Sunday, April 29, 2007
ON OUR WAY...
We are leaving here in the morning headed for Congress which we figure is about 115 miles from here.Wish us well.
We would like to give a special thanks to Andy and Willi for being so good to us.Great people
Thursday, April 26, 2007
ANTS IN OUR PANTS
We are still in Parker .You would not believe the trouble we have had finding someone to come put shoes on the horses!!Just a few minutes ago,we got a call and someone will be here tomorrow around noon.Thank goodness.The horses toes have grown too long to take them any farther.Our host,Willi and Andy,are just wonderful to us but...we are ready to move on.We have ants in our pants!!!Hopefully we will be moving on Saturday morning.
The days are getting very hot so I think the girls will have to start splitting their schedule.Some riding in the morning till lunch time and then let it cool off a bit and ride again in the late afternoon.They don't call it the desert for nothing!!Andi says we get right into another desert from here and then the prairie.Don't know the difference,it's hot everywhere!
I sure do miss all of you and am a little sad to be missing the yearly river float at home for the first time.One of the little sacrafices we are making.
We were interviewed by the Parker paper and made the front page again.It's so funny to walk by a news stand and see your face in it.Or have people recognize you.We are getting the word out there and it feels really good to be doing something positive .Besides,I can float the river next year(please J&T).
I ask that you take just a minute after reading this blog and call someone you know.Tell them about us and our mission and ask them to visit our site.Ask them to make sure and check out the Stroke Detection page.It may just save the life of someone they love.
I guess that's all for now.I love you and miss you.
Take care and thanks for helping us!
Saturday, April 21, 2007
It's a beautiful day!
Today is Saturday and it is a gorgeous day here in Arizona. The sun is shining and there is a cool breeze blowing. There are song birds everywhere and the trees make plenty of shade from the sun. What an oasis this place is compared to the desert we just crossed. From where I am sitting, I can see grass and an emerald green alfalfa field. We have been here for three days and I am still not rested up from our ordeal in the Mojave. It really took a lot out of us. Our hosts, Willie and Andy, took us up to the Parker dam and showed us some breathtaking scenery. We will post some pictures of the beautiful rocks and canyons when we get them uploaded from the camera. There are two companies that I truly want to say thank you to... The first is Ariat Boots. As you know, they have partnered with us to help spread the word about early stroke detection and stroke awareness. They outfitted us with boots and I am soooo thankful to have them. I want to tell you that the boots I chose have a gel pad in them and I have literally walked miles in them while leading my horse through rough, rocky places. I swear, I would have been crippled by now if I had been wearing some of the boots I have worn before I started wearing Ariats. The last day in the desert I ended up walking probably 8 to 10 miles in those boots over very rough terrain. Ariat... you are my hero. The other company I want to thank is Custom Tree and Saddle Company. I have now ridden one of their demo saddles through California and the desert. My horse has not been sore and I have never ridden a more comfortable saddle. The free swing of the fenders on this saddle allow my knees to be in the correct position and I have not had one bit of trouble out of my knees since I began this ride. I am riding the "Mountaineer" outfitted in the western style. I love this saddle! Well, since I think it is important to give credit where credit is due... Hats off to both of these companies who have partnered with us and have made our trip far more comfortable and pleasant. And thanks again to the folks who are caring for my animals and to all the wonderful people we have met along the way that have become our friends and helped us. We love you all... Andi
Friday, April 20, 2007
Farewell to California...
We have arrived in Parker, Arizona and have left the great state of California and the formidable
Mojave behind us. The last twenty miles of California was the most difficult of all. Edie and I found ourselves in a vast maze of deep ravines and gullies that were too steep for the horses to climb in or out of. Thanks to Edie's keen sense of direction, we were finally able to make our way out of the maze and into the small town of Big River which was six miles south of where we going to cross the Colorado River in Parker. It was as if the desert knew that she had us in her grip and was determined to not let us get out. We could see the river, we could see the green irrigated fields on the other side but we just couldn't seem to get there. At last we were at the bridge that crosses the Colorado. The Parker Police Department had agreed to help us cross the bridge, and unlike the Victorville Police Department, they were true to their word. An officer met us at the bridge and made what was potentially a difficult and dangerous crossing a safe and comfortable crossing for us and the horses. He blocked the traffic on the Arizona side while Marla rode Tonto behind us to block the traffic coming from California. We were able to take the horses right down the middle of the bridge without a hitch. We certainly appreciate them. We were very glad to be in Arizona.
