Today’s Date: June 24, 2005
Horses Across America
Hello, my name is William Stanley Perdue; please call me Stan. I was born in Gainesville, Georgia on May 21, 1957. I was raised there until I joined the U.S. Army Military Intelligence on April 8, 1975. I retired from the Army as a Sergeant First Class (SFC/E7) on June 1, 1995, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, with 20 years of flawless service. I also served in Ft. Jackson, SC; Ft. Meade, MD; Camp Humphreys, Korea; 4 tours in Ft. Devens, MA and 2 tours in Augsburg, Germany.
I completed an adventure from Maysville, Georgia (15 east of Gainesville, GA; 75 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia) to Tombstone, Arizona on horseback. The welcoming party was in Tombstone!
I AM DEDICATING THIS RIDE TO OUR TROOPS & THEIR SUPPORTING COUNTERPARTS!
I began my trip on August 14, 2004, with my 4-year-old Appaloosa/Quarter Horse gelding, “Apache” and my 8-year-old black and white Paint Horse gelding, “Banjo”. The newest equine addition is my 6-year-old Appaloosa/Paint/Arabian mare; “Suzy-Q” which was purchased from Mr. W.A. Connell, and joined the team in Parrish, Alabama. “Bandit”, my 11-month-old Blue Heeler (a.k.a. Australian Cattle Dog), was given to me in Pioneer, Louisiana, by Mr. Jerry Hughes. I arrived in Tombstone on June 24, 2005, just after 1:00pm. I was actually in the saddle for 110 days and traveled 2,189 miles. We took many days off for saddle sores, weather, rest, Christmas, visitation, etc. I attempted to average around 20-25 miles per riding day, which took 7 to 8 hours. I rode no more than 5 days in a row and rested the crew for at least 2 days. Other than that, I really had no clock, calendar or schedule!
My 2 greatest rewards of the trip were the wonderful people I’ve met and the bond that I created with my animals!
My 2 greatest luxuries were a shower and laundry.
I slept under the stars, in a tent, sheds, shops, utility buildings, barns, horse trailers, campers, RVs and the most wonderful accommodations were in the homes of our great American people! American hospitality still exists! Folks were very generous with money, clothing, hospitality, transportation, food & drink for me, the animals, etc., etc., etc. I volunteered to help out everywhere that I stayed and did many chores/favors for folks, from trimming horse hooves to cleaning barns to cleaning up trash to washing dishes, etc. The entire trip was "Magic"! For the most part (99%), the drivers were courteous and safe around us.
One of my most memorable experiences was while I was staying with Ms. Bess Buck in San Augustine, TX. Ms. Buck is 85-years-old, as healthy as I, and a great driver. She took me in during a rainy period, fed me well and let me shower and do laundry. She drove me into town the next day to get hay & horse feed. I treated her to lunch at a Mexican restaurant where she had wanted to go for a long time and just hadn't had the opportunity. After lunch, we went to visit her 105-year-old mother at the senior-citizens facility. Ms. Buck's mother was one of the happiest elderly folks I've ever met and almost never complains. She hugged and kissed me, as if she had known me for years, and that pulled hard on the "heart strings"! If nothing else touches my heart on this trip - that did it! What a wonderful rainy day that was! Bless you Ms. Buck and your mother!
My worst experiences were few. But the ones that stand out are trash (ESPECIALLY GLASS) on the roadways, a few ignorant people that attempted to frighten my horses, loads of rain, a few horse spooks and wrecks and saddle sores on the horses!
There was only one semi-strange experience, which I recall. In the area of Greenwood, MS, I dropped into the very beautiful Mississippi Delta land. Everything just flattened out and the farming began. I rode about 30 miles that day; 1.5 hours after dark. There seemed to be no one home, anywhere, and I was having difficulty finding a place to stay for the night. I reined up to a home, where I saw lights, and knocked on the door. An eyeball appeared through the blinds at the window and I gave my usual spiel consisting of who I am, what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. (I never ask anyone if I can stay at their place, I ask them if they know of a place I can stay.) The man never opened the door, but just talked to me through the window. He allowed me to camp in his front yard, out by the road. I went back to his door to ask about getting water for the horses and, once again, just an eyeball through the blinds. He informed me that he had called the local law enforcement; told them I was there; that he didn't want any trouble (of which there was NONE) and then told me where to get water. I told him that most of the local law enforcement knew of me and there would definitely be no trouble. I watered, fed and grazed the horses. By the time I got ready for bed it was very late. The next morning I didn't leave until about 11:30am and, to this day, I have only seen the eyeball of that gentleman and never spoke with him after the question about water. So, Sir, if you ever hear or see anything about me again, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your hospitality - as strange as it was!
