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The Appalachians welcome us

The ride from Kathy and OH’s farm into Means, KY went smooth. It was a fairly quiet ride through the back roads except for the last couple miles on 460. Patty and Julie surprised us and came by with pictures for us to sign to give to the local businesses that had helped us out. They also brought waterproofer, a down vest, and food to our stop that evening. While Richard was getting high water proofing our packing tarps :), I was taking adorable pictures of Bella who had been adopted by a couple kittens as a surrogate mom. She wasn’t sure what she thought of the whole thing, but she was a good sport.

Later on Kathy drove us and our host, Steve, over to meet a neighbor who had some Icelandic horses. And since those are a rare breed in this country, we were excited to see them. It was pretty cute to see other little Tiska’s running around in the field.

But the most exciting thing came the next day…

We climbed our very first foothill of the Appalachian Mountains!!! :) (or rather, Tiska, Satchmo, Fiddle, Apache, and Chance climbed it) :)

Frenchburg was a bit bigger than we expected, but quite a friendly little town. Though 460 was a bit rough to ride!

We had heard through the local grapevine that the O’Hair’s were willing to host us and we managed to find their house with directions that others had given us. I rode down their driveway to find out if indeed they were expecting us. They welcomed us and our horses with open arms.

We also had met several nice guys along the road as we rode that day, and one of them found us at the O’Hairs and brought us hay. We spent the evening at the restaurant that was owned by a family member who donated our meal, and we got to meet their grandson who was an aspiring cowboy.

So our first day in the foothills was very warm and welcoming. And it wasn’t long until we had our next host lined up too. The O’Hair’s made sure we had somewhere friendly to go the day we left their house.

Our second day in the foothills was incredibly peaceful. We were pleasantly surprised that since our map was made, 460 had been straightened so we had no more nasty blind corners to go around after we left the O’Hairs. We turned off shortly onto some very quiet little mountain roads with very little traffic. It was a blessed relief. It’s the first full day we have had on quiet roads since we left Elizabethtown. Our nerves are getting pretty frazzled constantly being near tons of traffic and drivers who have no common sense, so this day of peace was indeed a welcome change.

We managed to find our next host in the bustling ‘town’ of Toliver. It consisted of about 3 houses, a broke down trailer truck (our landmark to watch for), and oh- in case you weren’t sure- a sign that said Toliver. That’s it. But it was marked on our map just the same.

We set up camp under a covered area with no sides that they store hay under. It was inside the small pasture where our horses would stay, so we tied our lash ropes around the poles of the roof to put a barrier between our tent and curious horses in the night so we wouldn’t get stepped on- scratch that- it’s just Satchmo who’s the bull-in-the-china-shop! But we were glad for the roof since it did rain that night.

Our host Paul, along with all his friends from the surrounding farms, had us over for dinner and visiting. They tried hard to show us how friendly Kentucky is! Paul was in the horse business and I thought it was pretty cool that he had turned out over 20 stallions together with no problem. I also thought it was  pretty cool that he owned a zebra. It had been ridden before, semi successfully, but not for a while. I was invited to ride it “at my own risk” but was suggested by both him and my husband that I take him up on it AFTER this ride across America so I didn’t risk getting hurt 500 miles before we finish. Sigh…. OK….. you’re right….. but I might come back at some point so I can ride a zebra!



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