Adventures of a Lady Long Rider
I have breathed the scent of my horses into my lungs. My clothes now covered in shedding horse hair. I wrapped my legs around sturdy bareback, spirited horses and we rode like the fierce Nebraska wind. I am home.
I don’t think I have ever seen Liska Pearl looking better. She has a nice round belly on her. Their winter coats are shedding nicely. Spirit, well Montana Spirit is what we call “an easy keeper.” She looked magnificent. I never, not for one moment ever worried about the horses. They had safe and really luxurious accommodations here at “Graceland,” in the hands of Jeannie and Butch Grace. From the bottom of my heart I thank you both and thank you again. Jeannie and Rosie Rollin are good friends. (see earlier post) Now Jeannie & Butch I claim as…”friends.”
The Journey from Ferme de Fonluc to Lewellen, Nebraska
I take a deep sigh when I recall it from memory, however I recall the journey with a smile.
Lynx, Herbert and Isabelle linked arms around one another, all wearing smiles as I drove off – with two young Frenchmen. Simone driving and Jon Baptiste navigating we left Ferme de Fonluc behind us. Both of my “knights in shining armor,” had taken Lynx’s workshop and were headed back to Paris. My good fortune as I HAD TO HAVE HELP with my 3 – 50# bags of horse-gear. So with a knight in shining armor to my right and one to my left, riding a somewhat aging white steed, but dependable (a 95 Nissan van) we headed north. A 9 hour journey lay ahead of us. This was no hop on a freeway and go. The roads were many as we weaved our way to Paris. Lost? Many times. Chatter in French passed back and forth while I sat between them, silently thinking, “Oh my I do hope these two young men know what they are doing.” Both spoke English. We shared stories, ideas and comments about our countries. Time passed quickly as darkness descended and car lights glared in our eyes. More and more traffic, Paris! There is Paris! The Eiffel Tower, Seine River. Lost again, “No this way,” “No, that way.” Round and round the “round about” until they decided which exit to take. We arrived, well into the night stiff and tired at Jon Baptiste’s house, west of Paris. I lived in a household much like this when I was his age. A house full of youth and laughter and ideas and late nights. A house full, did I count 10? Three floors of young people each had their own rooms all coming and going, working or studying. A big pan of spaghetti boiled on the stove oozing out delicious French aromas as some dance, some did yoga, some sang, all talking at once. OH MY! I am only hopeful when I mix with the energy of healthy, mindful youth.
I went to bed, mentally preparing myself for the upcoming travel. Three short hours later Siimone, John Bapitiste and I were were walking down the street with all my belongings headed for the bus which – we ran for. Simone rode the bus with me, managing a huge pack on his back the other in his hand. We loaded on the bus and Simone said, “Ok that was the easy part.” I could never have managed without his help. Oh MY!! Bags checked in, Simone gives me my last French double cheek kiss. I find the gate, follow through the security and take a deep breath. Goodbye France, thank you. Fourteen hours and three documentaries later. (Dorothea Lange, Rachael Carson and Jane Goodall. Three women. Three brave heroines in my mind. They changed the world, gave their lives in purpose.)
I arrived in Denver, relieved.
Now, remember I had not had more than 5 hours of sleep in two days when I arrived at the Denver International Airport. I simply slowed to tortoise speed. I waited until the last person left the airplane. Walking ever so slowly I followed the baggage claim signs. My mind had ceased thinking. I walked as in a dream. I’d made it. The France ride with Lynx now a fairy-tale memory riding around in my heart.
As I came around the corner, my mind focusing on how I would proceed. The plan I had in mind ? Well, I’d purchased a Greyhound bus ticket, the bus leaving at 8:35 the next morning from downtown Denver, miles away. My clock said 6pm, I had 12 hours,. I’ll hang around the airport and rest before calling a taxi in the morning and make my way to the bus depot. I had it all worked out. I had not figured angel kindness into the plans.
I came around the corner and saw my bags on the ground near the carousal. “Umh, that’s unusual what is going on?” I could not make out the woman standing there, but when I did I nearly fainted. I felt like I’d just met an angel. I said softly, “Jeannie? “Jeannie, you are an angel.”
I had not wanted Jeannie driving the 4 hour freeway trip to the airport from Lewellen, NE. Her and Rosie had taken me to the airport when I flew out 5 weeks ago. And Jeannie and Butch Grace had so taken care of my horses while I rode in France. I could NOT possibly ask her to come get me. I’d thought it all out, I was prepared. AND THEN, and then…..there is Jeannie Grace. Somehow she had found – with the help of a friend and another friend what flight I was arriving on. I chuckled to myself as we loaded the heavy bags into the shuttle bus, “An angel of mercy from Grace land.
Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jog
The horses and I laughed and hugged one another. I slept inside/ showered!
My tent is now set up in the horse shed – I have half, the horses have the other half. Meadowlarks welcome me in the morning as does a flat treeless horizon shedding light at the brink of dawn. I know many of you must think me crazy, nuts, unstable to love my tent and life with my horses as I do. But that is how it is for me.
The land in central pan-handle of Nebraska is open, windy, treeless with big cattle ranches, wheat fields and irrigated corn and soybeans off the North Platte river. I rode through here in 2008 on a 3000 mile ride. Stayed in Lewellen!. Rode north, not far when a storm came in (a tornado like storm). Pat and Diane Thelander rescued me. They’d brought a trailer out and declared in raging wind, “You have to come in!” (An hour earlier I’d set up camp in an abandoned shed not far from their home.) They’d seen earlier riding down the road.
I now prepare for the ride back to Montpelier, Idaho, 600miles or so. Two months. Where my old 69 Ford still waits for me with a horse trailer attached to it. Then 600miles north to Trego, Montana with truck and trailer, a 5 day drive. Amazing what wheels will do.
Until I ride, yours truly Bernice Ende