May 9, 1997
Location: Overton, Nebraska - Location: 40:44:19N 99:32:14W Elevation: 2320 feet
Summary: From one field to another (Odessa to Overton)
Journal entry: Man alive, it was cold this morning!! Frost on my tarp and dripping onto my face as I breathed. But there was a clear night and billions of stars. Needless to say, I got up quickly, threw my stuff in the car and sat in my car to warm up. Well, if they let us build fires, I might have done that. Cars warm you up and that's all I wanted. I typed for an hour or so and pushed the wrong button to save it and crashed the whole mornings work. Man, I don't know what I was thinking when I pushed that tiny, little, innocent-looking button. So, my decision was re-write and be late or forget the whole computer thing and go. I re-wrote and watched everybody walk and ride out of camp. There were a lot of stragglers this morning, so I just quickly got ready and left when I could. I was about an hour behind the group and figured if I just walked all day, I would catch up at the next camp.
Well, I had gotten about an eighth of a mile along when a local farmer stopped and we visited for quite a while. He had the usual questions "Where are you from? Are you really walking? Are you a Mormon? How do you like it so far?" It was very friendly conversation. Next he offered me a ride to the next corner. I gladly accepted. Then he decided to drive me up to the last wagon, who was also late and catching up. He was very nice and just what I needed. I waved and shouted thanks and asked if I could ride on the wagon. The teamster had no riders and was glad for the conversation. We visited and talked. His name is Bob Knapp from just a little north of here in Nebraska. He has a farm, but also has a hobby--riding on trails with his horses and buggy or wagon. He loves to do this kind of thing and told me all about his horses, his wagon which he just recently bought, his farm, his wife and children. It was a cool morning but very interesting conversation. We picked up a few walkers who needed a lift.
Let me describe what it is like riding on a wagon. Close your eyes. Kind of sway back and forth gently. Occasionally you cross over a rock so the wagon sort of bumps you up and down. It's very relaxing, really, and as you sort of jiggle around and up and down, you listen to the sounds of the wagon. There are several wagons and as you slowly move down the gravel road it is a sort of grating sound. The wooden wagon is not loaded and the boards bump around and rub each other making loose boards sounds hitting each other. The wheels are grating, the boards bumping. Now we add the sounds of the horses clomping along, their shoes crushing the gravel. The metal parts of the reins and stirrups clink against each other making happy little tinkling sounds. There is an occasional sneeze or whinny from a passing rider's horse. It is really very pleasant and with not much effort I could lower my head and doze off. The air is warming a little now. It has been quite brisk.
Riding in a wagon is very peaceful. It gives you a lot of time to think and to look around at the countryside. Lost programs on the computer really don't matter, do they?
We had very little wind today. I was happily surprised at the new campsite to see Linda. She had come from Blair to visit for a few minutes and bring me a little gift from Nebraska. Sure you don't want to walk a little further? It's getting to be fun now. I am almost dreading the idea of someday having to get to the end of this trek. It is the fulfillment of a dream.
One of our walkers is Gordon W Beharrell. He wrote his biographical sketch.
Thanks Gordon, HappyNetTrekking.I was born in Nelson, Lancashire, England, on the 5th of September, 1937. My parents were William Beharrell and Elizabeth nee Seddon: both were members of the Methodist faith. My father was a lay preacher. I am a retired police officer, having served for nearly thirty years in three police forces. In 1965 I married my wife, June, nee Cold, whom I met whilst serving as a building missionary in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. We have four children: Mark, Adam, Matthew and John. Mark and Matthew have served missions in the Manchester and the Irish and Leeds missions. In 1957, aged 19 years, just after my discharge from the Royal Air Force Police, I returned to South port, Lancashire, to live with my parents. One day when I returned home from work I was informed that two American Mormon missionaries had visited the house but had been turned away. I had never heard the name Mormon before but felt a strong desire to find out more about them.
That evening I looked up Mormon in the dictionary. [...]The missionaries happily made an appointment to come and teach me; [...] They told me about church meetings; I attended. They explained the Word of Wisdom to me; I kept it. They taught me about tithing; I paid it. [...] A journey that began by looking up Mormon in the dictionary has brought me to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [...]
On the 7th of July I celebrate my 40 years in the Church as I walk with the handcart company in the wagon train re-enactment of the original Mormon pioneers entering the Great Salt Lake Valley on the 24 July, 1847. As I carry the flag of Great Britain I am endeavoring to capture the spirit of events that occurred 150 years ago. This is my personal tribute to the men, women, and children from the British Isles who were the backbone of the early Church. Many died on the trek to Zion. I feel it to be a privilege and a blessing to follow in their footsteps.