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Life in the Appalachians

We made it into Salyersville without too much excitement- especially compared to our morning fast forward descent off the mountain! We did however see a heartbreaking scene. As we rode past one of the exits off the highway, there were two sweet looking, house-pet type dogs, just sitting there at the exit in the road looking confused and frightened. It was obvious that someone had dropped them off. Being that we are on horseback, we couldn’t just put them in the car and take them to the pound where they would at least be safe, fed, and watered. So we did the next best thing and flagged down the first police car that passed.

I told him about the dogs and asked that he would call the pound. The look on his face spoke volumes. He was willing, but it was clearly old news to him that dogs would be abandoned on the highway. This was confirmed later by our Salyersville hosts that indeed, it is a very common occurrence in the area to see abandoned pets and dogs hit on the highway. We even talked to one guy who rescued a dog who he watched with his own eyes get dumped out of a car and it was chasing its owners car down the road.

It just breaks my heart to see pets abandoned with my own eyes and find out that it happens so much that people are calloused to it. It’s cruel and doesn’t just break my heart, but also the pets’ hearts. It would be so much more responsible to take them to the pound if you can’t take care of them anymore. And maybe this sounds heartless, but I’d rather have the owner put the pet down fast and painless than to dump it in the highway for it to get run over or starve and die a slow painful death. It’s heartless and cruel. It’s obvious that people are used to dogs being in the road around here just by looking around, too. We see at least a couple dogs a day with broken legs. Our hunch is that Bella was dropped off somewhere too, and it just makes us hug her tighter and thankful that we can at least give a good home to one lost, scared, and confused pet.

We had met a friend of Rondal’s a few days ago, and he was certain that Rondal would host us at his barn for a rest for the horses. Sure enough, he was right. It wasn’t long after we got there, though, that we realized that Tiska did not make it full speed ahead down the mountain unscathed. She was slightly limping on her left hind (same one she hurt in California when she fell off the cliff), and she had a 1/4 inch cut right in the center of her eye- not good. We made a call to Rood and Riddle in Lexington for some advice about the eye and they comforted us that those injuries usually heal well. We just have to put antibiotic eye ointment in her eye 2-4 times a day until it is healed. That’s encouraging news for something that doesn’t look very good. Her ankle will heal- we will probably just have to stay a couple extra days to rest it. Good thing we were stopping for a rest anyhow.

In the meantime, we have met several nice people including John and Ashley who have made sure we are fed and feel welcome, and Amy who put us in touch with the local media and Added Touch Beauty Salon who trimmed my hair. Then there’s the sheriff and other local business owners who donated any food we wanted from Lee’s Famous Recipe, Dairy Queen, and the Exxon gas station. Plus we met Sarah who hooked us up with a donated dentist appointment by Doctor Higgins of Connelley and Higgins Dentistry in Salyersville. The dentist appointment was a huge blessing as we have not had our teeth cleaned since before we left home. But we were diagnosed with a healthy smile and no cavities! Yaaay! :)

So despite the rough start getting to Salyersville, the people here have been amazingly supportive and kind. As soon as Tiska if better enough to leave, we are very much looking forward to the next week of riding which will get us very close to the eastern border of Kentucky!


  1. My heart breaks for those poor dogs. I can’t imagine abandoning a pet- how awful! My Duncan is be best pal, and I had to hug him extra times thinking about those abandoned animals.

  2. Hey guys, I really can’t explain how I ended up on your alls site, just intense web serfing lol. But The story I just read of how your riding across america, and how you both found jesus at the age of 22 after a not so comforting childhood. Well, I too have a similar background groing up in Tennessee. My parents divorced at an early age leaving my older brother and I to grow up on our own. I am coming to know christ through my relationship with him, and the daily reading of his word. I’ve lived a life full of parties, drugs, and other selfish desires and I know that I could never satisfy all my addictions, because the were destroying me and noone can be satisfied if their dying inside. I turn 22 in december and I just wanted to say, through my rambling, that you two have inspired me to do what I have always dreamed of doing, which is to ridfe horse back across the country! I’ve always wanted to be a cowboy, ever since I was a small kid so I became the next best thing, a musician lol. That was a joke, but I would say It satisfies my deep longing to be apart of something way beyond me, and something much bigger then the whole picture of life. Through god, he inspires me to write words, play the guitar, and sing to my fullest abilities, and he has greatly blessed my with those talents. Id like to get in contact and talk more with you guys if you got this message (which I pray you do) because I think goid stirred me in my heart to reach out to you all, which rarelyyy ever happens, especially over the internet lol, because theres something we might be able to learn from each other. Be safe on your journey and goidbless!

  3. I am the crazy lady that stopped and talked with you guys on 460 today. I hope everything is going well and I will put your link to this on my facebook page!! Please be safe and may God bless both of you!!!

  4. I have watched your progress since you were in Utah. You are so close and getting closer every day. I like to read the blogs. Where are you planning to come out on the coast? Keep on truckin!

  5. Jesse, everyone who calls Jesus Christ both Savior and Lord is already part of something so much larger than ourselves that we cannot fully imagine all of it. I read committment, determination in the face of terrible adversity, leadership and service in your gifts from God, from reading your note. The Apostle Paul was given these same gifts. Whether you apply them near where you live or in a large area is really God’s decision. Pray for discernment of the will of God. Sometimes it arrives quickly; more often, we realize the details over time.

    You are fighting the good fight for Jesus. Keep your spiritual eyes fixed on the final goal and keep on running (as Paul wrote)!

  6. I too get so upset over the idea of just dumping a pet. I actually had the opportunity to talk to a person who had done such an awful thing and she actually justified it (at least in her head). She claimed they just put all the animals down in the shelter (overcrowded) so she couldn’t take them there. And she didn’t want them anymore because they were moving to a place that didn’t accept dogs (grrrr, and why you would even consider that, grrr) so she dropped them off in a place where she figured there were lots of rabbits to catch for food and traffic and people around. That way some loving person would see them and take them in. Her warped mind actually believed she was doing something good. When I started with the fact that her dogs that lived in a house wouldn’t have any idea how to get a rabbit for dinner, she told me I was so wrong. Dogs have an instict to chase squirrels and rabbits and get food. Made me so angry I wanted to dump her on the side of the road in the middle of no where. WWJD, WWJD, WWJD

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