September 30th, 2008 – day 8 – 10:00 am – 26 miles – 138 miles total
Hurrah! I got a connection in Weyburn. We were in the Co-op parking lot getting propane when I found an unsecured network. After some frustration of going to the library and finding out that they don't have wireless and losing the one I had... we finally ended up in the parking lot again with my laptop sitting on the dash, where the connection worked beautifully. It didn't work so well with the laptop in my lap. I find that highly amusing. Well, as the saying goes, function above form. ;-D
I hope to go back tomorrow and post this update, but we'll see. It might be a week before we reach any good sized towns. Anyway.
Yesterday evening was another example of how nice people can be. We drove into a yard right outside of Francis and asked the lady who came to the door if she knew of any farms within a mile that we could camp at. She talked to her husband on the phone and they both generously agreed to us staying in their yard. It was a very nice place and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. In the morning, we were eating breakfast when their young son and her sister came over to meet us and the horses. Then, through the course of events, we found out that the sister is a believer and she felt like the Lord would have her give us a gift. We were not expecting it at all and it was a big blessing to receive it.
Our surprise was furthered when the sister came over again... this time with a bag of food from the lady of the house. Every little bit helps, believe me! It was such a blessing. Once again, it was a complete surprise. :-)
After 9.5 miles, the support vehicle (and everyone in it ;-)) pulled into a field and proceeded to fix lunch and wait for the riders to arrive. When they did, we ate and rested and had a good time. The kids just unsaddle the horses and let them graze while keeping an eye on them. It works well because the horses seem to hang out together and don't wander off. Plus, they seem to be attached to their humans.
At lunch, everything was going smoothly until Jesse got his bowl of beans out. Then he noticed that Red was eating some wheat on the ground so he pulled him out of it. While he was doing that, Red got a sniff of the beans and thought they smelled good. When Jesse let go of his halter, Red kept following Jesse around, trying to eat his beans. It was getting to be rather amusing because Red was so persistent about it. Jesse would dodge one way and then the other but Red was right there, following. Finally, Zeke said, “Hey! I'll give him a bite of my sandwich.”
Red went for it eagerly but as soon as the jam & peanut butter sandwich touched his tongue, he was spitting, coughing and waggling his tongue out of his mouth. He couldn't seem to get it off his taste buds fast enough! Apparently, people food isn't this horse's cup of tea. ;-)
Mom and the rest of the relief crew went into town and we got a huge amount of food because we thought we'd not be around a large town for a week. Our shopping cart was piled high with food and we kept running out of places to put stuff. It's amazing how fast everything piles up. We bought a huge amount of bread... I think we bought the most of that one thing. :-)
On our way home, we made the mistake of turning right at the hospital instead of left and ended up 20 miles in the wrong direction. Mom was frantic because she felt that the riders would be worrying about us and they hadn't had water for awhile. When we finally made it back, Dad was walking because he was too sore to ride (he hasn't developed calluses yet... LOL!) (family joke... if you're around us enough, you'll get it. ;-)) and everyone was very thirsty. But they weren't too upset at us when they heard that had done at least 25 miles (we later found out it was one mile more).
But when we were eating our supper (perogies, cabbage and garlic sausage... Mmmm!) Dad made the proposition. Trailer the horses 70 – 75 miles to Minton, SK and save three days of riding. He kept giving us all these good reasons to do it (we're behind schedule because we're only doing 20 miles a day; give the horses a rest; we'd get to the border on a weekend; we're all tired; if we save time now, we might still reach our destination on horseback...) but the main reason came out in the end (ha ha), Dad is just too sore to ride. We all understand although some of us feel like we're cheating or something. But it will be nice to rest awhile. Because tomorrow we're not going to be riding at all.
October 1st, 2008 – day 9 – trailering
Well, four of us are on our way to Minton, SK. It's about 11 miles from the border and we already know of a place we might be able to camp at tonight.
Dad, Jesse, Lydia and myself were driving into Weyburn when Dad said, “I don't have a manifest.” Bad news for us because we could get stopped and then what? So we started looking for the stock yards and spotted them right off of our highway, along with the vet clinic. :-) There was an old grandfather working with a watering trough right inside the fence and Dad stopped to ask if he knew where we might find a manifest.
“Yes, but wait a minute,” the man said, going to his mini-van. He came back carrying a manifest book. Dad hopped out of our van and said, “That was too easy!” They talked awhile about our trip and how many children they each had (he has 13 :-)) and what each other did for a living. Then, he asked where we were headed for today. When Dad told him, the grandfather said he knew someone from that area that he thought would let us camp and put up our horses.
I was once again amazed at God's provision. He had the grandfather working on the watering trough with a manifest book in his car, a friend in Minton and big heart to back the friendly smile.
Lydia and Jesse's horses are the first ones to go... I'm merely going along because I'm over 21 and if a officer of the law happens to come along when Dad's gone, it won't look like we're running away. That would be interesting. ;-)
Unless I get an internet connection where we're going, it might be awhile before I get to post these updates but I know God has everything under control and that if He wants me to get a connection I will
We have reached Minton. I need to turn off my computer.
