Tag Archive | breast cancer

Quick Trip Down Memory Lane

I love Donalda! It was one of the highlights of our tour. The layout of the town. The badlands. The great horse camping facility. The *fab* food done by the caterer — and the way it was done, right out there on Main Street.

And Bruce Gartside. Can’t ever forget Bruce. He was the driving force behind our visit there.

This is the view when you slip out of town on your horse.


Did I mention that we loved the people of Donalda?donalda-hand-prints

This is their phenomenal lantern. You should see it lit up at night. It’s incredibly beautiful.donalda-lantern

Oh, yes! There were a few of us in Donalda that day!donalda-lots-of-horses

Seeing the riders coming down Main Street was a real treat! I wish every day could have had this many riders! We’d be over the million dollar mark in our fundraising if we had.donalda-riding-main-street

One last, parting shot of the badlands. Riders loved this ride.donalds-badlands-1


Let’s make southern Alberta our first ride of the year — but where?

I don’t know which of these options I might be able to arrange, but if I can do it, which one of these (or another) would you like to ride in the spring?

I’m choosing southern Alberta as our first ride so that we can do it before the heat is so intense. Last August we rode Sandstone Ranch and Knight Ranch and everybody loved it, but it sure was hot! Too hot to ride for more than 2-3 hours. So I’m thinking that in May or June, it might be just about perfect.

So here are some options I’ve come up with. If you have others, please choose the “Other” option and put your suggestion in “Comments”.

Where do we go from here?

As you all know, the Wild Pink Yonder Longrides are a matter of history now. They are just too hard for one person to pull together … and I’m tired. Dog tired.

But when we had Wingding at the end of this year, our riders all agreed that it would be a shame to let Wild Pink Yonder just die. We have over 3,500 people (riders and others) who follow us on Facebook. They are all concerned with finding a cure for breast cancer, and that war ain’t over … so we’ve decided that Wild Pink Yonder’s not going to quit! It’s going to be legendary … again!

But how?

The consensus at Wingding was that riders would rather have trail rides than clinics or competitions. We talked about having three rides a year: one in the far south, one in central Alberta and one up north. Maybe you agree with this idea. Maybe you don’t. Either way, we’re hoping you’ll contribute to the poll below (and do it soon) because I have got to get hoppin’ if this is going to come together for the summer of 2017!

KAL TIRE to the rescue again … and again.

As some of you know, I am a huge fan of Kal Tire. Always have been. They call it “True Service”. I call it “Truly Great Service”.

A few years ago, Kal Tire showed their true colours (and their True Service) when AMA refused to change the tire on our stock trailer on the side of the TransCanada Highway unless I took all three horses out first — *eyes like saucers* — on the side of this very busy highway. When I refused, they would not come. Kal Tire to the rescue! They came. They saw. They got me back on the road without endangering the lives of my horses (and passing motorists who could have been killed as well if a horse had spooked from a passing highway transport). All these years later, I’m still mad at AMA over that. And I’m still so thankful that Kal Tire exists.

This year, after about a week on the trail, I noticed that it was getting harder and harder to start my motorhome so I took it in to Kal Tire in Stettler. What great people they are! Apparently my batteries were pooched. Apparently they are not that common. And apparently they’re particularly difficult to get at. That didn’t stop these guys! They found the right batteries (two of them …. with the posts on the side, not the top) and got me up and running in record time. They even gave me a substantial “breast cancer fundraiser discount” on the price.

Have I mentioned that I love Kal Tire?

And then, a little more than a week later, we had a noticeably bulging tire on the cargo trailer! I mean bulging as in “gonna blow sometime very soon”. It was a Friday night. About dusk. Every average store was closed. But Kal Tire is anything but average. They sent a new tire and a technician to put it on our rim, inflate it and install it — in the dark. Again, this was done in record time and with a smile.

Did you know that their new slogan is, “If we sell it, we guarantee it”? Gawd, I love Kal Tire!

