So continuing our journey from Stockton, MO…
After a day shy of two weeks, we finally saddled up and put Stockton to our west. Having experienced the joys of surprise company, frustrations of being sick, despair of losing our boots to fire, thrill of getting to know Bella better, and best of all, the blessing of making new friends, it was a bit difficult to say goodbye to Matthew and Heather York. We almost felt like we were part of the family when we left. But the Mississippi calls, and so we must continue.
Matthew cooked us a hearty breakfast, then helped us pack and get the horses ready. Then he drove a mile down to his parents, whom we stopped to say goodbye to on our way by. ‘Good people’ that family, good people. As was Heather’s folks who let me invade their home many times during that two weeks to use their computer. I think they were becoming accustomed to coming home from work with someone already in their house to greet them!
Then Richard and I and our four legged gang headed north on the main road into Stockton to pass by the Courthouse and say goodbye to Heather. Bella was on a leash and getting a crash course in being walked from a horse. But Apache is a patient teacher and was very attentive and careful not to step on her when she got under foot nor kick at her when she wrapped her leash around behind him. Thankfully, there was a kind passerby there exactly when I needed her help as Bella wrapped herself around a mailbox! But, in Bella’s true nature, she learned very quickly and after the three miles to Stockton, she was nearly a pro.
We said our finally goodbyes to Matthew and Heather in town, as well as a few other curious locals and the lady from the newspaper. Time to go before we cry….
As we headed east toward the road that goes over the Stockton Lake Dam, we swung by the post office. We are not, after all, immune to the chores of the IRS. Yep- we had to do our taxes too. But it was amusing to mail our taxes in from the back of a horse in the drive through mail boxes! Wish I could have sent a picture to the IRS agent along with the envelope!
The ride along the dam was quite beautiful and much quieter than the rest of the day following highway 32.
We stayed that night with friends of the Yorks who were very sweet and accommodating. I think Bella was confused and missed Matthew and Heather and her dog friends, but she quickly took to Carol and Earl and their dog as well. It was kind of weird being back on the move after two weeks, but it was nice to have a very comfortable first night.