by Jessica Onsurez, Current-Argus
CARLSBAD – A 1,200-mile journey on horseback began with a single request.
Charlie Kitchens said his father, James Romer, a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, wanted his ashes spread in the only U.S. river without a man-made dam — the Yellowstone River in Montana.
The Yellowstone River flows 676 miles unrestricted, according to the state of Montana's website, and it is the only river in the lower 48 states to remain undammed.
“Dad always wanted to ride Durango to Livingston,” said Kitchens, 40. That's where he got the idea to complete his father's wish by finally taking the journey on horseback his father was never able to undertake and deposit his father's ashes in Montana.
Kitchens started his journey on horseback in Grandfalls-Royalty, Texas, a small Southwest Texas town just south of the New Mexico border. He's ridden 12 days so far on a 5-year-old buckskin stud he calls Bubba.
He estimates that it will take him a year to complete the journey to Livingston, Mont. He will go an estimated 1,200 miles through at least five states, but Kitchens said that he is looking forward to the people he'll meet along the way and the stories he will hear.
Kitchens has dedicated his journey to the memory of all American veterans and said that he hopes that along the way he can raise awareness on their behalf.
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