Below is the most up-to-date information on my current ride. I try to post as often as possible but when traveling I’m limited with access to computers and the internet.
Happy Trails, Your Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende
Below is the most up-to-date information on my current ride. I try to post as often as possible but when traveling I’m limited with access to computers and the internet.
Happy Trails, Your Lady Long Rider, Bernice Ende
Truth or Consequences,
There are at least a dozen hot spring spas in Truth or Consequences (or, T or C), with a Healing Waters Trail, many art galleries, several exceptional eateries, a brewery, all wrapped in a folksy, funky, relaxing desert atmosphere. I like it here.
It is wild, open country.
Yesterday I met Truth or Consequences Fire Chief and the City Manager as they were leaving the Sentinel newspaper office. The fire chief’s striking shirt startled me. “Such a beautiful color,” I said spontaneously with out even thinking. Somewhere between lime green and a fluorescent green (I think they call it “safety green”). Beautiful, simply beautiful. How becoming, I thought with the assortment of badges and pins decorating the shirt. We chatted a moment but then I added to the city manager, “I must tell you that whoever is responsible for Truth or Consequence’s appearance must be applauded, your town is very clean.” (When riding into town at 3 miles an hour I notice these things – as I had last year coming up from the Mexico border.)
Deciding I needed rest and soaking instead of a grueling ride, I have come to Truth or Consequences for a
I do however ride
It is rough, luring,
My daily routine includes a half-hour soak at Indian Springs Bath Houses. Indian Springs must be one of the oldest spas in town. I chose it because the name reminds me these WERE indeed the American Indian’s hot springs.
There is evidence that Native Americans have inhabited New Mexico for over 2,500 years. Early ancestral Indians lived for centuries as hunter-gatherers throughout the Southwest. About 1,500 years ago some of these groups, commonly referred to today as the Anasazi, began practicing agriculture and established permanent settlements, which are now known as pueblos. They used these natural hot springs as we do today, perhaps in a much more healing and spiritual way.
Each night I step from my Ford, which parked out front of the spa looks like a scene from a movie. A gentleman appears at the door, his TV screen flashes brightly from inside. I say good-evening to him, he says good evening to me. He has a short gray neatly trimmed beard and a quiet voice. I hand him a five dollar bill, he says thank you very much, I say thank you very much. (We have not spoken much more than that, ever.) The wooden door to the soaking room is behind me and I turn and walk across roughly laid bricks into a cave-like space, into the earth. It smells of salt and water and earth.
Night-time temperatures freeze the water buckets while day-time temperatures warm me to the bones. “It’s a retirement community,” said the fire chief. I like it here. A small town with plenty of culture and amenities.
On another note… I realize Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday has long passed, but I read these quotes in the Sierra County Sentinel. They are from the Truth or Consequences Middle School. I found these remarks touching. Most wanted peace and a clean environment.
D.A. “ I have a dream that there will be no one living in the streets or being wrongly treated.”
J.J. “ I have a dream that every one learns to tolerate each other.”
J.G. “ I have a dream to create a substitute for plastic that is affordable and disposable to stop pollution.”
F.T. “I have a dream that there will be no more bullying at any school.”
G.G. “I have a dream to stop all the wars in the world.”
and then there were…
A.A. “I have a dream I can catch the biggest catfish ever and win a world record.”
E.R. “I have a dream our school will get better basketballs.”
Will these young thoughts grow with them as they mature into adults? I wonder.
The Desert Sun, a regional newspaper, had two interesting stories. Marjorie Lilly reports in a story titled “The Wheels of Progress,” “…A new wider Port of Entry signals increase in commercial trucks crossing into New Mexico at Columbus due south of here.”
Another story, “La Casa del Migrante” by Morgan Smith, “…Across the border, coming face to face with asylum seekers.” Being this close to the U.S./Mexico provides an entirely different view. While the topic of THE BORDER fuss and fume throughout our country, here, life goes on. One would think it was a war zone along the border after reading or listening to much of the national news.
