Need more info?

The first trip, I was asked often what my cause was, that one I really didn't have one, but now I do. I am riding for awareness, not just about Uterine Cancer, but our health in general. We know ourselves better than any doctor, stand up and fight for yourself, it may just save your life.
Head to the Facebook page, Kathleen's Wild Ride, once again updated most days by my friends Mary and Jay.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

and so we wait . . .

This journey has been rewarding beyond measure for me. I have regained a lot of what I had lost of myself in the last difficult years of my life and feel that I have grown and strengthened as a person. Which is a funny statement cause what else would I grow as, a flower? Or perhaps a pigeon. Anyhow I digress, So it is with mixed feelings that I completed my journey. I reached my original goal of New Jersey and while I feel jubilant I also am sad to have finished my trip. That is until I remember that I am not home yet.
The girls and I are not done with our journey til we have reached our homes. They to the barn and me to an as of yet undetermined temporary haven while I get working again. The trip home is proving to be more frustrating and difficult than the ride ever was. I think that is because it is out of my immediate control. I am having to rely completely on others, and it is a bit disconcerting. Once again the people that are stepping up to help me are amazing. So far Claudia and Mare have hauled me to White Haven PA, where I wait for a ride to the border of Ohio. Once there I have rides across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. I have a possible lead on Iowa, not sure yet, and if I can get 100 people to donate 10 to 20 dollars to my paypal account I can have a friend drive out from Oregon to pick me up.
But that is still a lot of ifs,so I am stuck in PA trying to find rides home and all I can do besides call everyone in my phone book is to wait. The only person that might be as frustrated as I am is Kevin, who wants his bed back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Welcome to New Jersey . . .

Now I have heard a lot about what different states were going to be like on this trip. Received dire warnings about how I was going to be treated and how help would not be available and each time I just smiled and knew everything would be fine, then I arrived in New Jersey and I began to wonder if some of those warnings might be right. I entered New Jersey over the toll bridge coming out of Portland Pennsylvania and was told by the people at the diner I stopped at for lunch that they would not let me cross the toll bridge. As I rode up the to bridge, one of the toll keepers came out and motioned for me to wait where I was so he could drive around to talk to me. My heart sank a little, I figured I was going to have to retrace my steps and cross on the narrow people bridge. He pulled along side of me and rolled down his window to tell me he just wanted to make sure I crossed without incident and he would follow me. He then asked what I was doing and upon hearing it grinned from ear to ear and said it was amazing. So across the bridge I went entering New jersey smoothly. I rode along side the highway, people driving by me, passing with care, disproving the "crazy driver" notion I had be given about Jersey drivers. Eventually a man stopped on the side of the road to talk to me, and upon finding out I was crossing the country, announced he was right and his wife was wrong and brought me up to the window of his car to have me tell his wife that. He then started driving up the road searching for a place for me to stay. I met up with him at a bar called Gunners Landing and for the first time I was turned down for a place to stay. They had a park area behind the bar, near the river and off the road and were not interested in my staying there, I was surprised but then laughed when I remembered how surprised I always was when people told me yes. I continued down the road, Super Frank driving ahead stopping at every farm he passed trying to find me a safe place for the night. The Mackey's stepped up and let me camp at their farm, in their backyard, they were somewhat speechless when I talked to them, but very kind and welcoming. The next day I was off heading for Hackettown and rode there without incident. I rode through town and decided to stop at Mcdonald's before riding up the hill at Schooley's Mountain. I met several people there, all excited about my trip, amazed that I had made it this far and soon they were arguing over where I should stay and what road would be best for me to take out of town the next day. Mike Mulina, sorry about messing up your last name Mike, found me a wonderful place to stay, with his friend Bob, a judge, and his wife, a retired judge. They welcomed me to there farm and into their home for the night and the next morning I was up early to head off to Morristown. Or So I thought.
I walked the horses down to highway 46, and started east, when I spotted a county police car and waved them down to ask if there was a cafe in the direction I was heading. Big Mistake! The officer driving asked if I was planning on taking the horses up the highway and when I said yes told me I couldn't do that. Surprised I asked if it was restricted, he said no but I couldn't take horses up that road, I asked if it was against the law for me to ride on the roads there, he didn't answer my question but instead told me if I choose to there would be consequences. Getting frustrated, I was trying to remain calm and not get angry and to find out why they were not wanting me to ride down the rode and how they wanted me to get out of town. I suggested going out Schooley's Mountain road and was met with the same statement, that I couldn't ride in that road, I asked them what I was supposed to do and was told that I needed to go and get my trailer and haul them where I was going, I explained several times before it finally sank in that I was riding across the U.S. and had no trailer or truck, but still I was threatened with consequences if I chose to ride either road. So I called Ann, the woman I met the previous day and asked her for help, she called the precinct and discovered that there were planning on impounding the horses if I road up either road, which I found odd since what I was doing was not against the law. Finally the passenger officer and I talked enough for me to find out that they were concerned for the safety of the horses. They insisted on running my license, and to know where I stayed the previous night. I find the running of my license kind of insulting, even though I know that they are just doing their jobs and trying to do what they think is best for the horses. My patience almost at an end, I agreed to return to where I was staying the previous night, calling Ann to see if she could find me a trailer ride away from these police. She started searching for a ride as I walked back to the farm. I was stopped by another officer, who had shown up at the bank I was talking to the cranky officers at and he told me not to worry about things he would try to help. I got back to the farm tied the girls up, Ann called back to tell me she had found a trailer ride that would be there around 11 ish and the Officer Bryan drove into the driveway to tell me that he had contacted the Morris County Mounted Patrol and they were sending a trailer to rescue me from Washington county. I thanked him and went back into the house for breakfast and then met with a reported from the local radio station that Judge Bob contacted to interview me about this incident and my trip. Officer Bob returned with Mounted Patrolman Gabriel and the girls were loaded up in the trailer and I was whisked out of Washington Township Police jurisdiction. I met with the Sargent and he and Gabe helped me find a good path to follow and I was off again. As evening started to fall, a woman stopped to talk to me and hearing that I was looking for a place for the night, jumped on her phone and called Mare and Richard for me to stay with. They came and got us in their trailer and brought us to their farm.
So after the last few days I have to say this about New Jersey: the people are kind, considerate and helpful. Well most of them are, some are opinionated and pushy, but in all honesty, this wouldn't be New Jersey without a little of that and I would feel kind of ripped off if I didn't encounter a few Stereotypical Jerseyians.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Was it a European Swallow?

I realized a few days ago, that I had been on the road for exactly 6 months. We were travelling along a lovely country road when it hit me. I pulled Delightful up for a few minutes in amazement. I really never thought that it would take me this long to get across the country, but I didn't take into account the time I would spend sitting. The first pit stop, Ali's to regroup and figure out a new path. The second was in Antelope waiting for Solo's booties. Third time was with Cindy Bachman, in Idaho when Mystic first got a sore back. Fourth was not much later in Buhl with Penny Hodges waiting for a girth for Joel's endurance saddle. Number five was in Malad City to let the girls rest up a day, then we stopped for number six in the next town for a week to make sure Mystic was back to 100% before taking on the German Dugway Pony express road and immediately had to sit again in Montpelier and then Cokeville to let her heal after the endurance saddle gave her a whither sore. We didn't sit again til we cleared the desert in Rawlins to let the girls gain weight and recover from the desert, continued the wait in Cheyene til I was happy with them and the vet was too. I took a day with Jackie in Waverly Nebraska and then we rode almost continuously until we got to Upper Sandusky and took a week off. Since being in Pennsylvania we have taken a day with Kimmie and the rest in Butler, A week with Tom Brown and Mary Lou, and then 3 days at the Jonas hotel, of course that was after the six month mark. There have been some days here and there I missed but all in all I think we sat for about 8 weeks this trip. So I guess six months isn't that bad considering. As I put Delightful back into a walk I glanced down at the ditch and was surprised to find a coconut. Riding away I wondered if it was brought by African or European swallows. It wasn't very big, I am guessing it was European.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I sense someone is trying win Delightful over. . .

We had a long day to ride to Punxsutawny. As we rode through town I smiled at the people driving by and waving at us, returning the waves and hoping the girls wouldn't poop in someones driveway. I was looking for the post office, I had a package from Glenn to pick up, so I stopped a few people and got direction. I pulled into the parking lot and was approached by several people that had seen me riding through town and wanted to know what I was doing. One of which was one Mary Lou Brown, wife to Tom Brown. Apparently he had seen me riding earlier and had called his wife, who told him he should have stopped me to offer me a place to stay. Which is what Mary Lou did, me at their home and the girls at their barn just outside of town. So I picked up my package, went over to the Brown's home for a few minutes and then headed out to their barn. Upon arriving their, Tom Brown (who is always referred to by his full name) bedded the stalls and brought hay down. I pulled the tack and gear and after Tom Brown made sure they had water, we went back to the house. Mary Lou told me that I could stay as long as I wanted a day, or two or six . . . little did she know I would be staying for several. A weather front moved into the area so I decided to stay over til it passed, and the Browns were wonderful hosts, feeding me, making sure I got to see Gobbler's Knob, keeping me entertained and well rested, though I did notice something odd after the first day.
Tom Brown got up early every morning and went out to feed the girls, he would also stop by a lunch to feed them again and then go over to give them dinner, it was no trouble at all . . . hmmmm. I mentioned that the girls were going to like him better than they did me and he simply smiled, I had discovered his master plan! I made sure that the next time I went out to the barn, I groomed them, let them graze, informing them that Tom Brown didn't want to do these things for them. I think I was successful in convincing Mystic, but that Delightful seemed skeptical.
I stayed there for 4 days, and left on Sunday when the weather cleared, Tom Brown brought me out and I think I almost saw a tear in his eye as we rode out the driveway, and I should mention that I had to drag Delightful down the road for several miles. She didn't want to leave her new sugar daddy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The cold wind blows the hangover right out of your head . . .

