Thursday, April 10, 2014

On to Glory and on to Colorado!! Went over 400 miles this week!

Day 26 – Monday, April 7, 2014

     Today we were supposed to set out towards Lockney.  When we woke up this morning and Winston was doing DB’s morning routine and checking him out as he does every morning he found that DB was sore really high up on his back.  It didn’t seem like it could be saddle soreness so far back.  He would buckle his back legs a little when touched.  So, we knew Winston could not ride him today.  Someone had recommended a vet to us, Dr. Glasson in Lockney, which was really close.  We called and the doctor said it sounded like a kidney infection or problem.  He said he could see him if we could get him there.  We didn’t think Winston could walk him all the way there so we asked our friend Scott at the Floydada Sale Barn if he could help us get a trailer to take Durango to the vet.  John Fortenberry one of the co-owners of the Floydada Sales Barn graciously agreed to help us out.  We offered to pay him for gas or his trouble but he would not take it.  He said he was happy to help out.  So, we got trailered to the vets office and he did believe it was a kidney issue and so gave him some medicine and told us to rest him 24 more hours and that he should be fine in the morning.  He suggested some changes to his diet based on the activities he was doing every day and we were very appreciative.  Dr. Glasson also arranged for us to use the pens at the Lockney FFA club which was close to his office.  John and his dog Bailey stayed with us to make sure we were okay and then we settled in for the night and kept a close eye on Durango.  Within about 4 hours he was feeling so much better and already didn’t react the same way when we touched his back.  We were so relieved.


Day 27 – Tuesday, April 8, 2014

     We didn’t leave first thing in the morning because we wanted to wait the full 24 hours but Durango seemed fine when we first got up.  He did not have the pain in his back and he seemed to be eating and drinking normally.  We started out at about noon headed to Plainview.  Our friends Seth and Letti that we met in Floydada had given us Letti’s parents numbers to call for a place to stay in Plainview.  I spoke to Sherri Cheyne and asked her if we got into a bind with Durango if he started feeling bad could she come and trailer us the rest of the way in later.  She was so happy to help and was so nice to me on the phone. 

      When leaving Lockney, a man pulled over named Donnie McLaughlin and asked us about Jonathan and about the journey.  He wanted to know what kind of cancer Jonathan had.  He told us that he had a cancer scare a while back but his tumor ended up being benign and they were able to remove it surgically.  He is thankfully fine now.  He took a photo of Winston and wished us luck on our journey. 

     A couple pulled over named Lisa and Arnold Kersh and wanted to know if we needed help because we were on the side of the road pulled over.  We told them about the journey and they had horse pens a mile up if we needed them.  We told them we were trying to make it to Plainview and they wished us luck.  We discovered that Arnold and Sherri Cheyne had gone to school together when they were small children.  Small towns…everyone knows everyone else.

     Next Glen and Tina Graves and their kids stopped and said that they saw about the journey on Donnie McLaughlin’s facebook page.  Donnie was the man we met a few miles back!  Word travels fast around here!  Then a reporter from the Plainview newspaper showed up and interviewed Winston on the side of the road.  She said that Lisa Kersh who we had just met on the road had called her and told her to come find us. 

    Durango was doing so well today!  We were so happy he was feeling better.  We decided not to push it and try and get him all the way through town since it was very spread out and not a lot of grass or dirt areas to ride.  Sherri came and picked us up on the outskirts of town and brought us to the Bar None Plainview Rodeo Association Arena.  We got DB set up in his pen and met some really nice people Randall, Tammy and their son Cole.  Cole was 9 and was riding a horse named Peso.  Cole told me that he has been riding horses since before he can remember.  He is really good at it too. I saw him loping through the arena later.   His horse stood perfectly still while he was talking to me.  I was hoping Durango was watching!  Sherri invited us to come and speak at the 4H Club meeting which was starting at 6:30pm.  Winston and I were happy to go talk to the kids.  Winston was in 4H There was a group of junior high to college age kids and we told them about the journey and they had really interesting questions.  I spoke to two sisters named Kennedy and Kate Johnson for quite a while and they were so sweet and helpful.  Kennedy gave me numbers for her dad and another person that might be able to help us with pens for Durango up the road.  Lisa Wright was in charge of 4H and was so kind and appreciative that we had come.  I can’t believe that I actually left without getting a photo with all of them!  But, they were having a demonstration after we spoke and we stayed to watch for a little while.  This trainer named Kelly was demonstrating different training techniques with a 2 year old horse that she had just acquired.  It was amazing to watch her work and how this horse watched her every move.  We were told that after we left she got him to lie down and even sat on him and he let her!! 



