Dale and Jonna welcomed into their home like family. It was a short 7 miles to their house from the campground, and Dave brought our gear for us so we could go light and continue to let the horses rest a bit. We found their house without a problem, rode up their driveway and were welcomed with hugs all around. We let the horses go to mow their yard for the next couple days on their fenced in property. They ushered us into the house, fed us a snack, and sent us to the bathroom for a bubble bath! I can’t even remember the last time I slowed down enough to have a bubble bath! It was SO AWESOME!
Jonna and Dale cooked us a wonderful dinner and we spent hours around the table sharing stories and getting to know their family. Richard went to a Walmart- a real culture shock- with their son Joe and had a blast. Dale took us on a long drive to find a route to Pueblo because highway 50, our initial plan, went through a very narrow and dangerous canyon. I just feel so loved when people care enough about our safety that they take a large portion of a day to help us find a new route to avoid dangerous areas. They also took us to see some local attractions, out to lunch, and to their church in Salida where we thoroughly enjoyed an opportunity to worship Jesus with our fellow Christians. We miss not getting to go to church regularly- only when we are in civilization on a Sunday. Maybe that will get easier as we get further east. They warmly welcomed us at their church, announcing our mission with Hearts Up Ranch and sharing our goal of riding across America. After the service, we got to talk to many people who showed interest in supporting us.
Dale’s brother, Matthew, was also in town visiting from Missouri and hunting for elk. We enjoyed his stories about tornados, and he gave us directions to his house in Missouri so hopefully we will see him again if our journey takes us near his area. At least we will not be going through the mid west in tornado season!
Sometime in the middle of our first night there, the sensor light on the porch came on and we heard thumping on the porch. The house is built on a hill so the porch is hanging over a fairly large drop down to their driveway below. In my half-asleep state of mind, I thought – “sounds like a horse, naaah- can’t be.” Then fell back to sleep. Our horses will go anywhere and I am not exactly worried about them, but I really didn’t think they’d bother coming on the porch. But in the morning, Jonna shared her side of the story. She heard the thumping too and must have woken up more than me, because she knew that it was a horse on her porch! She was so worried that it would get scared of something and jump through the railing off the cliff! Then she was worried a hoof would go through the wood and hurt it! But whichever horse it was (I’m guessing Tiska), curiosity satisfied, walked of the porch and didn’t come back up. Wish I got a picture of that one!
Then two days later, the horses decided that a cattle guard was not sufficient enough to keep them from exploring, so while we were at church, they all jumped over it and went down the road and met the neighbors! One of the neighbors shooed them back, and they jumped back over the cattle guard before he could open the gate. We never would have known they ever went on a field trip if he hadn’t left a message on their answering machine! Now we know that cattle guards are not going to keep our horses in- which is really important to know- because it can be extremely dangerous for horses to get in the habit of jumping cattle guards. If they miss and get a foot caught, that can mean a broken leg in an instant. I guess there are pros and cons of having horses as independent and adventurous as we are!