A Year and Change Ago After Riding in to Triumph: The Book is Coming
About a year and a half ago, I finished riding mules Brick and Cracker from North Carolina to Idaho. I’m now about 98% through the first draft of the book about that trek.
A bit over a year and half ago, the snow jammed between my saddle horn and zipper flew free as I climbed down from my saddle. The winter’s first snow fell cold and soggy but I’d arrived. Mules Brick, Cracker and I had just ridden 198 days from western North Carolina to Triumph, Idaho.
How I Got Here
On April 5, 2019, I rode my mules Brick and Cracker out our front gate outside Lenoir, North Carolina, turned right, and headed west. Unlike the “Lost Sea Expedition” (view on Amazon here) – my wagon voyage from Canada to Mexico – this was just a good old timey ramble – no firm route, no destination.
About the only timetable I had was to keep going until the snow started falling or I had to call off my journey for some un-forseen reasons – from saddle sores to homesickness. Mule travel is a fickle business. But that’s what makes it so interesting.
You can read plenty more about the journey here in the RiverEarth.com site. Just browse the 2019 archives for stories like the video of the mules and I crossing Ohio River with a police escort.
About the Upcoming Book
While I posted a lot of my journey on my RiverEarth.com travel blog, that was just the stuff that was quick and easy to write about. The meatier stuff, my personal observations on everything from road side trash, peoples’ thoughts on religion, agriculture, pesticides, dogs, farm subsidies, grass hoppers, herbicides, crop dusters, to uranium mining, pigs and Woolly Bugger trout flies, well, for that, I needed to write a book.
And of course, there will be lots of things about horse and mule travel in this book: how the mules wore hoof boots instead of steel shoes on this trip, how we dealt with traffic, how I was able to find food for them along the way and, most every night, a place to spend the night.
All this got done without a chase vehicle or much pre-planning. For that I have the generosity of the American people to thank. They really made me proud.
Putting all those thoughts in to a book takes time. It months time to pore over all the pocket notebooks (3), journal (1), emails home to wife Julia (lots) and photos (over 10,000) I compiled on the trip. And then there are all the memories I carry around n my head. It takes lots and lots of time to digest all this material and then extract meaning from it. And it takes even more time to distill all that in to a book.
Here’s a glimpse at some of my source materials.
Remembering Their Faces
What I enjoy most about writing this book is remembering the folks I met on my journey. The Cowboy Bride, Cowboy Dave and the Girl Who Just Wanted to Catch a Turtle.
Some of the folks that put me up on my journey have become friends. Laurel digger Richard Gragg, who I stayed with the second night of my journey, visited Julia and I few weeks back.
Other folks are dead or incarcerated. One of them was killed over a pile of dirt. Another is back in jail.
Yep, that’ll all be in the book.
How to Get a Copy
I’d be happy to let you know when the book is published. If you haven’t already, just sign up for the RiverEarth.com newsletter and I’ll drop you a line when it’s ready. Fear not, mules Brick and Cracker and I won’t sell your address to anyone. Or bombard you with emails. We’re too busy writing the book for that!
You can sign up for the newsletter here.