Wednesday, May 30, 2007
MORE ABOUT OUR DEPARTURE
Here are a few more pictures of our departure from Camp Verde yesterday. I always love to show some of the terrain we cross, the highway part was a very short part of the ride.
I am sure you see the Mayor (Tony) and Bill Dean leading our group. I think Bill has ridden virtually every square inch of the area and Tony knew many of the trails as well. In route, we were taken into a hidden canyon. We also saw Indian ruins from old dwellings and caves with dark soot in the ceiling. Not sure if it was from kids hiking and building fires or if it was years old.
We leave for Strawberry, AZ in the morning. It will be a 25 mile ride across mountains but at there will be a road...not just trails.
Take care and love to all;
What a week we have had here in Camp Verde.Good people here.I'm sure you've all read about the llamas,what a treat.The Pates were great host and did all they could to help us and our cause.Gail is very humble even though there are covers of TV guide that she was on and also TIME and VOGUE due to her Peace corp work and her dedication to animals of all natures.Milt himself is a cowboy through and through and they have been married 33 years. Thank you both for everything.
I know people talk about the weather when there is nothing else to talk about but I want to tell you,Arizona is crazy! Yesterday the girls rode out of town accompanied by Gail her mare Candy,Bill Dean and his gelding Prince , and the mayor of Camp Verde Tony Gioia on his gelding Promise. We were escorted across the highway bridge by The Yavapai Apache Police and the Camp Verde Marshalls office. Pretty cool. Anyway,it got up to 97 degrees.Everyone was hot and sweaty.Edie rode Tonto when she got in to see where we were going.When she got back,she said she got VERY cold.I actually have to get my leathers out for the next couple of days.Pretty wild I think!
All is well and we are moving along. I think I should share with you that all three of us are home sick .We've been out here just under four months and need a family fix!Life has definitely continued without us and we know it.We were all in a kind of funk yesterday.It is hard when we stay a few days with such wonderful people and they become our interim family and then we turn around and leave them too.We post these great stories and pictures for you to see but just know, that behind the scenes,we long for home. We had a great story done on us by The Arizona Republic which came out yesterday.It is a state wide publication and we have had a super response.Have gotten many e-mails and even some donations.Most times they come from folks who have been touched by strokes in some way.All of this lets us know that our word is getting out there and gently reminds all of us why we are doing what we do.Please remember to go to the "STROKE DETECTION" page on the site and refresh your memory of what signs to look for.You might need it today!Time makes a world of difference in the life of a stroke victim.
Hugs and kisses,
Saturday, May 26, 2007
We came out of the mountains on Wednesday morning. The horses were really tired and we were worn out. We met Bill Dean, a local cowboy and the owner of Little Bit Ranch, at the Grief Hill Trail Head as we came out of the mountains. He was a font of local information. He was our guide who would lead us in the back way to Spirit Wind Arabians and Pack Llamas, where we were going to rest for a few days. He led us to the Verde River where we made our first river crossing. The river was twenty feet wide where we crossed. It was slightly above our horses knees and the current was very strong. Both our horses crossed the swiftly moving water without hesitation, once again reaffirming to us that we have two exceptional trail horses. Bill kept us moving as we negotiated some rather rugged trails. Edie and I were both amazed to find out that this agile comboy is 81 years young! Gail and Milton Pate graciously extended their hospitality to us. They had set up a steak fry for us as a fund raiser to help us get some much needed contributions. We met many interesting people. Gail is a retired federal Veterinarian and her husband is a retired Range Land Conservationist for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. At the time of his retirement he had been working on the Navajo reservatation longer than the average age of Navajo's on the reservation! Gail floated the teeth on both horses and helped to make sure that they were in good shape and would get everything they needed during our rest here. She has a side business called "Llead a Llama to Llunch". We met her llama's... Tiger Lily, Pride, Llama Llips, and Elito. They are so sweet and adorable. I fell in love with Pride. Gail prepares a gourmet lunch for her clients and they pack their lunch up to a beautiful spot in the Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona area on the llamas. There they hike and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and have a picnic lunch in the red rocks. We made our own lunches and Gail took us on a once in a lifetime hike. My companion for the day was Pride, a red llama. He was so sweet. Marla shared her hike with Elito. We had a fabulous time. Edie had too much work to do... she didn't get to go, but we took lots of pictures to share with her. The top right picture was taken as we were leaving our picnic site. We hated to go, but we had to get home. Gail was such a fun person and we loved our time spent with our new buddies, Elito and Pride. This has been such a great break from our normal routine but it will be "back in the saddle again" for us, on Monday morning... we have one more very difficult section of mountains to go through and then we will be out of the worst terrain of the entire trip. I miss everyone so much. I look forward to the time we will be home with family and friends once again. Love to all... Andi
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAINS
We are officially out of the mountain ranges. As you can see from the pictures above, some of the trails were very steep and rocky. I am very proud of the fact that we found our way across these mountains and ended up "close" to our intended spot. There were some marked trails but we ended up making the best decisions using a compass Marla bought for us.
