Monday, April 14, 2014

And then there was snow in Texas in the Spring!! Bring it on!! We will survive!

     I found a piece of paper that I had written down notes from something that the little girl Addy had said to me Thursday night at Lorena and Eugene’s house.  Addy, was Suzie’s daughter who is three years old.  She was so sweet and affectionate.  She came up and hugged me when I first met her.  I wrote this story down so I wouldn’t forget it but then stuck it in the back of my other notebook and forgot about it since it was so late when I was writing the blog.  But, I wanted to share it with all of you because it is worth it.  After Addy went to pet Durango and told me that she wanted to be a princess on a horse she came and sat in my lap. She asked me, “Who rides that horse?”  I told her that Winston was riding Durango 1000 miles which is really far!  She said, “Why?”  I told her that his friend had been sick and that he died and went to heaven and so he was riding in honor of him.  She said, “Heaven is where Jesus and God live.”  I told her that’s right that is where they live.  She said, “Why didn’t he get better?”  I told her that it was a bad disease that he had and the medicine just couldn’t help him get better even though we all wanted him to.”  And she said, “But, now he gets to live with God and Jesus so that is good.”  Three years old, this sweet little girl is only three and she comes up with that explanation….from the mouths of babes.  I love the innocence of children when it comes to death because they can see the big picture but thankfully do not feel the bitter pain that goes along with loss.  They only see that now the loved one gets to live in heaven with God and Jesus.  I will never forget that sweet little girl’s words.

Day 30 – Friday, April 11, 2014

     I stayed up until 2am finishing the blog since we had wifi at Lorena and Eugene’s.  I knew I was going to get just about four hours of sleep but wanted to post an update since the wifi was available.  We got going about 8:30am since we aren’t going as far today.  We are headed to Scott, Jane and Tell Bagley’s house which was about 12 miles from where we are starting today.

     Dimmitt high school was across from Lorena and Eugene’s and that was the way we were leaving.  There was a track meet going on and the end bus in the parking lot caught Winston’s eye and we had to go take pictures by it!  They were the Olton Mustangs and Fillies!!  Durango’s herd!!


  Eugene showed Winston a way to Scott and Jane’s last night on some dirt roads to avoid the traffic and boy was it great!!  I wish we had roads like this the whole way!  I sat in the middle of the road at one point to take photos from down at dirt level and I could even drive slow enough that Winston could ride beside me and we could talk through the window.  It was awesome!  Hart takes advantage of every shady spot available when we are outside the RV! And the wind was blowing so hard at one point that Winston could put his hat on his chest without holding it up!

     When we were driving along this road we did meet up with one farmer that told us there is an underground “ocean” called “Ogallala” that is almost completely dried up.  This underground water source goes all the way to Nebraska and the only way it can get more water is if Nebraska gets a lot of snow melt or rain and it will eventually flow down here.  But, it could take years.  They have not significant rain here since 2010. 

     When we met Scott and Jane last night they said when you get to our house if we aren’t there just make yourself at home.  We did arrive there before them and got Durango set up in a round pen and just past the pen was a huge long horn steer we found out belonged to their little boy Tell and the steer’s name was Buddy!  Durango wasn’t sure about being “buddies” with Buddy!  But Durango got distracted by the soft dirt and wanted to roll!  Then Winston found a lasso in the arena and thought he would try his hand with Durango. No animal was harmed in the making of these photos! Success!! They have a lot of horses here!  They have a team of performance horses and they are beautiful!  The Bagley's are involved in horse judging and horse performance competitions.  We learned today that the 4H Club kids that we met yesterday all got ribbons at the horse judging in Canyon today!  Congratulations to Ilda, Kamry, Iris and Tell!! 


     We were looking around the stables and in the outside pens we saw a little baby colt in a pen with his mama!!  I wanted to take him home with me and if I thought we could have fit him in the RV he would be coming with us!  He was two weeks old and his name is Jim.  He was so adorable!  We didn’t realize it then but he had come under the fence and it was a gelding he was in the pen with not his mom and his real mom was out there pacing in the pasture.  I didn’t even look to see if it was a mare or a gelding because I was so sad that the mama kept pushing her baby away.  Then Scott got home and reunited the baby with her mama and all was fine! 



     Winston helped Scott put out the round bales of hay for his horses and Jane fixed us grilled gourmet hamburgers that were delicious!!  We had a great evening visiting with this family and we are so appreciative to them for letting us stay with them and treating us like a part of their family.  We slept really well and got up at sunup to head towards Hereford.


