Jonathan's blog

Our Ford truck just died, again.

Our Ford truck just died, again. This is third time on this trip that it has had a major problem. We're not sure what exactly is wrong. Our insurance company is gonna have it towed to the dealer tomorrow. If its the same problem as we had in Pocatello ID then the computer brain died again. In that case the parts warranty should cover the repairs. But the bad thing about this is that they will have to send the burned our computer to the factory, something about each computer being unique to the truck. I guess we'll find out tomorrow.

Granada - History & Hospitality

Granada COBill saddled up Blackie and rode out of Lamar. We traveled east on 385 and made our way to Granada. The traffic was somewhat heavy but otherwise the ride was smooth sailing. I drove up ahead to search for an internet connection. I often end up driving around looking for an unencrypted wireless network, although most major hotel chains have wireless internet, so that’s usually my first choose.  Small towns don’t usually have hotels, so I then have to search for internet.

I met back up with Brenda in the after noon and we asked some locals about a place we could camp out for the night. Lucky there was a open field right in town that was perfect for us. We got settled in and where getting ready to call it a night when a visitor came to see us. It turned out to be the mayor of Granada. She was very nice and directed us to a local restaurant called Chez W. DuVall’s Restaurant & Shoppe. There we met owners Myrna and John DuVall.

Sand & Sage Rodeo - Lamar

Sand and Sage RodeoWhen we rolled into Lamar we found the Sand and Sage rodeo grounds busy getting ready for collage rodeo that night. We set up the panels and got settled in among all the fancy shinny horse trailers with living quarters. Brenda told Bill, “Our plain little trailer sure does look like a covered wagon compared to those.” As the action started to gear up, Brenda suggested that Bill saddle up Blackie and give him a play day, socializing him with the other horses.

Blackie loved watching the other horses in action. It probably made him remember his days as a roping horse. Brenda got up on Blackie while we watched the events but she couldn’t get her feet in the stirrups. As she was sitting there, watching the action one of the bucking horses ran right up to the fence in front of her bucking. Blackie freaked out a bit thinking it was going to come through and hit him. He backed up and turned hard. Brenda had to spin him to keep from running into someone’s car. Brenda, “Doin’ that with without stirrups isn’t an easy thing on Blackie. He can turn hard and he isn’t slow. I jokingly told Bill that I should have been qualified for the second round.” We all had a good time and it was the first time I was able to get that close to the action at a rodeo.

Limon to Lamar - The Current Situation

Cow Palace Inn - Lamar ColoradoOur down time waiting in Strasburg set us back quite a bit on our time scale, though it was important to meet with Fox 31 as it is urgent we improve our visibility so that our journey will be more appealing to potential sponsors. They plan to air the story tomorrow morning (Oct. 11th) during the 9 a.m. hour. We hope that someone will see our potential and the greater goal of enhancing the image of our great country as a positive endeavor. Though we are weary, we continue forward uncertain of the future.

The morning following our interview with Fox 31 News Reporter Shaul Turner, we traveled via trailer back to Limon where Bill and Blackie had stopped days earlier. Having been out in open country before, we essentially limited our exposure and availability to internet access, which at this point could prove to be a serous  mistake. The decision to continue driving was made. Traveling southeast from Limon we took US-287 down to Kit Carson and then headed east on Hwy 40. That night we stayed at the rodeo grounds in Cheyenne Wells. In the morning we traveled south on US-385 down to Granada and took a right heading west on US-385 where we stopped in Lamar. Yesterday (Oct. 10th) Bill started riding again and he headed east out of Lamar, again traveling on US-385. 

Our Funds are Running Critically Low

We have had numerous donations from private individuals, some of whom had little to spare. We have also received sponsorship in the form of feed for Blackie, vehicle repairs, and boots and other gear for Bill. At this time, we are roughly half way to our destination. Bill does not want to stop and I believe he will continue tell we can no longer feed the horse, our selves, and our fuel hungry vehicles.

Limon Colorado - Family Roots

The Ashcraft FamiliyThe pace of the traffic is steady as I sit here watching the cars and tractor-trailers pass one another on either sides of the highway. From a couple hundred yards away, the vehicles don’t seem to be going all that fast, though I know the speed is 75 as I drove the stretch yesterday. We have been down the last couple days and backtracked to within 30 miles of Denver; we drove here to meet with a reporter with Fox 31 News.

The decision to come to Denver wasn’t an easy one, and we stayed at a hotel for a few days in Limon called the Tyme Square before heading this way. Owned and operated by Jayne Ashcraft, her husband, and other family members, the Tyme Square has a modern look, though there is a sense of family that you don’t often find in such a setting. I got to meet Etta Ashcraft (I will call her grandma Ashcraft) and learned quite a bit about her and the family.

The Crossing Memorial

The Crossing MonumentWhen Officer Ron Richardson told me about The Crossing memorial, he said that in 1961 a passenger train traveling 80 mpr hit a school bus. What I later learned from Mayor Gilbert Marin when I returned from taking pictures of the memorial, was that officer Richardson’s wife was a survivor of the accident. The Rocky Mountain News has a full featured article on their site; click this link to learn more about the incident, those that survived, and those that lost their lives and their families.  (site is gone)

You can find this memorial on county road (CR) 52, between CR 43 and 45 off highway 34 which runs east from Greeley Colorado; yet before Kersey.  (lost link:

Kersey Pizza - A Great Place to Meet People

Kersey PizzaWhile waiting for Bill, Brenda and sat in front of Kersey Pizza. I went in to get a soda and explained our journey. When Bill arrived father and son owners, Barry and Brian treated us to some great pizza. We soon began meeting locals caming in to get pizza, ice cream, burgers, etc. Kersey is about 10 miles east of Greeley on highway 34.  Brenda: “That was a neat place.”

Kersey Pizza was an old gas station before it became a pizza shop in 1990. The shop is also scheduled to be remodeled soon and should remain open during that time. They plan to have the remodel finished in one to two weeks after they began.

Island Grove Regional Park & AgLand in Eaton

AgLand in EatonWhile in Greeley, we stayed at Island Grove Regional Park. Brenda talked to the Director of City Parks while Bill was riding and he introduced us to Keith Thim. Keith showed us where we could keep Blackie and later when Bill arrived, the two spent some time talking. Keith was very accommodating and we enjoyed our short time there. Although there where not any events going on when we were there I did learn that they host the worlds largest 4th or July Rodeo. The park is used for many other events including concerts, demolition derbies, and just about any other event you can imagine. This park is beautiful and I hope to visit during one of their events.

Bill and Brenda received 20 bags of Equine Merit Active Pelleted Feed; one thousand pounds. The two drove to AgLand in Eaton to purchase 2 bags. When they heard about what Bill was doing, they wanted to give us two pallets! Unfortunately, we don’t have room for that much. They saw the journey Blackie is taking as an opportunity to show the potential of this product.