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May 19, 2022

Greetings All,

We had a great meeting last week and Dennis Sousa has provided minutes from the meeting which are repeated below.  Also, Jim Biteman provided the attached Treasurer's Report.

Chalk Rock ride is coming up at the end of the month.  Robin Dreschler has done an excellent job preparing for the ride under some difficult circumstances.  I am truly impressed how the rest of the club has coalesced to support Robin and the ride.  I expect that Chalk Rock will continue the REER tradition of hosting friendly and fun rides.

Another major event in REER territory is the Ride and Tie 50th Anniversary World Championship which will be held at Cuneo Creek at the end of July.   Sequoya Russ is managing the R&T World Championship and I will send more information in a week or so.  The R&T World Championship is truly an amazing event and the 50th should be even better!  This will be a great opportunity for REER support and fun.

The next REER meeting is scheduled for June 21st (cosmic significance on the summer solstice!).  We are looking for a host.  Please contact me if you would like to be the host on this cosmic evening.

Ride On!
Tom Noll
REER President

_________________________

REER MEETING MINUTES
MAY 11,2022

1) The meeting was held at Berit Meyer and Brian Ferguson’s residence.
2) Those in attendance were Board Members Tom Noll, Maryanne Riley, Natalie Herman, Jim Biteman and Dennis Sousa. Members Donna Biteman, Karen Brooks, Robin Drechsler, Claudia Harbour, Katie Kenworthy, Pam Peace, Elly Roversi and Joyce Sousa.
3) Jim Biteman submitted a Treasure report (attached).
4) The Meeting was called to order by Chair Tom Noll at 7:03 PM. Tom thanked Berit and Brian for sharing their beautiful home for the meeting on short notice. The pot luck was fabulous.
5) Tom said that he wanted to keep the tradition of REER putting on great rides. Tom also said that at a future meeting the club needed to look at the club By-Laws focusing on a non profit status for the club.
6) Tom said that he wanted the meeting to focus on the Chalk Rock Ride and subsequently turned the floor to Ride Manager Robin Drechsler. Robin noted the following;
A) There is clearance from Laurie Barnwell for a few to camp on Wednesday.
B) No parking is allowed at the main entrance to the Ranch.
C) Claudia, Pam and Maryanne are to mark trail on Thursday.
D) Ride weekend; Dennis/ parking, Donna/registration, Maryanne/Day Manager Saturday, Pam/Day Manager Sunday/Natalie/Out check coordinator, Audra/awards Saturday, Dennis,Joyce/mark trail Sunday, Pam, Carol/work finish line, Katie/out timer camp vet check, Steve/out timer out vet check, Karen/lunches, help with start and ride list and Robin to notify AERC of Day Manager change and to cover membership costs as expenses of ride.
E) Michelle Dostal has arranged for 5 students from Cal Poly Humboldt to help at the ride. Robin is bringing 3 or 4 young students from her area to help at the ride.
F) After discussion, Tom announced that the next REER meeting would be June 21st. Tom also asked for anyone that wanted to host the meeting to contact him.
G) Meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM.
H) Minutes submitted by Dennis Sousa

 

May 5, 2022

Greetings All:

The next REER meeting will be Wednesday, May 11.  The social part will start around 5:30 pm, and the business meeting will start around 7:00 pm.  We should conclude the meeting by 8:30 pm.  Please plan to attend the meeting beginning with the social gathering starting around 5:30 and bring a potluck dish to share.

Cynthia and Eric have graciously offered to host the meeting at their house located at the south end of Eureka at:

2084 Sunset Drive, Eureka

The main topic for the meeting is to discuss the summer of rides and how to carry the REER tradition forward of ensuring that the rides are fun, enjoyable, and safe for riders and volunteers.  The rides are:
Chalk Rock -- May 28 and 29
Redwood -- August 13
Cuneo Creek -- September 10 and 11
Bonus Bonus Bonus -- Ride and Tie World Championship 50th Anniversary at Cuneo Creek -- July 29 and 30 !!!
Please plan  to attend the meeting and I hope to see you there.

Ride On!
Tom Noll
President, REER

 

March 17, 2022  

Greetings:

Attached to this note are the March 9 meeting minutes prepared by Dennis.  Please read through the minutes.  We plan to discuss the minutes before we accept the minutes into the REER record at the April meeting.  Additionally, we have not scheduled a meeting place or time for the next meeting in April.  Tuesday, April 12 is a possible date.  Does anyone want to host the meeting?

Thanks and Ride On!
Tom N
(with help from Dennis)

 

March 16, 2022 

Greetings:

The recent correspondence from the California State Veterinarian recommending extended caution regarding equine events and equine transport,

Please Be Careful,
Tom N

 

March 1, 2022

Greetings:
Please plan to attend the next REER club meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 9th at our house at:
                8800 Blue Slide Road, Ferndale (Between Rio Dell and Ferndale on the west side of the Eel River)
The social portion of the meeting will begin around 5:30 pm and the actual club meeting will start around 7:00 pm.  I hope to conclude the club business by 8:30 pm.  The meeting will be an in-person event and will not likely be broadcast via Zoom.  Please bring a potluck dish to share. 
Agenda:
·         Coordinated Ride Accounting so that Ride Managers and others can easily compare REER ride income and expenditures across the three different REER rides. 

·         Start the process to identify a REER bookkeeper to work with the treasurer and the board (I am hoping that we have a REER member with the necessary accounting skills to volunteer as our bookkeeper).

·         Identify a committee to consider a California State filing identifying REER as a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).   The same committee will also consider revising the REER by-laws (members have expressed to me that it is time to reassess the by-laws).  The purpose for a nonprofit REER LLC is to form a legal entity.  In the event that members representing REER face a lawsuit resulting from REER activities, members’ personal assets will have another layer of protection.  We can very likely prepare the filing without enlisting an outside lawyer.  The cost to file a non-profit LLC in California appears to be less than $100. 
Identifying a REER bookkeeper is important and I am hoping that we can find a REER member with the accounting skills to coordinate the club’s financial records.  I would like to have the club’s financial records generally follow standard accounting methods so that we can have an audit committee of REER members review the books at the close of each year.  Please consider your circle of friends within REER so that we can recruit a suitable bookkeeper.  The bookkeeper is not anticipated to be a labor-intensive activity.
I hope to see you at the meeting.
Ride On!
Tom Noll
President

 

February 22, 2022

Greetings:
Jim graciously wrote his column as the outgoing president, which is included below, and I am writing my first column as the REER president.  What I am most excited about is that I have a competent Board of Directors dedicated to the REER to help me as president:
·         Jim Biteman
·         Natalie Herman
·         Maryanne Riley
·         Dennis Sousa
and we have some great ride managers for 2022:
·         Robin Drechsler – Chalk Rock
·         Jim and Donna Biteman – Redwood Ride
·         Lynn Marks – Cuneo Creek
We have scheduled the next REER club meeting for Wednesday, March 9th at our house at:
8800 Blue Slide Road, Ferndale (Between Rio Dell and Ferndale on the west side of the Eel River)
The social portion of the meeting will begin around 5:30 pm and the actual club meeting will start around 7:00 pm.  I hope to conclude any business by 8:30 pm.  Please bring a potluck dish to share. 
What is most important about the Board meetings is the ability for the club members to get together to share ideas and stories.  It is true that the Board members are the ones who vote on the issues, but every member is invited to share their ideas in discussion before the vote.  I know that the Board seeks member participation because I have seen member participation change the voting outcome.  I will send another note with an agenda for the meeting next week.  Please let me know if you have any topics that you wish to discuss as part of the meeting agenda.  
So, plan to attend the meeting so we can share stories and talk about the upcoming ride season!
Ride On!
Tom Noll
President REER

 

___________________________________
Dear REER Family,

REER’s leadership is changing.  My term as president and Donna’s as treasurer have come to an end. We will continue to manage the Redwood Ride, but not much more.  As we step aside, we have pride in three very special rides and a club “family’ that cares and supports one another.

I want to express my gratitude.  Over the past seven years, we have had a wonderful time.  We have made friendships, and we have seen young riders grow.  Every member of the “REER Family” and many others have contributed to the friendship and support we have enjoyed.  So, to say it simply, “Thank you.”  We are so grateful for all that you have given to us.

With new leadership in place, we step aside with confidence that the warm, caring fellowship that is REER will continue.  New ideas and new faces will come, but we know that new leadership will keep the caring community that is REER’s foundation.  REER’s rides will be fun and well run, and the community that makes REER truly special will be solidly there.  Landowners, public and private, and the many people who deal with REER will continue to have confidence in REER as a stable and responsible organization.  Those who become members or volunteer or ride will know that REER will care about every individual and that REER will include all who wish to take part.

Please welcome REER’s new leadership, Tom Noll President, Dennis Sousa Executive Secretary, Natalie Herman Vice-president and Maryanne Riley, Board member at large.  Please give them the same support and enjoyment that you have given to Donna and me.

Jim Biteman, Retiring President, REER

 

January 23, 2022

Dear REER Member:

Some good news!  Joyce and Dennis Sousa have offered their beautiful home in Hydesville for us to hold our next REER meeting.  That gives us a location more nearly central to everyone.

The meeting format remains the same: Fellowship, followed by a potluck meal, followed by a business (board) meeting.  Beginning at 5:30 and all to end no later than 8:30 pm. 

We will attempt to set up a Zoom for the business portion of the meeting.  I will send a link and dial-in telephone number later, once we have it set up.

Watch for another letter with a detailed agenda for the business portion of the meeting. For sure items, though, are organization of the new board and filling in details of the calendar for the rest of 2022.

I hope that this letter finds you well.  See you soon!

Jim

 

January 12, 2022

Dear REER member:

We have rescheduled the REER board meeting originally scheduled for January 5 – To Wednesday, February 2.  The purpose of the meeting will be to organize the newly elected board (officers: President, Vice-president, Treasurer, Executive Secretary and Member-at-large).  We will also set the calendar for the year – meeting dates, special events, reconfirm ride dates.

All are welcome to attend.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 with a social time, 6:00 food and 6:45 business.  We may do a Zoom for those who cannot attend in person or who wish to avoid possible COVID exposure.  Please let me know if you would like to receive a Zoom invitation. Bring a side dish.  Location:  Donna and Jim Biteman’s home, 1556 Tantara Lane, McKinleyville (707-839-7744 for directions).

Reminder:  The AERC convention is March 4 & 5, 2022 – at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada.  Registration is now open.  Go to AERC’s Convention Web Site for details: https://www.aerc.org/static/Convention.aspx

Wishing you well.

Jim

 

 REER: November’s News – Save the Date: December 5

November 15, 2021

Dear REER Family;

As winter rains begin on the North Coast and daylight wanes, we have quiet moments – to reflect on the beauty of the surroundings we are privileged to enjoy and the good health and wonderful equine friends we have enjoyed throughout the year.  It is also a time to gather in, to collect our tack, mend our fences and corrals and re-connect with those with whom we wished to have more time during the busy ride year.  On that note, please save the date.  REER will have a holiday party on December 5 – details of time and place forthcoming.

