Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Buffalo Moon Expedition - Equestrian Exploration Starts Tomorrow

Equestrian Exploration starts tomorrow!!!  

Here's how it unfolds.  Hitch a ride with a friend through Austin, Texas.  She is going to Colorado....and will drop me off in Faxon, Oklahoma on the way. Then....ride the Louisiana Territories until there's no more territory to ride.  This all happened within the last hour and a half.  Thank goodness, I am packed and ready to go!  

Please subscribe here at  It's easier for me to document the history and this ride here on Blogger than any place else.  Please tell your friends to follow as we want to document and share any Acadienne horse and human history as much as possible.  

I should be under saddle by next Monday or Tuesday.  Coggins are current but Evangeline needs shoes before we can go.

To reach me on the road, text is ok, as is email. I have unlimited minutes but not unlimited battery or time.  I save any additional time for my better half to catch up with him for the next days plans. Please be patient with me as I get back to folks after that, time and energy willing.  

Location updates will only be posted on the blog and shared personally with individuals who are needing to know where I am located at the moment.

Here is the general route:  Faxon, OK----> southeasterly over the Red River in Ryan, OK, head southeasterly to visit the breeder of this wonderful four legged friend I am riding and then head on over to Mineola, Texas way.  On into Shreveport area, but avoid Shreveport proper and the  possibilities are endless there, down the western border of Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico (ahhhh.....the Gulf Beaches in the Winter Time) then head east over to my hometown of New Iberia, on up the Mississippi River Trail, Cross the Mississippi Twice and back over westerly into the center of the state and straight down the center and back to home.

Ok folks... LET'S DO IT!

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Long Rider Ghosts & Michelle's Bull Pen

Michelle greeted me with a friendly hello when I walked in the door at her tack shop I had wanted to visit for about the last 8 or so years! Finally, I made up my mind to commit to a visit.  Her website is cute right now... she has all things horse, her horses are her kids and amazing joyful countenance about her spirit!  Love to be able to stay with her by horse if given the chance on some ride sometime in the future - maybe Ok to FL re-ride???  Please visit often.  She is in the middle of an update at this web address..but is happy to help you with tack, etc. Click here to visit the info for her store

Michelle and I both are senior horse and Tennessee Walking Horse fans.   Her horse, Andy, passed at the remarkable age of 44!!!  She has an amazing picture of the two of them under saddle at the age of 39. 

I mentioned to her that I was "taking a 1000 mile ride by horse around the perimeter of Louisiana".  We got to chatting and there was the ghost...right there in front of me..verbally appearing from her mouth when she said, "A man who was riding across country came through here about 8 years ago". I said, "Do you remember his name?"  She said she couldnt' remember.  But one of her vendors....a young Mr. Adams said, "You know, someone stayed with my dad in Kentucky a long time ago and he had already ridden several thousands of mile up until he stopped by our house."  I said, "I reckon that would be Gene Glasscock".  The Second Ghost appears.

He makes a call to his dad, Jerry Adams - A Tenn Walker afficienado himself, and a few minutes later the phone rings back and it  was Gene. The elder Mr. Adams had been contacted by Gayle Gerber to stay with them on Gene's trek like she had done for him for so many times before that.

I said to the younger, "I know both of those people" and to Michelle, "If you can remember, let me know".

The ghosts of United States long riders are everywhere. You just never know when you will run into someone who has met up with one of "us".    I directed them to the Long Riders Guild and also to my sites so they could see others who have been in the saddle in this fashion.

The phone rings.  "Hmmm...505 area code.  I have no idea who that is!". I didn't answer it as I was on the other line...and listened to a subsequent message comes in,"Hi Megan, this is Phil Moore."  That's all I had to hear to call him back.  Phil and I missed each other in Oklahoma on our rides in 2009.  He was passing through Lawton on Sept 23rd, 2009. and I was in Blair, just 'up the road' that day on my first attempt.  We had a great chat (thank you Phil) and can't wait to follow his next adventure that makes my ride look like a block long! is his site. Please take a peek if you have a minute.  Phil plans to follow a Native American Trail of tears through MANY different states!  "Keep in touch".  Oh, I will Phil.  Thanks for the call.  Ghost number three disappears over the phone lines.

But when the last ghost appeared and I shed a tear.  The song on the radio was Ronnie Dunn's "Cost of Livin".   The Pensacola bay is about a mile long.  The old Interstate bridge  is now a footbridge.  The interstate bridge runs parallel to the old one where cyclists and pedestrians cross daily.  I take a peaceful look over the bay and through some humid fog I see an apparition of  a man walking on the bridge.  Very faintly, leading a horse perhaps a wagon.  I blinked to shake it free. "I got steel toes, a strong back,  I rarely call in sick.  I work weekends, a good truck"...

