Truth or Consequences, New Mexico – February 1st, 2019

Truth or Consequences, how ever did you get this name? ….from Wikipedia, “Originally named Hot Springs, the city changed its name to Truth or Consequences, the title of a popular NBC Radio program of the 1950’s. Ralph Edwards, the host of the radio quiz show announced that he would air the program on its 10th anniversary from the first town that renamed itself after the show; Hot Springs won the honor, officially changing its name on March 31, 1950 (the program broadcast from there the following evening, April 1.) Edwards visited the town during the first weekend of May for the next 50 years.

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 much needed break. Refuel with energy to finish this book tour I began in October of last year. (I pick back up February 19 in Roswell, NM.)

I do however ride everyday—the girls are fit and receiving much attention from yours truly.

It is rough, luring, rocky country with mesquite and creosote bush, and prickly pear cactus. Everything pricks and pokes at us. I follow sandy arroyos and climb jagged ravines only to be stunned by the vista. It’s all browns and tans, no color what so ever. The Rio Grande River runs through the east half of town and provides habitat for wildlife—mostly birds this adds birdsong color to the barren surroundings.

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. The space is small and nearly dark. The pool is small, about the size of a small hot tub. It is lined in stone and masonry. I melt, I float. Mostly, I do not think.

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.

Liska Pearl and I having lunch.

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 struggle with enormous uncertainty. From what I read, these people are not coming here from Honduras and other Central American countries because they just damn well want to. They either leave or die. The countries from which they flee are cesspools of corruption, violent, and economically unstable to say the least.

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 newspaper, reminds us of the M.S. St. Louis, an ocean liner carrying 900 Jewish refugees to America in 1939, fleeing an impending war in Europe. They were turned away.

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.


A Lesson in Devotion

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!
— Sarah

Honor, Claire, & Bernice.

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. How ever did we do it? I ask my self. Claire Dog offered her enormous companionship, she would follow Claire anywhere. Needless to say, this helped.

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 given, and devotion returning to me and Claire.

—————————————

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).

http://centralstateshorseman.com/wp-content/uploads/January-2019.pdf

7 Montana Books to Start Your Year Right

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

Here's seven Montana books to start your year right.

1. “Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback” by Bernice Ende 

"Lady Long Rider" by Bernice Ende

“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.” 

https://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/2019/01/21/7-montana-books-start-your-year-right-gwen-florio-rob-oneill-bin-laden-lady-long-rider/2303752002/

5 Interesting Montana Writers

This blog by the Montana Gift Corral features Bernice and “Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback”. Exerpt below.

5 Interesting Montana Writers

Bernice Ende

Montana Novelist Bernice Ende, author of Lady Long Rider on 5 Wonderful Montana Writer's at the Montana Gift Corral

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. 

Quote by Montana Novelist Bernice Ende, author of Lady Long Rider on 5 Best Montana Writer's at the Montana Gift Corral


https://www.giftcorral.com/blogs/montana-gift-corral-blog/5-interesting-montana-writers

Edgewood, NM. January 14th, 2019

—  Run Away  —

Honor and Essie Pearl near Sedona, AZ, heading east. 2008, 3000-mile ride.

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 staying three days. Three weeks later I am preparing to leave, snow being the reason. But, three weeks well spent with my older sister and her friends–more talks and much rest.

Honor and Claire Dog. 2006-2007, 5000-mile ride.
An oasis! 2006.

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.

Pecos Wilderness. 2008.
My faithful companion Claire Dog. Her first year riding, 2008.
A tar-paper shack will a million-dollar view. Caught in snowstorm after snowstorm.
PieTown, NM. 2007.

I’ve decided to forgo Texas until the documentary is completed, when there’ll be more time for the big state. We have been doing much additional filming while I’ve been here. I also look at a serious need for a break and time to ride. Thus comes, a “Run Away”.

Cowboys, end of day. Ranch north of Magdalene, NM. 2007.

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.

Long straight roads across New Mexico. 2006.

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

Edgewood, New Mexico, January 5th, 2019

That is my sister, Mary Ann, working the snow blower without much luck.

I have been accused of bringing Montana with me!

No one is complaining however. The moisture is much needed. But this much at one drop, with single-digits weather is more like Montana.

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.” Well here we are!

Re-cap:

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 weather, time, and the fact I was pulling a horse trailer (plus nearly everyone said, don’t go across Death Valley with a trailer) had me reconsider.

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 produce with me when I left after a two-day stop over.

Her daughter, Brittany Pennington, is a partner in this adventure.

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.

Mary & Chris in Flagstaff, AZ.

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!

With Gary & Sharon in Prescott, AZ.

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.

Kay still moving from here to there with her dog and golf cart!

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.

This young gal, her name was Jessie. She so reminded me of myself at her age. She took my tires off and replaced the valve stems. Not many gals could do this.
Abandoned gas station.

Lone Pine, California – November 26th, 2018

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.

California Recap

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.

Taylorville in 2007. New owners have made it into a store that makes the likes of me drool with indecision…. what to buy? The selection is unbelievable.
Georgette sending me and my beloveds Honor and Claire Dog off in 2007.

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!