So I woke up the morning after my birthday, about 2 hours too late to leave for the day, with a slight hangover, apparently I hadn't drank enough water the night before. So the girls and I got to stay an extra day with JR, Shelby, Kimmy, Matt, Marie, Page and Cody. We made good use of our day off, them eating constantly and me running to the store with Shelby, then to Page and Cody's school to drop off vampire teeth and talk to the kids classes about my trip. The second graders in Page's class were impressive, asking lots of questions, most of them valid, all trying on the hat and coat and looking at pictures of the girls and some from the trip. The kindergardeners mostly wanted to see if I could guess their costumes, which I could, they were impressed. After the big school speeches it was back to the Longhorn for lunch and a visit with Aunt Kathy, then home to feed the girls more hay and hang out for a few hours, finishing up the day with a hilarious go at wi dance challenge, Kimmy is the reigning champ, though I did beat her at Cotton Eyed Joe once, go me.
When I headed out the next day, it was into a cold snap, the wind has picked up and the days are decidedly colder, we rode down the rails to trails for a while, beautiful, even riding through a train tunnel, which was pitch black, and I only could keep track of where we were in the tunnel by the echo of the horses steps off the walls and rocks. The mornings have been very cold, in the twenties and snow is forecast for the weekend. I am in Punxsutawney tonight, maybe I can convince Phil to change the weather for me . . . I should have Delightful bite him till he caves.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to me . . .

So we are finally in Pennsylvania, the last state we cross before our final destination. Wow, I must admit that there were times I didn't think I would make it this far, but here we are, tired, worn, a little beat up and still going. Yesterday, I stopped at Buster's bar in Koppel, where the owner, Buster, let me tie the horses to the front walk of the bar while I was eating my lunch. He kept telling the many people that came by that he was offering pony rides, lol I am surprised no one tried to take him up on it. Pulling my horses away from Buster, I headed on to Elport where I found a place to stay with Arlene, a kind woman, who had apparently had previously owned a lion. I did inquire what had happened to the lion, making sure it hadn't just gotten out of its cage and was lurking in the area. The girls got to spend the night out in a large pasture, grazing, and were also fed loads of hay. Up early the next morning, my birthday, and on the road, I don't think that Delightful and Mystic got the memo about that day, or they just decided they didn't care. I had a nice days ride, found out that there was a fair grounds in Butler, so I rode down highway 488 to 422 and headed east towards Butler. I had gotten about a mile when I was stopped by Toby, a Deacon of a local church. He talked to me for several minutes and was just saying goodbye, when I woman ran across the highway from the bar across the street to ask me what I was doing. She told me that the fairgrounds was actually back the way I had came from about 1 mile west of the intersection of 488 and 422. So bidding Toby and Kimmie goodbye, I headed back the way I had come. I had ridden to almost the intersection when I was stopped by Marie, she was sent by JR, Kimmie's brother, owner of the bar. They invited me to stay with them, and after finding out it was my birthday, asked me out for dinner and drinks, so, I am here, in Prospect, on my birthday. The people that are putting us up tonight, JR, Shelby, Kimmie and Matt, treated me to dinner at the family bar, the Longhorn Corral. While I was there several of the patrons, upon hearing what I was doing, stared at me for several minutes, trying to get their minds around what I was doing and then bought me a drink. Being out on the road, I made sure to not drink too much and to consume lots of water before heading back to the house. A good birthday, good food for me, lots of food for the girls and dry stalls and a comfy bed. We are once again well taken care of. Not sure if I will head out tomorrow or take a day off, will decide in the morning, it was a good day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Heading down the home stretch. . .

I sit here tonight in Leanna and Don's home just west of Lisbon, Ohio, I realize that I am one day away from entering Pennsylvania, which means I am down to one map. Today the girls and I left David and Tracy's place just east of East Canton and headed down Highway 172. It is a narrow highway without much shoulder and a lot of traffic. Of all the roads I have travelled on this trip, this has been the most nerve racking for me. Cars were whizzing by us all day, most not giving us much room as the zoomed past us, the horses were their usual wonderful selves, not even noticing as they tried hard not to walk on the grass shoulder and stay on the pavement. I spent a major portion of the day repeating the phrase "you are horses, you are meant to travel on grass, stay off the pavement" and for some reason, they just didn't listen. We travelled down the perilous road for about 4 hrs, stopping to talk to the occasional curious individual, and to let the girls rest and graze, til I reached New Garden and a much need lunch break for me. The grocery store in town, Hulls, has the best chicken and jojos. The girls got some apples and cookies, I have kinda introduced them to all kinds of junk food, Vienna fingers today, nutter butters and chips ahoy yesterday, the occasional maple bar, though mostly they get granola bars, honey and oat is their favorite. After lunch I stopped at the golf course to use the only public bathroom in town and was given directions on the shortcut to the fairgrounds in Lisbon. The gold course manager let us ride down the fair way in order to stay off the road and we managed to use fields and yards for most of the rest of the travel today. As I approached the turn on my hand drawn map, I came upon a sheep farm, owned by Leanna and Don, and they called me over to see what I was doing. Upon hearing that I was riding across the US and staying at the fair grounds, they offered us a place to stay here, complete with a barn for the girls, all the hay they can eat and a bed, shower, dinner and wifi for me.
So here I sit, upstairs in the Kids apartment, typing away on my computer, answering email from various people I have met and reading the negative comment someone sent me regarding the horses current state and I am thinking. This trip has been long. It has been difficult and physically hard on all of us. The girls are thinner than I would like, we are all a bit beat up, but we have less than 3 weeks left and we will complete an amazing journey. No one can take that from me, no matter how much they try. The girls will gain their weight back, hopefully I won't, all our sores, bruises, etc. will heal up and we will be as good as new and we will be better and stronger than before we started. While I am excited to be finishing, I am also excited to see what the next leg of this journey brings.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Disoriented dogs and dead raccoons. . .

Now the girls and I had a long rest in Upper Sandusky, well they rested more than I did, since I had to walk out to the fair grounds to feed them at least twice a day, well it would have been twice a day if it weren't for the wonderful people of Upper Sandusky. The 2 Bonnies, Senior and Junior, secretaries at the fair grounds, ferried me back to the hotel on Wednesday and Friday morning and again Friday evening. I was picked up by several kind people on there way to or from work and even got my first proposition of the trip, a very nice young man, who apparently liked my backside, hah hah hah. The Lions Club orchestrated 2 kidnappings and my dear friend Steve came down several times to visit, keeping me up til after 1 a.m. each evening, soo much rest for me, but thank you to Joel for putting me up for the week, what sleep I was able to get was good and I appreciate it.
Now when we headed out for Bucyrus I figured on an uneventful easy ride for our first one back on the move. I was sort of right. The ride was lovely, following the Lincoln Highway through the countryside, we were stopped several times by people that wanted to know what the heck I was doing. Stopped for lunch at a little cafe. All normal occurrences of a daily ride, with a few exceptions.
I had been riding for about 3 hours when I came upon a house with many dogs chained all around it. As we approached the closest dogs started barking excitedly, running circles on the ends of their chains. As usual, the girls didn't even notice the barking leaping dogs and I, as usual, was talking to the dogs, commenting on their barks and leaping abilities. As I passed the house, I noticed one large black dog frantically barking and leaping at the end of his leash, he was facing the wrong way. He ran back and forth, leaping high into the air, barking happily, at I have no idea what. I watched him for a few minutes before I cleared my throat, causing him to look around. He paused, looked back at what ever invisible object he had been barking at, spun around and gave us his attention. I rode on feeling that I had prevented him from looking silly to the rest of his doggy family.
Now the other none normal occurrence is a bit gross, so if you have a weak stomach don't read this. We had ridden on about another hour and were riding into town, coming up on the school, when I noticed a large, dead raccoon in the road. It was hard to miss as it was really big, the size of a medium sized dog, well I thought it was hard to miss, but apparently not. A green mini van went speeding by us as we pulled almost parallel to the raccoon, and ran over it. Gross right, I mean how could you have not scene that, it was huge. This is not the grossest part, its wheels spun the body up underneath the car, and flung it out towards us. It flew about 6 feet, causing Delightful to spook and dive away. I was never so glad to have her spook since not only did the body get tossed at us, it was ripped apart a bit and the entrails sprayed the side of the road where we had just been. Needless to say, there was much screaming of the word "Eeew" and also "bleck" and praising of Pei Pei for her quick reactions, saving us from a gross shower. I don't believe that the driver meant to hit it, they were probably looking at us and hit it by accident, but still it is the grossest thing to have happened to us on this trip. could have been worse, so thank you Pei Pei, truly a princess maneuver.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Help I have been kidnapped by the Lions . . .

