Randy named the blog this time because he (we) had a pretty big Oops! More on that later…
As we prepared to cross the western border leaving Illinois, I saw an interesting situation on the map. We left Illinois, crossed over the Mississippi River and came into Missouri. The first city we came to was Louisiana. Kind of a weird four corners region!
In spite of a GPS error, we made it to our campground and parked. The ground was soft so Randy wanted to move the trailer slightly to position it better onto the gravel. That is when we had the Oops! He backed into a tree. I was standing right there but didn’t expect him to go back that far so I share the blame. Oops!
My fear, as I ran back to see the damage, was the condition of the big window but it and our trailer structure were fine.
The bikes, bike rack and ladder took the damage! The ladder and bike rack will be replaced. We both need new wheels. Randy will likely replace his bike as he’s wanted to anyway. Overall, a pretty lucky Oops!
However, the damage to our bikes meant we couldn’t ride the Katy Trail, the longest Rails to Trails route in the country at 225 miles in length. The trail uses the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) railroad corridor developed in 1872.
Franklin Junction served as a prominent railroad site from 1893 until World War II. The line had diminished use mid-century and was discontinued in the 1980s. The railroad grade became a Rails to Trails route in the 1990s. Our campground is on the old junction site.
The crash de-railed potential biking but did result in us meeting our campground neighbors. They came by to see what happened! While visiting, we learned about their Vintage Trailer!
Janet wanted a project so she bought a very rough 1964 PlayMor Trailer for $50. She spent $3800 refurbishing it and did a great job! It was Janet’s project but her husband Joe helped a bit. Another vintage trailer refurbishment is in the works!
We met this guy patrolling the campground – Randall Mathews of the New Franklin Police Department. He and my Randy Matthews chatted and compared notes. He told us the definitive answer on whether to say Missour-EE or Missour-UH. North of I-70 the state is called Missour-EE and south of I-70 it is Missour-UH.
So all of this happened in our first afternoon and evening and I haven’t even mentioned the reason we came to this neck of the Missouri woods. We came to see the Budweiser Clydesdales at Warm Springs Ranch!
There are five Budweiser Clydesdale ranches but all breeding is done here in Boonville, Missouri.
Stallions are brought in “on assignment” from other Clydsdale breeders around the country for three year terms. Outside stallions brings new DNA into the herd.
This is Stan (named for St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial), born and raised on the ranch. When full grown he will be about 18 hands and weigh 2000 pounds. He has the desired Budweiser Clydsdale look – bay color, black mane and tail, white blaze on the forehead and white socks.
Mares are bred in their third year and deliver 11 months later. Each mare will deliver 7-10 foals in her career. The mares live their entire lives at the ranch. About 40 foals are born each year.
This is Otto. He was born June 7 weighing 125 pounds and standing 3 1/2 feet tall. Otto was walking around when our tour went through the barn but when we went back 5 minutes later he was napping! Otto will feed on his mama for six months and then be weaned to depend less on milk and more on hay and grains. (All Budweiser Clydesdales eat Timothy Hay from Eden, Idaho. It is shipped throughout the year to each of the ranches and to all performance locations.)
Foals and yearlings enjoy expansive pastures and undergo light training. Two year old geldings begin more intensive hitch training and eventually go to the New Hampshire ranch for hitch “finishing school.”
Hitch trained Clydesdales get assignments to one of three regional ranches: – Fort Collins Colorado, St. Louis, Missouri and Merrimack, New Hampshire.
From their home ranch, teams of 10 horses (8 pullers and 2 alternates) travel across the region for hundreds of performances. Budweiser has strict guidelines for travel (breaks after 2 hours and no more than 500 miles per day) and stabling. They have their own portable stable if there aren’t local stables meeting their specifications.
Each Hitch team uses three semi-trucks to transport the horses, handlers, wagon and equipment. Once on site, it takes the six handler crew four to five hours to groom the horses, equipment and wagons to exacting detail.
We came away very impressed with the whole operation and especially the “cradle to grave” care for the horses. After a work life of 8-12 years, horses retire on one of the company ranches or at a handler’s ranch. Either way, it seems good to be a Budweiser Clydesdale!
We had a great time on our tour and recommend it highly but plan ahead as it is’t an easy ticket to get.