Les Eyzies, France March 29th, 2018

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Yesterday Herbert Backhaus, his brother Raymond and his niece Anna and I traveled to Lascaux, France to visit the most celebrated cave in the world. To have left without seeing this amazing display of 30,000 year old artistic accomplishment would be like going to Rome and not visiting the Sistine Chapel. One is left breathless, I have no words to describe the display. On the way home Herbert took us also to see the Prezwalski horses near by at a park that features the ancient breeds drawn on the caves. LOOK at my girls Essie Pearl and Spirit they are the closest living breed to the Prezwalski horse. I AM TIME TRAVELING.

Photos, 1 and 2 …paintings from the caves, #3 The Preswalski horse, #4 my girls and #5 is the horse we saw yesterday.

the Przewalski horse.
the Przewalski horse.
Horse we saw near Lascaux.
Horse we saw near Lascaux.
AND LOOK my girls Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit.
AND LOOK my girls Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit.

Lynx and I rode past Josephine Baker’s Chateau.

I have known about this woman for years, having studied about her in dance history. But to have come across this, I could hardly believe my eyes.

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Who Was Josephine Baker?

Josephine Baker was a dancer and singer who became wildly popular in France during the 1920s. She also devoted much of her life to fighting racism.

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Born Freda Josephine McDonald on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker spent her youth in poverty before learning to dance and finding success on Broadway. In the 1920s she moved to France and soon became one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. She worked for the French Resistance during World War II, and during the 1950s and ’60s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States.

Josephine Baker did more than just shake a tail feather, she also fought for racial equality by demanding that her contract contain a nondiscrimination clause and that her audiences become integrated.

In 1925 at the peak of France’s obsession with American jazz and all things exotic, Baker traveled to Paris to perform in La Revue Nègre at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. She made an immediate impression on French audiences when, with dance partner Joe Alex, she performed the Danse Sauvage, in which she wore only a feather skirt.

The money she earned from her performances soon allowed her to purchase an estate in Castellated-Fayrac, in the southwest of France. She named the estate Les Milandes, and soon paid to move her family there from St. Louis.

During World War II Baker worked for the Red Cross during the occupation of France. As a member of the Free French forces she also entertained troops in both Africa and the Middle East. Perhaps most importantly, however, Baker did work for the French Resistance, at times smuggling messages hidden in her sheet music and even in her underwear. For these efforts, at the war’s end, Baker was awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour with the rosette of the Resistance, two of France’s highest military honors.

Josephine Baker’s Children

Following the war, Baker spent most of her time at Les Milandes with her family. In 1947, she married French orchestra leader Jo Bouillon, and beginning in 1950 began to adopt babies from around the world. She adopted 12 children in all, creating what she referred to as her “rainbow tribe” and her “experiment in brotherhood.” She often invited people to the estate to see these children, to demonstrate that people of different races could in fact live together harmoniously.

Return to the U.S., Civil Rights Advocate

During the 1950s, Baker frequently returned to the United States to lend her support to the Civil Rights Movement, participating in demonstrations and boycotting segregated clubs and concert venues. In 1963, Baker participated, alongside Martin Luther King Jr., in the March on Washington, and was among the many notable speakers that day. In honor of her efforts, the NAACP eventually named May 20th “Josephine Baker Day.”
After decades of rejection by her countrymen and a lifetime spent dealing with racism, in 1973 Baker performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and was greeted with a standing ovation. She was so moved by her reception that she wept openly before her audience. The show was a huge success and marked Baker’s comeback to the stage..

Death

In April 1975, Josephine Baker performed at the Bobino Theater in Paris, in the first of a series of performances celebrating the 50th anniversary of her Paris debut. Numerous celebrities were in attendance, including Sophia Loren and Princess Grace of Monaco, who had been a dear friend to Baker for years. Just days later, on April 12, 1975, Baker died in her sleep of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 68.
On the day of her funeral, more than 20,000 people lined the streets of Paris to witness the procession, and the French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Baker the first American woman in history to be buried in France with military honors.

