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In moving ahead with our family plan of taking forward steps during this time of hunkering down, Sadie was delighted to learn that our plan for Saturday was to take her mud driving. She just turned 16 and all things driving are exciting—even spending two hours in Dad’s truck cruising the soft mud roads in Vermont with her parents.  We packed a picnic lunch of tuna and chips, and headed out.

“I want to try and find Stone Horse Rising  again,” I said.

“Mom,” (picture eye roll here) “what is with you and that house?  You have been talking about it since fall.”

“What house,” my husband asked.

“A house we drove past last fall just after Sadie got her learners permit. I think it will make a perfect backdrop to the story I’m writing.  Remember, the second mermaid book has a magic horse.  I think somehow I can connect the mystery to that spot. I just want to see it again.”

“OK,” Sadie agreed, “but you know we really don’t remember where it is.  And no matter what, we are not going to look for those funny mules again!”

Ignoring her, I continued: “The house is somewhere between Woodstock and Brownsville.  We have the whole afternoon.  We’ll stop and take a picture.  We’ll get out of the house.  You’ll get driving hours, and I will have a perfect spot to set my story.”

She gave me a look that only a teenager can give, that said I was crazy.  I knew my husband was giving me a similar look.

It was a beautiful day. As we jumped into the truck I noticed the snow drops were up— first sign of spring.

We went up one road after another, always choosing the road less traveled.

“Ride the ridges,” my husband cautioned from the back.

“Ride the ruts,” I said.

“Stay in the middle, slow down, watch the hills.”  

Sadie turned the music up louder and rolled down the windows.

We stopped at the end of a road where Sadie had backed up for the first time back in October.  We sat in the sun and ate delicious tuna sandwiches and weird turkey flavored chips imported from Ireland someone put in a stocking at Christmas—yuck.

On the way home Sadie drove and my husband slept. I had Sadie stop twice.  Once to take a picture of a rushing little brook shining in the sunlight, and once to take picture of “devils fingers” —a group of birch trees bent over with their “fingers” touching the ground.  We didn’t find Stone Horse Rising but we found out where it wasn’t.  There will be another trip, another spring day, and more nutty family adventures.

Until next time ride the ruts,

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