Arco, Idaho: Down to the Final 75 Miles

The mules and I have arrived at the first town in American powered by nuclear power, Arco, Idaho.

Across a sage brush land: Cracker, Brick and I walking up Taber Road toward Arco. I’m walking to stay warm. Yes, I’m lightly dressed for days where night time lows dip to 20-degrees but no amount of clothes keeps me warm sitting in the saddle. These frosty mornings, the only thing I can do to keep warm is walk beside my mounts.

The battery on my laptop is dying and I don’t have any way to charge it (I’m writing you from my tent). Still, I wanted to post a few photos of the folks and scenes I encountered on my run from Blackfoot to Arco. I’m down to about 75 miles and 4 travel days between here (Arco) and my final destination, Hailey, Idaho.

Mary and Clarence Teton: Clarence and Mary are from Shoshone and Bannock backgrounds. Clarence is a third generation Indian Relay racer. I spent a fascinating lunch break with Mary and Clarence learning about their horses and the Indian Relay races. One day, I’d like to play you the audio interview I did with Clarence. His blessing of my mules, my trip and my wife Julia – in Shoshone – was one of the trip’s highlights.
Clarence racing one of his race horses. Bareback. Just a few years ago. My kind of rider! (Clarence and Mary Teton photo)
Part of Team Teton horse racing.
Gerald Humpherys: Gerald and his wife Tina put me up for 4 days in Blackfoot while a patch of wintry weather made its way through the area. Temps dropped to a record single digit overnight low. I was cozy in a bed in their spare bedroom. Tina and Gerald’s son and daughter in law – Shawn and Hillary, -put up mules Brick and Cracker at their place. Thanks guys!
Shawn Humpherys riding Blue Duck with a belt. I can’t say my mules are that broke after 6 months on the road.
I’m always fascinated by what I find on the side of the road. In Idaho, of course it’s potatoes. Here, 2 spuds found on the side of the road in Blackfoot.
From Blackfoot we made our way back in to the sage brush country. Miles and miles of…..sagebrush. And lava.
Of course Brick and I had to investigate this cave on the side of the road.
It ran 100 feet back. This would make a hell of a root cellar back home in North Carolina….
Atomic City, Idaho. Bar owners Vickie and Blake put the mules and me up overnight.
Blake and Vicki (Atomic City, Idaho)
Bar patrons Teddy (in wheelchair) and Chet (Atomic City, Idaho)
Abandoned potato storage (Atomic City, Idaho)
Arco’s claim to fame
The mules’ digs at the fairground in Arco, Idaho
Brick with a well deserved breakfast of oats.

From Arco, the mules and I travel toward Craters of the Moon National Monument, Bellevue and our final destination Hailey, Idaho.

Winding Down Thoughts

I’m already getting nostalgic for the trip I haven’t even finished yet.

One of the best parts of this journey has been bringing you posts and photos from the road. I’ve also gotten a lot out your emails and comments. They really mean a lot to me as the mules spend most of our days traveling across some mighty empty land.

I’m really going to miss typing up these updates from the road and will keep pecking them out to the very end.

’til the next post friend!


  • Mary and Gerald Teton: for the prayer, coffee and alfalfa for my steeds
  • Gerald and Tina Humpherys: for the spare bedroom, meals and hospitality during that stretch of unhospitable weather.
  • Shawn and Hillary Humpherys: for putting the mules up and keeping them supplied with a fresh stream of apples and fresh cut hay.
  • Steve and Wendy Worthen: for putting the mules and me up on a particularly airish night – the mules in a corral and me in a camper. Propane heat is nice!
  • Blake and Vicki: for putting the mules and me up in Atomic City and introducing me to the Atomic City cocktail (Black Velvet and Fireball Whiskey)
  • Tara at the Arco Town Office: for arranging a place for me to stay at the Arco rodeo arena


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4 years ago

I just got to the end of the blog. Any luck with the ride? Many questions but will save some for later – How did you cross ‘cowtraps’ (cattle guards – if they didn’t have a gate? I haven’t done a final tally but our last count was 304 cowtraps on our trip. We had a two foot wide piece of plywood with a piano hinge – that folded out to 8 feet – which worked for all but one cowtrap. But – of course – we had a wagon to carry it (;-). Your journal has eased my re-entry into ‘normal’ life. (:-) Thank you. Kudos to Julia for keeping the home fires burning!!

Linda Sailer
Linda Sailer
4 years ago

So glad that you have made it safely. All the people who have helped you renews my faith in human kind. Hope the rest of the trip safely. Bill and I really enjoyed our visit with you. Wished it could have been longer.

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