While in the Mojave, we rode through an awful sand storm that closed down I-40, we fell into an earthquake crack that was filled with sand, we rode over one hundred miles without seeing a single telephone pole, house or store of any kind and we stumbled our way through deep drifting sand and dodged a million gopher holes. We had to deal with cactus and boards full of nails hidden in the sand to discourage 4 wheelers but could have crippled our horses... we avoided barbed wire snares and had to ride our horses across rail road trestles. We have made it to the other side and come out safely. I think I can safely say that we are the first three women, (two riders and a support crew of one,) from Abbeville that have ridden horses across the state of California and the Mojave Desert! We will stay here in Parker for about a week to rest and recuperate. Then we will be on our way once more to see what the state of Arizona holds for us. We could not have succeeded this far without the prayers and support from our friends and loved ones. We miss and love all of you... Keep us in your prayers... Love to all... Andi
YAHOO!!!WE'RE IN ARIZONA
As you can see,we finally got out of California.
I have a story to tell about my glasses.When I bought Tonto in 2000 I spent a lot of money on accessories.The best money was on a pair of Panoptx riding glasses.I have been the owner of two pair,the last of which was broken on this trip.Through a young lady named Jaquelyn(sp),Panoptix has donated a pair of thier most recent models to me .I recieved them today and am tickled to death!I will take a picture tomorrow and show them off to you.Thanks Panoptx.I can't make it without you!!!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Today We Can See Arizona!
We are only 17 miles from the Arizona state line! Today we ended our ride in a tiny place called Vidal Junction. We can see mountains that are on the other side of the line. On Wednesday we will be in Parker and we will be able to honestly say that we crossed the California Mojave. We will still have a small part of it to cross in Arizona, but at least it is populated there and a much easier section of desert to ride. It has been quite an experience, I can tell you that. One that I will never forget! Happy Birthday to Alice on the 24th of the month. I love and miss all of my friends and family... Hugs to you all. Special prayers for Kathy and Don. Hello to New Horizon Life Center, to my Pastor and his family... and to my church family and the school... I think of you every day. One state almost behind us... Love, Andi
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Dust and sand storm
This is the best we could do to show how the dust/sand storm appeared. The top left picture was actually taken the first day after the storm so you can see the mountains. The top right picture shows the storm as it approached. The bottom left is during the storm but believe me, it was during light part. None of us were snapping pictures during the worst part - lol!!
The Mojave just wanted to let us know we were far from the full desert experience. I am still getting sand out of my ears and nose.
Picture of Easter morning
THE LITTLE THINGS...
Andi had already posted about our Easter morning sunrise service. We have been so busy trying to get caught up and we now have our pictures uploaded on the computer so we can share them.
This was taken Easter morning...it was breathtaking!!
It's the little things that make my day.This morning,around 8a.m. our time,my phone rang. It was my sister Deborah just calling to check on us.Made my day. I love you too!!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
EASTER ON THE TRAIL
A couple of days ago, Edie and I left out to do our ride for the day. It was beautiful and there was a slight breeze blowing. Marla had gone on ahead to set up our next camp twelve miles down the road. We had not been riding more than a half hour when I saw something that looked like very thick fog coming at us from the mountain on our right. It was coming at us like a gray blanket and the wind picked up to a fierce level. It wasn't long before we realized we were right in the path of a sand storm. Soon we were completely surrounded by the flying sand cloud. We could not see any of our landmarks or any of the mountains. The wind was so strong that it was making the horses stagger as they walked. Edie and I dismounted and ended up walking the horses for eight miles to the camp. The DOT men who saw us riding in the storm went to the camp and told Marla to come back to get us. "Those gals can't ride out there in that storm!" She explained that our horse trailer is filled with feed, hay and water and she could not come get us. She was worried sick. At one point, we could barely see a few feet in front of us and I almost lost sight of Edie. We had to stand with the horses tails to the wind and try to block their faces and eyes from the sand that felt like it was coming from a sandblaster! We got in while it was still going on and were very happy to be back at our little camp. The next day, we heard that the storm was so bad that I -40 had been closed due to several wrecks with fatalities because of the poor visability. I hope we can get out of this desert without falling in any more earthquake cracks of having to endure any more sand storms. We only have 43 miles to go to the Arizona line. Yahoo! Tomorrow is Sunday and our day of rest. We think of all of our friends and family at home and miss them terribly. You are all in our prayers. Please keep us in yours! Love, Andi
Easter has always been a special day for me. I have always loved a sunrise service on Easter mornings. This Easter, all three of us got up before sunrise and waited for the sun to peak over the mountain. We had our own little communion service with grape juice and unleavened bread just as the sun made it's appearance. Later that evening we had a time of prayer and spiritual sharing of thoughts. It was a wonderful day. We met Doug Taillon and his son, A.J. They are riding bicycles from San Juan Capistrano to the east coast. They are crewed by Dougs wife and they are joined by three of their grandchildren. We wish them our best on their journey. They expect to be home by June. Hi to everyone at home. I miss you all very much. Love, Andi
As you all know ,my mount for this ride is my trusty companion ,Tonto.Tonto has carried us in excess of 2000 miles since the middle of March...without fail.Now,that is not the same as without fell.Tonto has fallen in the sand ,not one, but three times!We hit this deep sand and next thing you know,we're face down in it ! This has not been without casualty.I, myself , am fine.However,I can't say the same for Tonto.There has been a loss of two mirrors(one of which had to be cut off(surgery).Multiple scarring on the gas tank(from being pried up out off the sand with a 2x 4)A bent brake pedal and arm.Oil on the Iron Braids.And last but certainly not least,my pride.
