NEVADA, MO – In tonight’s dose of good news… Two men from Nevada have just completed the trip of a lifetime: Arriving at Mount Rushmore, making the entire trip by horseback riding.
People visit Mount Rushmore from all over the nation by car or plane, but two men didn’t like either option.
“They decided that this is the summer to take a trip from Nevada, Missouri to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.” Says Donna Rodriguez, Nevada, Missouri.
Cris Rodriguez, recently retired, and Forrest Drury, an eighth-grade history teacher, have been travelling across the country for 51 days. Why?
“Because Cris is one of those guys that if you say, ‘Hey, let’s go do something.’ He would drop what he’s doing and grab a clean pair of shorts and take off. He’s an adventure soul. And, Forrest is just a fantastic young man.” Says Jed Umphenour, Rodriguez Family Friend.
Jed and his family put Cris and Forrest up the fourth day of their journey. The pair happily obliged as they thought they’d be camping the rest of the way.
“People would stop and see them. They would bring them grain, they would bring them water. They would tell them where they could stay. These are strangers. These are people that would show up and say, ‘What do you need?’” Says Julie Mader & Dave Mader, Rodriguez Family Friend.
Dave Mader went 100 miles with the duo before his horse ran into some trouble and couldn’t finish.
“I can’t wait to see them. I just can’t wait. I keep looking down over the hill thinking, ‘My God, I hope they show up pretty soon.’” Says Julie Mader & Dave Mader.
Eventually they did and they hopped off the saddle.
“Ground feels good. It feels good to get off of the saddle.” Says Cris Rodriguez.
It was all about what comes next.
“We had a job to do each day. And we got it done. We were saddled up and ready to go each day.” Says Forrest Drury & Cris Rodriguez, 51 Day Ride Companions.
It all started on the first day they were planning to camp. Where right off the bat, they ran into problems.
“That was the one night we kind of thought, ‘Uh-oh.’” Says Cris Rodriguez.
Where they’d thought to camp, they couldn’t. Distressed, a family came up wanting to pet their horses. After telling them their story, they offered them a place to stay. From then on, the people they stayed with would set them up with others along the way, always having a place to stay under a roof or the stars.
“Every day was like that, and then they knew somebody in the next town, and they knew somebody in the next town. The whole trip was that way.” Says Donna Rodriguez.
“There’s a lot of good people out there. Everywhere we went people took care of us.” Says Donna Rodriguez.
“We had our moments. We have no black eyes or anything like that. We never duked it out, but we thought about it!” Says Cris Rodriguez.
They left on June 1, Cris’s birthday, who had been dreaming about this trip for 40 years. He says it’s been in his blood.
Also, Cris taught Forrest how to ride.
“It sounded like an adventure that I definitely wanted to go on. His wife Donna said he couldn’t go alone. So, I figured I’d come and keep an eye on him.” Says Forrest Drury.
“I’m thrilled to see my wife that I haven’t seen for a while. So, that feels really good.” Says Cris Rodriguez.
“It’ll be nice to have a pillow again.” Says Forrest Drury.
“We left on June 1, went out the Driveway and didn’t turn around.” Says Cris Rodriguez.