I have reached Ohio, it has taken 5 months to get here and we are in the home stretch. I am exhausted, the girls are exhausted, we are all a bit beat up so we are taking a rest in Upper Sandusky Ohio. We arrived on a Tuesday, dropped here by a wonderful woman, Star Eiseman, who hauled us nearly to Michigan to have her shoer put shoes with borium on the girls. As Wayne, an Amish farrier, nailed the last shoe on, I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that our chances of repeating the dive to the pavement had been greatly reduced, my knee gave a twinge of pain, or maybe it was sighing, one never knows with knees. Since we were so far north, Star hauled us to Upper Sandusky so the girls could have an entire week off, they need to gain weight and Mystic's saddle sores need to heal up. This trip has been a constant worry about the horses, and with about one month left, I decided to take some time and let them recoup some energy before we pushed to the coast.
So we arrived at the fairgrounds, right behind my dear friend Steve. We stopped and talked with Dennis, a Pacer race trainer, and he gave me the number for the fair secretary and offered to provide the mares with all the hay they could eat. That coupled with the 2 bags of grain Star provided would be enough to get them up and running again. I decided to put them in the round pen, clearing it with the secretary in the morning, filled the 10 gallon kitty litter buckets with water(Steve has many cats) bid Star farewell and a hearty thank you and Steve and I headed to the hotel to drop off my gear at the room my protector and provider, Joel, had arranged. After a good meal, Steve dropped me back at the hotel, we would see each other on Thursday to run to Findley to purchase a laptop with the gift card my anonymous donor provided and I headed to a shower and bed . . . ooooh a bed, for a week, ooooh my.
I was up at 7:30 the next morning and out the door to walk the 3.5 miles to the fairgrounds, the only drawback of the hotel. While we might be resting and recouping the girls still need to be taken care of so I would have to make this trek 2 or 3 times a day for the week we were to be here. After I fed the girls, cleaned and medicated Mystic's sores, I headed for the office to see the secretary. Well, the secretaries, the two Bonnies to be exact. These lovely women have been so kind, obtaining permission for the girls to stay, wrangling the paper to write an article and providing me with a lift back from the grounds on any day they were working, my feet thank you. After being dropped off by Bonnie Jr., I went back to my room and crashed for 3 more hours sleep. Getting up in time to walk back out to the grounds to feed for the night. I had reached the park when it happened. A truck pulled over and a sweet looking gentleman asked if I needed a ride. I said sure and hopped in . . . ooooh what had I done? He asked where I was going, I told him, he asked if I was living out there and I told him I was going to feed my horses. He asked if I was boarding them out there and I said I was riding across the U.S. on horse back. He turned sideways in his seat, the birds stopped chirping, the wind died, I could have sworn I heard someone scream, and said "Well, I am taking you to the Lions Club for dinner. You can give a talk and tell them what you're doing."
I was Kidnapped. Taken to the Lions Club dinner, introduced to them, Earl, my kidnapper, Francis, the treasurer, even John, the tailtwister, and yes that sounded kinda dirty to me too. We had dinner, pork chops, said the pledge, and I was asked to speak, I did. Told them what I was doing, told a few stories, answered a few question and sat back down, it was an odd kind of kidnapping. They actually voted to give me some cash for my trip, if this is what your normal napping was, I Like It!
After dinner, Earl took me to the fairgrounds to feed the mares and then back to my hotel room. He wished me luck on my trip and drove off, I knew I had survived a Lions napping, barely.
The next day Francis picked me up walking back to the hotel in the morning and kidnapped me to take me to lunch and then show me the sights around the area, apparently it is normal for Lions to pick you up, kidnap you to feed you, show you some cool stuff and then give you money. An interesting organization if I do say so myself.
We head back on our journey tomorrow, the girls have both put on weight and healed up. Delightful, fully and Mystic mostly. This might be the home stretch, but I am still exhausted, didn't get much rest this week, with the walking and visits from my Friend Steve, but I now have a laptop and have started writing the book. I can feel the end coming, I really miss my bed.

Friday, October 8, 2010

OJ Simpson has nothing on me . . .

Talk about your slow speed police chase. Our trip through Peoria Illinois was eventful to say the least, we got to talk to so many kind people, all supportive and friendly, we got to interview with the paper and had 2 news interviews, my first and second, ugh. The most interesting thing for me was the police escort I was given all through town. The Peoria police department and dispatcher Donna took very good care of me. I feel very sorry for the officers that had to follow the 3 of us through town. Driving behind us the entire way at 2.5 to 3 miles per hour. My officer said he didn't mind, with a staight face, and remarked on how he was catching up on his report writing lol. We even rode through the drive thru at McDonald's, and sat on the lawn of the fire station next door to eat, while the girls grazed.

Illinois was fun, hilarious, painful and heartwarming. I started the state with Steve and Barb and finished up with Marvin. Wally and Joan who kept an eye on me throughout the state, bringing me food, for me and the girls and Wally keeping me safe alerting the police to keep an eye on me as I crossed the state. Thank you all.

Indiana has been all of the above. Meeting Cindy, Shonn, Russ and Linda I have felt welcome, Cindy's son telling his mom I could be an ax murderer led to hours of jokes at his expense, such fun and my knee has been hurting a lot. I am almost through the state, near Peru, I have found something very difficult about being in the midwest. I can't seem to lose anymore weight. Everyone keeps feeding me. Oh well, maybe Ohio will be meaner . . .

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another one bites the dust . . . actually two

Some days I am amazed that I have only come off once on this trip and not been injured too badly. Today is not one of those days.

We have been having a good trip through Illinois so far, we have stayed with some wonderful people, Steve and Barb of the Stronghurst area, who are interesting, funny and apparently big tennis buffs . . . Terry and Alexsha of Roseville, who fed me pizza and let me mess around on their computer and let the girls spend the night in their pasture and eat all night, they were so happy. We met Dorothy and her friend Karen who brought us hay to Middle Grove where the city let us stay at the old school house. We had many visitors there, kids, parents and people out walking their dogs, who seemed surprised to find 2 horses picketed in the middle of town, like that doesn't happen everyday. So many people offered to feed me or let me take showers I was feeling guilty for turning them down. The kindness of the people I meet on this trip never stops to amaze me. I stopped in Farmington for a late breakfast, tried my first Monte Cristo sandwich, sounded good, and for the half of the sandwich, it was pretty good. My advice is to only eat half of them, then run, fast from the table, before you start on the second half, that's where you get a little ill. I was joined at Kersh's cafe by Katerina, a friend of Dorothy's, and we had a lovely talk about the trip and Katerina's dream journey. I look forward to reading her blog and facebook when she can make it.
We headed out of Farmington to meet up with several people at the McDonalds and have the ladies working there give me apples for the mares. I met a woman from the service posse who must have contacted the Peoria county posse since they met me when I got to Hanna City. They found me a place to stay and will be arranging a police escort across the bridge in Peoria. Thank you guys for keeping us safe.

It was leaving Hanna City, heading for Niles and Linda's barn to spend the night that our cool day took a temporary bad turn. We were riding on the right of way below people's houses and above the rode, crossing driveways and had reached the last one before we dropped down to the shoulder again. As we started across it, Delightful slipped in front and when she tried to balance from behind she slipped there too. She started scrambling, trying to maintain her feet and lost the battle. Her legs were swept out from under her and we went down on the pavement. I took the hit, right knee slamming into the ground, Delightful landing on top of me, smashing my ankle and sliding about 3 feet before she rolled free of me, struggling to regain her feet on the slick surface. I righted myself, started to get up to help her and hit the ground again, my knee giving out on me. I took a moment, and a deep breath and forced myself to my feet just as she regained hers and both of us stood perfectly still for a minute, then she stepped onto the grass and started eating and I bent over and tried not to swear like a sailor as several cars had pulled over and people were coming over to make sure we were o.k. It took me another minute to make myself move and I went over to Delightful, ran my hands all over her legs, chest and belly. She was not cut, and had no swelling or heat anywhere. I was relived, happy and slightly annoyed. I could feel my knee swelling and my ankle was swearing loud and clear, I'm glad I could break her fall, really I am.

Oh by the way, through this whole episode, Mystic was just happily eating on the people's lawn. I am starting to wonder if she might have tripped or shoved Delightful. Hmmmmmmm.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Farewell Iowa . . . who is that hiding behind that tree?

Today is my last night in Iowa and I find myself at dinner with a wonderful woman, Sylvia Kreamalmyer, having eaten so much food I don't know if I can stand. She passed me a few days ago and again today while talking to her daughter and her daughter told her to turn around and talk to me. I am so glad she did. We have had a wonderful time talking and eating lol soo full.
I have met so many great people here, none of which have called the police on me, yet. The last few days have been the Dennis Glover Guided tour of eastern Iowa. He arranged for food for the girls in both Fairfield and Mt. Pleasant. He and his wife Liz have been wonderful and I am glad to know them, Shawn and Mary, wonderful people, even though they keep stalking me, well sort of. Bethany and Donna of Albia were terrific, escorting me through town and bringing hay to Ottumwa and all of them have been checking on me to make sure I am o.k.
We have had some very humid hot days that have been difficult on horses and me, even to the point that Delightful had a slight colic issue last night causing me to be up walking her for hours just to make sure she was fine. The rain has been both welcome and annoying, soaking all of my things for a few days, but cooling us off. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying almost every aspect of my ride, even the hard parts, the pain I am in still from my fall, the long days, worrying about the horses, all of it is amazing, and the people I have been meeting make this trip truly a gift.
So tomorrow we head into Illinois and across the Mississippi river, that ought to be interesting, long bridge, lots of traffic. I am excited to meet the people of that state and of course see Shawn and Mary hiding behind another tree.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rolling up and down the hills of Iowa . . .

Now I know that I absolutley loved Nebraska, but I must say I am cheating on Nebraska with Iowa. I have missed the trees and the rain, though not the humidity. Our crossing Iowa has felt fast and we have met many wonderful people here. The further I have gotten across the state the more help I have received. I have had people calling ahead to the next towns to set up feed and places to stay, Dave calling to Albia to let Donna and Bethany know I am coming, they bringing me hay to Ottumwa, meeting Dennis Glover at Batavia and he calling Sean and Mary to bring me hay to Fairfield, along with Joe, also known as Marvin, who sent his wife Joanne out with hay also. Tammy Jones of classic 96 radio station bringing me grain to both Fairfield and then to Mt. Pleasant, as well as putting me on air, to personally thank Garry for sending me on a "shortcut" that was 5 miles longer. You all are wonderful and have made my trip through Iowa well worth the time and aching backside.

Auntie Em, Auntie Em . . . oh wait this isn't Kansas

Upon leaving Waverly I headed out of town with Jackie Colton and her arabian gelding, Shasta. We were riding to Murdock on the way to Murray and as we got going we started to see all the wind damage from the storms that ran through the previous night. It was amazing, trees blown down, roofs pulled off sheds and barns and our favorite, round bales that had rolled out of their field, across the road, down the ditch up the other side and into the next field. They left criss crossing paths through the beans, like the winds had been bowling with them, truly amazing. We spent the night in Murdock at Jackie's son Clint's friend Nate's house and another big storm ran through that night, almost flipping me in my tent and pulling a gate free from Nate's fence and dropping it against Delightful, who was scared enough to break her halter and get free to trot off, Shasta following behind. She came back as soon as I called her and Randy, Jackies husband, brought me a replacement halter and we decided to haul a little ways to get past the bad weather and pick up some time. So we loaded up and headed off.

