Saturday, March 15, 2014

Finally!!! News from the trail!!!

So sorry it took me so long to update!!!!  Internet is few and far between.  I have a mobile wifi but that hasn’t been working either.  So here is the information from our arrival in Gatesville a week ago, all the way until today!

Day 1 - Thursday, March 13, 2014

Well, we are on our way!  15 miles down and only 985 to go!! J  The week started with Durango Bobwire being delivered to us in Gatesville at the Avitia land on Monday evening.  Pepe, Cointa and her brother Francisco built Durango an amazing pen for his brief stay there.  It was a lifesaver!  In fact, Durango liked it so much after two days there he didn’t want to leave the land on their warm up ride on Wednesday!  But he was so ready to go.  You could tell that Mandy had prepared him well and that he was ready for this journey.   We were also treated to meals by Cointa delivered to our small RV each day and night.  It was like a five star hotel except much smaller!!

On the evening before Jonathan’s birthday we wanted to have a small little ceremony in Jonathan’s memorial garden that Cointa built at the land which is where part of Jonathan’s ashes will eventually be.  The head chaplain from Ft. Hood army base in Gatesville had received an email about the journey from Wind River Ranch because he had been there on a retreat once.  He said Wind River was such a place of healing for him.  He wrote and asked if he could come to Gatesville to pray for us and for the journey.  We were happy to get any and all prayers!  So Chaplain Jim Russell came out with his wife Terri and her parents and gave us a beautiful blessing and Durango as well.  It was very emotional and so heartfelt.  We sat around the fire pit in the garden afterwards and watched the sunset and told Jonathan stories.  It was a great night.

Thursday morning we rose with the sun to get ready for the send-off and the start of the journey.  The forecast all week had been for freezing cold and strong wind and at one point they even thought it would be cloudy and rainy. But, God decided (with a little help from Jonathan I am sure) that we needed a sunny day for this ride. It was still a little cool but it was a beautiful, sunny morning… was “a good day to ride.”  Winston wrote a poem for this day which he shared at the send-off ceremony.

A Good Day to Ride 
By: Winston Hall

The sun breaks sharp across The Land-
Across the prairie wide,
The wind is calm and all is well
It is a good day to ride!

A cool spring day in Texas-
A glorious thing to see,
The calming winds and bluest skies
Bring such a peace to me.

But now the time’s upon us
To make good on a vow,
To mount this horse- to saddle up,
The time is here and now.

On the shoulders of a mustang steed
Brown mane and buckskin hide,
He smells adventure on the wind-
It is a good day to ride!

Though sun and heat will greet our way,
and sweat upon our brow
Heaven's gilded manner seems
to shine upon us now.

Through valleys, plains and mesas too,
And mountains though they loom
We’ll push through snow and storms as well,
On through the darkest gloom.

A promise made, a promise kept,
In memories we confide.
I don’t know much but this I know,
It is a good day to ride!

We’ll rest in shade and sleep in peace
And though our bodies tire,
We’ll persevere through every task
And rest beside the fire.

So saddle up! We must set off
The horizon we must find.
The cinch is tight, our seat is deep
It is a good day to ride!

High atop this Texas plain
In the glow of the morning sun,
We embark upon our journey now,
And intend to see it done.

A thousand miles for you my friend,
In Heaven’s grasp abide
So Johnny Boy- this one’s for you…
It is a good day to ride!!

We also showed everyone the scroll with all of our backers listed on it and put it into the saddlebags. Tim Maynard led us in a beautiful prayer for the journey.  Then in honor of Jonathan’s 32nd birthday Cointa had 32 white balloons that she released and sent up to him.  The balloons drifted up and up and we realized they were heading northwest!  We are sure all the way to Colorado! J  Then to all of our amazement as the balloons were floating up they shaped what looked like a horse.  We could feel Jonathan’s spirit in every part of this day. 

It was time to saddle up and head out for the trail!  Winston loaded up on Durango Bobwire and rode out of the gates of the ranch.  Durango started trotting when they left and Winston waved his hat to all of us in a cowboy gesture and the whole crowd waved back.  It reminded me of the scene from Sound of Music in the ballroom when all the guests wave good night to the children.  There was not a dry eye around.  Meanwhile, when Winston was going through the gates he told me later that he was thinking of a movie that he and Jonathan liked called “All the Pretty Horses”.  Jonathan said the two guys in the movie reminded him of he and Winston.  Their favorite line in the movie was when the two guys are heading to Mexico from Texas on horseback and they said, “If we mess this up, it’s gonna’ be a long ride back to Texas!” Winston said he could hear Jonathan in his head saying, “Hartford, if we mess this up, YOU are gonna’ have a long ride back to Texas!”  But, I know he won’t mess it up!  He has too many people, including Jonathan, rooting for him and praying for us!