The views from these mountains have been spectacular and it is hard for a camera to show the detail. We have no idea what the bottom photo was but we came across this near the end of a trail.
We have shared so much about the difficulty and dangers of some of these trails but have not lost sight of one thing. God bless our forefathers/foremothers
and their insight
for actually creating these trails. There were many places I was in total awe that someon
e had actually chiseled
out something that looked like a trail in these rocks. I know some of these have been around for years and years - they were incredible people. During this entire ride, there have been many places that we have wondered how they crossed the terrain with NO trails and pulling wagons with horses. It makes me wonder when they were crossing the deserts for the first time just how did they manage the water situation and how they knew there was something worthwhile they were riding toward. I am humbled by these pioneers!!
We will reach Camp Verde, AZ today and will be there until Thursday or Friday.
Love to all;
Sunday, May 20, 2007
As you all know,I have my trustee steed,Tonto,with me.I have taken him places no one should go on a sportster.Down rocky trails,up wash board roads,etc.Yesterday I was taking Tonto down a trail to check out a campsite moving very slowly ,as you motorcycle riders know,the front tire caught on a rock and over we went.The times before on this journey that we have fallen has been in deep sand and very little damage was done.Yesterday was a little different.It was a creek bed full of rocks.As I hit the road,all I could see was the lens off of my tail light skip across the rocks.My heart sank.As a result, I lost the cover, two head bolt covers,and skinned various parts of Tonto.I got him back to the upright position,and like a true champion,he started right up and carried me back to the girls.As I saw them,they knew something was wrong.I showed my hands which were bleeding and a small place on my leg.No seriuos wounds.When I settled down,I started looking at Tonto.Once a proud shiny scooter,now a proud skinned up bike with broken and missing parts.Edie assures me that she will see to it that when we can ,Tonto will be restored to his original state.So raise a glass to my mount Tonto,warrior extraordinair.
