Laramie Wyoming, The Burns Residence – May 9th, 2018

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Laramie, Wyoming

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Cheyenne newspaper 1870, women voting

Wyoming, known as the “equality state,” played an important role in the suffrage movement. On December 10th, 1869 women were given the right to vote – some 50 years before the 19th amendment passed in 1920.

Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather unsavory motives. Though some men recognized the important role women played in frontier settlement, others voted for women’s suffrage only to bolster the strength of conservative voting blocks. In Wyoming, some men were also motivated by sheer loneliness–in 1869, the territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and area men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote.

“According to a booklet published by the Laramie Plains Museum, “Laramie, Wyoming, Women Made World History,” the first Legislature for the new Wyoming Territory met in October 1869, they passed laws guaranteeing equal pay for male and female teachers and giving individual property rights to married woman.” by Eve Newman – Laramie Boomerang.

Laramie’s, Louisa Gardener Swain, a 70 year old Quaker woman became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under laws giving women full equality to men on September 6th, 1870.

Martha Symons Boies became the first woman in the world appointed as a bailiff in Laramie in March 1870. In February 1870, three women were commissioned as justices of the peace in Wyoming, although only one, Esther Morris, was known to have actually served as a judge. She tried more than forty cases in the territory. She lost none on appeal and was widely regarded as a good judge, but wasn’t nominated for re-election when her term ended.

Elisa Stewart became the first woman subpoenaed to serve on a court jury. She was also Laramie’s first school teacher. The first women jurors began their service in March or April of 1870. In T. A. Larson’s A History of Wyoming, the author writes that male jurors stopped smoking and chewing tobacco once women began to serve alongside them. Men stopped gambling and drinking during their jury breaks.

It is a state rich in history but the role Wyoming played in the women’s suffrage movement can not be under estimated. We are nearing the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote. The more I think about the women who fought with single-minded determination against odds that stagger me I think, remember, remember these historical figures, don’t forget what they did for you.

Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming a beautiful old campus. I saw an old black and white photo of the campus in its infancy. There stood the historic limestone building “Old Main,” standing naked in 1886 like a new born baby all alone. No beautiful tree’s like now, no lovely green, no nothing but a barren landscape. Now 122 years later a proud, picturesque campus exists.

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From Lewellen, Nebraska to Laramie,Wyoming

Two-hundred and thirty windy miles between Lewellen Nebraska and Laramie, Wyoming. Nine days of riding, three days held up in Pine Bluff ‘s rodeo grounds waiting out wet, stormy weather. Nebraska’s flat farm country now busy with million dollar tractors – seeding, spraying preparing the great plains soil has given way for Wyoming’s big, windy, audacious cattle country.

When I say, “No I do not travel with a support team,” I have to laugh. I had a team on this short run! Jeanie Grace, Barbara Burns, Rosie Rollin, Thelma Thompson and Deb Sullivan kept tabs on me,

What a support team I had the only one we are missing is Zelma Thompson. R to L Rosie, Barb, Jeannie and Deb
What a support team I had the only one we are missing is Zelma Thompson. R to L Rosie, Barb, Jeannie and Deb

checked up, made camping arrangements and route suggestions. Goodness ladies!!! I am now at the Hal and Barbara Burns residence north of Laramie, they are kindly hosting my stay. The Burns have been in the rodeo stock business for generations providing bucking horses and bulls for the rodeo circuit. The famous bucking bull, “Mr. T” came from Burn’s stock. Hal told me an interesting thing, He said anything western like rodeos and cowboy is a huge draw. The rodeos all across the United States are sell outs, packed audiences but… there are not enough contestants. Cowboy contestants came off ranches to compete. Ranches that work with “real cowboys” are in decline. “We just don’t have the cowboys like we once did” said Hal. Interesting,wonder what will happen?

Inclement weather and roads I planned on riding remain closed due to snow makes travel difficult. Nothing new when one is long riding. I’m inching my way back to Montana.

