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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
 Trip 4 Epilog - Part One

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11/27/12, Valley Falls, OR - My fourth journey of travel by horse and wagon was undoubtedly the finest trek I have ever made.  As the wagon rolled through the grandeur of the American West, I experienced the trip of a lifetime. With beauty, hardship, challenge, danger, and triumph, it had all the ingredients of a first class adventure. Coupled with an incredible amount of really good people that I met along the way, the past few months have been the most outstanding ones that I have ever experienced.

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The lads enjoying a little midday snooze in their paddock.

Originally, I had planned on making a grand loop around the west, and ending the journey where I started, in La Garita, CO. But, upon reaching Arizona, several factors came together that indicated it was time to end the journey earlier than originally planned.  The fender bender that I had near Lake Havasu City, AZ acted more as an impetus to stop, rather than a reason to do so. After traveling 2800 miles in 6 1/2 months, both the horses and I were weary of the road. The two Belgians had neck sores that needed a few weeks of downtime to cure.  With fast traffic, poor shoulders and inattentive drivers, the roads were some of the most unsafe ones that I have traveled. On top of that, Arizona has a silly law that requires me to either travel fully on a shoulder, or fully in the traffic lane. Since most road shoulders are narrower than the wagon, I would normally have to travel in the same lane as vehicles going 75 mph. Just prior to the fender bender, there were two occasions where cars swung way out to pass the wagon and almost went head-on with a vehicle traveling in the other lane.

I could have had a lot more fun on this trip.  But, I said to myself - ďIíve had enough fun. Itís time to call the journey complete and end it on a positive note.Ē (I donít consider the fender bender a negative note - just a speed bump along the way).

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Jacquieís great place here in Valley Falls.

Tomorrow morning, I fly back to Colorado to pick up my truck and belongings. After that, Iím off to Arizona to put the wagon on a trailer and haul it up to Oregon. If things go like I plan, I should be back here in Oregon Monday.

On January 7, 2013, I start a short term, contract job at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power plant, near Omaha, NE.  This is the same facility that I worked at twice, between Trips #3 and #4.

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Some tired horses, enjoying some well-deserved downtime.

Iíve already had some inquiries on what I have planned for the next journey. All I can say right now is - I still havenít pulled shoes off the horses from the last trip. Before I go traipsing off somewhere, Iím going to enjoy a little downtime.  In the meantime, Jacquie and I live in the midst of some the most beautiful ĎGodís Countryí on the face of the earth.  I foresee a summer with several horse-packing and wagon camping trips.  Iím also exploring teaching horses and people the art of driving.

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Doc, taking a little nap, with the Abert Rim in the background.  At 2,500 feet high and 30 miles long, this Rim is the longest and one of the highest fault scarps in North America.

In a week or two, Iíll post another Epilog for Trip #4.  Take care,  Bob