It does seem unfair, however, to have this level of luxury (well, for this lady long rider it is luxury), comfort, and security while so many
They have no desire to leave home, family, and community. These are desperate situations they are undertaking.
A letter to the editor in the same news
Turned away from Cuba and Canada, and turned away from America under the guise of the “Quota Law of 1924.” Some found shelter in the Netherlands, France, and England, but 254 died in the Nazi gas chambers of Auschwitz. We must consider the implications of our actions.
The world is a complicated place—I realize this. I realize there is no simple, one-sided answer. Not everyone wants peace, or fairness, or has empathy and understanding. But if we could solve the problems and bring peace to these countries that are crumbling in despair, people could and would not want to leave their homes. When I rode the border last year, I met nearly a hundred border patrol. Only two said a full-scale border wall would work. What then will we have with a wall? Refugee camps building up against the border wall as we see in other middle east countries?
Like I said there is no simple answer. But lacking empathy is not the answer either.
I am greeted by cool, star-studded, dark skies when I leave the Indian Springs spa this evening. It’s quiet. The church steeple is lit, pointing sharply in contrast to the heavens. As I turn the corner and pass the silent church the sign reads, “Keep trusting God to work it all out.”
Umm, we shall see, seems like a big order.
This is a very touching article Bernice wrote for the Central States Horseman online newsletter. Permission was given to re-post. I hope you love it as much as I do. Enjoy!
The Holiday Season inevitably reminds me of my beloved gray Thoroughbred, Honor. Why? you might ask. Because Honor was a lesson in devotion, perseverance, and most of all kindness. She traveled with me nearly 11,000 miles. Her limitless, nervous energy challenged me every day. “She’s going to kill me,” were daily words that rang through my head for nearly eight months before she finally settled down.
Honor’s pedigree included Native Dancer bloodline, the famous gray stallion who raced in the 1950s. He sired hundreds of horses. She was registered “Native Tail.” I changed her name to Honor when I thought, “Well, I am riding “on her,” Thus came “Honor.”
I purchased Honor from a horse trader in Washington state and prepared her for my second ride in 2006-2007, a 5000-mile ride, my hardest journey. I answered an ad in the paper and found her standing ankle deep in mud, shaking from a cold downpour of coastal rain, thin, wormy, and rain-rot down her back. “I’ll take her,” I said. Never rode her, never looked twice, never asked any questions. Wish I could have taken all the horses and knocked the guy in the head.
She had papers which recorded her as having been raced in the southwest—won nothing; purchased as a dressage horse—too hot; then became a broodmare and had two foals, but became much too fierce and protective to have in a herd. She simply did not fit anywhere and I knew if she didn’t work with me this mare would end up for slaughter.
She wanted nothing to do with me. She was literally crazy. At least by my standards, I had never worked with a horse like Honor. She had been bred for speed for cryin’ out loud. She rocked and spun circles in her stall, she was distraught and anxious.
I moved in with her at the stable and two months later after much 24/7 work with her, a diet upgrade, worming, new shoes, and as much road work as I could possibly do with her, we set out on a 5000-mile, a two-year journey.
From the northwest corner of Montana, we struggled across the great plains of Montana into the sweltering heat of North Dakota. Minnesota, where I stopped to visit family, nearly ate us alive with bugs. The ride south through Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma were simply days and weeks of “getting by.” When I finally reached New Mexico we were exhausted—all of us—Claire Dog, Honor, and myself. But something else had happened. We had bonded!
Shortly before Christmas, this scene unfolded. Honor’s behavior brought me to tears, as it will many readers who are of kindred spirits when it comes to horses. It was a common scene. Honor grazed 30 feet away while I sat in the brown grass with my arms wrapped around my knees. At my feet sat Claire on her hind-end, with her head up, stoically watching, listening, smelling. A sunny, warm, breezy afternoon passed slowly as I remembered the weather I’d avoided back in Montana this time of year. I’d reached my sister’s in Las Vegas, New Mexico a week before Christmas. This was a scheduled rest stop.
