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Keep Out Bang Bang

Bernie Harberts, general store

Keep Out: A Charles Manson-esque warning. These chilling words channel the famous “Death to Pigs” vibe as written in blood by the Manson family. (Lily, KY)

Traveling the land with my mules, I must have faith that I’ll encounter man’s better nature. Then I see a sign threatening as a revolver to the belly and it reminds me of man’s darker side. Of how thin the veneer is in some places. This sign I came across outside Lily, Kentucky, makes… Continue reading

Where is Home?

Where is home? Where, indeed, is home when you sleep in a tent one night. Or your sleeping bag cast out under stars. Or the horse trailer of someone you met 2 hours ago on the side of the road. Or someone’s spare bedroom. Where is home to the man who is traveling the land with his mules?

Bernie Harberts, mule, trail ride, adventure, fence

Traveling the land with mules. Brick, Cracker and me at the start of our journey.

Bernie Harberts, mule, trail ride, adventure, fence

The first glimpse many folks get of… Continue reading

Greetings from Science Hill, Kentucky

Bernie Harberts, mule, top hat

Welcome to Science Hill, Kentucky

Greetings from Science Hill, Kentucky. Mules Brick and Cracker have really pounded out the miles this week – 60 in the last three days alone. Now they’re entitled to a few days of rest. Thanks Terry and Debora Simning for letting them cool their heels in your hay pasture for a few days. Though it’s stocked with Kentucky’s finest blend of bluegrass, fescue and clover, Brick is also enjoying the poison ivy. Mules will be… Continue reading

Hay Field Breakfast

Bernie Harberts, mule, map

Hay field breakfast. On these cool mornings, I like to start my mornings with hot oatmeal. And my top hat. No, Brick isn’t begging for breakfast. It’s an optical trick of the lens.

Mules Brick and Cracker and I spend most of our days clip clopping up some Tennessee highway shoulder. Tractor trailers roar past. Cars honk. Drivers wave. I spend all my energy guiding my small troupe safely to the next destination. We are riding West.

Riding the shoulders… Continue reading

Spring in Lily, Kentucky

It’s fitting that I ran in to “real” spring (as opposed to signs of spring) in Lily, Kentucky.
After riding mules Brick and Cracker 20 miles up Highway 25, I was loosing the light fast and starting to wonder where the mules and I were going to spend the night.
I spied a lady trimming a vine in her yard. Pulled the mules in to ask if there was a patch of grass where I could tie them up for… Continue reading

Why My Wife Isn't Mule Rambling With Me – This Time

Bernie Harberts, sandwich

Just married: me and my wife Julia on our honeymoon ride. I’m riding mule Brick. She’s riding her haflinger Pickle. Brick and I are riding toward Idaho. Julia and Pickle stayed at home. (Love Valley, NC)

“Where’s your wife?” folks ask me when I tell them I’m married.
I tell them that my wife Julia stayed at home.
I explain that I’m riding toward her brother’s home in Idaho. That she’ll come visit me when I get there.
But that’s… Continue reading

Crackers Ponders the Week Ahead

Bernie Harberts, mule, sunrise

Dawn. Cracker ponders the week ahead. Or is he just contemplating his next bite? (Outside Russellville, TN)

A new week. A new direction. Once a man makes peace with the vagaries of life on the road with mules, he ceases to make hard and fast plans. Where to go this week? Up the road another stretch. The main thing is keeping the mules healthy. There is no other plan. Have a great week wherever it takes you.

Tennessee Morning Dew

Bernie Harberts, sandwich

Tennessee morning dew. Here, in Gary Brewer’s hay pasture. (outside Russellville, TN)

The last nights have been dewy. Evenings, I stack my saddle, pack saddle and gear in to a pile and cover it with a poncho. By morning, the poncho’s creases have captured tiny lakes of water. My tent is soaked.
But the grass loves it. And the mules count on eating on the hoof. Without the grass, we can’t travel the land. Grain is too heavy to… Continue reading

Mule Runaway

The damn mules. I call them damn mules because recently they pulled a runner on me.

Bernie Harberts, mule

Mules Brick and Cracker: I usually find them where I last picketed them out. Usually…..

Last week I was the guest of Dan and Linda Coffey of Tazewell, TN. I picketed Brick and Cracker out in the Coffey’s pasture. During my stay, they escaped. Thanks to Dan help we tracked them down before they ran home to North Carolina.

Bernie Harberts, Dan Coffey, Geneva Lynch, mule

Geneva Lynch, Dan Coffey and… Continue reading


The mules and I spend our days walking America the Beautiful’s littered-up country roads. All day long, we clomp by thousands of Bud Light cans, Gatorade bottles and then there’s the fast food – KFC boxes, Subway bags and MacDonald’s cups beyond counting.

There are the bright spots though. Hundreds of yellow wings and orange dotted tails. Road-killed tiger tails.

Then there are the butterflies. Hundreds of them. Victims todays always on the go society. Smashed mid-flight against bumpers, windshields… Continue reading

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