Now is also the time to give some extra attention to those whom we most appreciate and often do not give enough of our attention: Close friends, family and our equine friends.  This year, we especially appreciate some of them.  Kat, Donna’s wonder mare, will enter her 21 st year.  My dear equine friend passed this year, taken by Cushing’s disease and incurable laminitis.  Some of our friends have suffered painful losses.  Now is the time for us to gather close and provide loving support.

This is also a time when we look ahead.  New people have stepped forward to carry on the work of this amazing little club.  Now entering its 46 th year (by our best count), new faces and new energy enter its leadership. 

Two of the rides – Chalk Rock and Cuneo Creek – will officially have new ride management: Robin Drechsler for Chalk Rock (she co-managed it this year). Tom Noll and Lynn Marks take over for Cuneo Creek (where they have had significant volunteer roles).  Donna and I will still manage the Redwood Ride again next year.  All REER rides are on the 2022 AERC Calendar.

New people will join REER’s board.  Elections are underway, with some really great candidates with wonderful ideas for REER's future.  Gail has posted their bios on the REER web site.  Also coming will be a change in email address for club correspondence.  I have registered a Gmail address, redwoodendurance@gmail.com. I am monitoring it now, if you wish to write.

On additional news, I wrote an article, “Reflections on Managing an Endurance Ride.” It is due to be published in the Ride Managers’ Forum in December’s issue of Endurance News. You may recognize some of the stories it describes. 

One of our members, Courtney Augustus, has been working on a short video to promote endurance riding and REER to young riders:

 
Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/100006700684904/posts/3231285030438155/?d=n
You Tube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ_NSfR1zC8&fbclid=IwAR3M1fWxdz3I7WoUQqMgrhk6U3TniieP8BCML44Ofp5IzwMD7QIm6AZ3D78).

She would enjoy hearing from endurance friends and would appreciate video clips of young riders that she might include.  Please contact her through REER’s Gmail account ( redwoodendurance@gmail.com).

Please be well and be safe.  Know how much you mean to those with whom you ride.  Hug your horse, you’ll never find a more loyal friend.

Jim

 

September 28, 2021

Dear REER Family:

Although the 2021 Ride season has not yet come to an end, it has ended for REER rides.  It has been a good season, with three very successful events.  We have much to be thankful for: Supportive riders, energetic hard-working volunteers, and strongly contributing land owners – public and private.  Most of all, though, we must be grateful for our caring community and its strong friendships. They serve as the well from which our unity and our energy are drawn.

As the season moves forward, our attention shifts.  The season of rides and their activities concludes, and we turn our attention to the time of the year in which we build and strengthen the bonds of REER itself.  Each year, beginning in October, we develop the leadership that will carry the club forward in the year to come.  Each year, we recruit and elect the members of a board that will dedicate itself, in two year staggered terms, to the preservation and development of the values and form of the club.  It is as though we take time to fill the well with the caring, support and warm friendship that we will draw upon in the coming year.

This October, our work is especially important.  After seven years of leadership, which brought the club from near failure to the strength and respect in the endurance community it has today, we face a situation that calls for extra concern and extra support.  Jim and Donna, who have served as President and Treasurer, have announced that their time has reached its conclusion.  The club, and the community, must now find and put in place new leadership that will continue to build and sustain the community that has been built, especially over the last seven years.  The importance of this and its meaning to all members of the REER community is underscored by the words of one of our veterinarians:

Highly organized and dedicated individual who has effectively run REER from near collapse to a strong and respected endurance riding club. (Dr. Jen Powers Maples on Alignable)

At our next meeting, Wednesday, October 6, we will begin the process of building a new board of directors for REER.  A three-member committee has already been at work to develop a slate of candidates who will have the dedication, energy, vision and values needed to lead REER.  Although, by the club’s bylaws, the process must continue throughout the rest of October (they state that nominations remain open until midnight on October 31), we will have an opportunity for a glimpse at who the club members may have as choices.  Although more may come, the committee will introduce each candidate they have developed.  We will get our first look at who may lead REER for its next year.

As REER’s outgoing president, I have but one concern.  That is, whoever is chosen to lead the club forward must understand that what unites us and what gives us our strength are bonds of friendship and trust.  We achieve great things and put on wonderful rides.  Our strength and our value come from the friendship, trust and mutual caring of our community.

Please participate actively in this process.  If you do not wish to take on the job of leadership, please make sure that the club has those who will.  Then, assuming that there are more than a minimum number of candidates, participate actively in the election process. Choose wisely and encourage others to do the same.

If you can, please come to the next meeting in person or via Zoom.  The meeting will be held Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at Donna and Jim Biteman’s home (1556 Tantara Lane, McKinleyville – 707-839-7744 for directions).  The meeting will have its usual structure: Food and social time, followed by business.  Out of respect for those whose schedules are tight or who must attend virtually, we will start the business portion of the meeting promptly at 6:45 pm. 

Social time will begin at 5:30 and food will be served at 6:00. That should allow time for fellowship, yet allow us adequate time to do the meeting’s business.  Out of respect for the distance some must drive, we will adjourn the business portion of the meeting no later than 7:45 pm.

The business portion of the meeting will have the usual standing agenda items: Approval of minutes, President’s Report and Treasurer’s Report.  At the conclusion of the standing agenda, the floor will be turned over to the Nomination Committee, who will present the results of their work to date to develop a slate of board candidates and an outline and time-line for the rest of the election process.  If they conclude in time, we will call for new business, but the meeting will adjourn promptly no later than 7:45 pm.

Please come, please participate, and please know that it is your responsibility to develop the leadership to carry forward this truly wonderful organization.

Jim Biteman, President

 

September 20, 2021

Dear REER Family:

We did it!  WE did it!  We worked together, and we succeeded.  We had a wonderful opportunity and a great endurance event.  Thank you, everyone.

To recount a little, all was prepared for the ride, on schedule.  Volunteers had checked trails and had repaired water sources.  Permits were in place, and riders had registered.  It seemed that our only concern had to be smoke from distant wildfires.

Then, things began to happen.  We received notice that the campground lacked water.  The springs that feed the campground’s water system had slowed their flow, and the Park announced the closure of the campground as a result.  Our reservation was canceled:  No water, no filled troughs, no toilets, no showers. No ride!

Conversation with Park administration produced a solution.  If we could have a licensed water hauler bring in enough water (11,000 gallons by estimate of another ride manager), we could fill the campground’s water storage.  A few phone calls later, we had secured the needed water.  Ride back on!

Only a few days before the ride, we called to confirm the water delivery.  Bad news! The supplier’s truck had been deployed to assist firefighting efforts.  Calls to other suppliers resulted in the same story.  If their truck were usable, it had been deployed to assist firefighting.  No water!

We put our heads together with the Park’s administration and came with a solution.  We would transport water ourselves.  A club member had offered the use of his 550 gallon portable tank. The Park would help us find a source near the campground.  We could not use the campground’s storage, though; we were not licensed to haul potable water.  We could use horse troughs, if only we had enough.  We put out a call for people to bring additional troughs and for riders to bring water with them. With enough storage in troughs and enough work to replenish, we could do it.  The Park’s administration agreed. Ride on!

Our optimism had a short life, though.  Without toilets, we would have to depend upon porta-potties.  We called our supplier, only to discover that – like water – portable toilets were in very short supply.  We managed to schedule four units, two for delivery on Wednesday and another two for Friday.  When we confirmed delivery, we discovered: The toilets we had expected were not available!  They had been deployed to support firefighting efforts. A great amount of searching by one of our volunteers, who works in the office for the toilet company, found two units that could be taken from another job site, but not four. 

We put out the word to riders: Not only bring water but be prepared to “dry camp,” meaning have your own toilets (or use one of the campground’s two ancient outhouses). By Friday, our volunteer at the portable toilet company had convinced its owner to allow her to take a company truck and service the two toilets we had plus bring two more.  She took her lunch hour to learn how to service the toilets and arrived in camp late Friday, driving the company service truck with two toilets.  One more hurdle cleared, thanks to another wonderful member of our Family.

The story goes on, with the discovery Friday morning by one of our volunteers that a huge old Madrone tree had fallen across one of the trails, completely obstructing it.  While others had a pre-ride meeting, conducted by a past president of REER, four of us, chainsaws in hand, set out to clear the obstruction.  We got most of it cleared, but our larger saw bound up. In our haste to get to the site, we had left behind the tools needed to repair it, leaving us with only a small saw!  `We succeeded in cutting a path, leaving one trunk too big for our small saw as a step-over.  Riders could hand-walk their horses through.  Saturday morning, just as the ride was to start, the Park’s top administrator came to tell us that he had opened the passage so that riders could ride through!  Volunteers had hauled enough water to fill the drinking toughs in camp. We were really going to have the ride!

What else could happen?  It could and it did!  Jim got a call Thursday night, telling him to see a doctor first thing Friday morning.  When he returned from the visit, he told Donna.  The sore that had grown on his leg was cancer.  Surgery would be on Tuesday!  How about all the work that had to be done?

The answer came quickly.  Volunteers (and some riders) had already set up and were about the ride management tasks: Registration, record keeping, veterinary activity support, water transport, and food.  The Park Service informed us that, by nightfall, we would have water in the campground.  They had brought in a crew specifically to ensure that we would have flushing toilets. Through the fog of my fatigue and anxiety, I could see that WE were doing it.

As all know, the weather cleared.  A light rain on Saturday morning brought clear air as the first riders entered the trail.  Everything was in place!  By Saturday evening, we sat to a fabulous meal: Freshly broiled tri-tip, salads, bread, and dessert.  Most riders remained to ride again on Sunday, for another beautiful trail day and another good meal and fellowship. We had so much to celebrate, but especially that WE had all worked together and made it happen.

Come Monday, Donna loaded the new REER trailer, and I hauled the borrowed water tank home.  As we prepared to leave Monday afternoon, I was taken with the cleanliness of the campground.  Riders had not only provided, they also ensured that their campsites and corrals were left totally clean.  A few volunteers had rounded up water troughs and picked up the occasional loose manure. Others had removed markings and signage from all but a small section of trail. WE had done it!

So, who do we thank?  Surely the Park’s Administration, who went out of their way to help us to make it happen. They emphasize, though, that we did it together.  Surely the teams of volunteers, who put in extra effort to make certain we had water, that trails were ready, that all of the activities of the ride were managed and done well and who took over areas where Donna and I could not do what we had planned to do.  Surely the riders, who pitched in and responded to calls for support, and who worked to make sure that the campground was left clean and neat (and who helped others whose rigs had broken down – or gotten stuck in a ditch).  Surely those from outside upon whom we had to depend for portable toilets and other necessities.  Most of all, though, we must thank US!  We ALL worked together as an amazing team.

What should we take from this experience?  Endurance riding is definitely about the bond between horse and rider.  It is about the challenge of fair competition, in which each team does its very best while assuring that competitors can also do their very best.  It is about the satisfaction of doing a personal best. It is also about the joy of riding amidst indescribable beauty on remote trails. 