Les Eyzies, France – March 24th, 2018

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Bonjour.

Herbert Backhaus owner of Ferme de Fonluc, told me that he has never seen it so wet nor cold in his 35 years of farming in the Les Eyzies area. “Where is the sun,” Herbert said in his heavy German accent. His hands held up, his head turned to the sky. And indeed it has been a cold wet windy ride, not every day but even Lynx as tough as she is had enough one day.

The photos speak for themselves.

If it weren’t for the constant feast laid before my eyes each day I might have regretted coming. It is the history that is so evoking. I swear I can hear humanity calling from behind medieval shuttered windows. I can hear the sound 1000’s of hoofs that resonated on the very same cobblestone streets we are meandering along. I imagine following a wood cart filled with hay with perhaps a peasant child riding along, barefoot, in rags, pulled by a small pony led by her father on the way to market. And Lynx and I riding, riding striking, colorful horses. We would only be regarded as nobility on such steeds. Ladies.

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The fortress town of Domee, France
The fortress town of Domee, France
We have nothing to compare to the Equestrian trail system here in France it is so lovely, clean, well marked and accommodations along the routes.
We have nothing to compare to the Equestrian trail system here in France it is so lovely, clean, well marked and accommodations along the routes.
Fortunately, Lynx spoke some French, Asking for directions.
Fortunately, Lynx spoke some French, Asking for directions.
We rode with Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply, Trail Max packs a perfect team.
We ride with the best..Tucker Saddles and Outfitters Supply, Trail Max saddle-packs, a perfect team.
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Tucker Saddle taking in the view.
Tucker Saddle taking in the view.
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We stopped one day for lunch. While Lynx went for food I waited against the cold. When she came back she said I looked like a beggar. And so I did.
We stopped one day for lunch. While Lynx went for food I waited against the cold. When she came back she said I looked like a beggar. And so I did.
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I have found in the French Countryside the following,

Church bells ring three times a day, there is NO TRASH, and no big 4wheeler pickup trucks.

Until later, many, many thanks to all those who have made this ride possible, Merci!

Ferme de Fonluc – Les Eyzies, France March 12th

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Bonjour.

Lynx and I are off in the morning. The horses gear: Outfitters Supply: Trail Max saddle bags, packer pads buckets, hobbles, picket lines. Tucker Saddles: The Black Mountain and Endurance Trail saddles. Skito Saddle Pads, Cashel fly masks, Sunbody hat. Tangeleo Cinchs and Source Mirco Nurtrients.

Merci beaucoup to Herbert and Isabelle for lending my a very fine horse indeed. Flora is a lovely 9 year old brown leopard Appaloosa mare, steadfast and well built. I could not have ask for a finer steed, born and bred on his farm. France has an incredible system of trails, both equestrian and hiking which will keep us off busy roads between Ferme de Fonluc in Les Eyzies de Tayac to Pech Merle where the spotted horse cave await us. Yes we are riding spotted horses to the most famous of caves – Pech Merle.

Lynx is riding her 7 year old black leopard Appaloosa mare, Karma. Karma was shipped over 4 months ago from America, this is her new home. Really quite a sight!

Pech Merle is a cave in the Lot department of the Midi-Pyrenees region in France. The cave walls are decorated with paintings and engravings, from the Gravettian culture some 25,000 BC, through the Solutrean roughly 18,000 BC, to the Magdalenian era, about 15,000 BC. The prehistoric art was discovered as recently as 1922.

Many important works of prehistoric art are on display here, and perhaps the most famous panel is that of the Spotted Horses. These large iconic paintings, adorned with hand stencils, seem to be imbued with symbolic significance; it is a busy panel. The horse on the right of the panel suggests that the natural rock topography in the shape of a head inspired the paintings. This use of natural shapes on the cave walls was a common practice in Paleolithic rock art. The daubed-on dots are not restricted to within the outline of the equine figures.

Pech Merle is some 150 miles south of here.