My family and friends thought I was not serious and nuts if I was! But, now that they’ve seen the seriousness and dedication involved, they were very supportive.
Now that I’m at “The End of the Trail”, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen next. One thought that I have pondered is a wagon trip; get a lightweight, modern day (rubber tires & disk brakes) enclosed, three-horse wagon, Apache, a team of mules and continue to tour America, my way! I have never seen Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, the Dakotas or the Grate Lakes area, but have always wanted to. So, who knows what’s next!?! Maybe see all 48 or if I get REAL brave – 49! I’ve always wanted to see Alaska!
- The first steps
- The 100-mile, 1,000-mile, halfway and 2,000-mile points (became a "Long Rider" at 1,000 miles)
- Crossing the first state line & all state lines, for that matter
- Crossing the Mississippi River (2.4-mile bridge)
- Crossing Toledo Bend Reservoir (LA into TX) (3-mile bridge)
- My first encounter with a Cowboy Church in Kilbourne, LA
- Crossing TEXAS (735 miles)!
- What I can see at 3 to 4 mph, that can't be seen at 55+ mph - the scenery
- The new friends I've made: Rich, Poor, Old, Young, Sinners and Saints
- The support of the American people for our TROOPS, my crew and me!
- TV, Radio & Newspaper
- Seeing old friends and family (My brother, his wife and her mother came by at Christmas)
- Bandit, my Blue Heeler
- Approaching and ordering from drive-thru windows
- Chores and favors I've done for folks along the way
- The wonderful cuisine I've consumed
- The lack of negativity and the enormous presence of POSITIVITY!
- Christmas & New Years in Millport, AL with the Bobo family and the West Alabama Gazette staff
- Crawfish boil at Gum Springs Horse Camp near Winnfield, LA
- Law enforcement support, escorts, etc.
- Cell phone & Internet support
- Getting to do some “Cowboying” in Eunice, NM
- Many folks that rode with me
- Arizona state line
- TOMBSTONE !!!!!!!!!
- Seeing old friends in Arizona
- My friends from GA & NV
=============FINAL TOTALS June 24, 2005 =============
Delay for saddle sores: 98 days
Christmas: 17 days
Rest: 44 days
Rain: 45 days
Ride: 110 days
TOTAL since Aug. 14, 2004: 314 days
TOTAL Miles: 2,189
Average Miles per Riding Day: 19.9
Average Speed: 3.33 MPH
Approximate Hours in the Saddle: 700
GA: 22 days, 15 riding days, 170 miles
AL: 121 days, 15 riding days, 232 miles
MS: 22 days, 10 riding days, 221 miles
AR: 2 days, 1 riding day, 20 miles
LA: 31 days, 13 riding days, 244 miles
TX: 60 days, 33 riding days, 736 miles
NM: 36 days, 21 riding days, 470 miles
AZ: 7 days, 4 riding days, 96 miles
============== TRAVEL SUMMARY================
Georgia: Maysville, Gillsville, Lula, Clermont, Murrayville, Dawsonville, Marble Hill, Ballground, Nelson, Rydal, Cartersville, Euharlee, Taylorsville, Cave Springs
Alabama: Forney, Piedmont, Hoke’s Bluff, Gadsden, Attalla, Altoona, Oneonta, Hayden, Warrior, Dora, Parrish, Townley, Fayette, Millport
Mississippi: Steens, Columbus, West Point, Cedar Bluff, Mathiston, Tom Nolan, Eupora, Winona, Greenwood, Indianola, Leland, Greenville
Arkansas: Lake Village, Eudora
Louisiana: Kilbourne, Oak Grove, Pioneer, Epps, Delhi, Crowville, Fort Necessity, Winnsboro, Grayson, Urania, Winnfield, Clarence, Robeline, Many
Texas: Hemphill, San Augustine, Huntington, Lufkin, Crockett, Madisonville, Edge, Smetana, Caldwell, Rockdale, Thorndale, Taylor, Georgetown, Liberty Hill, Burnet, Buchanan Dam, Llano, Valley Spring, Voca, Brady, Melvin, Doole, Paint Rock, Ballinger, Bronte, Robert Lee, Sterling City, Garden City, Stanton, Courtney, Andrews
New Mexico: Eunice, Carlsbad, Artesia, Hope, Mayhill, Cloudcroft, La Luz, Alamogordo, White Sands, Organ, Las Cruces, Anthony, Santa Teresa, Columbus, Hachita, Animas, Rodeo
Arizona: Apache, Elfrida, Gleeson,
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