Lost in the Mountains Part 2
Making the decision to ride cross country over mountains that exceed 7,500 ft in altitude as opposed to trailering through dangerous traffic situations was well worth it, even though we got "somewhat misplaced" in the process. Early in the afternoon we were surrounded by a thunder storm. Although we only got enough rain to cool us off, the thunder was loud enough that we could feel the vibrations of it. The lightning was fairly far from us, but we could see it. (There is something about the idea of sitting on a horse who is standing on steel shoes during lightning that is somewhat unnerving to me...) Neither of us knew how our horses would react to loud thunder or lightning. We need not have worried, they hardly paid attention to it. There were views along the trail that were beyond description. You can't imagine how it feels to sit on a horse going down a narrow, steep trail and look to your left and see a sheer drop of a thousand feet straight down. To your right is a vertical wall of rock. There is no allowance for a mistep and an ansy horse could put you in a life threatening situation in a split second. As hyper as Jericho can be, he seemed to know how dangerous the situation was. He put his head down, watched the trail, and carefully picked out each step. Whiskey picked each step carefully as well. I finally just dropped my reins and trusted Jericho to pick the speed and the footing. Both the horses seemed as if they had ridden mountain trails their whole lives. The veiws were incredible and the experience was absolutely priceless. I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything. (That's easy to say now that we are safe in the RV ...) Poor Marla... she knew we were lost while she waited for us in the Groom Creek Horse Camp. I know she was worried about us. The biggest concern Edie and I had was finding water for the horses. There was one place Edie found that was a fair sized rock pool with clear water in it. The boys got a good long drink there. Then, as she stated in her blog, there was the man made waterfall in the RV park. The man came out as we were leaving, and I don't think he was impressed with the fact that we had let the horses drink out of his waterfall pool. I hate it, but the guys had to have water. We rode 28 miles through the mountains, saw some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine, shared a once in a lifetime experience as friends, reached another level of trust in our horses, and made it home safely, if more than a little exhausted. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty incredible day. Edie and I did make a unanamous decision... If anyone wants to do this part of the trail, they will have to hire another tour guide... We wouldn't have missed it... but believe me... once was enough for either of us! Andi
Friday, May 18, 2007
LOST IN THE MOUNTAINS
What a day....we were on or with our horses for nearly 12 hours. I have been adamant about the fact that I DO NOT want to use a trailer unless it is absolutely necessary and there are no other alternatives. We found a way to by-pass Prescott by riding through the mountains. We went to the Forestry Service and bought the most recent map with the trails that were supposed to be clearly marked. We knew this was going to be dangerous and carried enough food for us and the horses in case we got lost. As you can see from the above left picture, we rode right to the very top of the mountains. Once we found the trail head, we followed what was supposed to be "the" trail....number 48. We rode for hours and hours up and down some of what I can only describe as a goat trail. There were many times when we had only inches (maybe 18) and the only thing we were passing through was a sheer rock on one side and a total drop on the other side. I felt like the "Man From Snowy River" from having to lean back so drastically to maintain balance. The difference was we were smart enough to not run - lol. We rode up and down like this for hours and finally came to a point where our trail came to a dead end. We made a decision and found our way to a jeep trail and ultimately found ourselves......right where we had started. Yep....we came out about two miles from the trail head from which we had started.
You cannot imagine our anguish...not for ourselves as much as for our boys. We eventually went back on the trail to find out where we had made our mistake. Our good old trail no. 48 made a hard turn and we should have followed another trail that was NOT maintained. Riding this trail, we crossed trees while going straight down but eventually found ourselves back into civilization. We came down at a trailer/RV park that had a man-made waterfall. We led the horses over there so they could get a much needed drink. I cannot describe how odd it is to be totally at the mercy of the wilderness and come down and have your mount get a drink from a "man-made" waterfall. I can promise that we would have gone to battle if it had been necessary for them.
By this time, it was getting dark. Marla escorted us to the camp by following us with the RV. I know the traffic gets pretty impatient but what can I say...it was safe for us and our boys.
I cannot describe how tired we were. We rested on Friday and allowed Whiskey and Jericho the same rest. We will leave out Saturday on another trail to cross another mountain range. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer that we stay on the right trail or that it is more clearly marked.
Take care and I love you all;
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
KIRKLAND BAR AND STEAK HOUSE
Tom and Cecilia took us out to eat at the Kirkland Bar and Steak House. We had invited them but Tom beat us to the check. They have been very good to us. The steaks were cooked on an open pit with real wood - the food was fantastic.
You can see Andi holding her 1987 Christmas Tree in front of the place (just kidding). It was a tumbleweed that rolled in for the picture. The painting with the horses was done by an acquaintance of Cecilia. I loved it because one of the horses looks like Whiskey. Our waitress took Marla and I on a little tour of the place. It was built in the late 1800's, burned in 1922 and rebuilt on the same foundation in 1923. The safe pictured above is an original Wells Fargo safe.
