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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
—– Further south…. Next stop, Millpond Equestrian Center —–
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.
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.
Discover what it’s like to travel more than 29,000 miles alone on horseback when author Bernice Ende, the “Lady Long Rider,” visits the downtown Klamath County Library at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.
Ende will share selections from her memoir, Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback, according to a news release. Since setting out at age 50, Ende has logged more than 29,000 miles in the saddle across North America – more than any other living female rider – with only her horses, Montana Spirit and Liska Pearl, to keep her company.
Travel fans and horse lovers alike will thrill to Ende’s tales of her adventures. Copies of Ende’s book will be available for purchase and signing.
Despite the fact that this is an after-hours library event, there is no pre-registration required and the event is absolutely free.
For more information, call 541-882-8894 or visit the Information & Reference desk. For more about Ende and her travels, visit her website at endeofthetrail.com.
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.
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)
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 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.
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.
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.
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!