From the right, I could see the neighbor Daryl West walking down the hill towards us with his two big shepherds, Bently and Maggie. I waved and said, “Come on over and visit.” As his two dogs moved closer to Claire, I could see Honor’s attention following them. Daryl said as he approached, “Be nice you two,” speaking quietly to his dogs. Our dogs were fine together–they’d met before. But the usual shuffle of dogs at first contact ensued. This brought Honor to our side, her head dropped, her nose now inches from the ground, and with a low deep nicker, she moved quickly but carefully.
First, she nuzzled Claire, then my shoulder, before she pushed the two shepherds away. I never moved from my seated position. Daryl kept on talking as he stood a few feet to my left. Honor never laid her ears back, nor moved in a way that disturbed us. She went about all of this as if she were a careful mother tending to her young. Daryl never thought anything of it. Honor moved in such a quiet and careful way he never suspected her of doing anything. I held my breath, watching this horse offer protection—caring enough, careful enough, not to disturb anyone as I followed her every move with disbelief.
Daryl talked, I nodded. As soon as the dogs tried again to move closer Honor moved in. She circled slowly, ever so slowly, round and round, until the two big dogs had no choice but to move further away. Daryl stayed, with his two dogs, for 20 minutes or so. Honor could have left at any time. We were in a large pasture, She was not tethered—no halter or rope on her, but she stayed with us.
After Daryl and his dogs left, Honor resumed eating as if nothing had happened. We stayed there—the three of us in silent harmony, tears streaming down my cheeks. The hard struggles she had known in her past life had now led her down a road with a family. Dog, woman, and horse, united. This beautiful gray mare would make it, I thought. She would make it. We walked together back to the house through the still trees and at that moment, I loved her more than anything in the world. I’d never had a horse do something like this before–never. Honor, my beloved Honor, truly a lesson in devotion—devotion
For more photos of Honor and Claire which accompanied this article, go to the link below. It will open a tab with the Central States Horseman January newsletter. Bernice’s article is on pages 12 and 13 (click or scroll).
Great Falls Tribune article, January 21, 2019. Excerpt and link to article, below.
Kristen Inbody, Great Falls TribunePublished 7:00 a.m. MT Jan. 21, 2019
“Lady Long Rider” by Bernice Ende (Photo: COURTESY PHOTO)
A retired teacher from Trego, Ende set out in 2005 to ride from northwestern Montana to New Mexico. She kept riding, putting 29,000 miles on her saddle and seeing the country (even the book tour for “Lady Long Rider” is by horseback).
Eleven years later, she became the first person to ride ocean to ocean in both directions on the same journey, a trip she used to talk about the role suffragettes and previous lady long riders played in American history.
Her goals are to learn, to explore, to grow and to encourage female leadership.
Quotable: “Long riding is not a pleasure ride. There is much to fear and yet no place for fear.”
This blog by the Montana Gift Corral features Bernice and “Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback”.
Photo courtesy of Olivia Harlow
On a small dairy farm just outside of Rogers, Minnesota a young girl grew up riding the wind and chasing her dreams. Bernice Ende was born to a knarl-handed dairy farmer and his wife, a woman who encouraged taking life by the reigns. Bernice grew up riding horses around the 100+ acres of land, imagining what it would be like to be riding through the wild west alongside the Lone Ranger and Hop-a-Long Cassidy. After Bernice was inspired by the grace of the horses, she went to Portland to study dance. From there she learned the Royal Academy of Dance method and went on to teach ballet for twenty-five years. In 1992 she moved to Trego, Montana where she opened up a dance school. Ten years later, Bernice Ende retired.
However, retirement didn’t bring inactivity, it brought a window of opportunity. It was only after retiring Bernice felt the pull of the open road, the desire for adventure, the need to go, to see, to experience. So in 2005, after an epiphany and a battle with her desires, Bernice Ende started a 2,000-mile journey on horseback. Since then, Bernice has logged more than 30,000 miles in the saddle. Her book, Lady Long Rider is a beautiful account of her journeys, her hardships, her hopes, and fears. If you want a raw and wonderful story, her’s is one I highly recommend.
