Riding In the Clouds – Celebrating a 30th

I write. I reflect. I ride. Mother nature rains.

Yes.  I ride.  Well I mean to say we ride – Anto, Abercrombie and I.  The brains behind this master plan are all Anto’s.  She came up with a brilliant idea – do something different, do something great and do something fun – celebrate a birthday in a grand day out. She found this great place called Riding in the Clouds.

I was in from the beginning.  A week ago I was nervous.  Wednesday I learned about the difference between English and Western – thanks Maddog 😉 .  Thursday I called and I spoke to Bobby.  He set me at easy – we match you with your level, your horse and get you squared away.  I’ll be watching you.

With my nervousness abated, I prepared myself – Directions, Dinner and Gift. Time to rock this gastronomic delight that is Chianti.  Abercrombie’s excitement for the ride is clearly palpable over the amazing food.  We celebrate, and then separate – soon to return.

We gathered at 8:30.  A quick stop for breakfast, and we moved forth – destination – The Castle in the Clouds.  The talk made the time pass quickly.  Music, Dreams, Altitude, Horses, Weather, Wilderness – all became topics of conversation.

The two hour plus drive was effortlessly – I know, I passengered 😉

We pull in a few minutes early and quickly meet Bobby.  We then meet Isaac.  I am at ease.  We walk around. We meet Maverick, Pete, Zeus (amazing sized horse), Ruger, Tonka and Jaeger.

We signed the forms. We grabbed helmets. We passed the time walking through the barn, and posing for the camera.

We grabbed our steads.

First, we had a quick lesson from Bobby – Left, Right, Slow, Stop, Accelerate.  I am going to admit here, I pretty much did nothing with Jaeger.  He lead his way, I was just along for the ride.

Isaac adjusted the western saddle, and I was comfortable on top of the freight train that is Jaeger.

Jaeger - Riding in the Clouds

Adjusted, Aligned and ready to go we headed out.

We meandered the way through the property to the edge of a main trail.  The rain decided we were not yet wet enough, and decided it was just about time to downpour.  We plodded on into the trees.  As I listened to the horseshoes hit the trail, I chatted with the woman in front of me Eileen.  We both were enjoying the day.

We headed up, down, around, cross the bridge, overlooked a waterfall, up to the Castle, down through the fields and back to the Barn.  A beautiful and peaceful ride that left me a little damp, and piney fresh.  Being on top of a 6’6″ at the shoulder horse, I swear he looked for the trees with the right sized branches 😉

It was so great!

We got back to the barn.  We chatted with everyone.  There is a genuine love for the job. It makes the enjoyment infectious.

We could have spent all day.  Instead we headed home for another celebration of 30!

Happy birthday Abercrombie!

PS.  I would highly recommend Riding in the Clouds.  It was different, fun and worth the experience.





The 30 Years of the Maddog


O what a day!

We celebrate 30 years. Maddog, Abercrombie, me and the family which is the extended clan gather together on a beautiful April day. The real day was weeks before, but how great a friend, Maddog scheduled for the best possible day.  He knew Pablo, me, would be suffering through school and homework, and scheduled it for the end of April.

Freakin’ Fantastic!

I wake.  I call I check if I can bring anything – – – Appetizer.

I nap.

I wake. I call again to check if I can bring anything else – – – Propane.

I gather Matteo, Steak Tips, and gun the engine.  I’m ready, set and ready-to-go.

We head to Ipswich, and stop at the Coastal Green Grocer.  I grab Vermont Cheddar, Cheese from the Pyrrenes, a German blue cheese and Humboldt Fog.  I grab crackers, Cookies, and some beer.  *(Just in case)

At this point I clearly ignored my phone, as I had a message asking if I could bring something else – – – iPod Touch-Me.  It would have helped to know this 15 miles and 45 minutes ago. 😉

Matteo and I get to Maddog’s mother’s and head to the back.  One Ipswich Ale Tap Truck, One Monster Truck, a lovely back yard, a kick butt roaster and a Birthday Man (once you hit 30 you are no longer a birthday boy) spot the landscape of the backyard. Marnie is one heck of a host, and a landscape architect.

The Young Ward, Maddog, Matteo and I shake hands and stare at the roasting pig.  I see maddog eying the cheek, the spitting fat, and the roaster.  The roaster is an amazing work, almost a work of art. The pictures are on the gallery.

I, lead by my cheese addiction, open the cheese, grab a cracker, and hand out the sweet slices of happiness. As we much on cheese and crackers, we help setup the party, and grab slices of cheese.

Friends and Family begin to arrive.  Among the honored guests are two crazy parents, mine.  They are big fans of Maddog, we talk food, paella, fun and of course roasting pig. Are you going to eat the ear? Are you going to eat the tail? Are you going to eat the eye? the brain!?

We all answer of course.

We continue to setup, stare at the pig, and wait.

Abercrombie arrives and the Party really gets going. The tap trucks springs are rebounding under the lightened load. We crack into the special stuff, and really begin to stare again.

More arrive, family, friends, Ryan, Claire, Tim, Parker, Stephanie and others.  I see the anxious face of the expected eaters of the pork.  We can all tell it’s time.

Abercrombie, Tim and I unhook the beast, and we carry it to the table.  Let the carving begin.

Tim grabs a knife. I grab a knife… a 95lb pig is carved.  Cracklin, Tenderloin, and meat are served to the guests.  Angus grabs a knife and helps continue the carving.


We grab root beer, summer pale, ipswich ale and more and big the toasting, the eating and the merriment.  We all walk around, eating, chatting and reminiscing.

After dark, I see a sparkler flare up outside the corner of my eye. Jeez.  It’s time. I walk to the camera.  I breathe in.  I then belt out the words to Happy Birthday. (not necessarily on key)

Marnie, Jeff, Gina carry the cake to Maddog.  The cake is a amazing, and of course in the shape of a Monster Truck with Donut Tires.

We all grab a piece and celebrate. Yummy.

We eat, talk, chat and stay merry.

Amazing… A great party, and a perfect time for a 1/8th of a life crisis 😉