Thursday, September 23, 2010

Horseman And The Lady Make Stop In Socorro

By Gary Jaramillo

Art Lamely and Sue Hemmings are living the kind of life that we all romanticize about but never have the chance to actually live. One day Sue, a widow was outside watering her flowers at her home in Pine Bluffs, Wyoming and suddenly her knight in shining armor rode up to her front yard - and the rest - has been history.
Wonderful, tough, loving, stressful, challenging and romantic history. You see, Art decided after losing just about everything that meant anything to him in Broken Bow, Nebraska, to ride off into the sunset alone for awhile even after the teasing from his family and friends. 300 miles later, fate brought him to the front door of Sue Hemmings home while searching for water and one kind person for a bit of help. Art says his horse “Big John” led him to Sue. When Art said that, Sue just smiled.
I met Art and Sue after our Mountain Mail’s Glenn Bigelow pointed them out to me as he walked out the front door toward the bank across the street. Sue was at the Drive up on her horse doing some business.
It was really neat. Glenn took his camera with him and began taking photos of the couple and their 4 horses. I followed with my camera and we introduced ourselves to the couple that looked like they had just appeared out of some sort of old west time machine and right into our lives in 2010 right in front of the Mountain Mail Newspaper offices. It was as though we knew them for a very long time.
They were dressed quite nicely and smiling. They said they would be staying under some trees just east of Clarke field next to the RR tracks for a couple of days. I told them I would be by to see them later that day after work and we could talk. They said, “sounds great, see ya then.”
I have to admit that when 6’3” Art Lamely jumped down from his beautiful and somewhat intimidating horse “Big John” at 16 ½ hands tall and built like a truck, the Colt .45 pistol snugly fitted into a holster on his side was a little intimidating as well. I found out later that he only wore the big gun for their protection from animals in the wild and anyone who might think about wanting to hurt either of them or their horses. I made my way to their camp and offered to rent a motel room for them so they could shower and get cleaned up before nightfall. They had told me that showers or baths could sometimes be put off for quite sometime depending on the circumstances along their travels. I rented a hotel room and both Sue and Art had their much anticipated showers and felt 100 % better for sleep the first night out by Clark Field under the moonlit skies.
I had already begun looking for a place to put their horses so they could stay in a hotel the next night before they continued on their journey which would lead them to Highway 60 toward Magdalena and to Phoenix and then all the way north from there to Oregon. It boggles my mind when I begin to think about it, but they knew it could be done and never had any doubt whatsoever. Absolutely remarkable to me.
Just unbelievable. I got Blake and Sonya Gerards phone number from Vanetta Perry so I could ask them if they had any corrals close to town for the night, and the answer was “YES”. That was wonderful news, and Sonya and Blake and their daughter Jamie were just as nice and neighborly as could be. I wasn’t shocked because I’ve known the Gerards most of my life and knew both of them were very special people, but they went above and beyond for Art and Sue. It’s always amazing to me how easy it is for complete strangers to be treated so wonderfully by people here in Socorro. The Gerards would help anyone, any time. That’s just who they are. I cannot tell you how proud it made me to know Blake, Sonya and their children. Art and Sue were just blown away by the hospitality and care shown to them and will never forget the way they were treated by everyone else in Socorro. The Gerards were so very busy living their own lives and helping at the annual county fair, but never blinked an eye when it came to helping complete strangers. They’re incredible and I am forever a friend to them, as are Art, Sue and their kids (horses). Just like Sonya, they treat their horses like family. It’s really neat.
As it turned out, Art and Sue decided to sleep outside close to their horses in the Gerards back yard grass instead of taking me up on my offer of renting a hotel room for them.
They said they just couldn’t leave their horses alone without being near them during the night in an unfamiliar place. Now that’s love for your horses. And, I watched as those horses acted like little kids from time to time. They are spoiled, but obviously love Art and Sue.
My two new traveling friends decided that they had better get ready to leave Socorro after they went to WalMart and the Laundromat to get their personal belongings cleaned up and in order. They had also decided to ride in the County Fair Parade before they left on Saturday morning. I had the honor of buying dinner for them on Friday night at K-Bob’s. We really enjoyed ourselves and I had the privilege of hearing their story over dinner. I’ll keep everyone updated on where they are and how they are doing in the future. Maybe they’ll come back this way again. I truly hope they do.
We decided that we would go on a trip to Magdalena so they could check out the water wells along Highway 60 on the ranches and where they would bunk for the night half way to Magdalena. They decided to bunk across the highway from the Water Canyon turn off on Highway 60 and I would drive along ahead of them during their day long ride after the Fair Parade and leave them water and alfalfa in different spots along their trail. It was such a privilege to be a part (in some very small way) of their journey, even though it was only all of 25 miles from Socorro to Magdalena. They travel at about 3 ½ miles per hour. Patience is a big part of their daily travels and lives.
I loved it. Didn’t have a horse or any gear to speak of, unless you count my air conditioned car and a 44 ounce Pepsi and some Cookies for the long grueling trip I had to make to leave the water and hay for the horses along the way. All I wanted was for Art and Sue to see how wonderful everyone from these parts could be when someone was just passing through our area. I told them that they would only find nice and generous people on the roads here and all the way to the Arizona border.
Art and Sue are looking for work in the Magdalena area for awhile to make a little money for some Alfalfa, water, food and medicine for further down the trial on their journey. If anyone in Magdalena, Datil, Pie Town or Quemado have a little work for my friends, please let them know.
A nice little place to keep warm, a little water and a bale of hay would be great too. You’ll see them coming. A well dressed Horseman and a well dressed and sweet Lady with their lives packed on their horses, slowly but surely moving along the trail to the next ranch, village or big city.
I’ll keep them and their horses in my prayers. It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to cross life paths with others. It’s those kind of lessons that make us better people. Better friends. And for Art and Sue - better lifelong partners. They told me that when they’re out on the plains or in the mountains or forests somewhere staring up at the night sky and those big night stars – they’d be thinking of all of us and wishing us well. Man, I wish I had the chance to live their lives for just one week.
They say they’re going to work their way up to Oregon. I wish them God’s speed, lots of wonderful moments and helpful good people along the way. That shouldn’t be a problem, I’m sure. I’m hoping I see them again sometime down the road.