     We got back to the arena and had supper and then settled in for the night.  The road we need to take out of Plainview is all the way on the opposite side of town crossing an interstate and construction areas so we decided to trailer DB to the outskirts of Plainview.  Sherri was kind enough to offer to help us out again and trailer us out to 194 tomorrow morning so we could head towards the town of Hart, TX!!  We were so excited when we saw that on the map!  Hart is excited too, he might have relatives there!!

Day 28 – Wednesday, April 9, 2014

     Sherri picked us up at about 8:30am and trailered us to the edge of town so that we could head north on 194.  Sherri has been so helpful and so kind to us and we said our goodbyes, expressed our thanks and said we would see her again one day we hoped! 


     We started north on 194 and knew we had about 20 miles to Hart.  We had one possibility of a place with pens that was on the outskirts of Hart but we weren’t sure we could make it.  We needed to get as close as possible so that we could make Dimmitt the next day.  It was a pretty day and the wind wasn’t bad yet.  This area farms a lot of corn and cotton both of which have not been planted yet for the coming year.  So, there are a lot of brown fields for miles and miles and miles.  It makes you think though about our country’s agriculture industry.  We could not survive without them.  They provide us with cotton for our clothes, food for our tables, restaurants and grocery stores and cattle for milk, leather goods and beef.  This area has been in a drought for four years.  We talked to some farmers who say they are almost out of water.  They have had about four inches of rain in four years.  When in Louisiana we sometimes get 3 or 4 inches in a day when there is flash flooding.  Please pray for rain in these areas.  They desperately need it.


     We have started a running commentary of  “Things heard in the RV!”

“My knees keep scraping the ceiling when I am sleeping!” (The ceiling slopes down on my side of the bed)

“Wow! This microwave sure is cold! My toothpaste is almost frozen!” (We have to store our toiletries in the microwave!)

“The shower is no place for a bathroom!” Truly, truly.

“Can you put the saucepan back in the freezer?” ( Pots and pans go in the freezer for space saving)

“I’ll be on the front porch.” (Which is actually the front driver’s seat)

Ahhhh, this is the life of living in a compact RV with two people and a dog for several months!

     So, first thing this morning I got a message on the Journey for Jonathan facebook page from a girl named Tawny Allen.  She said that her mom insisted that she read our blog and she fell in love with our story and wanted to offer a place for us to stay in Dalhart.  I didn’t have a chance to write her back when we were setting out so I was getting ready to reply.  Meanwhile, I am sitting on the road looking at her facebook  page and trying to figure out who her mom is and how she knows us.  I saw photos of her beautiful family and read about her adopting a little boy from Africa and doing mission work there.  I had tears in my eyes looking at this family and reading their story and thinking about her reaching out to help us.  I wrote to her and told her how excited we were to have a contact in Dalhart and asked how her mom knew us.  Her mom, Kim Cannon, is friends on facebook with Donnie McLaughlin who we met on the road by Lockney.  She saw his post about our story on his page and loved the story.  She lives in Lubbock so we were already past her but she knew that Tawny would want to help.  Tawny and I texted back and forth and by the end of the day between the two of them and Tawny’s friend Suzie who lives near Dimmitt they had places secured for us in four places! Kim had a friend Jane Bagley in Dimmitt who sent me a message to offer a place to stay but we didn’t think we could make it that far the next night.  So, she set us up with her husband Scott’s business partner Eugene Corrales and his wife Lorena and their daughter Ilda.  Meanwhile, Suzie told us that she knew vets in Dimmitt if we wanted a full checkup on Durango which we definitely did since we are almost to our halfway point and we just want to make sure he is totally healthy. 