New set of Roger Robinson's horseshoes going on before leaving Lewellen.
New set of Roger Robinson’s horseshoes going on before leaving Lewellen.
Wind and open Space that's what this country is all about.
Wind and open Space that’s what this country is all about.
Pin BLuff "Our lady of Peace" statue
Pine BLuff, last stop in NE – “Our lady of Peace” statue.
An abandoned Quonset hut became my home for the night. So glad to have shelter from the wind.
An abandoned Quonset hut became my home for the night. So glad to have shelter from the wind.
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Tea break just west of Horse Creek, Wyoming
Tea break just west of Horse Creek, Wyoming.
A barbed wire fence held my  Sunbody hat long enough for me to retrieve it.
A barbed wire fence held my Sunbody hat long enough for me to retrieve it.
Martindale's Western Store, Family owned Joan Marindale showing off Sunbody Hats
Martindale Western Store.  Family owned, Joan Martindale showing off the Sunbody Hat I wear and her store carries.

Lewellen, Nebraska – April 24th, 2018

2008, packing Honor my beautiful grey Thoroughbred .

2008, packing Honor my beautiful grey Thoroughbred .
In 2008 I did a 3000 mile ride from Needles, California – east to Nicodemus, Kansas – north to Montana, a 7/8 month ride. My third ride and first ride with a pack horse. Claire Dog now had a horse of her own, Essie Pearl. It was not a hard ride, but riding with two horses did challenge me. I traveled as far east as the National Historic town of Nicodemus, Kansas where I visited historian Angela Bates. From there I headed north by northwest. My route taking us thru Oberlin, Kansas crossing the North Platte River at Ogallala and following the river west to Lewellen, Nebraska. Now 10 years later my route has come full circle.

Now and then:
When I rode through the tiny town of Lewellen in 2008 Cynthia and Dennis Miller had not yet established The Most Unlikely Place Cafe and Art Gallery. But they did greet me, a lone rider, looking, I am quite sure – homeless. They invited me into their private home for lunch. I spoke at the senior center which is now a bed and breakfast/motel. I camped in town and the next day rode north on dirt roads which led into the Nebraska Sand Hills. I’d not ridden far when a car passed, slowed to a stop and asked if I needed help. The driver, Sheila Litke was shocked to see a woman in the saddle. Her husband and family lived and worked at the Turner Ranch just up the road. “You’re welcome to stop if you’d like, there are storm warnings out you know, looking very serious.” I had in mind, “more miles, more miles.” But as I rode on it was obvious a serious storm was brewing. I turned around and headed back to the Turner Ranch driveway but an auto-gate stopped me. An auto-gate without a side gate for horses and cattle. About a half mile back I passed an abandoned homestead/church, not sure what the buildings were but it would have to do for shelter. Not long after I had my tent up, (in an open shed with a partial roof with wind whipping madly about) a truck and stock trailer showed up, of course I thought, “Oh no they’re coming to tell me, Hey this is private property, get out.”

2008 Thelanders left, Shelia Lis right.
2008 –  Thelanders left, Shelia Litke right. EssiePearl’s first year out, Honors first year packing.


Turned out to be local ranchers Pat and Diane Thelander. Sheila had called the Thelanders, told them she’d seen a lone woman riding down the road and now a storm approached, maybe they should go find her. And they did. I was if you can believe it, reluctant to go, “I’ll be ok,” I said. But Pat was pretty insistent, (rancher sensibility.) I spent the night inside while the horses remained dry in the Thelander barn, the storm raged on through the night. I remember it all so well, before falling asleep, worried about the horses being scared, frightened, my not being there to console them. We all survived. The morning brought sunshine, a big ranch breakfast, hay for the horses and a visit from the Litke’s. These are photos Sheila took,( a professional photographer)

Pat and Diane Thelander April 22nd 2018, dinner with the Litke's
Pat and Diane Thelander, April 22nd 2018, dinner with the Litke’s


How did I land back in Lewellen? Rosie Rollins that’s how. Jeannie Grace and Rosie are long time endurance riding friends. Rosie’s old endurance horse Maple is retired here. Jeannie offered to keep my horses when I rode in France and so here I am back in Lewellen – meeting, with smiles, faces I never thought I would see again and remembering, humbling remembering all that others had done for me. I look at these photos and see a young inexperienced long rider. I am critical of my packing. I laugh at how precariously Claire perched upon the saddle pad, her first year of riding. I only had 9000 miles under my saddle. This time I shared stories with the community of Lewellen from 14 years and 30,000 miles of equestrian travel. Who would have thought.