What to me seemed like a short time later we were in Iowa, and I was setting camp up in the city park in Creston, a little farther than we planned to go, but we had got to talking and missed the town we were heading for. Thanks Jackie, you rock, hope all is well with you and Shasta, and of course Randy.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My appologies to Sidney Nebraska

I must apologize to Sidney Nebraska, I misspelled your name in my blog entry about the owner of Grandma Joes, Roxanne. She has kindly sent me 3 emails, pointing out my error and generally being less then sweet. How Odd lol.

Once again, it is Sidney Nebraska, not Sydney, I apologize to all the wonderful people I met there if I offended them.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Poor Delightful. . . RIP

So it happened, my first real fall of the trip. Stupid baby, throws a temper tantrum, drops me on the ground and steps on me a few times. No bones broken, no stitches needed, just a lot of bruising and scraps and most annoying of all a huge tear in my britches. Well she was a good baby, I will miss her, anyone have a shovel?

Just kidding, she still lives, for now. But I am sore and beat up and taking a day off in Waverly. I met Jackie Colton on the road yesterday and she invited the girls to stay at her place and her friend Karen is putting me up in her horse trailer living quarters. Wonderful women who might ride with me for a day when I leave tomorrow. It will be the first time someone has ridden with me on the trip, not counting the time that Donna Wade and her family came and met me on the road to show me the way to their house. I hope both can ride along for a bit, it will be nice to have some company and someone to prevent me from killing Delightful, still kidding . . . maybe.

Another one bites the dust . . . oooooh crap. by Delightful

Its about time I got to have some input on this darn page. So my first entry will be a fond experience for me . . . well it was for a moment.

After complaining about our shoes for weeks, Mom and I finally got new ones put on in a little town called Malcom. The mean one seemed annoyed cause she couldn't get anyone to commit to shoeing us and finally was able to get a guy out after some nice people came by and brought us hay, very delicious, though Mom ate too much I think she is kinda fat, and then they offered to pay for most of our shoeing cause the guy didn't want to help us for free. What does it mean, free? I mean really free is an odd word and you always get something for whatever you do, even if its a good feeling or in Mom's case, really fat, she needs to eat less and I need to eat most of her food, could someone talk to the mean one about that? Anyway, I thought we should stay in the park, but the mean one and Mom decided to leave and I had to carry her big bottom again, Mom is lazy and doesn't take her turns, she isn't sore, she is just faking it so she gets more food, and she is fat!!

We headed down the road and I wanted to graze, but old cranky big bottom wouldn't let me. I kept tossing my head and dancing around and stopping and she would just make me go on and not let me eat. I think that is mean and selfish and when do we get to ride her? She looks strong enough to carry me at least (Mom is really fat). We had been going for about forever (Mom says an hour, but what does she know) and I really wanted to eat, and then this bird flew up near me and I got an idea . . .

I spooked sideways really fast and when she shifted off to one side I bucked as hard as I could, and I got really high, it was sooo cool, I even reared up and twisted a bit, I looked like one of those rodeo horses we saw in Cokeville, it was awesome! My saddle twisted sideways and she was off! She hit the ground pretty hard but I thought I should step on her a few times to make sure she didn't get up right away and then I started eating. That grass was soooo sweet! I was gonna get to eat for a long time, I showed her who was boss! Then it all went so wrong. She didn't stay down, she was back on her feet immediately, and she was mad. Very Mad. I thought I should run, but she moved so fast, like some blurry creature. She caught hold of my reins and all I could think was "Oh Crap!! Run!" but I couldn't get away. How can something so small be so strong?

You know the worst part about this whole thing? Mom got to eat the entire time, she just put her head down and grazed while I was working and then kept grazing while I was getting in trouble and I think I heard her laughing at me . . .

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Echos of the sounds of silence . . .

We are about 8 days from crossing into Iowa now and its time for the reflection on our trek through this state.

I entered Nebraska disgruntled and promptly was reminded why I was on this trip and to quit trying to ride it on a schedule. I have found the people of Nebraska to be kind, generous and friendly. The state has been good to the horses, terrain easy, grass plentiful and weather fairly mild. We reached the half way mark on the trip at Ogallala and I breathed a sigh of relief, starting to feel that I can reach the other side of the country. I have found many reasons to laugh and smile here, and am really starting to feel like my old self again, that strong decisive woman I used to be. I am sure we will run into difficulty again, but Nebraska has let me catch my breath and for that I will always have fond memories of this state. Well most of this state, they do have these nasty sand burrs. They are awful, get everywhere and jab your fingers like barbed needles when you go to remove them, but it is really the only bad thing I have encountered here so I will just bandaid my fingers and keep smiling.

Here's looking forward to Iowa, I wonder if they will try and find me a husband also? Oooh I doubt it, I am sure it was just a welcome to Nebraska thing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Corn Huskers, Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express. . .

So a lot has happened and it would take many posts to cover it all, so this will be a summation of the last few days.

Personally I never really knew that much about Nebraska and didn't think that they were famous for anything else but Huskers football. We have discovered differently. First and to some most important, they invented the Parlor's Tin Roof Sundae. Potter Nebraska is the home to that honor and I ordered and consumed the entire massive concoction at the Sundrie. Second, and I did not even hear about this til I stopped for lunch at Buster's in Hershey Nebraska, home of the new best bacon cheese burger on this trip, and that is that Buffalo Bill Cody's ranch is located here. It is in North Platt Nebraska. The girls and I stayed a night there and took the tour the next morning. It is a beautiful place, Victorian style home, sprawling grounds, creek running through the middle of it all, quite lovely. The care takers were very kind, welcoming us to stay at the camp grounds and not even caring that the girls left presents all over the place for them to pick up. Now I did know about the Corn Huskers, I just didn't think I would have anything to do with them on this trip, however indirectly. After I left the ranch I headed through North Platt and was waved down by the employees of a car dealership, who, after many pictures, asked me to draw the winner of a seasons Huskers pass. I did so and congratulations Louis Jacobson, you are a winner. Now the Pony Express has stations all through out Nebraska and I came across an intact on in the town of Gothenburg. It sits in the city park in the midst of a pretty neighborhood full of old homes that date back to when the town was founded.

So here I sit, in the library at Gothenburg, reflecting on my last few days and I can only say, I am Tired. Nebraska has been wonderful so far, but while the girls are recovering from Wyoming, I am still exhausted. I guess there will be time to sleep when I am done.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time for breakfast . . . STEP AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE, er horses . .

Now I am sure that everyone has those days. You know the kind I mean, where everything is just out of sync and doesn't quite go right. My day started around 3pm in the afternoon and went around to 11 am the next day. I arrived in Sidney, at the fairgrounds, and went to go and put my horses up in the rodeo pens, which were lock up. OK well this does happen so we went on a search of the grounds for the horse stables and after a nice tour finally found them. Luckily the grassy areas between the barns were fenced to I put the horses in one of these, filled a water trough set my tent and headed to town to find hay for the girls to munch on. I stopped at a local restaurant and bar to enquire about hay, and for the first time in Nebraska, no one had any bales of hay. So I asked about a feed store, was rewarded with the information that yes there was one but no it doesn't carry feed for horses, oh boy.
So slightly disappointed, but not worried, I headed further into town, stopping to ask anyone I could find about hay and receiving no after no, on my trip to the library. I reached the local library, excited to make a blog entry only to find that I had 20 minutes before they closed,oooh boy. So I checked my email and facebook and headed back out. I decided that I would just go get dinner then graze the girls around the fair grounds for 3 hours before I went to bed. I arrived back at the first restaurant, which I had been told was fabulous, and was seated and informed that my waitress would be right with me. Over 15 minutes and no waitress later, I left the restaurant and headed back to the fair grounds to take care of the girls food needs, skipping a meal won't do me much harm, but they need what they can get. Upon reaching the fairgrounds, I was stopped by Cory, the deputy Sheriff, who was checking to see who and what I was and was doing. After a few minutes of talking, he told me he had a bail of hay and I was welcome to it for the girls, thanks Cory. The day seemed to be improving, or was it.
Upon feeding the girls, I set my phone to charge and headed for bed and some much needed rest. The nice loud storm that night, kept me up most of the time so that when morning came I just wanted to get up and get going so I could stop at the place recommended by Deputy Cory, Grandma Joes. I got everything packed and the girls saddled and headed down the road. The restaurant is in the middle of town, in the same building as the paper, so I tied the girls to the railing of the fire escape and went inside and as usual asked the woman who came out to seat me if it was ok. BIG MISTAKE!!! She first laughed and then upon realizing that I was serious, went off on me. She started ranting about how I couldn't do that, it was illegal, who did I think I was, blah blah blah. Now, I hadn't eaten in 24 hours, I was cranky, so I got a little abrupt and responded "O.K. if you don't want my business I will leave" at which time she snatched up her phone and called the police on me. Really, she did.
She started in to them about how I was breaking the law and they needed to come down there immediately and take care of me. It was at this point I lost my temper a bit, turned on my heal, kinda called her a bitch and informed her that I was going next door to the paper for my scheduled interview.
I untied the girls and opened the door to the paper office to let them know that I wouldn't be eating next door as she had called the police on me, they all came outside to see if I was kidding and were talking to me when the police arrived. I asked the officer if she was there to write me a ticket or arrest me and she just laughed and said that as she informed Roxanne the owner of the restaurant, it was illegal. She then said I should go down and eat at Our Place, where the food was better and they would be happy to have my horses. And that's what I did. The food was great, service terrific and after I calmed down and got some food in me, we all laughed at the ridiculous woman.
So my blog followers, I have no idea what the food is like at GrandmaJoes, the service sucks and if you are going to Sidney NE, I say, eat at Our Place, they are horse friendly.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome to Nebraska . . . and are you single?

Now I know it has been a long while since my last blog entry and for that I am sorry, finding an open library has been a little problematic lately so bear with me.

