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.