Last but certainly not least is the last painting. The place was a brothel and there was a Madam named Mary. The story is told that Mary had been missing and was found with her throat cut. Years later, there was a filming at the bar and they put the wood siding up covering the walls. If you look in the wood, you can definitely see the face of a woman. They claim that it gets more detailed each year. Of course, they call her Mary and when anything goes wrong at the bar or restaurant, she gets blamed. Weird....huh!!
We ended up taking a couple of extra rest and catch-up days. This allowed us to make some adjustments to the trailer and get things a little more organized. We will be riding out tomorrow so...back on the trail we go.
Love you all;
We have arrived at Skull Valley, Arizona. The valley got it's name when the first white men arrived here and found many Indian skulls bleached by the sun in the valley. There had been a battle between the Apache and Maricopa Indians and the dead were left where they fell. We have been staying at the McGuire Ranch. Tom and Cecelia McGuire are two more Angels we have met out here. They are the parents of Delci, our friend that we met when we were staying in Parker, with Willie and Andy. Tom helped us get a farrier out here on Mothers Day to shoe the boys. Cecelia is helping map out a way to leave here so Edie and I can go across country through the State Park, rather than try to go by way of the very dangerous mountain roads. They have a beautiful ranch here, nestled in the valley and surrounded by gorgeous mountains. It is a peaceful place. Cecelia's horse, Nellie, is a beautiful gray mare, half Quarter Horse and half Arabian. She has ridden her extensively in the North West, she drives her in a sulky or wagon, she ropes on her. She is a beautiful and sweet mare that is very versatile. Tom has a gorgeous bay gelding that he ropes on. They have a few steers here and a neat dog named Trixie. Trixie brings her toys up here to share with Amos. She likes getting in the horses water trough when it is hot. Yesterday we did repairs to the RV. Edie fixed the door, Marla was working on an electrical problem and I fixed a screen. Edie is trying to fix a ramp on the trailer so we can haul the motorcycle on the trailer. We went shopping yesterday for groceries and horse feed. It feels like a holiday when we get to go to a Wal-Mart! We all got hair cuts while we were there. Big day on the town for us! Well, hope everyone is well and know that we miss you all. Jessie... give Naja a big hug for me... Love to you and your family as well. Big hugs to all our friends and family. Andi
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Sometimes we are so tired we are just silly.The picture of Andi with the water,notice she is drinking from the bottom of the bottle which she poked holes in with her knife(she couldn't get the top off). Sorry about the sideways picture.Sometimes they get sssooooo bored,they dig around in the horse poop looking for treasure!
MORE DESERT ART
This is an attempt to share with you some of the things the girls deal with on a daily basis.How many of you would dare share the mountain roads on horseback?
Talk about "bomb proof" horses,I think we have a couple!
nothing like finding things in the desert,like ducks and footballs.it's like a big easter egg hunt! Marla
Saturday, May 12, 2007
The Long Riders Guild
500 Miles and going strong...
Early in this ride, we met a woman that asked us if the "Long Riders" knew we were out here. I had no clue what she was talking about. She explained to us that it was an organization that documents, encourages, and tries to help "Long Riders" on their "expeditions". There are currently expeditions that are in progress, virtually on every continent! In order to be an official Long Rider, you have to ride 1,000 consecutive miles on horseback. There are less then 300 Long Riders in the world. Shortly after the woman asked us about the Long Riders, we were contacted by CuChullaine O'Reilly and his wife, Basha. They are the founders of The Long Riders Guild. They have been so helpful, and put us in contact with other Long Riders that have either done their rides or are in the process of doing others. They have been wonderful and so helpful with information that might help us. When they update their website, we will be listed as "current expeditions". Check out their site at firstname.lastname@example.org
. The site is one that is very interesting and full of neat information. We are looking forward to finishing our 1,000 miles and becoming Long Riders. It is an organization that Edie and I are both looking forward to being a part of. It is quite an honor to be a Long Rider. Well, I guess that's about it for now. Happy Mothers Day .... Andi