It is much more, though. It is about a community that supports every member, one that welcomes newcomers and encourages young riders (we had nine juniors at this ride).  Above all, though, endurance is about caring and close friendship.

Thank you – ALL!

Jim

 

September 7, 2021

Dear REER Rider or volunteer:

We have passed the decision point, and the ride is still a “go.”  All of the obstacles so far have turned out to be little more than a series of “speed bumps.”  Thanks to the help and support of many, we have what we need to make it happen.  We are grateful to all, but we owe a special debt of gratitude to the folks in the administration of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Smoke and weather conditions remain uncertain, but they have seemed to be stable or improving.  We expect slightly warmer temperatures for the weekend, possibly reaching into the low 80’s.  AccuWeather predicts 81 F on Saturday and 79 F on Sunday.  It has rained (a little) here today.

Road conditions have improved over the past few days.  For those coming from the north, we have reports that the slide removal on HWY 101 south of Crescent City (“Last Chance Grade”) is now open with only minor delays.  From the east, HWY 299 is also open – some delays but no major closures.  From the south, HWY 20 around Clear Lake continues to be open, and HWY 101 is open from the south.  CalTrans posts some significant delays on HWY 36, east of HWY 3.  Please check with CalTrans (https://roads.dot.ca.gov/) for up to date information.  When we last checked, the exit to the campground (Exit 663 “Honeydew”) from HWY 101 is also open.

When you arrive at the Cuneo Creek Horse Camp (just past a small cemetery), you will come down a steep entrance into the campground itself.  Drive slowly.  At the bottom of the hill, depending on when you arrive, you may be met by someone who will help you with parking.  The campground has pipe corrals, but we charge for their use - $50 for the weekend.  That allocates them fairly and helps offset some of the additional costs we have incurred.

Please appreciate that all resources for the ride will be under some pressure.  Please be careful with their use and courteous to fellow riders and volunteers.  We have tried to accommodate everyone who got in their entry in a timely fashion. (Sorry to late entrants.  We just could do no more.)

We look forward to seeing you this weekend.

Be safe, drive carefully.

Jim

 

September 5, 2021

Dear Cuneo Creek Rider:

Here is a quick update on the ride.  Please respond with questions.  I will provide the best answers I can.

As ride day approaches, some things become clearer.  With the help of many, we seem to have resolved the issue of adequate water for horses in camp.  The Park has opened a nearby water supply to us, and several riders and club members have volunteered portable water tanks and trucks on which to place them.  Club members, riders and friends have volunteered horse drinking troughs.  We will not have a supply of potable water, though.  Please bring enough for yourself and, possibly, to share.

COVID still presents a serious concern.  Even though the infection rate in Humboldt County among those fully vaccinated has declined, the infection rate among those not vaccinated has risen significantly.  Overall, the risk of infection is high.  Humboldt County advises wearing a mask, even if fully vaccinated.  While we will not make mask-wearing mandatory, we strongly advise everyone to be conscious of the risk.  

We will have catered dinners on Saturday and Sunday.  No potluck on Friday and no awards meeting.  We will have a pre-ride meeting on Friday.

We still have some concern regarding water on the trails.  We discovered that one spring has dried up.  Used only on Ride Day 2 (Sunday), we have placed an additional portable trough to make up for it (and will haul water to it).  Other springs appear to flow adequately to meet our needs.

Smoke conditions appear to be relatively stable.  Today, smoke on the trails varied from a mild haze to a fairly dense haze toward evening.  At one point the wind shifted, bringing smoke, but it did not last.  Overall, conditions still appear OK for the ride.  For information, please monitor Redcrest/Bull Creek.

Trails in the park are steep, have rapid elevation changes and conditions are DRY.  Although we expect mild daytime temperatures (mid-70’s), the risk of dehydration – to both people and horses – is very high.  Please keep that in mind as you ride.  Monitor your own and your horse’s hydration carefully.

The risk of fire is also very high.  We will organize the campground (and limit numbers) so that, should we need to do so, we could evacuate in an orderly fashion.  Please keep that in mind as you set up your campsite.  Also, please make sure that your truck’s fuel tank is adequately filled, as the alternative evacuation route could be quite long.

Please remember:  1. Bring water (horse and people).  2. Prepare to evacuate if necessary (fuel supply and campsite arrangement). 3. Ride carefully.  Watch for signs of dehydration in your horse and yourself.  4. Be ready to assist another rider or ask for assistance for yourself.

The ride is still over-subscribed.  We will make a final cutoff and post the rider list on Tuesday.  Late entries may not make the cutoff, sorry.

Be well, be safe.

Jim
 

 

September 3, 2021

Dear REER Family:

We have faced one challenge after another, but so far, we have met them.  The greatest challenge to date has been water.  Here are answers to some recent questions:

Is the ride still on? Yes. Currently, the ride is still a go. We have a water concern, but believe we can resolve it.  We have set Tuesday, 5:00 pm, as the time by which we have to make a final decision.  I will send out an email to every registered rider beforehand and again on Tuesday evening.  We will also post it on the REER web site.

How is the air quality?  It comes and goes.  We were at the Park yesterday, and the air was clear.  On the way there, we encountered haze but not heavy smoke.  We continue to monitor the air quality.  If, in our judgment, it gets bad enough, we will cancel the event and do our best to notify all entrants.  In the meantime, we suggest that all riders monitor air quality at Bull Creek/Redcrest, CA.

Is the ride full? Currently, the ride is over-subscribed.  We expect cancellations, so we are still accepting entries.  If we need to turn away people, we will do so no later than Tuesday.  We plan to post a rider list on the REER web site on Tuesday, as well.  We prioritize entries in the order of postmark on the entry. When you park, please understand that we are working to accommodate as many riders as we safely can.  Please work with other riders to conserve space as well as water.

Can riders register at the ride? Sorry, No. Our COVID protocol agreement with Humboldt County Public Health allows pre-registration only.  We must turn away anyone who arrives without pre-registration.  We will check at the entry to the campground.  (This includes volunteers as well as riders.)

Are corrals available? The campground has a limited number of pipe corrals.  The fee for use of a corral is $50 for the weekend.  This helps defray some of the additional costs of the ride.  Riders wishing to rent a corral should bring a separate check, payable to REER-Corrals.  Availability is first come – first served (no reservations, sorry).

If you plan to ride, please bring as much water as you can safely carry.  From what we can tell, the natural sources on the trails are flowing well enough to meet our needs.  We plan to put out some water on trails, as we have in the past.  We should be able to meet in-camp needs so long as riders do their best to bring enough water to meet their own (and their horses’) needs.  Please be aware that the bathrooms, showers, hose spigots, etc. will not be running.  It is truly a “dry camp.”

We appreciate the effect that this uncertainty has, and we will be as forgiving and supportive as we can be.  Please be aware that some of our family are under forced evacuation or fear for the safety of their homes and loved ones (including their horses).  Keep them in your prayers.

I may not send another general letter before the ride, but I will send regular updates to those who have registered to enter the ride.  Please email any questions to me (including offers to help).  I will respond as quickly and as well as I can.

Be well – be safe.

Jim

 

Quick answers:

1. Current air quality: It comes and goes. We were at the Park yesterday, and the air was clear. On the way there, we encountered haze but not heavy smoke. We continue to monitor the air quality. If, in our judgment, it gets bad enough, we will cancel the event and do our best to notify all entrants. In the meantime, we suggest that all riders monitor air quality at Bull Creek/Redcrest, CA to determine for themselves.

2. Currently, the ride is still a go. We have a water concern, but believe we can resolve it. We have set Tuesday, 5:00 pm as the time by which we have to make a final decision. I will send out an email to every registered rider beforehand and again on Tuesday evening. We will also post it on the REER web site.

3. Currently, the ride is over-subscribed. We expect cancellations, so we are still accepting entries. If we need to turn away people, we will do so no later than Tuesday. We plan to post a rider list on the REER web site. We prioritize entries in the order of postmark on the entry.

4. Our COVID protocol agreement with Humboldt County Public Health allows pre-registration only. We must turn away anyone who arrives without pre-registration. We will check at the entry to the campground.

We hope you do well as you change your ride plans. If you do not join us this year, we hope you will consider our rides for next year. Thank you for considering our ride.

Take care. Be well.

Jim

 

August 28, 2021 STATUS REPORT

Dear Cuneo Creek Rider:

Here is a quick update on the ride. 

I realized, when I checked the ride's entries against REER's general mailing list, that many riders would have not received the update letter I sent on Thursday.  We posted it on the REER website, but I want to make sure that everyone knows exactly what is happening.  I will write more as I learn more, and we will do our best to keep the website up to date.

To be clear, the ride has not been cancelled. We expect to hear from the Park's administration by mid-week whether our permit will still be valid.  As soon as we hear, I will let everyone know.

In the meantime, we are working on arrangements to truck in water for horses.  We may have to haul it from as far as 25 miles away, and we expect to need approximately 3,000 gallons.  Right now, we have access to a 500 gallon tank that can be carried on a full-sized pickup truck.  If anyone knows of a better solution, we will appreciate knowing.

One of our board members, who lives near the location for the ride, reports worsening smoke conditions.  We will continue to monitor that, as well.

Here's the part of the letter I sent on Thursday that deals with the ride:

Jim

 
August 26, 2021 STATUS REPORT

Dear REER Family:

I want to bring everyone up to date on the situation of the venue for the Cuneo Creek Ride. At about 11:00 this morning, I received a notice from Reserve California that they had removed our reservation from their system – cancelled and payment refunded. The reason: The spring that feeds the water supply for the campground has ceased to flow; the campground is without water.

I immediately contacted the park’s chief administrator, its senior ranger in charge. He had received the same notice. He responded to tell me that he would meet with others at the park, its head of maintenance, etc. to assess the situation. He asked that we wait until the first part of next week to learn what to do.

We have prepared for a number of different possibilities: Cancel the ride, continue with the ride but “dry camp,” etc. Our members have ridden the trails over the past few days and report that, at least at the moment, the springs we rely upon for water on the trails continue to flow. We expect to hear from the Park's administration and have a plan by the time of our next club meeting – next Wednesday, September 1. If the situation changes between now and then, I will send out a letter to everyone.
In the meantime, please be safe. I have received reports of very serious dryness and of members of our REER family having to evacuate their homes due to fires. Please be ready to do whatever you may need to do to keep yourselves and your loved ones (including your horses) safe.

Let’s work together as the caring family we are.

Jim
 

August 26, 2021

Dear REER Family:

I want to bring everyone up to date on the situation of the venue of the Cuneo Creek Ride.  At about 11:00 this morning, I received a notice from Reserve California that they had removed our reservation from their system – cancelled and payment refunded.  The reason: The spring that feeds the water supply for the campground has ceased to flow; the campground is without water.

I immediately contacted the park’s chief administrator, its senior ranger in charge.  He had received the same notice.  He responded to tell me that he would meet with others at the park, its head of maintenance, etc. to assess the situation.  He asked that we wait until the first part of next week to learn what to do.

