The day we left Nick and his family I think takes the cake for ‘most turns in one day’ on this trip. I had written them all down on a piece of paper so we didn’t have to keep looking at the map since the longest we stayed on any one road was like 2 miles. It was pretty though, and mostly quiet. It was a rare (now that we are out East) opportunity to get focused on my “saddle horn office” and get a lot of work done while we rode.
Once again, we didn’t know where we were spending the night, so we started asking locals for ideas around dusk. They all pointed us to the same house on the Fariss Farm. So we rode down their driveway. The first thing we noticed was that one of the names on the sign was the same as a politician’s we had seen on campaign signs as we rode. We didn’t know anything about him, but there were big “Thank You” notes on his signs (apparently he’d won the election) and that gave him big brownie points in our book. We found out fast enough that Charles and Carole were the parents of this man, that they had hosted a cross country bicycle rider a few years ago, and that of course we could stay the night!
We unloaded all our gear under their carport, sat and had supper with them, and enjoyed their stories while listening to Charles very cool old style southern Virginia accent. We also spent some time in their office dealing with some critical and urgent matters that arose that morning. There aren’t too many people that have a fax machine and scanner at their fingertips- and we had access to one the exact night we needed it. Thank God for attention to details before we even know what we need!
While we were packing the horses under the car port the next morning, the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down. We had no intent to stop for a day, but the forecast said that today was the only bad rain day in the near future, and it was cold and seriously dumping. After hemming and hawing for 15 or 20 minutes, we finally decided to unpack and stay warm in the interest of not getting sick. So we did lots of administrative work instead.
The following day was dreary, misty, and chilly, but at least not pouring. We rode past many farms, and Bella came nose to nose with a bull strength electric fence. This resulted in her howling, bolting across the road, and yiping at a dead run in the opposite direction. Thankfully, she came back to us when we called her, nearly climbing up on my head in fright. So there we sat in the middle of the road, holding and calming Bella until her racing heart slowed and her tail started to come out from between her legs. Within 20 minutes, she was back to her normal self trotting down the road happily. She has been with us for 10 months now and I think she trusts us so much more now than she did the last time she got hit with an electric fence. What a difference! From 3 days to 20 minutes of being back to normal!
Several people had driven by us that day and warned, “you do know it’s going to be like 24 degrees tonight right?” Well, no, but oh well. So when ‘Nappy’ met us on the road with her golf cart and invited us to stay with them, we checked our mileage for the day, said ‘good enough’ and ‘yes, thank you!’ I definitely don’t mind avoiding the tent on cold nights!
Nappy and her son Buck made us and our animals very comfortable and welcomed. Buck asked the best questions too. We even got to see them again the next night when they brought hay and grain for the horses.
We had ridden through more rural country and once again, it was dusk when we finally found a area that wasn’t all thickly treed and tried to find a place to stop. We knocked on a door to ask about permission to highline the horses to the trees in back of an abandoned meeting building. They sent us to the neighbor, an old man living alone. He had read about us in the paper and was tickled pink to meet us, let alone have the opportunity to help! He didn’t want our horses to be so close to the road at night, so he offered the trees in his back yard, and invited us inside for the night. He wasn’t able to get around very well and he had care takers check in on him twice a day to make meals and such. But what he had he offered to us. We were blessed by his hospitality, excitement, and kindness. And once again, we were reminded (through the people who have shown this to us) how you are never too poor, too sad, too busy, too unprepared, too old, or too anything to not offer hospitality and to share what you have. Thank you to everyone who falls in one of these categories or in any “too” category I didn’t mention who has, without hesitation, generously offered what they had.