Wednesday, April 11, 2007
  Temporary Blackout!
Hello World!
It seems like we have been out of contact for ever! We have a signal today and don't know when we will have another until we reach Parker, Arizona sometime around Monday. If we get another random signal, we will blog. If you don't hear from us, know we are still in a blackout area. So much to tell you... Yesterday was a very strange day for Edie and I. We were riding on the side of a highway which had little traffic. We knew we would be making a left turn ahead, so we decided to ride cross country, as we often do, to cut off some miles. The desert floor appeared solid and not too sandy. It looked flat as we headed off, keeping one small mountain on our left and another on our right so we wouldn't lose our way. The ground looked firm as we rode. All of a sudden Jericho sank above his knees and hocks in the earth! The ground had a crust and then it would just collapse beneath the horses feet. There were some kind of animal tunnels in places, gophers or something... Some places had bigger den holes and some places didn't have any obvious things there at all! It was really scarey! I got off and began to lead Jericho, figuring I could tell if the ground would support our weight or not. Edie followed right where we went. I stepped onto what looked like perfectly solid ground and my leg went in all the way up to my thigh! When I reached out with my hand to stop my fall, my hand went through the crust to just above my elbow! It was the weirdest feeling. I thank God that Jericho didn't freak out or step on me! These horses are becoming some pretty fantastic trail horses! Soon after that little episode, the ground turned into stuff that looked like crumbled concrete. Then we found huge cracks in the earth. I honestly don't know for sure, but they looked more like possible cracks due to earthquake activity than like what I initially thought they were. I thought they were "washes" at first, but I don't know. We couldn't cross most of them because they were so deep and steep. We would ride beside them until they closed back up. We eventually made it to our current campsite which has an historical monument. Gen. Patton trained men in several desert outposts for military duty in desert areas. This one is called "Granite Camp". He used these areas to "harden" the men. After six weeks in the desert camps, they were known as the "Tough Hombres". After crossing this desert for more than six weeks, I think our little group should get to be honorary "Tough Hombres!" The horses are doing great! They are really building up their endurance. We are trying to do around 15 miles on days that we ride now, if the terrain permits. (Up from the six or seven we did in the beginning.) Whiskey is rock solid and Jericho has truly won my heart. They are real troopers. Marla meets us halfway with water and lunch for us. The horses sure love to see her. We do too! Well, until we have another signal, know we all love and miss everyone. Love, Andi

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