Our leaving of Wyoming was as difficult as the crossing of it was. We left Cheyenne, heading for the border in what should have been a 2 day ride. We stopped for the night with a wonderful family near Durham, they fed the girls, and me and let me shower, do laundry and stay in their 5th wheel, and offered me a trailer ride half way across Nebraska the next day. I was excited! This would help us catch up on 2 weeks of the time we lost since this trip started. So I stayed up late, talking with friends and the next morning, got up, skipped breakfast, dressed in sweats for the drive and packed up and loaded the girls to head out. Unfortunately, due to some trailer issues, needing new tires, it was decided that they could only take me to Pine Bluffs. I was a bit dissappointed to say the least, but the haul there was about 28 miles and would get us ahead a day. So we unloaded and tacked up and headed out, tired, dressed wrongly, no food and apparently I discovered soon, no water, for a 25 mile ride to Kimball.

It was a hot day, light breeze blowing, I was exhausted through noones fault but my own and the girls were trucking right along, for about the first 12 miles. We stopped in Bushnell, at the only business still open to ask for water, only to find out his faucet had frozen over last winter and had broken. He very kindly sent us to the sheep farm in back of the fix a flat shop, where we received buckets of water, some words of encouragement and information that there was a lake about 5 miles down the road. After letting the girls graze for a bit, and I believe getting caught answering natures call by a railroad worker, we headed down the road towards Kimball, another 13 miles. We had been riding for over an hour when I jerked awake for the third time in 15 minutes and seeing the lake and its park coming up on our right I decided to camp for the night. We headed into the park, found a suitable spot, stripped the girls of their gear, turned them loose to graze and set up the tent before pulling up a picnic table to watch them, dozing off to the sound of the crickets and ducks . . . DUCKS???

I had been watching them graze for about 2 hours when a mini van pulled into the park and passed us, turned around and came back. As they pulled up near me, I got up and went to greet them, hoping I wasn't about to get yelled at for having loose horses in a state park. It turned out to be Val and Kay Snyder of Kimball, they were stopping to see if I needed help catching my horses and after I said I was good they asked what I was doing out there. We had a nice conversation, where I learned that Val was following his long time dream also, he loves to find out what is in the deserts and when ever they travel he gets a 4wheeler and goes exploring, Kay stays at the hotel, with roomservice and the lack of snakes. They volunteered to get me some dinner and took off, soon returning with burger, coke and candy, it was then I realized that everytime something "bad" happens on this trip something wonderful follows and that I loved Nebraska. We talked for awhile longer as I polished off my dinner and they said they would look forward to seeing me tomorrow in town and headed home. I highlined the girls and fell into the tent to fall asleep immediately, only to awaken an hour later to a large and creepy moth flying around the inside of my tent. After a lot of screaming and general whimpering, I was able to chase it out the doorway and pass out again (after a thorough search of the tent for more moths).

We arrived in Kimball the next day around 10:30 and met Penny from the paper and Val and Kay again, tied the horses up behind the police station and went to lunch for an interview, a good burger and the best banana cheesecake I have ever had. Penny arranged for us to stay with Sam Gingrich and his wonderful children, who asked me if I was single, an odd question coming for you girls. Sam and the kids were great hosts, I got to see their pictures of the family vacation to Costa Rica and hear a blow by blow recap of their trip, quite an enjoyable evening.

The next morning I headed out to Potter, was passed on the road and stopped by Merlin and Carol who invited me to stay with them at their barn in town. After putting the girls up, feeding them and setting up the Barbie Dream tent, I headed to town and had lunch at Victoria's bar, fantastic Gyro!

I will have you know that Potter is the home of the tin roof sundae, of course I had one, it was huge! I ate all of it. Must say I have never been so full on this trip, almost ill feeling, but it was worth it. The next morning, I met Merlin and Carol back at the Sundrie(home of the Sundae) for breakfast along with a group of their friends, where I was again asked "are you single?" and upon hearing my answer of yes, was offered a few suggestions as to nice, attractive single men around town.

I just have to say . . . Welcome to Nebraska, fix up capital of the State.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A brief hiccup on the road, jumps us forward . . .

So, we have leaped ahead on our trip about 176 miles. I had the girls trailered to Cheyenne to save them from crossing the second half of the desert in Wyoming. I feel like a big cheater, but the first half of the state was incredibly hard on the horses and I won't put them through that type of travel again. So we caught a ride with a wonderful woman, Dorie Fritz, from Rawlins to Cheyenne.

Cheyenne is a beautiful city, it is lovely and full of kind people. This is a good place to be remembering when I leave Wyoming for Nebraska, I will have fond memories of all the people I have met in this state, and this pretty city will give me parting fond memories of the state itself. If you get the opportunity to visit Wyoming's capital, I say do so, especially at the end of July when they have the huge frontier days rodeo. It is apparently quite the party.

Our trip through Wyoming has had highs and lows, we have struggled and overcome. I don't think the 3 of us have ever been so tired, the girls lost each over 100 pounds and we have been sitting for about 2 weeks gaining it back. They also each have a wither sore from the change in body shape and shift in the saddles. The sitting has also been to allow those to heal and I will continue on, on foot until they are healed up. These mares are my transportation across this great country and without them being in top condition I can't make it, so when they need time, we wait, I go crazy, but we wait. When they are ready, physically, cause lets face it they would really just prefer to hang out eating grass all day, we get underway, not before.

So our waiting this time is almost at an end, and soon we will be back on the road to Nebraska . . . makes my feet hurt a bit just thinking about it, and my pocket book, since to leave Wyoming we need brand inspections, health certificates, new back shoes for Delightful and food for the girls, big ouch.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I've been through the desert on 2 horses with names . . .

This trip posed many issues when I was planning it. One of the most worrisome for me was crossing the desert in southern Wyoming. The desert itself is an issue, for there is sand and hills and rocks and things and all of these make for difficult travel by both the horses and me. Having to scramble over rocks, sage brush, up and down gullys puts a lot of wear and tear on all of us, burning through our energy reserves and adding to our water usage. The lack of water is another issue, I can only pack so much water per day, I require 2 gallons, and sometimes only can pack 1, the horses need about 5 to 10 each per day and I can't pack that much on them, so our travel per day is designated by water sources. The towns are few and far between in southern Wyoming, averaging about 35 miles between them and sometimes up to 45. These long days take their toll on us, and the loss of weight and muscle mass on the girls causes their saddles to change how they fit them. This causes rubs and sore to start forming and we end up having to lay up for a few weeks to heal and let them regain their weight. Every time we lay over somewhere all I can hear is that clock ticking down til winter arrives. Personally, I am covered with bruises, cuts and blisters. Every muscle in my body is screaming by the end of the day and my feet, knees and back are killing me. I figure if we survive long enough to get out of Wyoming, nothing else will seem all that difficult, lol I hope.

Now the desert has some unique and cool things about it. We have seen antelope, jack rabbits, badgers, deer, coyotes, hawks, eagles, vultures (not circling above us yet), and wild horses. We have even been charged by a few stallions protecting their herds, and these mustang stallions are truly beautiful, manes flying, coats gleaming they are a sight to see, as long as they don't try and run off with my mares. I could do without the snakes and scorpions, but it is a desert so you take the creepy with the cool.

I know that we haven't crossed all of Wyoming but for my horses healths sake, I think half of it is good enough and we are taking a trailer ride to Cheyene to get out of the hard and difficult terrain we are in. Oh and that song is wrong, in the desert its easy to remember your name and the names of your horses, cause you are using them all the time while you are swearing at the plants and hills and rocks and things.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A bed of roses . . . not really

Now for those of you that think this trip has been a purely positive experience for me, it hasn't. I have had tough times, rough days, and disappointments and difficulties. Right now I am extremely frustrated. I have reached that stage where I am tired, cranky, frustrated, annoyed and depressed. I feel that I keep spinning my wheels (or hoofs) and that I am never gonna get across the country. Just when we get going again, something happens to stop us, and usually for days at a time. It is very lonely out here, I meet wonderful people, like Erica and Alvis of Wamsutter/Red Desert area, but this isn't the same as being around my friends, people that know me. I am trying to stay positive and calm, but when I see the days ticking by with no progress being made it is difficult at best. Those that know me, know I am a strong person, but lately I find myself on the verge of tears several times a day.
I can not move til the girls are rested and well, so I wait, frustration builds and the ticking gets louder, ugh.

And the award for the most interesting place to camp goes to . . .

I have done a lot more camping on this trip than I have done in the rest of my life. Usually it involves a park or some woods or some nice field somewhere but lately we have had a few more unique settings. Lets recap them . . .

In Oregon I think the most interesting place I camped was in a wagon shed in a Ghost town called Shaniko. The nice townspeople there let me throw my tent up in the shed with all the old wagons and buggys, cool and interesting.

In Idaho I believe that the most interesting camp site was in the city park in Murtagh. Now this in of itself is not unusual, except that around midnight headlights lit up my tent as 2 cars pulled into the park. They ended up being driven by 2 young people, that had come to the park to drink and have sex. Made for some interesting listening heh heh heh.

Now Wyoming has been interesting camping mecca. We started out camping under the announcers booth at the rodeo grounds, only to be awoken by the police, searching for me (not to move but to make sure I was ok). We then camped in the 4h grounds at Kemmerer, where lightening storms rolled over us every night we were there. On to Little America where we camped behind the hotel, next to the pump house, oddly enough the sound was rather soothing. This led us to one of the 2 most unique camp sites I have been in. The impound lot at a salvage yard, not what one generally thinks of when one imagines going camping. Then 2 days later, we camped at an abandoned house in an abandoned trailer yard.

All of these sites have had good things about them and interesting things, mostly they were all safe places, with grass or hay for the horses. It just goes to show that you should keep an open mind, cause you never know where you will end up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And the word of the day is 'Train' people . . .