All in all,we are both fine and ride together every day.
We think of those at home often and wonder what we are missing.We remind each other of our mission and hope that maybe we talk to just one person who can recognise the symptoms of a stroke and know what to do. Quality of life folks! That's what
it's all about.We got a comment from our friend Peggy who is watching the segments being aired on "brain attacks" She has learned that during a stroke,you lose a portion of your brain the size of a pea EVERY 12 MINUTES!!!! Pay attention.
OK...off the soap box.I want to say "hello" to my girls .I love you babies.
And Sir Jacob...Can hardly wait to see you.
And to all our friends and family...we love and miss you all.Don't forget us while we are out here!TTFN
Thursday, April 12, 2007
We finally got a signal and able to go on-line yesterday. Marla and Andi both attempted to blog and it showed as "published with errors". We think it was actually the blogger site having problems....so, I am going to try a test before I write too much like they did - lol.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Wow! Somedays we have no idea when we wake up, who we are going to meet. We were parked on the corner of Indian Cove Road when we met a man named Gene Nelson and his lovely wife, Randee. They were local horse people. He brought us some grass hay, got together with some of his friends and set us up with places to camp for several nights. He and his wife had us to dinner at their home which is on the side of a mountain and has the most spectaculare veiw of the valley below. He has peacocks and they are so beautiful! We stayed with his sister-in-law, Terre, for a night and she was such a sweet person. He set us up to water our horses and get feed at Art Parkers. He has a beautiful horse facility and feed store. We camped near some of his friends, Mitch and Charles' homes. The next night was at a restaurant named the Palms. Gene and one of his riding buddies, Megan, rode with us the next day to Iron Age Road. They were so much help to us, and we enjoyed meeting them and getting to know them. I wish we could have ridden with them more. Gene took some photo's and put them on a disk for us. Through Gene we also met Thurmon and Jannette Carson. They stopped by to see us and check on us several times. They brought us some fly masks for the horses to keep the wind and sand from irritating their eyes. Wonderful people... Lynn Schmakoff was a friend of Gene's also. She was very friendly and helpful as well. See, a whole new circle of friends that we hadn't met yet! It is one of the best parts of being out here. Spreading stroke awareness and meeting wonderful people! Thanks to all of them... they are so appreciated! Andi
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
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
55 MILES TO AZ
I cannot believe we are getting so close. I just wanted to do a quick blog to let everybody know that we are through the roughest part of the Mojave. We are only 55 miles from Parker, AZ - this is huge. We all have lots of great things to share but have just gotten into camp and have lots to do for the evening. Just wanted to take a minute to let you know we are all ok and will blog later.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
AND THEN THERE WERE 3....
Last night, Marla and I went to a local restaurant. We were told that the Marines that are going to Iraq are usually trained here in 29 Palms. This base and the desert surrounding it simulates the terrain in Iraq more than any other place.
That might also help explain why 10 miles a day on a horse is about all we can put these guys through. Today both horses sunk further into the sand than at any other point in the desert. There is a different critter in this area called a Kittfox (not sure of the spelling). These guys dig tunnels in large areas which is probably what we rode into that cause them to sink so deep. We also rode across dunes...our guys were pretty tired even after only six miles.
Tomorrow we understand there might be a desert road for us to follow to the Palms which is our next camp site. It will be a ten mile ride.
I also want to say hello to all our family and friends. We miss you all so much and appreciate your calls. Keep us in your prayers.