Publisher’s note: We will be keeping everyone updated on Art, Sue, Big John and the rest of the gang from time to time. Their story is absolutely wonderful and we will be telling more of it soon.


  1. Nice work on this article, I'm sister-in-law to Sue, and her brother Mike and I live in Prineville Oregon, where I do believe they are headed our way. They are in Arz. now, how far in we don't know , it was a broken up phone call today ( Sunday) They have a long way to go yet and the weather is getting cold, YIKES.
    Elaine Taaffe

  2. Wow. I love your article and I love this story. Art, Sue, Big John and the rest came into my diner this evening in Lubbock, TX. I was able to find them some stalls and a place to camp for the evening. They said they are heading to Southern Illinois for Art's mother's birthday in September. How wonderful! This is truly an amazing adventure.

  3. I work for the Chamber of Commerce in Albuquerque ( Audrey P) and I just spoke to Art they are due in ABQ in 4 days. trying to help find someone who can help them with a place to stay and hay and water for the horses.

  4. Saturday, 5/26/12: While returning on my BMW motorcycle from Bullhead City, AZ, to my home near New Orleans, I had the pleasure of meeting Art and Sue. They had just finished unpacking the horses behind the store and post office that is Gladstone, NM, in 45-55 mph southerly winds. Sue told me they were delaying feeding the horses some slabs of hay because the strong winds would blow it all away before the horses could eat it! The good vibes and love that emanate from Art and Sue are inescapable. My reputation as a motorcycle adventurer is dwarfed by their adventures and choice of mobility.
    Skip Harrison, Mandeville, LA

  5. Sue and Art are presently camped at the Chanute (KS) Bit & Spur Saddle Club grounds. Board member, Jerry Jordan, responded to a call from the police that there was a couple on horseback needing a place to shelter for a couple of nights. He helped them set up camp at the Club grounds last night and ferried them to and from the laundromat and WalMart this morning. Art and Sue are planning to atay another night and then head out when the rain abates. It is our privilege to extend the hospitality of our facility to such travelers.
    Gay O'Rourke, Treasurer, Chanute Bit & Spur Saddle Club

    1. Just met Art and Sue in Noel, Missouri. They are great people and wish them well on their happy tail. I plan to do the same in the very near future. They helped me get my list started of the "most needed" supplies for such a trip. May God keep them safe on their adventure.

