At 10:00 this morning, Long Rider Bernice Ende mounted her Thoroughbred mare, Honor, whistled to her dog, Claire, and they set off down Heart Butte Cut Off Road outside East Glacier, Montana. They are bound for Waconia, Minnesota, where they will take their first break on this 5,000-mile journey around the western United States. Bernice has given herself 11 weeks to get to Waconia so that they can take their time on this first leg. She figured this averages out to 100 miles a week or about 16-17 miles per day, which is a little more than half of her average last year. But she wants to give everyone time to work up to that level. And she wants to have plenty of extra time in her schedule in case they find a beautiful spot where they would like to spend a couple of days.
I met Bernice when she walked into the store to trade her old saddle for something lighter. We talked for a long time and by the end of the afternoon, we had her outfitted with a Tucker Saddle and our TrailMax Saddlebag system. She is so pleased with her new set up. It has solved several problems she had last year. The Tucker Saddle weighs at least 10 pounds less than her old saddle. And the saddlebags that she used last year were too wide, causing her load to be sloppy. She had to hold it snug with multiple bungee cords. Now she has saddlebags that can be secured to the saddle quickly (one of her requirements) and will stay completely balanced and in place.
Anyway, Bernice has promised to keep us posted on her progress with postcards from the trail. I'll let you know when I get the next one.