Huddle up!!!


Day 31 – Saturday, April 12, 2014

   We set out on 385 north towards Hereford.  I was on the phone trying to find a place that carried our Total Equine brand of horse feed and I found a place in Amarillo that had it but they closed at 6 and were closed on Sunday.  I couldn’t leave Winston for that long since we were still a good ways from Amarillo.  I called Scott to ask if he knew of anyplace else nearby that carried it and he said well I am going to Amarillo today because Tell has a baseball game so I will just pick it up for you and bring it back to you on the trail.  Unbelieveable!  He is so nice!!  And he wouldn’t take any money for it either.  I am truly, truly humbled every day by the kindness that surrounds us.


     We had been on the road about an hour and I was in the bathroom on the side of the road and someone knocked on the door.  I knew it couldn’t be Winston since I had just left him a few miles back.  I looked out at the car and then I opened the door and couldn’t believe it, “I know who you are even though we haven’t met!  You are Benjamin!  You’re Johnny and Becky’s son and Brian’s twin brother!”  He said, “Yes, I am!”  We had forgotten that Benjamin lived in Hereford and so Johnny had told him that we would be on this road today and he came and found us.  He is an assistant band director in Freona.  He and Winston talked band and he gave us some homemade cinnamon raisin bread and we snacked on it on the side of the road.  We were so happy to meet him and enjoyed visiting with him!


     We were making pretty good time but this road was really busy with big trucks.  At one point, along this road there was this soft dirt that was like quick sand.  Durango was sinking down in it almost to his knees and it was really hard for him to walk in it.  Winston couldn’t get far enough out of it without being too close to the highway and the truck traffic so he called me on the walkie and said find us another route because we have to get off this road.  We were headed to a place that Winston’s friend Julie Butler had for us in Hereford.  It is land that her dad farms and there was an arena there. 

     I looked on the map and found a back road that was out of the way but safer for us so we got off of 385.  This road was great with no traffic and it was better on Durango too.  We were making great time but we were a little further than we thought so we realized that we would be there after 6pm.  Along the way we came across a historical marker that told us about a WWII POW camp that housed Italians during the war.  We learned that they brought them to Texas because of the hot climate and the space which was similar to the area they were captured in which was specified in the treaty. There is a chapel that was built by the Italians in memory of the five Italians who died in the POW camp.  And one of the towers was still out there also.  We found out later that the land that this sits on belongs to the uncle of Julie's Dad Ray. And his uncle actually made the two stone flags at the end of the path for the chapel. 




     I had called Julie to tell her we had taken a different route and she told me that her she and her family were planning a steak dinner for us!  I told her that Winston would be so happy since when I asked him if he wanted peanut butter and jelly or tuna for lunch he said, “I will have a steak please.” Good luck with that.  So, Julie’s dad Ray came and found us on our road and gave us an update on how many miles we were from the arena.  And then he asked if Durango would be okay with two cows and calves in the arena with him.  I told him I just didn’t know what Durango would do with them.  So, he said he had lined up an alternate place with a man named Marvin Sarten and he thought that might be better because Marvin had a covered barn area.  He said there was a forecast of cold weather coming.  I had to leave Winston to go get the feed from Scott in Hereford.  We were approaching the longest day so far and Winston’s knees were really bothering him so he walked Durango several miles.  Once I left I told Julie that he was about 1.5 miles from her place but we realized we were going to have to go to the other place which was several more miles.  There was no way he was going to make that since we already went 25 miles.  Julie and her dad went and picked up Winston and Durango to bring them to Marvin’s place.  Winston said that just before they pulled up there was a brown wall of dirt heading his way and he had just put on his goggles and wrapped his face in his wild rag.  He was really happy to see them and they got them safely to our resting place.  We got Durango set up in his pen and then we went to dinner at Julie’s mom and dad’s house, Ray and Charla Schlabs. 

Charla, Julie’s mom, had outdone herself and cooked this amazing steak dinner and we were so appreciative for the meal and the company.  We met Julie’s two adorable children Luke who is 5 and Anna who is 3.  I loved meeting Julie and her lovely family.  Winston has told me for so long about his friend Julie from college.  He said she is the definition of a genuinely nice person. She also believed in him and gave him his first news story on the Rampage college newspaper which led to his journalism degree.  I can honestly say after all she has done to help us and after meeting her, he did not exaggerate at all.  Julie is such a nice person and so is her family!  Julie is also a leukemia survivor!  She had a stem cell transplant that saved her life and she just had blood work done this past week and is still cancer free!  We are so thankful for that.




