Wendy has sent us another email with more stories from her ride, so check back again.
We ended our first day out of Jamaica at Andover, at the house of some friends of a friend. At dawn the next morning, as I was leaving, the man of the house followed me across the fields playing a hair-raising tune on his fiddle... He was striding through the tall grass wearing red suspenders... quite a brilliant start to what proved to be a difficult day -- mostly because the weather was miserably hot, stagnant and humid and stuck in a state of impending storm. All through the day people offered me shelter from what looked like imminent storms-which never developed-and it seemed as if we were progressing at about 1 mile an hour. Both Jolie and I would have been happy spending the afternoon snoozing under a tree, but we found ourselves in a busy area around Ludlow and it felt like we needed to get farther away from civilization. So we kept moving, until finally the storm we'd been expecting caught up with us on a little road near a couple of summer cottages. As it hit we caught sight of a man making for his garage and when he turned around he was surprised to find us right behind him. We squeezed in with his tractors and other machinery and waited while everything outside went haywire...branches falling, power knocked out, etc. While chatting with the owner of our shelter I was able to identify an odd animal I had spotted that morning. As we were following a wooded road an animal stepped out of the trees that looked from a distance like an awkward black German shepherd sized puppy. It had incredibly beautiful black fur and a fluffy tale, and when it turned to face me had ears and muzzle that resembled a large weasel. It was the famed Fisher Cat -- a very ferocious creature that eats cats! In any case the storm cleared things a bit and we set off on another trail that took us up and across some fabulous farms and down the other side to the longest stretch of tar road we've traveled on yet. However the road had no shoulder, was very busy and seemed to harbor every nutty driver around. Meanwhile I was not feeling well, Jolie was reaching new heights of crankiness, and it was getting late. As I stepped off of the road to let a particularly ferocious driver pass , I looked up and noticed a Bed and Breakfast sign. "O.K. Jolie"I said, "we're splurging!"
The agreeable couple who owned the place set Jolie up at a farm close by and then invited me to have dinner with them... Well in the course of our conversation we discovered that the couple in question -- Jim and Ellen Parrish -- had been close friends with my husband's parents in Virginia Beach, Virginia! !!!!! How could this be? An impossible and random coincidence! That night they took me for a drive around the region and we startled a healthy looking bear out in the road... The next morning as I was getting ready to pay for my extravagant splurge, Ellen refused to take any money saying "John and Dottie (my husband's parents) were such a huge help to me when my father died, that this is one way I can pay them back!! It's Fate
you've come here," she said. Needless to say, I wept.
With their good wishes in my ears, I set off toward Woodstock -- a place famous
for its community of horse lovers and owners....
Bye for now
Monday, July 17, 2006
Notes from the Trail -- more from Wendy
Here is the rest of the second email we received from Wendy: