May 31, 2011 - Near Hastings Nebraska – All of us survived the severe weather last night. Cindy and I dropped the top on the camper, placed the horses in the trailer, moved the rig to the leeward side of a 50-foot grain hauling trailer and hunkered down. We heard this morning that most of the Pony Express riders sought shelter in the basement of the Oak School. We never heard the call to join the others in the shelter, perhaps because I had hidden the van so well. Cindy and I watched the storm develop on the NWS weather pages and waited. The lightning show was continuous and gave us ample warning of what was to come. The weather front passed through Oak at about 10:30. Actually, the storm was no worse than the others that we have experienced and we let the horse out at about 1:30 am.
Today dawned clear and cool and even though we did not get much sleep last night, I saddled and left on the trail at six. Again there was mud, but Whiskey did very well. We rode through some real boggy sections and Whiskey thoroughly enjoys the challenge of a technical trail. Whiskey puts his head down and focuses on the footing, carefully working his way through the difficult sections. Whiskey should find the trail far more enjoyable when we get further west. For now, I am holding to the plan of half-days until we transition from roads to trails. This week, my plan is for Whiskey to go three days and Frank for two days.
The general schedule is for us to ride five days per week – Tuesday through Saturday, and then use Sunday and Monday for shopping, laundry, tack adjustments, and truck repairs. Because I am only riding half-days, Cindy and I lounge around on the days off (we take a holiday from our vacation). Today we shopped for groceries and did laundry in Hastings Nebraska. Our camp tonight is in the grass on the shore of a small lake. Tomorrow, we head out for Fort Kearney on the Platte River. I am very lucky.