     We continued on towards Hart and met several people along the road.  One man named Allen Stallings stopped and gave Winston a donation.  He had seen us being dropped off at the edge of town that morning and wondered why someone was dropping off a horse on the side of the road.  He then went to breakfast and opened the Plainview paper and Winston and Durango and the story were on the front page.  When he saw Winston on the road later he told him that he had lost his brother-in-law and mother-in-law to cancer and his dad was fighting it right now and doing really well.  He just wanted to meet Winston and give him a donation.  Later he caught up with me and we talked for a while too.  He was such a nice man and we enjoyed talking to him.

     When Winston caught up with me right after crossing through the little town of Edmonson, population: 111, he said you are not going to believe the sign that I just received.  I know by now that it is always something great and absolutely amazing so I couldn’t wait to see what it was.  He said he was riding along on Durango and right in his path he saw this old beat up front of a baseball cap.  It was just the front material with the logo on it.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing so he got down off of the horse to make sure that his eyes weren’t deceiving him and there on the ground was the front of a University of Colorado Buffs hat!!  Jonathan graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and they are the Buffalos. In a town of 111 people in West Texas, he finds the front of a hat from Jonathan’s alma mater.  I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing.  I can’t express how near to Jonathan that made us feel.  I can’t imagine what the statistical odds of that happening are.  But, we acknowledge it as a sign from him and are so grateful for every one that he sends us. 

    Right after lunch we had a truck pull over with three guys in it and they said they were curious about what we were doing.  Their names were Sammy Shannon, (who is on the left of Winston in the photo) and then Kenny McKelvy and Scotty Bennett.  We talked to them for quite a while and they were so entertaining and hilarious!  Scotty said, “Are you hungry? I have a steak in the truck.”  And they offered one to me too but I said no so Kenny said, “I’ll give mine to your horse if he wants it.”  I said Durango doesn’t get a treat until he gets to Hart!  Winston was so excited about the steak! We had just had peanut butter and jelly again.  He stood right on the side of the road and ate it!  And he had the rest of it for a snack later.  I told them I was going to put their photo on our blog and Sammy said “Make sure you say that Kenny and Scotty are single and available!!”  I promised him I would put that!  So if anyone is interested in the Edmonson area go hang out on the side of the road, they will be the ones delivering steaks to you roadside!


So, we knew where we were going to be on Thursday night but we still were trying to find a place for tonight in Hart, TX.  A friend was trying to get in touch with a man he knew who had pens on the edge of Hart but he never could reach him by phone.  We were headed into Hart and the sun was sinking fast.  A sheriff from the county stopped to see if I needed help and I told him about the journey and that we were trying to make it to the edge of town to this house with pens.  I asked about any fields or other parks there.  He said there was a field behind the stadium that the school owned but he thought if would be fine if we stopped there for the night since we would be gone at sunup.  We got to the house and there was no sign of anyone there so we headed over to the field.  It was definitely an unused field behind the track so we set up as best we could and I even tried calling the school number to see if there was an after hours number but there was not.  Soon a truck drove up and it was the Morales family.  They said that Suzie who was trying to help us in Dimmitt had called her friend in Hart and told her to call her dad and have him go check on us since I had texted her to say we would be in the school yard.  We enjoyed meeting Fred and Lupe and their daughters and granddaughter named Lyssett, Adamari and Sarah.  These little girls were adorable and wanted to pet Durango.  We let them do that and then we took photos with them. 

     Fred offered his place to us which was a little ways back but he didn’t have pens since he owns a trucking company and doesn’t have horses.  We thanked him but thought we would be fine there.  He gave us a donation and then just as they were leaving a sheriff’s deputy car pulls up with lights going and then another one pulls up.  They told us that someone had reported suspicious activity at the school yard and that we had to leave.  We explained about the journey and that we had come from central Texas and were headed to Colorado in memory of Winston’s best friend.  He said, “You are trespassing and you need to leave.” I told him then we will need help moving somewhere else because we have a horse with us and no trailer and it is pitch black on the roads.  He asked Winston how he got the horse here from Gatesville then if he didn’t have a trailer and Winston said very matter of factly, “I rode him here.”  We gave him a brochure and told him about the journey and he took our IDs to check them and then said he would call the principal to come out here.  Ramona the principal of Hart High School showed up just about that time because the Morales family had called her and we told her what the sheriff had told us earlier which is the only reason we thought it was fine.  The deputy there said we could move to the yard next to the Valero down the road but we weren’t sure if there was a place to tie up Durango.  Eventually the principal said that we could stay and very graciously offered to get us anything we needed.  They were worried about the morning when kids would start crossing that yard to go to school that they might try and pet the horse and possibly be hurt.  We totally understood that and told her that we would be gone by that time.  After all of this it was now almost 11pm and we would need to be up at 5:30am to start preparing to leave before the kids got there.  Durango was on a high line that Winston made across the old broken down fences from an old discus pit and had his bell around his neck and big surprise the bell was ringing all night long.  I tried to visualize wind chimes in my mind but we kept thinking he was caught or hurting himself.  So, needless to say we didn’t get a lot of sleep. 

Day 29 - Thursday, April 10, 2014

Winston got up and had him saddled by 6:30am, a new record!!  But, it was still dark so we had to put a flashing light on the back of the saddle and I rode with my lights on bright in front of them so we could get over to the gas station where we would wait until the sun was up a little more.  DB was in a feisty mood and so standing still did not really work out that well.  Finally, we got on the road and then I doubled back to take photos of Hart in his town!! 




     The one advantage to starting out early was knowing we had a place to go and that we might get there at a decent time!  About two miles outside of Hart the editor from the Hart paper came out to interview Winston on the side of the road.  We kept moving and by 8am we had already done 5.3 miles.  When we got closer into Dimmitt I called Lorena to get better directions to their place. 
I rode ahead to get us lunch and to see if there was a Laundromat.  I can’t stand another day of the hampers of dirty clothes!  There was one!!  So, I put some clothes in and then went back to check on Winston and Durango.  They were still plugging along.  We ended up getting to Eugene and Lorena’s around  3 pm and I cannot say enough about this lovely family.  They were all so sweet and their home is beautiful!  They built it and have only lived in it a few months. 

     They offered their shower to us and I can honestly say that it was like a five star hotel and it brought tears to my eyes to wash my hair again and blow it dry like a normal person.  I have been using that dry shampoo which I am pretty sure is not very effective after the fourth or fifth use but washing my hair in the RV and blowing it dry is not even an option.  We learned today that the place we are going to stay in Hereford is actually five miles past Hereford and getting through towns or around them is always time consuming so we asked Jane if we could still stay at her house outside of Dimmitt tomorrow night.  She and Scott said that it would be fine and were happy to have us.  Suzie said for us to call the vet’s office to see if they could come out today or tomorrow.  The vet Mark Birkenfeld came out and gave Durango a head to hoof full checkup and gave him a clean bill of health!  He said he has a lot more miles in him and to keep doing what we are doing!  This man took the time to go over every single area of Durango and explain to Winston what looked good and what we should watch. He said he looked lean and muscular and just how he should be looking for a journey of this length.  He is walking 20 miles a day which is what is keeping him lean! A new fitness plan for everyone!  He was so nice and so helpful and we felt so much better after talking to him.  We felt great about DB’s checkup and were so appreciative of Mark!  And then Mark would not take our money!  He said it was his pleasure to help out and he would be following along on our blog to see where we are!  God bless Mark!

