Thursday, May 31, 2012

Howdy Y'all! How it all started......

This blog is about our horseback riding journey from our home here in southwest Mississippi, to New Mexico. How an old married couple, Bobby and Debbie (the blogger here), both being hardheaded and stubborn as the other, came to this and how it progresses (or not) along the way. From the very start with just a thought, come take this journey with us from the preparation to....where~ever we may conclude.
I am new to this blogging stuff, so please bare with me here. WARNING, blog will often contain religious content. Also, if proper use of grammar and punctuation is a must for you, then you just might wann'a avoid reading this blog! We have the wants and needs of our good Lord with us, and I have a tendency write with the same slang I speak in! 
Ok, you've been forewarned.
Now, giddy up and ride along with us on our journey and let's GO! YEEHAWW!!!!
Several weeks ago, (more like about a month ago) I had a couple days off from my job. Thinking I could catch up a few things up around here (laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc., etc.). Instead, I was sick my entire time off. The day I got to really feeling better, I got to thinking. So much has been going on in our lives lately. It's been a non-stop emotional roller coaster the past few years. Family issues, family deaths, the truly awesome event of my niece's oldest son (with CF) receiving a double lung transplant recently and now he is doing beyond awesomely!! Praise the good Lord!!! We have such an amazing God!
I'm not real sure which of the thoughts I had then, that brought me into the idea of us riding our horses from our home here in southwest Mississippi to New Mexico....but it just literally popped into my head!
Yes, and I do mean by horseback, primitive camping along the way, there and back!
I do know why I choose New Mexico, its been the land of my dreams. Every since I lived there as a young child at home and my Dad was a mining prospector there. I learned how to pan for gold when I was 5 yrs old and we were living atop a hill in Gold Dust, New Mexico. Some of my fondest memories are from living there and other places we lived in New Mexico. Including the places in N.M. I have lived at since my childhood days and with my own family.

 I figure we have no certain time to be any where, so we will get there when we get there, and return home when~ever. Get up before day break, tend to the horses and us, heading out at the crack of dawn before the temps rise too high. Then mosey along riding till about 11am'ish then hang out where ever we are. Possibly setting up camp there or maybe in the evening on down a little ways. Taking days off as we need too. Taking care of our riding stock is #1 priority on our journey. Plus, they are our best friends too :)

Bobby came in later that day I was feeling better and I couldn't wait to tell him my idea. Let's take us a journey and ride our horses to New Mexico from here. I can't believe how he stood there in front of me and didn't give me his usual response of "huh?" or "what?" He just said, I'm ready, let's do it. I told him I was being serious. After all we have to eat any ways, the horses have to eat, so lets put the 2 together and really enjoy our life! I expressed to him that at our ages, I'm 57, and he's 69, we need to do what we're gonn'a do NOW! Life's just too short. Again, he said to me, then let's plan on it and just do it! Seriously, I didn't even have to try and convince him!
Can't say what he felt, but it felt to me like a ton of bricks falling off of me right then and there. I just felt free, my life seem to declutter in that decision in more ways than one! Flooding me to the core of my soul with such total calmness as I have never felt before.
As the days ever so slowly go by now, we're like a couple of young'ens, excited and anxious to get out on the trail heading West. We can hardly wait till that day is here, when we load up and ride off into the wild blue yonder! YEEHAWW!!!!!
For Mother's Day, Bobby bought me a matching set of saddle bags and saddle horn bags: :) I'm sure gonn'a be using them.

Our journey friends (proposed) includes; Red, a 6-7 yr old gelded, thoroughbred horse Bobby will be riding. Flicka, (our grandson Daniel named her) a 5 yr old thoroughbred-quarter horse mare that I will be riding. I've recently learned that my horse Flicka is also an x race horse. Jake, our pack mule. Diamond, a 3yr old quarter horse mare, because she doesn't ever want to be left behind. We also think carrying another ride makes some sense. Can't leave behind our Toot-Toot either! She is our 16 yr old yorkie. I have another trick up my sleeve I am going to (maybe) bring with us, if it's at all possible. I just can't say yet.

Time to tell the Kiddo's (grown Kiddo's) I called and told my daughter about our intended journey. She was afraid I had a high fever right then, or maybe my cold medicine was kicking in. She asked that I call her back later. My 3 sons gave me responses from, oh's to the what if's, to ah-huhs. I think my oldest son thought more along the lines of, I have lost my mind. My middle son just told me, oh well, we've never been normal Mom, and our youngest son just listens to what we say.
We told more of the family and friends, the responses have been, Wow, go for it! A few think we've completely lost our minds. Maybe so, so maybe our minds went West? We will soon find out!

So the planning begins! Researching, routes, maps, gear to get, work and prepare the horses, get the horses coggins test, health checks updated and shod. What to bring, and what all not to bring. Cell phone, my laptop, and digital camera are included in the things to bring.
Make preparations at our home place so we can leave it for several months. Turn off electric, phone and internet services while we are away. When do we leave? Oh my! Soooo much to do!!!!!

The 1st major obstacle I had to focus on was crossing the Mississippi River. That's one big mighty river! We tossed several ideas back and forth between us. Finally settling on crossing the bridge in Natchez, MS. into Vidalia, LA. I read a story about one such woman rode her horse over it there in 2009. She and her (2) horses were escorted across. She is known to be the first person to cross that bridge by horseback. Well then, possibly our Jake may be the first mule to cross over it!
I realize I won't be able to solve every possible issue in advance we might could have along the way.  Most will have to be faced head on and figured out along the way. But, isn't that how real life goes anyways?

Having to tell them at my job wasn't an easy task to do at all. I work at a major grocery store chain. Not only leaving from a job in these times, but, I actually like my job, my co-workers, and the customers that come there. I felt teary eyed when I told them I was leaving. It was even harder than I thought it could be. Giving more than a 2 weeks notice and I avoided that word (quitting). I hope I can go back to work there when we return.

One of my friends at work has nicknamed me "Giddy Up" since she heard of our plans. Not that she is at all for what we are doing mind ya, she thinks I need some kind of doctoring! Ha~Ha! Another friend at work has also expressed concerns along this manner also. She keeps asking me if I have re-considered my thoughts lately?  Ha! Gott'a Love my Friends :) I think the others at work are just shocked, speechless, and keeping their thoughts to themselves, Ha~Ha!
I am slowly telling my customers as I see them that my last work day will be on Sunday, June 3rd. I get a lot of gasps of oh-no's, and then I tell them why I am going for now. The responses and questions from them have been in all directions! I will say for the most part they are responses of encouragement!
I'm gonn'a miss everyone, and all will be kept in my prayers and thoughts.

I posted our intended journey on a homesteading forum I've been with for several years now. I asked for any advise, tips, suggestions, anything. I started to get offers from folks on that site inviting us to stop by their place, rest us and our horses, and give us a chance to get to meet our fella homesteader's in person! How AWESOME is THAT!!!!!

Thank-You's goes out each and everyone from the HT forum who has offered. We sincerely appreciate each of you!
Bobby goes and gets hay from Mr. Bond for our horses. Mr. Bond was told about our journey and he gave us a roll of hay to help prepare our horses for the journey! Thank-You so much Mr. Bond! We appreciate Ya :)
Mr. Clark has invited our others horses to come stay at his place and oversee them while we're gone :)
Thank-You Mr. Clark, we truly appreciate this!
A family member contributed a few dollars towards buying stamps to mail out postcards throughout our journey. Thank-You Diane! Appreciated!

Our goal date to leave out is June 6th, or very shortly thereafter.