2008 at the Thelander Ranch, Claire riding Honor.
2008 at the Thelander Ranch, Claire riding Honor.
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On April 21st I gave a slide show presentation at “MUP” as the establishment is referred by the locals. The Most Unlikely Place Cafe filled with people curious to hear my stories. Later that day Rosie, Jeannie and I returned to the Cafe for dinner and music. The old building once a theater, a hotel, a meeting hall, still filling with “community.” Warm, friendly music from a 6 piece band, Aspen County entertained a full house. A delicious Mexican meal served up, wine glasses clinked, “cheers.” Dancers danced arm in arm.

on the north side of the "MUP"
On the north side of the “MUP”
Brought together by the magic of food and music.
Brought together by the magic of food and music.

And I thought as I looked out at these people who had come together by the eternal magic of food and music, at the beautiful sight of lights, hearing the music filling our hearts and words written, embellishing the upper walls.. humor, believe, sing, care, thrive, integrity, dazzle, harmony, abundance, light , grace, mercy, gratitude. And I thought, “This is the truth.” The truth is here among us in the stories we share in the friends and neighbors and family whose lives we care about. It matters, this coming together for leisure. It matters because it gives a sense of belonging. It matters because brought together like this refreshes our souls, restores our hearts, reminds us to smile and rejoice in community. And I had to say thank you for the Millers who created this lovely space and for the people who filled it and to all the ranchers who have reached out with kindness to help me then… and now.

 2008 riding out, Thank you
2008 riding out, Thank you

In the morning I set out on a 600 mile ride across southern Wyoming. Wind and open space await me. Happy Trails
 

 

The Grace Residence – South Central Nebraska – April 14th, 2018

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Adventures of a Lady Long Rider

I have breathed the scent of my horses into my lungs. My clothes now covered in shedding horse hair. I wrapped my legs around sturdy bareback, spirited horses and we rode like the fierce Nebraska wind. I am home.

I don’t think I have ever seen Liska Pearl looking better. She has a nice round belly on her. Their winter coats are shedding nicely. Spirit, well Montana Spirit is what we call “an easy keeper.” She looked magnificent. I never, not for one moment ever worried about the horses. They had safe and really luxurious accommodations here at “Graceland,” in the hands of Jeannie and Butch Grace. From the bottom of my heart I thank you both and thank you again. Jeannie and Rosie Rollin are good friends. (see earlier post) Now Jeannie & Butch I claim as…”friends.”

Jeannie Grace, Spirit is keeping an eye on her
Jeannie Grace, Spirit is keeping an eye on her.

The Journey from Ferme de Fonluc to Lewellen, Nebraska

I take a deep sigh when I recall it from memory, however I recall the journey with a smile.

Lynx, Herbert and Isabelle linked arms around one another, all wearing smiles as I drove off – with two young Frenchmen. Simone driving and Jon Baptiste navigating we left Ferme de Fonluc behind us. Both of my “knights in shining armor,” had taken Lynx’s workshop and were headed back to Paris. My good fortune as I HAD TO HAVE HELP with my 3 – 50# bags of horse-gear. So with a knight in shining armor to my right and one to my left, riding a somewhat aging white steed, but dependable (a 95 Nissan van) we headed north. A 9 hour journey lay ahead of us. This was no hop on a freeway and go. The roads were many as we weaved our way to Paris. Lost? Many times. Chatter in French passed back and forth while I sat between them, silently thinking, “Oh my I do hope these two young men know what they are doing.” Both spoke English. We shared stories, ideas and comments about our countries. Time passed quickly as darkness descended and car lights glared in our eyes. More and more traffic, Paris! There is Paris! The Eiffel Tower, Seine River. Lost again, “No this way,” “No, that way.” Round and round the “round about” until they decided which exit to take. We arrived, well into the night stiff and tired at Jon Baptiste’s house, west of Paris. I lived in a household much like this when I was his age. A house full of youth and laughter and ideas and late nights. A house full, did I count 10? Three floors of young people each had their own rooms all coming and going, working or studying. A big pan of spaghetti boiled on the stove oozing out delicious French aromas as some dance, some did yoga, some sang, all talking at once. OH MY! I am only hopeful when I mix with the energy of healthy, mindful youth.

