Bob Fay opened the gates for me yesterday at the Yakima Valley Fair & Rodeo Grounds in Grandview. Bob has lived his entire life here in Grandview, knows everyone, feels deeply connected to the community, and it shows. He’s the kind of community member you wish you had 100 of!!. Community members who are there when something needs to be done. He is no youngster. This homemade wooden sign hangs on the exterior metal building next to my campsite.
Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo
Our Mission is education through:
– advancement of all participants
– promotion community spirit
– discovery of individual worth and potential
THAT is beautiful!!
I have stopped in Grandview to meet friends from the Confederated Tribes of the Yakima Nation. Margret Gwinn, an elder of the tribe, and her daughter, Sandy, were the only ones able to come–others had work commitments.
But I must tell you the story of meeting Margret and her husband Charles (now deceased) and the Gwinn family.
In 2007 I came across the Yakima Nations tribal land from the west, crossing Mount St. Helens. This is primitive forest land that I’d been granted permission to cross, saving me from many miles of dangerous road travel. As I reflect, the 5000-mile, 22-month ride remains the most arduous travel of all my rides. To say “harrowing,” is an understatement. Ignorance led me to make many mistakes. Illness, injury, and inclement weather rode with me, Honor, and Claire Dog on that journey. So when I came over the Cascades into the Yakima Valley, I looked ragged, tired and thin–we all did.
Margret and her daughter Elizabeth were driving home from a day of huckleberry picking when the passed me. They stopped, greeted me warmly, offered water to the lowly looking travelers, and left. BUT they returned with food!–corn, meat, and lots of food. They helped me find a suitable campsite off the road and brought buckets of water for Claire and Honor. Trail Angels! Trail Angels who the next day invited me into their family home where I camped for nearly a week–filling up on home, family, tribal love, and kindness. This was one of those stops I shall never forget.
I must also share with you this story. Margret and Charles purchased for me a new pair of Ariat Roper boots. I can’t remember if I had on tennis shoes or what, but I do remember I had no money during those years and whatever I could find at a thrift store had to work. The next year I told Ariat my boot story which led to Ariat sponsoring me for years (they have since sold out to another corporation and no longer sponsor a lowly lady long rider).
What I will remember the most–what I took away from that stop in 2007, will be, “the importance of family, love, and support, to the Tribal Indian.” Food and a revolving door–people coming and going, issues of the day discussed, card games at night. I sank myself in, recalling my Mother who also called us “Her Tribe.”
Margret introduced me to the Tribal Council, who I thanked for allowing me to cross their land. We toured the countryside and had lunch with other family members in Toppenish, but mostly we spent our time in the large backyard where my beloved Honor and Claire rested, ate, and were bestowed treats and care throughout our stay. Elizabeth brought out a mattress and canopy for my sleeping place, when I insisted on sleeping next to Honor.
We have stayed in touch thanks to Facebook and in 2009 I returned once again on the 6000-mile ride with two horses and a dog that now rode.
The doggie box you see here is one that Elizabeth, Sally, Margret, and I pieced together. This arrangement lasted until Texas where another box was rebuilt still using the Indian black and white material the Gwinns first added.
This rendezvous with Margret meant a great deal to me. As I told Margret, 1000’s of people pass me, but only a hand-ful stop–the “Curious and Interested” as I refer to them. These became Trail Angels. Many thanks to the Gwinn family and to the Confederated Tribes of the Yakima Nation for allowing me to cross their tribal land.
I move on. Washington and Idaho commitments are completed. The next stops will be in Oregon. Pendleton is first up, where I not only do a talk at the Pendleton Public Library November 1 at 6:30, but I will also meet up with Rebecca Adams who donated Little Liska Pearl to my rides after I tragically lost Essie Pearl. I simply cannot wait for her to see Liska Pearl and the remarkable change that has come to this little pony (although she is not so little anymore). She is naughty, mischievous, quick to learn, and I love her to pieces. She and Montana Spirit have a big sister/little sister relationship and are of course inseparable which is just fine with me because if I have one horse, I have two.
My 1969 Ford pulled us gallantly into Grandview, Washington, home to Smucker, Welch and other fruit packing plants. Yakima Valley College is located here. An enormous irrigation system pulls water from the Columbia and makes possible tens of thousands of acres producing fruit–apples, pears, grapes, and more. It’s a busy area.
We travel the back roads at 40 to 45 mph. The horses are in the trailer two hours or less.
We only travel four hours on any given day. We exercise twice a day. Plenty of carrots and apples, and still much grazing can be done which keeps the girls in good spirits.
And now, here it is the envy of all those who pass by with your luxurious living-quarter horse trailers….
The Lady Long Rider Living Quarters Horse Trailer!!
Voila! Smiles and appreciation to all of you that follow the rides.