Four miles into our ride yesterday, we passed our 500 mile mark! We have already crossed 40% of the state of Arizona. We are really in some beautiful country. The veiw from the McGuire ranch where we are staying in Skull Valley, is spectacular! Tom and Cecelia have provided us with a wonderful place to park and each horse has his own private paddock. They are in heaven! We have been riding through some twisty, winding canyons. Marla has had to block for us from behind, in order for traffic to know that we are in the road ahead. It has all gone very smoothly so far. At one point yesterday, there was a sheer drop off of 400 to 500 ft on one side and a sheer rock wall on the other! There wasn't much choice but to ride right down the middle of the road. The mountains of Arizona are spectacular and I think this is some of the most beautiful country, so far, that we have traveled through. I saw Pine trees today when Marla and I went into Prescott on Tonto. They smelled so clean and good. There are large Cedar trees, huge Cottonwood trees, Manzanita and Desert Willow trees. God may not live here... but I know He spends a lot of time here... When we were at Twister Heller's Ranch... he asked me if I regretted doing the ride... I quickly told him that I didn't regret one minute of it and would do it again in a heart beat. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life on so many different levels... What a way to see this glorious country we live in!What a wonderful way to meet so many fantastic and special people! What an opportunity to experience the very threads of the intricate tapestry that makes up America! Regret it??? Not hardly... I am loving every minute of it! The only sad parts of this trip for me is not getting to be at some important family functions, and the fact that I miss my sister and the rest of my family and friends so much. I can't wait to finish this trip and see them all on the beaches of Edisto Island. Well, keep us in your prayers as we do the next 500 miles and become official Long Riders. Love to all.... Andi
FRIDAY NIGHT CAMP
Whiskey had been rubbing his butt on his panels at night. Not only was he making lots of racket but he had actually started to make sores on the back side. He had been wormed when I got him but I naturally thought that was the problem and quickly wormed him again. No change....he kept rubbing and making the sores bigger. We tried a variety of ointments...etc to no avail so we decided he needed a bath in the stream.
You gotta love those stark white legs in my Ariat boots in the water. I can tell you that I had no concerns about doing harm to these boots. They are so durable, my 10 year old pair certainly got drenched enough so I knew these would still last and last.
Marla helped me give him his bath, wish she could have been in the picture with us but somebody had to operate the camera. I can't say he loved his bath but he certainly tolerated it. I believe it felt better to him than he would want to admit even if he was a little skittish. After he was properly shampooed and rinsed, Marla started to leave. Whiskey started pawing at the water with his right front hoof (Marla's side) and with her wearing flip-flops, she couldn't get away very fast. With each paw, I could see her back getting wetter and wetter until she was nearly soaked. Don't tell me he didn't know what he was doing, I could see him laughing and so was I. It was so much fun. And....he didn't rub his butt on the panels that night.
The whole thing reminded me of when my best friend in school (Peggy McFerron) and I used to give our horses a bath. We lived near the local Civic Center and there was a kiddie pool. After normal hours, we would fill the pool and turn the center sprinkler on and give them a bath. They loved it!!!!
Today we arrived at the McGuire Ranch and will be taking our Sunday break. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all you Mother's out there.
We love you and miss you all;
LEAVING TWISTER HELLER RANCH
This place was so beautiful - check out the stream in the lower right corner. This is the first stream we have been able to enjoy. Our thanks to Tom for allowing us to stay.
Twister Heller Ranch is located on a 20 mile long dirt road. I have never seen such significant changes in the landscape as we saw during that ride. The mountain ranges surrounding us varied in appearance as well as going from desert floor to green valleys. It was wonderful.
The day before we left, Marla and I rode Tonto out to pick the next day's camp site. Even as beautiful as the scenery was, the road was a total washboard. We met Deputy Jim Walls and tried to find her an alternate route to bring the RV around but the ride would have been too long. I felt so bad for Marla when she passed us along the road. The RV was shaking so hard and dumped lots of the contents from the cabinets onto the floor. Jud Heller (Twister's son and on the right in the above picture) picked Marla up after she had taken the RV to the site. She vowed she would never go down that road again and was true to her word. When Jud took her back to get Tonto, she drove those extra miles around the mountain but said the ride was beautiful.
