Rode in this morning via a Railroad track. Camped out last night first time we’ve been alone away from people for sometime. It rained, nice.
The mornings are no longer so early, the end of the day comes sooner. Cooked blueberries that I picked at a U-pick with wild apples, cinnamon, salt and honey, oatmeal-delicious.
Had Essie’s and Spirit’s hoofs checked by a professional Farrier. Jim Burdick from Townsville PA. came out–on short notice, really nice of him. I do my own shoeing but I feel the horses need a check over every 2/3000 miles. Jim did a real nice job and am rest assured that the horses are sound. Had this done at Robbie and Greg Kirr’s home,Torpedo, PA… a 2 nighter. good rest and route decisions made.
Look at this 1795! goodness I just can not help but feel submerged in history its everywhere, the houses are breathtaking, ornamental and reflective of wealth, class.
These were from Warren,PA. But before I got into Warren I was pulled off the road by the folks at The ROUSE HOUSE, in Youngsville, PA. who asked if I might come in for a visit, and of-course I did. Had a wonderful visit, very very nice facility.
Did not make it as far as I had planned that night and as I headed out of Warren a woman came out and asked if I needed anything, WELL! I do indeed I need a place to camp and so I met Debbie and Fred Nuhfer, Sorry that is not spelled correct but Debbie I can not read your hand writing. Smiles… I made little time the next morning as so many stopped to wish me wel,l it was a string of hand shakes and smiles as I rode out of town.
Ok Horses are waiting out side and this is all she wrote- more later. MANY, Many thanks to all of you that have helped to pass me along thru your country. Happy Trails
Three women sat on a small wooden porch minding their own business when along came a lady long rider with a big broad-rim hat. Two women were my age, Colleen who owned the house and Susan( friend and renter) were talking with Mellissa , Susan’s adult daughter. “where are you going?” “Maine,” I replied. Well that was it I landed in their back yard for the night!!
The haul from Detroit went quickly, we sailed the ocean of traffic and that make up Toledo and Cleveland . Clyde Miles hauls it often with racetrack horses, a smooth quick ride (3 hours) that would have taken me a good month (which I did not have the time for nor the desire to attempt maneuvering) The girls and I were dropped of south of Cleveland behind a convenience store in the tiny town of Burton, Ohio. I stayed put for the evening. Two young police officers stopped by later that evening after someone reported horses loose. After everything got sorted out I went back to bed under a nearly full moon. I must admit it did feel like a discombobulating leap from Michigan to Ohio just 100 miles or so but the change was apparent. The land is suddenly all so thick, dense, luscious – the maple and oak trees stand taller, the gardens are works of art as are lawns and historical homes. History fills the air. Amish buggies are EVERYWHERE! When we rode through Middleton I simply had to stop and stare, finding myself amongst other horse travelers was the oddest feeling. It’s never happened to me before! The Amish often times use Hackney ponies or Saddle-bred or Thoroughbred horses off the racetrack. Fast sleek animals and are they moving when they come down the street. The sound of steel horseshoes striking pavement and the whiz of carriage wheels on their heels driven by men with beards and straw hats, I felt as if I’d stepped out of time.
Well I have regained my composure but the sense of excitement fills my days as I maneuver thru Pennsylvania. I have wanted to ride this part of the country for years and now that I am here I realize there is so much to see and not nearly enough time on this ride to enjoy the sights. We have so little history “out west” compared to this part of the country. AND compared to other parts of the world the east coast is but a wink of time. Still it is thrilling for me to ride, as a ghost from the past, along streets that held some of our most important historical moments. For this update I am filling the empty page with photos. And hope that will satisfy those of you that follow my rides. I must add as I have NEVER had so many people stopping by to visit, curious and interested (the ride would be dull with out all of you) young and old coming by to see the odd sight of two Fjord horses packed and traveling with a lady wearing a big hat. “You came from where?” asks the astonished elderly man. “Oh my goodness, how in the world?” the young woman shakes her head. And I share the story and we visit and I hear their stories and so it goes each and everyday. I do hope in some small way that these ride are a reminder of the freedom we enjoy in this country. I do hope it is a reminder of the good people that fill our country. I also hope it inspires other women to reach beyond fears that keep them bound from attaining more from life. Maybe it will encourage someone to take on the dream which they dared not reach for.
There is not a day that goes by when I do not feel like the luckiest gal in the world. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing easy about long riding, NOTHING. It is overly romanticized, hard on me and hard on the horses, we work at it just like anyone works at a job. I practice and apply skill, load up on attentiveness and fill the gaps with caution. The risks and dangers are many every day that I ride. But it is what I do. The horses are in magnificent condition I must admit they really, really do look good and are moving well, with an eager step.