We have prepared for a number of different possibilities: Cancel the ride, continue with the ride but “dry camp,” etc.  Our members have ridden the trails over the past few days and report that, at least at the moment, the springs we rely upon for water on the trails continue to flow.  We expect to hear from the Park's administration and have a plan by the time of our next club meeting – next Wednesday, September 1.  If the situation changes between now and then, I will send out a letter to everyone.

For those who plan to attend the meeting, we will have the scheduled club/board meeting at our house next Wednesday, September 1.  6:00 potluck, with business meeting to follow at 6:30.  The meeting will focus on volunteer organization and preparations for the Cuneo Creek Ride (September 11-12).  I will send out an agenda prior to the meeting.  I will try to keep the REER web site up to date as well.

We read and appreciate the reports about COVID infection coming from Humboldt County’s Public Health Department.  They inform us of an exceptionally high infection rate and the recent death of a fully vaccinated individual.  Cognizant of that, we will try to conduct the meeting in a way that will minimize the possibility of transmission (limited agenda, short meeting).

In the meantime, please be safe.  I have received reports of very serious dryness and of members of our REER family having evacuated their homes due to fires.  Please be ready to do whatever you may need to do to keep yourselves and your loved ones (including your horses) safe.

Let’s work together as the caring family we are.

Jim

 

July 19, 2021

Dear REER Volunteers, members and friends,

Here is a reminder (or first letter) that Donna and I will host an outdoor barbecue at our home at 5:30 on Sunday, August 1.  It will give us an opportunity to get together before the Redwood Ride (Ride day – August 14).

We would like everyone who will work at the Redwood Ride to come. Friends and others are welcome, too.  RSVP, please.

1556 Tantara Lane, McKinleyille, 707-839-7744.

Thanks.

Jim

 

July 12, 2021

Dear REER Family,

Wow!  It is great to see each other again.  We have been apart for too long.

With special thanks to Eric and Cynthia LeDoux-Bloom, who graciously welcomed us to their new home, we truly enjoyed our time together.  The evening was filled with warmth and good comradery.

Out little business meeting went well, too.  We discussed the REER rides and acted on some regular business.  For the record, the recap of the Chalk Rock Ride showed that it went well.  For the two days, it hosted 79 riders, with only two pulls.  Financially, we did a bit better than break-even, which is our goal.  All-in-all, a good ride.  Special thanks to Robin Drechsler and her team of super volunteers for a job well done!  Thanks, too, to the Barnwell family, for supporting our event again this year.

Redwood Ride preparations go well, too.  At present, we have over eighty entries, with expectation of a few more.  Not likely that we will reach one hundred, though, which is our capacity. Volunteer organization also goes well.  We still have a few key openings, but, overall, it looks like we will have a full staff.  Trail work will begin shortly, and we expect the National Park trails crews to complete their work by August 2 or 3.  All permits are in hand, and the caterer is set to do her part.

Cuneo Creek Ride preparations are also under way.  We secured the reservation of the group camps at the Cuneo creek Horse Camp, which gives us the venue for the ride.  We await issuance of the permit for the event, which we expect to receive shortly.  Rider entries are already running ahead of expectations, suggesting a good turnout for the ride.

Jim and Donna took advantage of the opportunity provided by the meeting to make clear that this will be their last year as club officers and ride managers.  They are preparing for a seamless handoff to their successors.

On that note, the first action item on the agenda was appointment and approval of a committee to run the election of a new board for the club.  Suspension of activities due to COVID meant no election last year.  Consequently, all five board seats are open for election this year.  Karen Brooks and Katie Kenworthy have offered to do the job of running this year’s election.  Natalie Herman agreed to be the committee’s required board member.  A vote was held, and all three – Karen, Katie and Natalie – were approved as members of the committee.

The second action item was a request for approval to purchase a trailer.  It would be used to store club equipment and transport it to rides.  Jim has investigated and found that a new 5X8, single axle cargo trailer can be purchased for about $3,500 -$4,000.  A vote was taken, and purchase of a trailer as described was approved.

The final action item was to lay out the club’s calendar for the rest of the year.  Other than the two rides (Redwood – August 14 and Cuneo Creek – September 11-12), we will have a summer barbecue (focusing on volunteers), a fall meeting and a holiday party.  Donna and Jim Biteman will host the barbecue at their home on August 1.  Eric and Cynthia LeDoux-Bloom will host the winter (Christmas) party at their home sometime in early-mid December.  Cynthia expressed a desire to also host the fall meeting, but it was not decided.

Dr. Chapman brought out a beautiful chocolate cake, and the meeting was adjourned.

Present at the meeting:  Eric and Cynthia LeDoux-Bloom, Tom Noll, Lynn (Rigney) Marks, Dr. Dan Chapman, Donna Biteman (board member), Jim Biteman (board member), Robin Drechsler, Pam Peace, Claudia Harbour, Natalie Herman (board member), Eric and Gail Hought.

Jim Biteman, President

 

July 6, 2021

Dear REER Members and others:

We're looking forward to getting together tonight - 5:30 pm (over by 8:00 pm) at Cynthia and Eric's new home (2084 Sunset Drive, Eureka - call 916-813-6731 for directions).  It's been too long. 

We'll not have a potluck, but please bring your own beverage ("BYOB").  Desserts are welcome.  Menu: Pizza and salad (plus whatever else happens).

Here is the agenda for the small business part of tonight's meeting. 

Items of general discussion:
1. Chalk Rock Ride – recap
2. Redwood Ride - status:
1. Park's permit in hand, campground reserved.
2. Volunteers
3. Trails
4. Food (potluck on Friday?)
5. Management
3. Cuneo Creek Ride - status:
1. Campground reserved and paid.
2. Paperwork in and check submitted. Waiting for permit.
3. Management
Action items:
Board nominating/election committee – Calendar
Equipment – Organization & Storage
Club Calendar – Meeting dates, holiday party, spring banquet.
See you tonight.

Jim

 

June 28, 2021

Dear REER Family:

Here it is!  The letter you have (hopefully) been waiting for.

MEETING: Let’s get together!  We have a date and a place.  Tuesday, July 6, 5:30 pm at the home of Eric and Cynthia LeDoux Bloom, 2084 Sunset Drive, Eureka 95503 (behind the Lost Coast Brewery, call 916-813-6731 for directions).  We have a small amount of business, but our agenda is mostly social.  We need to get together and share stories!  The meeting will end by 8:00 so that everyone may get home at a decent hour.

REDWOOD RIDE VOLUNTEERS: We have begun to organize the volunteer crew for this year’s Redwood Ride.  We enjoyed and appreciate the help last year and offers to help this year. We hope we can count on you to join this year’s crew.

The ride has many jobs – on ride day and during the weeks before and after.  On ride day (Saturday, August 14), it needs volunteers at A-9 Deck (Vet Check) and in camp – timers, pulse takers, ambulance driver and vet scribes, especially.  Friday before the ride, it needs vet scribes, parking assistants, water delivery, and general setup assistance.  Also on Friday, we need to set up the vet check on A-9 Deck and – in camp – the start, finish, timing booth, cool-down/pulse area, and vet check area. On Thursday and Friday, we need volunteers to greet and check in arriving riders, as well as parking assistance. 

On Sunday, after the ride, we will put the final touches on a clean campground.  We will take down trail markings and remove equipment from A-9 Deck and nearby trails and get everything ready to pack out.  Believe it or not, this part is fun!

It may sound like a lot to do, and it is.  With a good crew, it is all enjoyable!  Best of all, volunteers get a free meal on Saturday (we like Edie’s cooking) and a T-Shirt.  Weather permitting, we will have a volunteer meeting (barbecue party) at our home a week or so before the ride (tentatively Tuesday, August 3).

May we count on your help again this year?  If so, are there any particular job or jobs you would like?  Please respond to this email or call: 707-839-7744 (cell: 707-616-1955).

Thank you, so very much.  We look forward to a good time and a great ride again this year.

Enjoy the sunny ride days.  Stay cool and make sure that your horse (and you) get plenty of water.

Jim

 

June 24, 2021

Dear REER Family:

Let’s have a club meeting.  We have much to talk about, and it is time that we actually see each other.  The new COVID regulations allow for a meeting, so let’s do it!

Cynthia LeDoux-Bloom has offered her home as a place to meet, which seems like a good idea.  Its location on the south side of Eureka is more convenient for many than our home north of McKinleyville.  We are still working on the date and time, but it will be soon, I promise.

For one, we will recap the Chalk Rock ride.  By all measures, it went well.  We put 52 riders on trails on Saturday and 36 on Sunday, a large number for this ride.  We did not overflow the ranch’s cozy campground, despite concerns that we might.  Everyone camped well, and all enjoyed their time together.  Donna expects to have the financials done by the time we meet, so we will have a look at how the ride went financially.

Many thanks to Robin Drechsler, who took charge of trails and other important parts of the ride – and to the great crew of volunteers who did the work of registration, check-in, parking, water, organizing vet checks, and much more.  What a great team of great folks!  Thanks, too, to caring riders.  What a wonderful family we have!

We should also look ahead. Organization of the season’s remaining two rides is well under way.  We have the campground reservation and permits in hand for the Redwood Ride (August 14), and we have the campground reservation for the Cuneo Creek ride (September 11-12).  We are in the last stage of its permitting process, which we hope to have completed by the time we meet.

Looking further ahead, we have a board election coming in November and a holiday party in December.  Because of COVID, we did not have a party or election last year, so we have some catching up to do.

As soon as we finalize the date and time, I’ll send out another letter.  In the meantime, please plan to come.

Be well. Love your horse.  You’ll not find a more loyal friend.

Jim

 

May 7, 2021

Dear REER Family,

Here’s a quick update on the status of the REER rides for this season:
Chalk Rock (May 29-30): All a “go.”  The ride has filled to its limit, both in terms of number of riders and parking availability.  With that, a number of riders who wished to ride did not make the cutoff limits.  (AERC has posted the ride as, “Approved - Ride is Full.”) For those left out, please accept our apologies.  This beautiful little ride has never seen so many entries.  Gail has posted the list of those who are in the ride on the REER web site.  For those in the ride, I will send another email, giving details of the check-in and other procedures, which have been modified in order to comply with Humboldt County’s and AERC’s rules regarding events during COVID-19.
Redwood (August 14): Preparations are well underway for this beautiful ride through the ancient redwood forest, a “bucket ride” for many because of the majestic trees and the cathedral-like quiet. Redwood National Park administration has accepted our application for a “special event” permit, and Humboldt County has approved our COVID-19 “Non-spectator Event” operating plan.  AERC has approved our COVID-19 plan and has listed the ride as open on their calendar.  Once we receive the permit from Redwood National Park, we expect AERC to list the ride as “Approved.”  Entries are already flowing in.  If you wish to join us at this ride, please send your entry soon (entry forms on the REER web site).  At the present pace, we expect it to fill well ahead of ride date.
Cuneo Creek (September 11-12): This wonderful autumn ride is based in the luxurious Cuneo Creek Horse Camp of Humboldt Redwoods State Park (pipe corrals, hot showers, lush orchards and prolific wildlife).  With our campground reservation confirmed, we await approval of our permit request, which the park’s administration has accepted. Preparations (especially recruiting the volunteer force) are underway.  If you would like to volunteer, please respond to this email or call (Jim: 707-839-7744).  If you plan to ride, please get in your entry soon.  Although the campground is spacious, it would not surprise us to see it reach its camping limits.
Other REER club activities:
Meetings: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we suspended our regular meetings. I suppose we could have held meetings by ZOOM, but somehow it misses something important, much like the rest of COVID-19 interactions – the warmth of human closeness.  With vaccination rates rising, I hope that we will be able to congregate again and share a meal and companionship.  (Humboldt County just announced a vaccination rate in excess of 50% for its population over age 16, an encouraging number.)
Membership: We encourage membership, even though we do not have regular meetings. Awards, discounts for ride entries, etc. are still available to REER club members.  We plan to resume other activities, including opportunity to elect board members and club officers.
Be safe, be well.  Hug your horse.