Along the way of taking the RV, she passed Jim on his horse named Banjo and his dog Angel. They were riding out to meet Andi and I and ride the rest of the road. You have probably figured out that Jim is the one in the black hat and green shirt. Marla snapped this picture of us when Jud was taking her back to get Tonto.
As Andi, Jim and I were riding along - we asked him a variety of questions. We told him about a growling noise that came from brush near the road. He very casually told us that was a wild pig, they are the only animal in the area that will stand their ground like that. He said the mountain lions, coyotes and other animals usually run away. That was a real reminder of things of which we have to remain aware. He also told us that we were riding one of the road they frequently ride in search of bodies. As they break up drug active areas, they go from small town to small town. The bodies are left when the deal goes bad. The most frequent area of "findings" is on Hwy. 93 from Vegas. Many times are we are riding, Andi and I both have made the comment that if someone dumped a body in that area, it would never be found. Guess we were closer to being right than we really wanted to be.
We will certainly be keeping our eyes open .... for any and everything.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
On Wednesday we were privileged to meet Twister Heller, his lovely wife Sandy, his son Jud and Jud's girlfriend, Andea. They have a training facility in Congress where they train cutting horses. It was fun to finally meet Twister and Sandy after having communicated with them for almost a year. They were another set of "Friends we hadn't met yet". They were gracious with their hospitality and made us feel right at home! Jud and Andrea work together starting the young horses. We met Helena and Julie who were in training at the Heller Ranch. They couldn't say enough good things about their time there. It was interesting to watch them work the horses. Their facility was top notch and I wish we could have spent some more time getting to know them. They are wonderful people and we appreciate them more than they know. Best Wishes to all our new friends at the Heller Ranch. Andi
The desert seems to be in full bloom and it is so beautiful. It seems so strange to see something so hot, dry and rugged and so incredibly beautiful at the same time.
Hope you enjoy;
THIS IS JOANN
How cool is this???? We are headed toward Skull Valley, AZ and natually thought we might be riding through part when we saw the above painted rock. We asked someone what it was about and we were told that it represented nothing. Just people in AZ find rocks that look like something and paint them accordingly. On our route....we will also get to see a football and a duck. I can't wait!!!
MEET SANDY MOORE
This is the sweet person that was so thoughtful to us. We had mentioned earlier how she rode with us and what a great job she had done training her own horse.
On Sunday, she brought us a paper, supper of hotdogs and beans, ice, 2 big containers of water, pepsi, treats for Amos and treats for the horses. She had already brought us a big container of delicious potato salad.
She is a starting her own business of restoring old photographs and a variety of other printing. Please check out her site at www.deserthuesphotography.com
. I think you will be impressed with her talents.
Thank you Joann for all you did for us.
Sandy is quite a character and by her own claims...a true desert rat. Sandy and her horse, Seabiscuit (Biscuit for short) rode with us on Tuesday. We travel at a fixed pace and I am sure we were way too slow and boring for this 60 year old hot wire and her fast paced horse. She seemed to love the rough terrain and had to ride out exploring to remain occupied.
We asked her all kinds of questions regarding the desert and she answered them all without hesitation.
We certainly enjoyed our ride with Sandy and hope to hear from her along the way.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
We are well into Arizona now and are going up in altitude. We are currently at 2,160 ft. and will eventually climb to 7,200 ft. as we ride through the mountains. The desert is changing. There is completely different kinds of plants and the rattlesnakes are definitely
out. The weather is a little cooler here, although today it was 95 degrees and felt hotter to me. We rode today with a lady named Sandy. She has lived in the desert all of her life and is very knowledgeable about the area. She rode her horse, Biscuit
, and taught us about some of the plants and things we saw in the desert.
We are making much better time now and are covering more ground. We are at day 68 of our 90 day conditioning program for the horses and we are up to almost 20 miles per day. We are riding 5 days a week. The horses are in good shape and are doing well. Jericho is doing much better in traffic now. He is turning into a jam up trail horse!