I have about 800 more miles to ride this year, not a lot, the weather now turns cooler and that is good. I have I think ridden through the hardest part of summer travel. Deer fly’s, the pesky black fly’s are not quite as bad. There is a bit more open space and the roads are a bit quieter.
I won’t go to much further into Pennsylvania before heading north to Seneca Falls, Syracuse and Fayetteville, New York to visit a few historical sites. So that is it for now, enjoy the photos.
Work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of
Perhaps that is what I do? I’d never heard the term until yesterday when a
friend of Gil and Terri Amman told us when we drove to Mt.Pleasant for a box
I needed containing horseshoes and a repeat stop at COPS AND DOUGHNUTS.
The Amman residence (northwest) of Flint will be my last stop in Michigan.
Gill hauls me over to New Hudson in the
morning where I’ll pick up a long
haul from Clyde Miles who will take me and my
girls east of Cleveland, Ohio. I
came in Tuesday afternoon when Terri found
me at the Brant corner near
the store looking lost and forlorn. She came
over rather hesitantly, “are you
the lady….?” She’d seen me on the COPS AND
DOUGHNUTS Facebook page.
Well long story short she took the lady long
rider home and it was fast friends
in a very short time.
IT HAS BEEN A DELIGHTFUL STOP….and I needed help with shoeing, boxes
and I needed to make a new pair of riding breeches, this was a perfect stop.
Funny how it always works out..faith!
So I bid ado to Michigan, to the first half of my ride, to many,many good
people and breathtaking scenery, it’s been a spectacular ride thru Michigan!!
The list of people who have helped facilitate this part of my ride is lengthy, it is
quite impossible to do these rides without the assistance of folks like Gil and
Terri, or Dee Dee Carter.
A heartfelt thank you goes out each and every day. Tomorrow in New Hudson
I’ll be meeting family members,friends and media. I then haul over to the
Pennsylvania/ Ohio border to continue this lengthy 8000 mile international
“To each and everyone whose path I cross a sincere thank you for the interest
the support the encouragement, I could not have done it with out you.”
Your lady long rider Bernice Ende
List of a few news media from the past month:
WDIO/WIRT (ABC) Duluth, MN
Morning sun Mt Pleasant, MI
WCMU Public Broadcasting Mt.Pleasant
Roscommon County Voice
Gaylord Herald Times
We are and have been for 5 days at the Mt. Pleasant Horse racing Training Center, near the fairgrounds north of town. We are having a much needed rest, I think this is the best rest stop my two girls have had since we left Montana four months ago. I must thank Alison, Bob, Mario, Dennis for making us feel so welcome.
When I rode in on Tuesday July 28th I was not sure what to expect. I’d sent word ahead but as happens no one received my message and no one knew anything about my riding to Mt. Pleasant. So when I received smiles and a welcome from Alison and her friend Joe I was indeed grateful, tired and dirty as I was from a
long week of riding. This facility is where horses are prepared, trained and conditioned for the race track and I will say that I have been very impressed with the care of these exquisite looking thoroughbreds,
(Essie and Spirit are not in the least bit intimidated by these lean, sleek, fast, fancy thoroughbreds they simply keep their heads down and EAT, they look like tanks next to rockets). Outsiders are not always welcome to places like this but this facility is family orientated and clean
and well organized and quite obviously the trainers/owners like Alison care very much for their fancy long legged beauties. I have stalls for the horses and I have
a nice spot right next to them and we have been given grain and hay and just made to feel “stay as long as you need and rest” so we have. The newspaper reporter from Mt. Pleasant caught me coming into town and that meant a front page photo which has meant many people stopping in to say hello. Its been busy that much I will say.
SO….let me update you on the ride thus far. We are at the end of the first stretch, Montana to Michigan. In five days I will haul over to the Pennsylvania/ Ohio border to begin the last stretch which should land me somewhere in northern Maine for the winter lay over. I have had a glorious ride thru Michigan and I can
not tell you what a thrill it has been to see the Great Lakes by horseback. I have learned about “Youpers” and “Trolls” and pasties and “party stores”, I have ridden long flat easy to ride Rails to Trails that any equestrian rider would love to travel. The Michigan people have been all and all out friendly and interested and
smiles and handshakes pour forth from this state. It’s been delightful, unexpected. I really did not know what to expect but I did not expect to get such a warm reception from the Michiganians.
