Sunday, 7 December 2008

Journey Complete

I'm not going to bore you with details of my horrendously long journey to get out here, but glad to say I've arrived safetly, albeit a bit shell shocked ! In case anyone is wondering what the Knicker mention is all about ............. In their wisdom, at Washington Airport, Customs decided I looked like the typical middle aged drugs smuggler from England, and had a good search of my suitcases..........these had to be abandoned to their mercy, as I was in danger of missing my connection. All was well that ends well, and when I arrived at El Paso....lo and behold there were my suitcases safetly on the tarmac. What a fantastic view of El Paso, as you arrive on the rickerty 40 seater plane over the snow capped mountains. Although my heart was in my mouth, I had to keep on looking......... The passenger next to me sang hymns all the way over, which speaks volumes !!!!!

I've had a fantastic welcome from Candy, Bernie,Melissa, and numerous friends who have been looking after me fantastically well, as well as taking me out and about, and were waiting to meet me at the airport. Until Bob arrived, I stayed at the beautiful home of Bernie and Melissa, and their Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy,Kinja, who is an absolute sweetie...........I want to kidnap him and take him home with me, not forgetting to mention,Peaches, the smaller than life cat. I was totally in my element, playing with animals the whole time. I cannot thank Bernie and Melissa enough for all their hospitality........ they made me feel so at home, and even though I had never met them before, I feel as though we have made friends for life.

Anyway, enough about my exploits, and on to the important bits of the blog. Bob had been steadily riding towards his final destination when we last spoke, without mishap, and as I was unable to maintain any sort of contact with him before I left, information has been very sparse. Lois and John Carroll very kindly put him up for two days, as well as all the running around they had done prior to that .......thank you from the bottom of our hearts, we would have been lost without you. They had also been keeping me informed of his whereabouts, as had Chip, so I knew he was safe. I hope I can meet up with them before we return to England, as they have done so much for Bob.

Bernie and I drove out looking for Bob on 1 Dec, late afternoon, but had no joy for a long time, and it was dark by the time I spotted Cody and Tigers tied up next to Lois and John's trailer, with Bob cosily tucked up inside, down a dirt track. As there was no room inside the trailer, and it was freezing cold outside, we had a quick ten minute hello, and then went back to our home comforts. Bob looked well, and the horses looked fantastic, and we arranged a rendevous for the next morning when Bob was doing the final ride to the city limit .............needless to say, by this time, El Paso TV was on his trail, as were inumerable reporters.

On 2 Dec, we drove out out meet Bob late morning, and spotted the boys riding up the very busy Highway on the hard shoulder, pursued by the TV cameras and reporters. He was looking remarkably cheerful, and I've got to admit I shed quite a few tears when I saw them coming towards me. As Bob had to cross from one side of the Highway to the other, the El Paso police blocked the road for a safe crossing into the Sheriff's headquarters. The next hour or so were taken up with us being interviewed by the press and TV,and people milling around wanting to congratulate Bob. As the city boundary sign was about another half mile up the road, Bob then decided he wanted to ride up to that with Cody and Tigers.........I would mention that he was unable to ride right through El Paso, because of safety and traffic conditions, and we were planning to ride to the city boundary, and then ride from the Sheriff's Posse area, the following day to the border. Friends of Bernie and Melissa had brought their trailer along, and the horses were then picked up and we drove the remaining miles to the Sheriff's Posse area, where the horses were corralled, fed and watered. They will remain here for the duration of our stay.
Can I say a heartful thanks to Bernie's friends for trailering the horses for us, and Keith at the Sheriff's Posse Arena for all his help in looking after Cody and Tigers.I have taken loads of photos, and the cam-corder has had a lot of use, so when I have free time will be doing photos on the blog.

Bob and I were then taken to the Holiday Inn near the Airport, where we were given a fantastic courtesy room for the duration, with drinks and gifts in the room. Our thanks to the management and staff of the Holiday Inn for their generosity. That evening the Hotel held a reception for us, together with a competion to make the best Margaritas......Bob didn't win. Bernie and Melissa belong to a Western re-enactment group, called Six Guns and Shady Ladies, and a lot of their members turned up that evening to meet us. A good night was had by all, and thanks to everyone for a warm and wonderful welcome.

The following day, we decided to take it easy, and do the border ride the following day, so that we could both do catch up. So , on 4 Dec Bernie, Melissa, Candy and myself drove out to the Sheriff's Posse Area, saddled up the horses, and Bob and Bernie rode to the Mexican border. Due to the unrest there, the border patrols are in high profile, and would not let him actually ride over, but we both quickly walked over to take some photos, while the patrol car was out of the way. Just for the record, I had a quick "leg up" on Tigers, and we rode around for a while, but I decided not to ride him back to the Posse arena .........what a wimp I am ! Melissa and Bob did the return trip, and I think Bob felt quite emotional as this was his last ride on the boys.