October 2nd, 2008
I keep forgetting to mention that we decided to not trailer Al any longer. We trailered him on Monday (the 29th) but he was pounding away so much and so worked up, no one could see how trailering him was doing him any good. So they decided that they would try riding him and if he swelled up bad, we would sell him at Weyburn. But he seems to be healing up fine so that's a relief. It also makes for more room in the trailer. :-)
Yesterday afternoon was interesting. We were dropped off at L's place at noon and spent the next five a half hours waiting for dinner. We hadn't counted on it taking so long to make each trip so we hadn't packed any lunch. Jesse and Lydia ate a couple of handfuls of rolled oats but that got to be really dry. So we waited. I finally got Lydia to walk into town with me to ask if there was a store we could buy food at but the only place to get food was at the Saloon. I was almost hungry enough to go in there (it is a saloon in name only... it's really a hotel and restaurant) but Lydia wouldn't let me. (Later on, when everyone else finally did arrive, our parents told us it would have been fine. ;-)) So we went back and waited...
When the hunger pangs got to be too bad, we started talking about food, because that's all we could think about. Amazingly, it turns out we three love pizza, hot or cold. And, sitting in the sun, we decided that three large, ice cold root beers sounded really good, too! ;-) A gallon of ice cream wouldn't have been out of place, either. After we wore out ourselves talking about food, we started making up songs about it. Finally, I gave up and we broke open the cold cereal. ;-) Cheerios and Chex never tasted so good!
Over all, it was a very interesting day. ;-) The folks arrived around 5:30 pm bearing our lunch and believe me, it was gone in seconds!!
The place where we were staying at was an old feedlot that hasn't been used for the past few years. It was a nice place, for a feedlot, and the people were generous enough to allow us to stay there. Mr. L wanted to buy Coyote. That black is getting flashy and he catches people's eye. The more weight he loses the better he looks. :-)
Mr. L is an interesting character. When Dad said that he was leaving three of the kids behind, Mr. L was concerned...
“How old are they?” he asked.
“22, 16 & 14... they're pretty self sufficient,” I heard Dad say.
Lydia and I were far enough away to not worry about being overheard... “Nah,” I said, “they're ages 2, 4 & 6 and all wet their diapers regularly.”
Dad hadn't been gone two minutes when Mr. and Mrs. L came to check us out.
Mr. L rolled his window down. “Kinda hot to be sitting in the sun, isn't it?”
“Yes,” I replied (being the oldest has it's advantages and disadvantages... being made chief speaker without even getting a chance to vote on it is one of the disadvantages.)
His next question floored me.
“You aren't smoking, are you?”
I think I stared at him for about 20 seconds with a stupid expression on my face.
It made me angry for two reasons. #1: We don't look like smoking sort of kids. #2: He assumed that we would pull the cigarettes as soon as Dad was out of sight.
But as time wore on, I cooled off and it became a family joke. Someone would be sitting there and we'd say, “Hey, Jess, better stop that smoking!”
It was rather amusing. :-)
This morning Dad managed to get ahold of the vet and we have an appointment at the border for 1 pm. It's 11 am right now and we're about 6 miles away....
We just left the border vet's office. Dr. Lee is truly a gift from God and I am so thankful he's the border vet! He loves horses and kids and is just a very special person. We hope to see him again on Saturday when we travel through his part of the country.
We arrived at the border at 12:30 pm so we spent 4 hours there. It went very smoothly considering that 6 cattle liners came in just before us and the computers/system wasn't working well. They were all nice even though they were stressed out. One of the ladies was taking pictures of us and the horses with some border guards. One of the guards was concerned about scaring the horses but when Al tossed his head, the man leaped away and the lady laughed.
“You're the one who is scared!” she said.
Tonight, we hope to travel to Raymond, MT, which is approx. 5 miles away from the border crossing. I am looking forward to my bed tonight. Last night, Cilla had trouble sleeping and kept a lot of us up. She kept kicking off her blankets and crying out... no one was too terribly happy with her this morning. I think I only got a few hours sleep so my eyelids are feeling heavy. :-)
October 3rd, 2008 – day 10 – sick day
We camped in Raymond, MT last night. When we drove into town last night, we couldn't find the park so Mom stopped at a house and asked where we might find it. The old gentleman who answered the door said he had something better. :-) People are so nice.
This morning, Hannah was too sick to ride. We're in Plentywood right now trying to get a chiropractor for her. She feels like throwing up a lot and her stomach hurts. We're hoping that a visit to the chiropractor will help.
We also discovered that most of the riders have diarrhea from riding so we're taking it easy today because of that. Ruth threw up twice this morning as well. We're not sure what her problem is. She seems to be feeling better than she was so that's good. :-) I pray that it's a quickly fixed problem and not a virus. Those can turn into a small epidemic with a large family!
We are getting medication for the diarrhea.
Ellie and I decided to wash our hair today because it was looking pretty greasy... then the rest of the girls decided to get their hair washed, too (except Hannah). So I ended up washing 4 heads of hair. By the time I'd finished I was getting pretty proficient at it. :-) It was fun and the girls said that it felt really good to finally get their hair cleaned. After I did all of theirs, Ellie washed my hair and it did feel good. :-) I am sitting here enjoying the feeling of clean hair. :-)