Kal Tire has been a sponsor for Wild Pink Yonder for the last three years. They offer True Service. I am a True Believer. Thank you for being there, Kal.



DATELINE: Sept 4 – Lamont Ag Society

This has been the rainiest summer we’ve had in a long time. It rained again Saturday night. Fortunately, it didn’t rain until quite late, so the Yonderosa Dinner went off without a hitch. But it rained. The ag grounds were sopping wet in the morning. Playing “Silly Horse Games” was not an option. Instead, our Longriders (and almost Longriders) came and helped us tear down.

And then they were gone.

All that was left were Julia Vandeerwolf-McPhail, Amanda McPhail, Carole DeSchover (“Cookie”), my ever-so-patient stepson Kevin Thomas and me. We were eight miles from my place, but I was in no hurry to go home. You see, about four days prior to this we had two big fires at my place. First, our two-car garage caught fire and burned completely before the fire department could get there. During that fire, sparks were thrown onto a granary and our big old barn that was built in 1906. The firefighters got the granary fire out and thought they’d extinguished the barn as well. They hadn’t, and because the wood in the barn was so old and dry (and because there were two layers of old, old, old square hay bales in the loft), in the middle of the night it burned to the ground before the firefighters could get back again.

I wasn’t in a hurry to go home and see that. But also, Carole was waiting to see if she had to go to Banff to pick up her grandchildren. So we all sat at Lamont Ag. Carole, Julia and I got into the white wine while sitting in Carole’s camper. Not being in a drinking mood (on a Sunday afternoon), Kevin and Amanda solved all the world’s problems while sitting in my motorhome.

In the long run, Kevin and Amanda brought pizza for dinner and then the McPhails went home, Carole went to sleep and Kevin and I decided that we could not leave Carole alone in the ag grounds, so we went to our motorhome and worked until midnight.

At 11:30 pm Carole showed up at our door and said she was heading for Banff. But it was dark out. Kevin and I couldn’t see the grounds to know that everything was picked up, put away and restored to its original shape, so we spent one last night in the motorhome. In the morning we did one final check in daylight and padlocked the gate on our way out.

It was a quiet end to the Wild Pink Yonder Farewell Tour and Monday morning saw the dawn of a new era. It isn’t bitter sweet. It’s just sweet. I have no sorrow for this being the end. No regrets. I will finally have some time to be able to enjoy my new horse and ride the Blackfoot with all the friends I’ve made on The Pink Trail.

The timing is good … and the future looks bright. My exit strategy has always been to have 4H take up the reins and have Wild Pink Yonder carry on with “Wild Pink Weekends” that will fund breast cancer research and the 4H ideals.

I’m in negotiations with 4H now. They seem quite excited about the possibility but won’t have an answer for me until November. In a perfect world, Wild Pink Yonder will become one of their signature events and I will stay on to mentor individual 4H groups and handle the behind-the-scenes stuff. In a less-than-perfect world, I don’t know. We’ll still do something for breast cancer. Day rides? Weekends in interesting places? I don’t know.  For now we just wait to see how perfect our world might be.



DATELINE: Sept 3 – Lamont Ag Society

Bless their hearts. We sure do appreciate Lamont Ag. We couldn’t go into Edmonton because WELCA is in the middle of their construction. We didn’t want to go to St Albert because too many riders didn’t like all that city driving. Lamont Ag rode to our rescue.

Yes, it was muddy, but it didn’t rain on Saturday while the riders were off for their second day of riding the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Grazing and Recreational Area. This time they rode out of Waskahegan Staging Area. The riders included my stepson who was given the opportunity to ride “Hashbrown”, a gaited Rocky Mountain Horse owned by Pinkster Julia Vanderwolf-MacPhail. (I was jealous yet again.) Stepson Kevin hasn’t been a “horse person” thus far in his life, but I’m working hard on turning him into one. *grin* From all accounts, the day’s ride was successful and thoroughly enjoyed. Kevin was amazed at how much smoother a gaited horse is as compared to a “trotter”. (Is it working, Kevin? Are we ready to buy you a Rocky?)

