Day 10, June 23, 2012

Day 10: Wake up at 4:30 to thunder and lightning moving in from the west. Exhausted, I do not want to get up but I know my tent will not hold out the rain. I get up and put tent away dry, then almost decide to go ahead with breakfast but decided against in the belief that, sure enough, I would get the food cooking and the rain would arrive – so I skip breakfast and eat two breakfast bars instead (honey and oat bars). I get everything put away dry just as the rain arrives. Then, in high wind and driving rain, with lightning and thunder all around, I approach Reba to put on her harness. She is afraid but I tell her softly but surely that we have to go, go south as soon as we can, to get out of the storm. She understands the tone in my voice, and I harness and hitch her in a storm (a first for us). I put Jill in the wagon and we are off. We cross the pond dam on a narrow road with snake lightening all around. We go out the long driveway [then go approx 120 yards on W. 134 road (gravel)] and turn south on Meriden Rd. We can see lighter sky to the south, and I wonder if Reba understands that we are getting out of Dodge (so to speak). We escape the storm but rain falls heavy anyway and I discover that my old parka doesn’t keep water out any better than my old tent. Soaked and cold, I look over my shoulder; the storm appears so dark, it’s almost black, and I'm glad to be moving towards clear skies. Reba is pulling well, but I know she's tired from the day before. I’m so cold, I get out and walk beside the wagon to warm up. We head south mainly, jogging west a little, all on gravel roads to reach friendly skies at approx 1:00 pm when we stop; I get water from a farmhouse and leave a thank you note (five gallons for Reba). I also give Reba grain, then cook my breakfast (bacon and eggs). Man was I hungry! Passers-by wave and say hello. After breakfast we continue driving on gravel roads towards the town of Hoyt.

At approx 3:00pm, I meet with my old friend Mark who brings me a spray-on product with which I plan to waterproof my tent. Mark also brings a special tarp made of bright white material that is highly reflective and therefore cool (special tarp donated by my old friend Dale). Mark also brings ice for my cooler, and a sandwich which I store for later. It's good to see Mark!

I continue, and Reba works hard in hot sun, pulling many hills. Then, almost to Hoyt, I turn west on a rural blacktop, the county sheriff sees me and drives ahead in search of water. The sheriff returns, I follow him over a rise, we turn onto a narrow tractor path, go down through some woods, to a barn where a man named James Joy greets me with a five gallon bucket of water for Reba. The Sheriff, James Joy, and I have a good conversation. Meanwhile, Reba is so tired, she falls asleep (when she gets tired, I make sure she gets her "power naps"). To get back to the road, I must back the wagon because there is no room to turn around. So I back Reba and wagon same as one would back a car, going back and forth several times in a tight spot to turn around. Meanwhile, the sheriff contacts the city officer in Hoyt, and arrangements are made for me to stay in the city park which is normally closed at night.

In the park, the Mayer of Hoyt comes to visit, and invites me to a barbeque at the ball diamond (also in the park) that evening. I then set up camp in the 4H building, with shade, water, electricity, and a high view of the park which is beautiful – this is just perfect! I give Reba grain, water, and apple, then set out to find hay. Reba is dead tired. People next door at wedding reception help me find hay, in fact Tom is a friend of James Joy, and fetches 2 bales of good quality hay donated by James. Tom then gives me 40 dollars, which I try to refuse, but he insist and I thank him for his kindness. The entire wedding group then comes to see Reba. I give a ride to little boy, and they depart only to return with all kinds of food for me (I had just eaten Mark’s sandwich, but was still hungry). After the wedding party departs, I go to the ball diamond where the mayor’s group is and they feed me also. While eating and talking, I look around myself, and I really want to take a video because, with the children and parents all there, having a good time, it was a perfect picture of what small town America is all about. They invite me to church in the morning and lunch at the Mayer’s house afterwards. Then with many thanks, I go back to camp, brush Reba out in the dark, do a few other cores, and to bed.

Late Breakfast (1:00pm) on raod to Hoyt

4H building where I camped in park at Hoyt

Jill and Reba

View of park from my camp

View of park from my camp

View of park from my camp

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