— Run Away —
I suppose I should not admit it, but I am… running away.
I remember running away when my mother, while in the hospital to have my younger brother, had been gone just a little too long for my 5-year-old heart. I was found not far down the country gravel road with my wagon and blanket.
By now my sister must be quite tired of me, where I am staying here in Edgewood, NM. I’d planned on
I am half-way through the Lady Long Rider Book Tour. Half-way! Four months ago I looked south on my map with trepidation. I am taking THAT (eyes upon my 50-year-old ’69 Ford, a truck that has scarcely been out of Montana!) on this book tour? But here we are, Bill’s Old Blue Truck having gallantly pulled my girls up and over the mountains of Montana into the green of Washington and across the plains and rolling hills of Oregon. We followed the east side of the Sierra Nevada’s south then eastward over the flatland of the Mojave Desert and finally, my loyal Ford conquered the high town of Flagstaff before dipping south through Silver City, and arriving in Albuquerque three weeks ago.
I’ve decided to forgo Texas until the documentary is
I return and begin the second half of the book tour on February 15th. Sunshine, miles of open road, the absence of cell phone and computer. The horses and tent await me. A sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all who have hosted a talk or who have responded with kind words after reading the book, Lady Long Rider. To all of those who have traveled miles to hear my words and stories. Thank you to those who have helped coordinate the presentations. And thank you, thank you, to my publisher, FarCounry Press, for the support you offer.
Sarah Wilson and Zach from FarCountry Press will be holding the reins while I am riding. I will continue sending book and DVD orders and will check in with Sarah once a week.
Until then, Happy Trails, Bernice
I have been accused of bringing Montana with me!
No one is complaining
No matter how fast or slow I travel, the days consistently pass by as we near the end of 2018. Bill’s Old Blue Truck gallantly pulls me on and on. I remember thinking way back in Oregon, “I’ll be halfway through my book tour when I reach Santa Fe.”
Lone Pine, California. I said goodbye to Claiborne Mitchell who helped facilitate the California stretch as snow-covered Sierra Nevada’s reminded me, winter is coming, winter is coming.
A strong westerly wind pushed us quickly across the Mohave Desert. I’d intended on traveling across Death Valley following the route I’d taken in 2007. But
“Triple Farms” has been a repeat stop since 2007, on the 5000-mile ride with Honor. The owner, Suzanne Evans, and her partner Jake have had their hands in a dozen different adventures. This time it’s a produce stand! Incredibly successful and how pretty with an enormous selection. I wished I’d taken more of their
Next stop – Flagstaff, Arizona. Snow greeted me as I drove into Mary Williamson’s home who kindly hosted my stay. Like I said earlier, this has become a reunion book tour. I stayed with Mary and her partner Chris Mcintosh in 2008 on my 3000-mile ride with Honor, Essie Pearl, and Claire Dog. Mary made all the arrangements for the Flagstaff talk which was standing room only, by the way.
Ran down to Prescott, Arizona for a talk, where Sharon Christopherson and Gary Hammond surprised me. I stayed with them back in 2007 and 2008!
St. Johns, Arizona. I met Kay McDevitt in 2008. She has been caretaker of the fairgrounds in St. Johns for I think she said, 27 years. From St. Johns I ran over to Holbrook for an evening talk before moving on to Silver City, New Mexico.
Silver City, New Mexico was non-stop talks thanks to Pat Wolph who made all the arrangements AND hosted my stay in her pretty casita. We may have been busy but we had a great time and good turn-outs for the talks.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Grapes Gallery hosted my talk and Grace Bryan provided one of the loveliest settings in her colorful gallery that I have spoken at.
More photos – Between Lone Pine, CA. to Truth or Consequences, NM.
A lovely article and the colors in the photo are beautiful!
Interview at the Hat Ranch Gallery, Santa Fe, December 20, 2018, by Olivia Harlow, with the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Lone Pine Rodeo Grounds
Dawn rises from behind the Inyo Mountains still dark and shaded as the Sierra Nevada’s scream, “Good morning! Good morning!” with early morning sunshine.
