Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank You Bob & Wagonteamster!

Better late then never, right? I have been a bit busy and not taken time to write this blog yet, but it's been coming on for awhile now! About 2 1/2 months ago the girls and I had a really neat experience ~ one of those things we can say we did it at least one time in our lives. My girls and I had the opportunity to ride with Bob Skelding from Wagonteamster. It was a really cool experience that we all three will remember for a very long time!

For anyone who follows my blog, you know that I have followed Wagonteamster for close to a year now. This man from New Hampshire took off with a team of 4 horses and travelled many miles. Trip #1 sadly ended in February when he was struck by a tanker semi in Alabama. Then after a few months of recovery, he got back on the road and took off again with a new team of 2 horses, Bob and Bill (yes, there is a horse with the same name as the driver). I was in quite shock that Bob recovered so quicky and got back on the dangerous road where he had nearly been killed a few months before. I admire his will and ability to keep going because that's what we should all do in life. It's just easier said than done at times for many people.

His travels started in Indiana on Trip #2 in June. He would update his daily travel with the current city and how many miles travelled each day. I followed his blog each day to see where the road took him the previous day. I certainly was excited when I saw he was heading my way again on this trip. I had always wanted to meet Bob Skelding, but never knew if I would have the chance or not. So on one Friday night while trying to make plans for the evening, I got wind that he was camped out in my city for the night. So we all loaded up in the car and headed to that destination. Upon arrival of the destination, to my gleeful eyes I did see were two big brown horses and a white and green wagon parked in its spot. It was Bob from Wagonteamster and I was going to meet him whether he liked it or not after months of following this man on the internet!

There he sat on the wagon just reading a newspaper. We pulled up in the car and I introduced myself to Bob and told him I had been stalking following his blog for awhile now. It was quite an exciting site to see the horses in their temporary electric fence. He flipped the power off on their electric fence and welcomed the girls to pet the horses. How awesome! Not only were we talking to Bob Skelding, but we also got to pet the horses and get to know Bob and Bill a little bit. At this point I was just happy to get pictures of the wagon and the horses with my girls in the same scene! So after petting the horses for a few minutes, my nosy inquisitive little daughter moved on to the next animal ~ the little poodle dog named Clementine.

My daughter made herself at home in Bob's lawnchair and wanted to hold the dog. So she got to do just that ~ she put 18 year old fragile little Clementine in her lap and held her. The dog just laid there without a flinch but you could tell she wasn't totally used to my overactive daughter wanting to love all over her. So after a few minutes of that, Clementine resumed her home in the wagon so she could get some much needed rest.
After a thousand a few questions I had for Bob, I was content with the fact we met him, the horses and had gotten some information about Wagonteamster. Bob was discussing his next day's route and I made the comment that I lived on a road that intersected that main highway he was going to be travelling on. The next thing that came out of Bob's mouth shocked me tremendously! I heard the words "well, if you girls want to ride in the wagon tomorrow, be at the end of your road around 9:00 or so in the morning and you can jump on the wagon for awhile." WOAH, back up, did I just hear that right?!?!?!?! Bob was offering the girls and I a ride in THE wagon called Wagonteamster. After cleaning my ears out and soaking in the information, I tried to control my excitement and calmly said "well that sounds like fun. Sure we can do that." Inside I was screaming OMG I get to ride on this wagon that has covered many miles across the US and has thousands of fans across the United States. No big deal, just another day on earth. Only this would be a moment in history the girls and I would always remember. So it was set ~ we would be passenegers on Wagonteamster the next day!

Now normally I would take advantage of sleeping in on a Saturday. But nope, not that day! I was up at the ass crack of dawn first gleam of sunlight getting ready for the big day. The girls were raring and excited to go as well. Bob called my cell phone (yes he actually called me!) to tell me his whereabouts and approximately what time he would be going by our area. Well I think the impatience wore over me because we all loaded up in the car and travelled down the highway til we found Bob. Then the girls and I bailed out of the car and hopped into the wagon and off we rolled down the highway!

