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So, again, way too long between posts.  Anyway, onwards with a new post.

I’ve been off on a holiday again.  I think the previous one I mentioned was a wonderful ski trip.  I didn’t think I could surpass that, but it seems that I have, and I have found a new hobby and regular holiday location.  However the story begins long before the holiday…

About July time I was chatting with some friends of mine in the US.  I was looking for a holiday option.  I’m not great at languages so somewhere English speaking is always good.  I quite enjoy holidaying in the US so was looking at options for that.  My friends in the US pointed out, quite rightly, that I’d done plenty of holidays along the East and the West coast, but hadn’t done anything in the middle.  It was a fair point and so my journey of discovery began.

The first thing I discovered was that the Mid US is a large place, much large than you’d imagine.  Basically it seems to be anything that its within sight of the beach!!!  So, I do a holiday search for Mid US and one of the options that comes up is Chicago.  Nice town, have people I know who live there.  Thought I’d take their advice.  Turns out they felt that a week might be too much in terms of things to do and I might end up kicking my heels a bit, especially as a solo traveler.  OK I thought, lets start again, and then the holiday that really caught my attention turned up in the search engine.  It was not on the coast and it was very different to anything I had done before as a holiday.

This then set in motion a number of things.  First was finding the right location.  Tripadvisor helped with that.  Any place that has over 400 reviews and 98% of them come in at 5* is somewhere that must be getting things right.  So, location sorted, flight sorted.  Now to get the most out of the holiday.  This involved a lot of preparation.  I had to find the a training school nearby that wouldn’t charge too much.  That done, I had about 8 private lessons and felt that I was as ready for my new adventure as I could be.

So off the the airport I head and for the first time I’m slightly nervous.  Not about the flight, I’ve done that loads of times, but I’m worried about immigration and customs.  For the first time ever I’ve had to tick yes not just to one box on the customs form, but two.  Add that to the fact that I’ve been told that the queues at Dallas might mean I don’t make my connection under normal circumstances and I’m worried about the time I will have.  In the end, as my US friends had said, I had nothing to worry about, and had plenty of time for my connecting flight.  I think once I knew I had made this (and even better had seen my suitcase being loaded) I started to relax.

Just over 2 hours later, I arrived in Tucson.  It’s an international airport, but it’s a small one!!! Not one for transatlantic flights!  It was the first time as an adult I’d done an internal only flight in the US as well, so having no customs etc and just being able to walk straight out of (or indeed into) the baggage claim area felt odd.  I also had another first at this point as well.  Someone standing there with a board with my name on it.  It seems odd, but it’s never been something I’ve had before.

I was nearly there, and a short drive later, I was at my home for the next week.  White Stallion Ranch.

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My arrival was slightly later than anticipated.  Dinner would be underway by the time I arrived and despite having eaten during the day I needed to eat to help get the body clock right.  On arrival the ranch showed its customer first attitude by telling me to just forget about checking in, forget about my luggage (they would deal with that), it was time for me to grab some dinner.  I joined a table who were already eating, and joined in the conversation and quickly felt at home.

Despite being quite tired, after having dinner I got a quick tour of the ranch and my accommodation.  I was then ‘encouraged’ to join in the line dancing lessons that was the Sunday evening activity.  I’m glad I did as this was the start of making friends that would be my riding friends for the rest of the week and friends after the holiday ended.  I went to bed tired and given the time difference had a decent nights sleep.  Monday would see me do more riding in one go, let alone one day, than I had done for a very very long time.

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