While the riders were off in the Blackfoot, Julia, Amanda and Cookie took to the ovens. Longrider Sue’s husband (Jim), my husband (David) and I got to setting things up in the big tent that Lamont Ag keeps up all summer long. It’s huge, and we had to move panels from the east end of it to the west end where the wind was whipping in. Once that was done, my hubby put together and set up a patio heater and another small propane heater. Suddenly the place was cozy so we started decorating. Pink glow sticks were hung from the walls and pink plastic tablecloths covered the picnic tables. Two LED-lit little trees sat in the corners and lit the room.

When the riders got back (hungry), Carole made nachos to tide them over ’til dinner.

Our Yonderosa Dinner was compliments of Lori from Sobey’s on Wye in Sherwood Park. The cooking was compliments of Cookie, Julia and Amanda. We had chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach and topped with a mushroom sauce, creamy potatoes, broccoli, Caesar salad and dutch oven-made cheddar cheese buns by Julia. For dessert there was a slab cake from Sobey’s that had the Wild Pink Yonder logo on it and the words, “Happy trails to you”. And to top it off, Julia did this awesome thing with sour cherries on the bottom and double chocolate cake on top. It was fantastic! The ladies outdid themselves.

Our speaker for the night was none other than the internationally recognized breast cancer guru, Dr John Mackey. Not only is this man brilliant, but he’s personable, charming and funny, to boot. And he spoke to us in this intimate little setting so anyone who wanted to could ask a question or throw in a comment. He told us how CRINA (Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta) works … and why it works so well. He told us of the many things they’re doing and the success they are having matching up experts from fields that don’t normally work on cancer with their researchers who do. Because of these innovations (and many others) the end is near for breast cancer. Both effective treatment and a vaccine will happen in my lifetime. I am sure of that.

If you’re going to have a farewell Yonderosa Dinner, this was the way to do it. I can’t give enough kudos to Carole DeSchover, Julia Vanderwolf-MacPhail, Amanda MacPhail and Dr John Mackey. The four of them made the evening a resounding success. I could not have asked for more.

Next stop …no regrets.


DATELINE: Sept 2 – The Homestretch!

As it turned out, our last stop on the trail cratered on us, so at the very last minute I contacted the ag society in Vegreville and they graciously stepped up and gave us a place to stay for the night. Bless them! But when a town backs out, it is much more than just a place to stay that goes up in smoke! So do meals and a 3 to 5 hour trail ride … so what to do now?

The first order of business was to figure out where to send the riders for their trail ride. As it isn’t too far away, we sent the riders off to “The Blackfoot”. It is officially called “Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Grazing Wildlife Recreation Area” and it has miles and miles of groomed trails for riding (as well as trails groomed for non-motorized bikes and stuff). On this particular day they rode out of the staging area called “Blackfoot”. Tomorrow they will ride from “Waskahegan”.

The weather held. It was cool but comfortable, and it didn’t rain. Trails were muddy and a tad slippery, but the day went well and everybody came home safe and sound.

Our riders got back in the nick of time. They got their horses into the lovely box stalls in Vegreville Ag and the sky just opened up. Man, did it rain! And rain! And rain! At times we couldn’t hear ourselves talking in the tin roofed barn! But we were snug, so it didn’t matter. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Vegreville Ag! You saved our bacon, big time!

Have I told you about our in-house cook? Her name is actually Carole DeSchover, but she answers to “Cookie” as well, and she is a wonder. She’s an unending source of energy and optimism. We all love her to pieces. So Cookie stepped up as well. One can never complain when Carole is on the business end of a frying pan!

Because you can’t really have a bonfire inside a barn, we all turned in early so as to be fresh for Trail’s End weekend.

Next stop: Lamont Ag Society … and Trail’s End.