I went to bed, mentally preparing myself for the upcoming travel. Three short hours later Siimone, John Bapitiste and I were were walking down the street with all my belongings headed for the bus which – we ran for. Simone rode the bus with me, managing a huge pack on his back the other in his hand. We loaded on the bus and Simone said, “Ok that was the easy part.” I could never have managed without his help. Oh MY!! Bags checked in, Simone gives me my last French double cheek kiss. I find the gate, follow through the security and take a deep breath. Goodbye France, thank you. Fourteen hours and three documentaries later. (Dorothea Lange, Rachael Carson and Jane Goodall. Three women. Three brave heroines in my mind. They changed the world, gave their lives in purpose.)

I arrived in Denver, relieved.

Now, remember I had not had more than 5 hours of sleep in two days when I arrived at the Denver International Airport. I simply slowed to tortoise speed. I waited until the last person left the airplane. Walking ever so slowly I followed the baggage claim signs. My mind had ceased thinking. I walked as in a dream. I’d made it. The France ride with Lynx now a fairy-tale memory riding around in my heart.

As I came around the corner, my mind focusing on how I would proceed. The plan I had in mind ? Well, I’d purchased a Greyhound bus ticket, the bus leaving at 8:35 the next morning from downtown Denver, miles away. My clock said 6pm, I had 12 hours,. I’ll hang around the airport and rest before calling a taxi in the morning and make my way to the bus depot. I had it all worked out. I had not figured angel kindness into the plans.

I came around the corner and saw my bags on the ground near the carousal. “Umh, that’s unusual what is going on?” I could not make out the woman standing there, but when I did I nearly fainted. I felt like I’d just met an angel. I said softly, “Jeannie? “Jeannie, you are an angel.”

I had not wanted Jeannie driving the 4 hour freeway trip to the airport from Lewellen, NE. Her and Rosie had taken me to the airport when I flew out 5 weeks ago. And Jeannie and Butch Grace had so taken care of my horses while I rode in France. I could NOT possibly ask her to come get me. I’d thought it all out, I was prepared. AND THEN, and then…..there is Jeannie Grace. Somehow she had found – with the help of a friend and another friend what flight I was arriving on. I chuckled to myself as we loaded the heavy bags into the shuttle bus, “An angel of mercy from Grace land.

Home Again, Home Again Jiggity Jog

The horses and I laughed and hugged one another. I slept inside/ showered!

My tent is now set up in the horse shed – I have half, the horses have the other half. Meadowlarks welcome me in the morning as does a flat treeless horizon shedding light at the brink of dawn. I know many of you must think me crazy, nuts, unstable to love my tent and life with my horses as I do. But that is how it is for me.

The land in central pan-handle of Nebraska is open, windy, treeless with big cattle ranches, wheat fields and irrigated corn and soybeans off the North Platte river. I rode through here in 2008 on a 3000 mile ride. Stayed in Lewellen!. Rode north, not far when a storm came in (a tornado like storm). Pat and Diane Thelander rescued me. They’d brought a trailer out and declared in raging wind, “You have to come in!” (An hour earlier I’d set up camp in an abandoned shed not far from their home.) They’d seen earlier riding down the road.

I now prepare for the ride back to Montpelier, Idaho, 600miles or so. Two months. Where my old 69 Ford still waits for me with a horse trailer attached to it. Then 600miles north to Trego, Montana with truck and trailer, a 5 day drive. Amazing what wheels will do.

Until I ride, yours truly Bernice Ende

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Jeannie Grace in front of The Most Unlikely Place Cafe and Art Gallery, Lewellen, NE
Jeannie Grace in front of The Most Unlikely Place Cafe and Art Gallery, Lewellen, NE

Ferme de FonLuc – Les Eyzies, France First week of April, 2018

The town of Les Eyzies, France in the background.
The town of Les Eyzies, France in the background.

Time to say Au revoir (good-bye) and Merci beaucoup (thank you very much)but first let me tell you…

What I liked about Southern France.

the equestrian trails

the food and tiny cups of strong coffee

afternoon rest/closure

the cheek kisses

the small farms with beautiful brown cattle resting on green grass

the slower pace

it’s ancient history

the architecture

the trains

no trash on the roads or streets

the gentle rolling green landscape

all the castles

church bells 3 times a day

farmer’s markets all year!

I had originally planned on staying a few more weeks in France but plans changed. Jeannie Grace is taking care of my horses in Nebraska, she FB a couple of days ago…”Your horses miss you.” that was enough. Two months was a bit ambitious. Five weeks, Perfect.