Ferme de Fonluc offers equestrian rides, both day and over night on a selection of fine horses. Here in France one must not only be licensed to run such a business but must pass rigorous equine tests including several levels of horsemanship, farrier, veterinary, saddlery and first aid knowledge. Herbert and Isabelle have an enchanting home (over 600 years old) and also offer overnight accommodations in a lovely, rustic guest house. I find it hard to describe it’s all so beautiful, so other worldly, like a post card or a movie. I am all oooos and ahhhhs. You can find our more about Herbert Backhaus et Isabelle Lencement’s farm at:

Ferme de Fonluc”
24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac
Dordogne, France
Tel : 05 53 35 30 06

As lynx and I have been preparing the horses we have ridden down tiny stone alleys lined often times by medieval homes. It makes everything I have seen in America seem modern, EVERYTHING. Herbert’s driveway had been used by the Romans. There are caves on Ferme de Fonluc where traces of the Paleolithic in France have been discovered. Les Eysies is enchanting, everything you would imagine French rural country to be like.

As I said Lynx and I are off in the morning and I will not have access to my computer for a couple of weeks. Until then,

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Au revior, Bernice

Grace residence – Lewellen, Nebraska – March 3rd, 2018

France Ride

March 7th to May 1st, 2018 with Lynx Vilden

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Whoa, time to say,  “Thank you”

There are so many people to thank for this France trip, so many who have contributed time, money, encouragement, but there are a few who must be acknowledged for going above and beyond…

The ride has been made possible by the following..Tucker Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply.

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Outfitters Supply painstakingly shipped my gear to France. I can not thank Lynn Foster, Manager of Outfitters Supply for getting my 3 big boxes with saddles and gear safely to Ferme de Fonluc, France, the boxes have arrived safely.

And with private donations from the following

Burton Robson

“ANNonymous”

Melissa Deaver-Rivera

But then there is Rosie Rollin whom I have been traveling with for the past 3 months- She deserves an honorable mention award. Rosie and I did 12 rides through out Utah, New Mexico and Arizona this winter. Rosie not only assisted in getting the boxes mailed out she assisted with assembling /finding all the necessary gear I needed for the ride in France. THEN she hauled me all way up to Nebraska  where her friends Jeannie and Butch Grace have kindly agreed to board my two mares at their lovely home in Lewellen. Rosie also has her retired Arab mare Maple here. Jeannie and Rosie have known each other for years, both were endurance riders. Butch’s family homesteaded in Nebraska and have been ranchers in Garden County for many years.

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Jeannie and Rosie. You can see the horses behind them in the 30acre pasture. Liska doesn’t know what to do with all the space. It could not be more perfect place for my two hard working mares, they are also on vacation! THANK YOU JEANNIE AND ROSIE … THANK YOU
Horses wanting their morning Source Micronutrients.
Liska Pearl and Montana Spirit with a new shipment of Source, they love this seaweed nutrient supplement. I am going to miss these two that’s for sure but they could not be in a safer place. Bon Voyage

Edgewood, New Mexico February 27th, 2018

From “On Trails” by Robert Moor

The word for path and road is the same in Cherokee: nvnoho, “the rocky place,” a place where the soil and vegetation have already been worn away.
….we generally don’t make trails unless there is something on the other end worth reaching. It’s only once an initial best guess is made, and others follow it , that a trace begins to evolve into a trail. Thus a trail grows-a hunch is strengthened to a claim, a claim splits into a dialogue, a  dialogue frays into a debate, a debate swells into a chorus, and a chorus rises, full, now, of clashes and echoes and weird new harmonies, with each new voice calling out…” This way,This way, This way.
It is impossible to fully appreciate the value of a trail until you have been forced to walk through the wilderness without one.

