Woooooo hooooooo!!!!!!!! Let me say it again – Woooooooo hooooooo!!!!!!! I can’t portray enough how excited, relieved, and encouraged we are to reach our very first state line!
We crossed into Nevada in mid afternoon on Friday, May 14th on highway 88. It feels so good to know that no matter what, this achievement is accomplished! We rode across an entire state! Yeahhh!
The last week and a half have been quite a wirlwind! After returning from a very special but quick trip to Yosemite, we and our horses were transported back up to Cook Station where we left off. IT WAS SNOWING. Shorts and a tank top one day, shivering the next. We got a good 6 inches that night. Thank God for the family who lived there – they invited us in that evening to get warm by their fire before we ran back out and jumped into our sleeping bags. They even surprised us with elk stew- which was very appreciated since our stove was not cooperating in the wind and cold and we didn’t want to eat bad enough to fight with it!
In the morning, our dear friend Tammy met us with her truck. We loaded all the gear and horse feed into the bed so we could keep the horses light and move along quickly on the highway. We tied our sign to her tailgate so people would know why they were being held up on the road by her going so slow with her flashers on behind us. By the time we were ready to go, the ice and snow on the roads from the night’s storm was mostly melted, so we started our journey over the Sierra’s via highway 88. The first day wasn’t bad at all, except for the brief snow squall. We learned quickly to have our chase vehicle stay fully in the lane we were riding and not move over to let people pass unless there was a safe place. Otherwise- people tried to pass in ridiculously unsafe places. That night, the plow truck drivers took us under their wings and plowed out a special spot on the pass for us to stop and camp for the night. That was pretty cool! We had our own plow truck guardian angels! Grayson, our chase vehicle volunteer for the rest of the days found us just as we were stopping to camp, so we had dinner together and said our goodbyes to Tammy.
Now let me tell you about the blessing that Grayson was to us! He showed up with a truck with a camper on it and a small trailer, as well as water containers, repair supplies, and food for all 3 of us for up to 5 days. We loaded all our gear in his trailer, put our sign on the back, and were invited to move into the trailer and the bed inside! We had cabinets to put our things in, a bed to sleep in, a bathroom – even to use during the day (which made me REAL happy since I wouldn’t have to get cozey with the snow on the side of the highway!) AND he cooked us 3 meals a day- that were not only delicious- but stuffed us to the gills every time! He patiently followed behind us- at 3 miles per hour- for 3 days! Richard and I were so blessed- we felt like we were staying at the 4 Seasons as we rode over the mountains! God truly orchestrated this beyond our wildest imagination!
The road was a bit treacherous at times. We rode through an avalanche area (that had partially slid the night before!) and it was an extremely tense mile of watching and listening. There was a wall of snow on our right side that went well over our heads even on horseback, and we nearly jumped out of our skin every time we heard a little snow ball dislodge and roll down the hill. There were a lot of blind corners on the highway, but one particularly bad one on the downhill side made us trot quickly to get away from it before any trailer trucks came barreling around the corner. We quickly observed when the primary hours were for trailer truck drivers to pass through, and we avoided being on the road during those times. Many drivers were very considerate and careful, but many were not. We were very thankful that Tammy and Grayson gave up their days to protect us with their vehicles.
In all, we spent only 3 nights in the snow, and it only took 4 days to cross the Sierra’s. We made really good time, and enjoyed our company. We had a blast taking pictures and video with big smiles when we reached the “Welcome to Nevada” sign. Now we are ready to take on our next state with excitement and optimism!