So if you read the Facebook entries or listened to the Stable Scoop interview, you know that leaving Little America we headed into a large and lengthy Lightening storm. I was nervous, tense, terrified, the horses . . . couldn't have cared less. Now this might seem like the notable instance from this day, but oddly enough it wasn't. This was an unusual day, we had the storm. We were stopped, chased down and intercepted by several people, one of which drove many miles out of their way to come off the interstate to get back to us. I made a grown man cry, I am taking his trip, and had a woman begging me to let her ride one of the girls, she had left her horse in California and missed him terribly. All of this was not really all that memorable as the first tunnel of the trip.
We rode into Green River and through town based on the directions given us by our soon to be host family, the Spaldings, and arrived at the tunnel. It was a train underpass tunnel. It ran under the train yard, about 100 yards long and in the center, a full tunnel width metal grate. Delightful didn't hesitate to head down into the dark, the Train passing over head blaring its horn and squealing its brakes didn't phase her in the slightest. The traffic passing us from the other direction was no cause for concern as was the traffic behind us. All was calm, cool and proceeding with ease, until we reached the grate. It all happened in a few seconds, she stopped, dropped and rolled, back into traffic that is, spinning on her haunches and trying to head back the way we came, I kept her turning, in a full circle, presented her with the grate again and this time she kind of hopped and skidded over it. For this we received a round of applause from the waiting traffic, all of which had backed out of the tunnel as soon as she spun. The most amusing part of this incident for me was that Mystic just followed us around in the circle and over the grate with an odd expression on her face, I wonder if she was thinking that when she was the lead horse, she didn't circle all the time. These 2 horses are amazing, with a few exceptions, they are nearly bomb proof. Just keep the ducks away from Mystic and the mosquitoes away from Delightful and you are golden.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We're Coming to America, little America that is . . .

Now leaving the Land of the Lamborns we headed for my next destination, Little America, down Hwy 30 towards the intersection with I-80. I have been dreading this for weeks, you see, in Wyoming the only way across the state is by interstate highway. That means I have 2 options. Option 1 ride down the grass verge of the interstate, not a good option for several reasons. It is against the law, even in Wyoming, and more importantly, if something happens and I lose the pack horse or come off the saddle horse, they can wander onto the highway. Option 2 ride cross country through the desert. Also not a great option as you have to deal with the rough terrain, rocks, gullys, sage brush, scorpions, snakes and increased heat.
So as I rode along the verge of hwy 30 I contemplated my options and decided upon a combination of the two. I would cross the desert after reaching Granger and meet up with the interstate and ride the last few miles down it to reach my camp for the night.
I arrived at Granger, a small town rumored to have a cafe/store. It didn't, but it did have some nice people that gave me 2 bottles of water, which I needed since my large jug had exploded about 2 hrs into our day leaving me without water on a 10 hr riding and walking day(Thanks to the nice Oil men that gave me a bottle and the wonderful motorist that stopped to give me another). After downing one immediately, I put the other in my saddle tote and headed back to the highway and across and through the pass through gate to take the mares down to the river for a long drink. It is here that with Delightful's help I almost went swimming. She decided that she needed to wade out into the river to get a drink and then abruptly turned upstream, nearly pulling me head first into the water before I let her go. I had to wade out, knee deep to catch her again. Then, boots full of water, I remounted and we headed across the desert on a southeastern heading, to intercept the Interstate. While riding through the desert with 2 horses that both have names, I once again found myself thinking about the brave pioneers that came this way so long ago and found myself humbled by their stamina and fortitude. I think that we take advantage of a lot of the luxuries we have and sometimes forget what others went through in this nation to bring us to this point we are at. I notice how people are in such a hurry to get somewhere that they don't see what is around them and even overlook the simple beauty you can find in a desert. Sage brush, rocks, sand and dry washes don't seem very pretty unless you look at them. The sage brush is strong, hearty and enduring, its soft green coats the landscape with a soothing coolness. The rocks peek out of the sand and sage brush like stars tossed across the desert, shining in the sun. The sand is the canvas that the life in the desert paints the story of their existence upon. Rabbits running from sheltering clumps of sage brush, avoiding dangers from above and around them, foxes and snakes creeping and slithering across the desert, the only sign of them, their tracks in the sand. The washes, a simple sign that life giving water carves its path through this dry landscape, the water gone now, but the land still waits for its return. It is all this that the speeding motorists miss out on. This is not the first time or the last on this trip that I wish more people would slow down their lives and see the beauty and peace around them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When we last left out intrepid travelers . . .

Whew, it has been some time since my last entry. A lot has happened since then, some good and some not so wonderful. So over the next few days I will catch you up.

So my last entry was in Kemmerer and we headed out towards Opal, actually slightly south to stay with the Lamborn (spelling) family. I was up for my second ride on Delightful and we headed down the grass verge on the highway . . . into a swarm of bugs. Oh Joy! Now Delightful is a good girl, needs some work on the mounting process but all around a good girl, except when it comes to bugs. She can't handle them. She tosses her head and stomps her feet and shakes her neck and then her body and comes to an abrupt halt to reach around and try to bite them. All of this makes for a less than comfortable ride and since she is a baby she doesn't quite know how to manage her and her riders combined weight, so there is a chance of falling over. We trudged through the onslaught of insects until the wind finally picked up enough to blow them away and soon after a truck pulled off the highway and out stepped Don Lamborn, our soon to be host. Now Don is a wonderful, kind man. He is also very tall. So tall he is capable of standing on the ground and seeing eye to eye with me. It was a little unnerving. He very kindly made sure I had accurate directions to his families ranch before leaving me and we were off again. It wasn't too much longer, about 2 hrs before we reached the Lamborn ranch to be greeted by Don, his also tall son, Chris, his tall wife, Kelly and their youngest and exceptionally kind but not as tall(still far taller than me) son Garret. I am not tall, 5'4" for those of you that don't know me personally. I found myself on the opposite side of the coin as Dorthy in OZ.
The stay with the Lamborns lasted 2 days, an extra to rest Mystic, and Garret, a true young cowboy gentleman, gave up his room for me. He slept in the barn. Not every young man these days would do that for a total stranger. So I say to the young women he will be attending college with this fall, this one is a keeper! Plus when you talk to him, you don't find yourself humming "We represent the Lollipop Guild." I say this a lot in these entries, but I had a blast with this family, they are your typical, hectic, crazy ranching family. Everyone goes 90 mph and has 5 things going on at once, but they always have time for one another and to help out a total stranger. I feel honored to have met them, short but honored. Now where are my pointy shoes . . .

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And the worlds longest shortcut is . . .

So I have run into many people that tell me there is a short cut to where I want to go. Usually they know the mileage or even drive me over the trail to make sure I don't get lost (oh god the terror). So when I was told there was a shortcut from Cokeville to Kemmerer I thought, cool, that will be great. I got directions from 3 different people, they all added up to the same path, so I figured that the distance given was pretty accurate too. Hmmmmmmm . . . not really.

I was up early, to be on the road before 8am, allowing myself 10 to 12 hours of travel time for the day, making allowances for opening and closing cattle gates and time taken to walk to rest Delightful, who was making her debut as the saddle horse on this pass. The girls were ready and eager to be off, apparently kinda bored after their long break. I loaded Mystic up and saddled Pei Pei, and headed to the store for some water and ice before hitting the road.

Now the directions were simple, head down the highway, til you reach the Thompson ranch, the second ranch outside of town directly after the hill. Turn and cut through their land to the BLM road that goes through to Kemmerer. When that road Ys go left and follow the main road to the highway on the other side. Simple right. Yeah, sure.

Now, the Thompson ranch, is a few miles outside of Cokeville as promised and the girls and I turned in and headed across. We met a few nice people going through that opened some gates for us and I thought, "this was going well" big mistake. I stopped to check Mystics pack load and reposition the saddle pads to make sure they were not bothering her sore, was treated to a runaway cow being chased by a woman, her daughter (on horseback) and a man in the truck and trailer. Gathered up my mares and headed down the road again. After a few more miles I found a nice spot and got up on Delightful for our inaugural ride on this trip. She was perfect, smooth, comfortable to ride, well behaved, surprising. After a few more miles and several cattle gates, gotten off to open and close (Delightful is not quite perfect with the whole mounting and remounting thing) I ran into the BLM guy and verified my path and distance, he saying another 30 miles. Sighing I headed back up the trail, thinking that a 38 miles shortcut was not too bad since the highway was 44miles. We rode up the first hill, and suddenly, a very tired Delightful decided the bugs didn't really bother her, hmmm odd, exhausted horse, no flip out from mosquitoes, interesting. We reached the top, lovely view, and dropped down into the cattle valley, lots of cows, big meadows, smelly cow ponds, across that and once again climbing. At the top of that hill we reached the ridge line that we were supposed to follow into Kemmerer.

Now I calculated that at that time I had come about 12 miles and after another mile I came to the Emigrant Camp ground (this is significant trust me). We continued along, going up and down the hills that rolled along the ridge line, marvelling at the lovely scenery, trying to ignore the time ticking by and hoping for a random car. My wishes were answered, in the form of a truck with 2 women and some kids in it. I waved the down and asked how far I was from Kemmerer and received the answer of 15 miles, not what I wanted to hear. I noticed some ominous clouds on the horizon and started wondering about the forecast I had gotten that morning. The women came back the other way, passing us, stopping long enough to tell me that they were sure that I was 12 miles from Kemmerer and mentioning the gathering weather, and that it should miss where I was. The wind shifted directions and brought that storm right down on us, the temperature dropped to about 50 degrees and the skies opened up and dumped buckets of water upon us. It wasn't long before I was soaked to the skin and the constant 20 mph winds soon had me chilled to the bone. We rode on in the rain for about 40 minutes before it slacked off to a light sprinkle, wind still blowing. It was about this time that those women came back, to tell me I was 5 miles away from the end of that road and to laugh at the fact I didn't have my rain jacket on. This was probably the first time on this trip that I was not polite to someone. There I sat, shivering violently, and they thought it was funny. So I made a less than cordial response to their comment (no swearing, I promise) and when they drove off put my head down and rode on towards the promise of an end to that road. I had to get off about 3 miles later, I was seriously cold, most likely hypothermic, and took 20 minutes to dig out my oilskin from my pack, stripped off the soaking wet fleece and buttoned myself up, then proceeded to walk 5 more miles to get warm. Now you might have noticed that made 8 miles from when I was told I had only 5 to go. . . 2 hrs later and 8 more miles it got dark and 1 hr 45 min and 7 more miles I reached the highway. I had to get off about 10 minutes after it got dark to open a cattle pass through gate, and since it was pitch black and I couldn't find a place to get back on, I walked the rest of the way. Upon reaching the highway I headed towards town only to find myself standing in the middle of the road, staring into the darkness. I decided I needed to find a place to stay and headed for a house that had its lights on, went through the pass through gate ( I really hate those things) and tied the girls to a telephone pole in front of the house's fence and crossed the last grate to knock on the door. It was answered by a saint of a man, Ken Moon, who took my greeting, subsequent bursting into tears and laughing in stride. He asked what I needed and when I said permission to tie my horses at the pole and pitch a tent, he responded with that wasn't his land . . . but I could bring them onto his land and put them in his pasture and pitch my tent in his barn. All that accomplished he asked if I needed anything and me being me, I asked if he had any soda, Coke preferably. He did! So Coke pounded down, some nice conversation had, I headed back to my tent to strip the still wet clothes off, change into dry ones and slide into my sleeping bag to warm up and stop the shivering that had resurfaced upon the removal of my coat.

