Day 13, June 26, 2012

Day 13: Up at 2:00 am, breakfast, chores, harness Reba in dark with flashlight. Timing works out just right – first light comes just as we're ready to go. Cooler morning than most due to low humidity. I follow Dale’s map which takes me back to gravel road 110 (the chip-and-seal isn’t a problem because it has dried overnight, and is only 1 ½ mile long anyway). I stop and get water from farms, and in the process, meet friendly folks along the way. Reba works hard, we make solid progress, and draw near the town of Delia where I met a man named Travis. Travis, who looks to be in his late 20s or early 30s, is in any case naturally young at heart, and has very often wanted to get a wagon and horse team and go on a journey with his girlfriend Jill. Thus animated, Travis offers his assistance; I can stay on his land a short distance west of Delia, or I can stay at his grandmother’s who lives in Delia. At either place, there will be shade, grass, and water. I thank Travis for his kindness, and proceed towards his land with the directions he has given. But Reba and I are too tired to continue into town without rest, and so we stop to sleep, sleep so deep, we wake only after a tractor has passed by on the road. Directly thereafter, I meet the man who grades roads in the area, and he kindly invites me to stay in the town of Delia at the school which is now closed but has plenty of shade trees. (I believe the man’s name was Steve, but my tired mind couldn’t always hold on to names.)

Arriving in Delia about noon, I look for Travis’s grandmother’s house, which is red brick, but I do not see it. So I check the school, which is nice, but the grass is well mowed, meaning there’s little for Reba to eat, so I pass it by. I then see a house that could be Travis’s grandmother’s place, not brick, but dark red like brick, and in the yard, a gray haired woman who I take to be Travis’s grandmother. I hurry Reba to catch the lady before she disappears into a barn beside the house. Quickly crossing the road, I roll into her drive where, excusing myself, I ask if she is Travis’s grandmother. Looking naturally surprised, both by my mode of travel, and the fact that she has no idea what I’m talking about, she replies that she is not. Her name is MaryAnn, and hearing what I’m about, and seeing my exhaustion; she tells me I may camp on her property, just across the pasture, where there are shade trees and a stream with water for Reba. MaryAnn then makes me a great sandwich, and man did I need that! We have good conversation while eating. Then with many thanks and well wishes, I depart across the pasture to find a place to camp.

After taking care of Reba and Jill, I make camp. I then take my bedroll out into the open pasture where the breeze blows through shadows of tall trees, and fall deep asleep. A few hours later, around 5pm, Jill wakes me and I see Travis coming across the pasture with his girlfriend Jill, and friend Brian. I had expressed concern to MaryAnn that Travis must surely be wondering what happened to me - and although MaryAnn did not know his grandmother, she had been kind enough to call her and relay a message to him for me. Travis, Jill, and Brian bring treats for Reba and Jill, and a plate of dinner from MaryAnnfor me, which is once again:“just what the doctor ordered.” After good conversation, Travis and company depart with thanks and well wishes, and I do final chores before hitting the sack.

A small spur road I took, off the main gravel road, on way to Delia.

My camp on MaryAnn's land.

Reba gets much needed sleep.

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