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Lynx and I rode very well together. I knew we would. As I told her she may not be the most experienced horsewoman I have ever met but she knew what she was doing and took safety seriously. Her tall spotted horse Karma also did very well. I don’t remember ever having laughed as much as I did with Lynx on our ride.

Return? I very much hope so. (I must also learn more French) How much easier a return trip will be. I have learned a great deal about traveling in France . Herbert Backhaus is German and has peeked my interest in learning more about my German ancestry which came from Hanover, Germany. That would be a must when I return next year. Another ride through France? I do hope so.

he 1000 year old church just down the street from Herberts and Isabelle's farm.
The 1000 year old church just down the street from Herbert’s and Isabelle’s farm.

Merci’s

First let me thank Lynx Vilden for instigating this journey. For reaching out, snapping a lead rope onto my halter and leading me across the ocean. She is a brave one that one is. We have known each other for nearly 25 years and have enormous respect for each others life work and passions. You can follow her as the navigates the world teaching her Living Wild Workshops at www.lynxvilden.com

Secondly I must, from the bottom of my heart thank Herbert Backhaus and his lovely wife Isabelle at Ferme de Fonluc fonluc.com/contact for their generous slice of hospitality. Herbert does not normally lease horses but with my connection with Lynx and my reputation as a long rider he trusted me and allowed me to take one of his finest horses on a ride. I can’t imagine having taken a better steadfast horse. Ferme de Fonluc also provided me with accommodations in a small “Thoreau cabin” deep in the woods, which quickly felt like home. From my cabin veranda I could see prehistoric rock cliffs and caves across the Les Eyzies river. Rock cliffs and caves where once, 30,000 years ago, people lived and thrived. Herbert and Isabelle also have a lovely guest cottage they rent here at Ferme de Fonluc.

My tiny " Thraou cabin" in the woods.
My tiny ” Thoreau cabin” in the woods.
Thank you Flora you were magnificant

I must also thank Tuckers Saddle Company and Outfitters Supply for getting me and my gear over to France.

My gratitude goes out to the private assistance that came from Burton Robson, “Ann,onymous” and Melisia Deaver Riverea. Thank you Jimmy Prior owner of Sunbody Hat who kindly sent Herbert a hat. To Cashel Company for the fly-protection which we so badly needed. And to Source Micro- nutrients, for added nutrition on this trip, I never ride without it.

Les Eyzies, France

With the invention of graphic communication came for the first time for a message to be transmitted and preserved beyond a single moment in place and time, “Walla” as the French say. Over 350 ice age rock art sites have been found across the European continent. I just happen to land in one the most productive and celebrated areas.

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It will take months digesting and sifting through my thoughts after making this trip to Southern France. From Lynx’s stone age workshops to Ferme de Fonluc’s spotted chevals to the et la Grotto prehistoric and la Femme figures, my heart has journeyed places it could never have imagined before.

The timelessness of this area transcends countries, politics, borders and culture. One is left with one thought.. that life is immense, simply immense.

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Lascaux
Lascaux
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Lynx Vilden’s Living Wild Workshop (one week) isnow underway. I attended the evening circle last night and the night before. How quickly they have bonded into a small tribe. I had wanted of course to take more photos but it all seemed to private to invasive to be there with a camera snapping photos. Lynx’s entirely in skins, bone knife, bone belt buckle leading the class in spoon and bowl making. Using stone age methods with out carving a single thing but by using fire, charcoal and flint. They will learn among other things to gather wild foods, make fire with flint, skin and use hide of sheep and of course share with the use of a talking stick, their stories. They sleep in caves, eat and prepare simple meals together and already in the 3 days they have been here I feel the circle closed to outsiders. Lynx told me this would happen. I won’t attend any more circles but will see them on their last day here at Ferme de Fon Luc. Those attending are from France, Belgium, America, Germany, Holland and South Africa. Ages vary from a 11 to perhaps a 50 year old. I was by far the oldest in the circle last night. I have thought about them out there living so raw and wild and perhaps that is it. The time travel thing again. The world they have stepped into is so ancient, so quiet, so close in relation to one another. There are no distractions only what is right smack in front of them, the sound, smell and touch. I know why they are there, I know why this life of immediacy so attracts them for I am also attracted to it. I have for years submerge myself in it as they are now. I find the enthusiasm these young people exhibit encouraging. They too look for a simpler life creating a world that uses less rather than more and more.

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

1-Recently Updated

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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info@bearmountainlodge.com – 575 538 2538


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