Saturday, 9 August 2008

Alexander To Watford City

Hooray. Received the first photos from Bob. So I'll explain who they are before I continue
the account of his travels

This photo was taken when Bob and Andrew rode to the Canada border at the start of the trip. just to make it official that he did start from the border!

Below is Andrew with his wife and mother. Bob's first stopover at the beginning of the trip.

Here is Mark and Charise Smith with their lovely children. Bob has kept the picture that one of them drew of him on his horse.

This is Jim and Sharon Moline. Notice the dreaded Mosquito repellant on the table. Now Bob knows why they were insisting he took some with him to Williston!
Fred and Myra Eberle at Williston, with the state trooper who held up the traffic while Bob rode across the Missouri river. You can see the bridge he crossed in the background. After he had done this the horses went "down to the river to drink".

I managed to catch up with Bob on the phone last night, so there is quite a bit to tell. Contact was lost the previous night.
After Bob left Fred and Myrna he rode for 15 miles in 93 degrees of heat, pursued by swarms of mosquitos. Apparently, he reckoned when he reached his next stop he had about 40 bites on his face. He was put up for the night, at the last moment by Jed and Melissa Rider, who went out of their way to help him. For this we are both very grateful, and extend our thanks.
The next stage of the journey was a 16 mile ride to Alexander, which I think he found a bit of a struggle, as needless to say it was sweltering hot, and he'd not had much sleep the night before as his eyes had swollen up because of all the bites. About 10 miles out of Alexander, the Mayor, Kay Glick, drove out to meet him. The horses were installed in the Rodeo ground, and she then took him to the"best cafe in town" to eat. I think this was a really lovely gesture ! I'm afraid I don't know the name of the elderly couple who put Bob up (another last minute arrangement) for that night, but my thanks go out to them. I think he was in bed early that night as he needed to catch up on his sleep!!!
When he arrived at the Rodeo ground at Alexander, there was another reporter waiting to meet him, but he didn't do an interview as he was going out with the Mayor, and didn't manage to catch up with the reporter again.
The following day he set out on the 20 mile journey to Watford City. A bit of a disaster occurred on the way. As he was travelling on the soft verges, The pack horse, Tigers, lost his footing and fell over. Bob was convinced he'd broken a leg, but he got to his feet(with all the pack saddles still on his back), and was as right as rain. Needless to say, Bob stopped and gave him a good checkover, but there were no problems. Again, the weather was very hot, but apparently is starting to get a bit cooler, so this should make it more bearable. I've had to check the next week's weather in case of thunderstorms, as they can be very heavy, but it will be dry all week when he's in the foothills.
When I spoke to him last night , he had arrived at the Watford City Fairground , which is on the outskirts of town, and was waiting for an arrival of hay for the horses. He thought he would have to sleep in his tent, but a room had been opened for him. So, he's got electricity and cover, and a corral for his trusty steeds.
I must relay this event that happened as he was riding along Watford City main street when he first arrived. He was riding past this church, and there were a crowd of men all wearing Western hats, together with a man with his hair in plaits who looked of Red Indian origin. As Bob rode past, the said man came up to him and put his hand out to shake Bob's hand, and in his palm there was a 20 dollar bill, which he tried to give Bob. When Bob refused to take it the man said "Please take it, and buy some feed for your horses with it". We've just come out of a service for our friend, who was a lifelong cowboy, who loved horses, and was killed yesterday in a road accident. Please take this in memory of him".
I did some research on the internet last night, and found out the name of the man was Jarrette Johnson, a 64 year old rancher from that area. I was really touched by this, as was Bob, and even though I don't know his family would like to pass on our condolences at this terrible tragedy.

Today, Bob will be riding 17 miles to hit the Maah Daah Hey (The Badlands). From now on, any phone conversations, if I can contact him, will be very brief, as he may not be able to charge his phone for the next 5 days, and needs it for emergencies. This is where the iron rations start!!!!
Keep 'em going, Cowboy Bob!!!!

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