So for you math buffs, that was a distance of 30 miles from Emigrant Camp plus another 12 before that for a grand savings on the shortcut of 2, count them, 2 miles. Factor in the extra time of 10 to 15 minutes a gate (and there was 12 gates on this road) and we have a short cut that actually took me an additional 2 to 3 hrs.

Well it was a beautiful ride, til it poured rain on me . . .and it got dark . . .and the mosquitoes came out . . . and I got exhausted and lost my sanity . . . and burst into tears in front of a kind stranger. Yep, totally worth it . . . Oh God I am tired.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy birthday Cokeville

Now I don't want you thinking that this town is not full of wonderful people that have been very kind to me for my entire stay here.

We have the Dayton family, Charles (who kidnapped me from the fair grounds my first Sunday here), his lovely wife Jill, Sharron (Charles Dad) and his lovely wife Janelle, who invited me over for lunch and the whole family let me stay at their cabin on their ranch for several days. Tom, who let a complete stranger into his house to use his phone to call Neil, the fish and Game man that brought be hay, couldn't find me, called the police in to find me and then brought me hay again, and who also let me use the Fish and Game pasture to camp in and house the girls when I needed to move in off the ranch, the ladies of Blondies, who helped me find Neil, the Toomer family, who invited me into their home and entertained me so thoroughly, the owner of the Store, Cokevilles finest grocery store, who have put up with me haunting their establishment and allowed me to use their phone countless times, Jeremy Oswald, the town newspaper man for putting up with countless emails from Mary (hugs for Mary) and my favorite, the Prouse family, who's son Ty, befriended me on my first night here, they brought hay and fly spray for the horses and Ty's grandma got me into the Little Buckaroo Rodeo to watch Ty get bucked off his mini bull, unfortunately before the buzzer sounded, but nice landing Ty, Ouch!

This is a cool town, full of amazing people. Unfortunately, I have been "trapped" here, without cell service, unable to communicate with my friends or family for over a week and a few of the people I have met, have made this more difficult by failing to follow through with their promises and by sticking to a stiff rule, limiting my access to the internet. To the main body of this town, I give you a strong and heartfelt thank you. To the others, I hope you are never in my situation, dealing with people like yourselves, you might feel frustrated and trapped too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I apparently have worn out my welcome . . .

Now as you all know, I have been stuck in Cokeville for what will be over a week by the time I can get out of here and my only link to the outside world is the library and its internet capabilities. Cokeville Library has a one hour internet use per day limit, something which I find odd since as long as I have been in here usually I am the only person here, all day. I talked to the librarians and they grudgingly waived that rule for me, until today. I arrived at the library and was informed by the head librarian that due to the heavy internet usage today I would only be allowed 1 hour online. They computers where I usually sit are covered with signs reminding people about the one hour limit and I have been here for a half an hour so far and once again I am the only person here. This leads me to believe that they are simply tired of me not following their rule, so today, I will have to sit around this town, that literally has nothing to do and wait, and wait and wait til its late enought to go to sleep. I guess I must have worn out my welcome here at the Cokeville Library. This is gonna be a long stay, I hope I can get a farrier soon, or I will go nuts.

I give them 36 hrs . . .

Now I know that I don't talk about the girls enough on this trip so today that is what I am doing.

They have been truly amazing on this journey of mine. I know that they would prefer to simply graze all day long and travel about 3 miles a day, preferably in a circle, near the barn and their stalls. All that aside, they have been troopers. Both doing amazing on the road, nothing bothers them, trucks, tractors, motorcycles, log trucks, you name it, unless its a duck, they just don't care. Mystic goes just about everywhere I send her, she might hesitate, but with only a small amount of prodding on my part away she goes and normally Delightful is right behind (with notable exceptions being ditches and gulleys, nearly unseating me sometimes when she puts on the brakes). For being 2 replacement horses, I really lucked out. They are great girls, really, except. . .

If they were ever set free in the wild, I give them at most 36 hours to live. There is not a whole heck of a lot of "Street" smarts in these two, well I should say, Back Road Smarts. We have on several occasions been riding along to find a large rattle snake barring our path and both of them choose to ignore the threatening rattle and try to just walk over the top of it, seeming somewhat annoyed when I stop them or take the round about path past the nice poisonous snake. Delightful loves to try and go and touch any animal she sees, cows, calves, deer, elk, porcupines, skunks, I am sure Bear or Mountain Lions too. And the capper for me was yesterday, when I moved the girls off the ranch to a 3 acre pasture in town that has a large creek running through it and no water trough because of that. I put them in the pasture and headed back to the library to pass the day online and returned about 8 hrs later to two very thirsty horses. They came trotting up to me, nickering, followed me across the pasture to the creek, where I watched both of them trying to get a drink, stretching their necks as far down as they could. Failing to reach the waters surface 18 inches below the bank, they both snorted and came trotting back over to me, as if to say "Please help us, we can't reach the water, we are sooo thirsty." Smiling at their dilemma, I walked down the bank to a place where the bank smoothly met with the creek and called mystic over. It took her 15 min and my pulling her to the spot, then leaning down and splashing in the water, 3 times, before she gingerly crept to the flat spot and stretched her neck down, legs shaking to get what was obviously her first drink of the day. Delightful, seeing her mom drinking, came trotting over to us, and attempted to reach the water from the higher part of the bank, legs shaking, knees buckling . . . It took every once of self control I had not to shove her into the water, I have never wanted to do something so badly in my life, and it wouldn't have been hard, she was really off balance. I refrained and as soon as Mystic had drank her fill, I showed Delightful where to go to get the illusive water she required.

They are wonderful horses and when Delightful is sold at the end of this summer she will make someone a fantastic partner, as long as they don't expect her to survive in the wild, cause after 36 hrs, she would probably be dead.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today is a good day to go fishing . . .

In each town I have met special people, those individuals that make your stay worthwhile. Cokeville is no exception. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Karla (its not a tumor) Toomer.
I first caught sight of her racing her son Elis to the town store and despite his interesting running style, arms flailing like a windmill, she still lost the foot race. As she passed me to enter, she said hi and smiled warmly and when I went inside, promptly introduced herself and invited me back to her home. It was there I learned that "today was a good day to go fishing" for her husband had chosen that day to disappear and it was probably for the best as it was getting very hectic in the Toomer household. There was a bicycle rally coming through town and Karla had not only volunteered to cook for the breakfast the next day, she also was taking some of the participants in for the night, as well as cooking for a friend. Upon entering the home, she was off like a shot, marshaling the children, 4 of hers and several, I think 5 of the neighbors, into action, cleaning frantically for their soon to be arriving guests, fixing the casseroles for that night and the next morning and making lunch for the large group of hungry, boisterous children. All the while, talking to me about my trip and the blog, planning for a meeting she had later and many other activities with the kids.
Karla and her children were a welcome breath of fresh air, lively, hilarious and as I have been finding all along this trip, kind. I visited with them for a few hours before heading back to the library and its quiet refuge and found myself thinking that today might indeed have been a good day to go fishing, but I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet that amazing family if I had.

Monday, July 19, 2010

There was a travelling salesman . . .

Now as I have been cross the country, well at least the western section, I have noticed an interesting trend. There are a large number of trampolines in this part of the country. Every town I go to, I see them. Dotting the yards, inviting children to bounce their cares away and older people to shoot footage for Americas Funniest videos. It has got me wondering . . . how good was that travelling trampoline salesman. He or she must have been amazing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In case you were wondering . . .

Now I am sure some of you might be wondering what on earth I do on these layovers. Well, quite frankly, not a whole lot. I sleep in, sometimes til 8, I know decadent of me. I tend the horses, clean and ointment any scratches, sores or bites, liniment their legs, make sure they have ample food and water and get them out and moving a bit so they don't get stiff standing around. If I can I do laundry (the town sometimes passes a law that I must) and try and find a library, like this one, to make entries to appease the cranky detail wanting peoples (you know who you are). I get online and talk to friends and search the town for the best bacon cheeseburger and pizza available.
Today I walked the 4.5 miles into town and will hang out til around 4 or 5 and head back. If I need supplies I hit the stores, finding the best deal to spread my dwindling cash reserves out as long as possible and I talk to a lot of random people. As any of you know that live in small towns, people know when you are new. They ask who you are and what you are doing and then the questions really start coming. I can't tell you how many times I have told people what I'm doing and why I am doing it. No matter how many times I tell people, I am always surprised that they are interested. I get told that I am brave, which I don't feel I am, and that I am strong and I don't feel that I am stronger than anyone else. I get asked all the time what cause I am riding for and when I say I don't have one, most people find one of their own.
I guess if I have a reason for this trip it is to live. Pure and simple, live. Do what you are driven to, take joy and pleasure in it, don't put things off or ignore the little voice that pushes you. We spend so much of our lives doing what we think we are supposed to and not enough doing what we have a passion for. I find that sad and I want all of you to find you dreams and ride hard for them. You will get "sores" along the way and have to take time to recover, but the journey is worth it, so saddle up and go find those dreams. Yee Haw.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Will this day never end?