Lovely stone houses many many of them.
Essie Pearl and Montana Spirit are in excellent condition!!. I have never ridden so many miles in so short a time. Four months we have been out and we have traveled give or take 2000 miles. BUT the conditions have been right, lots of grass, water and good roads. I have kept the packs very light and gone without so as
not to burden my two girls with luxury items like food for myself. I have never taken out a finer team and as most of you know this is also the first ride I have done with out my beloved Claire dog who I can report is enjoying her “retirement” life at Theodora’s Garden back in Fortine, Montana (near Trego) with my big
gelding, Hart. Both are doing very well and deserve the rest and retirement they now enjoy.
So it has been unlike any ride I have previously ridden. I trot a good deal then get off and walk. Every ten miles I pull the gear off the horses and cool, wash, dry brush both horses and pads. I travel easily 30 mile days, 130 miles or so a week. Spirit is now for the most part my ride horse and Essie packs. I am so proud of these two, we are, all three of us so bound together with miles and experience that when one disappears for a minute a kind of anxiety sets in. Which is why it is necessary to have stalls when leave them for interviews, talks or to pick up supplies. The horses are not only safe here at this facility but also watched over when I go into town.
A few stories…
This Gail Foguth and Beth Hamilton riding. IT is not unusual for Gail Foguth to receive a call reporting “two horses loose in the ditch” happens often, she is after all the animal control officer for Crawford County. But when Gail arrived she did not find two loose horses but rather a lady with a big hat on saddling and packing her two Fjord mares. I thought she was with the military or perhaps a police officer checking up on me. “NO, No” she said you’re OK, just had reports of horses loose. that’s all” Little did she know how much I did need her help as several roads were closed due to military maneuvers at Greyling Military Reservation which I was trying to get around and couldn’t.
WELL Gail figured a way around using trails which I would not have EVER found. And Beth led the way. I even rode a portion of the “Shore to Shore Equestrian Trail” a 220 mile trails stretching from Au Sable on Lake Huron to Empire on Lake Michigan. I had already ridden from Mackinaw City to Gaylord, 61 miles on part of the North Country Scenic Trail. Michigan has TRAILS!! goodness do they have trails.
So thanks to Gail who then came out as she even found an equestrian campsite east of Greyling, MI. for me to over night at. She then came out with food as I needed supplies. She went above and beyond the call of duty that day!
I had heard about COPS & DOUGHNUTS way back in the Upper Peninsula. Then I began seeing T-shirts with Cops and Doughnuts logo and sayings like “we frisk our fritters” and “cream puffs for handcuffs” and “cereal killer” with a etching of a doughnut dropped into a bowl of cold cereal… I had to check this place out.
I’d already learned that 9 policemen from Clare, MI. had started this cafe. I in my innocence imagined a kind of funky old place where a few policemen were hanging out and I would go in and say hello and thank them for all the work they do for us as officers of the law. WELL…. surprise surprise, this was a kicking
place, holy cow was what I said. Bubba and Greg were there, they are 2 of the 9 that began the enterprising Cops and Doughnuts. Its gone viral and it was so busy that I thought Ok, just get a c up of coffee and get out. But Bubba walked by and said, “can I help you?” I said something like, ” I, a well, I just rode my horses from Montana to see your coffee shop”…Well that was all it took… I had a grand ole time visiting with dozens of people and then stayed over at the park
even though it quite clearly states “no horses” I was a guest… In the morning I stopped to say good bye and the place was still hopping. I left with a sticky bun!
Came thru Roscommon, MI. and screamed when I heard my name called out. It was Janna the friend from Seattle on her way home from her Detroit visit. SIMPLY unbelievable that we ran into one another again, we had not planned on it.
I stopped in Rosebush to use the Library and Carolyn (in the photo) works there. Now this is another cute story… When I was making my way on those trails
that Gail and Beth had set me on I came across a road and was not at all sure I was on the right path so I flagged a car down. A nice clean newer suburban with 3 nicely dressed middle-aged women riding in it, hesitating to stop but did, as I nearly laid in front of them! not really. They were not quite sure what to make of me, I was I must admit dirty and ragged looking, I’d slept in the ditch the night before. Well anyway they got into it, trying to decide just where I was on the map and which way I should go, they even tried to use the GPS in the car. Then Carolyn who was sitting in the passenger seat stopped talking and apprehensivelysaid slowly, “you’re not that woman that rides around on a horse with her dog are you?” The three of them look at each other and were very quiet, “well yes I am”how do you know about me? I asked, ‘We call you the crazy lady” “well that is sensible” I said “we were just talking about you over the campfire last night, we talk about you all the time when we get scared or something”… We heard about you on the Today Show! Well out they came with screams and smiles and laughter and it was just one very short but lively meeting… Then I said I would be stopping in at Rosebush library to email Mt.Pleasant to let the folks at PBS Radio know that I was near as they were looking for an interview. And that elicited more screams because low and behold “Carolyn works there!!!”.
