Monday, 23 November 2015


After a dawn start on Thursday October 8th, the first job was to find water for both Lady and myself.  Neither of us had drunk since the evening before and we were both thirsty, so after an hour and a half of walking I brightened up when I came across a few men outside a large shed.  They showed me a trough of clean water for Lady, and another kind gentleman up the road fetched a couple of bottles of drinking water for me.  Not before time, as the temperatures were climbing up into the 80s again.  I was glad to stop for a quick slushie at Macdonalds in Trenton, while Lady waited patiently at a brand new hitching rail they have erected outside at the request of the local Amish community. The manager came to take a photo as apparently we were the first to christen it!

Outside Trenton I encountered what must be the hairiest section of highway I have yet tackled, crossing the Thompson river at what I thought was the only bridge for miles.  The bridge was very long, the verge very narrow, the road very straight and the traffic very fast -  the semis (juggernauts or tractor-trailers depending on which part of the world you inhabit) hurtled past a whisker away having gathered momentum down a hill.

Of course, I could have kicked myself back home when I looked on Google Earth and realised there was a small secluded bridge about a third of a mile to the north, stressing the importance of careful research!
Thankfully we were soon back to less dangerous traffic of the reptilian variety on gravel backroads once more..
Although Lady had seemed much more comfortable with the new saddle padding, to be on the safe side I had led her quite a way in the heat.  So I chirped up when a cheerful woman in a car pulled up and introduced herself as the owner of Greenacres Riding Stables near Jamesport where I was headed.  Patti Gilham had kindly agreed to host me some time previously, and it was a real moral booster to hear that there would be supper and a glass of wine waiting - as she is half French I knew I could expect something decent!
Patti and Kenny run a therapeutic riding programme at the centre, and are busy through the summer with clients who have various disabilities.  As they do not have an indoor riding school they have to shut for the winter. They are both endlessly patient, and it is heart-warming to see the positive response from the pupils. 

It was a particularly hectic time as everyone was preparing for a show the following weekend.  In spite of all this they were very welcoming, and I decided to take the opportunity to have a couple of days off, rest Lady's back and do a little sightseeing.

 Jamesport is the centre of a thriving Amish community.   As former mayor of Jamesport, Patti had been asked to help judge at a local quilt-making competition, quilt making being a traditional activity among Amish women.  On Friday October 9th we drove into town to have a shifty at the results.
 Patti studying the display of fabulous prize winning quilts......
.....which you can see are remarkable for their vibrant colours and intricate detail - these are all hand stitched, and based round traditional patterns.      The quilts were due to be auctioned off the following day, and I was very tempted to go along and bid, but soon realised that they were likely to be well beyond my budget!

 Patti found time in her busy schedule to drive me out to an important Mormon site I was keen to visit, where Joseph Smith tried to found a Mormon settlement before they were thrown out of Missouri.  It was news to me, but apparently Adam and Eve came to live near Jamesport after they were ejected from the Garden of Eden, which as we already know was in Jackson County, Missouri. This site was named Adam-ondi-Ahman by Joseph, though no-one seems quite certain of its exact translation.  Something to do with Adam. In fact everything seems a bit vague when it comes to Adam-ondi-Ahman, including its exact location...

But where was the crest of the hill?  Perhaps it was this odd mound behind a nearby fence?...
...though it looked more like an underground nuclear bunker than a holy site.
Sometimes there is reference to the 'Valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, which is in the background behind me, and admittedly very tranquil and scenic....
This was at Tower Hill, the site proposed for a Mormon temple in 1838.  I think. Or perhaps it was where the Nephites (the descendants of the Israelis who came over in steel boats) made sacrifices? Or both.   At any rate the Mormons now own around 3000 acres here which is maintained by them as a historic site, though there is nothing much more to see than farmland.   
It is also believed to be the location for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when the worthy will be admitted to heaven. Which is why real estate in the area is being snapped up by Mormons frightened of being left behind.  

. Pumpkins ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving
Kenny and Patti relax with a beer  after a busy Saturday of rehearsals for the show the following weekend...
Little rescue dog Lola performs an American football trick Kenny has taught her, though she is a touch rusty to begin with!...
For the uninitiated, Kenny is using American football calls. 'Team down' is the call to set ready for a move, and 'Hut hut' is the signal to start play.
A fantastic Missouri sunset brings to a close a relaxing time out ...

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