     We had two small world stories happen while we were here.  Winston’s dad has always told him about a friend that he had in Hereford, TX named Jan Dudley.  Jan was Julie’s son Luke’s  Pre 3-K teacher last year and will probably teach Anna next year!  And then Julie’s dad Ray was reading our blog and said that the lady that we met at the 4H club meeting in Plainview, Lisa Wright is the wife of his college roommate!!  Crazy small world.  Tomorrow is our rest day so we are sleeping in! Ha! That hasn’t worked so far.

Day 32 – Sunday, April 13, 2014

    Today we woke up to the sound of Durango pacing back and forth in his pen and he was looking at something to our right that we couldn’t see.  Winston went and looked and there were two wild turkeys right outside of his pen.  He didn’t know what to think of them!  When we got up and fed him, Winston decided to let him out into Marvin’s big fenced area and this horse who has walked 466 miles ran and ran and ran.  It was hilarious!  It was like he was possessed!  He really looked like a wild mustang when he was running around.  He is truly a beautiful animal and we were so entertained by his newfound freedom!  He was so happy!

    We went to eat lunch at Charla and Ray’s house because she had made a roast dinner and invited us to join them!  Julie introduced us to her sister-in-law Mallory and Mallory’s daughter Scout who was two years old and precious!  Mallory’s husband Tim also joined us for lunch.  Tim is a sheriff deputy for Deaf Smith County.  We had such a nice meal and we enjoyed sharing stories and visiting with this great family.  Tim got out some maps to show Winston different good roads to get to Vega where we are headed next. 

    Julie and her mom Charla own a store in downtown Hereford named Texas Threads.  We had heard so much about the store that we wanted to go see it.  They are closed on Sundays and Mondays but Julie took us there to see it!  I could have stayed all day in this store!  It is amazing and they are getting ready to double their size.  If you are ever near Hereford and need some great gift items it is well worth your trip!  They have this amazing new machine that does laser engraving while you wait and Julie made a plaque for us to take home.  It is beautiful!  It says, “It doesn’t matter where you go in life, what you do, or how much you have, It’s who you have beside you!  ….Winston, Donna, Durango and Hart   Journey for Jonathan 2014.”  We love it and it will have a special place in our home.  We were so grateful for this special gift from Julie.  Then Julie drove me to take a few photos of the old Hereford train station and some other Hereford signs.  We learned that Hereford is the Beef Capital of the World!  And now they have dairy farms here too!  Their movie theater says Moovies!  How hilarious is that! 


    I kept getting alerts on my phone that said Hard Freeze Warning in your area.  I was standing in a short sleeve shirt and it was 78 degrees.  I kept thinking it was a mistake but then Ray confirmed that there was a cold front coming and we would possibly have snow in the morning at the time we would be leaving and 40 mph winds coming from the direction we were heading which would just be beating Winston and Durango in the faces all day.  That didn’t sound good at all.  So, I went to Wal Mart to get some supplies to help winterize the RV just in case and Ray and Julie took Winston to drive the route we were headed and see if there were any barns or pens up ahead and check out the road we were taking.  They ended up taking him all the way to Boys Ranch where we will be staying in a few days.  Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch had offered us housing for us even before we left on the journey!  I was back at Marvin’s and he came out to tell me that we were welcome to stay as long as we needed to because the weather forecast had gotten worse and we didn’t need to be out in that.  He offered to let us stay in the house with him too because he had extra bedrooms.  I told him that if it got too cold, we would take him up on that!  Marvin used to do roping but he is a full time CPA now.  He was so nice and I told him how much we appreciated him letting us use his facilities. 

    Winston got back and we finished cleaning the RV and then headed to Julie and her parent’s house to eat pizza with them.  They spoil us rotten!  When we finished eating, Julie took us over to Jan Dudley’s house and we were so happy to meet her!  She was such a lovely lady and she had a piano in her house so Winston treated us all to some songs.  We all loved listening to him play.  Jan inherited this piano from her mom who passed away last year.  She said that her mom played boogie woogie and all kinds of great music and she still played into her eighties!  We loved visiting with Jan who told me she hated photos but I told her we had to have one for us!  When we got back, Ray and Charla talked Winston into utilizing their hot tub and then taking a shower while I worked on photos and the blog!  He said it was amazing!  When we left the winds had already kicked up and it was freezing!  Winston put a coat on Durango when we got back to Marvin’s and then hunkered down for the cold night ahead.  In the morning we would assess whether or not we would be able to get on the road later in the day or if we would have to stay one more night.  Durango honestly didn’t seem cold.  He stood out in the wind for a lot of the night and then finally took cover under the barn area.  The wind whistled all night and we woke up to white covering the ground! 