  6. 05/28/13 Just met Art and Sue in South east Oklahoma they were camped at Pipe Springs had a wonderful visit. HAPPY TRAILS TO THEM.

  7. July 7, 2013 9:00am CST
    Just left Art, Sue & the children in Atlanta, TX. We had the priviledge of them staying on our ranch in New Boston, TX with us 2 nights. We met them on July 4th and invited them to stay with us and rest if they needed to. We enjoyed their company and the many interesting stories of their travels. God bless and Godspeed to our new friends!

  8. Art, Sue and the Children just came through Shreveport, La., on their way to New Orleans. They stopped across the street from our business and told our Neighbors their names and how long they had been on the road. I took pictures and ran in and googled their names and found this story. Thanks for such a lovely story! So glad I got to see them and read this story. God Bless Them and their beautiful children!

  9. Art, Sue, and their "children" are doing well. I met them yesterday here in Burkeville, Tx. Happy to report they agreed to stay at my farm for awhile to let the horses (and them) get some much needed rest. I, too, feel blessed to have met them and listened to their story. Very humble couple.

  10. Well it seems Art and Sue have made in into Apache Junction, Az. IDK how long they're here or where the next stop is. Good wishes, safe travels, many prayers for healthy, happy travels. 01-02-2016

  11. I posted this to my facebook page today... To my horsey Friends near Apache Junction/Queen Creek area...A friend from work Curtis Baughman randomly contacted me asking if I knew of a farrier for a gentleman he had met... and sent me this guy's story..(Thank you Curtis and your Mom, for helping him and your kindness)...and I was like...Oh my goodness...I KNOW him!!!! Does anyone remember the story of (story below)..they were on the News..he and his Partner Sue rode through several years ago on their horses ...they had an issue with their pack horse, he was down.. and they had to leave their packs and gear behind somewhere in the mountains near Young, AZ with help of my Parents Suzanne Thomas Le Fevre and M dee LeFevre who he still remembers fondly they sent my Son Bryan Burgener and Nephew John Perlingiero out to retrieve the gear for them, On the way back Bryan and John rolled the side by side several times both ending up the hospital with a concussion..I had forgotten about this and the first thing he asked was how they were doing...that he had told the story of them often....Well, he is back continuing his journey, says he's running a little late because Big John (his horse) wanted to go east first... He lost his precious Sue to Cancer in July...he promised her he'd continue their ride over 5000 miles and counting...and would tell his story in a book.. for her. You can't miss him..he is standing is Apache Junction with his horse holding a sign looking for work...he may need a place to stay for a few days as he doesn't want to wear out the welcome where he is at ...he is not looking for a handout at all and says, " don't want to be thought of as a Bum!!"...but does appreciate the good folks he had met along his journey...I am going to help him get his horse shod...( Mike Hill You are a SAINT and the best Farrier for helping him!!!!!) and offered to let him stay with us, but he prefers to be where he can find work....Jack of all trades and willing to work for a place to lay his head and stable his horse for a few days while passing through....I am proud to have met this man and believe in his story, It's just him now...and a beautiful relationship he has developed with Big John his horse throughout the many miles traveled together..I can't wait to read his story someday..I am pretty sure the love of his life Sue is still riding with him in spirit...I love how life comes back full circle and I believe in Dreams....Please share and If you would like to Contact Art to offer assistance 575-519-9589

  12. Yesterday I picked up Art and his Best Freind Big John took them from cordes az to PHX to replace there tent.This is a man who loves not only his buddy but the true meaning of adventure.Him and his horse are on a personal journey across many states to find peacefulness. Art now has to find work here in northern az so he can replace not only John,s shoes but his as well.He is not asking for any handouts just honest work.He will not leave his buddy in harms way so whatever work are rest he finds Big John will not be far...