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My path/trail recently took me to Bear Mountain Lodge where the multifaceted art project, One Million Bones has found a home, a resting place.  I had never heard of the One Million Bones project until Pat Wolph told me about it. As a member of Back Country Horseman she helped with her horses as many members did to haul the bones from the parking area to a meadow up the Lodges Old Windmill Trail. One Million Bones primary purpose is to bring awareness to the world wide genocides which have occurred and continue to occur. One million bones were crafted from clay or paper mache by “artists” from all 50 states and 30 foreign countries. The creators were of all ages, genders and ethnicities. The website is www.onemillionbones.net

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The word I will use to describe the sight is, sobering.

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On a lighter note… Rosie and I passed through Silver City again and I spent a couple of days catching up on business at Pat Wolph’s lovely Casita. On a run to town Pat and I stopped at at Silver Shoe Repair in Silver City. I’d been looking for heel cleats for my boots and for the most part had given up hope of ever finding the horseshoe shaped cleat I’d found in New Elm, Minnesota years ago. The heel cleats keep my boot heels from wearing out, its the pavement walking that wears them so.  Like the horses who have horse shoes I use a steel cleats on my boots. I have been making them or rather a handy hand has been making them usually by cutting a stainless steel washer in half and counter sinking holes for screws.  Now shoe repair shops are few and far between. They are a thing of the past, have their own smells and ancient looking machines that fill the back rooms. I love these shops. So of course I must stop and visit and ask questions. David Wait had only been repairing shoes for 6 years. Once a carpenter, “Um I said, well that must have helped in becoming a shoe repairman.” A quiet unassuming man, much like other shoe repairman I have met. Maybe its the work that makes them like that, sort of like imagining a elf in the back room quietly tapping out shoes while we sleep. Any way in an old box high on a shelf were stainless steel heel cleats, the real kind that look just like horseshoes.

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There they are Dave’s holding real heel cleats. Pat can’t believe my enthusiasm over new heel cleats. Notice the machinery in the back ground.

Turned out Dave and Pat were neighbors but had never met until that day. Smiles

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A so my “Travels with Rosie” is coming to an end. We had our last ride at the Empire Ranch, north of Sonoita, AZ. with two of her friends from Tennessee. We have had 4 months of Southwest travel, several afternoon rides with warm sun and cold nights. We have strung out behind us a list of new people we have met that we can now call friends and many sunsets and moon rises we shall never forget. It’s been a great winter. But now I must look at my ride in France and riding with Lynx Vilden through the Dorgdone Region. The saddles and equipment have already been shipped over thanks to OutFitters Supply.  Rosie is taking me and my girls north to Nebraska where they will stay at the Butch and Jeannie Grace home for the 2 months I’ll be in France. I fly out of Denver airport on the 6th of March.

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Ok until later. Happy Trails. Bernice

Leslie Adler Residence, Madrid, New Mexico February 8th, 2018

I met Leslie and her husband Jerry(now deceased) on my first ride. We have been friends ever since. Always nice to see her again.

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Jerry and Leslie in 2006 with Honor and Claire Dog, a 5000 mile ride, just a few hours after I left their place.

Ride from Silver City to Madrid, New Mexico – Jan. 26th, 2018

Please remember I am not “Long Riding” right now. These are short little 2/3oo mile jaunts and I haul as need or want dictates. “Long Riding” is all together different than what I am doing this winter. This is vacation riding! smiles.

