer with careful stacking.

Then he drove back to the shelter and unhooked.  What a crazy week!

Folks on Facebook, when they found out the tow rig broke down, suggested that donations be collected to get it back on the road.  The van does belong to Jason and Tawnee personally, so donations cannot be tax deductible, but they would be greatly appreciated by Jason and Tawnee.  The cost for fixing the transmission is about $2,500.  Please mark your gifts of love for Jason and Tawnee.

Author Kathy Brodsky has a horse book in the works, but is looking for that perfect star.  She is asking for pictures of horses that she can choose from.  She is asking folks to send in 3 pictures of their nominee, and then donate $5 to any equine welfare organization.  With all the hungry mouths at our shelter we could definitely use any donations that come our way!  If you want to nominate your horse to be in print, click here.

Many thanks to Julie S., Betsy W., Gail G., Stephanie H., Sheri B., Trudi R., Terri V., Pamela N. for their very generous donations.  To see your name here in the next blog, click here.

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