I have to admit I was a bit nervous when we first got in the wagon. After all, this man was hit on a road in the previous wagon and lost two horses out of the tragedy. But as I always tell everyone, we never know when our time to leave this earth is. We cannot stop when that day will come, and if it was my time to go by riding in Wagonteamster, then I had to live with it. I admit it felt a little dangerous, but the longer we were in the wagon on the ride, the more comfortable it felt and the more at ease I became. Then the next thing I know, I was handed the driving reins and Bob told me to take over! Holy crap, I had never driven a horse in a wagon and I had no clue what I was doing but I figured it out real quick. That lasted a few minutes and when I couldn't take any more of that high stress situation, I handed the reins back over and let him take control again. The statistic in my head playing over and over was I didn't want to be responsible for an accident while I was in charge of driving Wagonteamster, nope no way!

I think total time we were on the wagon was probably 3 hours or so. We had to stop every couple of miles and let the horses have a break and rest for a moment. Bob was even generous to offer the girls and I breakfast and lunch. So not only were we getting a free ride in the wagon, he was playing host and trying to feed us as well. Well, my oldest daughter and I kindly declined the offer but my little one who has no fear took him right up on that offer! She ate whatever he gave her and didn't think twice about it. My non shy daughter was happy as a lark getting to ride in the wagon and eat snacks along the way. That was cool stuff now!

The longest break we took was when we stopped for lunch along the road. Bob and Bill got unhitched from the wagon and tied to the side of the wagon to enjoy some oats and a hay snack. Well, the inside of the wagon is not very big and by the time you get 2 kids, 2 adults and a dog on the inside, there isn't much room to move around. The best part about stopping for lunch was the "earthquake" we all felt. Bill would take his head and run it against the side of the wagon and rub it against as if he was going to push it over. It was pretty cool to be standing in the wagon and feel the earthquake shaking it from side to side! Bob would yell at the horse to stop and my girls picked up on that real quick. They were trying to discipline the horse before the day was over!

I thought the wagon ride was awesome and I'm glad I had the opportunity to take that couple hour trip on Wagonteamster. Bob definitely has a different lifestyle than the average person. That wagon is his home; he literally lives in his wagon almost 24/7. He does have kind folks who offer him a meal or place to stay along the way, but he is truly on his own with those two horses. However, after talking to Bob, I learned alot of things. He absolutely loves that lifestyle and wouldn't have it any other way. He loves the freedom to go where he wants, whenever he wants, and often times does not even have a certain destination in mind. In fact my daughter asked him a couple of times "are we there yet?" and his response was "Where are we going?" That was a classic and perfect answer to her question coming from Bob. He has certain places he wants to visit or see, but no timeline to arrive somewhere, and really no agenda when he gets there. He just rolls with life as it comes and lives day to day. That is exactly what I do in my life every single day!

I still admire Bob for his accomplishments and lifestyle he has chosen. I thought the first couple hours were neat on the wagon, but I personally could not live off of a wagon all the time. It wouldn't hold all the necessary things I would need to survive! He is on a trip of a lifetime and Lord only knows where he will end up. Do I think he is a very interesting person? Yes. Do I think he is a little crazy for travelling on the road after his accident? Yes, but that is his passion. And I commend him for living his dream and going after what makes him happy. Not many people have enough guts to fully pursue their dreams, but Bob Skelding is living proof that it can happen, even regardless of the setbacks he has had along the journey. He had some hard times along the first trip, (gee, he was almost killed, that would be enough for me!), but he got right back up, dusted himself off, and took off doing what he loves to do. I think it's awesome he had the courage to do that. I do hope and pray he has a safe journey while he travels on the road.

The latest update on Bob is he went to Michigan, and then back to his home base. He is writing a couple of books and plans on having them published within the next few weeks. Then he will be back in the wagon and headed south again. I pray for his safe journey when he sets out on the road again. He is pretty gutsy enduring some of the dangers along the way that he does; but that is the life he loves. Thank you Bob for the ride in Wagonteamster and for the excellent conversation! It was well worth the time the girls and I got to spend on the wagon getting to know Bob and the horses as well. Please keep Bob in your prayers when he ventures back on the road. For God only knows I never want to have to write another Wagonteamster tragedy story. Good luck to Bob and Bob and Bill ~ and remember "Hoss Make Tracks" as he always tells his horses those very words to make them move forward. May God watch over you all and keep you safe in your journey on the road of life!
The girls getting to meet the horses

My little one trying to climb in the wagon

Bob & Bill during lunch break

Me & the girls riding in the wagon

The view from the wagon on the road

No comments: