Sometimes I can’t keep track of how we find our next host- it’s often a bizarre connection- but I do know that the Cross family was very nice. We were kindly escorted to the house for the last 3 miles of our ride so we could find it, offered feed for our horses (they even kicked their cows out of a pen so our horses could stay there), had a home cooked family dinner with good visiting, and enjoyed a quiet night in their ranch bunkhouse. We are getting a real education about ranching- both with cattle and large crops- as we ride across Kansas. There’s a lot more to it than I would have imagined. It’s especially cool hearing about it from people like Pete, the Cross’, and our next hosts- all who have been in it and who’s families have done it for generations on the same ranch!
The funniest part of the stay was a “cat attack!” We unpacked our horses in their old, narrow, low ceiling barn. The ranch had been in the family for many generations so it was your typical old barn. After we were done with the horses, I worked on refilling our lunches with jerky, dried fruit, and such. (Random side-note- thanks to the anonymous good Samaritan who stopped on the side of the road and gave us a bunch of meat, we have plenty of jerky to get us through for a while!) As I was trying to fill my lunch, barn cats started coming out of the woodwork- literally! Most were actually friendly, but they were sneaky and determined to get some of the goods. I was spending more time fending off cats than filling lunch! There were cats climbing head first into our bear canisters, cats fighting on top of our saddle pile, cats dragging baggies of food away, cats on my lap, cats crawling between my legs to get to my lunch bag, cats distracting me and working together while others snuck into the food…. I couldn’t believe it! I was laughing and laughing wishing someone was there to take a picture- 20 something frenzied cats vs. Jeannette trying to defend the food! I think it literally took me 15 minute to fill the lunches in what normal takes 5! They all looked pretty healthy, but I was quite sure there’d be no mice bothering our stuff tonight! (Those have been the most destructive force on this trip next to normal wear and tear!)