What a view! Hwy 395 is busy with holiday traffic. McDonald’s parking lot is full, dogs bark, ravens caw, and the day begins.
Nights are cold, good for sleeping. Days warm, and warm, and warm until I am suddenly surprised by the coolness when the ball of heat dips below the lightly dusted snow-covered Sierra Nevadas.
I do not have one single photo of my Taylorville stop. I arrived at 3 pm, November 1oth, spoke at 6 pm, and left early in the morning. It was, however, a very important stop for me because once again I had met someone in 2007 on my 5000-mile ride that simply became an overnight best friend, Georgette Bauchman, who passed away some years ago. Her daughter was there when I spoke, evoking tears from the crowd, recalling how much this woman helped me, encouraged me, and fed me hope when I so needed it.
Thank You, Bill and Denise Battagin who reached out, pulled me in. They knew Georgette (she delivered mail, everyone knew Georgette) In 2007 their children were still young, now grown, off to university. They took me this time, for a drive in a NEW Tesla. Like riding the future, simply unbelievable. The speed, the silence, the agility. Recharging for the Battagin’s is done by solar. Way cool!
They are so in your face like right there, reach out and touch them.
Spellbinder Books in Bishop pulled in a full house for the talk there. They also gave me a surprise Birthday cake complete with song and flowers!!
Thank you, Lynn, owner of Spellbinder Books for many years. It’s one of those bookstores which offers space for lingering, talking, and a cafe in the back–very nice.
Burton Robson from Portland, Michigan (I’ll be stopping there in the spring on the tour) sent a most precious birthday gift, a handmade Stampede Braid made from the hair of my old draft mare, Sarah. He got the hair I’d been saving all these years thinking I must do something with it, this year while visiting me in Montana. Oh my, the story is long. I put Sarah down (her stifle had completely given out) the same day I began long riding. Very hard. Waited until the very last minute, then rode out……. Look at Donna Murray’s work. It is delicate, precise, and for those of us that love our horses as we do, this is a priceless gift. Thank you, Burton and Donna, Thank you ever so much!
Friends I met in 2007. I was so poor back then and they all–each one of them–helped me SOOO MUCH. This time I took them out to dinner. Cheers to Kathy Forrester Bancroft, Claiborne Mitchel, and Kathy Noland. An evening meal at the Still Life Cafe. This French cafe in Independence, after this year’s tiny experience with France, sent my heart racing back over the ocean. Sweet. This touched my heart!! In 2007 Kathy Forrester knew medicinal herbs and helped me when Honor’s hoof needed attention. Kathy Noland–she just was there back in 2007 and did something because I remember her and her husband, Tom. I smile now. They really all did so much more. I can not begin to tell it here. This entire stretch was prearranged by Claiborne Mitchell. THANK YOU CLAIBORNE!! Claiborne in 2007 with her Loren Bacall British accent, had directorship of the Museum in Lone Pine. She took me under her wing, fed me, introduced me to people, and kept me going. This time around? From Mammoth Lakes to Lone Pine, Claiborne had all the arrangements taken care of–lodging, publicity, interviews, and more. You can hear her every Wednesday afternoon on KIBS, Bishop FM Radio.
Thank You, DARLING.
Good Bye California until next time! Many, many thanks.
Fond memories, old and new, ride with me once again.
From Fjord to Ford
My old 69′ Ford crept up the steep long incline like a steady chug a chug train, 30 mph. An exquisite Ahhh came oozing from my lips expressing both the gallant work my little blue truck made but also at the view presented as I crested the top.
Eastern Oregon from Pendleton to Prineville is big and windy and open. It pitches up and over giant rolling hills now brown from a dry summer. The roller-coaster road, newly paved, dark, smooth, shoulder less. “Keep to the middle if you can,” I say to myself with reservation at the drop off.
Yet, beautiful as it is, it simply does not compare to the long slow climb on horseback or most often on foot as I lead the horses up giving them a much needed break. A hill like that I thought would have taken us at least 45 min to complete on horseback. With a truck and trailer 10 min. max.