On March 27, for personal reasons Wanda Paradice left The Carolina Trekkers and returned home to SC.
We have been able to make adjustments to our daily routine and once again progressing smoothly. Her decision in no way compromises this ride and our work out here.
We are now entering the most feared part of this trek....the desolate part of the Majove. However, a guardian angel name Gene, a local horseman, has made it his personal mission to find camps for us along the way. He plans to ride with us on Saturday. We believe he is an answer to the many prayers that surround us on a daily basis.
The Carolina Trekkers
Monday, April 02, 2007
Watching a hawk hunt
We had a very short ride today, only a couple of miles. We are now on a route that will take us parallel with the major highway but not have to contend with the traffic. Gene gave us a great overnight place to let our horses run in a large arena and we can plug into a house.
On our way over here, Andi and I had a hawk that was hunting all around us. We could watch him spot a jack rabbit and make a beeline toward him. The only thing...just as he got to the rabbit, he would fly straight upward like a trick kite on the beach and then descend toward his prey. It was like watching a wildlife show and at first it is exciting to think we will actually get to watch him get a rabbit and then at the last moment I was thinking....run rabbit, run!!! Well...we watched this virtually the entire time we rode and that big hawk never caught a single rabbit and he had lots of opportunities. I finally called out to him and said..."hey you, if you wouldn't have to be so grandiose with that vertical upswing just before you hit, you might have a chance". It was still fun to watch, he was within 15 feet of us on a couple of occasions.
We have another pretty short ride tomorrow, only about 6 miles. The following day will be back to our regular desert 10 miles. I cannot wait to get these horses on more solid ground.
Take care and love to all;
Sunday, April 01, 2007
This is (from left to right) Jared,Andi,Jeffery,Jessica and Jennifer.They loved Andi and the "boys".
Gene and Randee
Meet (from left to right) Carlos,Travis,Christian.They stopped by to say Hello to the horses.Carlos didn't want to go home.Said he'd stay with us.
Thanks for stopping by guys.You make us smile.
We have many visitors during the course of a day.Sometimes it's adults who have a story to share or a question to ask.But I love the kids.They are always so interested in the horses and Amos.Thier eyes are so bright and smiles are big.I just love it!
Today is Sunday and, as you know, we don't ride on Sundays. Yesterday, when we came in here, we had a couple of visitors right away. Gene Nelson and his wife, Randee, came by to see who we were and what we are about. They are local horse people and they were excited about helping us get routed around 29 Palms. They have called their friends and have set us up with a place each night for three or four nights. They have involved other horsemen, and a friend of theirs is contacting the radio station for coverage while we are here. Lynn, one of the contacts they introduced us to has been very helpful as well. I can't believe the wonderful people we are meeting out here and how willing they are to help us. We were out of grass hay and Gene showed up with a partial bale for last night and this morning. We will be able to buy some hay from him before we leave. It is a wonderful thing to see how people are all pulling together and getting behind us. Gene and Randee had an unexpected family emergency that required them to go out of town today. In spite of that fact, Gene came by and gave us the directions we would need, actually took me to our first stop so I would know where it was, and helped us find the vet that we would need, to issue us the next health certificates on the horses before we cross into Arizona. He did that before he left town. We hope all is well with his family and that God will watch over them. Love to all... Andi
ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
When I decided to buy a ranch horse, I understood that these horses are trained that they have a JOB!! They are well used and trained but are not petted often. It takes a lot of time and work to earn their heart and trust. As you can see, Marla is spoiling Whiskey rotten every chance she gets.
Here we are parked on the side of the road in 29 Palms,which has turned out to be a good thing.We have had lots of people stop by,one of which is a man and his wife,by the names of Gene and Randee.They have invited us to thier place which has an arena and running water!!We will stay there tonight and head out in the morning. I think we will have one more day of riding in 29 Palms and then into desolation. I'm sure we will be fine in the deep sand and heat.Still our biggest concern is water.We are carring approx. 150 gallons and figure we will have to make trips to refill our tanks on a regular basis.We bought 4 five gallon gas containers to keep the generator running so that won't be an issue.All in all,a piece of cake!ha-ha.
Morale is good and we are ready for what is ahead of us .I can hardly wait to see all the stars in the desert sky.
Leslie and Trevor have got thier new apartment all set up and are beginning thier life together.
Shelby,my littlest angel, is working hard in school and spending time with her sweetie,Steven(who is the pick of the litter,by far)I am very proud of the girls and the choices they make. I love my babies!!!
Ok,there are two different cars out here so I must go do a "meet and greet".
Love to all,
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