Day 33 – Monday, April 14, 2014

     I still can’t believe we are being held up by snow in Texas in the spring!!  The reason we chose this time for the trip was to get across Texas before the stifling heat and get to Colorado after the snow melted!  The best laid plans sometimes go wrong but we are happy to be staying with such nice people in Hereford!  Anyway, Winston went out to feed Durango and we decided that we would wait a while and see if the snow would melt any.  Around 10am it was still cold and there was still snow on the ground and we were afraid to get on the road for fear of me pulling over on the side of the road and possibly sliding into a ditch or something.  It was safer for us to stay so we will reassess tomorrow but the forecast is still calling for below freezing tomorrow so we will see in the morning.  If there is no snow we may try to set out around 10 if it is a little warmer and try and make it half way to Vega.  Ray gave us directions where we could go get some propane to refill the RV. We went to fill the tank and the valve was faulty and so now we can't refill it again without replacing the valve.  RV service centers are few and far between out here! We are hoping we won't need to refill again.  Winston and I got to go and have a late lunch together at a restaurant called Dakota's and since we were there after the lunch rush we had a lovely meal in a private dining room.  The food was great and so was our waitress.  Then we met Suzie the General Manager and she was so touched by our journey. She had lost her grandmother to cancer and she thought this was an amazing labor of love. She said she will follow along on our blog to see if we make it all the way! The snow is now melting but the wind is still making it be about 25 degrees so we are just catching up on some things in the RV and looking at other options for our route if we need to change it.  Flexibility is the name of the game on this trip!   We will see how the weather is tomorrow and go from there.  For now, we are all safe and warm!  We will say goodbye to the Schlabs' and to Julie Butler and her kids tonight and we will be sad to leave them.  They welcomed us into their home and treated us so well.  We cannot thank them enough for all their help and their love and support.  We will miss this family so much but know our paths will cross again one day! 


    I just wanted to say for all of you who have been worried about my allergies and about Winston’s knees and the weather for us…..we feel that the blessings we are receiving on this journey far outweigh any little discomforts or problems we have encountered thus far and for that we are eternally grateful.  We appreciate the prayers and we feel like they are helping us overcome any obstacles that have come up along the way.  We firmly believe that we will make it all the way to Colorado and Wind River and we will have done it with the help, love and support of all of you!  We don’t ever forget that for one day. 

    I wanted to take a minute to wish my sister Stacey a happy birthday!  Tomorrow, April 15th is her birthday and I wish that I was with her to celebrate!  She is an amazing person, teacher, mother, wife and friend.  I feel lucky to have her as a sister and most of all a friend.  She has touched so many children’s lives with her teaching skills and her love and I am so proud of the person that she is.  It is hard for me to believe that we used to fight when we were kids and in college because I cannot honestly imagine my life without her.  She is so devoted to her daughter and I know how much she misses her now that Erin is away in Memphis at college. Stacey, I hope that your day is as special as you are to me and as special as you are to all those that love you as much as I do.  I hope your day is filled with love and happiness and that all your birthday wishes come true!  I love you so much!  Happy birthday!! 

Stacey holding our new little brother K.C.!!  People called him Last Chance because Stacey and I were 9 and 7 when he was born and he was the caboose!   We felt so lucky to be his big sisters and we kind of thought we were his second mothers!! 

The three musketeers! 


We are planning to head out again tomorrow and will pass over our halfway mark next week!!  On to glory!


Donna (Winston, Hart and Durango!)




Gayle Anderson said...

Donna.... I know that every time you spend time and meet new people on your journey.... that you cry and are emotional... I know that I am through your words... Travis and I enjoy your updates EVERY time you post.... sending you lots of love and continued prayers for more people to help with your stalls and needs along the way..... HUGE HUGS!!!! Travis and Gayle

Trisha Lorio said...

Donna, thanks for taking the time to post updates! Love reading about your special journey. Y'all remain in my prayers. Love you!

Donna said...

Thank you Gayle!! Hugs to you and Travis too! Love, Donna

Donna said...

Thanks Trisha! It is time consuming but I know how much people have loved following along so it is worth it! We never feel alone because so many people are following along with us! Love you too! Love, Donna