Jim
 

 

REER: Update on Rides

March 28, 2021

Der REER Family:

It has been a while since I wrote.  Today, I have some news, so a newsletter.

This year’s REER rides are moving ahead.  The first ride on our schedule is the Chalk Rock Ride, May 29 and 30.  AERC lists it as “pending,” which means that they require an agency approved COVID-19 plan.  We have the first step, approval from Humboldt County’s Public Health Department, and trail crews have begun their work.  If you wish to volunteer, please contact Robin Drechsler (rdrech@wildblue.net).

We have received Humboldt County Public Health approval for the other two rides, Redwood (August 14) and Cuneo Creek (September 11-12).  We are working toward final approvals on both.  I will send out email to keep everyone posted as things move forward.

We are accepting entries for all three rides but will not cash entry payment checks until after the ride.  If you send an entry, please date your check so that it will clear following the ride.  Please send a separate entry for each ride.  Entry forms can be found on the REER website, www.redwoodendurance.com. (See links above.)

If you have not yet renewed your REER club membership, please do so now.  It will save money on rides ($5 discount per ride day), and it will give you bragging rights as a paid member of the West Coast’s least exclusive equestrian organization.  (Membership forms may be found on the web site.  Please send separate payment from ride entry fee.)

I hope that all is well with you, your family and your four-legged companions.  Donna and I have just finished our COVID-19 vaccinations (advantage of getting old!) and have started to – cautiously – re-enter life’s mainstream (or at least a few eddies).  Our granddaughter and I must have hugged a dozen times, including snuggling up on the sofa for a nap together.  It has been a hard period of isolation!

Be well and be safe.  Please send news.

Jim

 

December 17, 2020

The official listing of rides is the AERC calendar.  Their sanctioning committee controls the schedule.  If changes occur, AERC will be the most up to date.

I checked, and they have all three REER rides scheduled for 2021.  Chalk Rock: May 29-30, Redwood: August 14, Cuneo Creek: September 11-12. 

Entry forms have not changed.  If we face limits on the number of entries and additional expenses because of COVID (as we were for Redwood this year), we may ask for an additional fee to cover costs.  (Last time, it was $60 per rider).  Otherwise, it looks like everything should be the same.  That presumes that Humboldt County's "Non-Spectator Event" approval will still be valid next year.  Likewise with campground availability.  One small step at a time.

I hope that all is well.  Take care.

Jim

 

November 26, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Today is Thanksgiving.  We have much to be thankful for and much to look forward to.  I hope that this time is a happy one for you and for those precious to you. 

As we see the COVID-19 case count rise here in Humboldt County, we follow the “shelter in place” guidelines.  We truly appreciate what we have, even though we greatly miss time with our family and friends.

In many ways, it seems as though the world goes on without us.  We feel left behind or left out.  At the same time, though, the isolation brings an opportunity – to be quiet and appreciate our blessings.  Even though separated from them, we know that our family and friends are safe and well.

We were reminded this morning that age brings a blessing.  We have assurance that whatever difficulty this time has brought us, it will soon pass.  We look forward to a day, not far off, when present concerns will have passed, and we will once again have loved ones close by.

Be of good cheer. Reach out to someone today – a call or a text may mean a lot.  Hug your horse.

Take care, be well.  With care and happiness,

Jim

 

REER – Fire and Smoke - Update

September 10, 2020

Dear REER Family:

This morning, the skies looked “normal.”  They had the usual gray overcast for this time of year.  By this afternoon, though, the density of smoke had steadily increased.  As I write this letter, at about 6:00 pm, visibility has decreased to less than a half mile. We are grateful for the decision we made yesterday morning.

Some of our REER Family have left their homes and found shelter with others.  Orick Rodeo Grounds Campground is open and will accommodate anyone needing shelter for their horses. Several club members offer safe shelter.

We have finished the “shutdown process” for Redwood Ride II. We had everything in place for the ride and will likely not recover any of the fees, expenses, etc. We are now moving toward an almost normal cleanup, which will likely be delayed due to the smoke and risk of fire.

Several people have offered to help defray the loss experienced by the club, for which we are grateful.  If you would like to help, please renew your membership in REER or join.  I attach a membership form.  It allows for an extra donation, which we would appreciate.

Other news: I received an email from Marci Cook, announcing the cancellation of the Lake Sonoma Ride.:

We notified AERC last night that Lake Sonoma Ride is cancelled. Park Management continues to suspend special events & camping. The recent Walbridge Fire damaged trails on south side of lake where the old ride finished, and evacuations closed all roads in the area. We are all living in a little bit of limbo as the west coast continues to fight too many new & continuing fires.

For now, please stay home if you can, and stay safe.  If you need assistance, please call: Jim’s cell: 707-616-1955, Home: 707-839-7744 or email.

Thank you for being part of this truly caring community.

Stay safe, care for your loved ones.

Jim

 

REER – Redwood Ride II (aka Cuneo Creek) shut down.

September 9, 2020

Dear REER Family:

We awoke this morning to blood red skies.  At 10:00, the skies are still dark.  What light there is has a strange orange-yellow cast.  Road reports indicate that two principal access routes, Highways 199 and 101, are both closed due to fires.  Some of our key volunteers have called to let us know that they are either evacuating or preparing to do so.

So, after several weeks of determined struggle to put on the ride – changing venue, etc. – we are giving up.  Not because we would not persist.  That’s who we are – endurance riders!  Rather, it is because our first priority – always – is the safety of our riders and their precious four-legged partners.

A few people have already made the journey.  We are working with them to find safe routes home.  The Park Service is bringing their personnel out of harm’s way.  Many have evacuated their homes.

For those who have come here or who need safe shelter, our little equestrian community has the capacity to take in horses.  We are safe, and – because of our coastal location – unlikely to need to move.  Our air quality is still OK, despite the overcast skies.

Our policy at REER is to not cash riders’ entry checks until after the ride.  We will not cash anyone’s entry check.  We will, though, pay those who have already made expenditures for us.  We do not expect to recover the fees we have already paid.  The members of REER’s board understood this and unanimously said that we must place concern for health and safety above any other.

We profoundly apologize for the inconvenience that our decision will cause.  We hope that you will understand and support us next year, as we put on what we know will be three wonderful rides.

For now, please stay home and stay safe.  If you have already traveled and/or need assistance, please call: Jim’s cell: 707-616-1955, Home: 707-839-7744 or email.

Thank you for being part of this truly caring community.

Stay safe, care for your loved ones.

Jim

 

September 8, 2020

REER Redwood Ride II (aka. Cuneo Creek Ride) – Update

Dear REER Family:

The ride is still on!  (It is in Redwood NATIONAL PARK, not a national forest.)

It has a few spaces, if you would like to ride but have not yet sent in an entry.  Please respond by email or call Donna: 707-498-3221.

Air quality at Orick is not the best, but it has consistently had green to yellow rating by Fire.airnow.gov (reference Orick, CA as the location).  A fire burning about 40 miles inland (“Red Salmon complex,” northeast of Willow Creek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness area) has been the source of some smoke.  Another fire recently started burning northwest of Willits, CA.  (“Oak fire,” about 135 miles southeast by air).  That fire has had Hwy 101 north of Willits closed for much of the day.

HWY 299 is open but with some construction delays and some smoke near Willow Creek and Junction City.  Under the present conditions, I-5 and HWY 299 may be the best choice for those coming from southeast of the ride.  Please check with Cal Trans ( https://roads.dot.ca.gov/, 1-800-427-7623) for current road conditions. 

Please allow adequate time and put on adequate water.

Weather-wise, not much has changed.  Weather conditions may still be humid and warm.  Today, temperatures reached into the low 80’s, but the forecast is for cooling through Saturday, with high temperatures in the 70’s likely on ride day.  We will put out extra water, including at locations in addition to those of the August 15 ride.  Some natural water springs and creeks still flow and will likely on ride day.  Still, plan to pack extra water for yourself and conserve water on the trail (use streams for scooping).

When you arrive, prepare for COVID-19 screening and procedures.  Humboldt County has one of the lowest incidence rates of COVID-19 infection in the state (320 per 100,000 residents, in contrast to 1,841 per 100,000 state-wide and 1,914 for the nation as a whole).  Facial covering and social distancing rules are strict and are a condition of our event authorization by the county.

Not much other news.  The Head Ranger at Redwood National Park has discussed the possibility of starting an equestrian volunteer unit at Redwood National and State Parks, similar to the one we have at Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Cuneo Creek).  If interested, please contact me by email. 

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers and veterinarians who give selflessly of their time.  We are grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy a ride in these strange times. We could not do it without you.

Stay safe, be well.  Love your horse and look out for your neighbor.

Jim                                   

 

September 1, 2020

Dear REER Family:

So far, all good news as far as the ride is concerned.  We received a permit from Redwood National Park – and a bill.  As soon as our payment clears, we should have the final permit in hand. Then to AERC’s Sanctioning Committee and, from there, to the insurance agency for certificates.  And so on.  The real news is that the ride is on!

Now, here’s the rest of the story. We will NOT ride at Cuneo Creek (I believe I said that before, but now it is for sure).  Instead, we will ride at Redwood National Park in Orick, CA – the same location as the August 15 Redwood Ride.  In fact, we will just about do a repeat of the August 15 ride.  Why?  First, California State Parks and Recreation has not yet opened state park campgrounds for group camping and does not seem likely to do so any time soon.  So, no Cuneo Creek campground; find a new venue. Second, Redwood National Park is smaller than Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and the trail options are limited. So, a one-day ride.

Also, because of all of the extras needed to meet COVID-19 regulations, extra expense and fewer riders, the cost per rider goes up.  REER does not seek to make money on its rides, and the club’s financial reserves are limited.  The August 15 ride lost several thousand dollars, perhaps OK for one ride but not for more.  Based on that ride, we have a budget for this one.  It says that, to break even, we must receive $180 from each rider.

We will have the usual: Nice campground with hot showers, hot meal on Saturday night, etc.  We will also have the COVID-19 procedures: Screening at arrival, riders doing for themselves what volunteers may have done in the past, wearing of facial covering (masks) and social distancing (no meetings, no potlucks, no vet cards, no on-site registration).  The trails will be the same, beautiful and “spiritual” single track through magnificent redwoods, carefully prepared for our use by the National Park Service.  We expect to have HAM Radio coverage again, for communication and on-trail spotting.  We will put out water at a few additional places.

