Day 14: Up at 2:00am, breakfast and chores in dark with flashlight (takes a little more time because of Reba’s pen which must be taken down). Depart at 5:45am; Mary Ann comes out to wish me well. I pass through the town of Dalia and turn west on gravel road #110 (?). Straight away, we come to a railroad crossing. I try to encourage Reba to step across the steel rails, but she only coils up like and accordion, then releases in a semi panic, backing away wildly, and nearly wrecking the wagon. As soon as I can, I jump off to comfort her, and even apologize for expecting too much out of her. I then lead her slowly back to the tracks, where she watches me step across first, and follows without a fuss. One more valuable experience under her belt, and mine too.
After the tracks, we arrive at the base of a long hill and I get out and walk beside Reba. Of course this helps her because the wagon is lighter without me in it, but also because she thinks we’re pulling together as a team in harness. It’s nothing but hills from Dalia to St Marys, and I walk beside Reba up every hill, laboring in baking hot sun, our strength wearing thinner and thinner, hoping that each hill is the last, until finally, we stand looking at the last ravine before town (at which point the road turned from gravel to asphalt). I look up to the sky, and speaking very earnestly to God, I say; “Lord, we can’t do one more hill!” And I meant it! We start down into the ravine only to pull over in a private driveway and fall asleep while totally blocking the driveway. We wake perhaps 20 minutes later, continue slowly down to the bottom of the ravine where I tie Reba off and go to ask for water. I met a lady there, and only my exhaustion keeps me from remembering her name. She was very kind, and animated. I told her what I was about, and she made phone calls into town from which everything happened very directly, almost like automatically, we had everything we needed; shade, food, running water, and even a restroom, courtesy of a Mr. Rezac who owned the stockyard in town. The kind lady then gave me directions to the stockyard, which was on the other side of town, just across from the city park. Reba and I, somewhat rested, and encouraged, climbed the last hill into St Marys.
Arriving to the stockyard, I found the place empty except for the usual livestock. The sun had cooked my mind, and together with deep exhaustion and hunger - I fell into a nasty mood for the first time in my journey. Thankfully, I got a handle on it before it could get a handle on me. I found a young man named Dane who was cleaning the auction floor, and he showed me around. Reba got the best big pen all to herself with shade, water, and good hay. I got a nice green piece of lawn under a large shade tree off to the side, out of the way, for a camp. Travis shows up out of the blue in his truck to see if I need anything, and takes me to the grocer. Greg, Marty, and Dane visit my camp and offer help in whatever I need. And I saw how God had taken care of everything (I only had to start up that last hill).
Leaving Dalia at first light (click on photo for enlargement).
Water tower of St Marys just visable (center of photo - click on photo for enlargement).
Reba at stockyard in St Marys.
Reba at stockyard in St Marys.