AND THEN…there is a 69′ Ford still running around using a Benchmark Map, one of my valued sponsors, leading the way.
Bridgeport, CA. I stayed at the very same place I did when I rode through in 2007. Dipped down to 3 degrees (colder in 2007). Friends of the Library kindly insisted I stay one night at a guest house. The Simensen’s own the Historic Cottage! it’s on Airbnb under Bridgeport, CA. (Horses were right out the window.) I extended it for another night, LOVELY. Big turnout at the library! Thank you, Abbey! (Bridgeport Librarian).
Curator, Samantha Szesciorka, invited me to speak at the Wilbur D. May Museum. Samantha did a long ride (influenced by yours truly, smiles) around Nevada a few years ago. One of only a few long riders I have ever met. Had a big turn out and such a lovely stop in Reno. Thank you Samantha! the photo below is called, “3 women”

Further south…. Next stop, Millpond Equestrian Center.

Millpond Equestrian Center, near Bishop, CA, for two nights. Well run, clean, and one of the biggest places I have stayed at. The best part was all the children and the youth programs running throughout the year. The owner, Hilke Ungersma–how many years Hilke? 25 plus–you have done well!! Thank-you Hilke!
The magnificent Sierra Nevadas.

They are so in your face like right there, reach out and touch them.

Over-nighted at 8 Mile Ranch where third-generation packers Jennifer and Lee Roeser own and run the 8 Mile Ranch & McGee Creek Pack Station. Legendary Packers! They knew Bill Workman (who is also a legendary packer–there are not many of them) from my area in Montana. Saddlemaker Lee made ALL, I mean ALL of the saddles and packs they use on the mule strings. I did not have an opportunity to see the line of handcrafted equipment, but oh my, I wish I had. Thank you, Lee and Jennifer! (and Trevor and Lilly).
Bills Old Blue Truck is on the adventure of a lifetime!!
Source Micro-nutrients arrived this week. My horses nearly open the box for me. I add this seaweed supplement to loose bits of alfalfa with molasses, vinegar, oil, water and apples or carrots. Slop they love! A nutritious Colic prevention!

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!!

Spellbinder Books
124 S Main St (56.50 mi)
Bishop, California 93514
facebook.com/spellbinderbook/

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!

Donna Murray -3440 23rd Ave. S -Lethbridge, AB Canada TlK KA 403-329-8660
Cheers

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.

Honor and Claire Dog in front of the Museum of Western Film History – March 2007.
“Spirit Look! What’s that horse eating? Follow me, let’s check it out.” says fearless leader Little Liska Pearl. November 26th, 2018 – Proceeding in earnest toward the plastic horse.
Shawn Lum director of Lone Pine Western Film Museum with my two fidgety Fjords who would not stand still because there was another horse over there eating something!

Good Bye California until next time! Many, many thanks.
Fond memories, old and new, ride with me once again.

Bridgeport, California – November 13th 2018

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!

Never without my Benchmark Maps giving me a clear route.

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.

Steve & Audrey Ullakko long time friends from Naselle came to visit in Pendleton. Steve is a Ford Man and likes the sound of the old truck.

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.

Our stop in Pendleton, Oregon included a visit with Rebecca Adams. Rebecca donated Liska Pearl to my rides last year and approved of Liska’s new life.

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.

Hat, blue sweater, wrist socks and feet socks by Jeanne Grace,. White tin cup by Rosie Rollin. thank you ladies.

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

Grandview, Washington – October 30th, 2018

Bob Fay opened the gates for me at the Grandview Fair & Rodeo Grounds yesterday. 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 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.

Margret at lunch gifting me a beautiful and rather delicate deer skin pouch that belonged to her mother.

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 primate land the tribes National Forest land that I’d been granted permission to cross saving me from many miles of dangerous road travel. The 5000 mile – 22 month ride as I reflect remains the most arduous travel of all my rides. To say “harrowing,” is an understatement. Ignorance let 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 and corn and 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 then 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. 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 Airat Roper boots. I can’t remember if I had on tennis shoes or what but I do remember I had no money those years and what ever I could find at a thrift store had to work. (The next year I told Ariat my boot story which let to Ariat sponsoring me for years, they have since sold out to another corporation and no longer sponsor a lowly lady long rider)

Marget and I and Honor saying good bye. Wearing the new shirt that her and Charles bought for me with the new boots in 2007. It was a long hot ride across E. Washington that year.

What I will remember the most. What I took away from that stop in 2007 will be – “family and the love, support and importance it is 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. Where I thanked them 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 back yard where my beloved Honor and Claire rested, ate and were bestowed treats and care through out our stay. Elizabeth brought out a mattress and canopy for me to sleep on 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 second versions of the DOGIE BOX.

The dogie box you see here is one that Elizabeth, Sally and Margret and I pieced together. This arrangement lasted until Texas where another box was rebuilt still using the Indian black and white material the Gwinn’s 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 tribal land.

Sandy and of course Montana Spirit had to get in the photo with Margret, “until we meet again”

I move on. Washington and Idaho commitments are filled. Next stop Oregon. Pendleton is next where I not only do a talk at the Public Library, November 1st 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.

With Benchmark Maps at my side we make our way ever so slowly thur the countryside.

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. It’s a busy area.

We travel the back roads at 40 or 45 mph. The horses are not in the trailer over 2 hours.

Cashel sent out much needed waterproof blankets they wear in the trailer.

We only travel 4 hours on any given day. We exercise twice a day. Plenty of carrots,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!!

Wall ha! Smiles and appreciation to all of you that follow the rides.

Hopefully I will see more familiar faces on the book tour. It’s truly humble meeting people who helped me on my earlier rides at my talks. From young women who were once my ballet students as children to the elders like Margret. I am touched and deeply grateful to see you once again and to say, Thank You, Thank You!