I realized that this ghost cannot technically be categorized as a long rider in some ways, but a hero in others.  The vision stuck in my head and Ernest Nunley's pass over this pedestrian bridge with his horses right around 2008 stared me in the face.  He called me that day as he was crossing, to wish me well and see how I was doing.  I called him friend.  He passed away three weeks ago in the middle of his wagon ride across the country.  

What I don’t know, I catch on real quick, I work weekends,If I have to..."

These ghosts of long riders are everywhere as a human testimony of a dedication to history, equestrian travel and a sense of individuality  that is inexplicable.  They are, not matter how long it has been, remembered.  No matter what they were to other people, past or present, no matter their behavior after the fact of their ride....for a brief moment, they were someone' s inspiration, someone's dream come try by horse and perhaps someone's sanity.  Maybe someone's reason to live, I dunno.  The mutual inspirational synergy between long rider and host is also unique.

This brings me great comfort with each ghost I run into.  

" Give you 40, And then some, Whatever it takes, Three dollars and change at the pump, Cost of livin’s high and goin’ up."

500 miles today in the space of 9 hours by car... whizzing by the landscape as though you can cross the country by interstate and never see a thing.

Thank you Long Riders past and present.... yep....the cost of living is high... and going up.. 

Thanks to CMT for allowing me to embed this video.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Wretched Refuse of your Teeming Shore: Acadian Country After All!

Dean Jobb, author and Acadian history expert writes about the Acadian Deportation, “It was like a shame ... no one wanted to talk about it. ... a fracture in history, no one seems to remember how the deportation shattered the Acadian people.” May I add how no country wanted to claim them either. No one personally cared about them: they were pawns in a massive political power game of chess.

In steadfast faith the Acadians prayed what Kurt Vonnegut wrote: “The crucified planet Earth, should it find a voice and a sense of irony, might now well say of our abuse of it, "Forgive them, Father, They know not what they do."  The Acadians cried out for belonging as Kurt Vonnegut’s book title well said that “They were men without a country”.

A very young Thomas Jefferson was presented with the opportunity of taking the fledgling United States into a world power when Napoleon decided to sell the Louisiana Territories to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.  The details of this Purchase have been long forgotten and so have the political turmoil surrounding this land transaction.  Technically, this “sale” was "illegal" and violated the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso in several ways. The political powers at the time knew this and as we say in modern times, "just let that little detail slide".

Why would Napoleon take this huge piece of land and just sell it   to the United States and take his foothold off the coastal regions of Louisiana and deep into the heart of the North American Continent?  Well, in many ways, to tick the British and Spanish off!

Consider this.  Is there a better way than to upset your political rivalry and punish them for deporting your country's people??? Believe it or not, the French government did not feel all that strongly about Louisiana.  Despite the French colonization, it had been the Spanish running the territory for decades.  The French got it back from a bad argument that Napolean had with the King Ferdinand as Ferdinand reneged on a promise to Napolean's older brother, Joseph Bonaparte to make him the next King of Spain in a peaceful fashion. Angrily, Napolean cried a massive political "Check Mate! " by showing his Emperasorial prowess by making a new Political Friend who hated and just became free of British Rule in 1789.  I'm sure King George was not thrilled at all and the King Ferdinand probably became just as frightened of his newest most powerful next door neighbor as a country!  Side note: Napolean won and eventually made his older brother King...but by force instead!

The French Government didn't really want the Louisiana Territories.  They didn't have the ability to control it; they needed all of their troops in Europe to fight Napoleon's wars.  So selling Louisiana to the Americans killed several birds with one stone:

  • It got rid of a territory that French Governance and Napolean didn't have the money to administer

  • It gave Napolean a nice infusion of cash

  • It helped cement the alliance between the US and France

  • It strengthened the US, especially giving them additional ports to control.  That gave the US an incentive to strengthen its navy.

Makes sense doesn’t it?  After cementing the relationship between France and the United States, the US now had charge of the French settlements in Louisiana.  Home of the Free, democracy and apple beignets.  Can you imagine the delight down on the Bayou that the United States now had governance over their settlements there (even among the skeptics, there had to be relief.  These French settlements had been swearing allegiance to a new country on the average of once a year for nearly a century!).

No one wanted the Acadians…and now,  finally, FINALLY!  They had a country they could call their own who also wanted them. It was the first time in centuries that Acadians could just “be”, be their own countrymen and be in a country who promised them hope, happiness and the pursuit of life and liberty…. And the promise as a gift from France to the US which Our Lady in New York Harbor cries out to them: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Acadians from then on, could live life on their terms.  Welcome Acadians, we hope you still feel right at home.

Disclaimer:   By the way, I claim my British Colonist blood. I am 75% British and 25% Greek.  I read French rather well and can speak it with a broken accent.  I have nothing against any of these countries and am speaking of them only with historical context as a background for events. I hold NO bias against anyone’s nationality or country of origin.  

For our reference, here is a map of the Louisiana Territory.