I have been taking loads of pictures, and due to the time factor of downloading them to the internet and the blog site, am leaving posting them until I return to England after 16 December. However, I would like to put some on of the final miles, and everything that has happened since.

We are now busy looking for a good home for our boys, and have several people interested, so will keep you all posted on this........our concern is that they are homed together, preferably for the rest of their lives, and that they will have the sort of life they are used to .........riding in the great outdoors. Bob and I are quite choked up at the thought of saying goodbye to them, as we know it will be very difficult, particularly for him. When we go to visit them at the Arena, they are following him and watching him the whole time, and you can see the bond that has formed between the three of them. I dread the day they go, as I think we'll all be in tears, but we must think of them first.

Anyway, enough of all this emotion.I thought I would fill you in on a few things that have happened during our stay..... most importantly of all, we visited Rosa's Cantina, and what a welcome we had. The place was filled with people and they applauded Bob when we arrived...they were all taking photos and asking for his autograph, and a customer who had come in the day before had paid for our meal. Thank you so much to Mac and Enedina Snodgrass for your generosity. We were also given sweat shirts from Rosa's Cantina (not forgetting to mention sweatshirts from the University of El Paso, Texas,which we had been given previously.)
Needless to say, Marty Robbins was playing............ El Paso City. What a lovely welcome, and what lovely people.

I shall be blogging periodically with information for the next week until we leave America, and will let you know everything that is going on.......... I'm already feeling quite sad that it is all coming to an end. Roll on the next adventure, we can't stop here !

In the meantime, my sincere thanks to everyone in El Paso who has helped us so much, particularly Candy, Bernie, Melissa, Leesy and all the other people too numerous to mention that we have met, who have given us such a warm and openhearted welcome. Thanks, everyone who has been putting messages on the blog site, and for all the support we have been given throughout this trip. I love you all !

Keep watching, and I will post again with the closing entries before I leave to follow from England. In the meantime we are sightseeing in El Paso and enjoying ourselves.

Message to my kids.Thanks for the e-mail, Liz. Cannot e-mail you back, as the hotel computer won't let me in to send e-mails. But everything is ok this end. See you on 16 December.


Vicki O said...

I have been watching your progress since you left Moline's in Williston North Dakota..Sorry for your set back..but am so happy you make the trek. I just wish you could have taken the boys home with you. With respect Vicki Ostert

Jamie said...

Jamie P from Holyoke:

CONGRATULATIONS, BOB, TIGERS AND CODY!!!! What a fantastic thing you have done, I followed your trip, wishing I could have been right along with you. Dreamed as a little girl of doing just what you did, thanks to Mrs. for doing a great job on blog which allowed me to ride along in spirit, prayed for your safety daily. How hard it will be for you to part with the horses, I just can't imagine. Hope you do decide to write a book, see if Cabela's would help sponsor it here in the States!!! So take some down time and then dream up a new adventure!!! Carpe Diem!!

mystic lane said...

A cheery Hello and a BRAVO for a job well done! for Bob, Tigers, and Cody for their remarkable trip and for Jan faithfully keeping us up to date on your adventures. It has been a fabulous journey for all of us on so many levels.
All will be well with Tigers and Cody. You will find the perfect home!
Peace and cheers,

Jazz said...

Dear Bob and Jan, Cody and Tigers,
I so wish that I could have come out to El Paso to meet you in person. I wouls have liked to ride with you a bit before you return to England. I am so proud of you both and I am glad that I saw your original post online and was able to hook you up with the Long Riders Guild. You have accomplished something that I have always wanted to do.
I have a friend here that wants to do a long ride now along the original Oregon Trail from St Joseph Missouri to somewhere in Oregon. He would like to do that this coming summer and he wants me to accompany him. I am going to check into that this winter.
We will see what happens
Anyway, I can't wait to read your book, I just know you must have something in mind ! lol At least I hope so.
Best Regards, your friend in Tennessee..

Rocky said...

My congratulations.....after meeting with you and riding with you, I kew you would make it. How about we do it again???? Most of all I have to thank Jan for keeping up and supporting you on all of your ride. It was truly a team effort.

J Prude said...

I've loved reading about your adventure. I once went on a 5 day pack trip and thought I'd really done something! I am Joel Bell's cousin from Artesia. NM. My daughter is going to be spending the next 6 months in London beginning Dec. 29. I wonder if you have any advice for her since you have learned a lot about our culture on your trip. I would love to hear from you when you get home and have had time to recuperate some. Thanks and God bless you as you return to the boring real world!
J. Prude
Artesia, NM

Jazz said...

Hope you are well ?? Havent heard from you?? Whats happening?? Are you ok, did you sell your horses, are you still here in the states?
Yours Sue

Maggie said...

Maggie Lee from Lincoln, UK. I have been religiously following your blog on the long ride until you arrived in El Paso but have not heard anything since.
Have you arrived back in the UK? Did you find homes for the horses? I bet they will find it difficult to settle in one place. When I did a short long ride, my pony took ages to settle back down into the daily routine.
Hope we hear from you soon.