About Bernie

Me, Bernie Harberts, with my mule Polly.

Hi. I’m Bernie Harberts, author, film maker and rambler. I’m married to Julia who writes of our travels at her blog ConsideringAnimals.com.

Julia and me. Note the beard as opposed to the clean shaven look in the first photo. This photo was taken the day we returned from a 6-week mule ride from North Carolina to Virginia and back.

The RiverEarth.com travel site covers my travels. Imagine what you could do with a mule or a tent or a stack of plywood or a $12 bicycle and you’ll get an idea of the sort of voyage that speaks to me. My rambles include:

Where is home?

When I’m not out rambling by mule, boat or bike, home is Caldwell County in western Carolina. Julia and I live in what she calls our “shoe box valley”. Nature and topography are the box. The hay field is our front lawn. The mountains have our back. The forest are the walls and the stars are the roof.

Our home is under 500 square feet which feels big after years of living in wagons, tipis and tents. We heat with wood, wash with gravity water and make about as much energy as we use with the solar panels on our roof. You can read more about how we live right here.

Home: life is good when your lawn is a hay field. The rows are the season’s first hay cutting.
Looking toward the Brushy Mountains from the top of the mountain behind our cabin
Our closest neighbors are animals. Here, an eastern box tortoise cooling down in a puddle.

Our home is close to some great horse and mule-back riding. Sometimes Julia and I just ride out our front gate and see where we end up.

We rode our mules out the front gate and by afternoon…
…had arrived at the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention 10 miles away. On this ride we ended up riding a month and a half to Virginia and back.

North Carolina Roots

I grew up in North Carolina and went to NC State University where I completed a degree in Wood and Paper Science. After a few years in the corporate world, I decided I’d rather commute with a mule than a Volvo.

In my thirties, on a saddle mule named Woody, I rode 13 months across America, capturing glimpses few have slowed to document. I wrote 2 books about that voyage which you can find in the RiverEarth.com General Store.

Since then I logged thousands of miles more miles by mule and wagon. UNC-TV (University of North Carolina TV) and “Our State” magazine joined my mule Polly and me for one of these trips. That episode, “Mule Rider”, won an Emmy award for the South East region.

“The Mule Rider”: directed by Morgan Potts (UNC-TV) (courtesy of UNC-TV)

The “Lost Sea Expedition” series

Traveling with a single mule and a tiny wagon I built in a friend’s garage, I spent 14 months traveling from Canada to Mexico across the Great Plains. Just as I did in North Carolina, I explored things that are particular to an area. This time around, it was horse breakers, Lakota elders, sod hut dwellers, ghost towns and a vanished sea that caught my eye.

I filmed the whole voyage myself – a first ever for a cross-country wagon voyage. Back home I edited that footage in to the award winning “Lost Sea Expedition” documentary. The 4-part series premiered on Rocky Mountain PBS (Colorado).

The “Lost Sea Expedition” trailer

You can stream the series on Amazon right here. Plenty more about the series is at LostSeaExpedition.com.

Coming Soon

I’m currently writing my next book about my mule voyage from North Carolina to Idaho with mules Brick and Cracker. Think mule adventure tangled up with thoughts on religion, herbicide, interesting folks I met along the way and one of my long standing fascinations, road-side litter.

If you’d like a heads up when the book comes out, just sign up here and I’ll drop you a line when it comes out.

After 198 days on the road: arriving at my brother and sister in law, Nick and Carolyn Parker’s home (Triumph, Idaho)

Getting in Touch

You can email me right here. Just be patient. I’m often away from the internet but I’ll get back to you. Or you could break out the stamps and write a letter.

Happy Adventuring!



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