Dr. Chapman and I have redrawn the “Rules of the Ride.”  A copy is attached.  If you have entered and plan to ride, please study them carefully.  We have tried to make everything clear. Maybe we have done so… 

Donna is calling everyone registered to ride, to have a virtual pre-ride meeting.  She also has a limited number of corrals available, at $25 per night.  Please let her know if you would like to reserve one.

I am also finalizing volunteer assignments.  If you intend to volunteer, please watch for your assignment.  If you would like to volunteer but have not yet done so (we need your help), please let me know.  I will get an assignment that you will enjoy.  Volunteers camp for free and get a nice meal on Saturday. We mark trails and put out water troughs this weekend, and set up camp next week.

Finally, please be aware that several of our family have been affected by the recent wildfires.  We have reports that a few have been entirely burned out.  Please reach out. They may need a place to stay or to keep their animals.

Be well, be safe.  Love your horse and respect your fellow riders.

Jim                                              

 

REER: Update on Cuneo Creek Ride – New location due to COVID-19

August 27, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Here’s the latest.  We received word this afternoon that we will have a permit for the fall REER ride.  No, not at Cuneo Creek.  Instead, at Redwood National Park in Orick, CA – for one day, September 12.

Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is still closed to group camping, as are all other State Parks campgrounds.  (Trails are open and a few individual campsite reservations are available, though.)  The State Park Service informed us that no group camping would be available in September and likely not soon afterward. So began the search for another venue for the REER September ride.

The good news:  The owners of the Orick Rodeo Grounds campground invited us to come there.  We will share space with a few other campers, but it will essentially be ours alone.  Redwood National Park’s administration also encouraged us.  Today, they called to tell us that they have approved our request and will issue a permit in time for us to have the ride. 

This change of venue means several changes over the traditional Cuneo Creek Ride.  Besides a change in location (a bit over an hour drive further north), it also means less trail.  Consequently, REER’s board has decided that the best thing would be a one-day ride, a repeat of the Redwood Ride: Redwood II.

Here’s another thing to consider.  Rider entry fees for the Redwood Ride fell short of covering ride expenses, many of which increased to meet COVID-19 regulations.  (REER does not seek to make a profit. We are an entirely volunteer organization, and we operate to only cover actual ride expenses.)  Rider entry fees for Redwood II will likely have a “COVID-19 Supplement.” 

We expect to complete the recap of Redwood Ride’s financial results by this weekend.  That will give a budget for the upcoming ride and tell how much the ride needs for its rider entry fee.  As soon as we know, I will send out another email to everyone, and we will post on REER’s website and Facebook page.

Please watch for emails to come; check the REER website and Facebook page.  Also, please listen for a telephone call, especially if you sent in an entry for Cuneo Creek or if your entry for the Redwood Ride did not make the cut.

We hope that all are safe from fires and COVID-19.  Be safe and be well.  Love your horse.

Jim

 

August 10, 2020

Dear REER family:

With the Redwood Ride less than a week away, we are still optimistic. We received the final permits today, and we have assurance that all trails will be open well before ride time.  We are still working on the best way to get 1,200 gallons of water up to the top of the mountain. All of this feels tight, but it seems to be working – due to the hard work of an excellent team of volunteers.  Thanks!!

Gail posted the final rider list on the club’s web site a few minutes ago.  We still don’t have the registry quite right, so the best way to reach the ride page is either through AERC’s link (on their calendar) or through Gail’s web site: http://www.hought.com/redwoodendurance-Redwood%20Ride.html.

For those who had hoped to make the list but did not, we apologize.  REER has had a policy of accepting all riders, but we found ourselves seriously restricted by the social distancing requirements of California.  We feel fortunate, though, to be the only AERC ride in California so far this season to get all necessary approvals.  We hope, of course, that a good experience with the Redwood Ride will result in easier regulatory approval for subsequent ones.

For those who wish, we are “rolling over” entries for those who did not get into the Redwood Ride to REER’s fall ride (Cuneo Creek).  We do not know, though, whether we it will go, as its venue may not be available.  As we get closer to the date (September 12-13), I will keep everyone posted.

For those who will ride this coming weekend, I ask that you please understand the restrictions we face and help us to meet them with a safe and enjoyable ride.  Most important, we must follow the rules on facial coverings, social distancing and hand washing/sanitizing.  Please understand that the success and the future of other endurance rides, as well as everyone’s health, depends on everyone’s cooperation and support. 

If you are riding or volunteering, please watch for emails with more details.

Again, many thanks for the support and understanding.  We all greatly appreciate it.

Jim

 

July 31, 2020

Dear REER Family:

I’ll make this letter brief.  No change!

With only two weeks until ride day, we still await the results of a late review of our permit to hold the ride.  Although we are optimistic about it, we cannot yet say for certain that the ride will actually happen.

Just the same, we are moving forward with preparations.  Donna has been holding “virtual pre-ride meetings.”  I have been organizing the team of volunteers.

As expected, we have inquiries, “If the ride does go, will I have a place?”  Even there is more uncertainty.  Humboldt County, the State’s authority, has asked us to significantly reduce the number of participants over what we would normally have.  AERC’s sanctioning committee has also limited the number of riders.  We don’t yet know what other authorities will require.  Under any possible scenario, though, we have more entries than the ride can accommodate.

In an earlier letter, I mistakenly said that REER club members would have preference.  That is not true.  It would violate AERC rules to do so.  We are giving preference only by date of entry, using the postmark dates on entry envelopes.

Please be aware that, if the ride does go, things will be different.  The ride itself will still follow the same beautiful trails through the old growth coastal redwoods – no change there.  Among required changes, we will screen all participants beforehand by telephone and again as they arrive.  That will include, among others, taking of body temperature with an infrared thermometer upon arrival.  We will also require the wearing of facial covering (masks) by all participants and volunteers.  Everyone must also sign a release of liability that includes possible COVID-19 infection. Go to this link.

Please know that we are working and doing our best to have this ride actually happen and to accommodate every rider who can be safely accommodated under the rules we have to follow.

More coming as things move forward. 

Take care – be well.

Jim

 

July 29, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Here’s a quick update on the status of the rides, Redwood and Cuneo Creek:

Cuneo Creek (September 12-13):   No change in status.  California State Parks Administration has not opened state campgrounds for group camping.  They have opened for individual camping, though.  Until they open group camping, we do not have the Cuneo Creek Horse Camp as a venue for the Cuneo Creek ride. 

Is the status likely to change? Will we have the ride?  These are the questions I am asked.  When I ask the same questions to the regional office of the State Parks Administration, they say “Not likely.”  They expect state campgrounds to remain closed to group camping for the duration of the 2020 season.  Like everything else, though, they say that could change.  We might also find another venue.

We have asked AERC to show the ride as open, and we are accepting ride entries.  If State Parks Administration does open group camping or we find another venue, we may have rider limits.  In that case, early entrants will have priority over later ones. If you wish to be included, I encourage you to send in your completed entry form (with signature and payment).  Please include a signed COVID-19 release as well.

As we go ahead, I will periodically send out a status update.  Please watch for my emails.  Check the REER webpage ( www.redwoodendurance.com) and Facebook page (Redwood Empire Endurance Riders).

Redwood Ride (August 15): Status still uncertain but optimistic.  We are going ahead with all preparations while we await rulings from administrative bodies. That will tell us how many riders the ride can accommodate or whether the ride can be put on at all.  We expect to have that information by the end of the week.  When we hear, I will send out another email, and we will post it on the REER website and Facebook page.

In the meantime, we have asked AERC to post the ride as full.  We have received enough entries to exceed the ride’s capacity under any likely scenario.  We cannot say who has a place in the ride and whose entry will be placed on a wait list, however.  It is possible that the ride may be able to accommodate as few as half of the entries already received.

Part of the limitations come from available campsites with adequate separation and part depend upon number of participants.  Humboldt County has authorized only actual participants – “No Spectators or General Audience Members.”  Given that we may reach a total participant limit, we ask that only riders and volunteers (with an actual job assignment) come to the ride.

Early arrivals:  Anyone desiring to arrive and camp before Friday should make reservations with the Orick Chamber of Commerce, who operate the Rodeo Ground (707-488-2885).  Payment must be made directly to them.  They can accept payment by credit card.

COVID-19 Changes: Compliance with county regulations and a desire to keep every rider and volunteer safe has led us to make significant changes to the way the ride will operate.  The following is a summary and partial list of the changes (more detailed rules will follow): 

1. Use of facial covering (masks): Humboldt County mandates that everyone at the event wear a mask whenever in any “public area.”  We have set the rule that everyone must wear a facial covering (mask) except when in their own camp (and at least 10 ft. distance from anyone not actually in their camp party) and except when actually mounted on a horse.  Humboldt County has approved these two exceptions.
2. Social distancing: The ride activities must be organized so as to ensure adequate social distance (12 ft. on ground and 25 ft. on a horse).  These rules will apply to organization of campsites, vet checks, etc.  I will send out more details on the way that vet lines will work, etc. in a later letter.  Important now, though, is organization of the campground.  To do that, we must know the following:

1. When the rider expects to arrive at the campground (Orick, CA Rodeo Ground)
2. Who will actually be in the rig at arrival and in the camp (riders, crew, etc.). Keep in mind that any non-rider must have a volunteer assignment in order to accompany a rider.  We need complete contact information and a signed COVID-19 release from accompanying individuals as well as riders.
3. Overall dimensions of the rig (trailer plus truck) and which side to tie/pen horse(s). Spaces will be designated by overall length of rig (trailer plus truck).  Long rig (50 ft.) spaces will be limited.

3. Screening of Participants: We will screen all participants (riders and volunteers) upon their arrival.  This screening will include the following:

1. Answering questions in a questionnaire designed to determine whether the individual has any symptoms of COVID-19 and to determine where the individual has been that could be a possible place of contact for COVID-19 transmission.
2. Check of body temperature with a non-contact infrared thermometer. Any individual displaying an elevated body temperature will be given a digital fever thermometer and asked to do a personal temperature check.

I appreciate the burdensome nature of these changes and know that not everyone may agree with them.  They are a condition of participation in this ride, however, and they have been set by the authorities who authorize us to put on the ride.  I also appreciate the fact that the COVID-19 epidemic has become highly politicized.  Therefore, I ask all participants: Leave your politics at home!  We are doing this so that every participant may have an enjoyable time in one of the most amazing places on earth, the giant redwoods.

As we move forward, I will send out additional updates by email.  They will also be posted on Facebook and on the REER website.

Take care – be safe and be well.

Jim

 

July 21, 2020

Dear REER Family:

We have some good news.

REDWOOD RIDE: This past weekend, we received the necessary approvals for the Redwood Ride.  The ride is now sanctioned by AERC and ready to proceed.  All that remains are the usual: Recruiting and organizing the volunteer effort, obtaining veterinarian support, arranging emergency and community services and campground, preparation and marking of trails, administration and records, etc. 

