Saying goodbye to Bev and Anne was a bit hard. Not only were they sweet, generous, and loving, but they had become friends over the 2 and a half weeks we spent in Pueblo. They started as friends of a dear friend, and now will remain on our list of very special people in our lives. They were our cheerleaders, supporters, chauffeurs, coordinators, and encouragers. They helped us with our media interviews, speaking engagements, access to computers, vehicles to and from all the places we needed to get, and joined us for a little fun here and there during our ‘rest’ stop- not to mention cooked so amazingly for us that we both gained a few pounds! This was the largest town we have ridden through since Sacramento, so many necessities have been piling up to take care of in a town with adequate resources. (The largest town we have seen in 8 months was just over 3,000 in population while Pueblo was over 100,000!) Not to mention we had hours and hours of updates to add to the website that required long use of a computer and a simultaneous date with a web designer to help us. We can’t thank Bev and Anne enough for their help, time, contacts, and resources in making those two weeks of hard work very successful.
While we are thanking people, We’d like to extend thanks to Mike for his hours on the phone with me to help update the website, to Lucas for his hours helping us stay sane while he somehow figured out from Wyoming how to run the computer we were borrowing, to Barb and Anne for lending their computers, to Jay for the chiropractic and body work he did on all our horses, to Chuck for employing Richard for a couple days to help us pay for some expenses and give us a little fun money, to Theresa and Lonny and their daughters for their excellent care of our horses during their rest weeks, to Jake for his many contacts and help in so many ways, to Dick and the American Discovery Trail gang who provided us with a fun dinner out as well as contacts, press releases, and warm shirts, to Rob for the extra winter gear he gave us, to Dave for his marketing advice, and to so many others who donated hay or grain, provided contacts, took us out to eat, gave us new jeans, helped us plan our route, gave us media interviews, made phone calls on our behalf, and so many behind the scenes workers who we may never know how they helped yet we appreciate each and every effort. The city of Pueblo has rivaled the friendliness of many of the small towns we have passed through- and that is impressive for a city. We were so warmly welcomed and assisted and we are truly grateful. It was a perfect springboard to getting out of ‘survival’ mode now that we are out of the desert and mountains, and getting full swing into ‘fundraising’ mode for Hearts Up Ranch.
Getting going again after 2 1/2 weeks stopped was kinda like getting a fully loaded big rig truck moving uphill…. slow and steady. We weren’t feeling terribly motivated after crossing all the hardest terrain and having flat scenery and winter to look forward to. And the horses weren’t terribly interested in walking fast after their relaxing couple of weeks. We made it 12 miles the first day, and that felt like an eternity of a long day! Ha!…. we’ve done 30 miles before and 12 felt long?! Well…. we’ll get cruising again- it may just take a week or so to get in the groove. It was, however, an entertaining day. Chuck rounded up a crowd of horse lovers- from teens to adults- to join us on our ride. We had a total of 15 riders and 17 horses at one point! Even Bev came along and rode Fiddle.
Our horses spent the night at Rebecca and Dennis’ house… and we nearly did too. We left our gear at Bev and Anne’s house intending to sleep there one more night because the new location of our horses was just as close to their house as the last. But we spent a wonderful evening with Rebecca and Dennis. Some people you just really click with and they become lasting friends after just a day together. We talked deeply and passionately about God, life, heartache, dreams, and experiences and connected in a very real way. It was a special evening and we didn’t care that the next day would be a late start after staying up until 1 in the morning!