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Widow carries husband's ashes in covered wagon to honor last wishes

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 08:58:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 10:40:36 AM CDT
KNOX CITY, Texas -

J Williams is carrying her late husband’s ashes in a coffeepot by covered wagon across northern parts of Texas to honor his wish.

Her crew moves at about four miles an hour and that will ultimately translate to a 15-day, 280-mile voyage from Breckenridge to Palo Duro Canyon.

"We saw Palo Duro Canyon and we fell in love with it and 13 years ago he (Len Williams) told me if he ever died that's where he wanted his ashes spread. So, I lost him 11 months ago to cancer and we're taking his ashes up there to spread his ashes," she said. 

"He just decided that he would love to go up in a wagon," J added.

This is not J’s first trip in a wagon, she goes on about 10 every year, but this will be J's longest wagon ride ever – and she says the most meaningful one.

"I think if you make a promise to somebody you need to keep it no matter what and it's my husband's wish and I’m very happy that I’m doing it," J said.

Luckily, J's friends weren't shy about coming along for the ride.

"If I could get away with it I’d just keep going," said outrider Tom Duke. 

Len’s ashes ride with a different person every day and the group said they even bring him into bars and restaurants with them.

The whole crew has gotten used to the attention from spectators.

"Everybody stops, takes pictures, they want to know where we're going and why we're doing it," said J.

For these travelers, it's more than a 15-day trek.

"Everybody should have some cause in their life that makes them want to just commit and for us this is what it is," Duke said.       

The travelers said they have gotten much help throughout their trip. Several ranchers have let them stay the night and provided them with food and water.

The memorial trail ride for Len Williams will end Sunday, April 7, at Palo Duro Canyon.