I was not at the Racetrack Training Center more than an hour and here comes Dee Dee Carter walking up. I have never met Dee Dee before but Dee Dee has been emailing me for nearly 8 years. She taught grade school in Black Canyon school in Arizona and her classes followed my rides for years. So Dee Dee was like a “trail angel” falling into my lap. I needed help with boxes and routes and the haul around Detroit and she has been running around seeing to my every need. She was like an old friend I had never met.
I leave in the morning will pick up my haul somewhere west of Ann Arbor where I shall say good bye to Michigan. It’s been a great ride.
Many, many thanks to all of you who so kindly helped in one way or another, I could not have possibly made it without your support.
Sincerely, Bernice Ende your lady long rider
THANK YOU SPONSORS
Again I must say thank you to my sponsors for their continued support.
This week I received packages from Theodora’s Garden with products I use every day. The Kool-Arnica for sore muscles also repels insects and stops the itch in a bite. Theodora’s lip balm and solid lotion I carry in my front bags to use through out the day.
Outfitters Supply sent out new Panniers, a Toklat WoolBack Pack Pad, thread, Pack saddle cinches, mink oil for saddle and hoofs and…cookies and a bag of chocolate covered nuts!! goodness.
Roger from The Blacksmith Shop is helping correct the uneven wear on Essie’s horse shoes.
The new cinch from Tangelo Customs is working great on Spirit who I ride for the most part and needed a softer cinch.
I slipped into a new pair of Ariat boots, the Roper line which I have been wearing for years.
Tuckers Saddle the Black Mountain is now equipped with tapaderos (stirrup covers) and I can’t help but wonder WHY I have not used them before. My feet stay dry! and protected from the packs that rub up against my leg. I’ve been using the Black Mountain Saddle since 2011, could not be happier with it. I feel like it turns into a piece of art work after time and travel shapes and shades the saddle. I have often thought how I looked when I first began long riding, like a hobo, it has made a world of difference to have the best of best equipment, nutrient supplements, a vet to call with questions, skin care products(a girls got to look good) all adds up to one thing, THANK YOU.
Greetings from Cheboygon, Michigan Fairgrounds. My apologies for this long over due update.
Yesterday the two horses Essie, Spirit and my self were hauled across the five mile long Mackinaw bridge with lake Huron to our left and lake Michigan to our right. The truck, driven by Jerry Eden a project manager on a large power line under construction in Moran, MI. – escorted no less by bridge authorities with a flashing light leading us safely across the busy bridge while work crews narrowed the traffic into two lanes as we slowly proceeded over bridge to the Mackinaw City Welcoming Center parking lot. Where I set out on the North Country Trail (a beautiful Trails to Rails running the entire 15 miles to Cheboygon…(and yes I did indeed pick up all of the horses droppings).
Casting my eyes upon these great lakes after traveling so many arduous miles was thrilling and moving – I simply wanted to cry. I wish the horses could know what I feel I wish they could know how much I appreciate the work they do for me and the comradeship I feel for them. “We made it girls, we made it,” I exclaimed to them as they pawed and splashed playfully in Lake Huron. “We’ve made it this far!” They are truly the champions of this ride. And I could not be more proud of these two horses. Spirit has now stepped up as lead horse. With courage, eagerness and determination she leads us every where. I hope Swede Granstrom reads this. Spirit comes from his line of horses that he raises in Montana… now here she is riding along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron-through thick dangerous traffic and down long narrow back roads she leads us on. Essie remains my “right hand girl” as a seasoned long riding horse she keeps us calm,”whats the hurry” attitude. They are both fit and wearing another set of new horseshoes from the Blacksmith Shop.(see sponsorship page)
FROM IRON RIVER WISCONSIN TO IRON RIVER MICHIGAN;
We continued on the Tri-County Corridor Trail(another Rails to Trails) thanks to an invite from Kiersten Gritezen I over nighted at the Equestrian CO-OP, very nice facility with a unique twist to horse care and management.