Pat Wolph saying goodbye to the lovely accommodation at Pat's home.
Pat Wolph’s – the girls saying goodbye to the lovely accommodation at Pat’s home.
This trail angel Bonnie Freeman found me north of Caballo State Park where I'd spent the night after Pat dropped us off. Nice horse facilities.
This trail angel Bonnie Freeman found me north of Caballo State Park where I’d spent the night after Pat dropped us off. Nice horse facilities. The park is South of Truth or Consequences on the Rio Grande River. Bonnie set me up at the Seirra County Fair grounds, found hay and then took me to supper! She had a hard time remembering things but she sure did not forget about me.
Campsites along the way.
Campsites along the way.
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water and a molassases lick, Cattle on BLM land. I could not be riding this country if they were not out here.
Water and a molasses lick. Stopping for an afternoon break. Cattle on BLM land. I could not be riding this country if they were not out here. Mona Bauman and her daughter Grace brought out hay on this stop, there sure wasn’t much for the horses, more trail angel work.
Coming into San Antonio, NM
Coming into San Antonio, NM.
Had a tip off from a local rancher that Rex Klietz might put me and my girls up for a night. Well Rex turned out to be a retired Philosophy teacher at several major university. His caregiver Robin was a pastry chef and they had a visitor who had wore the cap of meterogogist at the white Sand Military Facility. You can only imagine the conversation that evening over a glass of brandy.
Had a tip off from a local rancher that Rex Klietz might put me and my girls up for a night. Well Rex turned out to be a retired Philosophy teacher who’d taught at several major university. His caregiver Robin was a pastry chef and they had a visitor who had wore the cap of meteorologist at the White Sand Military Facility. You can only imagine the conversation that evening over a glass of brandy.
Here is a perfect example of why I use Roger Robinson's horse shoes. I ran out of Rogers horseshoes and had to put on regular shoes on LIska. These shoes from the back of Liska Pearls disintegrated before I got into Socorro. They lasted maybe 300 miles is all. A cowboy wearing a black hat but driving a white pickuptruck JUST happened to be driving out his long ranch driveway. He went to town and picked up a couple of shoes in town brought them back and I put new shoes on off the side of the road with only my leatherman and a small hammer!! Spirits shoes from Rogers THe Blacksmith Shop still have 100s of miles left on them.
Here is a perfect example of why I use Roger Robinson’s horse shoes. I ran out of Rogers horseshoes and had to put regular shoes on Liska. These shoes from Liska’s rear hoofs disintegrated before I got into Socorro. They lasted maybe 300 miles is all. A cowboy wearing a black hat but driving a white pickup truck, Dustin Armstrong, JUST happened to be driving out a long ranch driveway and saw me. He went to town and picked up a couple of shoes for me. I put new shoes on off the side of the road with only my leatherman and a small hammer!! Spirits shoes from Rogers The Blacksmith Shop still have 100s of miles left on them.
The Soccoro Fairgrounds are south of town. But I had no hay so I rode a short ways to Tractor Supply where the night manager helped get me set up with a sack of cubes and other supplies I needed.
The Socorro Fairgrounds are south of town. But I had no hay so I rode a short ways to Tractor Supply where the night manager helped me load up with a sack of hay cubes and other supplies I needed.
On my way back I stopped a car that had just driven out the Fariground gate thinking she was the caretaker. She was not but she became and instant friend and took me on a tour of the town meeting freinds and family and I had such a wonderful time in Socorro because of Connie Robnett. Really "one of those" stops. all smiles Connie all smiles.
On my way back I stopped a car that had just driven out the Fairground gate thinking the driver with a little dog hanging out the window (Cowboy) was the caretaker. She was not but she became an instant friend and took me on a tour of the town meeting friends and family and I had such a wonderful time in Socorro because of Connie Robnett. It was SO interesting, and beautiful architecture. The town seemed to be full of musicians and artists.  Really “one of those” stops. all smiles Connie all smiles. Here is Connie taking a picture of Spirit.
For a number of reasons I had limited time for a long ride to Madrid. So here she is at it again, Melissa Deaver Riviera who came quick as a snap from Albuqueere and hauled me up to Madrid in time to see a friend whom I may have missed had I not hauled. She also wears a Trail Angel hat, not just from me but with her help with her work with Childrens Hospice in the area. She's quite the gal, its been an honor getting to know her.
For a number of reasons I had limited time for the long ride to Madrid. So here she is at it again, Melissa Deaver Riviera who came quick as a snap from Albuquerque and hauled me up to Madrid in time to see a friend whom I may have missed had I not hauled. She also wears a Trail Angel hat, not just from me but with her work with Children’s Hospice in the area. She’s quite the gal and its been an honor getting to know her.

If you can’t look at nature and see yourself in it,  you are to far away.

SamIllus lopez, Tohono O’odham lore master

Happy Trails Bernice