This year, we have an entirely new concern, COVID-19.  We will follow the “non-spectator event” plan approved by Humboldt County and AERC.  It contains a significant number of changes and additional procedures from our normal way of putting on an endurance ride. 

It also limits the total number of attendees, volunteers and crew, not just riders.  We may be approaching those limits, if we have not already reached them.  If you wish to ride, please submit your ride entry request immediately.  By mail, please, with a check enclosed.

We need every rider, crew, or volunteer to understand the changes.  We have made a commitment – which we will honor – to ensure social distancing, wearing of facial covering, etc.  Some of these procedures may seem burdensome or even intrusive, possibly measuring of temperature with an infrared thermometer of all arriving participants, for instance.  If you intend to come to the ride, please understand that we must have cooperation with these new procedures.  My next letter will contain specifics, and we intend to call every registered rider during the week before the ride.

Also, please be aware that, despite our best efforts to minimize the possibility of COVID transmission, this will not be a totally risk-free event.  Other groups may use the campground (rent strings or another camping group, for example), and the park is open to other users.  The ride date is one of the most popular for other park users.  Many attendees may also come from COVID “hotspots” and places where people have not followed transmission mitigation behaviors. Although we will do what we can, much depends upon people’s actual behavior, and the risk is real.

Humboldt County carefully tracks all COVID-19 cases.  Altogether, the county has traced the source of over 85% of all cases.  To date, the county reports 189 confirmed cases with 17 hospitalizations and four deaths.  Community transmission is relatively low (12.7%, with one community acquired infection since June 15), but travel-acquired infection is common (25.4%).  An event such as the endurance ride falls into the realm of likely transmission, “travel-related.”  Even though community-related transmission is relatively low, county health authorities rate the risk of spread at “Level-2: Moderate Risk” (Humboldt County COVID-19 Dashboard). Possibility of contact with people from out of the county – event participants, other campground users, and other park users – places the risk of attending this event at a higher level than normal community activities. 

CUNEO CREEK RIDE: We expect the approval from Humboldt County’s health authorities for Redwood to roll forward to the Cuneo Creek Ride.  Cuneo Creek presents an issue different from Redwood, though.  At Cuneo Creek, we use the State Park’s group campground.  At present, the Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is open for individual use, but its group camp areas remain closed.  Until and if the state opens state campgrounds for group camping, we do not have a venue for the ride.  How likely?  State Parks Administration tells us that, although possible, they do not realistically expect campgrounds’ group areas to open at all this season.  So, although we have not given up hope (and, consequently, we keep the ride on AERC’s calendar), I rate the probability rather low.  As we get closer to ride date, we will know more.  I will keep everyone posted.

Please look for more emails over the next few days. 

Take care – be well.

Jim

 

July 20, 2020

Dear REER Family:

We have some good news.

REDWOOD RIDE: This past weekend, we received the necessary approvals for the Redwood Ride.  The ride is now sanctioned by AERC and ready to proceed.  All that remains are the usual: Recruiting and organizing the volunteer effort, obtaining veterinarian support, arranging emergency and community services and campground, preparation and marking of trails, administration and records, etc. 

This year, we have an entirely new set of things to consider, COVID-19 regulations.  We will follow our “non-spectator event” plan approved by Humboldt County and AERC.  It contains a significant number of changes and additional procedures from our normal way of putting on an endurance ride. 

It also limits the total number of riders, volunteers and crew, not just riders.  We may be approaching those limits, if we have not already reached them.  If you wish to ride, please submit your ride entry request immediately.  By mail, please, with a check enclosed.

We need every rider, crew, or volunteer to understand the changes.  We have made a commitment – which we will honor – to ensure social distancing, wearing of facial covering, etc.  Some of these procedures may seem burdensome or even intrusive, measuring of temperature with an infrared thermometer of all arriving participants, for instance.  If you intend to come to the ride, please understand that we must have cooperation with these new procedures.  My next letter will contain specifics, and we intend to call every registered rider during the week before the ride.

Also, please be aware that, despite our best efforts to minimize the possibility of COVID transmission, this will not be a totally risk-free event.  Other groups may use the campground (rent strings or another camping group, for example), and the park is open to other users.  The ride date is one of the most popular for other park users.

Humboldt County carefully tracks all COVID-19 cases.  Altogether, the county has traced the source of over 85% of all cases.  To date, the county reports 181 confirmed cases with 17 hospitalizations and four deaths.  Community transmission is relatively low (12.7%), but travel-acquired infection is common (26.5%).  An event such as the endurance ride falls into the realm of likely transmission, “travel-related.”  Even though community-related transmission is relatively low, county health authorities rate the risk of spread at “Level-2: Moderate Risk” (Humboldt County COVID-19 Dashboard). Possibility of contact with people from out of the county – event participants, other campground users, and other park users – places the risk of attending this event at a higher level than normal community activities.

CUNEO CREEK RIDE: We expect the approval from Humboldt County’s health authorities for Redwood to roll forward to the Cuneo Creek Ride.  Cuneo Creek presents an issue different from Redwood, though.  At Cuneo Creek, we use the State Park’s group campground.  At present, the Cuneo Creek Horse Camp is open for individual use, but its group camp areas remain closed.  Until and if the state opens state campgrounds for group camping, we do not have a venue for the ride.  How likely?  State Parks Administration tells us that, although possible, they do not realistically expect campgrounds’ group areas to open at all this season.  So, although we have not given up hope (and, consequently, we keep the ride on AERC’s calendar), I rate the probability rather low.  As we get closer to ride date, we will know more.  I will keep everyone posted.

Please look for more emails over the next few days. 

Take care – be well.

Jim

 

July 3, 2020

Dear REER Family:

I have not written for some time.  I hope you will forgive me.  We have been “sequestered” to avoid COVID-19.

People have asked about the status of the Redwood Ride (August 15) and the Cuneo Creek Ride (September 12-13).  I have wished for a definite answer, but all I have is, “We don’t know.”

As of today, AERC has both rides listed as going. We await information from our public landowners, though.  At present, neither will process our permit application.  Both, it appears, look to the same source for their information, California Parks and Recreation, which gets its guidance from the state.  I have learned that they (and Humboldt County) await California State’s “re-opening guidelines for gatherings and events.” It may be included in the next release, due July 15.  Perhaps we will have a clearer picture then than we have now.

REER will continue to accept entries for both rides, with the following understanding.  If the entry fee is paid by check, we will not cash the check until after the ride (and then only if the entrant has actually ridden the ride).  If the ride does not go, we will contact all entrants, and we will shred the checks.  We hope that entrants will enter rides individually, as one ride may go and the other not.

If the ride goes, it will likely have restrictions, both in number of riders and conditions to be met during the gathering.  Social distancing and wearing of face covering (masks) are almost certain, as both are mandatory for all reopening business in Humboldt County.  Keeping and reporting data for contact tracing will also likely be mandated.  There may be more restrictions, and riders, crew and volunteers will have to sign and agree to follow the protocol.  Actually following it would be a condition of participation – for both rider and crew.

Restrictions on number of people allowed at the event would likely include riders, crew and volunteers combined.  We would hope that the number allowed would be large enough to make the event viable.  If we must allocate places, we will take entries in the order received (mailing postmark date), with preference given to REER club members. (We will accept new or renewal memberships up to a week before the ride.)  Entry forms and membership forms are available on the REER web site.

For those wishing to ride during the COVID-19 shutdown, some people have become creative.  Two members of our community have offered “virtual rides,” and more are likely to follow.  Audra Homicz has presented the Trinity Virtual Trail Ride, and Elicia Kamberg has presented the Wild West Virtual Endurance Ride.  Distances vary, as does the possibility of including other activities besides actual trail miles.

Both virtual events require riders to use distance recording apps to record their rides.  (“Relive” seems easy to use, but almost any app is acceptable.)  Some riders have also posted their ride activities on their Facebook ages.  CSHA Endurance is donating awards provided by CSHA Endurance sponsors to the Trinity virtual event, which has drawings for prizes among those that enter for a fee and complete miles as directed. Wild West has also provided prizes (and charged a fee). For more information on the Trinity virtual ride, please email Audra ( dogwoodspringsfarm@yahoo.com ). For the Wild West virtual ride, Elicia posts on her web site (wildwestendurance.com).

Other ride opportunities: Trails are open at both Redwoods National & State Park and Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  Camping is available at the Orick Rodeo Grounds with a camp host and hot showers/restrooms. (For information, call the Orick Chamber of Commerce: 707-488-2885). Cuneo Creek Horse Camp has four individual camp sites available for reservation on Reservecalifornia.com and one more on a first come basis.  Cuneo Creek’s showers and restrooms are open, but group camp sites are closed for the season and it does not have a camp host.  Also, Jackson State Forest campground in Mendocino County opened for camping on July 1 (See link below for information):
https://www.fire.ca.gov/programs/resource-management/resource-protection-improvement/demonstration-state-forests/jackson/

A couple of words of caution.  First, if you go to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, please be careful where you park.  The ranger service has reported an increase in incidents of vandalism to vehicles, especially ones parked at the old mill site (beside Mattole Road, between Albee Creek Campground and Cuneo Creek Campground).  A member also reports that her horse became ill with a tick-borne illness.  It is tick season, and ticks reside in grassy areas near wooded ones.

As I get more clarity on the Redwoods and Cuneo creek rides, I will send out another letter.  In the meantime, though, we will post on REER’s web site and Facebook page.  AERC will also have the latest information.

I hope you are sheltering-in-place and observing social distancing and face covering rules, as are we.  Be well and be safe.

Jim

 

April 20, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Please note this correction:  AERC has only suspended rides up to May 11 th, rather than indefinitely. The Board is meeting on May 4th (phone) to determine what further action is to be taken.  I’ll let everyone know how that turns out in my next letter.

Please keep in touch with friends and family.  I have found time to have satisfying phone conversations with cherished family members, including one nephew whose wife was quarantined with an illness that her physician believed to be COVID-19.  He cared alone for their young son, whom he was afraid would get sick. 

Now may be a good time to mend things that need mending.  A few kind and caring words may go a long way.

I hope that you are well and safe.

Jim

 

April 20, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Here’s a quick update on things.

What is happening?  Mostly, we are staying home. Although Humboldt Redwoods State Park is closed (parking areas and Visitors’ Center), trails that allow 6 feet of separation are open.  The campground is closed, but parking at the roadside turnouts is still OK.

As I wrote earlier, the rides – Chalk Rock, Redwood and Cuneo Creek – are still on hold.  Right now, we expect the California and Humboldt County stay at home orders to be in effect for most, if not all of May.  Even as mitigation efforts seem to be working, we expect that California, Oregon and Washington will take a safe road to reopening.  We expect Humboldt County to follow state guidelines, even with no new cases reported.  AERC has also stepped forward, with its board withdrawing sanctioning of all rides until further notice. 

For now, Donna and I are following guidelines and remaining at home except for an infrequent trip to buy groceries.  That has meant that we have not been going to the post office to get club mail.  As a consequence, we have not picked up membership renewals or ride applications.  If you sent either with a check, please forgive our delay.  Our policy is to not cash ride entry checks until after the ride, anyway; and we will let you know when we plan to cash your check for membership renewal.