Bob and Kerry Klein hosted my next night near Marengo, WI. Kerry went beyond the call of duty to find me a good route over some remote eastern Wisconsin country, I had a beautiful ride thanks to her and Bob. Thru Mellen, Boulder Jct we traveled alone until channel 10 and ? Came out to do interviews. In Star Lake, MI where Jim Peters saw us riding by his house and came out to ask if I needed a place to came, “I sure did” and I slept in a pretty little cabin he had off the lake not far from his house, the horses tied outside under trees, very nice. In Phelps, WI. Renee, Colin and Terefech Snook offered a spot on their beautiful lawn, had supper and breakfast with them before setting off again. Over July 4th weekend I stayed put in Nicolette State Forest. Thunderstorms, lightening bugs, campfire and more mosquitoes than one can manage. Michigan not far…
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the world, the “wolverine state” the American robin its state bird. It is gorgeous country!
THE UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN
They are called “yoopers” or “Upers” they have an island mentality, with a healthy amount of free spirited independence and ruggedness about the people occupying the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are “up there” and refer to those on the lower half of Michigan as “from down below”. “Trolls, below the bridge.” Michigan is so spectacular, I have over looked this state my entire life! THE WATER water, water, water….the waterfronts like an ocean vista (with out the sea salt smell), boats and seagulls and a lively summer/festive atmosphere at this time of year.
The Upper Peninsula was densely forested with a good deal of wet land. Mosquito’s were horrendous some nights but we’ve been lucky, cold nights, rainy days and lots of wind, sounds awful but it kept the bugs from devouring us. (I continue to use the bed sheet/fly-mask/spray with good success the horses are for the most part comfortable at night and able to lie quietly) – I would love to return to the Upper Peninsula and travel a leisurely course, there were so many places to see, good roads doted by small communities and ample camping sites, very nice long riding country….First I must complete this ride!!
The mornings welcomed me with heavy wet dew. We rode past park like lawns, manicured and groomed – shade trees that call out to me “stop, oh why not stop here?”
The “Swan Man” driving past in his SWAN TRUCK stops and gives me a frozen smoothie, “heard about you yesterday, think its awesome.” Enjoyed tasty “pasties” a pastry filled with meat and potatoes found in this part of Michigan.
Wild apples change from green to red. Choke cherries and wild raspberries are ripening. My friend from Seattle Janna Pekaar has come out once again to meet meet up with me. She is the only one who has come out to visit on every ride. Her and her dog Taffy serenaded me with the accordion, while supper cooked and wine slowly disappeared.
So now I look at the next stretch reaching across the lower Peninsula of Michigan. This state is rich with trails and water and many outdoor activities to enjoy. Not at all what I had expected!. But the trails are really something else and most are multi- use. All that I have accessed have been beautifully maintained, such a treat. Thank you Michigan, it takes a great deal of coordination to implement a trail system like they have.
It will take another 10 days or so to reach my hauling point some where north of the Detroit complex. I won’t go much further than Lansing before looking for a hauler I can hire that can deliver me and my girls to the Ohio/Pennsylvania border. Please if someone knows of a hauler send a shout via email, would greatly appreciate it.
I am a bit behind but not by many days, made good time crossing the Upper Peninsula and the trails help enormously. Please I must add here that if there are other equestrian travelers using these trails (not the ATV trails but those for bikes and walkers) PICK UP AFTER YOUR HORSES. It makes for far better relations for every one using the trails, I would not leave dog poop piles on a side walk, can’t imagine doing it for theses lovely trails running in and out of towns. I carry a “pooper scooper,” handy- toss the droppings off to the side in the bushes.
The weather will now be HOT which means I must continue my up at 3am to pack and ready for a 5am departure time. I can not be riding the horses in the heat of these days. But sometimes I will pick up few more miles in the evening, just depends. The horses are allowed to graze as I ride and they are good at it let me tell you. I stop and swim them in cool lakes or just stand their legs in the water when ever I have the chance. I carry Source Micro-nutrients and salt. I grain them occasionally but they are for the most part nipping tall-stem grass heads all day and need very little extra grain. Apples and carrots yes.
We have come a long ways, still have a long ways to go this year. TO all of you who have so kindly offered help in one way or another either a meal, a night over or have purchased a DVD, to all of you, please know I could not possibly do these rides with out your help and support AND I KNOW IT…. smiles and appreciation.
Rode into Iron River Monday afternoon. Stopped at the post office and there I met Gina Giuliani – postal worker who had my 3 boxes waiting for me…and smiles and hugs and greetings and oh my I how appreciated her welcome. I have been at her place with her husband Mike Dye and her daughter Keilyn. A short in and out stop. Now we head across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Happy Trails