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Catchin' Up

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5/11/12 to 5/14/12 - The best excuse I have for not blogging the past few days is - I was too busy.  Is that a good one? Hereís some catchup.

5/11/12, North of Delta, CO

Shortly after leaving my roadside camp, south of Delta, I pulled into the City of Deltal an stopped at the grocery store.  I was able to get into the store without a big deal, but by the time I got back to the wagon, quite a crowd had gathered. I wasnít in any big hurry, so it was a joy to see the people.

Right after the grocery store, I stopped to visit with my friend, Rancher, Ken Spann.  Ken was kind enough to bring by a bunch of meat from a rancher owned co-op butcher store so the wagon was well stocked.

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Leaving Delta, there was a whole parade of people stopping to visit.

Just north of Delta, the terrain became arid as I drove into the high desert northwest of the city.  Initially, the terrain was all adobe clay hills, but gave way to sedimentary uplift.  Even with traffic at 65 mph, a lot of cars managed to stop.

I managed to find the only good patch of green grass for miles, so I pulled the team over and set up for the night.  The lads put in a good day of eighteen miles and enjoyed the fresh gramma grass.

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Some of the scenery from the campsite in the desert above Delta, CO.

That evening, Claire and stopped by to camp and join me for a couple of days travel on the wagon.  It was nice festive time in Wagonteamster Camp. That evening, my friend Steve, from Delta also stopped by to visit. Earlier in the day, I had pulled the team into Steveís place for a visit.

5/12/12, Whitewater, CO - Not long after hitching up, the wagon had to roll up some pretty good sized hills. The grade was only slightly steeper than normal highway maximum grade, so I only kept two horse hitched for most of the day.

It was great having some company aboard and the day passed quickly.  The lads donít mind me chattering at them, but theyíre not the best conversationalists.

Shortly after lunch, we were invited to fill up our water containers at the first house near the road in over 20 miles of travel.  A very nice couple were perfect hosts and left us with water and some nice parting gifts.  This was a great stop.

A few miles farther down the road, I came to a likely looking camping spot on the side of the road.  Pulling in the team, I realized why the grass looked so green.  Under a thin layer of dry earth, the ground was saturated with irrigation water that had seeped through the side of a large ridge.  In seconds, the wagon was hopelessly mired nearly to the hubs.

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Claire, my great companion for a few days.

Being stuck in the mud is not a good thing.  But what can make it all better is a secret weapon - Doc. After breaking out the other harness, and with Claire offering a little encouragement to B.O.B., the Unicorn hitch managed to break the wagon out of the thick mud and get us rolling again.

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The boys were carefully checking the skies for patrolling aircraft to be sure they wouldnít get caught in a speed trap.

That evening, Desi invited us to camp on her motherís property in the Cottonwood trees across the street from her house.  After another 18 miles on the road, we were ready to call it quits. Kami came up from Montrose to camp with us and the kids.  A great meal, a nice campfire and a lot of friends made for a good time.

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A stop at a convenience store in Grand Junction - Civilization!

Before making our way into the City of Grand Junction, I had to hitch the team to pull a 3 mile long hill up the mesa.  Reaching the top, I sent Doc to the rear and continued on with Two horses.

Grand Junction is a fairly sprawled out city and it took most of the day to cross it.  I met some really nice people to include some folks that invited us to stay with them in Loma, the next day, and a great guy that gave us some really good home-smoked jerky and dried pineapple chips. This was a great town.

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The next time the wagon crosses the Colorado River, will be on the California-Arizona State Line, next December.

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Bill started playing out, so after lunch, I hitched up Doc.  No matter how I encouraged Bob to lean into his collar and pull, Doc would only pull harder, not letting Bob assume any load. Doc was bound and determined to do all the work, and he did.

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Iíve now crossed Interstate 70 on all four trips, with the exception of Trip #3, when I started the journey 6 miles south of it.

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These kids from Grand Junction also have Wagonteamster history.  On trip #3, they got to sit on Bill when we were camped alongside their family in the Cimarron Mountains.  With this visit, theyíre only regret is that they missed Trips #1 & #2, so they couldnít go 4 for 4.

Camp that evening was in some really thick grass alongside the road. We had continued rolling until we hit the East side of the City of Fruita before stopping for the night.

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That night, we camped on a great piece of grass and enjoyed a lovely sunset, while drinking coffee on the porch.

After breaking camp the following morning, I stopped at a grain store in Fruita to pick up some oats. The owner of the store was very nice and presented the lads with a complementary 20 pound bags of horse treats. 

Shortly after leaving town, we met up with Toby and her three kids from Loma, who invited me to stay with them.  I also agreed to bring the kids to school in the wagon. So after they climbed aboard, we had a great ride for the few miles in to town.

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Three really nice kids that got to ride the wagon to school.

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The Bunkelman Kids were minor celebrities after showing up for school in the wagon. Just in case anyone missed it, I agreed to run them to school tomorrow morning on my way to the market to pick up a couple of grocery items.

Tonight, the lads are very comfortably settled on some tremendous grass and enjoying the good life.  In the morning, after stopping at the school and store, Iíll be setting off for Rangley, CO, 72 miles to the north. Thereís not much between here and there, but a steep mountain pass and a lot of empty road, but the lads and I will do just fine.

Unfortunately, Iíll be continuing my journey alone, as Claire, my fantastic traveling companion for the past few days had to return to civilization.

Tomorrow is new day; who knows what it will bring?

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Two very relaxed Belgians and a hungry Percheron, enjoying the hospitality of my good friends, the Bunkelmanís.