So we left Preston, after a restful stay with the Coburn family, Bruce, Beth and Bo. Bo, their daughter, cut my hair for me, and did a wonderful job, so the girls were not so embarrassed to be seen with me anymore. We had a long day ahead of us and were on the road at 7 am. After about 12 miles on the pavement we finally reached the dirt roads that would take us up and over the last high pass in the Rockies. We stopped for a soda and some conversation with the owner of the Cub River Resort and got underway.
Riding on the dirt roads is wonderful, we can trot, well I think its wonderful, Mystic and Delightful would be more happy wandering around eating constantly. We covered the distance to German Dugway Rd fairly quickly, trotting for 15 min. then walking for the same and back to the trot. It was beautiful there, we saw cranes, hawks and even some vultures, all of which flew up right near the road and Mystic didn't even flick an ear at them. Apparently it is only murderous ducks that she spooks at.
We passed the scout camp and reached the start of our serious climb just as another pack train came off a different trail and dropped in behind us. This road that was so terrifying in the truck, was almost a pleasant ride, it is rocky in parts and steep, so I had to keep a careful eye on the footing and let the girls catch their breath every half mile. It took about 90 minutes to reach the top and when we did I hopped off and walked for about 2 miles to give Mystic a break.
The scenery there was gorgeous, almost so that you didn't notice the mosquitoes, almost. We rode on alternating between walking and trotting til we reached the Ice Cave where I stopped and tied the horses and hiked in for a look see. It is a bit odd to be in a cave on a 90 degree day and have it below freezing and a big pile of ice in the middle of it. After pausing to snap a picture of the guys climbing from the ice mound, it was back up on the horses and heading for our destination and some of the worst mosquitoes I have ever experienced. We were mobbed, we were forced to trot constantly, because if we walked we were covered. The horses were going crazy with them and I was alternating between swatting them off the three of us. By the time I found a camp to hail and beg some bug spray from (bless them) we were all dotted with bites. Securing some temporary relief we headed down to the road, racing the setting sun. I contacted our next person in Montpelier and arranged to meet her in Ovid, where she followed behind us in her car, hazards flashing to alert traffic to our presence. Darkness came and Delene and Keene Rigby followed behind us in the car until Keene took the girls for a stretch so I could run ahead to their home to use the bathroom (I know TMI) and Delene found a neighbor willing to get up at 11:45 to come and pick us up in his trailer and take us the last few miles. Thank you Paul, you are a life saver.
This day was long and tiring and Mystic needs a few off til her whithers recover from the saddle sitting on them and I am back in my jumper saddle until a new one that fits her can be procured.
So I am now in the last town before Wyoming and stuck again for a few days. I feel lately like I am driving a truck in the mud, we get going and are doing well, then stop and get stuck. I hope soon to have my saddle issues resolved and a steady pace heading across the country again and mostly I hope to avoid any dangerous duck issues.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I think I am gonna die . . .

Yesterday a very kind and helpful man, Lynn Griffiths, picked me up from the fairgrounds and took me, his wife and his youngest son out to drive the trail I will be following to Montpelier on Sunday.
It was terrifying! The thought running through my head was "I think I am gonna die!" The road is a forest service road that they, the Forest Service, insisted was open to truck traffic, although I highly doubt they actually drove a truck on it to find out. It zigs and zags up the mountain climbing to the pass level of 8000 feet. It has sections that are smooth dirt and parts that are gravel and then there is a section of about 3 to 5 miles . . . It is rocky. It is rutted. It is slanted towards a sharp drop off. As the truck bounced over the ruts and rocks and slid and slipped closer to the edge, tilting at uncomfortable angles, I kept thinking I was gonna die and I was confused because on this trip I was sure that would involve a duck in some way. So to distract myself from the imminent and painful death, I started searching for the duck that would be involved in my demise. Thank God it never showed up! We lived! Much to my and Katherine's, Lynn's wife, surprise. She was apparently told we were going on a nice drive in the country, I bet Lynn sleeps on the sofa for a week after that.
Now all the terror aside, I want to thank Lynn, he showed me a more beautiful path to my next town and I am sure that the ride will be peaceful and serene, because four hoof drive is much more secure than four wheel. I look forward to posting some pictures of the trip, as it contains some of the most gorgeous scenery I have come across in Idaho. Hopefully there are no ducks up there on Sunday.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy . . .

So the last few days have been interesting. When I last tried to make an entry, I was in Malad Idaho, at their Library, and they decided to close an hour early due to the holiday weekend. Having been thrown out of a library (a first for me, really) I headed back to the fair grounds, to see several men setting up the fireworks display for the 4th, a day early.
It appeared that the fireworks for the town were to be shot off from the fair grounds on the 3rd this year, about 30 feet from where the s were corralled. With permission, I moved them to the arena til after the display was over, an additional 100 feet from ground zero. I climbed into the stands and waited for the sun to go down and the reaction from the mares. Promptly at 10 p.m. the first shots were fired and . . . nothing. Mystic and Delightful barely looked up from their search of the arena for possible food. It was a good display with screamers and whistlers and explosion after explosion and I don't think those mares even gave one jump, start or spook. Now if they had been releasing flocks of ducks onto the fair grounds, they probably would have torn down the arena fence and headed back to Oregon, lucky for me that wasn't part of the display.

The next day, it was Ken and Kristy Eliason to the rescue, they sent their son over with an old felt pad that I cut holes in over Mystics saddle sores to allow them to heal better and we were off again. I would have liked to stay for several more days to rest Mystic, but Ray Davis, the Grounds manager was unable to find anyone willing to donate more hay. We headed up through 2 Mile, a short cut through the mountains, which oddly enough is longer than 2 miles. We made great time, trotting on the dirt roads off and on throughout the morning, until I came around a bend and spied a truck and trailer. As I slowed to a walk, I saw a cowboy ride up, step off and load up his horse in the trailer, and decided to ask his opinion of what path would be best to take.

Now this cowboy ended up being one Brooks Clark, Cousin to the Eliasons, and a wonderful and impressive man. Upon hearing what I was doing, he promptly offered me an ice cold coke (woohoo), a chair and a snack cake. We sat and talked for a spell and he made me realize that I am not as tough as I think I am. He had just been through one of the worst physical years of his life, starting with a bad four wheeler accident and ending up with an infection that the drugs used to treat it almost killed him. He was told no less than 6 times that there was nothing that the doctors could do, and he was going to die, but here he sat, next to me, sharing a coke and a little debbie cake. When I feel tired and sore and that I can't go on, I am going to think of him and tell myself to stop being such a wimp.

Brooks directed me to the eastern road and gave me another shortcut to Dayton. He then finished his work replacing a fence the cattle had torn out and met me at the next cattle guard to open the pass through gate for me and helped me get the stubborn Pei Pei over her first gully. Thank you Brooks, you are an inspiration, I am sure Glen Cambell had you in mind when he wrote the song, just minus the rhinestones.

Well that day ended up being a long one, I got to Dayton only to find that it is a town that has everything, Town Hall, Post Office, Several Schools, Park, Public Works Dept, etc etc., just no restaurants and the only store in town is closed on Sundays, so I rode the extra 5 miles to Preston. Where I met Kevin Hanson, a wonderful man that brought the s 1 bale of hay and 2 of alfalfa and is getting us more so we can stay here til Sunday. At last Mystic's back will have a chance to fully heal. Then we head for Wyoming, ooh boy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Attention K-Mart Shopper . . .

OK I was going to make a nice long entry, but alas the Library is closing for the night. I promise the next time I get online I will regale you with some truly exciting, enthralling, thrilling . . . well I will make an entry at least.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh Look, Cattle . . .

So today started off early, about 5 am, got up and slowly got everything packed up. I was moving slow since I had put my tent on a big rock and got about 2 hrs sleep. I had to get up early since I was headed from Juniper to Holbrook and that is a 25 miles, so up I got and packed up and tacked up to get on the rode by 7. Since Mystic is still healing her saddle sores, I decided to walk the first 12 miles, ya, I know, crazy.
It was a beautiful walk, on the back road between the 2 not towns. Juniper and Holbrook as well as Pleasantview are communities, not towns. Which means, no cafes, stores or anything and that means . . . no Coke!!!!!!!
In the first 4 miles a very nice older gentleman stopped to talk to me, laughing when I told him what I was up to, but rather impressed also. I mentioned my lack of caffeinated carbonated beverage to him and 30 minutes later he came back, with his daughter and a warm cola. It was fantastic!!!! When I started this trip I nominated all that let me take a shower for sainthood, then added those that let me wash clothes. Well now, I have added the providers of colas. Bless you sir, where ever you are.
After I left the bringer of Soda, I headed through the first of many ( and I mean many) cattle guards. I hate those! You have to open the pass through gate, and some of them are extremely difficult to open. After much cursing and a bit of jumping up and down, we were through. The country was beautiful, rolling hills, and my favorite, sage brush, and then, as I rounded a corner, cattle. We have seen many cows on this trip, steers, dairy cows etc, but this was the first time we were actually moving through them. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, but both the girls were amazing, as usual. Delightful actually finds cattle interesting, she always wants to go and touch them, hmmm maybe a cow horse in the making.
They were soo good that it almost made up for Mystic running my knee into a fence post, almost.
I walked about 12 miles before I got on Mystic, then it was off at the trot. Its the first time we were on dirt roads, so I took advantage of it and trotted several miles. It made it so we arrived in Holbrook around 3 pm. Here I stopped at the first ranch I got to, Ken and Kristy Eliason, and asked if I good water my horses and if they knew a place where I could put them and Ken said they had a corral and I could pitch my tent in their rock free front yard. Kristy, came out, invited me in and attained sainthood by providing a dicey cold Coke, bless her, and a shower, double blessing and clean clothes, if she wasn't LDS (Morman) I would nominate her for Pope. As I sit here, they are preparing a delectable meal, of steak and potatoes, so I will cut this entry short.
Tomorrow it will be up early again, we have another 25 miles to Malad. Yay!