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Finisia Medrano
From "Tandem, an American Love Story" - the Turtle Chronicles

From the Abilene Reporter-News

Friday, December 5, 1997

Wagonmaster 'pulling for Christ'

By TANYA EISERER / Abilene Reporter-News

Travelers may have noticed an unusual sight at Highway 83/84 and Farm-to-Market 707: a buckskin clad woman, four horses, two dogs and a covered wagon.

In case you did not stop, Finisia Medrano, of northern Idaho, has camped on the edge of town to rest for a spell. Medrano, 41, expects to stay through Sunday.

Her horses -- Strawberry Short Cake, Mouse, Katie and Little Soldier -- are pinned in a makeshift corral made of stakes and nylon cord. A solar panel atop the wagon allows her to electrify the fence at night.

Medrano also had to make a trip into town to retrieve her dog, Rusty, who bit a small child.

"I had to get him out of jail," she said.

Medrano lives in the covered wagon with a faded red sign on the side proclaiming, "Pulling for Christ."

The cozy interior of the wagon is covered with Indian blankets and momentos of her travels. She also has a bed and even a cage for the dogs to sleep in at night.

"I've got a wood stove in there for heat and cooking," she said. "I've been burning mesquite wood in Texas."

She even has a stained glass window with a cross in wagon.

"I'm a firm believer that the church is wherever you make it," Medrano explained.

Medrano makes Indian-style bead artwork that she sells to various galleries. She's making a beaded "shoo fly" from horse hair and leather.

"I make every kind of traditional item you can think of," Medrano said. "My grandma taught me how to bead when I was a child. It's turned into a living."

Medrano lives a rather simple, pioneer-style life with no electricity and no running water.

"I'm not complaining," she said. "It's what I chose. I don't ever see myself going back and doing regular things."

Medrano lived in the wagon in Idaho for the last two years. She traveled around teaching Bible studies and selling her artwork.

She struck out from Idaho in her covered wagon in May, heading south through Wyoming, Colorado and Oklahoma. She travels about 100 miles a week.

"I don't want to go too far south because I don't want to fight fire ants," she said. "They are dormant right now."

She plans to continue heading south -- at least for the time being. Medrano hasn't made any other plans because she's waiting for the Lord to provide instructions.

"This is the first time I've got nothing to do," Medrano said. "I have purposely refused obligations. I wanted to find out what God wants. So now, I'm waiting.

"I just hope it doesn't have to do with Texas and fire ants."

Medrano says "folks" quite often will stop and give her food and other items. One couple stopped by Thursday and gave her some hay left over from a recent parade.

"You meet some of the worst, and you meet some of the best," she said.

Medrano has also kept a collection of patches from law enforcement agencies around the nation.

"You don't get patches like that because they leave you alone," Medrano said. "Some of them are gold-plated jerks."

Whenever she's hassled, Medrano says she always asks for a patch.

"I get about a one-tenth of them," she said.

As a devout Christian, Medrano also tries to witness to others about the Gospel.

"Somebody once asked who I witness to," Medrano said. "I told them largely newspaper reporters and cops."

Medrano said she was a nurse, living in Woodland Hills, Calif., in 1984 when she converted to Christianity while trying to quit a pack-a-day smoking habit.

She then hit the road.

"I sold everything, gave everything away, took up my cross and started walking," Medrano said.

She walked for several years before she stopped long enough to travel with pack horses. Medrano did that for about four years, until some "rednecks" in Alabama built the wagon.

"I'm a bag lady," Medrano said. "I was a bag lady for six years. It's just that my shopping cart has improved."

Over the years, she has traveled thousands of miles in the wagon. Medrano said she has heard about the two Odessa men who are trying to set a distance record for a covered wagon.

"If they're out for a record, they can have it," Medrano said.

April 14, 2004

Traveling in Covered Wagons

By Noah Bond
KIDK TV - Idaho Falls, Pocatello & Blackfoot, Idaho

It's a simpler way of life.

"I can't live a hunter gather life so I can live a gypsy one...Home to me is following the hoop going south in the winter and north in the summer, that's home," says one of the women traveling by covered wagon, Finisia Medrano.   

It's a stand against a way of life, they say, starves the human soul.

"Well in handling there technology, they're handled by it and they loose they're humanity to it," says Medrano.

"I always think it's interesting to talk to people who are unusual,"says Pocatello Resident Liz Kleffner.

"It's like going through Pocatello and having a few people come by and they appreciate it and some people come by and they try and scare the horses or they curse at you," says Medrano. 

At one time Fenisia Medrano was a nurse and Donna Parker a flight attendant.

Now, their taking a big step back from the technological world to reach toward, what they say, is a more natural life.

"If you go the back roads you can see the country.  See what God created," says one of the women traveling by covered wagon, Donna Parker.

Medrano says she traveled at least 40,000 by horse or covered wagon.

"All across the United States twice," says Medrano.  

Including places like Washington, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

Both the women are traveling to Wyoming.

From there Madrano will travel Salt Lake City, and Parker will continue across the U.S. to Florida.

Idaho Falls, Pocatello & Blackfoot Idaho

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Contact information for Finisia:

            Finisia Medrano
            c/o 113 Arco, ID. 83213-0113
            ph. 108-604-0938