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.

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.