Wednesday, January 03, 2007

If you need a dedicated animal attendant who is certified in the safety procedures on an MD-11, I am your go to person. Now that I can add this to my resume' maybe I can moonlight flying with horses back and forth to Europe. You would be amazed how many horses fly. Martinair tells me that they fly about 2000 each year, mostly to and from Miami. We are scheduled to fly out on the 9th. The horse van will pick us up at the stable at 6:00a.m. and we have about a 5 hour drive to Amsterdam. The horses will start being loaded onto the containers at about 11:30a.m. and the flight departs at 2:30p.m. We arrive in Miami at 6:30 p.m. your time (12:30a.m. Germany time). The horses will be unloaded and vanned over to the quarantine facility where they will remain for 2 days. They will be released on the 11th and I will drive them up to our farm in Apopka. The State vet was at our farm this morning doing a final inspection so that we can be a certified CEM quarantine facility so that Dolly can finish her 21 day period at home. We passed inspection with flying colors, in fact the vet remarked that the preparations were the most thorough he has seen. Thank you Mary Anne!!!!!! I had a bit of fun on the drive to Amsterdam this morning to take the safety training course at Martinair. I must admit, I didn't see much scenery on the way there because it was dark for 2/3 of the trip and the rest of the time I spent looking at the map or checking my rearview mirror for speeding bullets in the left lane. I still think it is amazing that you can get to a totally new destination in a foreign country just by looking at a map. But, I guess Schipol airport in Amsterdam is a pretty big target. Just a word to the wise, make sure you carry coins with you when you travel on the highway because when you stop to use the restroom, it almost always costs money. Not the time you want to have to wait in line for change. This is a new one. One place that I stopped had a turnstile in front of the bathroom door that you had to put 50 cents in and it gave you a receipt back that was good for a 50cent discount on an instore purchase. And don't think about ducking under the turnstile in a moment of desperation, there is a uniformed attendant standing there watching the comings and goings. Do you know that Germany is the only country with no speed limit on the Autobahn? I find that curious since they are so conservative, yet think how much fuel they use traveling at warp speed! In Holland, the speed limit is 120 kph. I found Holland to be much more Americanized. I saw a lot of McDonald's along the highway and Burger King at the travel plazas. I have to admit, you do stay more alert driving in Germany because there is something happening all the time, whereas when most people are traveling at the same rate of speed, traffic backs up easily and you tend to get bored. One refreshing thing, there are virtually no billboards along the highway. Driving in Holland could have easily passed as Florida, very flat and lots of water. At least on the way home it was daylight so I could see a little of the countryside. We are coming down to our last few days of lessons, but you would never know it, Hubertus still has the discerning eye on us until the last moment. He has worked very hard to help us put our best foot forward for the Selection Trials and we are very anxious to put our new skills to work. A footnote for those of you interested, the Part 2 of The Road to Beijing article written about my Olympic journey is available online at