Mary had her surgery on her leg last night. She had two plates and some screws put in and her friend, Buck, says she is feeling better. We will all keep her in our prayers.
To Andy, thanks so much for commenting. I miss you and it makes me feel closer when you comment. It is hard out here, being so far away from you and the rest of the family. I love you and am very proud of you.
Well, it is going to be a busy week for us all. I guess I better get to my chores. Love to all... Andi
Monday, May 07, 2007
SO MUCH TO SAY
This is Jim.We met him at an RV park in Bouse.Jim had an assay buisness there and was out in the mountains with his partners and wasn't feeling well.They took him home and he told them to call in a helicopter to get him to the hospital.He had had bypass surgery a year before and had a blood clot in his leg.It broke loose .Not only was a stroke inevitable,but he lost his leg.He said it was an easy choice,leg or life.No choice to make really.
It seems like it's been forever since I've had the chance to blog.I've missed you all.I'd like to say thanks to all our friends from home who called during the river trip we missed.That meant so much girls.Thanks.
You'll see this picture of Edie holding her laptop.She is desperately trying to find a signal so she can do payroll.Bless her heart,she was just shy of hitting the panic button!She really has to go through a lot sometimes to do what she does.
I wrote not long ago about not seeing too many critters out here.Well...not only did I get to see something,it was right at our campsite!!And not only was it a critter,it was a ...RATTLESNAKE!!!!!!!.It had been run over but was still alive.I've been told they won't die 'til the sun goes down and that seems to be true.We went over to look at it .It was still moving but was definitely only waiting for sunset.There was no hope for it (Troye).Edie walked up to it and it raised it's head.She stepped on it's head!!!Can you believe it?She decided before we left home that she would collect rattles and she did.Cut them right off!I'm not sure if she was being stupid or brave so to keep peace,we'll call it brave.
The landscape is changing from ,flat,hot ,sandy desert to rocky,hot sandy desert.We are moving toward the mountains of Congress Az.To a ranch owned by Twister Heller.I'm excited.The days are hot and the nights have been cool.Still needing my blanket.I understand Congress is very small and I fear we may not have signal again.Still,I am told that it is beautiful there.
We are being met by two different papers in Congress.One of which is The Phoenix Repulic.They will meet us early in the a.m. and film our leaving camp and do our story.
I guess that's it for now.Love to all.Shelby and Leslie,I love and miss you more than you will ever know.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Today is Sunday and supposed to be a day of rest. We have had a hard time keeping a signal so doing my real "work" has been very difficult. Joann brought Andi and I into Wickenburg
so I can work. This is a great town for horse people and I sure wish it was on our route. They actually have signs that say "HORSES HAVE RIGHT OF WAY". Many of the store fronts are of the old western theme and there are saloons instead of bars. There are also museums and parks dedicated to horses and the old west. This is definitely a town I would want to return to and spend some time.
When we left Salome, AZ on Saturday - Mary and Joann were planning to meet us and ride horses with us. At the planned departure time, they had not arrived and we tried to call but got no answer. We figured something had come up so we went ahead. Later in the day, Joann found us and informed us that they were on their way. When Mary started to mount the horse she was riding, it bolted with her and she took a nasty fall. She had to be "air lifted" to Phoenix and ultimately requires surgery. I feel so bad for Mary and hope everybody will say a prayer for her healing.
For those following our "horse tales", you know Whiskey has been a tough nut to crack when it comes to trust. His training on a ranch must have included a lot of harsh discipline. In the very beginning, I had to get a very soft brush just to gain his trust for brushing. I have been able to gradually increase to a more rigid brush for better cleaning. This morning, Marla was in his pen and was scratching his rear. He just loves Marla because she gives him treats and scratching and never asks for anything from him. We refer to her as their Grandmama
and we are the parents. He got so into the scratching that he started swaying back and forth as if he was dancing. When she stopped, we swung toward her so quickly that he bumped her pretty hard. I cannot tell you how happy I am to see him continuing to respond to his spoiling and how much I appreciate Marla's help with winning his trust.
