Our last two days of travel have been long mileage days. We had a lovely ride over the summit of Sonoma Mountain after our goodbye breakfast with the Emery’s. The horses were fresh and walking out at a fast pace. We made great time down the other side of the mountain on the road and into Napa. We passed through several miles of residential area and eventually came to Im0la Ave. where the ride became intense! This was the biggest, busiest, and fastest road we have ridden along to date. It passed under a major highway, through many stop lights, and over a very steep bridge over the Napa River. Thankfully, there was a bike lane most of the way, but the traffic was a bit unnerving. On the short distance over the bridge, we were honked at and excitedly yelled at (“yeeee haww!”) more times than the whole trip put together! The horses were absolutely on their best behavior and never flinched a muscle through that whole intense section of road, even despite the honks and noise! Thank God for the horses he provided us with- they are very steady and adjusting to traffic like pros. And Richard mustered up the courage to ride Satchmo through this traffic and over the bridge as he continues to work through his fear of heights/drop-offs and riding in general since the accident. His ability to deal with these situations is definitely improving, and we thank God for the strength, courage, and peace He provides Richard while moving past these new fears. That night, we camped at a nice campground and laughed as Satchmo made friends with the ladies in the window while we checked in!
In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast with a nice couple that works at the campground, then headed out to meet a gentleman out on the trails so he could escort us over his property to the neighbor’s. We were quite excited to have an escort so we wouldn’t get lost, but we took a wrong turn before we even got to the trails! Fortunately, we only added an extra mile, and John came and found us. That afternoon’s ride was over more beautiful green rolling hills filled with meadows, oak trees, and cattle. From the top, it appears that these are the last of the hills we will be going over until we pass Sacramento. We are happy about this, since we are struggling (as expected) with the horses having sore muscles and getting mild saddle sores. Fiddle is also struggling with her pack swaying when she goes down hill because she is not in shape well enough yet to walk in a way that prevents this. We have done everything we can to minimize this, but unfortunately, this problem can only be fixed with time and stronger muscles. The next many miles of flat terrain will give the horses a long stretch to build up muscle with less chance of the saddles and gear rubbing them. We finished the day by going down the other side of the hills through another couple’s property, which was also beautiful- and they gave us chocolate chip cookies! Not a mile later, another nice neighbor gave us homemade, gourmet, all natural honey- which we are very excited to have! Then Jan- who has been helping us with a place to stay in Fairfield- met us on the road and escorted us to our next stop. We were hoping to continue and not rest again so soon, but since it is Easter weekend, we are staying with a couple who shares our faith, and we have been invited to a wonderful church- we are considering staying for the holiday. It is, after all, the most precious holiday for Christians – to celebrate our salvation because Jesus died for our sins! So it is special for us that we are staying with a family who celebrates for the same reason. Either way- praise God we are resting today because it is raining AGAIN! We have been pouring over maps today to plan our best route through the city and to Rio Vista. We also swung by the Air Force Base to try to find someone to escort us across the base (ha ha) to save us over 10 miles. They didn’t even let us in. I’m pretty sure we’ll be riding around the base! Happy Easter and Hugs from Richard and Jeannette!