Time, lots of time that’s what equestrian travel takes and in that time the smallest details can be acquired. Smells are shoved up your nose – nearby cattle, exhaust fumes from cars and trucks, the horses sweat, road kill. I hear the steady sound of hoof beats or a red tail hawk shriek over head at the intruder down below. Maybe I am startled and jump because a rattlesnake shakes out a warning or a darting rabbit rushes by, both coming out of no where. The wind steals my hat, I tighten my stampede braid. The horses breath on my arm, my heart beats heavy in my chest and I lean a bit forward plodding one foot after another. All of this is lost in truck travel, even at the speed of 30 mph. All passes by much to quickly. So much can happen as I slowly but steadily climb to the top of yet another momentous hill on horseback.
But it’s not a huge jump from Fjord to Ford they have many similarities when I think about it. Both or legendary, tough and built for the long haul. But so much will be missed as I roll along on smooth, paved surface – however necessary if I am to make my appointed times for slide-show presentations and book-signings. So it goes.
Horse travel…20/30 miles a day, truck travel…200 miles a day.
If you take the “j” out of Fjord you get Ford. My 1969 baby blue Ford has a rebuilt engine, front end, new brakes, bearings, seals, battery, tires, there’s more I just can’t remember what all the mechanics back home did to the truck. Thank you Wayne Bozarth, his son Tim and apprentice Jamie, from Eureka Auto for bringing the truck up to traveling speed. Like a champ, running like a champ gentlemen!
My old Ford (which I refer to as “Bills Old Blue Truck,” was given to me by Bill Griffins widow. Bill and I were good friends for many years. The blue Ford spent its entire life,until now, running Bill and his old dog Whiskey, around the tiny community of Trego, Montana. Bill bought it new in 1969 in Kalispell, Montana.
A fifty year old Ford is I am learning, a head turner. Not by the young so much, but by those fifty and older. “This was when they really made trucks.” said a man helping me at the Heppner Fairgrounds. “My Dad had one just like that, same color.” Came another remark at a gas station stop. An elderly man came over with his new Ford while I parked one afternoon, leaned out his window and said “Best damn truck Ford ever made,” I suggested we trade straight across for the 2017 white super duper Ford truck he was driving.
It’s easy to romanticize, like equestrian long riding. But really, truth be told – the new trucks are quieter, faster, have more power, get better gas mileage, pollute less and are far, far easier to drive. The only thing not better is the price of a new truck. I think Bill paid something like $7000.00 for the 69′ Ford, new.
And don’t think for one minute that I would not also be driving a new truck if I had such money, but I don’t. And so, here comes “The Lady Long Rider Book Tour Mobile,” just smile and wave.
Weather is warmer here as I leave Pendleton, Oregon behind. Sunsets linger in shades of orange, pink and reds something I miss deeply at my Montana cabin where the sun sets behind mountains hiding the colors of sunrise and sunset. I feel like I’m climbing up and over the backs of giant brown dinosaurs. I forget how big this part of our country is, how “cowboy” it is.
Now two weeks into my book tour I’m beginning to realize like other long rides, that this will take more than I’d bargained for. I must pull tenacity and single-minded determination from my saddlebags. I must call to my will power, all the while reminding myself “don’t forget about the love and longing of the ride.” Remember it is not in getting there but rather all those singular steps required in making the journey.
I had once thought “Oh this is really just another long ride, a little different, true. My horses travel in a horse-trailer pulled by a 69 baby blue Ford pickup. But its not, its not at all like long riding. I am pulled in a dozen different directions at once, distracted by truck, by traffic and speed! Long riding is methodical, slow, deliberate. My hands are on horses, not machinery.
Before each of my rides I have said, “Its all a lot of talk until we actually do it.” That includes me and the truck. Happy Trails.
The Lady Long Rider’s Book Tour schedule and full story about the truck is on her website (truck story, is under current page, scroll down you’ll find it) http://www.endeofthetrail.com & http://www.farcountrypress.com