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, 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 . . .