    Eugene asked us if we wanted to have a cookout!  They were going to move the 4H meeting to their house and we would get to meet the kids and their parents.  He cooked us this amazing barbeque meal and I got to watch how the kids learn to judge horses.  It is very involved and these little kids were great at it.  They were all so cute!  Scott and Jane Bagley and their son Tell were also there so we were so happy to meet them since we will be staying with them tomorrow.  And then Suzie surprised us and came to visit with her mom and her daughter Addy and they brought us homemade tortillas!  We were so happy to meet her and I felt as though I already knew her.  Addy loved Durango and told us that she wants to be a princess on a horse so her mom is trying to arrange for her to get a horse.  Suzie brought Winston this beautiful ceramic plaque and she said she felt sure that Winston already felt this quote with Jonathan.  It said …A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart. That could also be the theme on this journey for all the friends we have made.  On the back she etched Phillipians 4:19 ….. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  And then she wrote Journey for Jonathan, Dimmitt, TX.  It brought tears to Winston’s eyes that she thought ahead to make this for him and I know we will always treasure it as a reminder of this amazing journey that we are on. 
We enjoyed our meal and the wonderful company of the 4H club and their parents.  It was such an enjoyable evening and we are so grateful for the hospitality of these lovely people.  Eugene told me he wants to be in a movie so I am going to have to keep my eye out for the perfect part for him!  I told him he should only agree if he is the star of the movie! 

     So, tomorrow we set out for Scott and Jane’s house ten miles outside of Dimmitt.  Then the next day we will head north on 385 to Julie Butler’s house five miles north of Hereford.  Julie went to college with Winston and they were on the Rampage Student newspaper together at Angelo State University.  Winston credits Julie with giving him his first news story assignment which eventually led to his journalism degree. I can’t wait to meet her and Winston is anxious to catch up with her. 

     Well, that is all for now.  I am sorry it took me so long to post this blog.  We had our hands full this week and then we stayed at places with no internet.  Thankfully the Corrales family let us use theirs tonight!  I know some of you were getting withdrawal symptoms so you said from no blog update!!  Keep praying for us and keep spreading the word!  If people keep sharing our story on their facebook pages, we may not have to worry about places to stay all the way to Wind River!  That would be awesome!  The other day I told Winston that I wanted to ride Durango for a day or two to relieve some of the stress that I deal with every day trying to find places to stay and feed and hay and internet and food and dump stations and I would let him do all of that for a day or two.  Of course that plan would never work because I have never ridden a horse except once Jonathan got me on one with Winston at his land in Gatesville so since I don’t know how to do it Durango would probably take me to Canada or Mexico!! And the other part wouldn’t work because Winston is not organized enough to do my part of the journey!!  But, that is why we make a good team.  So I guess we will just stick to our own jobs and do the best we can every day.  Hart’s job every day is to just look cute and to cuddle with us when we need it.  He is doing an awesome job!  DB’s job is to get Winston to Colorado on Jonathan’s saddle and he is steadily doing that every day!  God has a hand in every step of this journey and in my heart I know Jonathan does too.  On to glory and on to Colorado!!


Donna, (Winston, Hart and Durango too)


Gayle Anderson said...

Donna and Winston.... I cry and laugh and send prayers to y'all every time I read more of your journey.... I read it out loud to Travis as we sit at home and I can assure you, I know the terrain that you are in..... I would drive from San Angelo to different parts of New Mexico and Colorado several times a year.... I can see and smell and taste every part of what you write... your journey is VERY blessed as you already know... thank you for documenting in such a way that we all get to enjoy your trail and experiences..... We love you both and pray for more blessings .... keep up the good walk Durango and we are glad that you are feeling better and we are soooo glad that Hart went through Hart!!!!! Love the pics!!!! hugs and love, Gayle and Travis....

Kelly Chance said...

You and Winston do make a perfect team. Thank God for that! We miss you terribly. I feel like you are in another country right now and wonder how long it will be before we see you again. It is hard to believe you are right there in Texas, our neighbor to the West. Stay safe, keep writing, and remember we love you and Winston so much. You too Hart and Durango too even though we have never met. Mom

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until the next chapter you post . We are all on the journey with you and pray for you, it is AMAZING the generosity, testimonies, and the love that surround you each day. My daughter went to school with Jonathan and his Mom is the sweetest thing . Blessings to you !!!