The first day we made it 16 miles to the Izoro Community Center.  Winston’s mom brought us a hot meal and then we settled in for the night.  Unfortunately, DB had other ideas about sleep!  We kept waking up to the bell Winston put on his neck when he was fidgeting or maybe seeing deer but Winston was always nervous he was getting caught or twisted so he kept waking up. We got about three hours of sleep and then it was time to saddle up to tackle Day 2! 

Day 2 - Friday, March 14, 2014

We headed out on FM 1690 going towards Adamsville and then we headed towards Lometa on FM 581.  We had a family stop along the road, The Langfords, and a little boy about 5 or 6 handed us money out the window and told us that he saw Winston on the news and that he loved horses too.  So sweet!  About 18 miles in we realized that Winston was not going to make it all the way to Lometa because that would have been about 26 miles on Day 2.  I saw a sign on a ranch gate for the Wagon Wheel Ranch Horse Breeders with a phone number. So, I called and asked if he could help me find somewhere that might have a pen or a stall available for the night because Winston was not going to make it all the way to Lometa before dark.  Rusty did not even hesitate, he said I have a place for your horse and your RV.  Rusty and his wife Juanita were so kind to us and we are so appreciative.  DB is safe in a pen tonight and Winston can get some sleep thankfully!  We have learned already on Day 2 that blessings from strangers will be a theme on this journey.  But, you are only a stranger once and then you are friends.  We are humbled by the kindness we have been shown so far.  We will always try to pay these kind acts forward. 

Tomorrow we set out towards Lometa and then San Saba.  We have reports of possible bad weather tomorrow so we will be cautious and sit it out if we have to.  I am sure you have figured out that internet is not as accessible as I was hoping. But, I am trying hard to write things down on my computer and then post when I can.   So far, we are all healthy and happy and moving forward.  At the end of Day 2, we have completed 36 miles!  Traveling on a horse is way slower than in a car!!  We will check in again soon!

Love, Donna (And Winston, Hart and Durango Bobwire too! ) 

Day 3 – Saturday, March 15, 2014

We started our morning singing Happy Birthday to Hart!  He is 8 years old today! Today is also my high school reunion in New Orleans so any of my classmates who are on this blog, I miss all of you and I took a photo of Hart and Durango in a sailor hat in honor of our class!!  Hope you all had fun!

 This morning as we prepared to leave the hospitality of the Wagon Wheel Ranch, I was allowed to go with Rusty and Juanita to feed the newborn foals and mares while Winston was saddling up.  Amazing!! That is all I can say. I wanted to take one of them home with me!! But, we have our hands full with a dog, a horse and an RV, let alone a baby foal! We made it through our first actual downtown area, Lometa, with no trouble.  We decided to hold over in Lometa because there was a forecast of possible lightning and storms.  We thought it might pass over but it wasn’t worth taking the chance and ending up by the San Saba bridge at sundown and possibly be stuck with no cover anywhere.  We are safe in an RV park that has a pen and arena so Winston has been able to do some ground work with DB until the rain sets in.  And so far, no rain! We will head out early tomorrow morning towards San Saba and are praying for good weather tomorrow! And if Rusty from the Wagon Wheel Ranch wasn’t nice enough already he also offered to drive to the bridge in San Saba and assist us across.  We are indebted to this nice man.  Again, we will pay these kind acts forward. 

End of Day 3…..44.6 total miles  -- 955.4 to go!!!

Winston has been encouraged by all of your messages on facebook  and on this blog so keep them coming! That is usually his bedtime story at night!  I read him posts from all of you!  Keep the prayers coming.  We know they are protecting us every step of the way.

Love, Donna (Winston, Hart, and DB) 

1 comment:

Melonie McCoy said...

Wilson and Family-What a journey you are on. The bond of brotherhood and friendship are are truly a gift. Glad you have found kindness along the way. You weren't far from us, I'm in Lampasas, just outside Lometa. Your poem was beautiful. My heart has a special place for Colorado. I lived in Pagosa Springs for 4 years, and my best friend still lives there. Be safe I, and know that thoughts, prayers and warm wishes are with you. We look forward to seeing your journey. Jonathan is very lucky to have you! God Bless! Melonie McCoy, Lampasas, Texas