Our camp site Saturday and Sunday night in on gov't
land and absolutely beautiful. Our concern is the wild burro in this area. We have been warned that if there are young and they feel threatened, the stud of the group might attack - especially geldings. Ahem...both of our horses are geldings. We keep our ears open during the night and so far, no problems.
I hope we get a signal at camp soon, Marla and Andi both are anxious to blog.
Love to all;
Friday, May 04, 2007
There is no doubt that the people around here have a sense of humor. This is the sign as you are leaving Hope, AZ. We arrived in Salome and their slogan is "where she dances". Apparently the founder's wife was named Salome and when she stepped out onto the hot sand barefooted, she was dancing around.
We were without signal yesterday evening and up until pretty late today so we can finally blog again. Our thanks to Mary Sullivan for her help. She participated with the morning camp shuffle by following Marla to the next stop and taking her back for Tonto. It was a huge help ... thanks again.
Joanne met us today on her Arab named Mocha. She has raised this horse from 5 months old and trained him herself. She has done a good job and they were both fun. She is planning on doing a long ride in five years with him and we wish her all the luck possible. She seems pretty determined!!
We are staying behind T-Bar B Feed which is actually the owner's (Toni and husband) home and ranch. They have all kinds of animals from gorgeous horses, a new born miniature horse, cattle, sheep, goats, doves, rabbits....(did I miss anybody - lol). Toni has an office full of ribbons from her days of competition as a jumper. The mini's pen is right next to where she had available for us to put our horses. The mini stud, mare and new foal are all together and the stud runs back and forth as if to protect his family from the entering horses. The odd thing is that Whiskey only whinnies at other horses but he panicked at the site of this little stud. It took time to get him to calm down.
OK...feels like I am rambling cause I am tired tonight. I am looking forward to having Sunday as a day of rest.
Take care...hugs to all;
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
It seems forever since I have been able to blog. After crossing the desert and arriving at a nice town, there was so much to do. Here we are pictured with Andy and Willie...they are the owners of the stable where we were able to park the RV and rest the horses. They both are such kind and wonderful people and we will certainly miss them.
We knew crossing California was going to be the hardest part of our entire trip. Starting with the spiderweb of highways and freeways on the western part of the state to pure desolation in the Mojave. Now that it is behind us, it feels as if our trip has actually just started. We met some wonderful people in CA and their kindness will always be remembered. The first couple we stayed with (Dave and Val) continue to stay in touch and I hope always will - they are like family to us.
The horses are rested .... we are rested and will now be able to start building more miles per day. We were tired the first day due to the heat but today was just about perfect. We rode 15 miles and have already started meeting people as we go. Now that we are out of the desolation and going from town to town, the word seems to be spreading about us. There are railroad tracks with a service road that makes travel through this part of the desert so much easier. We encountered a train both days during our ride. The first day, we were deeper in the desert and able to get the horses further away as the train passed. They reacted but not too bad. When the train passed today, we were between the tracks and a fence along the road so we were pretty up close. We were able to see the engineer from where we were standing so we pulled the neck of our shirt up over our nose and pointed our fingers as if we were going to hold up the train. He laughed and pretended to shoot back at us - it was funny.
We met a girl named Joanne that is having some outpatient surgery tomorrow and hopes to heal enough to be able to ride with us as we approach Salome. I am so excited about getting into more of a "horse country" part of the ride.
We get a lot of attention about our horses. Andi, Marla and I all take care good care of these boys. It thrills me when we ride into an area and when we pull the saddles off, there are lots of comments about how "good" they look. The people familiar with what they have come through know if they were not properly cared for, it would show quickly. I guess the one thing that scares me the most is not having a constant farrier and having to depend on a local one to put shoes on them. We can maintain the normal hoof care and have recently started using a product called Miracle Oil. This oil can help with keeping moisture in the hoof in the dry areas and protect it when we get into the rainy parts. If anybody can put it to a test, I am sure we can.
I have missed being able to write but will write more soon. Hello to all and lots of love to my family and friends.
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