I am grateful to those who understand the importance of social distancing, as it is the only way we know to slow or prevent the spread of the virus.  As I hear protests by people who say that they will take the risk, I wonder if they appreciate that is not only themselves but family, friends and community members at risk.  With asymptomatic carriers apparently commonplace, it only makes sense to avoid the possibility of unaware transmission.

As we have a clearer view of what lies ahead, especially as we have an idea of whether any of this year’s rides are possible, I will let everyone know.  Until then, please be safe and stay well.

Jim

 

March 24, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Here is a little letter to bring everyone up to date on what is happening. We hope that its arrival finds you well.

First, we understand the purpose of “shelter-in-place” and other social distancing efforts, and we fully support all the efforts.  We have talked with staff at AERC about our upcoming rides, and we have received information from Humboldt Redwoods State Park about the status of our event there (Cuneo Creek Ride).  As a result, we (REER’s board) have agreed that we should comply with the social distancing requests and suspend our gatherings.  Consequently, we will not hold the Spring Awards Banquet, scheduled for April 5. 

Also, we will suspend preparation for the Chalk Rock Ride (ride days: May 22 and 23).  That, of course, will mean that the ride itself will be postponed.  When we have an idea of things to come, we will find a new date for it, one that will be consistent with the Barnwells’ operations of their wonderful ranch.

With regard to regular meetings, we will hold them “virtually,” using an as yet-to-be determined virtual meeting platform.  Please plan to join us online for the regular club meetings.  (I need time to get things set up, so the first online club meeting will take place on May 5.)  The usual potluck will not be possible, but I will try to find a way to have open social time.  Any suggestions?

With regard to the other REER rides, Redwood and Cuneo Creek, we are in a “wait and see” mode.  Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Cuneo Creek) has returned the checks we sent to reserve the campground and pay the event registration fee, but they have said that they will hold our reservation, pending as yet unknown future park special event policies.  For now, though, they have suspended all special event activities in the park and have closed the visitors’ center, at least until April 15.  They tell us that the trails are open for use but have asked that trail usage be limited to pedestrians only (no horses or mountain bikes).  This is because of trail conditions, not social distancing – trails are soft and unstable, due to recent heavy rain and snow.  We expect to receive information when they judge the trail conditions OK for horses, and I will send out an email to let you know.

The creativity of the endurance community already shows.  One member (Ann York) has begun to organize “virtual rides.”  They allow competitors to set their own courses and to post start-finish times and GPS data.  This organizer has said that she will offer awards.  I am not sure how this effort will progress, but I will certainly inform everyone as things develop.

Importantly, I am reminded of the fear that comes with social distancing.  We, especially, need to keep in contact with each other and provide support.  Please make a point of contacting your endurance friends and riding buddies on a regular basis.  Also, please be careful about the information you share.  Too much of what is going around is either absolutely false or, at best, badly misleading.  Reliable information appears to come primarily from state-level sources.  We have found Governor Cuomo’s talks to the people of New York State especially informative and hope inspiring in their accuracy and clarity.  Likewise, we have found information from the World Health Organization (WHO) to give an accurate picture of the situation world-wide.

Last, I ask that you appreciate the impact that the situation is having on particular people.  One, who had hoped for necessary medical treatment, has found that treatment unavailable or the risk – especially of contracting a COVID-19 infection – too high.  They need our support.

As I receive reliable and useful information, especially about endurance activities, I will send out more letters.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me via e-mail ( james@biteman.com).  I try to monitor my e-mail on an every other day basis or better.

With caring and understanding of the importance of mutual support.

Jim Biteman, President, REER

February 27, 2020

Dear REER Family:

As I talk with members of our endurance community, I hear everyone looking forward to a great ride year.  REER ride preparations are well underway. 

Volunteer assignments are happening now.  If you have volunteered in the past, please expect a call.  If you plan to work at one or more of this year’s REER rides (or desire or think you may want to – volunteers have fun and eat for free, too!), please contact the ride’s coordinator or let me know: 

                Chalk Rock (May 23-24): Robin Drechsler (rdrech@wildblue.net)

                Redwood (August 15): Donna Biteman (Donna@biteman.com)

                Cuneo Creek (September 12-13): Pam Peace (littleladypeace@hotmail.com)

News: Thomas Valtierra, Chief Ranger of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, tells us that conditions in the park are exceptionally dry.  The new bridge for Johnson Camp Trail has been put in the park’s plan, but for 2021. Their trail maintenance plan includes control of poison oak – we thanked him for the work of a trail maintenance worker, who last year cleared the poison oak on Homestead trail for us. This week, several of our riders saw state work crews at work, clearing the upper part of Indian Orchard trail.  They confirmed the exceptionally dry conditions.

We received the permit for this year’s Redwood Ride from the Redwood National and State Parks.  Trail preparation for Chalk Rock begins soon.

Incidentally, Donna and I accepted an invitation to become “head volunteers” at this year’s Tevis Cup race.  We will coordinate volunteer activities at Robie Park, the location of the start of the ride. 

Please come to Tuesday’s meeting: Carol Wooster’s home, 835 Ole Hanson Road, Eureka (near Indianola – call 707-367-1185 for directions).  Bring something yummy for the potluck (a main dish?) and a horse story or news to share.  Potluck and social time start at 6:00, followed by the meeting at 6:30, ending no later than 8:30.

The usual standing items on the agenda: Minutes of last meeting, President’s report, Treasurer’s report – followed by review of each ride’s preparations.  Please let me know if you would like the agenda to include other items.

Happy trails and good fellowship.

Jim
 

 

January 18, 2020

Dear REER Family:

I have a little news to report this morning – mostly from our club meeting last Tuesday.  To give you the highlights:

1. We have a new board of directors, pending final approval by REER’s active members. Here they are, including the officers’ positions for 2020:
1. Donna Biteman – Treasurer (second year of a two-year term)
2. Maryanne Riley – Board Member at Large (new term, two years)
3. Jim Biteman – President (new term, two years)
4. Audra Homicz – Executive Secretary (replaces Berit Meyer, two-year term)
5. Natalie Herman – Vice-president (one year, fills the remainder of Carol Wooster’s term).
2. We passed an amendment to the club’s bylaws, also pending final membership approval. It adds an article that specifies the disposition of the club’s assets.
3. Appointment of managers for REER’s 2020 rides:
1. Chalk Rock (May 23-24): Robin Drechsler
2. Redwood (August 15): Donna Biteman
3. Cuneo Creek (September 12-13): Pam Peace
4. Other items included approval of Humboldt Amateur Radio Club as the HAM operators for Redwood and Cuneo Creek rides. Chalk Rock may also have coverage, pending the availability of licensed operators from the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club.
5. Approval of funds for an ad in the spring issue of AERC News.
6. Authorization for the Treasurer to transfer funds from checking to savings (to gain interest).
It is important to note that the election of officers and appointment of ride managers is for 2020 only.  Both sets are for one year terms.  Next year, we will repeat the process.  It is also important to note that ride management is a club function.  REER’s ride managers report to the Board of Directors, which holds policy (including approval of trails) and budget authority.  Note that the company president is listed with AERC as co-manager for all REER rides.

At the meeting, we discussed the details of the job of ride manager.  Although we follow the AERC Ride Managers Handbook, REER also has its own ride management handbooks, one for each ride.  They contain much detailed information, including past ride history, needed by that ride’s manager. 

Between now and next meeting (March 3), ride managers will put together their operating plans and budgets.  Please expect a call to ask for your help as a volunteer at one or more of the rides.  Each manager counts on about 30 people to help mark trail, manage water, take pulse, etc.

On another issue, the Humboldt Amateur Radio club asked us to announce their program to assist people interested in obtaining an amateur radio license.  For less than $100, including cost of equipment, a person can get on the air.  Humboldt Amateur Radio Club will provide instruction and assistance in passing the licensing exam, etc.  Contact – Anthony Weise: anthonyweise@yahoo.com.

A bit of personal news:  One of our young members, Stephanie Schlerf, suffered fractures of both kneecaps in a fall at the Ferndale Ice Rink.  She underwent surgery to reassemble one, broken in six places.  She is at home recuperating and would appreciate calls or letters.

On a personal note, we buried our beloved tabby cat this morning.  Healthy and active, he came home after last week’s storm not feeling well.  He died this morning, of what we suspect to be some kind of poisoning.  We loved him dearly, having raised him and his sister as kittens abandoned by a feral mother at the age of two days.  He had been an important part of our lives for nearly sixteen years. I add this to this letter as a reminder to all just how attached to our animal partners we become and just how fragile they really are, and to ensure that we are sensitive to the grief that each of us feels at such a loss.

Also on a personal note, Donna and I have just agreed to manage the volunteer activities at Robie Park, for this year’s Tevis Cup Ride.  We look forward to seeing all of our friends there.

As we approach the time of the next meeting or as I have something worth sharing, I will send out another letter.  Please mark the date of the next REER meeting, Tuesday, March 3, on your calendar.  Also, please expect a call from one of REER’s ride managers, to ask for your help.  Volunteering is fun; it gives an opportunity to enjoy a shared and productive time together.  As we do not have contact information for everyone, I would appreciate it if you would send me your e-mail address and cell phone number.

Many thanks.

Happy trails and warm friendship.

Jim

January 12, 2020

Dear REER Family:

Please note the change of location for next Tuesday’s meeting (January 14).  We will meet at Carol Wooster’s home – 835 Ole Hanson Road, Eureka (near Indianola).  For directions, please call Carol: 707-367-1185.  Please let others know of this change.

The agenda for the meeting is busy and important:

Election of a board and election of officers for 2020. We may need as many as four new members (of five total).  If you would like to serve on REER’s board, please let me know or come to the meeting to engage in the discussion.
Appointment of managers for the club’s rides.
Consideration of an amendment to the club’s bylaws, introduced and suggested by one of the club’s members.
We will begin with a potluck, starting at 6:00 pm.  Bring something good to eat, and share in good fellowship.  The business meeting will begin at 6:30 and end by 8:30.

I look forward to seeing you soon and to sharing in a wonderful year of rides and friendship.

Jim

 
 December 24, 2019
 
Dear REER family:
 
We hope that the holidays find you well.  If you celebrate it, I hope you have a joyous Christmas.  For all, we wish a time of quiet reflection and opportunity to be close with those we love.
 
As we move into the new year, we look forward to enjoyable rides and good fellowship.  We have the usual three rides planned for this year, along with times of friendship and good fellowship.  We hope you look forward to all the REER activities.  I attach the calendar, as approved at the November meeting.
 
We do need a January meeting, to review the plans and to manage the club’s governance – board and officers – for the year.  We will hold it at our house: Donna and Jim Biteman, 1556 Tantara Lane, McKinleyville, CA (707-839-7744 for directions).  Potluck at 6:00, meeting starts at 6:30.  All done by 8:30.
 
Please plan to come.  Bring a good horse story, something yummy for the potluck, and enjoy good fellowship.
 
Warmly and with good cheer,
 
Jim


P

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